The Storm in Whitefield

Taken From the Marshall County Republican
June 11, 1868


Whitefield Corners: June 7, 1868

I write to give you a little description of a most terrible storm which passed over this place on Friday afternoon last, which seems to have wrecked its vengeance mostly on three farms, located near Whitefield Corners, in the towns of Milo and Wheatland, Bureau county. About five o’clock a cloud appeared in the west and southwest, and the rain commenced falling moderately at first, and then increased to gigantic proportions, falling a perfect torrents, accompanied by loud thunder and terrific lightning; the wind increased, but no to any alarming extent. All at once, almost like the report of a gun, came the wind, as if to make one eternal sweep, and all was over. The wind come from the southwest, and first struck on the farm of William Fosdick. The south end of his barn was moved east about two feet, one corner dropping from its foundation, leaving the whole thing a perfect wreck. Some missile struck his house near the southwest corner, making a hole through it about the size of a barrel hear; two smoothing irons hanging on the wall near the place flew across the room with considerable force, although nothing could be found to any certainty that hit the house. The orchard was greatly damaged, his chimney blown down, and other property scattered about in a reckless condition.

The next place in range was that of your informant. Every building on my place was blown down or unroofed except the house, and that was moved on its foundation, and so shaken that the plastering dropped off to a considerable extent, and the doors still refuse to close, on account of their not being the right shape to fit the place for which they were made. At the time of the fearful occurrence I was in one of my east rooms, while some of my family were in the west room; the east and middle doors were open. The crash, the wind, and a scream from my wife came to my ears all at the same time. The west door had blown open. I started for it will all my might, and was met at the middle door by the woodbox, chairs, and furniture of the west room, making one grand rush for the east room. As if fearful of their impending fate, I managed to pass them, and found my wife trying to close the west door, making about at much impression upon it as she would in trying to turn over the Rocky mountains. All at once the wind ceased and I closed the door; but all was calm and I walked out, not being aware of the damage being done.

To my surprise, destruction stared me in the face at every point. My orchard was almost ruined; large trees were blown down and carried out of the orchard; all the fence as far as I could see were level with the ground. I soon turned my eyes to the northwest. About 80 rods beyond was the farm and the buildings of the late Henry Griswold, but which place has lately, by its charming influence and kind attention, taken under its parental care, Mr. Joel Fosdick, late of New York. That splendid barn was uprooted and the fragments scattered to the four winds of heaven. The house, orchard, fences and timber shared the same fate of those above named. The wind and storm passed northeast into the timber and down the creek, in the direction of Lone Tree prairie, of which place I have not heard from. Fortunately no one was hurt, nor any stock killed, but I have thought it almost a miracle that I did not hear the glorious sound "Well done thou good and faithful servant," - J. P. Swift

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