Going WAY back with this tornado summary:  September 25, 1900. Information for this event came from the following resources:

  • Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes
  • Newspaper articles via newspapers.com

Here are the stats on this event from Thomas Grazulis:

Hit at 2015 local time.  There were 11 injuries and 2 fatalities.  The path length was 6 miles and the width 70 yards.  Rating given:  F3

Details from Grazulis:

  • “Ball-like” tornado developed approximately 3 miles SW of Haverhill, moved ENE.
  • F3 damage was to a farm house SW of Ferguson.  
  • The twister hit NW Ferguson destroying one home and damaging others.
  • A hotel was “blown apart”.  
  • The two young children of the hotel’s owner was killed.
  • “Bodies were scattered for 200 feet and debris was scattered for almost a mile.”
  • The railroad depot, a blacksmith shop and several barns were damaged.
  • Freight cars were carried 150 feet.

Additional Details from newspapers:

Newspapers.com is such a wonderful resource.  I was able to pull up several articles from papers across the country from 1900 and find information on this event.

Per an article from September 26, 1900 in The Daily Times (Davenport, IA): The names of the 2 children killed:  George and Elmo Lovelady (ages 3 and 2).  They were sons of John Lovelady, owner of the Hotel Hutson.  John and his wife were injured.  W.H. Robinson and his wife had a “miraculous escape.”  They had a sleeping apartment at the depot.  “Huge timbers fell on to them, but they protected them from the falling chimneys.”

I found an article from The Des Moines Register from September 28, 1900. In a section called “The City In Brief”, it had a blurb about someone from the Weather Bureau investigating this tornado.  He agreed there was a tornado but it “traveled high and barely touched at Ferguson.”  Here is the blurb:

What is interesting is that I found illustrations reproduced from photographs taken by a D. Chappel of the Weather Bureau in The Des Moines Register.  It was published October 7, 1900.  It was imagery “of the wreck left by the tornado at Ferguson, Iowa.”  These photos were taken the day after the disaster.   I have included the photos in the newspapers section.  So, there is conflicting reporting here of Dr. Chappel’s opinion on this tornado.  And there is a conflict on how to spell his name 🙂  (Chappel or Chapell)

Tornado Path

Click Map To Enlarge

Since we don’t have official coordinates, I used the information from Thomas Grazulis to map the tornado track.  He stated the tornado moved to the ENE from 3 miles SW of Haverhill to NW Ferguson.  There is no mention of damage beyond Ferguson so I ended the path there.  Note:  Exact tornado path may not be straight and/or continuous.

Newspaper Clippings



Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 692.

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