Princeton, IN Tornado, Feb 1876


Heavy Tornado.

CINCINNATI, Feb 28. – the Times’ Evansvill, Ind., special says a tornado at Princeton last night blew down ten houses; one house was burnt. As far as heard from but one old lady and a boy were seriously injured.

A Commercial’s special places the number of houses blown down in the tornado at Princeton, Gibson county, Ind., last night at 73. The storm struck the southwestern part of the town, and lasted but one minute. It badly damaged the fine public school building, demolished the new church of the Convenauters, uprooted trees and blew down fences. A large number of persons were injured, one or two fatally. A little child was blown from its bed into the garden, and another was blown a hundred yards and found on the railroad track. The names of the injured as far as ascertained are: MRS. CLARK, back broken; J. TAYLOR, injured internally; MRS. BLACKBIRD, thigh broken; MISS. KINDLE, both legs broken; the family of MRS. JENNINGS are more less injured. The damage in Princeton is estimated at over $50,000. Further reports from Princeton report eight persons dangerously injured, four of whom are not expected to recover’ one woman lost her eye sight. Over fifty houses were totally demolished.

EVANSVILLE, Feb. 28, -- A tornado at Princeton, Ind., last night, blew down or badly damaged about fifty houses, one or two of which were burned. Eight or ten people were injured, two, it is thought, fatally. Much damage is done in the country.

Davenport Gazette, Davenport, IA 29 Feb 1876


Additional particulars to the Commercial from Patoka, a station a few miles north of Princeton, says many hailstones were found there measuring over six inches in circumference, and some nearly eight inches. A correspondent says further reports from Princeton state that eight persons were dangerously injured, four of whom are not expected to recover. One woman lost her eyesight. Over fifty houses were totally demolished, and about fifty more were badly damaged. The tornado was most severe from the north side of the public square to the southern limits of the town. In the track of the storm it is impossible to distinguish streets or former location of residences everything being prostrated and spread over the ground. Several persons were buried under the wreck of their dwellings and were taken out unharmed to-day. One family found themselves walking on the ceiling of their rooms, the house having been inverted yet they escaped unharmed, while those who attempted to escape were injured.

The vacant lots in the town of Princeton are in some places covered with laths and shingles, which were forced into the ground to the depth of four or five inches. The family of Mr. Joseph Jennings, composed of ten persons, had a miraculous escape. The foundation and first story of the house were blown out from under it, and the second story and roof fell down, and were almost flattened. The family were all crowded together in a place only three feet high and from thence were rescued by those who had escaped after the wind subsided. Immense quantities of hail fell, ranging in size from that of a walnut to that of a hen’s egg. The town to-day presents a most pitiable appearance. The destruction to property has fallen upon those who are badly ably to bear it. To add to the terror of the scene, two houses which were blown down took fire and were consumed.

The New York Times, New York, NY 29 Feb 1876


On Sunday evening, February 27, 1876, Princeton was visited with the most severe cyclone which ever passed over the county. The storm came from the southwest. Almost the entire southern part of the city was demolished by the wind. Many peculiarities incident to the type of storm were present.

History of Gibson County, Indiana: her people, industries and institutions, 1914, page 306