The Great Tornado of 1860
   Jan 08, 2007 11:21 PST 

Great info, Greg!

I was thinking along the lines as maybe that storm being big enough to have
parts of it going through Cook Forest... like on the same scale as the 1985

The 1859 ice storm is new info to me. First the branches got frozen & busted up
badly because of the ice, then they got blown over or the dead branches blown
out because of the wind. I've got a hunch that we might be seeing some of
these old crowned damaged trees in various areas of the park, especially in
regards to oaks.


  P# 123-125 " The Tornado of Redbank Valley"   First touched down in
Sugar Creek twp Armstrong Co then Madison Twp Arm Co crossing Redbank
Creek near mouth of Leatherwood Creek (St Charles area) then Northeast
by east up trib of same. Then hugged first range of heights on north
side of the valley (redbank valley)& maintained a course generally
parallel to course of the Redbank. It passed 1/2 mile north of New
Bethlehem. Then names individual farms, then down steep hill into
Maysville (sounds like probably modern day Mayport) continued up the
Redbank crossed the turnpike at Roseville then turned east passing 3
miles south of Brookville thru Clearfield, Center & Union Counties BUT
only as a severe storm. Tornado damage limited to Armstrong, Clarion &
Jefferson Counties.

Good luck finding any tree old enough in the effected area to see
something in ring counts as the storm's path is through the strip mine
Perhaps the "History of Jefferson County Pa" written in the 1880s would
have more info on it's course thru that county

P#125 HERE (reprint of Davis' 1887 History of Clarion County) IS something 
may notice in ring counts: "The great frosts 
of June 4 & 11 of 1859 killing nearly all vegetation including the
leaves of trees. It was general over most of the county and for a while
caused great distress. For a time flour commanded $14 to $16 per

Fwd: RE: The Great Tornado of 1860
  Jan 08, 2007 18:52 PST 

----- Forwarded message from "Gilmore, Gary" 
    Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 11:21:35 -0500
Subject: RE: The Great Tornado of 1860
I have read of this tornado taking down timber in what is now the Treasure lake
area. They floated it down Sandy lick to the Red bank. Took 7 days to get it
from Beaver Meadows area to what is now Reynoldsville. The stream is very
sinous and slow!. This may also be the same set of tornadoes talked about
blowing through the Reynoldsville area.

-----Original Message-----
Lee, Dave (Orwig), Ernie,

I was wondering if you guys possibly came across this tornado in any of your

The following account is from the 1878 Caldwells Atlas of Clarion County
Pennsylvania, p12:

"The Great Tornado of May 30th, 1860, passed over Maysville at about half-past
11 o'clock, A.M. the storm appeared in the west, and to the observer seemed to
roll over, something of the fashion of a wagon wheel, carrying with it timber,
boards, shingles, parts of buildings, bed clothes-and even animals of
different kinds were driven by the velocity of the wind miles away from the
farms on which they belonged. Horses at work in the fields were stripped of
their harness. In Maysville there were two hotels, one store, grist-mill, four
or five dwellings, in fact the whole town was completely demolished. The
grist-mill was totally destroyed; the burrs, four and a half feet in diameter,
were carried about one hundred feet and deposited in the river. The bridge
across the creek at Maysville was completely blown away. The saw-mill was also
entirely destroyed.

Mr. Nathan House's child, of five years old, was instantly killed. Mrs.
McFarland was killed by a piece of pine board, which was driven into her
stomach; Hiram Baughman was killed by a new wagon blowing over him, one of the
wheels striking him on the head, crushing his skull; Mrs. Nathan House had a
let cut off by a large stone falling out of the cellar wall, and she died of
the effects of it about two years afterwards; a blacksmith by the name of
Hetrick, escaping from the debris of his shop, ran eight miles, barehadeded and
barefooted, and brought up in very good time at his sister's, in Troy,

I'll be looking for possible recruitment during this time frame on any future
cores I take at the park. Neat stuff

Re: The Great Tornado of 1860
  Jan 09, 2007 08:08 PST 

Dale, Marc Abrams and I did extensive work within Cook Forest, both
within the Cathedral site and the lesser known (and probably visited)
Swamp site in the NW portion of the park. We did not ever see reference
to that tornado, but did frequently read about the 1811 tornado in that
region and of course the 1976 storm. It is interesting that none of the
park records and early accounts of Cook (early 1900s), or the
extraordinary work by Hough and Forbes mentions or shows evidence of
this storm. I will say that the swamp forest experienced tremendous
disturbance during the 1860s through the 1880s, which we attribute to
selective logging, as you can still see the large stumps in this area.
(this also cautions against ascribing recruitment that you see solely to
a tornado, as I am sure there was heavy cutting throughout the park
during this era). Nice find Dale!   take care DAVE ORWIG

p.s. where was Maysville in reference to the park?
The Great Tornado of 1860   Dale Luthringer
  Jan 10, 2007 11:52 PST 

Great to hear from you. Sorry I didn't reply earlier. I didn't see it
come across my computer. I actually just saw it when scanning through
the new updates Ed just posted.

Maysville is roughly southeast of the park along Redbank Creek (Redbank
is the stream that runs through Brookville ~15miles south of the park),
at the Clarion/Armstrong county line (probably a good 30-45 min drive).
It might even be a ghost town now, or incorporated into a larger
community. Even though the account is pretty localized, I've noticed
over the years that these storm centers can be in blotchy patterns
across a much larger area. The recent storm (2003/2004?) that took out
the old Kinzua Bridge, also took out another good sized portion of the
Tionesta Scenic Area old growth. If you continued to work backwards, we
had a good bit of blowdowns and short sporadic swaths (~30-60yards wide
x ~200-400yards long) at the park from this same storm.

Yes, thanks for the caution reminder concerning recruitment in this time
period. That site definitely had some selective logging. It's been
awhile since I read through your excellent paper, sounds like it's time
for a refresher course.

Do you happen to recall where that old red maple you guys cored in the
Swamp Area to ~225 years is located? There is a nice old shaggy red
maple just off/almost adjacent to the old gas line road that goes
through there. When I first saw it years ago, it had a number of
"shags" that approached 2-2.5ft long!


Re: The Great Tornado of 1860
  Jan 10, 2007 22:33 PST 

Dale, that may be the maple, as the only thing I remember is that it was
extremely shaggy, but there may be others. the other recollection I have
is a huge black cherry that was just over 100 years old, but had a huge
diameter. Nice talking to you . take care DAVE
Re: The Great Tornado of 1860
  Jan 11, 2007 06:27 PST 


I've had others tell me of that huge black cherry, but darned if I can't find
it. Dr. Schaadt, from PSU DuBois conducted a small mammal/herp study in the
Swamp Area and repeatedly told me about that same cherry. It still eludes me.

Carl, Tony, Ed,

I think we've just got a new mission...