Carringers in the News — The Great Tornado of Washington County, Iowa in May 1873

  It is time for an additional version of “Carringers within the Information” – a weekly function from the historic newspapers about individuals with the surname Carringer (my mom’s maiden surname) which might be fascinating, helpful, mysterious, enjoyable, macabre, or add info to my household tree database.

This week’s entry is from the Ottumwa [Iowa] Each day Courier newspaper dated 29 Could 1873:

The transcription of this text is:  

Homes, Barns, Fences, Forests and Orchards Razed to the Floor.
Twelve Individuals Killed and Twenty-four Extra or Much less Wounded.
The precise start line of the storm shouldn’t be identified, however it’s believed to have been in Keokuk county, in all probability just a few miles west of Lancaster, which city it’s mentioned, was completely demolished.  It superior in a northeasterly path, passing north of Tallyrand about three miles, and south of Keota by way of the German settlement known as Baden, approaching the road of Washington county, the place it jumped a district of about eight miles, alighting about six miles northwest of Washington, on the farm of Frank Brown.  Remaining on the bottom for six or eight miles, it handed as much as Highland township.  Leaving the earth right here, it struck once more in Middletown, the place is power spent, and that i disappeared as instantly because it appeared.


“The farm of John C. Cunningham is about seven miles northeast of Washington.  Neither the barn or home are seen.  They’d been torn to items, and only some fragments stay, practically all of the timbers having blown away.  Useless inventory was seen all over the place, horses, cows, pigs and chickens having been hustled about so full of life as to deprive them of the breath of life.  Right here and there have been pigs impaled to the bottom, whereas chickens had been often encountered with no feather on them.  300 head of inventory had been killed outright.  The buildings destroyed had been value about $4,000.  Within the dwelling when the twister approached, had been Mrs. McCoy, daughter of Mr. Cunningham, and Mrs. Carringer, and two kids of the previous.  They went into the cellar for shelter, however remained there solely a short while, being lifted up and carried far, and thrown to the bottom.  Mrs. McCoy had her head minimize and was badly bruised.  Mrs. Carringer was rendered insensible, however was not severely damage.  The kids had been unhurt.  They had been discovered mendacity in a heap beside the cellar wall.”

The article continues for 2 full columns with extra details about the harm and casualties on different cities and farms.

This occurred on 23 Could 1873 in southeastern Iowa.  A number of different newspapers across the nation carried comparable info.  One other article mentioned that Mr. D.J. Carringer’s residence was laid desolate.
The supply quotation is:

The Nice Twister, Ottumwa [Iowa] Weekly Courier newspaper, Wednesday, 29 Could 1873, web page 3, column 3, David J. Carringer article;   GenealogyBank, Newspaper Archives   ( : accessed 6 December 2021).

Who’s Mrs. Carringer who was “rendered insensible” on this twister whereas visiting the John C. Cunningham farm close to Washington, Iowa?  I consider that it’s my second nice grandmother, Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer (1832-1901), spouse of David Jackson “D.J.” Carringer.  Within the 1870 United States census, the D.J. “Carrengtr” household, composed of D.J. (age 40, a farmer), Rebecca (age 38), Harvey (age 18) , Henry (age 16) and Effie (age 6) resided in Jackson township, Washington County, Iowa.  4 households beneath them on the census enumeration is the J.C. Cunningham household, composed of J.C. (age 56, a farmer), Victoria (age 24), Virginia (age 20) and Thomas (age 28).  
I’ve reviewed the 1870 U.S. census for different Carringer (or with approximate spellings) and don’t discover any others in Washington County.  Within the indexing for this census, the D.J. Carringer household is listed as “Present.”  
D.J. Carringer’s farm in Washington county, Iowa was put up for public sale in 1872.  I do not know if this is identical farm, or one other one within the County that was destroyed.  I feel it was in all probability the identical farm.
I am unable to think about the recollections that Rebecca (and maybe David J. and their sons) had of this “day within the life” the place the angel of demise barely missed blowing Rebecca away.  I’ve not seen any reference to this incident within the Carringer household papers that I’ve and heard no household tales about it.  The D.J. Carringer household moved quickly after this to Boulder, Colorado the place daughter Effie died in 1874 – one other unhappy day for the household.

There are a whole lot of Carringer “tales” in my household tree – and this was considered one of them. Life occurs, by accident and deliberately, and typically a newspaper article tells us of a near-fatal incident within the lifetime of an ancestor.  I’m glad that I can honor Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer in the present day.

You by no means know when a descendant or relative will discover this weblog publish and study one thing about their ancestors or kinfolk, or will present extra details about them to me.


Disclosure: I’ve a complimentary subscription to and have used it extensively to search out articles about my ancestral and one-name households.

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