Recollection of Mary Lee Grimes Truex
Everyone was in school. I was 14
years old and in Math Class. and when it got so dark most of us hid under our
desks. The superintendent, Mr. Harrison, told everyone to go down to the
first floor in the big hall way and we crouched against the wall.
When it hit the railroad it split and half went over the schoolhouse and
destroyed most everything and tore down the Methodist Church and the Baptist
Church. The Baptists rebuilt on the same lot but the Methodist went over
by the funeral home where it is now.
The other half of the tornado dipped water and mud out of the lake, so it didn't
do too much damage.
Mr. Patterson had a drug store across the street from where the more recent one
was. A gas line was ruptured and caught fire and he burned to death before
anyone could get to him.
Most of the real bad damage was north of the park. It took most of the sores in
that section. Where the cafe is now, that area wasn't as torn up. Grandma Grimes
had roof damage and mud in her wood work that is still there I imagine! She
wasn't home. I think she was in Dallas or Ft. Worth visiting.
We (Iva and F. M. Grimes family) lost everything...house, furniture. We
found one quilt box and cedar chest and the back half of the piano. Baird's
house lost their roof and their house was moved out in the street and part of
the siding was ripped off.
Mr. Lattimore lived next door to us. Their house was mashed down but not blown
away. He was home with a broken leg and couldn't get to the storm cellar. He
wasn't hurt though. He was the first person I met when I got home and he told me
where everyone was.
One girl's father came and took her out of school, and they were killed in their
car on the way home.
My mother, Iva and brother went with 43 neighbors into the storm cellar next to
Baird's house. My sister, Jean, came home from school with a Wilma Ruth
Stockard and stayed there too.
Within the week, wooden stalls were erected on the street where businesses were
blown away and they started business again as soon as possible. The Red Cross
came and gave shots for typhoid and some died anyway. Iva Lee Scott, Aunt
Maude's girl, Lora Ann's little sister, died with meningitis caused from the
drinking water they thought. I think she was 4 years old.
One woman expecting a baby (down the street from our house) was found under the
roof of another house, but wasn't hurt very much.
The Patterson boys kept pictures at the drug store.
Written by Mary Lee Grimes Truex
Submitted by her cousin, Virginia Crilley
of Carl Matthews
I remember the tornado at Frost. My sister, Jean, born March 1929, was being
weaned at the time. Rains was heavy in Dawson and I could not get out of
the house to escape my sister's screaming for her bottle.
When my Father came home from the meat market, he reported that he had just
heard that a tornado had hit Frost and that he was concerned for many friends
and relatives who lived there.
On Sunday, we drove from Dawson to Frost. The Richland Creek Bridge
was under water and most roads in the area were near impassable. We had a
long blue Cadillac in the garage, but we made the trip to Frost in a two seat
Model T that was used for a delivery car. It had a higher center.
I remember that we drove to Hubbard.. to Mertens ...and then to Frost. The day
was sunny and bright. My Father drove, I sat in the middle, and my Mother
held my baby Sister.
There was talk of a black man who jumped from a front porch to escape the storm
and who did not hit the ground for some distance away. Some told of a
woman who took refuge in her "pea patch," and remained safe there
while her house disappeared.
My Father pointed to a piece of metal barn roofing that had been blown through a
My most vivid recollection was of a residence with walls and roof completely
gone. The floor was bare except for an upright piano. On its top sat
a bowl of fresh flowers that rested on a cloth doily ..all completely
undisturbed. I was impressed.
My Father had brought fresh meat, cured ham, etc. and delivered it to a center
where food was being prepared for victims and volunteers. We drove
around the town that was almost in ruins. Some houses were standing
without damage while other were completely gone.
My father found many relatives and friends and their meetings brought
embraces...and tears. Some tears were of joy...some of sorrow.
Submitted Nov 6, 2000 by Carl
from "As I Remember It..." by Joe Hambrick
The Frost Tornado came on May 6, 1930. Mr. Morrison had
a T-Model whoopie, as we called it. It was a truck with a homemade flatbed
on it. When word of the tornado came, dad and my brothers, Cabe and Roy,
and every able bodied man around piled on the whoopie and went to Frost to help
out. It had rained all day and the roads were muddy. They had enough
men along to push. They spent the entire night, returning before noon the
next day with all the bad news. There were 22 people dead and much of
downtown destroyed. My maternal grandparents, John Berry Honea and
Margaret Catherine Perry Honea, lived there. They were okay and their home was
not damaged. The next day we went back to town. Uncle Clarence came
over from Tyler to check on the grandparents. After he found out all was
well, he had to driver over to Blooming Grove to call home. He let me ride
with him in his 1929 Chevrolet. We made a drive through Frost and I was
impressed by the National Guard soldiers as we passed. People came from
everywhere, a solid stream of Model-As and Model-Ts going through town. It
was a sad sight. Only a few buildings stood downtown. We had spent
part of that afternoon in the storm cellar. The Sky was black, but we
never saw the actual funnel. Many storm cellars were built after that
event and many stories came out of it. I don't have the space or time to
recount them here.
Tornados Strike Summers Family
In 1914, Easter Sunday night,
the C. G. Summers family home was completely demolished by a tornado, at that
time called cyclone. The one thing that saved the family was an upright
piano in the living room; it was so heavy that it held down that portion of the
floor where the family were at the time. They did not have time to get to
their storm cellar. The only casualty was Louise, who suffered a severe
head injury, from which she recovered.
In May 1930, a tornado destroyed
almost all of Frost, Texas. The summers home was again severely damaged,
but there were no injuries or casualties. Cecil Summers was injured in the
tornado, but he was not at home. He was at the home of his uncle and aunt.
Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Bowman in Frost. Cecil suffered two broken legs and his
aunt and uncle were both killed.
Thomas Fiew, Jr.
ARTICLE SUBMITTED BY DORIS F. RODRIGUEZ
Frost, Texas was hit by a tornado at 3:26 pm on Tuesday, May 6, 1930, and
in three minutes the small thriving town of nearly 1,000 residents was almost
completely demolished. The business district was completely destroyed and so
was everything north of the railroad. The school building was damaged and
several area churches were destroyed. The newspaper office was also
destroyed. Some eye-witnesses say the tornado split into two separate
twisters just before it passed over the schoolhouse.
My great-uncles, John Thomas Fiew, Jr. (age 15) and James Prentiss Fiew
(age 19), were just leaving a movie theatre when the cyclone hit and they ran
into the nearby Patterson Drugstore for shelter. The drugstore collapsed and
caught fire and John and James were both trapped inside. The owner of the
drugstore, E. A. Patterson, and John burned to death that day and James was
severely injured. Babe Readnour, sister-in-law to John and James, rode the
train to Corsicana with their bodies. James died the next day at 7:00 pm.
Mr. A. J. McKnight, who is a conductor on the Cotton Belt Railroad stated
that he was in Frost around 3:20 pm, just a few minutes before the cyclone
hit, and that men at the depot told him to go carefully because a storm was
brewing. His train was ready to leave Corsicana when word reached there of
the disaster and his train brought out all of the nurses and doctors who
tended to the injured and the dead.
All telephone and telegraph communication to Frost had been cut off while
stoic survivors burrowed into the ruins of their homes and businesses in
search of friends and loved ones, and the town was without electricity, gas,
or water. They worked throughout the night with the assistance of National
Guardsmen from Corsicana and other volunteers from neighboring towns. The
Rainbow Girls made and distributed over one-hundred sandwiches to the storm
victims and volunteers
A mass funeral was held at the residence of Mr. L. A. Morgan on Thursday,
May 8th, which was one of the few houses unharmed by the storm. While the
caskets rested in the house, the sorrowful families were seated on the front
porch where the sermon was conducted. The guests stood in the yard and
spilled out into the street in all directions. Rev. W. W. Richison, pastor of
the First Methodist Church, served as presiding chaplain. Eleven hearses
carried the twelve caskets to the Frost cemetery where they were buried in
their respective family lots. It is believed that 22 died as a result of the
** Note that the ages and names of many of the victims in local area newspapers are incorrect.
Phillip L. Mitchell Account
My mother was in the 4th or 5th grade at the time of
the storm. She was out on the porch of the school dusting erasers when
the storm hit. She was the youngest of nine children and would have
graduated from Frost High School around 1935/6. While I don’t remember
that either of my grandparents ever recounted anything about the Frost
storm (they were both in medical school in Galveston when the hurricane
came---never talked about that, either; and plain unlucky to have been
in the two greatest natural disasters to strike Texas). From my aunts, I
remember that my uncle John Matlock was in Patterson’s store. My
granddaddy was at his office in the bank and had been called several
times to get in the vault. He did. The storm struck and leveled the bank
except for the vault. A picture of his twin daughters, Phyllis and
Clifford, was later found by someone in Mertens and returned to him. The
Matlock home was on the easternmost edge of Frost right off the railroad
right of way and across from the water tower and pump house. They had no
damage except for a few windows.
... Mary Kathryn may be the only living member of
that Frost class. She has very definite memories of the storm. They
lived about three miles west of Frost. It had rained all day and her
father had just arrived, with mud chains, to pick them up from school.
All the kids were in the downstairs hall with Mr. Jones holding the
Submitted by: Phillip L. Mitchell
grandparents” [Joseph E. Hobbs & Elizabeth Willard Hobbs] house was
destroyed by the tornado. They moved to Corsicana after that. The Red
Cross gave my mother a chance to attend nursing school and she graduated
from Baylor School of Nursing in 1934 and worked as a full time nurse
until her retirement in 1975.
Submitted by Jane Ann Shipp