By Thomas Palmer

Galion has been no stranger to violent weather over the last two hundred years.

One of the earliest instances of sudden, horrible weather in southeast Crawford County took place in May 1858. As is the usual case now, the storm moved from west to east across the city, and started with thunder about 2:45 PM.

Thunder was followed by rain, and then by large hail and wind. The storm resulted in a bizarre accident which took the life of a local man.

The following results were noted by a newspaper account:

  • A rail car was sitting on a rail on the Big Four line, and the wind started it on its own north toward Crestline. A man named Miller, who was employed in the gravel pit in Leesville, was walking on the rail line from Crestline to Galion when he was struck by the rail car which ran over him. According to the account, Miller was “…a poor man – had neither friend nor relatives living anywhere in this part of the country.” The noise of the storm had been of such a volume that he was unaware of the approaching danger. The man’s right hand was cut off at the wrist and his leg and face were injured. He passed away that evening from the wounds.
  • The new United Brethren Church was under construction on East Walnut Street and the storm knocked down the uncompleted walls. Several other buildings in Uptowne Galion were damaged, including Mr. J. Tracy’s brick tavern. One building impacted was the dry goods store of Pierce Fellows; this building still stands at 106 Harding East.
  • The roof of the “wood house” of the Big Four was blown off, “…injuring the building to the amount of $200 or $300” (a larger amount in those days, of course.
  • Jacob Ruhl’s sugar grove on the edge of town was completely ruined.

The storm also produced a tornado in Bucyrus, and substantial damage in Caledonia and Mansfield.

Each Saturday, we share a post about local history. We call this series “Galion History Corner,” and we will be sharing not only stories about our shared heritage but also updates on history news here in southeast Crawford County.

This series is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Bernard M. Mansfield, whose “Your Historical Galion” was a fixture in weekend editions of the Galion Inquirer. Dr. Mansfield was a friend and family physician, and he inspired the current generation of Galion historians to continue his work.

Image by yan1515 from Pixabay