IN MAY 31, 1917 ISSUE



Storm Played Many Strange Pranks and Many Unaccountable Happenings


            Loss at the Cochran ranch was estimated at $10,000.  Mr. Cochran has always been strong on fire insurance but not on windstorm so there was only a few hundred dollars of insurance against wind.

            The furniture at the Loveland and Lee homes was a complete loss.  An eight foot galvanized watering tank was picked up, crushed, a side board of a wagon was split in two, and then one of the pieces was thrust through the flattened tank, tank and board were carried one half mile and one end of the board was forced into the trunk of a cottonwood tree and the tank was left dangling on the board.  The kitchen was lifted into the air and not one trace of it has ever been found, but a large tea kettle that was near the barn placed in the center of the ground where the kitchen had stood.  On one of the chiffarobes had set a small aquarium full of water with a gold fish in it.  The aquarium was gently placed on the floor of the room, then the stone wall of the house was piled over it.  Then these capricious giants took the cook stove.  It has never been found.  The furniture was rolled up, twisted and crushed and pitched into the yard.  In the stock corral were twenty-five head of mules and horses, the fence was blown away, the stock ran out – nothing hurt- but a large windmill tower was picked up, whirled into the air, twisted, mashed, thrown into the corral, and a farm wagon was pitched in, to keep the tower company.  A new hundred foot stock shed was wrecked, but an old shed was only stripped of its ridge boards; while the great stone barn standing nearby was demolished leaving it a pile of jabbed stones.

            The forest that was located just west of the barn seemed to have angered the storm, for some of the trees had been wrenched from the ground, others twisted and broken, while some had been stripped of their branches.  All of this forest wreckage had been left in the little creek running nearby.  In order to show contempt for things hundreds of feet of barbed wire were torn from nearby fences, rolled into a large ball and left at the south end of ruined stone barn.

            There were five boys in the cellar of the house, not one hurt, and the incubator that was in the basement was not disturbed.  It would be easy to mention many other things this storm did to the ranch, but in order to appreciate it make a visit to the scene of disaster, and then you will be able to learn what organized wind on a wild spree can do.



            The tornado passed the Cochran ranch at about six o’clock, the Huber place east of Plainville at about six-thirty, and Woodston about 7 p.m.  The Argas says:

            Last Sunday evening about seven o’clock Woodston was struck by a small cyclone which passed through the eastern part of town and caused considerable destruction of property, but fortunately no one was hurt which would appear almost a miracle to anyone going over the ground the next morning.  The storm struck first at Will Morrisey’s tearing down buildings and scattering them in all directions.  The wheel was torn from his windmill and carried north about a quarter of a mile and left in a cornfield.

At Mrs. Mattie Foss’ place the house was torn off the foundation, turned partly around and at the southeast corner driven quite a ways into the ground, leaving it partly lopped over.  Every window in the house was broken, the chimney torn down and part of the roof taken off.  Mrs. Foss and the children were in the house at the time though fortunately not hurt, but had to get out through the windows as every door was wedged fast.  The barn was torn down but her cow which was in it received no serious injury.  At the Borgan place the house was badly wrecked and partly unroofed, the barn town down, wagons and other implements scattered to the winds.  Grandpa LaRues home was also greatly damaged, the deck of Jas. Reeves house was carried away and the chimney smashed down on the floor.  The storm picked up one of his horses and carried it about one-half mile and put it down without injury, except a broken tail and a very drabeled appearance.  The bunk house at the stock yards was carried south across the siding and laid down on the side lengthwise of the main track.  The John Haynes house was taken from its foundation, turned partly round and one corner driven into the ground.  The grandstand at the ball park was blown several rods south and landed in a very badly wrecked condition.  One shed at the lumber yard was entirely demolished and the other badly damaged.  Those receiving smaller damages to windmills, sheds, barns, roofs, outhouses, etc, were: A. Still, Lista Peacock, Mrs. Brown, Tom Henshaw, Went Downing, Jack Michner, and Mrs. Cochell.  In forty-five years of western Kansas life this is the closest call we ever received from a cyclone and we are not extending any invitations to come again.

            Storm notes from the Record:

            The old Yoxall school house on the Medicine collapsed under the pressure of the wind.

            W. W. Murphy’s barn in Ash Rock township was wrecked, likewise Jones’ silo.


            Some fifty trees at Fred Jones’ place south of Woodston were uprooted.  A cement silo was blown over.


            The deck roof of Mr. Reeves’ house at Woodston was crushed down on the floor.  His horse was blown over 300 yards away.


            Frank Murphy’s outbuildings were destroyed.  The wind played many pranks.  A house had all the shingles torn off, but a porch that ran around three sides of the building was not disturbed.


            A barn and horse in it were moved about 50 feet.