1930 Frost, TX Tornado Articles
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HOUSTON CHRONICLE - MAY 7, 1930

Frost Fights Way Out of Storm Chaos
by Clay Grobe, Staff Correspondent.

Frost, May 7 -- Bright sunshine today brought out in bold relief such a picture of death and ruin in the little town of Frost as has never been seen in this part of the state.

There was no room in the little cemetery for the dead.  The cemetery was covered with debris from the houses of the living.

In three minutes Tuesday afternoon a black swirling monster swept out of the southwest and completely demolished a town which has been 43 years in the building, took the lives of 23 and injured a hundred more.

As ambulances continued to fly back and forth between here and Corsicana, carrying the injured to hospitals, hundreds of sad-faced but stoic survivors burrowed into the ruins of their homes and business places searching for three more bodies.  All through the night they had worked with the assistance of national guardsmen from Corsicana and other volunteer workmen from neighboring towns and clips.

The streets are crowded with visitors from all parts of Central Texas, somewhat hampering rehabilitation, but guardsmen have the crowds in hand.  Several arrests of looters during the night were reported.

RESIDENCE IS MORGUE

The residence of L. A. Morgan, business man of Frost, served as a morgue.  The town's only undertaking establishment was destroyed and the owners Wednesday were dusting off the few remaining caskets.

Red Cross headquarters were set up in the home of Dr. H. H. Stevenson.

Ensign William Stevenson of the Salvation Army was on the job, too, serving coffee and sandwiches.

One of two relief trains from Corsicana had brought food and supplies.

The town is without water, lights, gas, or power.

OWN POWER PLANT

One enterprising resident during the night set up a small Delco system for lights in the street to aid relief work.

Among the bodies which lay in the Morgan home awaiting burial ws that of Druggest E. A. Patterson. It was charred beyond recognition from the flames of his own store, which caught fire shortly after the tornado struck.

John Fiew, Jr. 18-year-old farm boy, living near Frost, had sauntered into the drug store a few minutes before the wind struck to get a cold drink.  His charred body also was extinguished before doing extensive damage.

Practically every business house including two banks and a score or more substantial brick building were only disordered, heaps of brick, lumber and mortar Wednesday.

Fate's Irony took a hand in this as it always does in great catastrophes.  While citizens were bemoaning the loss of much foodstuff, ruined, one of the few establishments not completely wiped out was a cleaning and pressing shop, and no one had time to use it.

All churches, schools, cotton gins, oil mills, the weekly newspaper office were included in the list of demolished structures.

Sam Gerber, a dry goods merchant, described the approach of the storm:

"It looked like a long plume of  smoke approaching form the southwest.  It hung for a moment over a small lake, and then was on us with a burst of furry."

The clouds were seen approaching for about 15 minutes before the wind struck the town.  Many of the residents had come to the business section and gathered in the street.

PRINT SHOP RAZED

Miss Kate Simms, editor of the Frost Enterprise, was one of those in Gerber's store when the storm hit.  She had fled from her print shop only a few minutes before.  The shop was razed to the ground.

"I got into Gerber's store a few minutes before the roof of the store caved in.  We all managed to dodge the falling debris, and none of us was injured." she said.  Miss Simms went to work to attempt rehabilitation of her establishment.  She is doubtful, she said, if she would attempt to continue publication of her weekly newspaper though.

"I watched the storm after it passed through Frost," one survivor said, "and saw pieces of sheet iron flying around in the air to the northeast as thick as buzzards."

HOUSE CARRIED 300 YARDS

T. F. Bonnett, also a dry goods merchant, estimated his loss at $50,000 and told of a home next door to his house being picked up and carried 300 yards through the air and then set down, slightly damaged.  Jack Slay, his wife and child were in the house at the time and escaped injury.

Gilead Bogan, delivery truck driver, who was killed, left his delivery vehicle in front of the Y. H. Greer grocery store and fled into the building.  This morning the truck still stood in front of the store.

Ive Sanders, mayor, Wednesday said that there had been no time to think of reconstruction. "I doubt if the town will ever be rebuilt to the extent is was before the storm."

Frost lies in a little valley in rolling countryside surrounded by rich farming lands.

One farmer reported that his barn was blown away leaving his horse and cows unmolested, eating their feed.

C. O. Brown, a butcher, took refuge in his refrigerator remaining in there until the wind's fury had abated.

 


HOUSTON CHRONICLE - MAY 7, 1930

Death Toll in Texas Cyclones Estimated At 65; Hundreds Are Injured, Many May Die

Storms Bounce Over Large Part of Central and Southern Section

The death toll of cyclones that bounced over the greater part of Central and South Texas late Tuesday was placed at 65 today.

The number of injured could not be totaled, but will number hundreds.

Many of those who were injured can not live, doctors said.  Many face death from lockjaw.  Splinters wrenched from shattered buildings pierced many of them, and it is feared tetanus will set in.

Red Cross and other relief units rallied their forces and plunged into the work of rehabilitation.

Salvation Army and church workers stood beside camp stoves through the night and Wednesday serving tired workers with hot coffee and sandwiches.

The known death list by towns was:

At Ennis: Baby daughter of Art Wagner, Bob Flanagan and Joseph Stroud.

At Frost: Leroy Fiew, 17; Mrs Lee 65; John Fiew, 17; R. L. Bell, 50, and his child; Mrs. League Wooley, 35, and a child 12; W. H. Bowman, 70; Gid Bogan, 35; Tom Bogan; John Fly, 50; Mrs. W. H. Bowman, 60; Prentice Fiew, 21; "Grandma" Berryman, 82; Mary Currie, negress, 50, and her son, Jones, 35; child of Jesse Satchel, negro; four unidentified negroes.  Three Mexicans were reported killed northeast of here.

At San Antonio; J. C. Kleespies of 1018 W. Seventeenth, Houston.

At Bynum: Mr. and Mrs. E. F. Isbell and son, Brandon; Mrs. Emma Hoff; three negroes.

The death list at Bronson in Sabine County, was raised to two Wednesday, when Mrs. D. J. Strickland died at 4 a.m. Her husband was killed instantly.

The wind struck Sabine County in four places, causing heavy property damage.  Northeast of Hemphill, the county seat, a large tract of timber was destroyed.

Near Waco: Two persons.

The death list in the Runge-Nordheim section as compiled by E. D. Parnell, secretary of the Runge Chamber of Commerce follows:

Runge: Ferdinand Mollost, 72; Mrs. Pauline Mellost, 68; Mrs. Francisco Villareal, Miss Cruz Villareal, Miss Celestina Villareal, Domingo Villareal, Mrs. Maria Herrera, 20; Lucia Salas Garcia, 40; Pancho Garcia, Santos Garcia, Juan Garcia, Manuella Garcia, Augustine Garcia, Caldus Garcia, Mrs. Manuela Gomez Salas, Silvero Salas.

***

AT NORDHEIM.

Nordheim: Gavino Trevino, 77; Setriova Molina, 70; Guadaluep Garza, Francisco Garza, 53; Ruperto Garza, 13; Serapio Garcia, Lorenzo Garcia, Martin Garcia, Mrs. Emile Huck, Mrs. Otto Fuhrken. 32.

In addition to the 26 killed in that area, 31 were injured.  Dr. D. Y. Willbern of Runge said Wednesday noon that seven or eight of the 14 injured at Runge would probably die during the next 24 to 36 hours.

Those injured are particularly susceptible to lockjaw, he explained, as they have been impaled with splinters.

Striking yesterday afternoon, the tornado took the greatest toll of life at Frost, in East Central Texas, and at Runge, in South Central Texas.

The force of the storm was felt in practically all sections of the state.  Navarro, Hill, McLennan and Ellis Counties in Central Texas and Karnes in the southern part of the state, bore the brunt of the storm.

National guardsmen, firemen and volunteers were working early today in the debris at Frost, where it was feared the death list would mount higher.  Nearly every building in the town was demolished.

Descending on Frost from a southwesterly direction, the tornado passed over a residentual section, sailed over a school house and then razed practically every one of about thirty business houses.  Telegraph, telephone, and electric wires were torn down by the wind, which was accompanied by a driving rain, accentuating the terror of the survivors.

CHILDREN SAVED

Sensing unusual danger when the swishing of the tornado sounded over the droning of school children at their recitations.  Superintendent Harrison of the Frost schools ordered the children to march to the basement.  Hardly had the pupils reached the lower floor when the storm struck, tearing off the school roof and scattering it over the countryside.

Of three churches in the town, one remained - the Presbyterian.  The Baptist and Methodist churches were destroyed.

Employees and customers in the two Frost banks saved themselves when they ran into an open vault and closed the door.  Both buildings were wrecked.

Of Frost's population of 600 half were homeless, streets were blocked with debris torn from wooden and brick buildings.  Automobiles were tossed about like toys.  One street was almost blocked with automobiles that had been in a dealer's window.

Most of the white dead at Frost were taken to Hillsboro and Corsicana as fast as ambulances could reach them over black land roads.  One wrecked building was cleared, and bodies of negroes, wrapped in sheets, were laid in rows to await burial.

Throughout the night the Corsicana Salvation Army and women from that city served coffee and sandwiches to rescue workers.

The twister struck a rich farming country, midway between Nordheim and Range, and cut a path only 150 yards wide, but 10 miles long.  At the edge of Goliad County it lifted and passed out into the Gulf of Mexico.

The death-dealing wind apparently started at Spur and the Abilene district of West Texas, skipping to the Frost area, then landing more than 200 miles south, near San Antonio.  Another dip near Runge and the tornado went out to sea.

Heavy, low-hanging clouds darkened many cities in the state.  A sandstorm and a snowstorm were reported in West Texas.  Several inches of rain fell in Central Texas and the wind did much damage, no estimate of which could be obtained.

WIRES DOWN

Communications were disrupted and reports from Kenedy and Frost were slow coming in.  Telephone and telegraph lines were being restored as quickly as possible, but conditions remained under normal.

The wind at Bronson, in Sabine County, apparently was not connected with the principal tornado, which, after striking in Southwest Texas, lifted and went out over the Gulf of Mexico.

Nordheim, near Runge, was the first of the communities struck by the wind to re-establish communications with the outside world, and reported the toll in that vicinity.

West of Kenedy, in Karnes County, George Tips escaped death by getting off the horse he was riding and clinging to the ground.  The horse was killed.

Between Falls City and Karnes City, in Karnes County, a severe hailstorm destroyed the crops, coincident with the tornado.

In the various districts where the storm hit the hospitals and many private homes were filled, as local Red Cross authorities ministered to the injured.

The Houston chapter of the Red Cross had not been called upon for aid.  W. A. Paddock, chairman, was out of the city Wednesday morning, but the chapter's office in the Marine Bank Building reported no calls for assistance.

The tornado, as it swept toward the coast, went through a rich farming area between Nordheim and Runge, cutting a path 150 yards wide and 10 miles long.  It then left the ground for a short distance.

L. H. Daingerfield, chief of the weather bureau here, said Wednesday that the tornados of Tuesday afternoon were occasioned by the low pressure area over Abilene Tuesday morning.

The wind at Abilene was the strongest since 1892, according to records there, and at Fort Worth approached the 1905 record.  In Houston the wind reached a velocity of 38 miles, southeast, at 1:45 p.m.

OTHER AREAS.

In areas other than those in which deaths were caused, the wind destroyed property, principally at Brownwood, in Brown County, and at Tidwell, north of Greenville, in Hunt County.

As the various relief agencies in the stricken areas continued their work Wednesday, stories of heroism were uncovered.

The violence of the storm at Frost was such that six freight cars were hurled from the tracks.  The jail was the only public building not demolished.

Residents of Frost said that the town was hit by two tornadoes about 15 minutes apart.  Incoming relief workers said the first sight they saw on entering the town was a debris-strewn cemetery, with sheet iron, lumber and papers scattered among the tombstones.

League Wooley, seeing the cloud approach, went to the schoolhouse for his child.  He returned home just as the storm struck, killing his wife and child.

One man escaped death by clutching a tree.  The top of it was torn off the trunk by the wind.

Frost residents reported that the wind-laden cloud "bounced along" and appeared to be in two sections.  Fence posts were jerked from their holes.

The infant child of Jesse Satchel, negro, was snatched up by the wind and early Wednesday had not been found.

The bodies of Prentice Few, 20, who died in a Corsicana hospital today and Leroy Bagley, 9 months, who died in a Corsicana hospital yesterday will likely be sent to Frost late today for burial.

The body of Mrs. W. H. Bowman, 60, who died en route to a Corsicana Hospital was held there today and probably will be sent to Frost today or tomorrow for burial.  Her husband was killed instantly.

Hawkins Scarborough, judge of the Thirteenth Judicial District Court was one of the first arrivals in Frost after the storm and remained there all night.

JURY EXCUSED

He excused all members of the jury for the week and the number of criminal cases set for trial Wednesday and Friday were passed.  A majority of the members of the jury panel left Corsicana after the storm to aid in the rescue at Frost.

Andrew G. Steele, county superintendent and past commander of the American Legion post at Corsicana accompanied by 32 legionnaires went to Frost soon after the storm and began patrolling the streets and aiding in the rescue work until national guardsmen took over these duties.

Steele said he had tendered the services of the American Legion boys to relieve those on the scene.  He said that probably 35 or 40 men would go to Frost this afternoon.

The roar of the tornado as it swept destructively through the west end of the county was heard by residents of Western Corsicana.

Rehabilitation work at Frost got underway today with highway crews opening up roads and telephone and telegraph companies restoring communication services.  Railroad crews also restored damaged tracks.

Red Cross workers were on the scene administering to the injured and needy.

funeral services for most of the victims were planned for tomorrow.  They will be buried in the cemetery at Frost.

Business men of Corsicana and Hillsboro conferred with those of Frost to the erection of temporary buildings for carrying on their businesses.

A search of the wreckage at Frost revealed no additional.

Meanwhile, reports of high winds, some of a tornado nature, trickled in over crippled communication lines from other sections of the state.

Four persons were injured northeast of Childress when a tornado destroyed two farm houses and damaged another.  The family of J. J. Hunnicutt escaped to a cellar shortly before their home collapsed.

Some property damage was done by a small tornado that swept across the northeastern part of Llano County.  No one was injured.  Small outbuildings in and near Sherman were wrecked, telephone poles were blown down and general small damage resulted from a wind storm.

Residence windows were smashed and trees uprooted by a wind storm at Marshall.  The damage was reported light.

Roofs were blown off large buildings and smaller structures were demolished by a wind of tornado proportions which struck Plano yesterday.  Trees were blown down in the residential section, and signs were dashed to the ground down town.  An accompanying heavy rain sent creeks on a rampage.

 


Houston Chronicle - May 8, 1930

DEATH LIST IN TEXAS CYCLONES
By Associated Press.

Dallas, May 8 - A partial list of dead in Texas tornadoes today placed the number at 75, as follows:
NEAR RUNGE, KARNES COUNTY:
Ferdinand Machost, 72
Mrs Pauline Machost, 68
Mrs. Francisco Villareal.
Celestine Cruz Villareal.
Domingo Villareal.
Mrs. Martha Herrera, 35.
Mrs. Lucia-Salas Garcia, 40.
Pancho-Garcia.
Santos Garcia.
Juan Garcia.
Manuela Garcia.
Caldus Garcia.
Augustina Garcia.
Mrs. Manuela Gomez Salas.
Silvera Salas.

NEAR NORDHEIM, DEWITT COUNTY:
Cavino Trevino, 77.
Mrs. Gavine Trevino.
Setriova Molina, 70
Guadalupe Garcia.
Francisco Garza.
Ruberta Garza.
Serapio Garcia.
Lorenzo Garcia.
Martin Garcia.
Florencia Garcia.
Mrs. Emil Huck, 32.
Mrs. Otto Fuherken.

NEAR KENEDY, KARNES COUNTY:
Francisco Delana.

NEAR OTTINE, GONZALES COUNTY:
Oleaven Clark, 3 (negro)

AT RANDOLPH FIELD NEAR SAN ANTONIO
John Kleespies, Houston

AT BRONSON:
Mrs. W. T. Strickland.
W. T. Strickland

AT ENNIS:
Baby daughter of Art Wagner.
Bob Flanagan, 15.

AT FROST:
Leroy Bagley, 9 months.
E. A. Patterson, 50.
J. E. Lee, 65.
John Fiew, 17.
Prentice Fiew, 21.
R. L. Bell, 50.
Bell's child, 12
W. H. Bowman, 70.
Mrs. W. H. Bowman, 60.
Gid Bogan, 65.
Tom Bogan.
John Fly, 50.
Mary Currie, negress, 50.
Jones Currie, 35, negro.
Child of Jesse Satchel, negro.
Four unidentifed negroes.
Three unidentified Mexicans.

NEAR BYNUM, HILL COUNTY:
E. F. Ishbell.
Alba Ishbell.
Miss Jugerson of Clifton.
Mrs. Emma Hoft.
Charles Wolfe of Spur

NEAR MASSEY, HILL COUNTY:
Miss Delmar Anderson

NEAR ABBOTT, HILL COUNTY:
Ehtel Williams.

NEAR MERTENS, HILL COUNTY:
Will Johnson.
Senorita Modesca.
Two unidentified negroes.
Five more died in Hill County Thursday.  Their names were not available immediately.

NEAR WEST McLENNAN COUNTY:
Mrs. Bacha, 75
Baby Bacha, 6 months.

 

RELIEF WORK, REBUILDING IS UNDER WAY

Red Cross Asks For $150,000 Fund; National Guard Aids Work; Victims Being Buried.
By. Associated Press.

Dallas, May 8. - The deaths of five injured today brought the toll of dead in the tornadoes that swept sections of Central and South Texas Tuesday to 75.  A number of other injured were not expected to recover.

The deaths were at Hillsboro, bringing the toll for that county to 16, and near Runge, where the deaths list was increased from 26 to 28.

The latest figures showed the following death toll; The storm area near Runge, 28; Frost, 22; Hill County, 16; near West, 2; San Antonio, 1; near Ennis, 3; Bronson, 2; Ottine, 1.

SOME NOT IDENTIFIED
Some of the dead in Hill County and near Frost had not been identified, and due to the proximity of the two storm areas it was thought possible that some of the unidentified negro dead might have been duplicated in lists compiled at Frost and Hillsboro.

Rehabillitation work was in full sway in the stricken sections and at Frost, carpenters were completing a large frame structure under which merchants of that place will endeavor to carry on their business until they have time to replace their own buildings.

Although not under martial law, guardsmen under orders from Governor Moody were at Frost aiding in clearing away wreckage and aiding in patrolling the devastated area.

Relief funds for the stricken communities were mounting, with some counties wiring that quotas assigned them had been raised.

Preparation for burying the dead was completed and this afternoon a mass funeral will be held at Frost the hardest hit of the towns struck.

The Red Cross last night appealed for $150,000 in Texas for the work and asked for gifts of clothes and food.

In Frost, Navarro County, where 22 persons out of 800 inhabitants lost their lives and practically the entire town was demolished, the cemetery was in the path of the twister and shattered tombstones had to be cleared away before graves could be prepared for the burial of storm victims.

Citizens of Corsicana nearby were leading in relief work and were assisting Frost citizens in erecting temporary business buildings and repairing the town's water system.  Texas national guardsmen, in command of Maj. Horton Porter of Hillsboro, were patrolling the town.

COTS SENT TO FROST

Dallas County's Red Cross chapter yesterday sent 100 cots to Frost for people made homeless by the storm.  The Red Cross also planned to assist in restocking farms and buying seed for replanting of crops.

Telegraph and telephone communication with the town was re-established yesterday.

Citizens of San Antonio, Cuero, Nordheim, Runge, Yorktown, and Kenedy, and all over South Texas were gathering relief forces for forty or fifty families left homeless near Nordheim and Runge in Karnes Country, where the tornado killed 30 persons and injured more than 20.

A haze of smoke yesterday hung like a ball over the storm area in Karnes and DeWitt counties from fires burning dead live stock and debris.  Loss of live stock in the storm area was expected to amount to thousands of dollars.

EMERGENCY HOSPITALS

Emergency hospitals were established in Nordheim and Runge for the physicians and nurses rushed from San Antonio and nearby town and several store rooms were turned into morgues for the dead.

Rapid operations were performed to save the lives of many persons maimed by flying debris and almost wholesale burials were held for those found mangled by the crushing wind.

Farmers whose homes were spared made a house-to-house check, going on horseback and in wagons through flooded roads and fields.  As a wrecked house was found the bodies of the dead and injured were loaded into wagons and transported to the nearest town.

Communication lines to the Runge and Nordheim areas also were re-established yesterday.

Harry Rogers of Corsicana was in charge of reconstruction work at Frost, assisted by F. P. McElwrath, Tyree L. Bell, John T. Fortson, Joe B. Fortson, Clyde Foster and other Corsicanans.

A check today revealed 47 businesses houses demolished.  Work on three large temporary buildings to be located between the depot and the man business section was launched.  One of the buildings will be 50 by 300 feet in size and will be cut into compartments 20 by 50 feet to house the stocks of merchants.

Seventeen of the compartments were engaged Wednesday.

The other two buildings will be 75 by 50, and 50 by 50 feet each.  They are to be constructed by Corsicana citizens.

These temporary buildings are to be used until the business section is rebuilt.

The work of salvaging wrecked stocks of merchandise began and both the First National and Citizens State banks have large crews aiding in the work.  Frost citizens were busy repairing the town's water system.

RELIEF FUNDS

Ted B. Ferguson, Corsicana, district manager of the Texas Power and Light Company today brought a check for $500 from John W. Carpenter, president of the Texas Power and Light Company, to be used toward the relief fund.  Ferguson said service would be resumed today and that floodlights would be installed so that the salvaging work could continue during the night.

All derailed box cars on the railway have been righted and pulled away from town.

Needy persons were directed to the home of Doctor Knox, Red Cross relief director.

Relief work at Red Cross headquarters is being organized by Beauford H. Jester, W. P. Brown and L. V. Majors, of the American Legion.

Hillsboro citizens have a committee at Frost assisting in relief activities.

Dr. J. C. Anderson, state health officer and E. G. Eggert, state sanitary engineer, arrived here late Wednesday and surveyed the scene of the disaster.  Eggert planned to remain several days to aid in solving sanitation problems.

Lieut J. D. Moffatt, Dallas, of the state highway patrol. E. D. Hinkle, member of the flying squadron, and State Patrolmen C. E. Talbot, R. M. Wallings, Wayne Davis, Jr., and M. R. Mallory arrived Wednesday and took charge of traffic direction.

Maj. E. T. Underwood of the adjutant general's office aided in completing military organization for relief and guard duty, acting as Governor Moody's representative.

About 100 Boy Scouts from Waxahachie, Hillsboro, Ennis, and Corsicana arrived Wednesday in trucks to aid in patrol and liaison work under the direction of W. G. Echols, district scout executive.

Between 40 and 50 families needed aid in the Karnes County storm district, but citizens of Nordheim, Runge, Yorktown, Kenedy and Cuero have contributed funds and the DeWitt County chapter's gift of $250 each to the mayors of Nordheim and Runge will care for emergency needs for a day or two.

Emergency hospitals were crowded at Nordheim and Runge.  Physicians and nurses were rushed from San Antonio and nearby towns and several storerooms were turned into morgues for the dead.

IN KARNES AREA

One of the places hardest hit in the Karnes area was in the vicinity of the Eckhardt School community, where several farm houses were blown from their foundation and scattered for miles.

The H. A. Sturmer home was blown through the field with nothing but a doorstep to tell where the large house once stood.  No one in the family was killed, but all were injured seriously.

Nearly 400 yards from the house a huge piece of roofing tin was wrapped around a tree much as a string is tied about a loaf of bread.  Such pieces of roofing were carried for miles in the wind.

At one place near Nordheim a mile-wide path was torn in the brush up a sharp slope in the ground.  At the top of the slope the home of Emil Huck was picked from the foundation and scattered in the wind against the home of Otto Fuhrken, Huck's son-in-law.

Wreckage of both homes was strewn for perhaps four city blocks down a slope before the wind lifted, clearing trees a half mile away.  Mrs. Fuhrken was killed instantly and Mr. and Mrs. Huck and Fuhrken were injured seriously.

STOCK LOSS HEAVY

Stock valued at thousands of dollars on the Huck farm were killed, and funeral pyres were by neighbors in clearing the farm.

Grotesquely standing on the roof which was on the ground was a wooden leg and a child's teddy bear.

An oak tree more than 100 years old was stripped of every leaf and most of the branches.  One section of the tree more than two feet in diameter was thrown 400 feet in the wind.

A new automobile was started down the road by the wind and ended a total wreck in a ditch far from the home.

One of the greatest tragedies occurred at the L. G. Duderstadt farm where nine of a family of 10 persons were killed in Stanley and their bodies blown more than 300 yards into a field from the top of a hill where the house stood.

The dead were in the family of Zaragosa Garcia and his wife, children, mother, mother-in-law, and son-in-law.  Garcia himself was in the field and was saved although he was seriously injured when blown from a plow.

SITE WIPED CLEAN

The spot on the crown of the hill where the house stood was wiped clean, much as a child pats out a play house built in sand.

Timber and personal effects of the family was blown through the brush for miles.  An automobile was lifted through the air for several hundred feet before being demolished in the field where the bodies were found.

Mr. and Mrs. Duderstadt were in Nordheim when the wind struck the farm.  Their children, Warren, Wilmer, Minamae, Hazel and Martan were alone in the home just a short distance from the home of the Garcia family.  Only the windmill of the farm was blown down although the cyclone passed directly over the house hundreds of feet in the are carrying wreckage of the Garcia home.  None was injured.

Four in a family of eight on the J. W. Deborah farm three miles south of Runge were killed and the others injured when the house and all farm buildings were blown down.  Mrs. Francisca Villareal and her three children were killed, and the father and three children were seriously injured.

Sebrera Villareal, age 3, cried for her mother as she lay in the emergency hospital at Runge.  The child probably will recover, as will the others.

Seven persons of the Herrera family were killed on the Mrs. C. F. Grosse farm three miles south of Runge.  The mother, Mrs. Maria Herrera, and four children were killed, and Mrs. Carmel Rodriguez and Rosa Nannez also were killed when their house blew away.

All uninjured persons joined in the search for dead and injured and missing neighbors.  The search continued all night and until the Red Cross and other emergency groups started functioning.  Few of the searchers slept all night Tuesday but stayed awake on hot coffee and sandwiches served from every eating house in the towns.  Runge and Nordheim responded en massse to the appeals for aid, and shortly before noon a relief fund of several thousand dollars was raised from among the citizens.

The Runge Chamber of Commerce was made into a clearing station and clothes were gathered for distribution among the storm victims.  A plea for funds and aid was sent Wednesday from the stricken area, where citizens worked side by side with physicians and nurses from the larger cities as far as San Antonio.

Communication was interrupted as the storm struck, and after the telephone and telegraph lines were restored a volume of business, which paralyzed the lines, was started.

The DeWitt County Chapter of the American Red Cross gave $250 each to the mayors of Runge and Nordheim for the emergency fund.

Greatest damage in Gonzales County was about 10 miles west of Gonzales, at Ottine, where the home of Sherman Clark, negro, living on the Henry Howell farm, was demolished and his 3-year-old daughter, Cleaven, was killed and a 5-year-old girl suffered a broken leg.  The wife and three other children escaped with minor injuries.  Several other negroes were injured, and the Negro Methodist Church was blown down.

A mule near Ottine was killed when a large piece of timber was blown through its body.

Victoria suffered only from rain and hailstones, which broke windows, crashed through roofs and tore automobile tops.  The tornado tore a path through the Woods near the town.  Crops were damaged by hail and rain.

A. D. Willborn, formerly of San Antonio, but now living near Runge, was stunned by a hailstone as he and his wife and small son lay on the ground in the brush beside their home as the storm struck.  The father placed his large sombrero over his son's head to protect him from the large hailstones and the man was struck on top of the head and stunned.  The family was uninjured.


San Antonio - May 8. - San Antonio is expected to contribute $10,000 of the $150,000 Red Cross relief fund to aid tornado sufferers in Texas.  Steps were being taken today to launch a drive for that amount, and Douglas W. King, chairman of the Bexar County chapter of the Red Cross is in charge.  The national Red Cross has assumed direction of the relief work in the area.  Albert Evans, assistant national director, assumed charge of the work at Frost.

Governor Moody is expected to issue a proclamation calling upon citizens of Texas to aid in rehabilitating the devastated area.


SOCIETY TO CARE FOR ANIMAL STORM VICTIMS

Theodore Meyer, president of the Texas State Humane Association, announced Thursday that he received a wire from Mrs. Anna T. Burke, secretary of the Dallas County Humane Society, stating that a member of the Dallas Society had donated funds to care for all animals in the state needing it after the tornado.

Mrs. Burke wired the Red Cross in Frost to take charge of the work at the society's expense.


RED CROSS MAKES PLEA FOR FUNDS FOR STORM AREA

Houstonians were being asked Thursday to contribute to a relief fund for storm suffers in half a dozen Texas communities by the Harris County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

The appeal for funds was made by W. A. Paddock, chairman, Wednesday night.  It is estimated that $150,000 will be needed in the Texas storm section, he said.

Contributions should be sent to the Harris County Chapter, 512 Marine Bank Building.  Mr. Padlock said.

This is the first appeal for funds made by this chapter in two years.  Mr. Paddock announced coincident with the request for help.  The needs of the storm torn districts are urgent and the Midwestern section of the Red Cross already has made funds available for the work.

"The relief work will be done among residents of our own state, and this tragedy which has visited us brings the need for relief home to us with great force."

Mr. Paddock's action followed receipt of a telegram from William M. Baxter, Jr., director of the American Red Cross for the Middle West, with headquarters in St. Louis.


In the Wake of the Whirling Winds

Relief workers, toiling in the wake of the destructive cyclones that ravaged several sections of Texas late Tuesday, reported many freakish pranks of the wind and many miraculous escapes.

  • A team of dray horses were killed at Frost when a piece of timber impaled them both.

  • Fear is believed to have caused the death of a negro in Wichita Falls.  The negro feel dead as a crash of thunder accompanied an electrical storm.

  • Employees and customers of the two banks at Frost saved their lives when they fled into the bank vaults as the storm struck.  Both bank buildings were demolished.

  • Earl Mitchell went to the ruins of his home at Frost Wednesday morning to see what could be salvaged.  he found his little bulldog, Jack, lying in the center of the wreckage guarding the premises as he had done through the night.  Two Persian cats, Tony and Susie also were on guard.

  • In Houston County on the farm of Will Brimberry, the storm lifted a barn off its foundations and demolished it leaving corn that was stored in the bard on the ground unscattered.

  • Sargosa Garcia, Mexican farmer near Runge, worked in his field late Tuesday afternoon, and Wednesday was alive, the only survivor of a family of 10.  The other nine members were in the Garcia home when the storm hit, and were killed.  The house was blown<300?> yards.

  • George Tips, riding horseback between Runge and Kennedy, saw the tumbling mass of black clouds approaching.  He left his horse and lay down on the ground clutching a mesquite bush.  The horse was killed but Tips escaped injury.

  • Mrs. Ross Hernandez, living near Runge, was impaled on a two-by-four which passed through her thigh.  Doctors sawed of the two ends before they were able to extract the timber.  Mrs. Hernandez is expected to recover.

  • An entire herd of horses was killed when the tornado plowed into the group near Kenendy.

  • The wind snatched up a negro baby from its mother's arms near Frost and the body of the child had not been found at noon Wednesday. The mother said she struggled for what seemed an eternity before relinquishing her grasp on the baby.

  • Paul Pierce, living four and a half miles from Runge was killed sitting on the floor of his home with his wife and small daughter, when the wind blew the house's roof and walls away.


Navarro County TXGenWeb
Copyright March, 2009
Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox