Mineral Point, Oakland, Oregon, Waukesha, WI Tornado, May 1878








Special Dispatch to the Janesville Gazette.
Madison, May 24. -- The storm between Mount Vernon and Oregon was very severe. I have just seen a Norwegian, living a mile and a half south of Mount Vernon, who lost his father-in-law, an old man, named NARVE BERGE; brother-in-law, named HERBARND BERGE; his mother-in-law and himself were in the house when the storm struck it, coming with a frightful roar, crushing in the windows on all sides, lifting the house from its foundation, carrying it several rods and smashing it to pieces. The debris disappearing in the air. This man, whose name is OLE HERTH, saved himself by jumping down cellar, but his father-in-law and brother-in-law were both killed, while the old lady was seriously injured. He reports that a man told him that O. B. DALEY, a wealthy resident and storekeeper, of Mount Vernon, was killed. A large number of houses and barns were destroyed. He saw several fires on the prairie during the evening. Reports from Oregon say that out near Paoli, and between there and Belvidere, a great many houses were torn down, and three or four people killed. That great destruction of property and loss of life has prevailed in that section of the country, there is no doubt. There is no telegraph line through that part of the State from here to Mineral Point, and news comes in slowly.

Mineral Point, May 23. -- A terrible tornado struck this city at about 5 o'clock this afternoon. The large stone brewery and several buildings surrounding it were demolished, and it is feared several bodies will be found in the ruins. The buildings adjacent to the brewery are JOHN MILLER'S house, the Globe Hotel, First Ward School House, JOHN SPENSELY'S house, MULLINS store, CURRIE'S harness shop, the Wisconsin House, and ELLINGER'S furniture store. These buildings were in the line of the tornado and are more or less damaged. One of them, the fine residence of JOHN SPENSELY, at which was a large family reunion, among whom were JOHN WALLER, wife and daughter, WILLIAM COATS, wife and daughter, MRS. WALLER, and MRS. ROBERTS, all of Dubuque, were completely wrecked, and MRS. WALLER, mother of JOHN WALLER, was instantly killed. The rest of the inmates of the house miraculously escaped with only slight injuries. The residence of Judge COTHREN was also struck by the storm, and his mother, an aged lady, killed. The tornado passed through the heart of the town, and it is feared was far more disastrous than could be learned up to this late hour.

Fort Atkinson, Wis., May 23. -- A severe tornado passed through the town of Oakland this afternoon, blowing down a barn on the premises of R. HAWK, killing his hired man. The house and barn on MR. E. WARD'S place were blown down, burying the tenants in the cellar, but no one was killed. A young lady by the name of FRARRY had a limb fractured. Serious damage was done to other persons and property.

Fort Atkinson, Wis., May 23. -- The tornado was of greater magnitude than at first reported. It took an easterly direction, tearing down fences, barns and wind mills. Its path is strewn with fences and broken timber. It blew stones eight inched in diameter quite a distance, bowling them along the ground at a very lively rate. The following is the list of the houses, barns and windmills destroyed: JACK DANELL, barn, hop-house, windmill, and part of dwelling; EVERSOHL, one large barn; HOPSON, one barn; MUSSEHL, one large barn, parts of which are found over one mile from the site; also his reaper and wagon. The roads along and across the path of the tornado are impassible, being filled with rails, boards, trees, etc.

Madison, Wis., May 23. -- During the prevalence of a very heavy rain storm here this afternoon, the air was suddenly observed to be filled with falling leaves, small twigs of trees, shingles, lath, and large sticks, one piece of board being picked up eight feet long and a foot wide, seemingly to have been wrenched from a house, all filling the air as far up as the eye could reach, falling straight to the earth. Hail as large as a hazelnut also fell. The common solution of the phenomena is that a heavy whirlwind was taken place southwest of here, the clouds which were very heavy, coming very rapidly from that direction. No reports of any damage have been received yet. During the storm the lightning which was very heavy struck the corner of the Court House, passing down the water pipe, passing through a two-foot stone wall into the County Treasurer's office, tearing off the plaster a couple of feet square but fortunately injuring nothing.

Oregon, May 23. -- Very hard storm in this vicinity. Several houses blown down, some of the inmates hurt, and two reported killed.
The storm was from three to six miles west of Oregon, and reports say a number of people were injured and some killed. No reliable reports received yet. Two horses belonging to DR. GEORGE FOX were blown out of the field, where they were feeding, and were killed. A man, name unknown, driving in a lumber wagon, was blown out of the wagon and his leg broken.

Waukesha, May 23. -- The most terrific hurricane known to the oldest settlers visited this place about 5 o'clock this afternoon and continued two hours, the wind blowing in all directions at the same time, demolishing the fences, chimneys and houses. At the Fountain House many of the trees planted several years ago were uprooted, and nearly all those planted this spring. The spring house trout flumes escaped. On the same street the roof of the house occupied by MR. CONLIN, and belonging to the Fountain House property, was torn off leaving nothing but naked gables to indicate where it was. MRS. CONLIN received a slight injury by being struck on the shoulder by a brick. The front of M. S. HARTWELL'S plaining mill was torn off, and the lumber piled around it, scattered to the four winds, some being driven through the windows of the Fountain Spring shipping house. The chimneys on Carroll College, DR. KENDRICK'S, R. L. GOVE'S, MR. HENDRICK'S, H. H. HUNKIN'S, O. TYLER'S, the wooden mill, and many other places were blown down, in many cases doing material damage. Trees were broken down and torn up by the roots in all parts of the village. In Centre street six or eight rods of sidewalk was lifted up and deposited in the centre of the street, while the fences in that neighborhood and all over the town were demolished. MR. RICHARDSON'S lumber yard sustained considerable loss by the lumber being scattered and badly broken. The summer house, spring house and the windmill at Glen Spring are a complete wreck.
Sidewalks in the vicinity of Wisconsin avenue was torn up and hurled against the fence on the other side of the street with such violence that scarcely a whole plank was left. The damages are variously estimated at from $14,000 to $20,000.

Janesville Gazette Wisconsin 1878-05-25