Portage County, WI Hail Storm, July 1880
Which Fell Two Inches Deep on Monday Last.
Scattering Desolation in its Path and Destroying the Crops in the Fair Town of Stockton, already Golden for the Harvest.
Estimated Loss from $75,000 to $100,000.
List of the Losses and by Whom Sustained.
It is entirely safe to say that the most destructive storm, so far at least as the loss of property is concerned, that ever visited Portage county, occurred last Monday afternoon. We refer to the hail storm that struck the town of Stockton at about 8 o'clock on the afternoon of that day, passing over some of the finest farms in the county, and sweeping everything before it with the
BESOM OF DESTRUCTION. The hail commenced falling in the vicinity of Poland Corners, and about the last we heard of it is in the northern part of Buena Vista, a distance of about ten miles. In width it was about four miles, extending from the eastern edge of Lewis Gibb's farm, on the old Amherst road, out beyond Custer. These, however, are the extreme edges, the destruction of property being confined to a strip of country about eight miles in length and three miles in width. On this space,
THE VERY HEART of the town of Stockton, hardly a stalk of corn, a hill of hops, a spear of wheat or oats or a field of potatoes escaped. The district embraces in the neighborhood of 75 farms and if we leave out the hay and rye, which had previously been put in the barn or stood in the shock,
THERE IS NOTHING LEFT. The entire remaining crops on the best farms could be bought for a song, and the song need not be a very good one at that. Everything is battered down and driven back into the earth from whence it came. We happened to be on the freight train Monday afternoon when it run under the storm cloud at Custer, and therefore saw it accomplish its
AWFUL WORK OF DESTRUCTION. The storm came on with a roar, and presently we heard the pattering of the hail stones on the roof of the car. At first they were wide apart, and about as large as good marbles. But as the train sped on they came faster and faster -- exactly like the skirmish firing that precedes an engagement. At first only an occasional shot, which keep on increasing faster and faster, finally culmanating [sic] in one
CONTINUOUS ROAR. As the train moved cautiously on, for with the darkness that the cloud had cast over the earth and the mist that had commenced to rise it was impossible to see more than a few feet ahead, the air was literally filled with chunks of falling ice, many of which were
AS LARGE AS HEN'S EGGS and some much larger. We measured one that was 9 1/2 inches in circumference but hear of others much larger, and have no doubt but ours was a small one in comparison with some. In fact, after seeing what we did, we are prepared to believe most anything -- the story of one gentleman that he picked up one as large around as the
BRIM OF HIS HAT, not excepted. The ground was covered to the depth of two inches on the level, and in places where there was an obstruction they lay upwards of a foot deep. The trees were stripped of their leaves, in many places every pane of glass on the north and east sides of the houses were broken, the whole presenting a scene of