March 20, 1875 a tornado came through middle
Ga starting in Lee County Alabama and ending in Edgefield County, S.C.
Numerous lives were lost and the injuries were many. In Baldwin County
9 people were killed, 60 wounded, 94 houses blown down, and $50,000 worth
of property damage was done.
Below are articles from the Augusta newspaper and Atlanta newspapers about Baldwin County. The list of the dead were taken from the Augusta paper and The Union-Recorder.
March 23, 1875
Union and Recorder
TERRIFIC TORNADO, Great Destruction of Life and Property
About 1 o'clock P.M., Saturday last, dark clouds hung over the city, threatening a storm of unusual violence. A rumbling, roaring noise, and a shaking of houses, warned our citizens of the approach of something terrible. Terrified people rushed into the streets and beheld a sight new and startling. To the west of the city a whirlwind, which looked like the huge smoke-stack of a locomotive, from which issued black smoke, spreading out and upward to the sky, seemed to be approaching the city rapidly, carrying death and destruction in its march.
It was a moment when man felt his utter helplessness and insignificance.
The hand of a merciful God guided the whirlwind away from the city else the sad story we tell had been sadder still.
From our point of observation the whirlwind seemed to come from the northwest till it passed south of the town when a sudden current changed its course and it came back, now traveling in a North-east course and toward the southern part of the city. Steadily and rapidly it comes taking up trees and fences, a house is in its path; quick as thought the house is licked up by the awful monster, another and another, to the number of seven or eight disappear, and the Storm-King has driven past our city and across the river.
The first house destroyed in our sight was the home recently purchased by Mr. E. P. Lane from Mrs. Bayne, and well known as the Luther Lane house. It was utterly and completely destroyed. It was scattered hundreds of yards, and portions of it carried entirely away.
The residence of our aged friend Mr. Tommie Johnson was destroyed. Mrs. Johnson was horribly mangled and survived only a few hours. Mr. Johnson also received injuries which are not considered serious.
The house of Dick Gause, a colored man in the immediate vicinity, was a complete wreck, and he was killed outright, - a portin of his skull being entirely gone, which was afterwards found half a mile off, and brought to the Church on yesterday when the funeral was progressing. His wife and child escaped while his mother was severely wounded. The other houses were occupied by colored people, several of whom were more or less hurt while others made wonderful escapes.
The roof of Judge D. R. Tucker's house was injured and out houses on the premises of Capt. T. H. Latimer and Mrs. E. D. Brown were blown down.
On our way to the scene of disaster we met two colored men-bleeding and showing evidences of rough treatment-who had been caught on the road with a pair of Col. Johnson's fine horses in a wagon. They stated that the wagon was blown to pieces, and the horses badly hurt.
We have now spoken of what cam under our observation. We learn the house of Allen Brogsdale (col'd) at Midway was blown down and several members of his family injured. And strange to say a bale of cotton with iron ties, blown away from this house, was picked to pieces by the wind and scattered broadcast through the country.
At the plantation of R. R. Brown 9 miles from town, houses and fences completely ruined, and Mr. Brown severely injured. At this place two negro women were killed, an infant carried away in the cyclone, and nearly all the negroes (about 17 on the place) more or less hurt.
At Rob't Harper's plantation things are badly torn to pieces, houses blown away (except gin house) and one child killed and several negroes wounded, some of them severely-two women with thighs broken.
At Jack Hall's houses blown down - no one seriously hurt.
James M. Martin's - houses destroyed, family buried in the debris, but escaped unhurt, one negro child killed.
Wm. Harper's plantation west of Oglethorpe College, fencing and buildings badly damaged.
East of Milledgeville, we learn that six or seven houses on the plantation of the late R. A. McComb, were blown down, and several persons hurt. Among them is Mrs. Horton, who is seriously wounded.
Ed Vinson - fencing gone.
Mrs. Oxford's house was blown down, and everything in it destroyed - herself and son and daughter unhurt.
Thos. J. Hall - stable, crib and fencing gone. Mr. Hall and Mr. Lavender went out to look at the torm and were caught in the whirlwind and thumped about on the ground and badly bruised.
P. M. Ennis - fencing gone, gin house and screw injured.
Miss Berry, daughter of Fitz Berry of Hancock county, was killed near Culverton-she was visiting at the house of Mrs. Bass, who with her child was also killed.
Mr. W S. Scott, Coroner, informs us he held inquest over the bodies of the following persons of color killed by the tornado, on Saturday: Richard Gause, Georgia Ann Lewis, Laura Wright, John Collier, Thomas Lester, (all colored.) No inquest, were held where the persons came under the treatment of physicians and afterwards died.
Daily Chronicle and Sentinel
March 23, 1875
The Storm in Milledgeville
(Macon Telegraph and Messenger)
Daily Chronicle and Sentinel
March 24, 1875
In Baldwin County
MILLEDGEVILLE, March 20, 3:10 p.m.
March 30, 1875
Union and Recorder
THE TORNADO. THE DAMAGE IN BALDWIN. Report of Committee.
We, the undersigned committee appointed by the Grand Jury at the adjourned term of Baldwin Superior Court, to investigate and report the number killed and wounded, and also to ascertain the amount of damage done to the citizens of Baldwin county, and what relief can be given to the sufferers, by the destructive tornado that passed through our county on Saturday the 20th inst., beg leave to make the following report. The committee for the purpose of dispatch divided the tract of country over which the tornado passed into three parts - that portion from the Jones county line to James Martin's, on the road leading from Milledgeville to Macon, was examined by Charles E. Bonner and Chas. R. Harper; that portion from James Martin's to the Oconee river at Milledgeville was examined by James A. Green and J. N. Moore; from the Oconee river to the Hancock county line was examined by W. H. H. Barnes and Jas. H. Pulley. Below we give a detailed statement, which shows
Number houses blown down..............94
Value of property destroyed.$50,000
Our actual figures, as taken down, foot up less than forty thousand dollars, but the destruction of timber, the delay to farming operations, and other losses, difficult to estimate, will, we are sure, make the total not less that fifty thousand.
We take pleasure in reporting that sufferers by the storm have received the kindest attention from their neighbors who gave them shelter and supplied their wants, helped them repair fencing, &c. There are several cases of utter destitution, where aid will be necessary for some time. In some cases the committee have supplied immediate wants, and are now going forward in the discharge of the duty imposed by the Grand Jury.
R. R. BROWN.
Severely wounded in head and shoulder and badly bruised, but doing well. Houses, fences, forest, &c, destroyed. Six houses gone and others badly injured. Loss $2000.
Freedmen on the place-
Amariah Morris - Six in family, all hurt, lost everything
Osborn Goddard - Six in family, one killed and one child carried away in the whirlwind and no trace of it discovered, and balance badly hurt-lost everything.
John Morris - Four in family, all hurt, some of them badly. Loss, everything.
Erwin Wright - Two in family, wife killed, lost everything. Loss, everything.
The wounded received medical attention from Dr. Hardeman.
Value for property lost by the colored people in clothing, furniture, &c, probably $600.
Nobody hurt, damage to plantation $500.
Nobody hurt, three houses down and others injured. Damage $1000.
ROBT. H. HARPER'S PLACE.
Fourteen houses destroyed, fodder all gone and good deal of corn, and a large amount of fencing swept away. Loss $4,000.
The freedmen on the place was nearly all wounded and lost all they had. Their condition is as follows:
Thomas Huson, 4 in family, three ribs broken and other bruises, wife badly bruised, and grandchild badly wounded in head-clothing and furniture entire loss.
Mark Hutchings, 5 in family, wife killed, daughter four years of age thigh broken; lost all furniture and clothing.
George Ward, 3 in family, self and wife slightly bruised - loss all clothing and furniture.
Vine Collier, 8 in family, two children killed, wife badly injured and two children severely wounded - loss furniture and clothing.
Henry Williams, 3 in family, wife slightly bruised, some loss of clothing and furniture.
Mingo Davis - 7 in family, self and wife slightly hurt - loss clothing and furniture.
Henry Veal, 9 in family, self and wife slightly hurt, two children badly hurt, furniture all destroyed and a good deal of clothing.
John Warren badly hurt.
Daniel Nelson severely bruised.
The wounded are receiving medical attention from Dr. Hollingshed. They are all tenants of Mr. Harper -are in a destitute condition and need help. Value of property lost by freedmen probably $1000.
A. J. HALL
Dwelling house top blown off and three outhouses down, fencing gone. Damage $300.
W. A. CHAMBERS.
Dwelling and six outhouses down, fodder and a good deal of corn destroyed and fencing swept away-loss of $1,200.
R. W. TRAPP
Fencing blown down and several hundred acres of fine forest destroyed. Loss between $500 and $1000.
JAMES M. MARTIN'S
Residence, gin-house, cribs, in fact every house on the place, 15 in all, swept away, and furniture, farming implements, some corn and fodder, fencing, timber, &c. destroyed. Loss $5,000. The white family (six in number) escaped with slight bruises. There were nineteen colored persons on the place - one child was killed and another carried off some distance and dropped in a field, badly bruised. part of Mr. Martin's house and bed-clothing was carried two miles. To show the force of the storm, we may mention that a large piece of granite partly embedded in the ground weighing at least five ton, was turned over and broke. The accumulation of seventeen years of industry and frugality is swept away in a moment.
Value of property lost by freemen probably $600.
JUDGE HARRIS' PLACE.
Considerable damage to fencing and timber,
PETE WILLIAMS (colored)
Lived on Smith's Mount, wife and one child badly hurt (leg and arm of child broken) and two other children wounded in the head. Furniture, provisions and clothing all gone. Received medical attention from Dr. Hall. Cared for at Williamson's. Destitute.
Fencing destroyed. Loss $100.
MRS. JUIA SMITH
Twenty-five or thirty acres valuable timber ruined.
WM. HARPER'S PLANTATION.
Gin-house, smoke-house, stable and fencing gone. Nobody hurt. Loss $300.
The storm passed just north of the Oglethorpe College buildings, and over the Midway Cemetery, destroying trees, shrubbery and grave-enclosues. The tomb of Dr. Talmage was not injured.
ALLEN BRODGSDALE (colored.)
Three houses and fencing gone. Allen's ankle mashed and his son injured in the head. A bale of cotton was carried away by the wind. Loss $600.
Fencing and timber destroyed and some damage to houses. Loss $600.
LATIMER & LAMAR
Crib, stables and outhouses injured, buggy and carriage broken, trees and fencing blown down. Loss $800.
D. R. TUCKER'S
The roof and chimney's of Judge Tucker's residence damaged. Loss $500.
MRS. E. D. BROWN
Two houses on the Trippe place were blown down. They were occupied by colored people. In one family (Nelson Turner's) 5 children, 2 badly hurt, one child both arms broken. Esther Williams who occupied the house near the Double Branches, was dangerously wounded and one of her children seriously injured. These people lost nearly everything. The wounded received attention from the Asylum physicians, and are present sheltered and cared for at the Asylum. Esther Williams is truly an object of charity. Phillis Jordan, also living on this place, lost everything.-Mrs. Brown's loss is about $600.
Kitchen injured, fencing destroyed. Lost 200 or $300.
E. P. LANE
The Luther Lane cottage recently purchased by Mr. Edward Lane, is a complete wreck, and part of it seems to have been carried entirely away. It was unoccupied. Loss $1000.
MRS. EMMA LANE
Barn and fencing destroyed, and residence and furniture badly injured. Loss $500.
Fortunately escaped with slight injury to house and fencing.
Lost two houses, besides outhouses and fencing. One of the houses was unoccupied. Mrs. Johnson was horribly mangled and survived her injuries only a few hours. Mr. J. also received injuries, but is recovering. Medical attention from Dr. White. Loss of property $700.
DICK GAUSE (colored)
Was killed outright and his mother injured. His house and furniture is a complete loss. Leaves wife and child destitute. Loss $500.
W & J CARKER
Lost two houses and fencing. One house occupied by Lige King, colored, whose wife received severe injuries, but is recovering. loss $600.
HARRISON BRIM, colored
Cabin unroofed and rendered uninhabitable.
M. E. EDWARDS.
Lost three houses and fencing. One of the houses (on Midway road) was occupied by Fredrick Thweatt, colored, who lost his furniture, &c. Mr. Edwards' loss is about $600.
Place on the river-kitchen and fencing destroyed, Loss $200.
CAPT JONES' PLANTATION.
Two houses blown away, also some corn and fodder, and a great deal of fencing and timber destroyed. Loss $1000.
Two outhouses blown away and fencing and timber damaged. Loss $500.
Four or five thousand panels of fencing destroyed, and a considerable amount of timber. Damage $1500.
R. A. MCCOMBS' PLANTATION
Gin house and six outhouses destroyed and the dwelling house badly damaged, fencing on east and west sides of plantation swept away. Loss $4000.
The plantation was rented by Mr. Geo. W. Bird, who suffered considerable loss, including 2000 lbs fodder 200 bushes cotton seed, one buggy, clothing, &c. Loss $300.
Wife badly hurt, and provisions, clothing, furniture, &c destroyed. Loss $250.
W H HORTON
Provisions, furniture, clothing, &c, all gone, Mrs. Horton badly hurt and her mother severely injured on the head. Seven in family, six wounded. Medical attention from Dr. Hall. Loss $300.-Destitute
E S VINSON
Two outhouses blown down, fencing and timber destroyed. Loss $500. Henry Williams, colored, on this place lost a fine cow.
Had about two miles of fencing blown down and his place otherwise damaged, Loss $200.
D B SANFORD
Considerable amount of timber destroyed.
MRS ANN OXFORD
Four houses completely destroyed, and corn, fodder, fencing, provisions, clothing, and furniture, all gone- Three in family -two wounded, Mrs. Oxford badly. Loss $1000. In a destitute condition. Medical attention from Dr. Robson.
BENJ COOK AND S LEONARD
Some fencing and timber destroyed-Loss $200.
Fencing blown away and timber destroyed, Loss $200.
THOS J HALL
Two outhouses, some corn and fodder, fencing and timber destroyed - loss $700. Mr. Hall and Mr. Lavender severely wounded.
P M ENNIS
Gin house damaged and injury to fencing, timber &c heavy-loss $1500.
JAS. A. GREEN, J. N. MOORE, C. E. BONNER,
C. R. HARPER, W, H. H. BARNES, J. H. PULLEY, Committee.
March 30 1875
The Union Recorder
Mayor Herty received from an unknown person in Atlanta a contribution for the sufferers of the storm. Thirteen killed in Baldwin county by the tornado.
James Martin's place (west Baldwin), Robert Harper, Charlie Harper's place, Robert Trippe's place (Midway) Brown's Crossing at Robert R Brown's place every house destroyed, everyone injured (Brown's Crossing), south in city of Milledgeville, McComb place (across river)
List of Victims
1. Mary Johnson
2. Richard Gause (black)
3. George Ann Lewis (black)
4 Laura Wright (black)
5. John Collier (black)
7. Thomas Lester (black)
8 Tom Huson (black) (Charlie Harper's place- Midway)
9. black child at James Martin's place
10. 1 child at Robert Harper's place
11. 1 black woman at R. R. Brown's place
12. 1 black woman at R. R. Brown's place
13. 1 black child blown a mile away at R.R. Brown's place
7 on McComb estate included Mrs. Stapleton
everyone on R. R. Brown's place at Brown's Crossing
Mr. Thos. Johnson, Mrs. Oxford, son and daughter, and 10 or 12 negroes.
A Miss Berry - daughter of Fitz Berry was at Culverton and was killed along with Mrs. Bass and Mrs. Bass's child.
April 28, 1882
Union and Recorder
Mr. Editor: Please allow me a small space in your valubale paper for a few items from the Pottery;
While we have been in the line of the two last syclones and suffered no little in loss of property, I am thankful we were spared our lives, as we read of so many who were killed during the last storm. It did awful work at Jack Simms' (col.); blowed his dwelling down and several other houses, and not a single one of his family was even bruised. It's next destruction was at Mrs. E. N. Gilmore's where it blowed down some six or eight houses and greatly damaged her residence. she was a widow lady and it was a heavy blow on her, but I am glad to state she bore it cheerfully and seem submissive to Him who ruleth on earth.
Mr. J. I. Etheridge was the next sufferer. Here the storm seemed to cross the tract of the first cyclone, and destroyed every house and fruit tree on his place. He had scarcely finished repairing the damages of the first when the second cyclone came, and he is seemingly ruined. I am glad to say that our kind neighbors have had a free heart and hand in this season of distress. Allow me to thank the generous and kind hearted people of Eatonton, Macon and Milledgeville for the amounts given to help the sufferers in our neighborhood. It is useless to ask what they need as nearly everything they had was blown away or broken up. E.O.
May 25, 1886
THE CYCLONE. Which visited this county las Tuesday afternoon, crossed the Oconee river near the mouth of Camp creek, and passed on to old Salem, where it struck Mr. Lawrence Babb's place, destroying his dwelling and damaging his fencing; the next place it struck was Mr. J. J. Simpson's, whose house was also damaged and his fencing blown down. At Harrison Barnes old place, now owned by Perry and Denton and occupied by a negro named Watts, the houses were all swept away. Mr. Ed Vinson was perhaps the greatest sufferer; all the houses on his place were blown down except his residence and that was unroofed. Three colored families living on his place lot, everything. Mr. Lowe Russell, living on Mr. M. A. Barnes place also lost everything. Mr. Cute Jenkins' house was demolished and he was struck by a piece of falling timber and badly hurt. The house occupied by Mr. Benj. Cook was destroyed but the family all escaped unhurt. Mr. Chandler's gin-house was blown down.
The whole neighborhood turned out Wednesday and assisted the sufferers in putting up fences and repairing dwellings. Rev. T. H. Gibson, Capt. P. T. Ennis and Mr. King Champion, who were appointed a committee for the purpose, called on our citizens last Friday for contributions for the sufferers. The families, whose homes were ruined by the storm, have the sympathy of our citizens, and prompt assistance should be rendered to place them on their feet again.
Eileen Babb McAdams copyright 2004