PLAINVILLE TIMES, MAY 23, 1918
Monday, May 20th, has been considered cyclone anniversary day at Codell. Two years ago a cyclone passed just east of town one mile on the 20th of May and one year ago three miles west, but so far, at 8:00 p.m., no cyclone but thundering and looks like we are going to get a rain.
Note by Editor of Plainville Times:
The above unusual item was written Monday before the tornado and mailed to Times office by W. A. Barry, our correspondent about two hours before the storm struck Codell.
***The following article covered the whole front page of the Plainville Times, May 23, 1918***
TORNADO TRAVERSES TREGO, ELLIS, ROOKS AND OSBORNE COUNTIES. TEN KILLED, SCORES OF INJURED. PROPERTY DAMAGE IN MILLION. CODELL IN PART RUINS
The most extensive tornado in the history of this section of the state passed through Monday night about ten o’clock. A heavy two inch rain preceded the wind.
Travelers say they first encountered the work of the tornado southwest of WaKeeney. It traveled northeast, doing great damage in Ellis. Thence on to the Saline where it struck about the main Cochran ranch. Then it followed down the Saline River past Ira Kollman’s place where it seemed to turn north and came into Codell from the south. Then it devastated a strip of territory about seven or eight miles wide on to the Kill Creek country in Osborne county passing to the east of Alton. It did not seem to traverse Smith county as the telephone company was able to get a message from Plainville to Salina next morning via Phillipsburg and Beloit. All wire south and east were out.
All doctors were called out from Plainville to Codell and vicinity Monday night to assist the injured. As soon as Plainville central learned of the tragedy, it kept busy during the night arousing people who had autos and getting men to fill them to go to the work of assistance and rescue.
The storm lasted about forty minutes so that it was unsafe to venture out on account of flying timbers.
Tongue cannot tell or pen describe the fearfulness of the tragedy. About eleven people were killed and hundreds wounded. Thousands of stock were killed and crippled. Poultry is lying dead everywhere and little left in path of storm.
The property damaged in Trego, Ellis, Rooks and Osborne counties will mount into million.
At Ellis, over $125,000 damage was done. At Codell about $50,000. At the Deane ranch $17,000.
The wires of the United Telephone Co. were wrecked from about three miles east of Plainville to about five miles east of Codell, showing something of extent of storm.
As one party says seems like every place hit last year lost this.
Mr. and Mrs. Walter Adams and little baby were pinned beneath the stone wall of their home near Old Motor townsite. The baby was evidently killed instantly as Walter did not hear it make a sound. His wife who was pinned beneath the rocks kept tugging at his sleeve for a time but he was pinned down in the debris and could do nothing to assist her. She died before help came. Alice Romine who was staying with them fell under a table which protected her and she escaped with slight bruises.
Walter Adams was seriously injured and is not expected to live.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Jones near the Shiloh Church was totally destroyed. The baby was found laying dead in an alfalfa field some distance from the house. The family dog which had been itself injured was found keeping watch of it. Mrs. Jones was injured and condition serious. Two of the children are very seriously injured and other three hurt. All were brought to Plainville Tuesday together with Mr. and Mrs. L. R. Newlin who were injured. All are being cared for at the home of Mrs. Overholser in the southeast part of town. Alva Cross who was working at the Jones place was also severely injured. He was taken to his home at Stockton. The Jones baby was buried Tuesday in the Shiloh Cemetery. Three of the Jones children worst injured were taken Wednesday to the Hays hospital.
Mr. Jones had taken one of his oldest daughters to Concordia hospital Saturday on account of her having an eye injured by a wire. Upon receiving word of storm, Mr. Jones left Concordia by auto at 11:15 a.m., arriving home at 2:15 p.m. He was almost frantic with grief.
The Shiloh church was destroyed. Nearly all the tombstones in the cemetery blown down. North from cemetery the osage fence for half mile was uprooted. Osage one foot through were pulled up and roots eight feet long lay bare.
At Andreson place everything is gone except house and that badly damaged. All buildings on C. T. Husted place wrecked. At Andreson’s place where George Glendenning lived not a thing is left.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. Newlin living on the Frank Demetz place destroyed and both injured. With their little girl who was uninjured they made their way to the home of John Hoskins, one-half mile south. Could not find their baby. Mr. Hoskins went to the place and finally found the little one underneath some boards, uninjured, restoring it to its parents.
All of Mr. Hoskin’s buildings were destroyed except his residence. The injured members of the Jones and Newlin families were taken to his home until transfer to Plainville.
It is said that Mrs. Glendenings baby was blown from her arms. With difficulty she was restrained from going in search. After the storm it was found all right.
At Joe Westhusen place straight east of Plainville the first damage outside to telephone wires is seen on road from Plainville to Codell. Part of his old barn was destroyed. A steel granary which set across the road south of his house lies crumpled up in Elmer Bices pasture about one-half mile southwest of where it formerly stood.
Will Westhusen had all buildings wrecked.
W. R. Powell says there seemed to be two storms at Codell. One from the southwest and one from the northwest. The latter doing the damage.
Codell’s Fine School Building Wrecked. No Insurance.
The fine public school building erected several years ago is a total wreck. Loss on the building is about $5,000. Furniture, $3,000. The district had a fire policy but no windstorm so the loss s almost total. Some furniture can be saved.
The M. E. Church and parsonage adjoining are wrecked. Loss about $4, 600. No insurance. Rev. Hall and wife had just left the evening before for western Kansas or they would likely have been killed.
The Stackhouse home just north of the parsonage was demolished. The family was in the cellar under the building when the walls fell but were not injured as they had a place built for protection. Loss including barn, about $4,000. No insurance.
Hardly a vestige of the Mrs. Printz residence nearby was left. She was out to one of her farms at the time. A torn up piano lay near where the house had stood.
The Pentecostal church was gone with nothing but floor laying nearby and organ thereon visable. This is the old Quaker church which used to stand north of Codell.
Wm. Splitter sheds where he had goods stored were all tore up and his main store building badly wrecked. His loss was about $2,500. No insurance.
Walt Murphy, telephone manager, had his arm badly broken while trying to hold the office door from being blown in. The whole side of the office was blown out. He was taken to Hays hospital Tuesday.
The house where Grandma Wickham recently moved to was destroyed. She was in the cave and escaped injury.
W. A. Barry figures his loss on house about $75, barn $100, store porch $50. He carried insurance.
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Hensey who were just married last week had their house badly damaged and clothing all destroyed. The house which belongs to Albert Bucheister was damaged several hundred dollars. The W. S. Baldwin house adjoining was damaged about $150.
After offering to assist adjust windstorm insurance claims and finding practically non except for bank windows and a few minor claims, Col. Sweet remarked: “It is the same here as at Stockton 95 per cent of the people who insure their buildings against fire do not against windstorms.”
The Gilpin store, hardware, Doak store, Baptist church and former John McReynolds residences were comparatively uninjured.
The hotel just south of depot is a complete wreck.
How Mrs. Haynes and three small children escaped at Codell hotel is a mystery. A traveling salesman, J. Glassman had a room at the hotel, escaped with an arm badly sprained. He did not know how.
J. W. Jones reports about $150 loss.
J. A. Lesher had about $1,000 damage. No insurance. His out buildings were all destroyed and house badly damaged.
Eugene Bice had outbuildings destroyed. John Coleman suffered great damage.
Virge Richmond lost everything but house. The Harrison house is part standing.
John Overholser’s place was torn all to pieces. He lost last year too.
Tuesday night some rain fell and today more rain is falling, making it bad for people living in the devastated territory as there are few houses but have roofs injured.
Wilber Overholser had nearly $1,000 damage to barn and buildings.
Wm. Wells lost all outbuildings.
Frank Hoaglands barn was destroyed. Al Bice lost north end of his barn.
At the John Hoskins place a pig was cut square in two.
Jos. Hrabe, Sr. had about $150 damage to buildings. He had insurance.
Albert Hrabe lost quite a bit. Joe Hrabe, Jr. had about $1,000. Damage to barn and out buildings.
Art Bessey is reported seriously injured.
Tom Casey was badly injured. Art Besseys building were all torn up.
C. E. Glendenning had house destroyed.
George McCords barn was torn to pieces, house damaged.
At M. C. Bessey place the barn and all out buildings were destroyed. The barn was a new one having been recently built to take the place of that destroyed by fire.
At Guy Hocket place recently bought by S. Carley everything was destroyed. No one was living there.
At Will Conger place a steel granary, garage, etc. were blown down.
At the Reed ranch, big trees were uprooted and sheds torn down.
Ed. Sites lost all buildings but house. P. Jorgenson’s loss was heavy.
A man was found dead in the wreck of his home near Alton, uninjured and likely dying of heart failure.
In Natoma a big barn blew down but 100 sheep in it were uninjured. The big Geo. Preuter barn three miles north of Natoma was destroyed. Six miles northeast of Natoma Attorney Tillman and Rev. Barnard of Osborne were holding a Red Cross meeting in a school house. it and occupants were moved about seventy feet.
Four miles southwest of the main Cochran ranch house at the home of Adam Geist, his father and mother and three children were killed. His brother and wife were injured. Mr. Geist passed through the storm at the Deane ranch where he was working.
At the Cochran ranch the property destruction was greater than last year. Three pure bred cows, two horses, were killed.
The fine residence at the Deane ranch, silo, barns, sheds, etc., were totally wrecked.
Henry Klienschmidt lost everything. Lew Gosser his barn, sheds. Machinery and house damaged. At the old Ordway place where D. L. Carmicheal lives, seven mile due south of Plainville much damage was done.
Hugh Carmichael lost all buildings except house. Lost cow, hog and 500 little chickens.
Ben McCarroll had garage moved. At the old Mina Watkins place where C. H. Carmicheal lives, much damage was done.
James Kennedy all outbuildings.
This is the third cyclone visiting Codell vicinity the past three years. All happening on May 20th, and within a few hours of each other. Two years ago one passed on east edge of town. Last year to the west. Monday people were joking and saying: “Well this is Codell’s day for storm.”
A twister struck the edge of Plainville Monday night. Whether it was an off shoot of the one that passed over Codell or another which passed over town and did not strike until it reached the Tomas Mellotte place on the southeast edge of town is not known. In execution it was as bad as any of them. About $3,000 damage was done to the residence. Nearly a thousand dollars more to out buildings, trees, etc. The barn was totally demolished. Windmill wrecked and furniture damaged. The telephone was hurled across the room by some force and narrowly missed striking Mr. Mellotte who had just risen from his chair. It made an ugly dent on the wall just back of where he had sat a moment previous. Mr. Mellotte carried insurance, but Forman Giggey who lives in the house did not and heavy loss. Things which was in a chest in the barn before the storm was found after it was over in the middle of a room in the residence.
Nine patients are now in Hays hospital as result of storm. Two members of Geist family and one man from WaKeeney are included.
Albert Maline had outbuildings destroyed.
Tom McNeeley lost nearly everything.
Art Henn had his barn badly damaged. Also residence. Had both injured. The wind sucked an oil stove out from one room through another and out a large window.