Hurricane (Tornado) of 1805

The most terrific hurricane (tornado) that ever swept over Monroe County, Illinois occurred on the fifth of June, 1805. It moved from the northwest to the southeast, and crossed the Mississippi about a mile below the mouth of the Merrimac, passing through the present Moredock precinct. Its track was about three quarters of a mile in width. It protrated trees, and even swept the water out of the river and lakes in the Amerian Bottom. William Blair, who had a boat moored in the river, near the place where the storm crossed it, asserted that for three quarters of a mile the water was raised out of the river by the violence of the tempest. Fish from the river and lakes were scattered all over the prairie in its course. It occurred about one o'clock in the afternoon. The Sun previously had been shining, and the atmosphere had been clear. Col. James A. James, resided with his father nearly in its course, and was an eye-witness to the terrible storm. 

The family fled from its track. Dr. Cairnes and his family were drictly in its course and saw it approaching. and succeeded in saving their lives. As the Doctor and his family were running for safety, the storm overtook them. His wife was behind, and she lay flat on the earth and held to a bush. Rails, tree-tops, and almost every movable thing were dashed around her with great force, and she was wounded in the head, but not fatally. The rest of the family escaped unhurt. Dr. Cairnes' cattle came running home before the hurricane reached the house and barn, bellowing and much terrified. They all perished. A horse in a lot near the house was killed by a fence rail running through him. Every log in the house and the last rock in the foundation of the chimney were swept away. Everything movable was destroyed and torn to pieces. A large bull was raised high in the air, and after being carried a considerable distance, was dashed to the ground with every bone in his carcass broken. By the time the storm reached the Mississippi bluffs, its force was nearly spent, and no injury was done on the hills. The clothes and all the household furniture of Dr. Cairnes were destroyed, and scattered far and near. One of his waistcoasts was found in the Little prairie, where his father resided, six or eight miles distant. Tops of pine trees from Missouri, which did not grow nearer than fifty or sixty miles from the American Bottom, could be seen. In the midst of the storm it was very dark.