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Harvest Tales - Atchison County 01

Harvest stories submitted by Kansans for the online exhibit, Wheat People.
Submit your own at KansasMuseum@kshs.org.

John Junior Armstrong

The Cyclone of 1884

My great-grandfather, James Armstrong, came to the United States from Ireland in 1864 and migrated to Huron, KS in 1867. He purchased the farm where I now live in western Atchison County around 1883. He sent his oldest son Tom, my grandfather, to farm the land.

Tom's sister had married John Niblo and they lived just four miles from him. The families worked together during various harvest seasons of the year. They often recounted the "Cyclone of 1884" to their family. Tom was a single man at this time and his sister, Eliza, spent the summer cooking for him. On the day the cyclone hit, Tom and other neighbors had gone to help Niblo thresh the stacked wheat, Eliza also went along. When the men saw the cyclone coming they turned the horses loose and took cover under a grain wagon loaded with grain. As the twister passed, it lifted up and demolished the threshing machine from between the two stacks of wheat without disturbing them. The wagon box with grain was also lifted up and turned upside down on the ground leaving the two men under the running gears unharmed. Fortunately, no one was harmed nor were the buildings damaged.

"Harvest Tales" is part of the online exhibit, Wheat People: Celebrating Kansas Harvest,
developed by the Kansas Museum of History.

Contact us at KansasMuseum@kshs.org