Elliott, IA Tornado, Aug 1928



(By International News Service)
Council Bluffs, Iowa, Aug. 27. -- Three known dead, nearly a score seriously injured, several probably fatally, and property damage estimated at half a million dollars.
That today was the resume of a tornado which ripped through four southwestern Iowa counties late yesterday. It originate near Fort Croch, and spent itself near Oakland, Iowa, not far from here.
The dead are:
J. T. JERVIS, Elliott, Iowa, farmer.
CHARLES JERVIS, his three year-old son.
The one year old son of GEORGE SMITH, Elliott farmer.
Bodies of the victims were removed from the debris of the JERVIS and SMITH homes. MRS. JERVIS was reported in a critical condition.

Logansport Pharos Tribune Indiana 1928-08-27


What a great story! I love to

What a great story! I love to hear those stories from the past..it's so interesting to hear what people lived through!

My grandmother lived through that tornado

My grandmother, Ruth Reed at the time, was 10 years old, and she and her family lived on a farm near Elliot, Iowa.

Her recollection, written up in 1997:

As I recall, it was a Sunday afternoon. My Mother and Dad and my grandma Burkheimer (Dad’s mother) had spent the day at one of my Mom’s brothers. These were special times for me as all four of my uncles lived in or near the Elliot, Iowa area. And it was not unusual for us to gather for big dinners. There were so many of cousins that we had no trouble entertaining ourselves.

We got home early enough for Dad to do the evening chores. He had changed clothes and was set to leave the house. I can remember him standing at the door looking at the sky. It was only a space of time and Dad ordered grandma and I to head for the root cellar. No explanation was needed. The air had been so very calm and quiet. Mom and Dad tried to batten down the hatches, as it were, and came into the cellar. First there is the door that lies at a slant, then down several steps, another door. Dad got the first door closed but had real problems getting the second door shut and then had to set with his back against that door and his feet braced against the vegetable bins. In a matter of very few minutes I can recall not being able to breathe - it was at this moment the cyclone was passing over us. I have no idea how long we stayed in the cellar, but eventually, of course, we came back up into daylight.

It is funny, I guess, that I have a fairly clear picture up to the moment we came up the steps, but after that, what I recall is what I heard from others.

At one home the family were in their root cellar except for the father and the leg of the windmill came through the outer door and caught him in the leg.

Window curtains were drawn, by the suction of the wind, between the glass and frame.

We heard of straws piercing telephone poles.

I seem to recall someone saying that our car was picked up and put back down - in the opposite direction.

Our home was moved off the foundation several inches, the barn was destroyed and I’m sure other outbuildings suffered a lot of damage. The piano that had quite a history was pretty well shot, but Morris took it and put it in storage in their barn. Later in 1952, for my Mom and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary Ken had a lamp made from one of the legs of the old piano. It sets in my home now in 1997.

I do remember being so proud of a wide brimmed hat with a wide ribbon that came down like a streamer. It showed up in amongst the trees across the road. Mom wouldn’t let me have it back. I was heartbroken as only a 10 year old can be.

Also recall staying that night with my friend, Fern Falk. In the middle of the night she woke up in hysterics. I slept the night through. Their home hadn’t been touched, ours was gone.

For whatever reason to me it was a great adventure - but I know for my Dad and Mom it was anything but. It meant hard times. The Great Depression was just around the corner.