Harper, KS Tornado Destroys Most Of Town, May 1892

FIVE KILLED AT HARPER.

DEADLY WORK OF THE CYCLONE IN KANSAS TOWNS.

MANY VICTIMS WHO ARE NOT EXPECTED TO LIVE -- WHOLE BLOCKS OF BUILDINGS WRECKED BY THE TORNADO -- THE MATERIAL LOSS GREAT.

Harper, Kan., May 29. -- Reports from the country around through which the tornado of Friday night passed demonstrate the loss to be greater that at first reported. The course of the storm as indicated by its trail represents an imperfect letter "S," and it swept in that form a distance of at least fifteen miles. In Garden Plains Township two brothers were picked up and carried a distance of 200 yards and let down almost side by side. One of them was badly injured in the fall while the other escaped without a scratch.
Nothing escaped the storm's fury, and the great damage is not only done to houses and crops, but thousands of dollars' worth of stock has been killed and injured. The nucleus of the tornado began forming a few miles west of here at 6:30 o'clock, and for over an hour the clouds moved about in great agitation, having a northwestern tendency. At 7:40 the tornado assumed its characteristic shape, and at once commenced its work of destruction, leaving ruin and devastation in its trail. It struck this city a regular broadside. Its greatest force was in the northern portion, where the destruction is complete.
It is impossible at present to estimate the entire loss sustained by the city and surrounding country with any degree of accuracy, but men who have traveled over its course say that it will not fall far short of $500,000. Not more than six out of the eight or nine hundred residences of the city have escaped damage, but a large majority of them are only slightly injured. It has been estimated that nearly 150 houses are total wrecks, while as many more are badly damaged. The Harper Mercantile Company Building is a complete wreck, and nearly all its extensive stock of general merchandise is ruined.
The amount of cyclone insurance in the town is very light, while in the country it is comparatively nothing. Another serious loss is the new fourteen-thousand-dollar schoolhouse, which is a total wreck from the foundation to roof.
The storm struck the cemetery and swept down fully two-thirds of the tombstones and monuments, breaking many of them. There is scarcely a residence recognizable as such on Central Avenue from the Presbyterian Church north. About all the stores in the north half of the city are in ruins and their contents greatly damaged. Many of the people are not only destitute of shelter, but of food and clothing as well. A relief committee has been organized, with the Hon. JOHN WATTS as Chariman, and to-day a formal proclamation was issured by the Mayor reciting the distress of the people and calling for aid. The correct list of the dead, so far as ascertained up to 6 P. M. to-day, is as follows:
W. L. STRANAHAN.
MRS. THOMAS GALLAGHER.
MRS. GALLAGHER'S four-year-old child.
LOUIS HARRISON.
MRS. HOWARD TOMLIN'S child.
The supposed fatally wounded are as follows:
MRS. HOWARD TOMLIN.
MR. and MRS. FELRATH.
PETE GIRARD.
MRS. A. FREY.
MRS. L. HARRISON.
MR. and MISS NACE.
MRS. SAYRES.
JAMES DICKENSON.
S. CHALLIS, wife, and baby.
THOMAS GALLAGHER.
The seriously wounded are:
S. E. COLE.
ROBERT LIEBECHT.
PETER CORBY.
JAMES DOCKINSON.
A. E. MALLORY and wife.
MRS. MINOR.
EZRA VANCE.
MRS. BAKER and WINN BAKER.
MRS. MATTHEWS.
W. G. LIND.
The Presbyterian and Lutheran Churches were well protected by cyclone policies and will be rebuilt at once. The twenty-thousand-dollar schoolhouse destroyed will also be in part restored by the insurance company. Of tornado insurance on residence and business property there was so little as to be hardly worth mentioning. The absolute loss will be a quarter of a million of dollars.

The New York Times New York 1892-05-30

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