Royston, GA (SC) -- Tornado Damage, Apr 1944



Royston, Ga., April 17. -- (UP) -- Emergency crews worked to provide shelter and relief today for scores made homeless by a tornado which hit Georgia and South Carolina with lightning swiftness before dawn yesterday and left at least 39 dead and more than 300 injured.
Twenty-one were killed in Georgia, and 18 in South Carolina. Property damage by the twister, which cut a 100-mile path, was expected to exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Food was provided for homeless families from field kitchens, and emergency shelters were set up in churches, schools and other public buildings by the Red Cross. Special Red Cross disaster workers, doctors and nurses were sent from Atlanta to the devastated areas.
Eye witnesses said the tornado rupped thru the stretchof farming communities "with express train speed" crumbling homes and buildings like matchboxes, uprooting trees, overturning cars and disrupting communications.
The heaviest death toll was in Franklin and Hartecos, Georgia.
Doctors and nurses worked by candlelight to administer aid to the injured. At Royston a baby girl, named SUSIE, was born to MR. and MRS. ALVIN DOVE during the storm.
A young mother whose husband and two young children were killed before her eyes, said that the tornado sounded like a "wild roaring thing" as it swept thru Royston.
MRS. ERNEST OUTZ, 26, said the family knew the storm was coming.
"I woke the children, my husband and my mother-in-law," she said thru swollen, bruised lips. "I took all my family up the road a piece to a house we thought might be safer. We were sitting around when it hit. It was terrible. A funnel-like cloud seemed to come out of nowhere. I had the baby in my arms. The next thing I knew, the baby, my husband, my three year old girl, and I were lying under a piece of roof. My husband and two sons, HOMER, 6, and THOMAS, 5, were found 300 yards from the house, dead."
The tornado left Royston and surrounding villages almost a shambles. Many homes were roofless, automobiles were overturned on the streets, and the Negro sections virtually were demolished.
In Franklin Springs, Ga., JOHN AMASON was blown thru two double windows and rolled 300 yards to the highway. Thousands of dead chickens from his farm littered the highway for more than a mile.
At Greenwood, S.C., 12 year old EMMA JEAN WILLINGHAM was killed when the wind destroyed her home and blew her 100 feet across the street. The twister, which lasted less than five seconds, left Greenwood's streets cluttered with debris. A woman's slip was seen fluttering from the topmost branch of a tree, and paper money blown from a bureau drawer was found scattered in another street.
The tornado was followed by torrential rains, and power failure left most of the stricken areas without lights for hours.

The Lima News Ohio 1944-04-17