New Ulm, West Newton, Cairo, MN Tornado Destruction, July 1881

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Intelligence is received of a terrible tornado which devastated the beautiful city of New Ulm, Minn., July 15, bearing death and destruction in its path.
The ill fated city is situated on the right bank of the Minnesota, and on the Winona and St. Peter Railroad. It is the county seat of Brown County, and contained 8,500 inhabitants. It contained a large number of fine buildings, among them two mills, five public schools, two academies, three churches, costing from $5,000 to $25,000, and the finest public hall in the Northwest. The storm made its appearance at 4 o'clock, and it could be distinctly seen approaching in two separate columns, one moving upward, while the other appeared to descend from the clouds, whirling with terrible rapidity, and apparently spending its whole force in the vicinity of New Ulm. Six hundred buildings are more or less damaged, some of them being totally wrecked, among them the finest business blocks in the city. The fine new Methodist Church, costing $5,000, was leveled with the ground.
Up to the present time thirteen dead bodies have been found, most of them buried in the wrecked buildings, as follows:
MR. ECKERT and his twelve year old son.
A son of MR. REITZ.
LAURA WRIGHT, aged eleven, found on the prairie decapitated, and her head has not yet been found.
Son of MR. WERNER, aged fourteen.
All of the above are from New Ulm. It is thought there are several other bodies yet in the ruins, as many persons are missing.
In the town of Severance were killed:
JOSEPH WILLIAMS, wife and three children, one child, which is badly wounded, being the only survivor of the family.
A child of MR. LOOMIS.
In West Newton, an old gentleman was found dead, his arms firmly clasped around a tree.
The wounded are:
J. SUESCH, wife and child, probably fatally.
H. FIDELER, probably fatally.
J. KURTZ, arm and leg crushed.
GEO. FOGLE and wife, probably fatally.
JACOB MILLER, leg fractured.
MR. WERNER and wife, badly injured, serious.
J. SCHWENGER, seriously cut -- all in New Ulm.
J. PFEIFFER, of Milford, and three whose names are not yet ascertained.
There is scarcely a building, public or private, that did not sustain some injury, while many residences and business houses are total wrecks, the timbers being broken into kindling and scattered over the prairie. Not less than one hundred horses were killed, many being lifted bodily and carried long distances.
The storm extended through Nicolet County, through the towns of West Newton and Severance, but, owing to the absence of telegraph facilities, the extent of the loss of life and property can not be ascertained, with the exception of the names above given, though everything in the range of the storm is leveled with the ground. The growing crops were shorn off as though with a scythe in the track of the storm. There is no doubt that search will develop further loss of life, as some of those now missing will probably be in the ruins.

The Richwood Gazette Ohio 1881-07-21