Last week’s article left the town of Bellevue in the midst of an 1851 tornado that had been recorded in the journal of an unidentified author. The continuation of the disaster is to be found in The Bossier Banner’s January 17, 1895 issue.
“’My God!’ was the general cry among us, ‘the whole town is in ruins and many must be killed!’ And then breaking out like wild men, the first object we saw was the dwelling of Dick Hollingsworth a mass of ruins crashed between the weight of a large tree that had fallen across its centre; we were at the house in a moment; we saw Dick, with his arms around his wife and little ‘Doc,’ while Mrs. H. was holding her infant in her arms, the huge tree within three feet of them and the crashed and shattered masses of roof and timber all around there. There they stood, each a mute, pale stature of terror—neither of them moving and scarcely breathing! We called to him, and he looked as awakening from a dream and answered.”
“’We are all safe here, but in God’s name’—and pointed to Bodenheimers. So complete was the wreck here that from our position we could see no sign of a house! Some small trees in the yard had been uprooted and hid the ruins from our sight. We, however, rushed forward and saw Mrs. B. running with her infant in her arms, as if pursued by some dread object, with a wild instinct, seeking for some refuge, after the danger was entirely over. The house was a complete wreck—the logs thrown every way—the floor sills lifted from the blocks upon which the house rested, and not one chair or other article of furniture but what was broken, but not one soul out of the seven that were in the room was injured. We made a tour around town, and found but one dwelling house that escaped from injury. Lawson & Hervey’s livery stable was blown flat down, with several horses under the wreck. The horses were prized out of the sides and roof, and no horse was lamed or injured in any way.”
“After the tornado passed, there was not a breath of wind to be felt; the rain fell in torrents, but none of us felt the rain until after we saw all safe—saw the women wildly hugging and kissing each other, and heard mutual congratulations—and night, deep dark and impenetrable hid the ruins of the town from our view.”
“We have had our romantic incidents, our deeds of horror, our times of sickness, gloom and death, but our history knows of no more thrilling event than that of the 20th day of February, 1851.”
To find our more about Bellevue and other towns and villages in Bossier Parish, visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.
Ann Middleton is Director of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center. She can be reached at (318) 746-7717 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org