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Cyclone of 1 June 1878 and I. P. Bisbee Death

History of Ray County, Missouri, Missouri Historical Company, St. Louis, 1881

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[I.P. Bisbee Obituary]

On June 1, A. D. 1878, the city of Richmond was visited by one of the most violent and destructive cyclones that ever passed over this section of the country. Nearly every thing in its pathway was utterly demolished. Huge trees were torn up by the roots, buildings swept away, and human and animal life destroyed.

For several days previous the weather had been unusually warm and sultry; the air was heavy and oppressive, the mercury in the thermometer indicating a temperature ranging from eighty-five to ninety degrees, Fahrenheit.

The morning of June 1st was bright and tranquil, but later in the day clouds gathered, and early in the afternoon the wind, accompanied by a slight fall of hail, began gently blowing from the southwest. Immediately after the hail ceased falling, a wind from the northwest arose, and, continuing probably ten minutes, was succeeded by a suffocating calm of about three to five minutes' duration. Within twenty or thirty minutes after the falling of the hail, the clouds in the southwest seemed to be falling apart for a moment or two, presenting ragged edges; then, suddenly, streams began to shoot out from the margins of the clouds, and to mingle together by a twirling, intertwining motion.

The calm above alluded to was caused by the current from the northwest meeting a similar current moving in the opposite direction. After this momentary cessation of wind, a strong breeze from the southwest set in, followed by a violent rush of wind, the immediate precursor of the terribly devastating cyclone that was to follow almost instantaneously.

The wind began its destructive work about three miles southwest of town. Moving in a northeasterly direction, it struck the railroad at J. S. Hughes & Co.'s coal shaft; then turning northward,it struck six tenement houses, occupied by miners, and owned by J. S. Hughes. These houses were moved out of position and otherwise damaged, though not seriously. Leaving the tenement houses, the cyclone slightly injured six dwellings situated next to the railroad. The upper story, back wall, and porch of W. R. Jackson's house, in the extreme southeastern part of the city, were torn off. The next house in its northward course, was that of Dr. Noah Gaines, a one story frame, which was considerably wrecked but not torn down. Bounding across the street at this point, the storm unroofed the old homestead residence, a one story brick, of Jacob Whitmer. Mrs. Haynes was struck and damaged seriously.

In its onward passage north of Dr. Noah Gaines, it levelled to the ground a small frame building, occupied by a colored family; next a large one story frame building, property of the late Major Sevier, but occupied at the time, by one Mr. Deer and family. The house was utterly demolished. Striking, next, the fine brick residence of J. S. Hughes, Esq., it blew down the ell and unroofed the main building.

Owner/Source Ray County, Missouri Historical Society
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