Dallas, Texas

1856 Tornado

From: History of Dallas County Texas, 1837 to 1887 by John Henry Brown.

 The locally famous cyclone struck Cedar Hill, eighteen miles southwesterly from Dallas, April 29, 1856. Mr. Dickson, a merchant, James Berry and family, Mr. Hart and family, and perhaps others were killed.

Mrs. Merrifield and children escaped almost miraculously, the house being lifted and twisted into fragments, and “they in the midst” thereof, but none seriously hurt. The destruction of houses, fences and wagons was complete. Thence the wind shot northeasterly, only sweeping the earth at an unoccupied locality, on the ridge on the south side of the river, three or four miles below Dallas; next in Hunt county, and lastly in the southwest corner of Arkansas. Some almost incredible incidents occurred.

The following article is from the Dallas Daily Times Herald on February 25, 1912.

Description of 1856 Cyclone

Brother Crofford gave this writer a most graphic description of this fearful cyclone. He said in substance: “I saw the cyclone strike Cedar Hill when it blew it to pieces. The destruction of houses, wagons, fences and everything else was complete. Eight or ten persons were killed, and some of the dry goods were picked up twenty-five or thirty miles away. I saw the funnel shaped, rotating clouds coming directly toward my house. It was as dark in the center as midnight, and as it whirled, I saw the great timbers of the destroyed village flying off at a tangent. To my great relief, when only a short distance from me, it deflected down a hollow on the prairie and missed my house. The prairie southwest of the village, was then unsettled, and the native grass was mowed smooth to the very ground.”