Page:History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century Volume 2.djvu/69

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of us. The sight, while grand and fearful, was too fascinating to be lost unless the danger became imminent. The roar was now awful, and a terrific wind was blowing directly toward the swaying, twisting black trail, which seemed to be sweeping down into the ground. It was now coming directly toward the log house of my nearest neighbor on the north, and I saw the family run out and down a steep bluff of Rock Creek and cling to the willows. Suddenly the funnel rose into the air and I could see falling to the earth, tree tops, rails, boards, posts and every conceivable broken fragment of wrecked buildings. We watched the angry clouds as they swept by toward the east. It was an awe-inspiring sight. The whirlwind column which had so suddenly risen from the earth seemed absorbed and lost in the rolling, tumbling mass of clouds that overshadowed the eastern sky. The sight was appalling as the cloud of inky blackness settled down to the earth again in the distance, sweeping on with a mighty power, glowing with a thousand forked tongues of lightning as the very earth seemed to tremble beneath the incessant roar of thunder. No pen or tongue can convey to the mind a true picture of the frightful sights and sounds that lurked in the rear of that irresistible tornado as it was then gathering greater power of destruction to overwhelm and crush the town of Camanche.

When we recovered from the terrors inspired by a narrow escape from instant destruction, a few of us followed the path of the tornado to learn something of the devastation wrought. Night was fast approaching and we hurried along the trail marked by the tearing up of the young grass and growing grain, broken rails, fence posts pulled out of the ground, shattered limbs of trees, the whole covered with a slimy coating of mud. When we reached the grove we found great trees torn up by the roots and swept into piles in ravines as though carried there by a mighty flood. Other trees had been caught by a rotary power and whirled around and around until they