Sun City Swept By A Cyclone, Barber County, Kansas Barber County, Kansas.  

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Medicine Lodge Cresset, April 26, 1883.


Three Mangled and Lifeless Bodies left
as mute witnesses of the fury of the Elements.

Sun City Swept by a Cyclone.

Last Saturday morning between the hours of 12M. and 1 A. M., a cyclone struck Sun City with terrific force, unroofing and badly damaging five or six dwelling houses and the two store buildings. A CRESSET reporter was soon on the ground and learned the following story:

The cyclone came with a whirring noise, but the majority of the people were soundly wrapped in slumber and heard it not, till roused by the crashing of broken timbers, unroofed houses, heavy, sharp strokes of thunder rolling ominously and debris flying through the air with lightning rapidity, all telling in an instance the terrible destruction that must follow in the wake of that seething, howling cloud.

Frank Saunders is the heaviest loser. His store building is a wreck, and his goods were found scattered for half a mile. The ell part of the Sun City Hotel is gone and the main part badly racked. Frank and family were sleeping upstairs in the main part and escaped unhurt. C. H. Douglas' store room was half unroofed and his goods considerably damaged. The front of the livery stable was blown off. Lizzie Fishburn's house was demolished down to a height of seven feet, but no one hurt. Captain Ayers says he has been struck by both lightning and a cyclone in that house, and is still saved harmless. The Captain's books, papers and soft raiment are among the things that were, but he consoles himself with the thought that some poor granger can enjoy a clean shirt and respectable literature.

Lizzie Fishburn's stock of millinery was damaged by the rain that followed.

Thus far, although the loss of property had been great, none were killed or injured. The storm had come from the east of south and was traveling nearly north.

A prong turned up Mulberry Creek unroofed the house of Mrs. Bailey and injured her considerably.

It is evident that the cloud was not sweeping the ground when it passed over Sun City, from the fact that all log buildings were blown off at about the same height, and other houses simply unroofed. The indications are that the cloud struck the ground with full force, at a point near the brow of the hill, about half a mile north of the town, then bounded and did not strike again 'till beyond Peirce's, in the Turkey Creek valley.

Wm. Wilson's house was unroofed and the gable ends blown away. Three children were sleeping upstairs, and Mrs. Wilson and two children downstairs; Mr. Wilson being absent. Still no one was much hurt. Mrs. Wilson got the children down stairs, and they all sought shelter from the rain and hail in a dug-out cellar adjoining.

The storm came and passed in a minute, without warning to the sleeping inmates until the destruction was past and gone. The storm track was narrow, from forty to eighty rods. Where it passed through the timber, the trees were stripped of their bark, limbs twisted off, and large trees uprooted.

The storm cloud was now sweeping across the valley with terribly destructive fury, and in its very center was the residence of B. B. Allen. Mrs. Shumate, the mother-in-law, and David Shumate, a brother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Allen and their three children were the occupants. In the twinkling of an eye the house was caught up and crashed and torn into a million pieces. The dead bodies of Mrs. Shumate, David Shumate and B. B. Allen were found from one to three hundred yards distant, stripped of their clothing. The path of the storm was littered with fragments of flesh, bones, hair and brains. The top of Mrs. Shumate's head was crushed off even with the lower jaw, her limbs broken and flesh torn. David Shumate was found beneath the waters of Turkey Creek, badly mangled and torn. Allen had both legs and one arm broken, but was not badly disfigured. Mrs. Allen, Willie, Ollie and the baby were found in the basement, injured but still alive.

A heavy, new lumber wagon was completely torn to pieces and scattered in every direction. A cow was found with a rail driven entirely through her body. A number of head of stock were found dead and wounded. A feather bed was found, but little injured, in the top of a tree.

No words can portray the terrible reality of the ghastly scene presented, when the morning sun crept over the hills and lighted the little valley, so snugly nestled there. Kind neighbors gathered the mangled bodies together and sought to assuage the grief and loneliness of the widow and orphans, in their hour of such terrible bereavement, but neither time nor friends can repair the havoc made by the fiend of the storm.

B.B. Allen, David Shumate and Mrs. Shumate are buried in the (Old) Sun City Cemetery

One of the Allen children who survived the cyclone was Ollie (Allen) Frazier.

Also see:

The Tornado of May 7, 1927, As Told by Florence Mills Wells

Twister Wrecks Buildings at Hardtner
The Hardtner Press, April 21, 1927.

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