Impact on Kirksville

Path of the cyclone shown on Wallin’s Directory of Adair County, Missouri, 1899-1900.

It cut a wide swath through the city from Patterson St on the south to the Quincy, Omaha & Kansas City RR tracks on the north, and from Florence St on the west to Cottage Grove on the east. The next stop was 3 miles northeast of town where it took as its last victims, the 3 young daughters of Henry Lowe,then destroyed the Moore, Hendrin & Yates homes and New Hope School before crossing the Salt River at the Furnish farm and tearing out the iron bridge across the stream. Final damage in Adair came when Mrs Mary Wilburn’s barn was turned completely around and all the buildings on the old Newcomb farm were demolished.

In the Whirl of the Tornado: A Personal Experience is the story of the storm told by local author John R Musick. It appeared in the August 1899 issue of Century Magazine (Vol 58, No 4, pages 591-596) and can be found on line at Cornell University Library’s “Making of America” series.

men standing amidst wreckage

In Memory of Those Who Lost Their Lives

Newspaper accounts printed a week or so after the storm all report 32 fatalities but none of them list exactly the same names. We were able to eliminate a few obvious errors and wound up with the correct number by consulting obituaries and cemetery records. There may still be some errors in given names, but we believe the list is essentially correct and hope we’ve not missed anyone who should be included in this memorial.
Pictured below are the oldest (Mrs Ann Miller) and youngest (Paul Dewey Beeman) victims.


  • Paul Dewey Beeman (the youngest victim at age 6 weeks, see photo)
  • Mrs Amanda Billington (wife of Henry T)
  • Infant Daughter of Amanda & Henry Billington
  • Mrs Emma Bowman (wife of Andrew R)
  • Theodore Brigham
    (Son of Rev Albert Burr)
  • Miss Lillian Cunningham
  • Seth Feather (age 3)
  • Andrew J Glaze
  • Mrs Rebecca H Glaze (wife of Andrew)
  • Mrs Belle Green (wife of W W)
  • Miss Bessie Greene
  • William B Howells
  • John G Kirk (son of Jesse Kirk for whom the city was named)
  • Miss Georgia Lange
  • John B Larkin
  • Calvin Little
  • Mrs Priscilla Little (wife of Calvin)
  • Florence Lowe (age 13)
  • Mable Lowe (age 8 weeks)
  • Nettie Francis Lowe (age 3)
  • Mrs Mary Ann Mahaffey (wife of John T)
  • Mrs Ann Miller (the oldest victim at age 97, see photo)
  • Miss Zara Million
  • Miss Leona Morris
  • Mrs Blue Panchott
  • Infant of Mr & Mrs Blue Panchott
  • Mrs Mary Ann Rorabaugh
  • Mrs H K Sherburne
  • John C Weaver
  • Miss Leona Whaley
  • Mrs Julia A Wood (wife of Joseph)




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