Plainville Times, May 30, 1918

More Tornado News Items


Codell Account of Tornado


W. A. Barry


            Well, here we are yet alive and glad of it of course, but busier than a cranberry merchant.  However, we must loose some sleep in order to give a small detail of the cyclone which swept through Codell and vicinity Monday night, May 20, 1918, between 10 and 11 o’clock.  From early evening storm was threatening and about eight o’clock began to rain and in a short time hail began to fall; both continued until about 10:15.  The wind suddenly ceased and in two minutes the cyclone was doing business and for about 20 minutes many thousand dollars worth of property was destroyed.  The hotel, M.E. Church and parsonage, the large cement block residence and large frame barn of A. Stackhouse, Mrs. Printz residence, school building, Pentecostal Church, Mrs. Emma Hockett’s barn, B. L. McReynolds tenant house, E. A. Darlands barn, F. W. Splitters barn and W. A. Barry’s barn were totally destroyed, while a great many other buildings were badly injured and scarcely a building in town that was not damaged.

            W. S. Murphy, the harness maker, who also has the Telephone office in charge had his right arm broken in two places and badly injured, otherwise was taken to the hospital at hays and is yet in serious condition.  One transient man Mr. Glassman had his arm badly bruised in making his escape and first hit the ground about 300 yards away.

            The storm came from the southwest.  The Gilpin and Beal ranch barn and new house not occupied yet 13 miles southwest of Codell were totally destroyed.  On west from there on the Saline river great destruction to property and Mrs. Mary Hoagland’s barn, 5 miles southwest of Codell was blown down, also Geo. McCord’s barn totally swept away and house damaged.

            Following the track of the storm as it leaves Codell to the northeast.  J. A. Lesher’s house was badly damaged and stable and all out buildings swept away.  Next was the far property occupied by Walter Adams.  The house was unroofed and stone walls tumbled down, frame barn blown to pieces.  Mrs. Adams and 3 year old child killed and Walter badly crippled but is recovering.

            W. J. Overholser’s barn on farm where he lives and other out buildings blown to pieces.  Also house, barn and out buildings on his north farm occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Workman was destroyed.  The Chas. Gucallman property occupied by Earl Snapp and sister was badly wrecked.

            The Shiloh Church was destroyed and fence around the cemetery and a number of tombstones torn down.  Frank Jones property including house, barn and all out buildings were absolutely taken clean.  Mr. Jones had taken one of his children to Concordia to have an eye removed, caused by a wire fracture, leaving Mrs. Jones at home with several small children.  After the storm abated they were found in critical condition and one child found in the alfalfa field dead.

            J. L. Hoskins barn was blown to pieces and house damaged.  This is far as we personally traced the storm path, but of just as great losses each way as we had.  So far as I can learn the greater part of the property was without insurance protection.  W. A. Barry, agent for the Farmers Alliance Insurance Company of McPherson, Kansas, has 14 losses in his territory.  Adjuster Fierce came in Friday of Last week and remained until Monday evening settling claims to the amount of $4,566.31.  The Farmers Alliance was the first Insurance Company to get an adjuster on the field.


Outside Help Was Appreciated

            Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, Codell was visited by a great number of people from all surrounding towns and country to see the situation and last but not least on Monday of this week even early in the morning automobiles from Plainville, Stockton and Natoma came pouring into town loaded down with good people with tools of every description necessary to clear up the debris caused by the cyclone and by noon over 250 men were running hither and thither clearing up streets and alleys, working practically at wrecked structures, clearing foundations and all such needed work.  They also went each way from town some distance in the country on the same mission.  I am sure I speak the sentiment of every citizen of Codell and vicinity, when I say that printers ink can not begin to tell, neither can tongue speak in praise and appreciation enough of this kind favor from our neighbor towns and country, our heartfelt thanks and good wishes reaches out to every one who so faithfully labored this day.  While we do not hope for an opportunity to repay this kindness, but should a similar disaster fall upon our neighbors, we will do our best to repay.


Codell Items

About all damaged roofs and chimneys have been repaired.


H. O. Darland and family will move into T. W. Lambs house.


A.     Stackhouse moved into Mrs. Asa Lynch’s house in the north part of town.


W.S. Murphy who had his arm broken in two places and in hospital at Hays seems to be slowly improving.


R. W. Mendenhall has leased Chas. Darland’s farm just west of town and will move in as soon as vacated by Chas.


Rev. Hall, pastor of the M.E. Church has moved into the Davenport property in the northwest part of town.


N. R. Zeigler moved his family into E. A. Darland’s house in the northwest part of town since his farm house was wrecked by the cyclone.


Mrs. Haynes and children have been making their home with the Rev. Miller and T. W. Lamb families since the hotel was blown to pieces.


Ed. Bates and family of near Downs, came over Wednesday of last week to see the cyclone wreck and call upon W. A. Barry and family.


Mrs. Reppert, who was visiting her daughter, Mrs. Will Reynolds and family at the time of our cyclone, cut her visit short and came home at once.


Charley Rolfe is the first to begin rebuilding cyclone wreck.  He had engaged Mr. McMicheal as chief carpenter and is rebuilding his barn that was unroofed in the recent storm.


I have not learned what the M. E. Church contemplate doing, whether they intend rebuilding the church and parsonage or not, but presume they will.  For the present they have made arrangements and are holding services in the opera house.


Walter Adams and sister Mrs. Geo. Glendenning who were seriously injured in the cyclone have been taken to the home of their parents, Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Adams, east of town to be cared for.  Both are getting along as well as can be expected.