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The Craig News Thursday, Mar. 27, 1913




Whirling Demon Visits Craig and Vicinity in its Path of Devastation and

Destruction of Life and Property.


Easter Sunday, March 23, 1913, Long to be remembered Throughout the Entire United States

Never before in its history has the city of Craig suffered such loss from wind as in the tornado that passed through the northwestern part of the town, about half past five o'clock Sunday afternoon.

The day had been mild and spring-like until in the afternoon when the atmosphere became to sultry and oppressive as to make one feel disinclined to exertion.

About four o'clock or perhaps a little later. black, lowering clouds appeared in the southwest and were watched with some apprehension here, but they moved north and were soon out of range. A slight breeze was blowing from the southeast during this time.

About five, suddenly and without warning or premonition of what was to follow, the whole south and west was again overcast with dark, lowering clouds, and it became so dark that lamps were lighted in many homes. The wind from the southeast became stronger and suddenly whirled to the west and became a gale-and the cyclone was here with all the attending horrors of shrieking winds, flying debris, shattering glass, broken chimneys and crashing timbers. The tornado struck Craig from a southwesterly direction and traveled north and east.

The first damage done was to the telephone wires just west of the big bridge by the depot. The coal chute was shifted about five inches, and would have gone down but for the several tons of coal in it.

In its path from there, chimneys were blown off and small buildings turned over or unroofed. At the A. WHITNEY FURNITURE store both chimneys were blown down and the roofing was ripped from the west end of the new addition. One door was blown in entirely and shelving blown down; one large plate glass was blown in or broken by flying pieces of glass from the front and much damage done to the stock in that part of the building.

At the FRIIS, BERNSTEIN AND COHEN store one of the large plate glass Windows was broken and the goods blown about and damaged. At the DR. COOPER home there was scarcely a tremor of the house, while at the F. D. BURKE'S some thirty feet north, the chimney was damaged, shingles ripped off and the porch torn up. The ENTREKIN barn was moved some inches on the foundation. At the WOODY BELL property many of the fruit trees were broken down, chimneys damaged and the small buildings overturned. ORRIN GRIFFIN lost porch and chimneys and at the E. A. GREGOIRE property occupied the C. E. LUNBERRY, shingles are off, chimneys down and porch unroofed.

The NEWS office had practically all the shingles ripped from the south side of the roof, windows broken and the building badly wrenched. On the heavy machinery and books saved it from destruction and even that could not have saved it from another gust as the east and north were just ready to go. At the DAWSON LEWIS house occupied by FRED WHEELER and family, chimneys are down and shingles off.

Next in line was the home of J. W. SUTHERLAND. Here the conditions are desolate indeed. Mrs. SUTHERLAND and little daughter FERN, and her mother Mrs. J. R. DAVIS were in the parlor when the main or largest part of the building was turned a quarter around and the inmates slid into the old unused cellar underneath. It seems incredible, but is a fact, that the small part of on west wing was left standing while the new and larger part suffered the greatest damage. The west roof was stripped bare of shingles, windows blown out and the house wrenched and broken. The furniture is badly damaged, but the family is unhurt.

The PETER CARLSON'S home was badly wrenched, chimneys down and shingles off.

Next came the house of MRS. SARAH HAMILTON, which was completely wrecked. This was one of the most beautiful cottage homes of the city and with (not legible) walks was always pointed out as one of the ideal homes of the city. The wind struck this house squarely from the south and moved it to the north line of the lot, about 15 to 20 feet, where it lodged against some trees on the north side of her lot. The house is badly crushed around the bottom and the floors are broken up as if crushed by a terrible force from below; nearly all the windows were broken, including the large French plate in the south and east. The furniture is badly damaged from the sliding and pitching about. The fine large rug from the parlor was blown out at the window and caught on the fence. Other clothing was blown out and damaged by wind and rain. It is not likely the house can be repaired or replaced without being entirely torn down.

Next in line was the PETER CARLSON property occupied by his son F. O. and family. Here the large barn and out-buildings were crushed into kindling wood, trees broken and the house was severely wrenched, windows broken and chimneys down. No one was at home and the furniture made many amusing changes of location.

The house of MISS BUNDERSON, occupied by DAVE ANDERSON, had one broken window pane and lost the roof of the porch; the house PAUL STEWART lived in lost the windows; and C. F. HARRISON'S house lost a chimney and has some broken windows. RAY THURBER'S new house lost windows and was badly wrenched receiving a terrific blow from some heavy object.

Passing to the J. W. OLBREY place north of town, occupied by the R. O. DYE family, the shingles were ripped off, windows broken and many articles were blown from the building. The oldest girl had one finger badly crushed. This family has no place to live, and crowded into one room that E. ENTREKIN kindly loaned them.

Just north of this the storm struck the C. C. SISSON home. This cottage was built only two years ago and was as neat and comfortable as could be. This home was completely wrecked and completely as if built of paper. The house, barn and all the out-buildings were swept away as if only leaves or dirt and contents scattered over the fields north and east. The family had returned from a Sunday visit and fled to the cave. As all but one were down and MR. SISSON reached for the youngest child, it was swept away-no one knows the feelings of the parents in the few seconds that elapsed before they were able to search for him. When found he was coming toward what had been his home. He was hurt and bruised and had a bad cut on his head. The family is at the T. T. PLUMMER home and the boy is recovering nicely.

Racing over the hill, on toward the north and east, the tornado caught the farm home and buildings of J. L. FRIIS. The family saw the storm in time to take refuge in the cave, JOHN McQUADE being the last to enter just as the storm struck. In almost less than no time the storm has passed and the family came out to a scene of ruin and desolation such as must be realized. The house was gone, and its entire contents scattered over acres of the farm. One cow was badly hurt here.

The barns and out-buildings were destroyed at the homes of JOE JOHNSON and MRS. ESTHER S. FREEMAN and on the HENRY GOLL farm the house and everything went. In Silver Creek township a house was unroofed, in which MRS. MARTIN lay sick, with a four-day old babe. The mother came near death from the cold and exposure, but last word she still lived.

Owing to the erroneous reports inside the daily papers, in which Craig is said to have been entirely destroyed, letters and telegrams have poured in from all sections. A. WHITNEY received inquiries from South Dakota and Schenectady, N. Y.; G. W. POOL, from Denver; S. B. TITUS from Boise, Idaho and many which we have not heard. Craig has every reason for thankfulness, even in the face of property loss.

It is very strange that in its path through this town and near vicinity where many small barns were town down that contained horses and cows, the storm injured none seriously. Pigs and chickens are scattered all over.

We very much desired to reproduce a picture of the wreck at the J. L. FRIIS farm but our photographer, MR. GRIFFITH, was unable to get a photo in time to have the cut made. This place is the exact duplicate of the C. C. SISSON home.

Last Sunday evening, immediately following the cyclone great flocks of ducks and geese were flying about and over town, were quacking and honking excitedly, as though they had been caught in the wind cloud and just made their escape. At Tekamah several small windows were broken by ducks and geese flying against them in their stupor and desire to get away from the fury of the elements.

At the home of MRS. HAMILTON, post cards were wedged in along the floor beneath the quarter rounds so tightly they can not be removed without tearing.

The chickens belonging to A. WHITNEY will now have a chance to exercise their wings in getting to roost as their home is securely balancing in the top of one of the high trees.

C. E. LUNDBERRY'S new barn, after gymnastic stunts of all kinds, is now resting solidly on one side of it's sloping roof, the bottom pointing skyward. This barn was out of the line of the main storm.

BERT CORNELIUS, our telephone lineman was in barn back of DAVE ANDERSON'S when the cyclone struck. When the south side of his barn raised off the ground he took advantage of the opening and ducked outside, just in time to get covered up by the wreckage from MRS. HAMILTON'S barn which was coming his way. Outside of a few bruises he escaped injury.

Large steel culverts were carried long distances from the railroad yard, one being found in a field on the JOE JOHNSON farm, a mile-and-a-half southeast of here.

The west end of DR. CRUMBAUGH'S barn was located in S. COHEN'S yard.

Although the FRIIS, BERTSTEIN & COHEN STORE was south of the line of main whirlwind, a large plate glass window was knocked out of the east front and some of the hats from their window display were sucked out and blown into the HAMILTON yard, two blocks north.

At the wreck of the SISSON home a glass pitcher was found containing a large hen, so tightly wedged in that it required some pull to dislodge it and the pitcher was not cracked.

At the J. L. FRIIS home a bicycle escaped without so much as a bent spoke. A violin was taken from it's case and not injured in the least but the case was torn to pieces.



Pictures of the J. W. Sutherland, Mrs. Frank Hamilton, C. C. Sisson and F. C. Carlson were with this story but not reproduceable. There were also letters from the mayors of other towns in this county offering condolences and offers of help.

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 ©1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 Bill Wever