Eudora experiences tornado

Freshman Chelsea Carnagie believes in the legend of Chief Paschal Fish.

Carnagie, a Eudora native, knows all about the 148-year-old city she calls home. She knows the people; she knows the places. She even knows how the city of more than 11,000 people got its start – how it earned its name.

“They named the town after the Indian chief’s daughter,” Carnagie said.

Eudora resident Jim Harris is familiar with the legend, too. Harris, president of the Eudora Historical Society, said when Chief Paschal Fish entered into negotiation with the three

German settlers who founded Eudora, he requested only one thing: name the town after his daughter Eudora.

“It was named after the Indian that owned most of the land here; they call him Paschal Fish,” Glen Weineger, treasurer of the Eudora Historical Society, said. “His daughter was named Eudora. So that’s why they named Eudora town, Eudora.”

If the settlers took his daughter’s name, Chief Paschal Fish said a tornado would never touch down in the city of Eudora.

“That’s what he said. Whether that’s myth or he actually said it, nobody knows,” Harris said. “It’s always been kind of a myth in Eudora.”

For nearly 150 years, Chief Paschal Fish has kept his word – no tornado has ever touched down within city limits, according to

On Sept. 12, an EF-1 tornado tempted fate as it touched down around 5 miles south of Eudora.

Although its winds reached only speeds of 90 mph, the tornado managed to gain enough power to create a 50-yard width of damage, destruction and debris.

“Most of the damage was confirmed to outbuildings, such as barns, sheds and trees,”

Jillian Blair, assistant director of Douglas County Emergency Management, said.

Junior Carrie Lister knows a family who saw the heart of the storm. The family, she said, watched its property transform from a well kept home to a cluster of swing sets, tree branches and mud.

“The garage door got taken off,” she said. “The train box car got moved like 50 feet.”

The family, who all managed to escape the tornado unharmed, took shelter as the storm tore apart their barn and sent their chickens flying into the air as if they were weightless.

“They had 14 chickens, and then they were missing seven,” Lister said. “They never found them so obviously they are gone.”

Lister’s own property experienced only minor damage and her parents, who were both at their home two miles outside of the city limits, watched the storm pass.

“They were sitting at the kitchen table watching it and then they also went outside to watch it,” Lister said.

Carnagie also heard about the damage done to some other residents’ property.

“It tore someone’s barn up,” she said. “I think it was mostly minor damage. I don’t think the people who own the place really thought it was big since it really didn’t do anything to their house.”

These stories don’t change Carnagie’s mind about Chief Paschal Fish. Not only does she believe his promise, but she thinks he knew quite a bit about the city of Eudora – so much so that she doesn’t anticipate a tornado ripping through the 2-mile wide city any time soon.

“Technically, it wasn’t in Eudora,” she said. “It hasn’t happened yet. It has a lot to do with the landmarks, too.”