Various Towns, AL - GA - TN, Tornado Outbreak, Mar 1932
TORNADOES OVER SOUTH KILL 200.
MOUNTING TOLL OF DEAD AND INJURED; 5 STATES FEEL FURY OF WIND.
Birmingham, Ala., March 22. (AP) -- At least 214 persons were killed in a series of tornadoes that struck widely separated communities in five Southern states last night and early today.
Alabama suffered most heavily. Restoration of crippled communication lines brought in a steadily increasing number of casualties. Just before noon the total for this state stood at 169. Thirty persons were known to have been killed in Georgia, 12 in Tennessee, two in Kentucky and one in South Carolina.
Atlanta, Ga., March 22. (UP) -- Twenty widely separated communities in four states of the Old South counted nearly 200 dead and hundreds injured today from storms of cyclonic violence which ripped through the area late Monday and early today.
The estimated dead, on basis of reports from physicians and officials in the stricken areas, was 193 shortly after noon.
Dead and injured by states on these estimates follow:
Alabama -- Dead 149; injured 597.
Georgia -- Dead 28; injured 65.
Tennessee -- Dead 13; injured 34.
South Carolina -- Dead 1.
Kentucky -- Dead 2; injured 4.
Totals -- Dead 193; injured 700.
The fury of the winds and rains was general over the affected area, badly hampering relief workers and delaying reports of damage from the most critically stricken towns.
National guardsmen were on duty today at Tuscaloosa, Ala., and at Northport, six miles distant, to aid in the relief work and prevent looting. The known dead reached 35 at Northport. Tuscaloosa escaped with minor damage.
Chilton county, southeast of Tuscaloosa some 100 miles and about fifty miles northwest of Montgomery, the state capital, reported a total of 26 known dead today. The one hospital at Clanton, the county seat, had 45 injured. Scores of others were being treated at doctors' offices hastily turned into emergency hospitals.
Rescue parties slowly making their way through the debris strewn countryside expected to find more dead and injured in isolated rural communities.
Clanton, Ala., escaped the full force of the storm, but nearby communities, including Thorsby, Plantersville and Union Grove were virtually wiped away.
The storm first struck in the northwestern part of the Alabama sweeping over Demopolis, Faunsdale and Marion, northeastward through Northport and Clanton and further north over Columbiana.
Further northeastward, Taedega county suffered severe damage with a score killed. Across the state line in Georgia nine were killed at Cartersville, twelve near Athens, one at Merriwether and one at Decatur.
Thirteen persons were reported killed in middle and eastern Tennessee, five near Pulaski, four near Conasauga, one at Charleston and one near Franklin.
Uniontown, Ky., reported two dead.
Chilton county officials at Clanton, Ala., asked Governor B. M. MILLER to call out the national guard to aid in controlling the situation there. Medical supplies, cots and bedding were also asked. Red Cross officials at Montgomery organized for relief work.
Many had harrowing experiences, similar to those related today by OBIE WILLIS, a farmer living near Collins Chapel, Ala., and brought into this community with the maimed body of his mother, who was killed, his dying wife, and his father, who was critically injured.
"My wife and I were in the house when the storm struck. It came up suddenly, darkening the house like a big black cloud shutting out the sun."
"There was no time to be afraid. I heard a crash. Then I must have been knocked out. I came to lying flat on my back outside the house in the yard."
"Part of the front door was lying on my chest. The house was wrecked. I moved the planks and door that were on me and crawled over to my wife."
"She was lying in a ditch across the yard. I knew she would drown in the water in that ditch if I didn't get her out quickly."
"The clouds were all about and it seemed that balls of fire were shooting all around us."
"Finally I got my wife out of the ditch. Then I leaned over her to protect her from the rain and lightning. She was unconscious. I stayed there nearly two hours until neighbors came to help us."
Six Children Killed.
One strange story was that of the nine children left at home by the LATHAM family at Plantersville, 18 miles from Clanton. Six of them were killed outright in the storm which levelled their home. The smallest baby was blown away. Two others were in critical condition.
At Columbiana, north of Clanton, MR. and MRS. THOMAS A WALTON, an elderly couple were killed. WALTON'S body was found in the wreckage of the house. MRS. WALTON had been borne by the wind out into the front yard. Their daughter ELLA, 38, died in an ambulance en route to a Birmingham hospital. MISS ETHEL WALTON, the only survivor, is in a critical condition in Birmingham.
The family's assets, including livestock, crops, farm buildings and even trees, all except the land itself, have been wiped out.
The tragic experiences of Farmer WILLIS were repeated by the scores in each stricken community. Cots, beds, all available medicines and surgical instruments and supplies were rushed into the district. Nurses and physicians and surgeons from every large community hurried into towns where local medical help was not nearly sufficient to care for the injured.
Meanwhile, authorities charted the course of the winds that brought disaster to the state.
The storm was first reported at Linden and Myrtlewood, two small communities about 40 miles east of Meridian, Miss. They are slightly south of the center of the state.
At this point the storm apparently split, one part moving 15 miles directly north to Demopolis where there was little damage, then on 40 miles to Northport where many were killed and hurt.
The other section of the storm headed northeast from Linden to Myrtlewood, 10 miles on to Faunsdale, another 15 miles to Marion, and then it turned almost straight east 25 miles to this town and Thorsby. From here it moved north to Columbiana, only 20 miles from Birmingham.
An off-shoot of the storm hit Cullman, north of Birmingham, while high winds and lightning broke communication lines all through the South, especially in East Tennessee and North Georgia.
Nine Towns Bear Brunt.
The nine towns which felt the heaviest force of the storms and the number of residents in each are:
Northport 2,173; Linden 982; Marion 2,141; Demopolis 4,037; Clanton 1,847; Greensboro 1,705; Calera 914; Columbiana 1,180; Faunsdale 264. They are in Tuscaloosa, Shelby, Marengo, Chilton, Hale and Perry counties.
The storm's fury passed up Tuscaloosa, except to level the country club and nearby buildings. Then it swept across the river and demolished 150 to 200 homes, most of them in the negro district.
Fire followed the wind through Northport. Eighty city blocks were razed there and the flames spread rapidly before they finally were checked. The first trucks served also as ambulances.
Relatives Wander Around.
Hysterical relatives of dead or missing wandered aimlessly through the streets until finally directed by guardsmen or sympathetic townspeople toward a place of rest, or to the first aid stations.
The injured at Northport taxed the capacity of the 100-bed hospital. Twelve of them, it was believed, were near death.
Students from the University of Alabama, across the river in Tuscaloosa became relief workers.
Mothers, many bleeding from minor injuries, paced the streets seeking lost children. One woman carrying an unconscious child, collapsed and fell in a flooded gutter.
At Faunsdale, FLOYD COLLINS, a store clerk, stepped out to watch the whirling winds. He was buried by flying bricks as the walls of the building crumbled.
More than 100 shacks were reported splintered at Marion, striking terror into the hearts of negro residents of the district.
At Columbiana the storm cut a path 350 yards wide, levelling a score of homes.
At Lomax Station, a railroad settlement three miles from here, the ten houses of the community were disorderly piles of lumber.
LIST OF KILLED IN FOUR STATES.
Birmingham, Ala., March 22 -- (AP) -- The death list by states in last night's tornadoes follows:
Union Grove, 10: JOHN CHANDLER; MRS. BERNIE CHANDLER; Two infants of MRS. BERNIE CHANDLER; DAVIS infant; HOPSON SMITH; FRANK SMITH; Three negroes.
Collins Chapel, 3: MRS. CARTER WILLIS; MRS. ELLEN CLAKELY; MRS. HEADLEY.
Thorsby, 12: Two children; MRS. ORVILLE MARTIN; PERRY LYKES; CARNIE HAYS; MRS. LUCILLE QUENN; STRENGTH child; Four unidentified whites; QUEEN child.
Callman, 9: MRS. W. A. AYRES; MRS. WILLIAM AYRES; Infant of MRS. WILLIAM AYRES; G. COLE; P. A. WRAY; MRS. P. A. WRAY; son of P. A. WRAY; grandson of P. A. WRAY; Infant of E. H. BATES.
Talladega, 4: MR. and MRS. TAYLOR; Two negroes.
Sylacauga, 17: 2 Women; 1 Man, 14 Negroes.
Marion, 11: All Unidentified.
Paint Rock, 4: R. M. ERWIN; J. J. SMITH; FRED RUSSELL JONES; One Unidentified.
Columbiana, 16: TOM WALTER; MRS. TOM WALTER; BOB HOWELL; MRS. BOB HOWELL; Son of BOB HOWELL; Daughter of BOB HOWELL; Eight negroes; Two unidentified persons.
Farmsdale, 1: FLOYD COLLINS.
Northport, 28: MRS. EBB SHIRLEY; R. B. RAY; W. F. FARLEY; MRS. W. F. FARLEY; K. L. DANIELS; Eighteen negroes; RUBY HUNTER; MAURICE JONES; CASSIE RICHARDSON; Man named HUNTER, Child named GIBSON.
Fairview, 1: MISS TESSIE PARKER.
Lomax, 4: CECIL WILLIAMS; "AUNT SIS" HEADLEY; Two negroes.
Linden, 2: Child of JOE DIXON; One unidentified person.
Demopolis, 4: Four negroes.
Plantersville, 12: JACK LATHAN; MRS. JACK LATHAN, Five LATHAN children; MRS. J. M. MITCHELL; MR. and MRS. DERAMUS; R. L. HAMM; TOM WALLACE.
Falkville, 1: MRS. SARAH LAWRENCE.
Belleview, 3: BUEL L. BURCHFIELD; MARY DELL BURCHFIELD; LUCILLE BURCHFIELD.
Stanton, 1: MRS. L. R. MITCHELL
Bethen Church, 8: MR. and MRS. JACK TAYLOR; FRANK ROBERTSON; Five negroes.
Corinth, 6: MRS. G. O. MINER; OLGA BRYANT; AUDREY BRYANT; IOSE BRYANT; ALMA BLAIR; PERRY Infant.
Barfield, 3: EDGAR McKAY, 12-year-old son of EDGAR McKAY, One unidentified negro.
Stevenson, 3: Three negroes.
Macedonia Community, 5: LOREN MADDEN; MRS. HUT TEMPLE; Infant of MRS. HUT TEMPLE; M. M. EDWARDS; MRS. EDWARDS.
Cassville, 3: GUS CANNON; CLAUDE CARROLLO; NOAH DOVER.
Near Roe, 1: EDGAR SUMMERVILLE.
Colbert, 2: MRS. J. M. WAGGONER; MRS. COLLIE TURCKER.
Near Athens, 1: MRS. WALTER LITTLE.
Athens, 2: Two negroes.
Pulaski, 4: MRS. WITT PURYEAR; BILLY PURYEAR, 16; CYNTHIA PURYEAR, 10; J. W. PURYEAR, 7.
Charleston, 1: HAROLD LINER, 6.
Franklin, 1: RUSSELL BEASLEY, 15.
Lewisburg, 1: JOHN PRITCHARD.
Conasauga, 4: RAYMOND PARKS; MRS. RAYMOND PARKS; Two PARKS children.
Uniontown, 2: A. H. PILLAND, 80; JOHN SHANK, 60.
Abilene Daily Reporter Texas 1932-03-22