Buffalo, NY Tornado And Storm Damage, Apr 1855


From the Buffalo Democracy, April 19.
Yesterday morning the wind was so violent as to tear down fences, uproot and twist off trees, and demolish chimneys by the wholesale. Huge hailstones, big as hen's eggs, fell in large quantities.
At Albion the blow was not so violent, but it was very dark; obliged to light lamps to see to eat breakfast. (Was eating mine when the blow came on there.) The Irishmen on the Canal enlargement ran, terrified, for shelter; hear one cry, "Howly mither of Jasis! is this an airthquake?"
All along the road, between Brockport and the Suspension Bridge, the fences were strewn like cob-houses kicked by spunky boys. In many places, large trees were blown or twisted off at their trunks. Near Pekin, Niagara County, several large trees were blown across the Railroad track. Three or four houses in that neighborhood were blown down. Heard a farmer say who got on the cars at Pekin station, that timber in his woods had been damaged to the extent of twelve or fifteen hundred dollars.
At Niagaga -- mouth of the river -- the extensive car manufactory of BRAINARD, PIERCE & Co., was almost entirely demolished; damage about $20,000. The building was of wood, some 200 feet long, and about 70 wide. A great number of dwellings were unroofed, and some utterly ruined. The gable-end of the Scotch Presbyterian Church was blown in, slick and clean, and the building generally injured. A daguerrean standing in the street was keeled over, and the artist and his little son seriously hurt, the latter supposed fatally. A Railroad car standing on the track was lifted up, bodily, and carried some four rods. Two schooners, seen just before the blow came up, off Niagara, were not to be seen after it had passed over, and were supposed to have foundered.
At the Suspension Bridge the blow was most violent, doing more or less damage. The men who had just commenced work on the bridge, painting, &c., ran off when they saw the gale coming, and some were blown violently from one side to the other; one narrowly escaped being blown into the river. The wind howled and screamed through the gorge, with a perfect rush. One of the workmen said it "blew like h--l let loose."
The bridge, however, sustained not the slightest injury, and no vibration was perceptible, when the gale was at its highest pitch.

The New York Times New York 1855-04-20