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LAUREL HIGHLANDS VISITORS BUREAU

 Cyclone Of 1882


AS REPORTED IN "THE KEYSTONE COURIER"
FRIDAY MORNING - APRIL 21, 1882

Wild Winds
"Death and Destruction By The Storm On Wednesday Night"

     A full grown cyclone passed over this region on Wednesday night and death and destruction is reported from various parts of the surrounding country.
     During all the afternoon a drizzling rain fell followed by severe wind storms and toward evening the atmosphere grew heavy and darkness almost like night ensued which then was followed by sunshine and more rain.  About eight o'clock however, everything soon became very calm and the storm seemed to have passed away.  But about midnight the elements again broke loose and raised a regular riot in the Western portion of the county.
     At Broad Ford, the large bonded warehouse of the Broad Ford Distillery was totally destroyed.  About 4,200 barrels of Red Eye were stowed away there, and as yet no definite estimate can be put on the amount destroyed.  It is safe to say, however, from the amount of broken barrels seen lying around, that there was sufficient liquor that got away to pollute the Yough from Broad Ford to McKeesport.  The building which was a large frame structure was totally demolished, and the ruins scattered in chaotic confusion in all directions.
     At Mount Vernon, a mining town near here, John Wingrove's house was blown down, and Mrs. Wingrove was instantly killed and several children were dangerously injured.  Jerry Stouffer's house was demolished and one of his children injured.  Jacob Miller's house was blown down, but no one was injured there.  Joseph Glassburn's house was badly wrecked and his entire family injured.
     At Detwiler's Mill several houses were destroyed and quite a number of people injured, but none fatally.
     At Pennsville the barn of Abe Sherrick was unroofed, and several other buildings were wrecked and buried in all directions.  Trees were uprooted and twisted off close to the ground, and animals and people were picked up and carried quite a distance.  As we go to press there were various rumors afloat in regard to other damage done, but we have learned nothing definite.

AS REPORTED IN "THE KEYSTONE COURIER"
FRIDAY MORNING - APRIL 28, 1882

THE FAYETTE COUNTY CYCLONE
"Further Particulars Of The Damage Done From Fierce Storm"

     The cyclone which swept over Bullskin Township last Wednesday evening proves to have been even more disastrous than was reported in our last issue.  At the time of going to press last week the details were few and meager, though such as they were we gave them.
     The cyclone seemed to begin its work of destruction a few miles southwest of Pennsville, whence it struck the Mennonite Church and unroofed the building.  A short distance hence, it overtook a lad named Abner Jarrett riding horseback.  Abner was caught up in the air and hurled a distance of fifty yards.  He escaped unhurt, but his horse was killed.  Thence the gale swept northeasterly, unroofing the barn on the Sherrick Place and playing the same trick with the Hurst Barn.  At Pennsville, The Disciples Church was unroofed and seriously damaged and the house of the widow Miller was carried for some distance and dropped to the ground completely wrecked.  The residence of W. C. Lyons was also damaged to the extent of one thousand dollars.  The barns and house of John S. Detwiler and George D. Atkinson further on were unroofed and seriously damaged.  Elias Hemminger and H. S. Fretts suffered likewise.

"INCREASE IN VIOLENCE"

     The elements seemed to gather strength as the storm traveled onward.  Before it reached Mounts Creek it took an easterly course and here the deadliest work began.  The log house of John Bundorff was completely demolished.  Of the six occupants all escaped unhurt save the old gentleman who was outside when the storm came up and was unable to reach shelter.  He relates that rails, rubbish, and timber could be seen flitting through the air as if they came from the clouds.  He was struck in the small of the back and seriously, perhaps fatally injured.  The house and barn of Joseph Glassburn, both frame structures, were wholly and completely demolished.  Not a fence was left standing on his farm.  The family, eight in all, were more or less injured.  The worst sufferers were the family of John Wingrove numbering six, living about a half a mile from the ridge.  Mrs. Wingrove was carried fifty feet from the house, where she was found dead with an infant in her arms unhurt.  Her sister was so badly hurt that she will not live.

"FIRE FROM HEAVEN"

     It seems that the atmosphere had raised to a scalding heat and all the Wingrove Family were found scattered in all directions with their clothes on fire and great blisters from burns all over them.  A little boy sustained scalp wounds which will prove fatal.  The storm then continued to the top of Chestnut Ridge and in its course blew down the house of Jerry Stauffer and a number of other persons.  It subsided seven miles east of Pennsville.  In the track of the cyclone which was from one hundred to two hundred yards wide, branches of trees of the largest dimension were twisted off, while others were uprooted and carried away leaving a clearly bound swath.  The furniture and clothes in the houses near the ridge were carried high in the air, portions of it lodging in the tree tops.  Two sewing machines were carried away and they can not be found.  At first the storm clouds were of grayish color, but after it passed Pennsville is assumed a dark color, and when it reached the ridge it was changed to dark red.  The estimated amount of property destroyed is $75,000.
     The destruction of the whiskey warehouse at Broad Ford is not attributed to the cyclone itself, but rather to the wild winds.
     A circular securing the signatures of seventy-five sufferers has been issued appealing to the public for contributions to help them.  Feeling unable to adequately relieve the destitution, the community asks that aid be sent by benevolent people to Elias Hemminger or William Shirley at Pennsville who has been selected to receive and distribute the contributions.

Articles Submitted By:  Beverly Quinn

NOTE:  The little baby (Nellie Wingrove) that was found unhurt in her deceased mother's arms was Beverly Quinn's grandmother!

"MAKING HISTORY SINCE 1784"

Bullskin Township Historical Society
P.O. Box 724
Mount Pleasant, PA  15666
724-787-0853

Email: bullskinhistory@outlook.com