The Progressive Mississippian Newspaper
Rienzi Visited by Terrific Cyclone
Rienzi, Miss. About 12:15 o'clock Thursday night, March 20, Rienzi was visited by one of the most severe storms that has struck Alcorn county in 38 years. Every business house in the town was partially blown down except E.M. Perry, Sr., E.J.Green and A.F. Green. The post office and general store of C.B. Curlee was a mass of wreckage; the brick store of Harry Roebke was a mass of brick and mortar.
E.M. Perry, Jr. sustained a heavy loss. His beautiful two-story concrete store was blown down to the edge of the ceiling. Considerable damage was done to the stock of goods by the torrents of water which fell.
J.D. Furtick & Son sustained heavy loss. About half their roofing was torn off. The balance was so badly wrecked that it afforded but little protection from the rain. Loss to building and stock of goods will run into the thousands.
J.B. Perry's store and stock of goods was a mass of ruins. At this writing it is not known how much insurance was carried.
The bank building suffered but slightly.
Miss Effie Rogers' new brick store was uninjured.
The Baptist church was completely destroyed, not a piece of timber was left intact. A new $18 stove and some other furniture recently purchased by the good ladies of the Baptist church, was completely destroyed. The rostrum was crushed to the wrecked floor and on it stood the water table unmoved and under the water table lay a few books and a feather duster. The old church Bible, which was in the Baptist Church that was destroyed by the Yankees during the war was found among the debris torn up. This same Bible was blown away with the Baptist church at this place on March 15, 1875,- 38 years and 5 days prior to this storm.
The residence portion of the town suffered heavily, every residence in town sustaining some damage-some completely destroyed.
The small building in the north part of town was completely destroyed, in which Mrs. Tom Smith and baby were killed.
The Sutherland home, occupied by Charley Vanstorey, was unroofed, the chimneys were blown down, two of his children having a miraculous escape. A stack chimney was blown even with the ceiling and the entire mass of brick and mortar was dumped through the ceiling onto a bed occupied by three little children. One of them had become frightened and had just left the bed; the other two were completely buried underneath the brick. Mr. Vanstorey was not at home but the little frail mother managed to save the two children from suffocation by her heroic efforts. How these children escaped alive can be attributed only to the Supreme Power of a rescuing God. One of the two children sustained only slight injuries; one was pretty seriously hurt.
The Col. Taylor old residence was wrecked. It was occupied by Thad Morton.
J.A. Norris' residence was partly unroofed and badly damaged. Mr. and Mrs. Norris had taken refuge in a storm pit and they escaped uninjured.
The Curlee old home was completely wrecked. It was owned by Bill White, colored.
The homes of Dr. Stevens, Bob Hocial, Tom Dalton and the Barnett Adams old residence were completely destroyed.
The storm of March 15, 1875, killed 14 whites and a number of negroes and many injured. It is strange that the two storms traveled exactly the same course from New Albany to Rienzi and from Rienzi to the Southern Railway, crossing the Southern road (in1875 the Memphis & Charleston Ry.) exactly at the same spot.
The heaviest losers are as follows: C.B. Curlee, Jr.,$5,000; E.M. Perry, $2,000; H.E Roebke, $3,000; J.D Furtick, $5,000; A.F. Green, $2,000; J.B Perry, $1,000; Baptist church,$2,000; Methodist church, $1,000; Mrs. Annie Holmes, $300; T.B. Morton, $800: E.M. Cheeves, $500; J.W. Dalton, $500; Miss Addie Hearpeer, $900; W.W. Clark, $500; J.S. Clark, $1,000; E. J. Green, $750; J.M. Austin, $500; J.A. Norris, $500; W.G. White, $1,000; W.P. Pardue, $250; C.C.Green, $500; negro Masonic hall and Baptist church, $600; five negro cabins, totally destroyed, $1,000.
Considerable loss in live stock and out buildings not estimated.