CYCLONES & HURRICANES
( I know there were no hurricanes in Indiana, but this is how it is listed in the history book.)
About the year 1818, a very destructive "harrikan" visited this county, passing through the county from the west-southwest to east-northeast. The path of the cyclones, as it really was; was south of Spencer about three miles. The country at that time was an almost unbroken wilderness. The storm was about one fourth of a mile in width and uprooted almost every tree in its track through the county. In after years when the young growth of saplings, bushes and briers had grown up, the " Harrikin" was a favorite resort for hunters from the fact that large numbers of bears, deer, turkeys and other game sought protection in its dense thickets.
Thomas C. Franklin, one of the oldest inhabitants says, "two Pottawatomie Indians were hunting in the path of this great storm; seeing it coming on so rapidly they could not escape, they looked for a place of refuge from its fury. They found a large oak tree which had been blown over by some former wind, under the body of this large tree near the root, was room enough for them to crawl. They did so, and when the storm has passed by, they could scarcely extricate themselves, so thick was the fallen timber over and around them."
About the year 1822, another " Harrikin" passed through the county from southwest to northeast, about nine miles southwest of Spencer. part of the farm that was owned in 1884 by George Garrard was in the path of this cyclone.
May 28, 1883 was the date of the next cyclone. This cyclone formed in the edge of Clay county near Coal City. It struck the bridge across Eel River, destroying part of the bridge, then destroyed utterly the residence of John Croft, killing George Croft; his son, Christiana, wife of W.R. Williams and her baby; and Frederick Pfister. It destroyed Neill's bridge across Eel River, four miles away from Clay City to the southwest, two persons had taken refuge under the bridge being killed. Of their teams, one was drowned and the other swam ashore. Several persons on the bridge were but slightly hurt.Passing from there to Lancaster in Marion township, it destroyed houses, barns, unroofed, moved others from their foundations, some utterly demolished. The Christian Church of Lancaster was completely torn to pieces. From there the direction was due east, passing north of Spencer about one mile and out of the county near the old Secrest farm. From Lancaster to the county line east, houses, barns, hay and grain stacks were torn to pieces and an immense amount of damage was done, but no lives lost except the Croft family.