People in the 1908 Tornado
Tornados in Joplin, Missouri (2012); Moore, Oklahoma (2013)
– Reporters did/doing human interest
stories in days following the storms
We intended to do that today in connection with the tornado in 1908 and the
But there is time for only one because he is such a complicated character
1st hit in the 1908 tornado – W. H. Cash farm south of Kearney [south
of the Platte, in Kearney County]
While Mr. Cash was in town.
– totally destroyed, all buildings, all animals except small dog that
crawled in well hole with Mrs. Cash, 2 daughters & grandson. Pump pipe above
them was twisted off. Mrs. Cash and a daughter each lost a gold watch which
were blown away.
a week or so later as Cash rode into town, he spied one of the watches on
Back was missing but crystal face was
unbroken & it still ran
Who was W H Cash?
Places he lived before the tornado
William Cash was born in Wisconsin, came by way of Iowa to Nebraska
According to places of birth of 2 sons, the family was back
and forth between the two states
By 1880 the family was in St. Paul in Howard County where William was a
Family consisted of Cash, his wife,
Laurilla, sons William S (8) and Albert (3) and Abbie Smith and her two boys
Willis (2) and a 4 month old who was unnamed. The Smiths lived in the family
and Abbie did housework.
When the 1885 Neb census was taken they were living in Riverdale.
Abbie was listed as a widowed
Her two sons were listed as Cash’s
The baby had been given the initials
Maybe the letters did not represent names; he was known for the rest of his
life as Elgie.
Laurilla apparently died soon after the move to Riverdale because in Aug.
1888 William Cash and Abbie were married.
The Cash family apparently moved nearer to Kearney because William was
frequently involved in activities in the city.
Spring 1901 – they moved to Kearney Co. just across the Platte slightly east
Living there when the tornado struck
Places he lived after the tornado
After the tornado the family moved back to Kearney
Lived in at least two different
houses on 2nd Av
When Cash was 65 he sold his household goods and possessions and moved to
Montana to live with his son, Albert (Allie).
Almost 30 years later, at age 94, he died at the home of his son, Allie, who
then lived in Seattle
His body was brought back to Kearney and he is buried in the Kearney
His political activity
Wm Cash was a Republican
He was involved in Rep. party
politics from 1890 until his death.
Attended county conventions
Elected delegate to state Senatorial
Went as a delegate from Kearney Co.
during the time he lived across the river.
Would go to Lincoln to attend opening day of the state legislature and
served as “assistant doorkeeper” at one time.
Fencing the north end of Kearney Lake
This happened in April 1897, four years before moving to Kearney Co
Police chief reported to city council that complaints had been lodged
regarding “parties fencing up streets on Tower hill.”
W. H. Cash had leased land at the north end of Kearney Lake and proposed to
fence it which would close a graded road around the head of the lake.
The street and alley committee was appropriate committee to address the
They wanted to refer the matter to
the whole council.
Apparently the road had been in use for 24 years which according to one
council member made it a legal public road.
was decided to refer the question to the city attorney.
Nothing more was published about the issue other than a correction a week
The road which Cash had fenced was
not in the Tower Hill addition west of Kearney Lake
It was the road east of the lake
As the father of four boys
Escape at State Industrial School - (Dec. 7, 1896)
– 40 boys made a dash for freedom as
they left supper.
It was dark;
Attendants caught one apiece, the
rest got away in the darkness.
8 were captured within a couple of
19 had been recaptured by morning.
W. H. Cash’s son worked there. [not named so we do not know which one
By the time he learned what was going
to happen there was not time to warn officials.
There was a reward of $10 for each boy returned.
2. Serving liquor to minors -
Mar 15, 1897
– One or two of Cash’s sons, minors,
had been frequenting saloons in Kearney.
Notice had been served to keep the boys out.
“Cash and Cornelius [who operated a saloon business in the Opera House
building] met at the Union Pacific depot Sunday, and Cornelius struck Cash
several times in the face, bruising him considerably.
Charges were filed against Cornelius who was fined $1 plus $3.70 costs.
Apr. 6, 1897 [week later]
– Cash submitted a statement to the
City Council listing these points:
1. Cornelius had sold liquor on the four
Sundays in March 1897
2. Cornelius had served liquor on week days and Sundays to minors,
knowing they were minors after being petitioned by their parents not to
3. Cornelius permitted and encouraged gambling at a dice game called
4. In apartments under the bar Cornelius aided and assisted in
exhibiting a game of cock fighting over the past six months.
Cash asked the city to investigate those charges and to revoke
Cornelius’ liquor license.
Apr. 14, 1897 [another week later]
– Hearing before license committee of
the city council.
Cash testified to the four points
that had been presented to the city council
His son, Willis, testified that he
was 19, had entered the saloon by the back door on Sunday Mar 14 [the day
before Cornelius struck Cash at the depot] and seen four persons shaking
He also testified that last Oct. he
had been served a drink there.
The other witnesses, Elgie Cash,
Allen [Allie/Albert] Cash and another boy all gave similar testimony.
Missed by a Hair - Oct 10, 1898
– W. H Cash had been looking at some
property just west of the water works Sunday evening.
He then got into his buggy to return
to where he lived in the Greene tenement at the foot of the hill on Ninth
Ave [Green Terrace Hall??]
Coming up 9th Ave at between 24th &
25th – his horse suddenly stopped as though running into an obstruction,
then lunged and took off.
Cash leaned forward to gather in the
reins, heard the report of a revolver and felt something graze the back of
He had dimly noticed a figure on one
side of the road and a horse on the other.
He concluded that a rope had been
attached to the saddle and stretched across the road and this was the
He went to a doctor who lived nearby
who dressed the wound.
If he had not leaned down at the
moment the revolver was fired he would have been killed.
It was unknown whether the assailant
was a robber or an enemy.