Old York is Left in Ruin
12 June 1907, Robinson Argus
Death Dealing Wind Works Destruction
A Cyclone on Our Northern Border Leaves a Trackless Waste
Old York is Left in Ruin
Three Deaths--$100,000 Damage to Property the Result
Like the gathering of the hot winds and sand clouds of a simoom on
the desert, came suddenly and unexpectedly last Saturday evening at
about 6:30 the approaching black clouds that portend a cyclone,
meeting about two miles northwest of York, a town of five or six
hundred, joining our county at its southeast corner. At its
it burst forth in its fury, sweeping down upon the old town, dealing
destruction in its path to trees and fences, and as it reached the
town literally lifting buildings from their foundation, some being
set down again only a few yards away without much injury, while
others were crushed like an egg shell, the timbers and contents of
the wrecked buildings carried, some an hundred yards or more, and
others miles away.
The loss of life, put down at three, one fatal injury, and eight
slighly injured, seems a miracle that it was not more.
The dead--Henry Rook, 60 years old, Terre Haute, Ind, Mrs. Lucinda
Pinkston, 50 years old, York, Ill; Mrs. John Rostick, Graysville,
Fatally injured--Claude Scott, 8 years old, York, Ill.
Slightly injured--B. F. Miller, York, Ill, injured about head; Mrs.
B. F. Miller, body badly bruised; Mrs. S. F. Freeman, guest of the
Millers, slight bruises, Annabel Newman, 14 years old, York, Ill,
arms and body bruised; James Layton, 42 years old, York, Ill,
shoulder broken; Mrs. Lydia Foster, 60 years old, buried under
slight injuries; John Bostek, Graysville, Ind., slight injuried;
Bostick, Graysville, Ind., serious injuries.
The path of the cyclone is about one-half mile in width, and seven
miles in length, which is strewn with wrecked buildings, uprooted
twisted trees, fences gone, ruined crops, carcasses of horses, cows,
hogs, poultry, etc. About one half the buildings at York were
wrecked, a large quantity of the wreckage carried to the river,
thence floating down stream, while some of it was carried to the
bluffs some four miles beyond the river, where the force of the
cyclone was either spent, or it raised to vanish in the air.
One who witnessed the formation says he saw two clouds come together
near the extreme northwest edge of West York, immediately followed
a twisting, swirling commotion, and with a defening, death-dealing
roar the work of destruction was commenced. Its velocity was
that the warning roar of its approach gave no time to escape its
fury, and almost before the frightened people could rise to their
feet, they felt their houses lifted from above them, and their own
----- flying through the air.
Henry Rook, of Terre Haute, who was for many years a resident of
York, still owned a home and a saw mill there. He had been to
Robinson, closing up the estate of his deceased brother and business
partner, and just returned to York, stopping at the old home, his
family being in Terre Haute. His body was found in the yard,
skull crushed by having been struck with flying timber.
Lydia Pinkston and five other members of the family together with
several friends were in the Pinkston parlor. Suddenly the roof
the house was lifted from above them and they were literally carried
through the air for a distance of several hundred feet. Lydia
Pinkston was found in the top branches of a tree 40 feet from the
house and died half an hour afterwards.
The John Bostick residence, just across the river from York, was
demolished and Mrs. Bostick was buried in a mass of wood, brick and
falling logs. She was unconscious when found and died late
afternoon without regaining consciousness.
Claud Scott, eight years old, received internal injuries, which it
was thought would prove fatal.
The proverbial storm freaks were not absent. In one man's
several immense oak trees were torn from their roots and fences sent
flying but the house itself was not damaged.
Men were carried hundreds of feet through the air and deposited
Tons of timber fell into a room where a family was eating supper,
forming an archway above them and no one was injured.
The Methodist Protestant Church was demolished, but the wind in its
playful freakishness spared a saloon directly across the
proprietor of the saloon was blown through his door and into a thick
hedge 50 feet away. He escaped with a few scratches.
Men who saw the storm at its worst said that all they could see was
dense mass of dying timbers, trees, houses and barns.
One of the singular features of the cyclone were that in its path
there was no rainfall, while upon each side of it was rain and hail.
Its duration was about four minutes, but it seemed to those within
its bounds to be an agony of hours. The loss in the town will
to $50,000 or more, while the total damage in the path of the
will reach double that sum.
Hardly a resident of the town escaped property loss. In many
the homes were torn to pieces and not a piece of furniture
The eight room two-story house of Henry Rook, were destroyed as were
the saw mill, planning mill and barn. The loss will be about
The two-story brick house and large frame barn of James Nichols were
destroyed. The story frame house and barn of J. H. Weldon also
wrecked and J. R. Fitch also lost a two-story frame house and barn.
The canning factory owned by John Staff, of Terre haute, was
wrecked. The loss will be about $2,000, besides it wipes out
principal industry of the town.
The two-story hotel conducted by Mrs. Lydia Foster was destroyed.
Mrs. Foster was buried under the wreckage of the building but
with slight injuries. The sotre room and residence property of
Murphy also were destroyed. James Wilson's two-story, twelve
house was wrecked.
Other houses demolished were occupied by S. R. Freeman, Benjamin
Miller, Homer Orcutt, George Daugherty, Dug Saunders, Daniel Layton,
Frank Stark, Frank Dudley, Mrs. J. L. Roberts, S. R. Newman, Andrew
Pinkston and James Chittick.
H. G. Hodge was one of the sufferers who had an almost miraculous
escape from death. The one story frame building he was in was
destroyed. "I felt the house I was in sway and rack," said Mr.
Hodge. "and then it was blown to pieces. I was caught under a
of the side and by hard work freed myself.
"As soon as I was sure I had not been injured, I set about to aid
sufferers and rescue those who were caught under wrecked buildings.
The scene was heartrendering. The night was a sad one for our
village. People who had lost all their property were given
by the neighbors who were mroe fortunate.
"People have been coming in all day by wagon loads to view the
destruction. Many have offered to help our stricken
village. We are
doing the best we can to care for all the injured and destitute."
No doubt there are quite a number of persons who will need
assistance, and measures will be adopted for its extension.