Storm Lake, IA Tornado Damages, Apr 1878

Storm Lake Main Street 1910s



Sioux City, Iowa, April 23. -- A terrible cyclone swept over the country east and west of us at 3:30 Sunday afternoon, entering the State above the Missouri Valley Junction and passing northeasterly across to Storm Lake, Pomeroy, and Fonda, in Monona county. Trees were torn up by the roots along the rivers, and the house of J. M. THURSTON was wrecked completely. A wing of the house of MRS. REILLY was struck and torn to pieces, and P. REILLY, standing in the wing, was picked up, carried over the main building, and over some trees near by, and set down uninjured. J. J. HUGHES' house, in the same neighborhood, was entirely destroyed. The family were away from, and escaped injury.
The force of the storm was terrific, destroying fences, uprooting trees, overturning corn cribs, etc. Horses, colts and cattle were picked up and carried a considerable distance. Near Onawa the house of MR. WHITE was destroyed, and the contents scattered for miles. There was hardly anything in the house but what was broken. The family fortunately were away. The track of the storm, was a half mile to a mile wide. There was very heavy hail, a number of stones were fastened together in one mass measuring fourteen inches in circumference. Near Onawa, a man driving a double team of horses, with wagon, harness and driver were taken up bodily and carried several yards and set down uninjured. On the Illinois Central Railroad east of here the damage is more serious accompanied by loss of life.
The whirlwind or tornado passed over Storm Lake from the southwest. Three-quarters of a mile east of town the residence of ALFRED KING was struck, lifted from the foundation and dashed into thousands of pieces. MR. KING'S mother was instantly killed, and found some distance from where the house stood. The other members of the family escaped unhurt. The lighter timbers of the house were pounded into kindling wood, and trees and orchards were torn off and carried away.

Janesville Gazette Wisconsin 1878-04-23


Alfred King

Just as an addendum - it was actually Alfred King's wife's mother (Lucy Clark Ainsworth) who died during the 1878 tornado.