Alfred Heim
Published On: Mon, Jul 28th, 2014

A PAGE OUT OF HISTORY – Cornwall Storms of the Natural Kind by Kathy Coffey

Tornado Resized

SSN – Weather has always been a topic of discussion and bad weather is remembered for many years after, the ice storm of 1998, the big deep snow storms of 1972 and the tornado/storm (?)  of 1846.


Thanks to J. F. Pringle (pg 291) “Lunenburgh, or the Old Eastern District”, which he published in 1890, the stories from this storm are also remembered. Please note that this is a direct copy from the book complete with all the spelling and grammar inconsistencies.

“In 1846 there was a violent storm, something like the cyclones that visit the Western States, though by no means so destructive. The storm came from the south-west, crossed the river a little above the first lock west of the town, and crossed the lock, carrying a young girl from the south side to the north, where she was dashed against the wall and killed. It then passed through the wood on the front of Wood s and Mattice s farms, making a clean sweep of the trees in its path; struck and unroofed a building on lot No. 22 North of Water street, unroofed the rear part of John Chesley s hotel, damaged a building on lot No. 15, on the south part of First street, and destroyed part of the roof of Col. Vankoughnet s dwelling house, two blocks east of Pitt street, then passed eastward along the shore of the river and lake for some miles, doing a good deal of damage in its course.

Some papers that were blown out of J. Chesley s house were found the next morning at Lancaster. Pieces of a mirror that stood in an upper room in Col. Van koughnet s house were found so firmly embedded in a tree about a hundred yards away that they could not be pulled out, and one end of a plank twelve feet long was driven through the clapboards just below one of the second storey windows of Chesley s hotel, so that the plank stood out horizontally at right angles to the building. These are some of the authenticated freaks of the storm.

Other stories were told of it, two of which are given, with full liberty to the reader to believe or disbelieve them as he pleases.

It is said that a man had dug a hole in his garden near the west end of the town, intending to plant an apple tree therein, and that the storm carried an apple tree from Massena, and dropped it into the hole, into which it also very considerately blew all the earth that had been dug out of it, and firmly planted the tree!

Another man had harnessed his horse to his waggon just before the storm came. After it had passed, he went out, but could see nothing of horse or waggon. They were found a while after some miles down the road, whither the storm had carried them, and set them down without breaking even a strap or a buckle!”

storm 1846

Mapping the storm on a current google map of Cornwall using the lot numbers identified in the story.


The lot numbers were identified from an 1879 map of Cornwall found at  .


Not sure the apple tree story is believable but if it is true then it demonstrates the old saying “It is an ill wind that blows no good”.