Johnson County, IA Tornado, May 1899


A Cyclone Visited Union and Clear Creek Townships Yesterday.

The Path of Destruction a Sad One. -- List of Property Injured.

This morning John Neuzil of Union township came too the city and reported to the Press the story of the cyclone which visited Union and Clear Creek townships last evening. Mr. Newuzil stood at his home and saw the storm in its awful fury and today he eloqnently [sic] described the terrible scene.

The cyclone was one of the old fashioned tail twisters with its balloon shaped cloud of wind and fury. Coming from the south-west, it took a north-easterly direction and in its path today remains nothing but a scene of destruction.

Striking the farm of Frank Cole in Union township the cyclone gave but a small demonstration of what was to come and here it destroyed the outbuildings and fences on that fine farm, carrying with it the remains of what was once the property of that gentleman. Missing the barn entirely the storm caused some little damage to the house and proceeded on its path of destruction to the home of Albert Smith also of Union township. Here the fury of the storm lifted the house from its foundation and destroyed the outstanding sheds and barn scattering them to the four winds.
Next in the path of the cyclone was the home of Frank Radick and here all is destruction. The house, barn and out buildings have been wiped from the face of the earth and scattered for miles by the unmerciful wind.

Crossing the line between Union and Clear Creek townships the home of Geo. Cole fell in the path of the storm and in the twinkling of an eye the effects of that gentleman were added to the list of property claimed by the monster cloud shaped tornado. Here a large house and barn were totally destroyed and nothing remains today but the foundations of the buildings to show that a man once lived upon the premises. The cyclone lifted the barn from its foundation and left the stock tied to the mangers but did not injure any animals in the stable.

Then came the farm of George Madden Jr., and here a wrecked home only adds to the awful story of destruction. It appears that at this point the storm had spent its force and only one more home, that of George Madden, Sr., fell in the way of the terrible destroyer. Here the house was left standing but the barns and outbuildings and five head of cattle fell victims to the cyclone.

The storm occurred at 6:15 last evening, about the time Iowa City people were startled by the furious looking clouds that came rolling up like mountains from the west. As soon as the cyclone had passed, neighbors flocked to the scene of destruction and found no human beings killed or injured all on account that people had flocked to the cellars and there resting securely had seen their homes carried and the work of their life time destroyed. The storm seemed to follow the low ground and only crossed the hills when the sloughs ceased to exist. Beginning at the home of Lou Cole it followed a north-easterly direction for a time and then went directly east until it lifted and faded away.