THE GREAT CYCLONES.
A TORNADO of extraordinary severity swept over the northwestern part of this county on Saturday, July 21, 1883.
Its origin was traced as far west as Spink county, Dakota, where the storm is said to have occurred about 6 o'clock
in the morning, being a combination of rain, hail and wind, killing two people, seriously wounding a number of
others and destroying the claim shanties and improvements of many settlers. Its course was eastward, almost along
the boundary line between Kingsbury and Brookings county, at some points ten miles wide, striking Minnesota in
Lincoln county and hitting the neighborhood of Lake Benton, Sleepy Eye, New Ulm and St. Peter, the principal damage
being to the crops. At Mankato, Waseca and Meriden a number of buildings were destroyed. An east bound passenger
train was blown from the track near Owatonna and twenty five persons were injured. Alan K. Williams and Miss Zickrick,
of Rochester, and Miss Blakeslee, of Pleasant Grove, were seriously injured. At Owatonna many buildings and the
fair grounds were damaged and a man was seriously injured. At Mantonville 'the court house and a barn were unroofed
and on several farms in the neighborhood buildings were destroyed or damaged; one person, Mrs. Norton, was fatally
injured and in the county of Dodge about twenty were wounded.
The storm struck Olmsted county, at noon, on the west line of Kalmar township. A new home of Richard Middleton
was destroyed, and Mrs. Middleton, who had retreated to the cellar, was killed. A farm a mile from Middleton's
was destroyed and the occupant, George Arnold, his wife and his aged mother were severely hurt; one daughter was
scalded and another had her leg broken. William Chilson's buildings were destroyed, but the family escaped. L.
Young's home was destroyed, but he said he could not say he was destitute, for he had some flour and a ham. Henry
Witsey lost all his property, but none of his family was hurt. The house, and its surroundings, of J. Rud and his
wife, an elderly couple, were swept away and they were badly bruised and disabled. A large barn on the farm of
Thomas Jorns was unroofed and a hundred tons of hay were destroyed. Frederick Portier's barns were unroofed and
hay and other property destroyed. At Jacob Grassle's two barns were destroyed and parts of them carried half a
mile. The roof of a barn was divided, half of it going to the northwest unbroken, and the other half going to the
northeast and breaking into thousands of pieces. Thousands of trees in the heavy timber were blown down. A new
barn, belonging to John Hoffman, was destroyed and a log barn unroofed.
Going northward the storm followed the town line between Cascade and Oronoco, eastwardly eleven miles. In Cascade
township the barn and all outbuildings on the farm of C. Kimball were wrecked; all the buildings on Martin Kolbe's
farm and a new barn on the farm of P. Koul were destroyed. In Oronoco township the brick school house, at Stone's
Corners, was blown away, leaving the floor with a cabinet organ standing unharmed. At E. Clason's, everything was
gone except the main part of the house. A large barn and a fine orchard were swept away. The buildings of D. Waldron
and E. J. Gates escaped with less damages. The home of James Fleener, with all its contents, was destroyed. Mrs.
Fleener, who was ill, was much shocked. Mrs. Mary Crofoot lost house, barn and everything. Every building of C.
J. Hubbard was destroyed, and his wife badly hurt. Mr. Hubbard had placed his children in the cellar and thought
he had jumped in himself, but the building had moved and he found himself under it. Mrs. Jones had nothing but
the foundations left of a new house and new barn. Andrew Nickells lost every building and all their contents. A
farm of E. Clason, occupied by Carl Ruebel was stripped of buildings and trees. D. Sonnenberg's house, barns and
all their contents were destroyed. Mrs. Sonnenberg and two children were badly hurt. G. Podolske had a new house
torn to pieces and a house built of large logs scattered as if the logs had been weeds. Mrs. Podolske and a daughter
were seriously bruised. John Klu, a neighbor of Podolske, lost only his kitchen, and into the upright part of his
house he gathered the families of Sonnenberg and Podolske, making with his own family, twenty four persons, eighteen
of them children and five in bed with wounds and bruises. On the farm of A. Joselyn every one of a grove of large
burr oak trees, surrounding the house, was destroyed.
In Haverhill township a stone school house was demolished. The home of F. McIntyre, opposite the school house,
was almost destroyed. He was in bed, an invalid; his leg was broken and his head and face cut. His wife was badly
injured. Charles Simonds, a blind man, was carried a hundred feet; a harvester was carried two hundred feet and
and the barn was carried a hundred feet and set down in the timber. The stone residence of Fred Harvey and the
frame residence of George Harvey were both totally demolished. Out of five wagons on the farm only one was useable.
Their mother, an elderly lady, was nearly buried in the ruins of the stone house. E. F. Dodge and his wife started
for their cellar; Mrs. Dodge reached the stairs and he was entering the cellar door with a baby in his arms when
the house was lifted from the floor, carried eighty five feet and left standing with Mr. Dodge and the baby inside,
unhurt. The house and barn of Sumner Snow was torn to pieces and the furniture and dishes scattered over the farms.
W. H. White's barns were badly damaged. C. E. Stacy's barn and crops were greatly injured. A house of Thomas Brooks,
occupied by Joseph Hines, was badly damaged and moved two hundred feet from its foundation; on an opposite farm,
an expensive hog house, sheds and cribs were blown away. The largest piece left of the Fitch school house was the
black board. Amos Welch lost a wind mill; P. Walker lost a granary and sheds and W. Southwick a barn and sheds.
A house, occupied by August Berendt, was destroyed and all its contents scattered. The family, including six children,
There were nineteen dwellings destroyed in the county, several of them being of the best of farm houses, and thirteen
barns, many of them large and well built structures. And there were three school houses destroyed. There were eleven
houses and nine barns unroofed and moved from their foundations, making, in all, fifty five structures destroyed.
These were estimated to be worth, with their belongings, $44,000. The storm swept over 17,000 acres of land, 13,000
of which was under cultivation. The loss on crops in the county was estimated at $65,000. It was believed that
the total property loss was not less than $110,000. Twenty families were rendered destitute. Only one person, Mrs.
Middleton, was killed outright, but three others were believed to be fatally injured. Twenty persons were so injured
as to require medical or surgical attention. The number of casualties was marvelously small.
Passing into the adjoining county of Wabasha, the storm wrought greater havoc, striking Elgin, a village of about
two hundred and fifty people, destroying or badly injuring every business building and leaving scarcely a habitable
residence. There, as in Olmsted county, the casualties were comparatively very few. One woman was killed, another
had her skull fractured, an old gentleman's thigh was broken, a child's spine was injured and several persons were
As in all such cases, relief for the unfortunate was prompt and liberal. Meetings were held in Rochester, committees
were appointed and contributions collected throughout the county, the county commissioners appropriated $470. About
twenty five hundred dollars was raised within a few clays and more later, so the immediate wants of the needy were
supplied. Viola township also contributed $500 for its neighbors of Elgin.
A most appalling calamity was the cyclone that struck the county, and especially the city of Rochester. Tuesday
evening, August 21, 1883, just a month to a day after the one that so nearly destroyed Elgin.
The storm was first felt in Dodge county, southwest of Dodge Centre. The farm of Mayor Whitten, of Rochester, was
destroyed. His loss was $5,000. Five persons were killed in that county.
It struck Olmsted county in Salem township. The houses of Cyrus Holt and Luther McCoy were badly wrecked and the
barns destroyed. The buildings of J. B. Little, L. Donovan, T. McGovern, W. P. Brooks, Ole Johnson, Amil Johnson
and Ole Christensen were swept away. The house, granary, stables and all outbuildings of John and Joe Kemfermann
were blown out of sight. The house of James McGovern was destroyed. All buildings and machinery on Fred Little's
farm were destroyed. The house and outbuildings of Amun Anderson were destroyed. The house of Ole F. Engen was
destroyed. Mrs. Stolson's house was unroofed. Mrs. Knuessel's house was unroofed and barn moved. The house of Tom
Donovan was destroyed. All the buildings of Tom Connolly were blown away. A house of Nels Jacobson, occupied by
Peter Matson. was destroyed. All the buildings of Chris Johnson Lillo were destroyed, and his father, living with
him, was killed.
In Kalmar township two large barns belonging to John McGovern were demolished.
In Cascade township a barn of S. B. Hall was blown away. The house and furniture of Peter Welch were damaged. James
Bucklen's house was wrecked.
In Rochester township the house and sheds of John Bannon were blown away. The barn on George Stopple's farm was
unroofed and the chimneys blown down. Joe Stopple's kitchen was unroofed and the barn blown clown. Dr. Clifton's
barn was unroofed. The barn of Mr. Kennedy was destroyed. J. D. Ostrom's barn and orchard were destroyed. The buildings
on the John R. Cook farm were destroyed. The buildings on Mrs. Faitoute's farm were destroyed. The house of Mr.
Rigby was destroyed. George Baihly's barn was destroyed. The buildings on the farms of Moses Hurd and Mathew Clemens
were badly damaged. and Frank Clemens' arm was broken. A large barn on H. T. Horton's farm with 130 tons of hay
was demolished, Edwin Coon's leg was broken and four horses and four cows were killed. A. Engel's new house and
barn were blown down. Mr. Musson's barn was overturned. The house on the Leland farm was destroyed.
At Rochester the day had been hot with a strong southeast wind, the air was smoky and oppressive. the heavens were
overcast with clouds of a dull leaden hue. and there were. apparently, three strata, all moving in different directions.
About three or four o'clock the clouds began to concentrate west of the city a slight shower of rain passed over
and for a few moments succeeding the air was perfectly still. The indications were so alarming that the farmers,
of whom there were many, hurried out of town. Later, toward seven o'clock, light fleecy clouds were seen scudding
athwart the sky at lighting speed, the great dark mass in the west assumed a greenish cast, the rain came down
in sheets, the heavens blazed with yellow lightning and a terrible and terrifying roaring was heard. There was
a resistless gale from the west, and dense darkness, in which the destruction was wrought almost in a minute. The
storm abated and those who emerged from their homes or places of shelter found a wrecked city. Many of the streets
were filled with uprooted trees and parts of buildings. Houses were unroofed or blown down, and the contents of
homes scattered and, worst of all, many persons were killed and more wounded.
The business center of the city, including the most valuable buildings, sustained little damage compared to the
residence districts, and especially North Rochester. There was no loss of life in the business district; probably
because most men had gone home to their evening meal.
George Stocking's new brick store building, at the corner of Broadway and Fourth street, was demolished, and Wayne
Beardsley's frame store adjoining it. The tin roof was torn off Heaney's block and Rommel's block was unroofed.
The west end of A. D. Vedder's agricultural implement warehouse, a brick structure, was wrecked, and he and his
wife, who had gone into the cellar, were saved by heavy timbers lodging above them. A frame building opposite Vedder's,
was badly wrecked. The fronts were blown out of the business houses of Bonham & Roth, Leet & Knowlton,
Hebbard & George, J. W. Everstine, Seikert & Adler, C. NeiNeiusuessd G. Hargesheimer. The roof and cornice
of Cook's Hotel were damaged. A gable of the Merchants' Hotel stable was blown in. Part of the front of Perry's
livery stable was blown in. The side of Holtz's saloon was demolished. A wall of Livermore's foundry was blown
out and the roof driven through the boilershop. Part of the roof of T. P. Hall's carriage factory was blown off.
C. C. Willson's barns were scattered. John R. Cook's barn was unroofed. George Head's residence on College street
was unroofed. The roof of A. Gooding's residence was damaged. The spire was blown off the Congregational church.
The dome and part of the roof of the court house were blown off. Walter S. Booth's residence was unroofed. The
Porter House and Mr. Schwaub's residence were seriously damaged. The roof and front cupola of the Central School
building were lifted off and the building damaged. Wayne Beardsley's house and barn were damaged. The chimney of
the Baptist church was blown through the roof and the tower injured. The upper part of the west side of the Winona
House leaned over the roof, and the roof of the barn was partly torn off. The spire of the Methodist church was
blown down, the roof crushed and a wall damaged and the roof of the parsonage damaged. The cupola of the convent
was damaged and a part of the roof torn off, and the upper story of the Catholic parsonage was demolished. The
residence of Mr. Emerick was damaged and Mr. Camniack's barn unroofed. Irving Fox's gunshop was racked. M. Rowley's
blacksmith shop was partly gone. The center and roof of the building on the northwest corner of Sixth and Broadway
were crushed. The skylight, roof and cornice of Crowell's photograph gallery were damaged. Dr. J. M. Williams'
residence was slightly damaged. A. H. Gaskill's barn was destroyed. The roof of the creamery was torn off and the
upper part of the north end crushed; the cooper shop and sheds were demolished. The residence of J. L. Howie was
badly damaged. The spire of the German Lutheran church was blown off. Moses' Hurd's barn was leveled. The west
wing of DeWitt Smith's residence was torn off. Rev. Roth's barn was blown down. Mr. Brace's house was blown down.
The roof of Mrs. Haney's house was blown off. The roof of Mrs. Murphy's house was damaged. The barn of Mr. Kelly
and that of Mr. Heffron were wrecked. The roof of P. M. Tolbert's barn was blown off. The roof of the Broadway
House was torn off and the building damaged. The roof of Whiting's elevator was damaged. N. F. Gilman's factory
was demolished. The Rochester Harvester Works were ruined. S. H. Whitten's warehouse was destroyed.
The roof of the Chicago & Northwestern depot was torn off and the west end damaged. The warehouse was unroofed
and the roundhouse demolished. Van Dusen & Co.'s elevator was unroofed. The horse power room of T. A. Whiting's
elevator was torn down. The railroad bridge was blown into the river and the Broadway bridge was destroyed. The
west end of Cole's mill, a strong stone building, was blown in, the roof blown off, the corner of a wall torn out,
the machinery damaged and the cooper shops destroyed. Eight cars were overturned and two carloads of flour were
in the race. The roof of H. T. Horton's house was damaged and the upper part of his barn blown off. O. P. Whitcomb's
kitchen was blown off and his barn destroyed. Mathias Williams' saloon was damaged.
It was in North Rochester, a section of the city inhabited largely by working men, many owning their small homes,
that the destruction of property was most complete, and there only that lives were destroyed. Houses were actually
swept away, and in several cases their occupants killed and the ground strewn with fragments of property and with
the carcasses of animals.
The Third Ward School house was wrecked. The Scandinavian Hotel was damaged. The side and roof of A. Zierath's
house were damaged. The roof of Peter Lind's house was torn off. The roof of Chauncey Vroman's house was damaged
and his warehouse torn down. S. H. Whitten's dwelling, occupied by Mr. Manley, was ruined. The residence of Mr.
Burse was destroyed. S. Vroman's dwelling was leveled. Mr. Rhoeder's house was ruined. The dwellings of Charles
Carter. Daniel Raugh, Dr. Chapman and G. W. Pugh were in ruins. The residence of Robert Smith was destroyed. H.
R. Flagg's dwelling was ruined. The houses of Messrs. Wooley, Luther, Ryan and Clough were destroyed. The houses
of Mt. McCutcheon and Pederson were partially ruined. The residence of Frank H. Allen was destroyed. Mrs. Proctor's
house was moved from the foundation and badly racked. Mrs. Armstrong's house was damaged. The dwellings of Tal.
Williams, Lewis Price, William Pugh, Paul Jorden, Mrs. Howe and Peter Larson were ruined. A house owned by Asahel
Smith and occupied by Mrs. Humphries and the house of S. H. Sargeant were destroyed. The dwellings of James Gardner
and W. A. Wylie were ruined. The roof of S. W. Eaton's house was blown off. Mrs. Shanahan's dwelling was unroofed.
The houses of William Parker, George Hanson and L. J. Slade and the house and barn of John Proud were demolished.
Mr. McCormick's house was damaged. L. H. Humason's house was ruined. A house belonging to Horace Cook was badly
damaged. Mr. Granger's house, occupied by Herman Blank, was wrecked. Mrs. Warfield's house was unroofed. The houses
of Mr. Gasky and Mr. Hagan were destroyed. A house of Louie Miller was wrecked. Houses owned by Messrs. Tondro,
Kahily, Vaughn, Manley, Roeder, Martin and Conklin were annihilated. Mr. Lehman's house, occupied by Mr. Fromis,
was ruined. Frank Reed's house was destroyed. Mr. Turk's residence was destroyed The house and barn of John Vedder
were blown down. The dwellings of Mr. Hagadorn and of J. B. Wagoner were destroyed. The houses of Mr. Weinreibe,
Mr. Gordy and Mr. Swanie were ruined. H. A. Brown's house, occupied by Thomas Clark, was ruined. The dwellings
of Mr. Osborn and Mr. Mitzkie were ruined. William Brown's house was wrecked. The dwellings of Messrs. Bolin, Morse,
Richardson and Burch were ruined. The upper story of Horace Cook's residence was blown off. The dwellings of Messrs.
Peterson and Briggs were ruined. The wing and roof of John Hanson's dwelling were demolished. The main part of
James Elliott's house was ruined. Charles Ballard's house was destroyed. William Hines' house was badly damaged
and his barn blown down. John M. Cole's house was slightly damaged. A house of Mr. Hull, occupied by C. T. Sears,
was wrecked. T. A. Whiting's dwelling was badly damaged. A wing of Mr. Buttle's house was torn off and his barn
blown down. Mr. Radahaugh's house was unroofed and the barn blown down. The wing was torn from E. F. Whiting's
dwelling. Two houses belonging to Mr. Herrick were damaged. Mr. Mapes' house was damaged. The end and roof of B.
H. Ellison's house were torn off. Frank Lovell's shop was torn to pieces. B. R. Birch's house was moved from the
foundation. The roof of John Miller's house was torn off and his barn destroyed. The roof was torn off and John
Oleson's house blown from the foundation. H. Manley's house was ruined. One house belonging to Mrs. Smith was ruined
and another unroofed. M. Y. Burroughs had two houses and a barn ruined. A house owned by Mrs. Graeff was badly
damaged. Mrs. Garner's house was destroyed. Charles Hagadorn's house was blown from the foundation and the kitchen
blown off. Mr. Bedie's residence was blown from the foundation and the roof blown off. Mrs. Chester's house was
destroyed. Peter Gaffney's house was destroyed. A house owned by Mrs. Cutler and occupied by Mrs. Dove, was damaged.
Mr. Doll's house was slightly damaged. C. W. Baldwin's barn was blown down.
The storm crossed the Fifth street bridge, but did comparatively little damage on the east side. Asahel Smith's
barn was unroofed: Part of the wing of David Lesuer's brick residence was torn down and the main building unroofed.
The roof of Rev. A. H. Kerr's residence was damaged. Mrs. Gilbert Smith's brick dwelling, occupied by William West,
Passing northeastward from Rochester the storm swept through Haverhill, Viola and Quincy townships.
In Haverhill the farms of S. Geisinger and C. C. Willson were devastated. The houses of Mr. Jenkins and Mrs. Welch
were destroyed. All the buildings on John Canty's farm were destroyed and Mr. Canty was killed. Buildings on the
farm of P. J. Quintin were destroyed and his son, Charles, was seriously injured. The house and all outbuildings
of Mrs. S. B. Martin were destroyed. A large barn and outbuildings of C. M. Smith were a total loss and the house
badly damaged. The house on Captain Bedill's farm was badly damaged and all other buildings destroyed. The Flying
school house was destroyed. All the buildings on the Lawler farm were swept away. All the buildings were destroyed
and stock killed on the Lovejoy farm. All outbuildings were destroyed on A. Allen's farm. On H. K. Blethen's farm
all buildings but the residence were destroyed. The town hall was moved from its foundation. P. J. Lumland lost
every building. Every grave stone in the cemetery was blown down. All the barns on F. Adler's farm were destroyed.
All buildings on L. L. Allen's farm were destroyed. On Allan K. William's farm all buildings were ruined.
In Viola P. F. Wells' dwelling house was destroyed and Mr. and Mrs. Wells were injured; Mrs. Wells seriously. Henry
Stanchfield's buildings were destroyed and the loss was estimated at $7,000.
A house on the H. H. Richardson farm was lifted from the foundation and carried several rods. M. L. Sawyer's barn
was blown down. The outbuildings of R. F. Johnson and J. R. Williams were destroyed. On Thomas Richardson's farm
the end and roof of the house and outbuildings were blown away, and Henry C. Richardson seriously hurt. Buildings
of J. G. Buckley, A. Helms, G. Heimschrot. G. M. Mueller. Charles A. Callaghan and H. H. Vine were destroyed or
in Quincey Mrs. S. Evans lost a barn and machine shop and contents, her house was damaged, her son injured and
hired man reported dead. John Wragant's house was moved from the foundation, the wing torn off and the granary
turned upside down. Samuel Tenney lost his house, barn and every building and five horses and a cow were killed
in the barn. Alexander Farrier lost every building. J. Browne's farm was destroyed.
The total number of deaths in the county was stated as thirty one and the seriously wounded as fifty.
The property loss in Rochester was stated by Mayor Whitton as not less than a $100,000.
As soon as the storm passed over the city the citizens who were not injured went to work with a will to gather
up the dead and care for the wounded. The hotels in the vicinity of the railroad were used as hospitals. The search
among the ruins was continued all night. In the morning the families who could do so furnished food to the homeless
and the bakeries were drawn upon. At half past eight in the morning a meeting was held in Rommell's hall, and systematic
relief was organized. Mayor Whitton appointed the following committee: Hon. C. M. Start, Hon. H. C. Butler, Rev.
J. W. Bradshaw, M. G. Spring, O. W. Durkee, Rev. D. Reed, T. H. Bliss, Rev. William Riordan, A. T. Stebbins, Supt.
Fayette Cook, A. Harrington, S. B. Clark, G. Hargesheimer, M. R. Wood, Hon. D. A. Morrison; C. H. Heffron and Rev.
W. C. Rice. Subcommittees were appointed and the relief work was pushed energetically. Rommell's hall was made
a hospital and Dr. D. M. Berkman was a most efficient hospital steward and had control of all nurses and hospital
supplies. Many of the injured were taken care of by relatives or friends, but there were thirty four patients in
the hospital. There was a volunteer force of physicians and lady nurses. Tables were set in Olds & Fishback's
store for feeding the destitute, and beds and cots were provided for the homeless.
Twenty six persons were killed outright in the wreck of North Rochester. The names of those identified were John
M. Cole, Mrs. McQuillen, Mrs. Steele, Mrs. Maria Zierath, August Zierath. Mr. Osborne and infant daughter, Mrs.
Fred Clough, Mrs. D. Wetherby, Jacob Hetzel, William Higgins, Mrs. Quick and child, Miss Mahala McCormick, Mrs.
Parker, Mrs. Schultz, Mrs. Charles Rothke. Four bodies were not identified, two persons were missing and three
bodies were carried away by friends and the names not ascertained.
John M. Cole was proprietor of the mill in Lower town; a man prominent in business and highly esteemed. His dead
body was found in the street between the mill and his residence. He had apparently left the mill to go home and
was killed by the wind.
Following are the names of forty one known to have been injured and there were many others not reported: Mrs. Osborne,
injured on chest, eye, legs and arm; Mrs. Ole H. Rudh, cut arm and face; Ole H. Rudh, head cut, back hurt; Otto
Rudh, head and arm badly hurt; Anna Zierath, head badly cut, body bruised; Nina Hanson, head cut, face cut, hip
bruised; D. D. Wrought, head badly bruised; Nels Hanson, head and leg cut; Mrs. Hanson, head, shoulder, back and
spine cut; Mrs. W. R. Wrought, back and shoulder and inwardly hurt; Mrs. C. Manley. arm, side, shoulder and head
bruised; Lillie Osborne, head, back and spine hurt; M. Sweeney, legs and head cut; Dan O'Brien, arm broken, shoulder
and head cut; George Hanson, spine, head and breast hurt; William Leach, head, legs and arm hurt: D. Wetherby,
cut in side, head and arm and back hurt; O. H. Hawkins, head and shoulder hurt; Charles Quick, cut in leg: Gertie
Quick, cut in head and side; Bernhart Quick, face and feet cut; Herman Quick, arms, leg and face cut; Armenia Quick,
side hurt; Arthur Quick, hips badly bruised; Frank Quick, head cut; Willie Hanson, arm broken, eye and head cut;
John Hong, shoulder and head cut; John Shanrock, shoulder hurt; Willie Reick, arm and leg broken and head cut;
Frank Schultz, head cut and finger broken; Charles Hagadorn, cut in head; Fred Clough and child, Miss Sarah Johnston,
Charles Jackson, Mrs. Young, hurt internally. Dr. Eaton, hurt in back; Lewis Posz, leg broken; Ed Chapman, wife
and mother badly injured.
Mrs. McMasters, Mrs. Wetherby, Mr. Hanson, Mrs. Seth Gordy and Charles Quick died at the hospital.
On Thursday afternoon there was a public funeral of ten bodies. A cortege proceeded from Cook's Hotel to Oakwood
cemetery, and Fifth street from Broadway to the cemetery was literally jammed with people and teams. The interment
ceremonies were very simple. All clay Thursday people from abroad poured into the city to view the ghastly sights.
The relief committee, assisted 233 families and 101 men. They built fifty one houses and fifteen were built by
individuals. The committee assisted 106 families in rebuilding; seventy two in Rochester and thirty one in the
country, and aided sixty nine in repairing houses. More than two hundred and twenty five families were furnished
with more or less bedding and 570 persons were clothed.
Relief from every direction, far and near, was prompt and abundant. The citizens of Rochester and of all parts
of the county contributed liberally in cash, food and articles of necessity, and from hundreds of communities and
individuals in this and other states amounts ranging from $[0,000 1w Chicago, to 25 cents and 50 cents each by
individuals, were sent in. It is impracticable to specify the separate benefactions, but among the largest were
$5,000 each by St. Paul and Minneapolis; the latter city sent fourteen carloads of lumber; Winona sent $3.000,
St. Cloud $3,400 and Stillwater $i.000. The largest individual contributions were $1.000 by Hon. W. D. Washburn.
of Minneapolis, and $300 by G. W. Steuke. of St. Peter. The relief committee, in their report made after three
months' service, stated the total amount received in cash as $69,577.25, and lumber, furniture, coal and provisions,
$5,716.60; in all $75,293.85. There were, besides, liberal responses throughout the country to the appeals of the
churches and various societies for contributions, which were dispensed by them among their own people. It was a
grand outpouring of benevolence.
There were many wonderful freaks of the wind in the scattering of property; wagons were lodged in trees yards away;
buildings were torn to pieces and scattered in every way, and in many cases blown clear out of sight; persons were
blown rods away and killed. An oak board two and a half inches wide was driven through a poplar tree four and a
half inches in diameter. A book belonging to J. G. Van Frank, from Kasson, was picked up a mile beyond Elgin, a
distance of about thirty miles. A hundred dollar certificate of deposit from the house of Ole H. Rudh in North
Rochester, was picked up more than three months later at Humbird, Wisconsin, 110 miles away, on an air line. It
had been enclosed in a leather pocketbook, which was in a locked tin box, but when found the certificate was by
itself and unmutilated, having apparently been blown out of the box and out of the pocketbook.
Of the contributions for relief the most liberal in proportion to the size and circumstances of the community was
probably that of St. Cloud, $3,700. Three years later, in April, 1886, St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids were struck by
a cyclone, and Rochester, with a commendably good memory, contributed to their relief $3,626.