Casey  County News


Two news accounts of a tornado in Casey in 1878:

The New York Times, Tuesday, March 5, 1878 - A Terrible Storm - Fatal Tornado in Kentucky

A Terrible Storm 400 yards in Width – Seven Persons Killed – Great Damage to Property. Louisville, March 4 – A Stanford, KY, special says: “A terrible tornado, 400 yards in width, swept through Casey County between 2 and 3 o’clock Saturday afternoon, doing frightful damage in the neighborhood of Rich Hill and Mount Olive. Vincent Wesley, his wife, two grown daughters, a nephew named Sloan and William Taylor, a neighbor, who was stopping at his house near Rich Hill, were killed outright. A man named Richardson had his shoulder and collar bone frightfully crushed. Mrs. Wesley’s body was blown 400 yards and entirely stripped of clothing. Her two daughters were carried 50 yards, and were found locked in each other’s arms. The father and nephew were terribly mangled and all must have suffered instant death. The dwellings, stables, and outhouses were entirely blown away, logs being scattered for many yards along the path of the tornado and hearth and foundation stones blown from their places.

In the vicinity of Mount Olive, Mrs. Morgan, wife of John W. Morgan was killed and the dwelling and outhouses of P. Floyd were completely swept away and the timbers scattered in every direction. In the village of Mount Olive, several houses were swept away, and the remainder otherwise injured. Fences were blown away along the whole course of the tornado. Post and wall fences were drawn out and torn into splinters and utterly destroyed. Large trees were twisted from their roots and carried several hundreds of yards. A considerable number of horses, cattle, and other stock and nearly all the poultry in the course were killed. The pecuniary damage is not less than $50,000.”

Casey County News J. B. [J. Bruce, a nephew] Wesley Writes of Tornado of March 2, 1878:

On the 2nd day of March, 1878, there were two storms raging in the Gilpin Section of Casey County, one on the north side of Jonathan Fork and the other on the south side of Jonathan Fork. They came together about the head of the creek and formed a cyclone which swept everything in its path as it traveled at a terrific speed.

The first building of any note in the path of the storm was a cabin in which James Lawless and family lived. It took the top off this building and passed on to the home of Vinson Wesley where Mr. Wesley and wife, Peg, as she was familiarly known, Bell and Ann, two daughters, also V. Green Richardson, Johnson Sloan and William Taylor, a brother of Mrs. Wesley, were sitting around in the kitchen after having eaten dinner.

Hearing a storm coming they went into the front room which was larger and all managed to get into the front room except Mr. Richardson, who saw rails, boards and lumber flying in the air as he reached the door and turned back into the kitchen as there was an open passageway between the kitchen and the front room.

He saw the top of the kitchen and the walls blown away down to the floor and that was the last he knew until he came to himself under a lot of logs. He attempted to extricate himself but found that he was held fast. About this time there came another gust of wind and the logs were blown away.

He got up and looked around but could not see the house or barn and said for a few minutes he did not know whether he was in another world or not. By this time the neighbors had begun to gather and he was taken in charge.

The body of Uncle Vince was found inside the yard with one arm cut off and a wall of the house lying on top of him. The girls were found nearby clutched in each others’ arms and Taylor Sloan was found outside the wall. All were dead. The body of Aunt Peg was found a quarter of a mile away. All her clothes were stripped from her. Her underskirt, which was made of linsey was found about seven miles away on the Elliott place."