Newspaper Account of Destructive 1881 Tornado in DeSoto County, Mississippi
From "The DeSoto Times" Hernando, MS,
Thursday, 14 April 1881
Submitted by Jan Stith
On Tuesday evening about 4:00 o'clock, a terriable black, murky looking cloud made its appearance in the west and northwest. As it approached this place gathered volume, but turning east one mile north of here, went on its flying course of destruction. The first damage reported is that of unroofing of OLIVER's CHAPEL about a mile and a half west of here. The next damage related is that of the blowing off of the roof of the gin house and several out houses, fences and trees on the premises of J.C. RILEY one mile north of here. The kitchen, stables, outhouses fences and trees on the adjacent place of MRS.GOREN were all swept away. From here the cyclone jumped about one mile east to MR. NEWSOM'S place where it blew down cabins, fences and timber, and severely wounding three negro women. The storm grew intense as it proceeded, utterly demolishing the cabins, fences and timber and killing a negro child on MR. BANK'S place. The tornado still going east struck the premises of MR. DANNER, carrying away houses, fences as also at MR. JOHN KEITH'S place and MRS. MERRITT'S, L. SMITH'S and GLENN'S and JOHNSTON'S places, were more or less damaged. The next place we hear of the cyclone was at DR. LAUDERDALE'S about five miles east, where it demolished all the buildings, fatally wounding DR. LAUDERDALE and breaking the leg of MRS. LAUDERDALE, and slightly wounding MR. GEORGE SANDERS.
Below we give some of the particulars as we gathered from some of the sufferers and those who have visited among them.
Mr. J.C. Riley had his steam gin dismantled, blacksmith shop blown over and fences prostrated.
Mrs. Gore's kitchen, out-house, stable, fences and shrubbery in the yard carried away.
Labe Robinson's cabin and fences were turned over.
On Mr. Newsom's place Jim Hunter's cabin lost it's roof, and wounded his mother, who has since died, dislocated the collar bone of another woman and slightly wounding a girl by a fallen tree.
Dan Glover"s cabin and fences on R.M. Bank's plantation was blown over, killing a child and seriously injuring him.
Mrs. Merritt's premises were also swept of all the houses but one, wounding two persons slightly.
Bob Lackland's house was turned over on himself and family but none seriously injured.
Mr. John Keith's place was shook up, cabin, fences and timber scattered and wounded a colored woman.
All the buildings on Mr. Sank Danner's place were thrown over, Miss Danner having her jaw bone fractured and otherwise wounded.
Johnson's & Co.'s store at "LAUDERDALES" was utterly destroyed, scattering goods and wares about.
Dr. Lauderdale's storehouse was completely swept away, some of the goods seen swinging in the timber miles away.
Dr. Lauderdale's dwelling was also shook to pieces, the doctor wounded on the head, arms and a few bruises on his person. Mrs. Lauderdale had a broken leg.
Mr. J.C. Harris suffered the loss of his dwelling.
At Mr. Glenn's place the wind swept away his dwelling, cabins and blew his buggy away mashing it to atoms.
Mr. William Johnston had the cabins unroofed on his place.
Mr. Ben Harwell's residence was blown over and he was covered in the debris from which he was taken dead, but none of the rest of the family were seriously injured.
On the Cole place all the houses were blown down and a negro man had his leg broke.
On the Collins place all the cabins were thrown down and a part of the dwelling.
Two negro men east of Coldwater River reported killed by the storm.
We learn also that the cyclone struck the plantation of Mr. Ben Polk in Tunica County, carrying away every house, throwing fences and timber in every direction.
Also at Commerce the storm unroofed Mr. Fly's brick store and destroying everything in its path.
The Moore & Young plantation was also struck and the steam gin blown down and a dwelling swept into the bayou.
In the neighborhood of Ingram's Mill we learn that the cyclone shivered things to atoms. Mr. McInnis's wife was killed and he was injured. Mr. Joel Morgan had two children killed and the gin house on Mr. Adelbert Smith's place was carried away. Mr. Kirby's house was also carried away.
Where the storm crossed the Cold Water River the timber has almost completely filled up the channel.
All these worthy people who have suffered so direfully from this visitation have the deepest sympathies of the community over which sadness hangs like a pall.
A committee of eight was appointed to take up a collection to relieve the destitute families. The following names are from the vicinity of Cockrum.
A.F. Elder $10
T.C. Duncan $10
W.F. Jones $5
V.C. Lewis $1
J.W. McNeely 25cts
R.E. Carter $5
Mrs. A. Jarrett $2
A.T. Rigsbee 30lbs. of Meat
B.J. Woods $2
A.G. Sandridge $5
Mrs. N.E. Robinson ?
T. Meriwether 30cts.
W.P. Allen 30lbs. of Meat
T.W. Dye $5
T.A. Knight $4
W.B. Jackson $1
J.A. Lee $1
W.E. Grady $1
A. Ingram $1
J.M. Owen $1
J.A. Lee $3
R.M. Davis $2
J.C. Droke $1
W.P. Riley $1
R.T. Peterson $2
James Kinnie 50cts
W.W. Sage $1
James D. Baker $5
W.O. Cochran $3
T.B. Janes $2.50
J.R. Holloway $1
H.M Thompson 25cts
J.D. Harrison $1
R. Lee 85cts
F.W. Threadgill $1.50
J.F. Mills $5
Editor "DeSoto Times" $1
DeSoto County Coordinator: Tim Harrison
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