Morristown, MN tornado, Sept 1900

A TERRIBLE CATASTROPHE

A Village in Minnesota is Struck by a Cyclone and Numbers Killed and Injured.

Faribault, Minn., Sept. 24. - Meager details have just reached here of a terrible catastrophe which visited the village of Morristown, ten miles west of here, shortly before 6 o'clock this evening. The village was struck by a cyclone and a barn was raised in the air and dropped directly on top of Paul Gatzke's saloon, where sixteen persons had taken refuge from the storm. The saloon collapesed and all occupants were buried in the debris. At present it is said that eight dead bodies have been taken from the ruins.

The dead - Jake Miller, Jake Weaver, Jr., Frank Pitman of Waterville, Otto Gatzke, John Rohrer, Jr., Elmer Brooks and H. S. Waite.

The injured - Frank Wilder, Paul Gatzke, Porter White and Lewis Pitman, Jr.

The storm came without warning from a southwesterly direction, passing over to the northeast. The length of its path in the village was less than half a mile. The storm made jumps of one block but whenever it came down everything was crumbled by the power of the wind.

The barn belonging to Dr. Dargabell, which is on the outskirts of the village, was the first structure destroyed and this was one of the freak features of the storm. The barn was picked up and carried a block, leaving the floor uninjured, with two horses standing on it. The building was crushed. From here the storm jumped a block to the saloon of Paul Gatzke. Before reaching the Gatzke saloon there is a two-story building, which was left untouched.

All the people killed and wounded in Morristown were in the saloon, having hurriedly taken refuge there when the storm was seen on the outskirts of the village. There were sixteen people in the structure as the storm struck. The building was raised from its foundation and crushed like an eggshell. Before the building fell three people managed to escape, but the other thirteen are found in the list of dead and injured. After leaving the saloon the storm crossed the street and destroyed the barn of J. P. Temple and took the roof from the barn of W. M. Bigoli. It then crossed the Cannon River and destroyed the barn of Adam Snyder. The storm then passed off to the northwest and did no further damage.

The first fatality occurred, however, before the village was reached. The storm was first discovered by a farmer who lived four miles from Morristown. He saw the funnel-shaped cloud and says that it was bobbing up and down on its way to the village and made four descents in the four miles. The farm of John Olsen, who resides two miles from Morristown, as far as can be learned, is the first place where any damage was done. Olsen's hired man, Peterson, was killed.

The Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 25 Sept 1900
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WORK OF TORNADO

Paul Gatzke's Saloon in Morristown, Minnesota, Completely Wrecked - Barn Raised Toward Heaven.

EIGHT MEN KILLED

The Saloon Building Collapsed and All of its Occupants Were Buried in the Debris - Six Men Were Injured - List of the Dead - A Large Amount of Property Destroyed.

Minneapolis, Sept. 24. - A special to the Times from Faribault, Minn., says: Meager details have just reached here of a catastrophe which visited the village of Morristown, ten miles west of Faribault, shortly before 6 o'clock this evening. The village was struck by a tornado and a barn was raised in the air and dropped directly on top of Paul Gatzke's saloon, where sixteen men had taken refuge from the storm. The saloon collapesed and all its occupants were buried in the debris. At present it is said that eight dead bodies and three injured persons have been taken from the ruins.

Following is a correct list of the killed and injured of Morristown.

Dead -
HARRY S. WAIT, a farmer, aged 40, leaves wife and family.
OTTO GATZKE, son of Paul Gatzke, aged 19.
FRANK PITTMAN, of Waterville, aged 50.
JOHN ROHRER, aged 22.
ELMER BROOKS, aged 20.
JACOB MILLER, Jr., aged 23.
JACOB WEBER, aged 23.
--- PETERSON, a hired man.

Injured -
Paul Gatzke, proprietor of the saloon, injured internally, may die.
Frank E. Wilder, injured internally, may die.
Frank Pittman, 12 years of age, son of Frank Pittman, may die.
Porter A. White, head bruised, condition serious.
Bernard Ashmidt, slightly.
William Brooks, slightly.

Henry S. Wait, one of the men killed, was a repulican [sic] nominee for representative.

A special to the Times from Faribault, Minn., says: "The storm came without warning upon the citizens of Morristown from a southwesterly direction, passing over to the northeast. The length of its path in the village was less than half a mile, but owing to its peculiar action the distress and damage resulting was not as great as they might have been. The storm made jumps of one block, but whenever it came down right everything was crumbled before the wind.

"A barn belonging to Dr. Dargabel on the outskirts of the town, was the first structure destroyed. It was picked up and carried a block, leaving the floor uninjured with two horses standing on it. The building was crushed. From here the storm jumped a block to the saloon of Paul Gatzke. Before reaching the saloon there is a two-story building which was left untouched.

"All the people killed and injured in Morristown were in the saloon, having hurriedly taken refuge there when the storm was seen on the outskirts of the village. There were sixteen people in the structure at the time the storm struck. The building was raised from its foundations and crushed like an eggshell. Before the building fell three people managed to escape, but the other thirteen are found in the lists of dead and injured. After leaving the saloon, the storm crossed the street and destroyed the barn of J. G. Temple and took the roof from the barn of William M. Bigola. It then crossed the river and destroyed the barn of Adam Snyder, killing several hogs. The storm then passed off to the northwest and did no further damage.

"Before reaching town the storm descended upon the farm of John Olsen and killed a hired hand named Peterson."

The Butte Weekly Miner, Butte, MT 27 Sept 1900
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ONE MORE STORM VICTIM

MORRISTOWN DEAD NUMBER NINE

Funerals of Four, Including Henry S. Waite's, Held To-day - Smith's Escape.

Special to The Journal.

Faribault, Minn., Sept. 26 - A late report from Morristown gives another death, the result of the tornado. It occurred southwest of town and is Henry Frederickson, who was struck by flying timbers.

Henry S. Waite, a republican nominee for the legislature, who was killed in the tornado at Morristown, was buried this afternoon at 2 o'clock. Elmer Brooks was buried yesterday and John Robrer will be buried to-morrow. The others, Otto Gatske, Jake Miller and Jake Weber, wer [sic] buried to-day also. Frank Pittman was taken home to Waterville.

Paul Gatske and little Louis Pittman are still living, but the physicians hold out no hope.

The buggy of Frank Pittman of Waterville was found in a cellar. The south wall of Donaldson's bank was blown out of plumb and men have had to support and brace it.

Bernard Smith of Morristown village was standing in front of the wrecked building and was directly in the center of the tornado. He was lifted off his feet and carried into the air and struck the telegraph wires across the street, which checked his flight. He dropped into the basement of a recently burned building. His injuries were very slight and he is able to be around.

The Minneapolis Journal, Minneapolis, MN 26 Sept 1900