Iowa Old Press

Sioux City Tribune
Sioux City, Woodbury co., Iowa
Monday, June 12, 1899
Page 1, Column 1

Tornado Near Salix Destroys Life and Property Sunday Afternoon

Daughter Fatally Injured and With Two Brothers Is in Hospital

The Twister Just Misses Town of Salix--Several House Are Totally
Demolished--Other Damage.

John Malloy and his wife, Kate, were instantly killed by a tornado near
Salix about 5:30 yesterday afternoon.

Their 16-year-old son, Harry, was so badly injured that he died within
half an hour.

Bessie, their daughter, aged 19, sustained a fractured skull and cannot

Thomas Malloy, an 18-year-old son, had a leg crushed and received
internal injuries which may prove fatal.

Fred Malloy, aged 26, was seriously hurt in the back and leg.

Jack Malloy, aged 24, sustained a cut on the arm and severe bruises all
over the body, but is in no danger.

Patrick Malloy, 14 years old, is suffering from a broken collar bone and
a badly strained back, but will also recover.

Dick, another son, was the only member of the Malloy family who escaped

Bessie, Thomas and Patrick Malloy are in St. Joseph's Mercy hospital in
this city. This afternoon it was reported that the young woman was dying.
The boys are resting easier.

The home of Albert DeVin was partially demolished, as were his barn and
all outbuildings on the place. The houses of the Malloy family, Mrs. M. C.
Hassell, Philip Berger, Joseph Bernard, formerly of Morningside, and a
farmer named Doherty were completely demolished. Pat O'Neill and Lucien
Pillotte lost their barns and outbuildings and O'Neill's house is minus a
chimney and two windows. J. C. Currier's barn was badly twisted and his
sheds and windmill blown down. Several head of horses were also killed and
DeVin lost the greater part of a herd of seventy-five hogs. Other live
stock was probably killed, crops were more or less damaged and many small
buildings were torn to pieces or badly racked.

The storm continued for some distance beyond Salix, but does not seem to
have caused serious loss either of life or property except in that vicinity.
It narrowly missed sweeping through the town itself. Had it struck there it
would have killed many people. The Hassell, Bernard, Malloy and Berger
residences are not more than a half mile from the village.

Residents of Salix think the storm must have originated in Nebraska.
They saw it northwest of town, moving toward the southeast. It was about
forty rods wide and traveled about as fast as a man could run. David
McDowell was the first loser. His house was out of the path of the twister,
but a number of sheds on his premises were demolished. The DeVin residence
is almost directly west of town. At that point, after tearing down half of
DeVin's house and all the out buildings about it, it veered to the east and
moved almost directly toward Salix. Everyone who saw it made a rush for the
cellar. Just before the settlement was reached, however, it swung again to
the southeast, passed along the edge of the Currier place and struck the
Hassell, Malloy, Bernard and Berger homes. The four stood in a group close
together and were razed at almost the same moment. A short distance farther
on the Doherty place was blown to pieces. Then the storm seemed to divide.
One-half branched off toward the northeast, the other toward the southeast.
It probably lost its force about this time and no further damage is

A south-bound freight on the Sioux City and Pacific road was just
pulling into Salix as the storm crossed the track south of town. The train
was moving directly toward the cloud and would undoubtedly have passed under
it had not Conductor Pollock stopped it. When the storm had passed he ran
on as far as the Malloy place. John Malloy and his wife were already dead
and Harry had evidently but a few minutes to live. Bessie seemed to be
badly injured, but Pat and Tom were lifted into the caboose and a start made
for Sioux City. Their brother Dick and George Sauer and George Story, of
Salix, accompanied them. At the station here the ambulance and police
patrol wagon were both waiting for them and both sufferers were removed to
St. Joseph's hospital.

Later in the evening it was deemed best to remove Bessie also to the
city. The 9:30 train in this direction was accordingly flagged, the girl
was lifted on board and brought here in charge of Dr. James F. Taylor, of
Salix. She was unconscious from the time she received her injuries, and no
hope is entertained of her recovery. It was even feared she would die in
the ambulance on the way from the railroad station to the hospital.

The Malloys had just finished supper when the storm struck their house,
and most of the family were sitting on the porch when the tornado cloud
appeared. The cellar was obviously the safest place, and to that refuge
they all repaired with the exception of Dick, who hurried over to the
Hassell place to warn the family. It was this move which probably saved his
life, as he and the Hassells were all safely in the cellar when the house
was demolished.

The elder Malloy, it appears, changed his mind after reaching a place of
refuge, declared that he didn't think the storm was likely to prove a
serious one and laughed the family into returning with him to the upper
floor. They had been there but an instant before their house was literally
torn to pieces.

Jack Malloy says he was trying to close the front door at the last
moment. The force of the wind had dashed it in and he was struggling with
it when, as he describes it, everything vanished. The house was gone and he
was being whirled over and over in absolute darkness. When he recovered he
was lying on the ground amidst the ruins of what had been his father's house
only a few seconds before.

John Malloy was crushed under the heavy timbers of the structure. His
chest and head were both crushed and death must have been instantaneous.
His wife was apparently struck on the head by flying boards. Husband and
wife were lying close together. The rest of the family were blown some
distance from the house. They were covered with blood and mud and their
clothing was torn completely to shreds.

Harry was conscious when picked up but declared that he could not live.
He was bleeding profusely from the mouth and no one doubted the truth of his

The fate of the Bernard family would doubtless have been the same as
that of the Malloys but for the fact that all took to the cellar as soon as
they saw the storm. Mrs. Bernard remarked coolly, as they started, that she
feared some of them might be hurt by falling bricks or timbers and took an
armful of pillows with her to cover their heads. She says she had no idea
what had happened until she thought it was time for the cloud to have passed
and, glancing up, saw the open sky above her. When the crowd reached the
place they found Mr. Bernard with his arm about his wife's waist, trying to
comfort her and assuring her that the loss of their property made little
difference as long as the family was uninjured. The house was torn to
kindling wood.

At the Hassell place conditions were the same. Mrs. Hassell is a widow
with several children and the timely aid rendered by Dick Malloy probably
saved their lives. Such was the suction of the cloud as it passed over the
house that one of the children narrowly escaped being drawn up into it.
Others who escaped only did so by taking to their cellars.

The storm was preceded by an unusually fine day. It was somewhat warm,
but the sky was clear and a refreshing breeze was blowing. About 5 o'clock
the clouds commenced to gather and people began to look for another heavy
rain. They do not think the tornado formed in their immediate vicinity, but
that it came from a considerable distance. Its approach was heralded by a
rumbling like that, as one of the spectators said, "of about 4,000 freight
trains." For half an hour before and during the blow hail fell. Some of
the stones were nine inches in circumference. As there was little wind,
however, outside the path of the tornado the stones fell nearly straight
down and comparatively little damage was done, though a number of windows
were broken. The twister was in sight from Salix about five minutes.
Immediately after its disappearance there came a violent dash of rain and
mud which coated everything a quarter of an inch thick.

People who saw the cloud describe its appearance as something frightful.
It was very dark, but the whirling, seething pillar could be plainly seen
from Salix. It was of the usual greenish, coppery color, and is said to
have kept continually dropping closer and closer to the earth and growing
wider and wider as it moved. There were a few flashes of lightning, but the
electrical display does not seem to have been uncommonly vivid. Many
witnesses say they saw buildings sucked up by the funnel. They describe
them as collapsing like card houses, flying out of sight into the interior
of the cloud and dropping down an instant later in unrecognizable fragments.

There were the usual freaks manifested by all storms of this character.
Just outside the tornado cloud there was no wind. Residents of Salix say
not a leaf stirred there while the funnel passed. One man declares he
believes a person could have stood close enough to it to have touched it
with his extended hand and remained uninjured, except, possibly, by falling
fragments from overhead.

The Malloy house could not have been more completely demolished. Not
only were the timbers all wrenched apart, but each one as twisted and
broken. The kitchen stove was hurled at least 100 yards. Yet a clump of
trees in which the house stood was little damaged, the front fence was not
broken and a barrel of water under the eaves remains exactly where it stood
before the storm struck the house. On the same place the cribbing was torn
from 3,000 bushels of corn, but the ears remain neatly piled together in
their original location.

Nor were broken timbers tossed in the same direction that the cloud was
moving. Many of them were hurled behind or to the side of it. The
twisting motion of the storm was probably responsible for this condition,
which appeared none the less remarkable, however, for that fact.

Everyone over whom the cloud passed speaks of the "brimstone smell".
Another strange circumstance was the digging of cobblestones from the
ballast on the Sioux City and Pacific track and scattering them along the
path of the storm. One boulder the size of a man's head was gathered up and
dashed a distance of 100 or more feet. A number of horses in a field near
the Malloy's were blown between fence posts from which the barbed wire had
previously been stripped by the wind. Most of the animals escaped entirely

Wherever the storm touched the country presents the appearance of awful
desolation. The ground is strewn with pieces of houses and household
furniture, dead animals and a perfect tangle of barbed wire. Several people
were quite badly cut on this wire while searching for victims in the
darkness. For about a half mile south of Salix the telegraph wires are also
down and telegraphic communication in that direction is impossible. Between
Salix and Sioux City the telegraph wires worked satisfactorily last night.
Telephone messages could not be sent, though there is no evidence that the
telephone wires to the north were injured. The hail is said to have done
some damage to crops. The loss will hardly prove very heavy, however, as
there is little vegetation far enough above the surface of the ground to be
badly cut or beaten down.

Salix's escape from destruction was much too narrow for comfort. While
the storm was moving toward the town no one expected to escape. Only the
change in the course of the cloud prevented the anticipation of their
apprehensions. The nearest point touched was a corncrib about one-fourth of
a mile south of town. The Malloy, Hassell, Berger and Bernard houses are
also inside the corporation limits.

Joseph Bernard had a considerable sum of money in his vest pocket. The
garment was hanging on a bedpost on the upper floor when the cloud appeared
and Mr. Bernard didn't stop to get it. After he had emerged from the cellar
thinking the money was lost forever he found the vest lying on the ground
about 200 feet from the point where the house had stood.

Pat O'Neill and family had a narrow escape from death by the falling of
their chimney. They were in their cellar at the time and their house was
damaged only by the loss of the chimney and the blowing in of two windows.
The chimney, however, struck an outside cellar door and crashed through in
the very midst of the group. It seemed almost a miracle that no one was

John Malloy was well known, not only in Salix, but in Sioux City as
well. He came here from Joliet in 1872 and served for twenty years as a
section boss on the Sioux City and Pacific. Then he began farming near
Salix. He had a fine place and was worth considerable money. His house was
newly built. He as about 60 years old and his wife was somewhere near the
same age. He lived at Salix for about sixteen years.

At Sergeant's Bluff there were threats of a tornado for a time. The
wind was very severe about 5:30 o'clock in the afternoon. Several
smokestacks at the brick yard were overturned and a number of sheds were
blown a considerable distance.

In Sloan township the only damage yet reported was to the granaries on
Pierre LaCroix's ranch in sections 15 and 19. The loss will probably be
several thousand dollars.

Albert Devin's face was cut by flying glass.

Northeast of Salix Sam Taylor's house was slightly damaged.

The 7:50 passenger south from Sioux City on the Sioux City and Pacific
road does not usually stop at Salix. It did so last night through the
kindness of Conductor O'Neill to permit press representatives to reach the
storm-stricken district at the earliest possible moment.

The Postal Telegraph company lost heavily in the cyclone which struck in
the vicinity of Salix. A mile of the wires of that company was completely
destroyed. The poles were scattered from a distance of from one to
twenty-five rods from where they stood and the wire was ruined. The Postal
company was without a single wire upon which to do business from midnight
last night until 11:30 o'clock this morning, when one temporary wire was put
in shape for use. It will require about one week for the repairs to be made
of the damages wrought by the wind.

[transcribed by V.R., October 2006]


Sioux City Journal
Sioux City, Woodbury co. Iowa
Monday, June 12, 1899
Page 1, Columns 1-2:

Tornado Kills Three and Injures Five Persons Near Salix.

Two of the Injured Are Dangerously Hurt--One May Die.

Thrilling Story of a Survivor's Experiences in Midst of Disaster.

Pierre La Croix's Tenant Farm Buildings and Cribs of Old Corn

Near Homer, Neb.--Possibly One Fatality by Blowing Down of Gospel Tent.

A funnel shaped cloud swooped down yesterday afternoon upon a little
strip of country south of Salix, sixteen miles south of Sioux City, which
blew down houses and barns, destroyed growing crops, wiped away the live
stock injured several people and killed three.

The killed are:
KATE MALLOY, his wife.
HARRY MALLOY, aged 16, their son.

Dangerously injured:
Miss Bessie Malloy, aged 19, daughter, skull fractured, will probably
Thomas Malloy, aged 18, son, leg mangled and injured internally.

Fred Malloy, aged 26, son, back; serious.
Pat Malloy, aged 14, son, collar bone fractured, back sprained; will
Jack Malloy, aged 24, son, arm cut and body bruised; injuries slight.

The storm came up from the southwest at 5:30 o'clock and struck the
district, one-half mile south of Salix, where the Malloys lived. Lying in
the pathway of the twisting cloud were the homes of John Malloy, Mrs. Cora
Hassell, Philip Burger, Joseph Bernard, formerly a justice of the peace in
Sioux City, and Patrick O'Neill, all within a circle of 300 yards. All of
these homes were destroyed, except that of Mr. O'Neill, which lies farthest
to the northeast. At this point the cloud began to rise, and, while the
O'Neill barn was caught up and scattered over an area of half a mile, only a
corner of the house and its chimney were taken. Moving on to the northeast
the cloud lifted and dispelled. Before the wind came there was a heavy
hail, and after the cloud had passed by there came a thick downpour of mud,
which veneered everything in its path.

The Town Terrified.
From Salix the storm was anxiously watched, and almost everybody in the
town sought places of safety. Conductor J. N. Pollock, of the Sioux City
and Pacific freight train bound south, saw the cloud coming his way, and
stopped the train at a point about a quarter of a mile south of Salix. When
the storm had passed over he ran the train on and stopped opposite the
Malloy place. Here was a scene of desolation. The ground for a distance of
several hundred yards and a width of 200 feet was swept clean of buildings
and fences, and in the debris of timbers blown down, trees and barbed wire,
were bodies of the dead and dying, and the carcasses of horses and cattle.

Pinned beneath heavy timbers was the body of John Malloy, head of the
family. His breast was crushed and death must have been instantaneous. A
few feet further on was the remains of his wife, who had been killed by
flying boards, which were strewn around her. The children were the near the
bodies of their parents.

Improvised Hospital Train.
No surgeons could be secured, and the train was left standing on a side
track while the engine and way car were improvised into a hospital train,
and the start was made for Sioux City with Thomas and Pat Malloy. Harry
Malloy was dying, and it was thought that the injuries of Miss Malloy were
too serious to permit her removal. A fast run was made to Sioux City, and
at the Northwestern station the train was met by the police ambulance and
the patrol wagon, which was fitted up with a stretcher and comforters. A
half dozen policemen were on hand, and the boys were tenderly lifted from
the car and placed in the vehicles for a start to St. Joseph's hospital.
Tom, who was the more seriously hurt, was placed in the ambulance.

Accompanying the boys to Sioux City were George Story, a butcher of
Salix, George Saurer, of the Salix elevator, and their brother, Richard
Malloy. Intensely interesting was the story of this surviving brother, the
only one in the family not injured. His actions toward his unfortunate
brothers were full of gentleness, and now and then as a vision of the awful
scene of death and destruction would come before his mind he would press his
hand against his forehead and close his eyes as if dazed. But he told the
story clearly.

Story of a Survivor.
"We had been at supper, and father and mother and the boys and Bess were
out on the front porch. I was the only one left at the table. I was
sitting there sipping away at a cup of tea, and thinking about the baseball
game we had played in the afternoon with poor Harry in it, too, and suddenly
I smelled brimstone, and looked around. As I peered through a south window
I saw off to the southwest a great funnel shaped cloud twisting and screwing
and bobbing up and down. I jumped up from the table and rushed out on the
porch and told the folks to hurry down in the cellar, while I ran over and
told Mrs. Hassell and her children to get down in their cellar as quickly as
they could.

"It had grown dark so fast that I was afraid to try to get back across
the road to home and I grabbed a couple of Mrs. Hassell's children, who were
lagging, and pulled them into the cellar. Huddled up in the cellar were
Mrs. Hassell, her three sons and three daughters, and Miss Bernard, daughter
of Joseph Bernard, who was spending the afternoon with the Hassell girls.
We were in there perhaps five minutes when the roar came. That was
terrible. It sounded like a thousand freight trains crossing a thousand
bridges in chorus. Then we all held to one another and the house was lifted
in the air.

"It seemed to go up a quarter of a mile, and as it twisted around I
could look up and see rocking chairs and bureaus and brick and hogs and
fence plank in a seething mass of blue and green. It was like being under a
great water mill wheel. The very tip of the funnel appeared to be dipping
above us and the suction was so great that Ralph Hassell was almost torn out
of the cellar. He was lifted off the floor and as he went up I caught him
on the legs and held him back. The power of the wind was great. As the
roaring continued, but higher above us, the mud began to fall and we all
were plastered with a coat an inch in thickness.

His Home Had Disappeared.
"When I ventured to look out I saw that our beautiful new home, just
completed, was gone, and that the barns were gone; but I had no thought that
any one in the family was injured. I believed they had been saved, as we in
the Hassell cellar had been. But soon I heard poor Tom groan, and then the
moans of my other brothers and saw my father and mother lying there still,
and I ran as fast as I could for town to get a doctor."

Pat Malloy, the one with the broken collar bone, said that when his
brother Dick rushed out of the dining room and told them a cyclone was
coming they all skurried down in the cellar. He said they stayed down
there fully five minutes, and the great hailstones could be heard beating
against the house. The rain was pouring and the noise was very loud, and
his father remarked that he guessed it was only a cloudburst, and that they
might as well go upstairs. Some of the children wanted to stay in the
cellar, but they did not like to remain there alone while their father and
mother were up stairs so they followed. The family had been up stairs but a
few seconds when the twister tore up the house and carried them with it.

Eccentricities of the Twister.
That the wind was a genuine twister was shown by the manner in which the
timbers were scattered. Although the movement of the tornado was from
southwest to northeast, pieces of the O'Neill barn, which lay to the
northeast, were carried back southeast of the Malloy place, and timbers from
all the barns and houses were whirled around and shuffled together.

George Story, of Salix, who came up to Sioux City with Tom Malloy, said
he smelled the storm coming before he saw it. "I was in a tornado once
before, and the one yesterday had the same brimstone smell," he said. "I
believe their approach can be told every time by that distinctive odor.
When I saw the funnel I rushed my folks into the cellar and we remained
there fifteen or twenty minutes."

Mr. Saurer said Salix was badly frightened and that it looked for a few
minutes as if the town surely would be struck.

A freak of the storm was the tearing off of the cribbing around 3,000
bushels of corn on the Malloy place and leaving the corn standing.

Long Residence Here.
John Pierce said he sold John Malloy the land his house was on. He had
known Mr. Malloy since he came to Sioux City in 1872, from Joliet, Ill. For
twenty years he was a section boss for the Sioux City and Pacific. Mr.
Pierce said John Malloy was an honest man, and had the respect of every one
who knew him.

Miss Bessie Malloy was brought to Sioux City last night by Dr. Taylor,
of Salix, and removed to St. Joseph's hospital. Her condition was critical,
and it was not certain that she would live through the night.

Conductor Pollock thought merchandise could wait while he rushed two
human beings to surgical assistance.

Anxious inquiries poured over the telephones into The Journal from
relatives and friends of those who lived in the swept district.

Freaks and Fury of the Storm Described by a Staff-Correspondent
Salix, Io., June 11.--Special: The cyclone swooped down and picked John
Malloy's house out of a clump of big trees, demolishing it utterly, the
foundation being swept clean, and a kitchen stove was found in a field 100
yards away. It was here the storm wreaked its greatest fury although the
homes of Albert Devin, Mrs. C. W. Hassell, Phil Burger and Joseph Bernard
were demolished, and that of Pat O'Neill damaged and his barns and
outbuildings wrecked.

The cyclone first struck the Devin place. The house was wrecked, but
the family had gone to the cellar and no one was hurt. From there, moving
in a southeasterly direction, Pat O'Neill's barns were flattened, but his
house was uninjured, except that the chimney was blown off, striking the
edge of the cellar door, below which the family of O'Neill was cowering.
The carpets were soaked, windows blown out on the side opposite the wind's
direction and the furniture covered with a coating of mud.

First Thought of His Wife.
But Joseph Bernard's house, not 100 feet away, was in the path of the
whirling windstorm and was picked bodily and has been found only in pieces.
His family was unhurt, as they also were in O'Neill's cellar. Bernard's
family consists of his wife and four children. He had no cyclone insurance.

After the storm he put his arm around his wife and was heard to say,
"Thank God, you were not hurt and I was here. Time will efface this."

The twister then struck Mrs. Hassell's house. She is a widow with
several children, whom she had hurried into the cellar. The house was
picked up from over them and is scattered piecemeal down the road and across
fields, all the boards lying parallel like flooring and showing the
direction of the twisting storm.

Telephone poles, rafters and trees lie in windrows.

The Burger home was demolished, but on one was hurt.

But it was at the Malloy place that the swarms of vehicles congregated,
their occupants to stare with awe at the wreck. The Malloy house was a
two-story frame, 70 by 34 feet. The front fence was not injured, but the
storm seemed to settle like bees and picked up the building, hurling it 100
yards, where it lies crushed. From under it John Malloy and his wife were
taken crushed and dying. Harry was near them, injured internally so
seriously that he vomited blood and said to those who found him that he
would die, as he did after less than an hour of suffering.

Bessie Malloy was also injured internally, and was unconscious when
placed on the train for the city.

Salix Is Thankful.
Salix people tonight are giving devout thanks that the storm only struck
on the outskirts not a quarter of a mile from the thickly settled part of
town. It jumped over the village, overturning a corn crib at the opposite
end from the Malloy home.

The storm cloud was funnel shaped, black with dust, and cause
consternation and hurrying to cellars.

Freight train No. 30 was standing on a siding 300 yards from the Malloy
house and the crew say that the wind was blowing from the opposite direction
to the course of the cyclone. When it struck with a roar they were about to
leave the siding, going directly into the path of the storm.

Albert Devin was injured by flying glass, being severely cut about the
face. George Patterson was one of the first to reach the ruined Malloy
house and find the dead and injured. He said Mrs. Malloy's lifeless body
lay upon that of her husband. About the parents lay Tom, Pat, Fred, Harry,
Bessie and Jack Malloy, all in a radius of twenty feet. Harry raised his
head and looked around and seeing his dead parents and injured brothers and
sister he gave a groan and sank back. Soon he began vomiting blood. We
carried Tom and Harry away on doors. It was a most terrible spectacle I
ever witnessed.

The time for the funeral is not set. Indications are that all Salix
will turn out. John Malloy was a prosperous farmer, who has lived near
Salix for nearly thirty years. He owned the farm and his house was almost

Mrs. Bernard rushed up stairs when she saw the storm coming and got
blankets, which she put over the children's heads. The house was carried
away without their knowledge. One child peered out finally and saw the sky.
"Why, the house is gone, " he cried.

The storm played queer pranks. A water barrel which was before the door
of the Malloy house stands untouched and full of water. Spokes were blown
out of wagon wheels. The Bernard house was blown in in opposite direction
from that generally taken by the storm. The Devin house was pinioned by big
trees which fell tent wise over it. Under these the house danced up and
down, but could not get away. A coat was carried from the Malloy house and
hung neatly on a tree.

The ground appears to be pounded down.

A horse was carried a quarter of a mile. Kick Malloy saved his own and
the lives of the Hassell family. He caught up child after child and carried
them into the cellar of the Hassell house.

The path of the storm seemed to narrow and it danced from earth to
midair. No damage is reported further than Pillott's.

[transcribed by V.R., October 2006]

Iowa Old Press
Woodbury County