Passes over Oconto County.
MILES SOUTH OF OCONTO.
to Farm Property
6 Killed and 32 Wounded
a trackless wind, but one which left behind it a broad and well marked
track of destruction, of ruin, of death, of misery, such a track of
and impartial ruin as - with one single exception tthat of Oct., 1871 (Great
Peshtigo Fire) — was never before made by the
events within the
borders of the State of Wisconsin. At between four and five o'clock the
afternoon of Saturday the 7th inst. the Sky became overcast with black
and threatening clouds, flash after flash of blinding lightening chased
each other through the murky air, peal after peal of deafening thunder
shook the firmest buildings to their very foundations, and reverberated
with terrifying distinctness, with two short intervals, the rain
in torrents for about one hour,when it ceased and immediately the
to on a peculiar and indescribable appearance which all who beheld it
knew portended danger and destruction. The clouds in the northern
were moving westward with fearful velocity, and in the northern heavens
they were moving westward with frearful velocity, and in the
heavens they were moving eastward with equal speed. At a point ten
west of Oconto, and near the big ill just east of Stiles,, the two
currents of air met, and after a few moments opposing of their fearful
forces they united in a swift round dance of desolation and
The result of the union of those opposing forcesi was visible from many
miles, taking; tlie form of an invertedl funnel with the papearance of
leqaden colored mist, which apparently remained stationary for a munute
or two, as if deliberating in its choice of victims. Its track was
chosen, moving south east it crossed the Oconti
the residence of Mr. Peter Plain it dismantled the barns on the farm
Duffy. Now fully off on its careen of vandalism it seemed to fairly
at such obstructions as human hands had built in its way. The largest
in course were broken like pipe stems, or uprooted and hurled to
distances, striking 6the wing to the residence of the Rev. O.B. Clark
demonstrated to the Rev. gentleman "how frail are all things here
of Peter Rosoncrantz,
the barn and black-smith shop and cattle sheds of John Harting and one
barn of John Traverse were demolished yet a little farther and it
the residence and barn of Charles Ritter, seriously perhaps fatally
Mr. Ritter, and utterly destroying his buildings, next came the
of Squire J. A. Glynn, which was struck on the south-west corner,
the kitchen, and badly bruising Mr. Glynn by falling brick, here one of
Mr. Glynn's sons, a half grown lad was lifted to the height of
feet in air, and carried a distance of forty five feet rods and
in a Rye field, he was found badly frightened, but unhurt and entirely
destitute of clothing. Across the ravine it struck and damaged the
, and destroyed the barn of the Widow Davis, At this point, seemingly
of buffeting with barns and houses, the Tornado quit the clearings and
entered the unbroken forest to test it's strength with mightly trees
had stood up unbroken before the storm of centuries with a rushing,
defiant soune it grappled with the giant trees, and hurled then like
from its path, on throught the woods it mowed a swathe, clean as any
reaper ever cut in a harvest field, until it arrived at the village of
Lower or East Pensaukee, when as if maddened by the resistence offered
by the three or four miles of timber through which it came, it darted
redoubled fury on the doomed village and commenced in earnest the
work of destruction at which it had before been out playing.
The first obstacles which here presented to its fury were the School House, a commodious and strong structure, the large and heavy residence of Peter McGovern, and the tine residence of Joseph Blackbird the two first on the south, and the last on the north side of the Pensaukee River. The large School House was hurled to atomss as though it had been a card house. McGovens house was unroofed, the west side blown out and what remained was lifted from its foundation,, turned completely round and let down in the road some 6 rodss away, Mr. Blackbird's house was completely annihilated, even the foundation and sills havenot yet been found, the bridge across the Pensaukee at this point was totally destroyed. The village ofj Pensaukee proper was situated about 80 rods (1 rod is just over 6 feet) east, or towards the Bay shore, from the bridge and buildings just spoken of, and consisted.of the finest hotel in Northern Wisconsin, one large Gang Saw Mill, Plaining Mill, Flouring Mill. Machine shop, one large general store,— just filled with new stock of goods - one very large boarding Ihouse,. two large, and several smal barns, .Rail Road Depot buildings, and about 25-dwelling houses, all of which were partially or totally destroyed; the proportion of partially destroyed being to the whole number as one is to ten. There was in stack and on scows in the place some 300,000 feet of manufactured lumber, bellonging to F. B. Gardener and A. Eldred of: which not 13,000 feet will ever be available. The goods in the store were the property of Mr. A. Baptist, and are nearly a total loss. The steam tug John Spry, one of the best on northern waters, was razed to her main deck, her machinery, being badly damaged, even the paddles were blown from the
|wheels, one scow capable
of holding 125 thousand feet of lumber was capsized, also a large
lies bottom up
in the river. The Smoke Stacks of the mills and
steamers can not be found, and probably are at the bottom of Green Bay.
A 4,000 lb safe which stood in the store was carried fifteen or twenty
feet, the heavy Rail Road bridge was moved eight inches out of
The badly shattered depot building was set astride the track.
The furniture from the Gardner House - or in the portion of it left standing - was winrowed on the east side of the rooms and smashed into kindling wood. A large Organ was in the parlor, of which no trace can be found. Cattle were taken into the air and carried a distance of 45 rods and thown down lifeless. A plow was driven into the ground to the very beam, and made to turn a perfect furrow of that depth for a distance of 15 rods.
Strong wagons and carts were broken into fragments with the same apparent ease with which the fragile buggies beside then were broken.
Heavy logging sleighs were torn in pieces and scattered in every direction.
of boards and timber were driven
through the sides of the steamers, and through the wall of the brick
as easily as shot from a Colombaid could have been.
Shortly after the Tornado had completed its terrible work the southern bound express arrived at the Pensaukee crossing; being unable to cross, the conductor at once backed the train to Oconto and there took on all the Physicians that could be found in the city, medical, and other stores with many citizens who volunteered their assistance and their means. And many willing hearts and ready hands spent Saturday night in minisitering to the wounded, and caring for the dead.
Ever since the
calamity a constant influx
of visitors have been arriving at the scene, all bringing sympathy, and
many bringing more substantial aid to the sufferers.
Our information as to loss of buildings is somewhat conflicting, but the number must be about 50. The loss in stock was considerable, and in fences and growing crops the aggregate loss is very great, and will fall with almost crushing weight on some of the sufferers.
It was a sad calamity, one of the heaviest that has fallen on this community, and we sincerely hope it may never be our lot to record another like it.
Since writing the above we learn that the buildings of John Lucas at Little River were entirely demonished.
The family were not hurt, though stripped of all their possessions but simply the farn on which they reside.
Card of Thanks
Relic of Pensaukee
County Real Estate.
Town of Oconto 14,440 acres
" Pensukee 5,440 "
" Marinette 12,720 "
" Gillett 12, 440 "
" Peshtigo 4,400 "
" Stiles 7,400 "
" Little Suamico 3,480 "