Braceville Station, OH Tornado Damages Towns, July 1860


The Cleveland Leader of Tuesday contains further particulars of the terrible tornado at Braceville Station, on the Cleveland and Miami Railroad. We quote:
The tornado first struck about a mile northwest of Braceville Station, on the Cleveland Miami Railroad. It appeared to settle down upon the earth, and then pursued a direct southwest course. A man who saw it when about a mile north of the Station, describes it as having the appearance of two clouds revolving towards each other, like two immense wheels, accompanied by a tremendous roaring and surging sound.
MR. MASON'S house was next struck and swept away completely. The heaviest portion of the house was scattered over a space of about two acres, the lighter portion being carried far and wide. A fact that shows the character of the wind is, that the Mason house was carried to the south, and the GRIFFIN house twenty rods away was blown to the north, showing that it was a whirlwind. The barns were demolished.
The storm then reached the railroad track, where it passed through the woods. Here, the scene yesterday was wild and exciting. Huge trees were torn up by the roots, and splintered to pieces; saplings were almost tied up in knots; great piles of scattered trees lay about, and trunks that had stood the gales of half a century were bent and broken like reeds. The track was covered with fallen trees.
The Station house was apparently in the centre of the tornado. The owner of one of the groceries which were destroyed, saw it when struck. He says the depot, (a frame building 26 by 46 feet,) and the grocery adjoining, belonging to LUCIUS WOOD, station-master, were carried right up into the air above the top of the highest trees, when they were evidently wrenched and torn apart into a thousand fragments and scattered over a large space of country. The grocery opposite, belonging to GEORGE SMITH, was torn to pieces, and carried away for some rods. No one happening to be in the building at the time.
One of the freight cars was torn from its trucks, and lies overturned about sixty feet from the track, broken up. The other was thrown some 600 feet without touching the intervening ground, and then dashed to pieces. The first one contained about five tons of freight.
JOHN SMITH ran first toward the track and then to a large hollow stump, to which he clung as the storm came down upon him. He says the wind was so strong that it fairly lifted his feet from under him, and he held only by his hands with all his strength. While so doing he was struck by a rail or board, and his head, hands and hip badly bruised. MRS. GALVIN came running up, and lay down by the stump to which he was clinging. He knew no more of her until he saw her lying dead about three rods away, having been struck by a rail, and her skull crushed.
The frame barn of WM. BENEDICT was next struck, and almost entirely demolished. Two feather beds from one of the chambers were torn away and picked up afterwards in Lordstown, about six miles away, as were some sheets, &c. It then tore the top off his large cheese house, torn down a corn house, and unroofed his barn.
The storm passed on, overturning and unroofing houses and barns, and doing considerable general damage, as far as Youngstown, 20 miles below.
No description can do justice to the appearance of the scene, even yesterday, after two days had been actively employed in clearing away the wreck. The ground was strewn thickly with the evidences of destruction. We asked SMITH what the storm looked like when he was clinging to the stump. "Why," he said, "it didn't look like anything. I can't describe it. It was like a thick fog, full of trees, logs, and everything else. It was so dark I couldn't see, and the wind flopped me around any where and every where." A lady who saw it a mile away, says it looked like a huge wheel rolling over the earth. The width of the track varied from a quarter to a half-mile.
There were some curious circumstances connected with the progress of this gale. At the station, MR. MASON, whose wife was injured at MR. GRIFFIN'S, saw the storm coming and crawled into a drain under the depot. The next he knew of his whereabouts he had been carried into a field some forty or fifty rods across the track, and striking upon his head, had cut it severely. In the depot were nine barrels of flour and some bags of rye. After the storm had passed nothing was found of either, except one bag of rye, which was in one of the freight cars which was overturned. No grain had been in it before. Many small articles were carried to great distances. An iron bolt, four inches long, and a quarter of an inch square, was found driven an inch into a treet half a mile away. A quarter of a dollar and a cent from the money drawer at the station were found half a mile off, and pieces of stove pipe, and iron piece of a sewing machine, weighting two pounds, and a shovel, equally as far. A handsaw was carried over a mile, and two feather beds five or six miles. A box of hardware having been in the depot, was evidently taken up into the air and wrenched apart, and its contents were found in all the fields and woods in the track of the storm.
The $700 which were blown away were in one package of $500 and other small parcels. One $1 bill of this was found at Girard, 16 miles distant, and just as the train left Warren yesterday afternoon, it was reported that the $500 package had been found in Coitsville, about an equal distance. Two pages of MR. WOOD'S Ledger were found in Liberty, twenty miles off, and tickets from the office were found at all distances from five to twenty miles. A boy found some rein snaps, buckles, &c., half a mile off, the mass being snapped and buckled together by the wind in the air. They were from the box of hardware, where of course they were seperate.

The New York Times New York 1860-07-27