This guest post was written by Nathan Tye. Nathan is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at the University of Illinois and the Assistant Book Review Editor of Middle West Review.
Within minutes a tornado decimated Mattoon, Illinois in the late afternoon of May 26, 1917. Few residents had time to find cover before the tornado spun across Mattoon and continued on toward Indiana. This resulted in a high number of casualties. As residents pulled themselves from the debris, called for loved ones, and surveyed the destruction, University of Illinois student and Mattoon native Harold Hampson joined ambulance crews to pull the injured and dead from the ruins.