|Postcard Of 1908 Cyclone|
Rose Marie Hulse who lives in Exeter, Nebraska did research in Fillmore County, Nebraska for the Shively researchers. She found information on John Howard Shively who was a son of James Shively and Susan Williamson of Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. James and Susan are found in West Township on the 1850 and 1860 Huntingdon County, PA census records. On the 1880 census they are listed in Logan Township, Huntingdon County, PA.
John H. Shively was married in Fillmore County, Nebraska on 28-February-1892 to Alla Merrill. Alla was born in Fillmore County and was the daughter of William Merrill and Sarah Mercer. John and Alla are listed in the Chelesa Pricinct on the 1900 Fillmore County census. On June 5, 1908 a “cyclone” or tornado hit Fillmore County destroying the home of John and Alla. Their two young children, Ralph Donald age 5 and Sarah Irene age 9, were killed in the storm. Miss Lulu Schmidt, age 18, who was employed by the Shively family also expired. Their story can best be told from the following information that Rose Marie Hulse found.
From the Nebraska Signal, Geneva, Fillmore County, Nebraska Friday June 12, 1908, page 1 is the following account of the storm:
Death in Storm
Cyclonic Wind Kills Two Near Shickley and Three Near Geneva
Only Few People Injured
Some Remarkable Escapes From Death and Injury Reported-Estimated Property
Dead Near Shickley
Elijah Arganbright, aged 65 years, Mrs. Elijah Arganbright, aged 60 years
Dead Near Geneva
Miss Lulu Schmidt, aged 18 years, Sarah Irene Shively, aged 9 years, Ralph Donald Shively, aged 5 years
Mr. and Mrs. John Shively, parents of Irene and Ralph, very badly
Edward Fussell, cuts, bruises and exposure, recovering
Henry Bohlen, severe bruises and exposure, recoveringThe four members of the John Shively family, Lulu Schmidt and Ed Fussell were in the Shively home on the Mrs. Jane Turner farm three-fourths of a mile due west of the Geneva courthouse. Henry Bohlen was at his home near Martland. No other injuries of a serious character were reported in this county.
Shively Home Destroyed - Three Members of Family Killed, Two in Critical Condition And Another Less Seriously Hurt
At 11:15 last Friday night the ringing of the fire bell aroused the people of Geneva. Word had come that the John H. Shively family, residing on the Mrs. Jane Turner farm three-fourths of a mile due west of the Geneva courthouse, had been killed or injured and their home destroyed in a cyclone. Many citizens hurried out in every available conveyance and gave every assistance possible. John Shively and his wife were found badly injured and in a critical condition. Their nine-year-old daughter Irene was dead and their only other child, five-year-old Ralph, was dying from his injuries. Miss Lulu Schmidt, employed in the home, was dead. Ed Fussell, employed on the farm, was seriously injured.
Mr. and Mrs. Shively and Ralph were brought to Geneva to the home of Mrs. Shively’s brother, Orlie Merrill. Ralph died there Saturday night. The remains of Miss Schmidt were brought to the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Schmidt Sr. of Geneva. The body of Irene Shively was taken to Nicholas’ undertaking rooms. Mr. Fussell was brought to the home of O.A. Beals in Geneva. The funeral of Miss Schmidt took place at 10 a.m. Monday from the Catholic church and her body was interred in the Catholic cemetery. The funeral of the two Shively children took place at 3 p.m. Monday from the Methodist church and their bodies were laid to rest in the Geneva cemetery.
Geneva people noticed the gathering of ominous storm clouds in the southwest last Friday evening and some sought safety in caves and cellars, but the storm remained too far away to bring serious apprehension to many Geneva people. Probably no one in Geneva, unless on the west side, heard the roaring storm when it was crushing the buildings on the Turner farm and destroying the Shively family in its progress northward. Henry Muhlenburg and family live a quarter of a mile west of where Shively’s lived. About 9 or a little after they sought shelter in a cave. After the cyclone passed they came out to see what damage had been wrought. The flashes of lightning did not reveal any buildings where the Shivelys had lived and Mr. Muhlenburg and Irvie Zink, who was employed at Muhlenberg’s, took a lantern and went over to Shively’s to see if anything had gone wrong. They found everything on the place destroyed and the members of the family probably dead or dying. Irvie Zink came on to town for help, leaving Mr. Muhlenburg to give what succor he could.
The storm struck about 9:30 as nearly as the time can be calculated. It was accompanied by a cloudburst that rendered walking well nigh impossible. The road was strewn with telephone poles and wires and all sorts of wreckage. One man had the forethought to put a pair of nippers in his buggy and he said he cut twelve telephone wires on his way out. The water was so high around the Shively place that those not killed by the storm were in danger of drowning since everybody who had been in the house was too much injured to keep out of the water.
The Shivelys had seen the early approach of the storm and had gone into their cave once. They thought the danger over and returned to the house. Some members of the family undressed and went to bed. When the cyclone actually came it found them unprepared.
(The story continues but for sake of space this tells their involvement with the cyclone. Rose Hulse also sent a second article on the storm from the Nebraska Signal, Friday June 19, 1908. This article is entitled “Work of Storm – General Review of the Course of the June 5 Cyclonic Wind”.)
John and Alla did have one more child, Welcome Shively, who was born ca. 1911. Welcome married Maurice McAvoy.
Additional information on John Shively is found in his obituary taken rom a Geneva, Nebraska local paper dated Thursday May 3, 1962:
Last Rites for John H. Shively Held Friday
John Howard Shively, son of James and Susan Shively, was born at Petersburg, Pa., August 30, 1866. He was the twelfth child of 13 children in the family. He passed away April 24, 1962, at Kearney, Neb., at the age of 95 years, 7 months, and 24 days. John resided in Pennsylvania until he was 20 years of age. In 1886 he came west to work. He arrived in Fairmont in April and secured a job as a farm hand on a farm north of Geneva, working for Jeptha Mosier. February 28, 1892 he was united in marriage to Alla Rae Merrill. To this union were born three children, Irene, Ralph and Welcome. Irene and Ralph died at an early age when a cyclone destroyed the family home west of Geneva. He resided in the Geneva community 60 years. During most of his residency in Geneva he worked as a carpenter. He continued to be active at his trade many years after the normal age of retirement. In 1936 he became sexton at the Geneva cemetery, which position he held until June, 1942. In 1950 he and Mrs. Shively moved to Franklin, Neb., to be near their daughter, Mrs. Maurice (Welcome) McAvoy, and family. He made frequent trips to Geneva to visit relatives and friends of many years standing. Mrs. Shively passed away October 28, 1953. He continued to make his home in Franklin with his daughter. In 1959 he suffered a stroke and he had been in poor health the past three years. He is survived by his daughter, Welcome McAvoy of Lincoln; one grandchild, Francis Lee McAvoy of Lincoln; two great-grandchildren, Charlotte and Scott McAvoy, a number of nieces, nephews and friends. He was baptized and became a member of the German Reformed church at Petersburg when a young man. Funeral services were held Friday, April 27, at 2:30 p.m. at the Kritner-Farmer Funeral Home in Geneva, with Rev. Alden B. Sears of the First Methodist church of Geneva officiating…….Interment was in the Geneva cemetery.
Geneva, Nebraska local paper dated Thursday November 65, 1953
Mrs. J. Shively Native Genevan Dies at Franklin
Alla Rae Merrill, daughter of William and Sarah Merrill, was born at Geneva, Neb., February 11, 1875. She was the fifth child of seven children in the family. She passed away October 28, 1953, at Franklin, Neb., at the age of 78 years, 8 months and 17 days. She resided in the Geneva community from birth until 1950. The last three and one half years she has lived at Franklin, to be near her daughter, Welcome McAvoy. She was baptized in the Methodist church at Geneva, Neb., June 3, 1894 , and remained a member during her life. She took an active part in church work until her physical condition prevented her from leaving home. She was united in marriage to John H. Shively, February 28, 1892. To this union three children were born, Irene, Ralph and Welcome. The first two children died at an early age when a cyclone destroyed the family home west of Geneva. Welcome, Mrs. Maurice McAvoy, resides at Franklin, Neb. Mrs. Shively is survived by her husband, John H. Shively; a daughter, Welcome McAvoy of Franklin; a brother, William J. Merrill of Geneva; two sisters, Nora Wyatt of Austin, Tex., and Bertha Eaton of Corpus Christi, Tex.; one grandchild, Francis Lee McAvoy of Franklin; a number of nieces and nephews, other relatives and friends. Services were held at the Kritner-Ashby Funeral Home in Geneva, at 2 o’clock Friday afternoon, October 30. Dr. F. E. Pfoutz, minister of the Methodist church gave the tribute….Interment was in the Geneva Cemetery.