Cloud & Clay Counties, KS Tornado, May 1895


A funnel-shaped terror in the form of a cyclone visited Cloud and Clay counties on May 2, 1895, dealing death and destruction. There were six fatalities and the more or less serious injury to about thirty people, scores of farm buildings were razed to the ground, live stock killed, orchards and groves despoiled.

The storm was entirely unhearalded; there had been a slight atmospheric disturbance all day, but late in the afternoon, rain fell and all misgivings of the elements had been restored. Just before dark, through the scud of low, flying clouds could be seen a great unbroken mass, heavy with moisture. The air was humid, and upon the horizon lay a light fog. The wind shifted, went and came in fitful gusts, and rain fell at irregular intervals. About 9:15 a rumbling noise was heard about three miles southeast of Miltonvale and the next moment a flash of lightning revealed its origin. A great funnel-shaped cloud was outlined against the sky, its taper end dipped the earth. The next flash revealed another, but similar shaped cloud moving at a rapid transit toward the first, both obliquely inclined toward the earth, like ships driven abreast of a furious gale. In a moment the two monster appearing forms were merged together, and then followed destruction in their wake. Through the influence of a counter current the cyclone suddenly veered and started northward toward St. Joseph, and from this point in a general northeasterly course through the northwest corner of Clay county. It leaped the Republican river between Clifton and Morganville and terminated within a few rods of the Washington county line on the farm of A. Balston, having traveled a total of twenty miles; its greatest width did not exceed three-quarters of a mile.

The home of Eli Baltagor was obliterated as it were, himself and wife killed and their six children all more or less severely wounded. In Clay county, east of the river, four lives were lost, seventeen persons badly injured and many homes destroyed and scattered with the winds.

Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas : biographies of representative citizens Hollibaugh, E. F., 1903. p 125-126