Waseca County, MN Storm, Jul 1871


The Waseca News of July contained the following:

“The pleasures and festivities of the Fourth of July were not ended when, over a large portion of southwestern Minnesota, the Storm God wheeled his chariots into line and devastated a large extent of country along the rich valley of the Minnesota river. The storm swept across a large region of country between Madelia and New Ulm, crossing into Nicollet county, sweeping in great fury down the Minnesota valley, and thence through Mankato, Le Ray and Jamestown.

“Last Friday afternoon, July 7, 1871, while the people were talking and lamenting over the news of the destructive storm of July 4th, in adjoining counties, dark cloud’s appeared in the southwest and the northwest and apparently joined in battle array some miles west of here. The storm came on rapidly, the wind blew a gale, some hail fell, but no serious damage resulted in this village. North and west of this place, however, in the towns of Janesville, Iosco, and Blooming Grove, the destruction of crops was total over a large extent of country. Mr. McDermott, of Blooming Grove, informs us that the crops in his neighborhood are almost totally destroyed—that the trees, even, are stripped of their foliage. From Mr. J. E. Jones, of Iosco, we learn that the crops are wholly destroyed for several miles north of his place, his own with the rest. The house of Mr. Larsen, in the Riley neighborhood, was blown down, and the fences generally were prostrated’.”

Thousands of acres in this county were laid waste, and the people were left in very distressing circumstances. The course of the storm was from west to east and laid waste a strip of country from two to four miles wide across the northern tier of townships. Many of the hailstones were as large as hen’s eggs, and, in many places, the ground was covered with them. The destruction to crops in the state, that year, by wind and hail, was so far-reaching, that the legislature, at its next session, made provision to furnish a loan of seed grain to the suffering farmers the next spring. Some of our farmers of the stricken townships were aided in that way.

At Janesville, on the 7th, lightning struck the barn of Darling Welsh, setting it on fire and killing one of his horses.


Hon. Warren Smith was appointed by Gov. Austin as state commissioner to ascertain and report in regard to damages by storm or prairie fire to settlers of this county during the season, and about Dec. 20th, he received $425.00 from the state to be distributed equally among seventeen of the most destitute families. In addition to this amount, the citizens of Waseca had contributed $100, and the county commissioners had received $200 in state funds, making in all $725.00, besides some clothing, which was distributed among the needy.

Child's history of Waseca County, Minnesota : from its first settlement in 1854 to the close of the year 1904 ; a record of fifty years : the story of the pioneers, pages 242-243