Most of the people mentioned in this story are related to my family in some way. This happened in Ellison, Warren County Illinois, which is very close to Henderson County Illinois. It is gruesome, so not for the faint of heart. My family tree always reminds me how lucky we are to have vacines, medical help with childbirth, radar weather reports, etc.
This is from a history column that our late local historian Ralph Eckley wrote:
The Storm That Took Martins Life-Not for the faint of heart
A terrible storm visited Ellison, in this county, the evening of Sunday May 30, 1858. The "Review" of June 4, listed seven as dead at Ellison and six at Johnson's quarry a mile and a half west of the town, as follows:
MISS MARY A. McWILLIAMS, instantly killed and mangled in a most shocking manner.
MRS. JACOB BRAZELTON, was lifted up into the air, carried some distance, and then found horribly mangled, her body bursted open and heart and vitals lying by her side. She also had a young son killed.
MISS LOVINA LACY, from Henderson county, was carried some six hundred yards, horribly mangled, neck broken, collar bone mangled, and one arm broken and driven into the ground nearly to her shoulder.
MARTIN WENTWORTH, skull smashed in. I believe he was a relative related to my great great grandmother Abigail Wentworth Birdsall. Probably staying either there or visiting her daughter Mrs. Kate Carson Birdsall.
MRS. WM. E. THOMPSON, was carried some distance and let down in a slough; had left arm and one thigh broken, and otherwise mangled and bruised. When found, she was still alive, with her child on her right arm, whose skull was cut down to its ears.
At Johnsons Quarry:
Mr. HIRAM JOHNSON was found some 20 rods west of his house, in a slough with his skull broken in, and nearly stripped of all clothing and only one boot on.
MRS. HIRAM JOHNSON was found about 20 rods southwest of her dwelling, partly sitting up in the water of a slough, with her left thigh broken in two places, and her right arm in one. When found she was supporting her child with her left arm. The child was dead and had been caught by the mother while floating down the slough. Her clothing was nearly all torn off, and even her finger and earrings taken off, still there is hope of her recovery.
MR. WILLARD HURD and a son, ten years old,were found about forty yards nothwest of their house, Mr. H. was badly bruised and had a large hole in the left side, which exposed his lungs, besides a number of ribs broken. He died in Monmouth August 7.
MRS. WILLARD HURD was found dead some 10 rods west of her house, her body was badly mangled and stripped nearly naked, even her finger and ear rings were gone.
MR. HURD had TWO SONS, one 10 and the other 14 years old. The youngest was found in his arms, badly injured, the other some 15 rods southwest of the house, nearly dead and survived only about two hours.
MRS. SPAULDING was found about forty yards east of her dwelling, badly mangled, and lived about one hour.
The injured as reported by the Review were:
MRS. HANDY and her DAUGHTER aged seven, both in critical condition.
LEWIS RAPALLE, MRS. RAPALEE AND LEWIS JR. also a little daughter had the hair on the right side of her head cut off short without injury.
SAMUEL JOHNSON, right leg and four ribs broken, and his SON, 9 years old, cut and bruised.
ELISHA GODFREY and WIFE MARIA, AND CATHARINE GODFREY; MRS. WILLIAM J. BECK AND CHILD,both dangerously injured. MISS SHERWOOD of near Galesburg; and SARAH OSTRO? a Cameron widow, not dangerously hurt.
J.N. McCARTNEY, HIS WIFE; SAMUEL McCARTNEY, JOHN McCARTNEY,badly bruised. Mr. hughes, shoulder and breast bone broken, doubtful recovery.
WIDOW McWILLIAMS, badly bruised; HARRIET McWILLIAMS, skull broken and brains oozing out, no hopes of recovery (later died); THOMAS McWILLIAMS, badly bruised.
JOSHUA SHEETS, recovery doubtful; MR. COOK, slightly injured; R.B. McWILLIAMS, WIFE AND CHILDREN, badly bruised.
HORACE SAWYER, medical student, badly injured; JACOB BRAZELTON, recovery doubtful; his two sons badly hurt; FREEMAN TORRANCE, school teacher, badly injured.
WM. E. THOMSON, and two children, badly injured; JACOB SMITH AND WIFE, badly injured, child slightly hurt. LINDLEY KELSHAW, WIFE AND DAUGHTER badly bruised; ELIZABETH KELSHAW, back broken; JAMES WORMAN, injured in chest.
SEYMOUR SALISBURY, FATHER, BROTHER AND SISTER, were all more or less bruised; JEREMIAH CLARK, WIFE AND TWO CHILDREN bruised and cut; BENJ. C. DAVIS carried fifteen yards in slough, bruised and clothing nearly stripped off; WALLACE FERGUSON, few bruises.
Also at Johnson's quarry, JOSEPH BANNISTER, badly bruised; and MRS. BURTON, collar bone broken.
About nine miles southwest of Ellison, a number of houses were blown down, including those of DAVID THOMPSON, ALEXANDER RANKIN, JOHN GOWDY, JOSEPH FIELD, AND ANOTHER MR. THOMPSON, who was almost instantly killed, having his skull broken. MR. GEORGE FOOTE, and DAVID THOMPSON, and his two children, and a young lady living with the family, name not given, were badly injured.
This is the story as told in the Review, some of the county histories tell of fifteen deaths, but the list does not exactly coincide with the names as reported in the Review. Three or four names mentioned in the Review are ommitted, and the following were added: MISS HARRIET McWILLIAMS, reported by the Review as without hopes of recovery; MRS BOYD; MRS. McCARTNEY AND CHILD; AND MR. THOMPSON, who lived out on the prairie. They failed to mention two of the HURD family, a child of MRS. BRAZELTON, and MRS. SPAULDING.
Only two men in the town were unhurt, one of the histories says J. M. KELLY AND W. L. EDWARDS. Over a score of the dead and injured were taken into the Kelly residence an