Various Towns, AR, TX Tornadoes, Apr 1921

TORNADO DEATH LIST GROWS AND DAMAGES NEAR MILLION.

TOTAL KNOWN DEAD FIFTY-TWO AND NUMBER MAY BE INCREASED WHEN COMMUNICATION LINES OPEN.

MANY VICTIMS IN THE HOSPITALS.

RESTORATION OF DEVASTATED REGIONS WILL REQUIRE MONTHS OF WORK -- MANY PEOPLE ARE LEFT HOMELESS.

Little Rock, Ark., April 16. -- An area vast as an empire in Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, and Mississippi is taking roll tonight of one of the most exact number of dead or the exact amount of damage is definitely destructive tornadoes in many years. It probably will be days before the known. Most authentic reports available place the death toll tonight at fifty-two with the probability that the figures later may be augmented. Figures on the monetary loss as yet are indefinite but the total devastated area is expected to exceed $1,000,000.
Direct wire communication with many points in the path of the twister is still impossible which accounts for the meagerness of detail concerning the effects of the storm.
Relief parties were at work tonight searching the debris of demolished buildings, uprooted trees and smashed fences which the tornado left in its wake. Over miles of raindrenched terrain soggy and debris strewn, rescuers are seeking the bodies of dead and endeavoring to bring relief to the injured. The flicker of lanterns, the headlights of automobiles and the feeble glows from the windows of the few homes still standing furnish the light by which the rescuers carry on their work.
The tornado swept northeastward from Case county Texas, Miller and Hempstead counties, in Arkansas however, apparently bore the brunt of the damage and it was in these counties that the greatest loss of life occurred.
At Hope, Ark., in Hempstead county, thirty-five are known to be dead. Other Arkansas towns which suffered are Marlbrook, Powers, Fulton, Sheppard, Dolph, Prescott, Balvina and Washington.
The damage in Hempstead and Miller counties is estimated at $600,000 and the county commissioners at Hope tonight estimated that it would take three weeks to clear away the wreckage. Restoration of the devastated area will not be completely accomplished for months. Throughout Hempstead and Miller counties and other sections where the twister raged hundreds of farm houses and outbuildings were demolished. A hundred trees were uprooted near Hope and now lie across the bankhead highways.
At Hope and Texarkana the hospitals are crowded tonight with injured and every doctor and nurse available throughout the southwest has been pressed into service. Approximately 200 injured are in the hospitals and Texarakana. Besides the dead in the Arkansas district six are known to be dead at Avenger, Tex., in Cass county.
Meager reports received here tell of the destruction of the towns of Ralph and Sulligent in Alabama.
Besides the damage done by the tornado much harm has been by torrential rains that followed it.
At Marlbrook the list of dead includes the names of MR. and MRS. STEPHEN SHACKELFORD and their two children. Six members of the JONES family, negroes, were killed on the Boyce plantation in Miller county.
MR. and MRS. JOE ATKINS and their son, GEORGE, are among the dead in Hempstead county. Two members of the COYLE family were killed at Dolph and MRS. J. A. DUKE and son also lost their lives there.
At Shiloh, in Miller county, CARTER and LENNIE ROBERTS, sons of BERT ROBERTS, were killed. MR. and MRS. H. PORTER died at Dolph. MR. and MRS. R. L. PERKINS and their small son were among the victims at Avenger, Texas.
The list of dead and injured, however does not begin to tell the story of suffering wrought by the twister.

The Mansfield News Ohio 1921-04-17

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Various Towns, AR, TX Tornadoes, Apr 1921

My grandmother who died in 1998 used to tell me the story of her "Great Aunt Arabelle" who died in the 1921 Tornado in Hemptead County, Arkansas near Blevins. She told it the way her mother told it to her. Here's a synopsis of how she would tell the story:


"Aunt Arabelle had a small house that was close to a neighbor's bigger house that sat on top of a hill. Aunt Arabelle heard a cyclone coming and thought the larger house would be safer than her smaller house, so she gather all the kids and went to the larger house. Aunt Arabelle gathered her baby and took the baby with her into the closet and sat the baby in her lap. When the cyclone hit the house it demolished it. A piece of planking went through the closet door and decapitated her. The baby was okay. After the storm was over, the large house was completely destroyed and Aunt Arabelle's house was still standing."


Aunt Arabelle was Mrs. J.A. Duke mentioned in the article above.