Friday, November 30, 2012

Cyclone Victim

Cabinet card of a cyclone victim. Available here.

From the seller's description:
On the evening of July 6, 1893, there passed through one of the most beautiful and productive sections of fair and fertile Iowa a tornado which destroyed more lives and property than any other like visitation of which western history contains any record.

It is not in the extent of territory covered by this tornado that it is of special interest or worthy of more than passing note, for, compared to some of the real cyclones which occasionally visit the eastern coasts of our country, covering territory thousands of square miles in extent and destroying hundreds of lives and millions of property, it is a mere pigmy in the storm race. It is more on account. of the mysterious display of concentrated destructive force, the rarity of occurrence of storms of its kind, and the science-baff1ing atmospherical conditions essential to bringing it about, that render the tornado and its record of devastation of much greater moment in a historical way than the ponderous cyclones, or hurricanes, whose movements may be studied almost to a nicety and whose comings are heralded days in advance by weather bureau.

The Pomeroy tornado--- so-called from the fact that its greatest work of destruction was wrought at the town of Pomeroy - swept over a strip of country about fifty-five miles in length, starting at a point some three miles northwest of Quimby, in Cherokee county, traveling in a course a little south of east, and ending a short distance east of Pomeroy, in Calhoun county, and the main track of the storm averaging only about one thousand feet in width.

The first real indications of the tornado observed by human eyes were when the people living among the bluffs on the west side of the Little Sioux river looked up between the hills to the westward and saw two angry-looking clouds approaching, one from the southwest, the other from the northwest. The sultriness of the hot summer day had lowered somewhat, and gusts of cooler air whiffed by occasionally with uncertain direction, although the general course of the wind was from the east. The two clouds met on the crest of the hills, and the tornado was on its eastward course, lifting houses and barns high in air-to be demolished and the ruins scattered far and wide, while their inmates were crushed and killed or badly wounded by the falling debris-tearing trees by their roots from Mother Earth or stripping them of bark and foliage, and laying waste the crops that came in its pathway, nothing above the surface of the earth seeming capable of resisting in any measure the terrific force expended on its march of destruction.

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