CYCLONE HITS MARTINSVILLE
The most destructive storm in the history of Clark
County passed over Martinsville last night, leaving death and
destruction in its path. The dead is Mrs. George Baker,
while her husband is at the point of death from injury and
exposure. The loss of property includes the buildings at
the fair grounds, several homes, a large number of barns livestock,
crops in the field and woods and orchards.
The cyclone which devastated Martinsville was between
9:15 and 9:20 Tuesday evening. It passed quickly and in
a few moments only the wreckage told that a storm of such violence
had passed. The storm first struck in the vicinity of the fair
grounds tearing down all the stalls, amphitheatre and other
buildings and scattered the timbers for more than a mile.
Across the street from the south side of the
fairgrounds, it struck the residence of Joseph Byram.
This house was blown from its foundation and the house and contents
completely destroyed. Northwest from the fairgrounds, it
struck the home of William Berkley moving it twenty feet from its
foundation, completely wrecking the home. The room in
which Mr. and Mrs. Berkley were sleeping escaped the falling timbers
and the family suffered no injury.
One quarter of a mile from the Berkley home, it struck
the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Baker. Here the storm
seemed to of been at its height and to have vented its full
furry. The Baker home was utterly destroyed.
Mrs. Baker was thrown more than 50 feet from the house and was
probably instantly killed by falling timbers and by the
fall. Mr. Baker was also hurt in the debris of the
falling house. He was badly injured but struggled to his
feet and tried to get to a neighbors in search of aid.
After going a short distance he became unconscious and the searching
parties found him lying in a nearby field. He was
immediately cared for but owing to his age, it is thought that the
hurt, shock and exposure will prove fatal. Mr. Baker is
seventy-five years of age and his wife was
seventy-three. Having taken its awful toll of human
life, the storm passed on to other scenes of
destruction. Across the lot from the Baker home, the
house of William Sloan was demolished. The freak of the storm
at this place was the tearing away of the roof on the north side of
the house and leaving the porch and the south side of the roof
The barns belonging to Frank Berger, William Brosman
and Thomas Husted were completely wrecked. Much
livestock and many chickens were killed. Most of these
farmers had hayed stored in their barns and this was a total
loss. The cyclone came from the southwest and traveled
to the northwest and the path of the storm was from a quarter to a
half mile wide and about two miles long. Corn standing
in the field was shucked as clean as if done by human
hands. The house in which Frank McCormick was staying
was completely destroyed as was the barn on the premises but Mr.
McCormich and his horses escaped without injury.
In the Taggart woods, the storm cut a path 200 feet
wide, laying low the timber as neatly as if it had been done with an
ax. Another freak of the storm was in picking a pump out of a
well at the fairgrounds and laying it out straight and uninjured in
front of the well. The pump taken from the well was 20
Telegraph and telephone wires suffered greatly and
there is only indirect wire connection with Martinsville
today. Fresh reports of damage are coming in today and
the total will reach many thousands of dollars.
Fortunately the storm missed the business portion and the more
closely settled residence portion of the city or the damage and loss
of life would be greater.
This is said to of been the most violent storm this
county has ever known. From the path of the storm one
would judge that it was not so much in the shape of a twisting
cyclone as a straight one.