The Tornado of 1918

The following appeared in the Richland Center Rustic
May 24, 1918
(continued from page 1)

 Tuesday evening at about seven o'clock a tornado struck the village of Lone Rock and left in its path which was about one-hundred yards in width, nothing but destruction of both life and property. The course of the storm through the town was from the southwest to the northeast and traversed the most thickly populated district for a distance of at least a half a mile, the greater part of which distance denuded of all the former standing homes, as tho' a scythe had been swung the whole distance.
 No less than twenty residences were as completely wiped off the face of the earth as though a map of the village had been drawn upon a slate and then a wet sponge had been drawn from one corner of the map diagonally across the slate. The only way to express the completeness of their destruction is to say that they are gone - - so completely that residents of the village are apt to argue as to the exact spot on which so and so's house stood.
 There are no less than twenty more residences that are as badly damaged as would conform to ones imagination of what the effects of a tornado might be.
 Three persons were killed during the storm, Mr. P. C. Pitkin, editor and publisher of the Tri-County Review, the other two being two children of a widow by the name of Haltrey, one a daughter, aged thirteen and the other a boy, eight years old. At the Hattery house the mother was so badly injured that little or no hope of her recovery are entertained and another child, a little boy, six years old, is expected to die any hour.
 Mr. Pitkin was killed on the stairway leading to his office on the second floor of the Farmers Bank building. His death was undoubtedly instantaneous. The bank building was properly a double building occupied in its two parts by the bank on the south and Core & Wells on the north. This building colapsed, the first story just crumbling away and second story settling down about the level of the first floor. Both Mr. Core and Mr. Wells were in the store and were caught beneath the settled upper story. Mr. Wells sustained such injuries as to necessitate his removal to a hospital as soon as possible and early Wednesday morning he was taken to Madison, where, it is reported his condition is serious. Mr. Core escaped without more than minor injuries, although how he escaped death is to be forever unaccounted for.
 Among the seriously injured was an old lady by the name of Wright, whose home was blown away and who will very likely die. Her son, George Wright, sustained a compound fracture of an arm besides many cuts and bruises. Henry Axemaker was very badly injured in the way of cuts and bruises besides a broken arm and Ace Knight and Richard Clemo, each suffered very painful injuries. A man by the name of Thurber had a leg broken. In all there were no less than thirty people injured, more or less seriously and painfully.
  The Tornado approached the village from over the hills in Iowa county. The first place it touched the village was at the railroad tracks where a string of eleven refrigerator cars were standing. Nine of these cars were taken from the tracks. Some were merely lifted off, others were turned over and one was carried at least a hundred and fifty feet. At one place two of the eleven cars were left unhurt with the one care between them blown out leaving a gap like the loss of a huge tooth.
 As is always true of tornadoes, this one left marks of a freakish nature. Here is a sample of what was done. James Pine and his wife with six small children lived in a cottage. They were at home when the house was blown down and completely destroyed and not one single member of the family received an injury. In another case this thing happened. Mrs. Stokes lived in a small cottage just at the edge of the village where the storm struck first. She was out at the barn milking a cow, when here daughter called to her to come to the house because of a bad storm approaching. She rapidly finished milking and as she approached the house she observed that the storm appeared to be more than ordinary and she though of a heavy fire burning in the cook stove and of the danger of its setting the house on fire if the kitchen should be blown down. In order to avoid that danger she attempted to throw the pail of milk in to the stove. She was in the act of doing this when she saw the last of her worldly possessions go away. Since that moment she has never seen her home, the cook stove or the pail which she had in her hands -- they are gone. She received very painful injuries about the face and head but was not dangerously injured nor neither was her daughter seriously hurt. Isaac Higgins, who conducts the furniture store and restaurant in the two buildings just north of the depot, saw ther storm coming and believing it to be coming directly toward his place, he ran from his building only to run directly into the path of tornado where he was caught in the thickest of flying timbers just in front of the bank and hardware store and was very badly hurt, while his own building was in no way injured and would have furnished him absolutely safe protection.
 All telephone connections with the outside communities were ruined and the word for help was sent out by people who went on hand cars. One hand car came to Richland Center and took back doctors who aided the local physicians in caring for the injured.
 Wednesday morning people from all around began to pour into the village and by early afternoon several hundred sight seers were on the streets where they found the village people still dazed from the effects of the awful night they had just gone through. Little organized effort was made to clear up streets and rescue salvage until the noon hour when a bunch of Richland Center people came and engaged with the people already there in a rather more systematic effort towards saving what they could of the wreckage and getting the electric light plant into commission so that the village would not be in total darkness through the second night.
 By the middle of the afternoon hordes of people had come in to view the wreckage and seemingly all roads led to Lone Rock,
 Newspaper reporters from as far away as Madison were on the ground writing up accounts and taking pictures. The State Journal of Madison was enterprising enough to get splendid views in their publication of Wednesday afternoon edition . To that paper we are indebted for the views published in todays Rustic.
 The storm traveled across a vast territory having gotten its start away out in Iowa, in which state it is said about twenty people lost their lives. It came into Grant county, then came through Iowa county, struck Richland county only at Lone Rock and passed on into Sauk county where the splendid farming community known as Big Hollow was divested of almost all of its big and beautiful farm buildings, Then it crossed over to the village of Plaine where one life and much property value was taken as a toll. Still traveling to the northeast it went on to Portage and other points destroying, destroying, destroying.
 Through the Red Cross at Richland Center, a very large amount of aid has been taken to Lone Rock. The Red Cross appropriated $500 in cash and the Junior Red Cross set apart $100 for use to meet the needs of sufferers. A message from the national headquarters of the Red Cross informed the officials here that a representative from the national office would be on the ground with funds by Friday morning.
 A receiving depot for contribution of clothing was opened at the Rustic office Thursday morning and at noon five auto loads of wearing apparel for men, women and children were on their way to the village.    
     
     
         
        
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*Note: This newspaper account is a true and faithful reproduction, except for format, of what actually appeared in the newpaper. No corrections for spelling and punctuation have been made.
 Photos mentioned in this account are not shown here due to lack of clarity. Other photos are used.
 This storm was a tornado, however, locals always referred to it as a cyclone.




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