SOWERS, Mary Pickett - tornado death - Fountain County INGenWeb Project

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SOWERS, Mary Pickett - tornado death

Source: Crawfordsville Star, Aug 3, 1875 --

The Harveysburg Tornado -- The terrible tornado which passed over Mill-Creek Twp, Fountain Co, last Tuesday, July 27, 2 12/ miles northeast of Harveysburg, was one of the most destructive of its size that ever visited our state.  Even at this late writing it has been very difficult for us to obtain any reliable information from the scene of the disaster.  From Mr. JB Vaugh, of Wesley, who took the pains to visit the devasted section we gain the following facts. The storm first made its appearance at Snoddy's Mills and traveled in a southerly direction, in its course blowing down the dwelling house of James Sowers, killing the father, mother, wife and child of said Sowers and a young lady by the name of Johnson who was temporarily stopping with them and so injuring Sowers and his two surviving children that he and one of the children have since died.  The other child is terribly crushed and it is hardly thought that it can live Old Mr. Sowers and his wife were horribly mangled, he by a house sill and she by flying sticks, twigs, etc.  The storm continued on from the Wabash to the center of Ripley Twp, in this county, destroying immense amounts of valuable timber in its course.  A house of a neighbor of the unfortunate Sowers, about 1 mi. NW, owned by a Mr. Marshall, was blown to a thousand pieces, but Mr. Marshall seeing the approach of the hurricane took his family into a cellar underneath his smoke house and thus they all escaped personal injury.  A Mrs. Kersey lost her orchard and enjoyed the unlooked for pleasure of having the house moved two or three inches on its foundation.  Mr. Vaugh went over the route of the storm Sat. last and reports perfect devastation. he says one of the foundation stores of the Sowers house, weighing not less than a thousand pounds was actually moved a little over 18 feet from its bed and one of the large oak sills of the house in dimension 11 x 11 inches and 24 feet in length was carried to the distance of 225 yards.  It was described by another person, an eye witness as a sight terribly grand, sublime, yet fearful beyond all he had ever seen.  The cloud was funnel shaped and looked to be about 300 yards high by a quarter of a mile in circumference; the clouds whirling, seething, circling, boiling and foaming, now flying off the rapidity of lightning and returning to take their places in the wild malestrom of winds, but to go through the same performance again while the lightning kept the whole mass brilliantly illuminated. The bottom of this whirlwind where it touched the ground was white, while all the rest was black. When the house of Sowers was struck, it was lifted bodily up high as the tree tops, then bursting into a thousand pieces was thrown in every direction.

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