Iowa City, IA Tornado, May 1859


Four Persons Killed and Several Wounded.

[From the Iowa City Republican, Extra 25th]
There occurred on Tuesday afternoon about six o'clock, one of the most terrible and destructive whirlwinds that was ever visited upon any people. The path of its destruction commenced, so far as we can learn, about one or two miles from Iowa City. When first discovered it was about west from the residence of George Powell. Soon after it was first noticed, it moved in a southeasterly direction to the residence of Gen. Morris. Its force was very considerable there, unroofing barns, sheds, upsetting buggies, & c. It swept along in nearly an eastern direction, gathering in intensity and destructive force. Reaching the residence of Mr. Morgan, it shivered his house into atoms, not leaving two pieces of timber or sticks together, killing MR. MORGAN, a son and a grandson. The bodies the son and grandson were found from 200 to 500 yards away from the house; this is about three miles from Iowa City. Mrs. Morgan has her thigh broken, and otherwise badly injured. A man by the name of Wolfe, residing beyond MR. MORGAN'S house, is reported to be badly injured; also, his wife and little child.
Still, further on some six miles from Iowa City, JESSIE BERRY and his son, aged about sixteen, were o their farm when the tornado swept by. MR.BERRY, an old and highly esteemed citizen of this city, was instantly killed. His body was brought to the city about 4 o'clock this morning. His son has four of his ribs broken, and otherwise seriously injured, and it is thought by his attending physicians that he cannot possibly live. We also learn that a tenant of JESSIE BERRY had one arm broken - his wife's head severely cut - and an infant child in the arms of its mother was also bruised.
Further on, near the seven-mile house, a new brick building was totally destroyed, in the wreck at this place; six were injured - four very badly - some it is feared mortally.
We hear, also, that a man who yesterday accompanied MR. BERRY to the farm for the purpose of buying it, was badly hurt. Also another man in the barn where MR. BERRY was, saved his life by crawling under the manger in the basement; he is considerably.
It is impossible to learn all the particulars of this dire calamity. We have gathered them hurriedly; yet we believe all the essential facts stated will be found entirely correct. It is believed by those who have visited the scene of the ruin, that the tornado's force became expended or in the vicinity of the seven mile house - still we may hear of serious disasters beyond.
It is stated by those of our citizens who have visited the wrecks of this destructive whirlwind, that one can form no adequate idea of its power and devastation. The earth itself is torn up in places, houses, barns, sheds and feces are scattered as chaff, and lie about the fields in will and awful ruin.
The sufferers are receiving every attention at the hands of which a [illegible] and tender humanity can bestow. By this calamity, which came with the suddenness of a whirlwind, wives have been made widows, and little children orphans.

Chicago Press and Tribune, Chicago, IL 27 May 1859