This Day in Dayton, 31 May
Two tornadoes struck Sheffield township on the evening of Sunday, May 31, 2004. One touched down in Dayton, coming in from the south where John Brand watched it pass by his home. The Dave Coleman family also reported seeing it head toward Dayton. The tornado took the roofs off the Memorial Presbyterian Church’s education addition and the Russell-Paden home It damaged the Crouse-Taylor home, where Ken Taylor and daughter Tamarha narrowly escaped injury from a three-foot-long section of wood that shot through the kitchen window. It threw debris against the Jane Yost home and the Susan Clawson-Yost-Baker home, topping trees in the Clawson-Melba House fence line and the Julia Yost, Mike Grimes, and Robin Warren fence line, and here and there all over town as it moved on east toward Mulberry. A second tornado leveled two homes in Haggarty Hills, a development off Haggarty Lane, about 2 miles north of Dayton in Perry township, dropping debris in the woods at the Yost cottage as it headed northeast. Luckily, no one was at home in the two Haggarty Hills houses when they were hit. Bradley Todd and family were at church, and Denise Sanders and her husband were at a graduation party. Rain that day and the next further damaged the buildings that lost parts of their roofs. It was a mess. Tree trimmers descended on the town, and the Red Cross offered bottled water and food. It took days to get the trees cleaned up and the roofs and siding repaired. But the town was lucky. It could have been so much worse. Because the tornado siren failed to sound, a collection to replace it was begun, spear-headed by Jeanine and Larry Heiser. The Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) provided funds to the Presbyterian church to help with the extensive repairs required on the education building and the parlor. Some funds in the grant from the PDA were donated to the siren fund, which was used to repair the existing siren and add a second siren. (Information from articles in the Lafayette Journal and Courier and personal experience).