Meriwether County, GA Cyclone Apr. 15, 1884

Many Killed and Wounded

Meriwether was visited by a fearful cyclone between two and three o'clock last Tuesday [Apr 15] morning. The storm passed from southwest to northeast and swept everything before it to the width of from 150 to 200 yards. The roaring of the wind was terrific, while the discharges of electricity were continuous, lighting up the whole scene. The storm took a direct northeasterly course, the wind having a rotary motion with a velocity of, we suppose, one hundred miles an hour. A heavy rain and hail accompanied the wind. Particulars come in slowly, but we think from fifty to seventy-five houses were blown down. In most instances, the damage to life and limb was, fortunately, lighter than usual, the storm travelling ten to a dozen miles before we hear of any loss of life.

As we write, the first place struck by the storm is the home of the REV. JAMES JONES near the campground. It is reported that several buildings were blown down here, but the dwelling house escaped. Mr. TOM BOWDEN, half a mile beyond had his dwelling torn to pieces and was severely injured by falling timbers. MR. R. S. PARHAM, a mile and a half distant, was the next sufferer, his carriage house and the porch of his residence being blown away. MRS. CAMPBELL, living in sight of MR. PARHAM, is reported as having several tenant houses blown away, with perhaps the loss of a gin house.

Over fields and through forests the storm king directed his destroying winds until the STINSON place was reached. Here several houses were destroyed, how many we have failed to learn. MR. WADDELL, proprietor of a portion of the estate, is reported injured by a falling house. The [undetermined number of missing words. Whitespace on the film.] piece, a mile further on, suffered the loss of all the buildings, and a negro child is rumored killed.

No houses were in the course of the storm until the home of MR. ALLEN WARE, near Woodbury, was reached. Here every building, save the dwelling, went down before the wind. Large trees lie uprooted round the house, the stables are a pile of rubbish and a fine apple orchard near the house is a complete wreck. The stables were constructed of heavy timbers, and though blown down on the mules, the animals are reported uninjured. MR. WARE who had arisen to close a door, was blown against the wall and received some sever bruises.

The residence of MRS. EVANS, not more than a mile further on, was blown away and most of the outhouses are gone. The building consisted of four rooms; the walls of the main room in which the family were sleeping, was left standing, the roof being taken off. No bodily injury was done to MRS. EVANS or her family.

The next residence in the path of the storm was that of MR. LUKE POWELL [[James Lucius Powell]] and here the cyclone seems to have concentrated a large portion of its fury and destructive power. The dwelling was a large building of six rooms and two stories, substantially and tastefully constructed. It was totally destroyed -- scarcely a trace of its location being left, even the bricks of the chimneys and heavy sills being carried away.

Thirty-three other houses on the place were blown down, only four left to mark the site of one of the most prosperous homesteads in the county. The families appear to have been asleep when the storm burst upon them. The aged grandfather, MR. BENJAMIN POWELL [[b. 14 Mar 1798 Wilkes County, GA. Son of Francis Powell of Amherst Co., VA > Wilkes County, GA, and father to Luke mentioned here]], was found one hundred yards from the house dead. Tommy, a son of 12 years old, was found dead, as was also a negro girl ten years of age. MR. LUKE POWELL was found unconscious and badly cut on the head, about one hundred yards from the house and at right angles to the path of the storm. He died at six o'clock Tuesday afternoon. Another of the wounded died Tuesday night.

MRS. POWELL [[Mary A. Smith, married to Luke on Apr. 1, 1856, Wilkes County, GA]] was blown to the opposite side of the gin house and one of her little sons who was carried under the house had strength enough to get his mother under the building. It is known that MRS. POWELL was blown round the house because the side next to the dwelling was weatherboarded to the ground and remained intact during the storm, while MRS. POWELL was found on the opposite side which was open. Her little son was carried round the house in the same manner. The gin house was not in the direct path of the storm. All the wounded had sand and small gravel driven so deeply into their faces, hands, and other exposed portions of their bodies that the particles could not be washed out but had to be picked out with sharp instruments. MR. POWELL, the elder [[Benj.]], had $235 under his pillow, all of which is lost except half of a $20 note. Around the house stood a beautiful grove of oaks, not one of which was left standing. Half a dozen old field pines standing in the edge of the storm track have all the limbs and bark stripped off from their tops to the ground.

After demolishing MR. POWELL'S home, the storm crossed Flint River into Pike, continuing its work of destruction as can be seen from this side of the river. Later. The storm struck Chipley, killing four or six persons and blowing down many buildings. ANDREW IRVIN is seriously perhaps, fatally wounded.

SOURCE: News article, Greenville, Georgia, Meriwether Vindicator, 18 April 1884, p. 1.

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