Swifton and Other Towns, AR Violent Tornados Strike Area, Apr 1929



By Associated Press
Little Rock, April 11 -- Forty-two persons are known to be dead, several missing and believed dead, and nearly 100 injured in a tornado which swept through sections of north-central Arkansas last night.
Twenty-one persons are dead at Swifton, 20 miles north of Newport, and five at Guion. The latter town is reported to have been blown away. All victims were white.
Six negroes were reported killed in the vicinity of Parkins and four negroes at Princedale.
The storm struck at Alicia, and Swifton, small towns north of Newport. The dead included a MR. and MRS. RILEY and children; MR. and MRS. RILEY LONG; MISS VINEY LONG; MR. and MRS. CLEO NICHOLSON. A partial list of dead at Swifton includes: CHARLES DEFRIES and daughter, GRACE; MRS. J. A. ROWLETT; MRS. ESTHER RILEY and children, RUTH and BUSTER; MRS. RUSSELL LONG and daughter; HOWARD WATTS; THURSTON HUDGENS; and JOHN LOW. MRS. LOW was injured.

By Associated Press
Little Rock, April 11 -- With some more inaccessible sections not reached yet by rescue workers who centered their attention on caring for the many injured, the casualty list as the result of last night's tornadoes in north Arkansas, at noon to-day stood at 43 known dead and probably more than 100 injured. Property damage was unestimable.
The bodies are being placed in temporary morgues at Swifton, nearest storm center, and other nearby towns while the injured are being taken by the dozens to hospitals at Newport and Batesville and also in private homes.
Rescue workers expected to find many more bodies under the debris in the isolated farm settlements and houses which bad roads made it difficult to reach today.
A wide area in almost complete waste was left by the tornado in the Swifton section where the greatest damage resulted. Houses were carried long distances and in one instance a house was dropped in a creek with three of the family of five dead.
The known dead are listed as follows:
Twenty-four in Swifton area; eight near Parkin; three at Guion; six at Lorado; two at Wynne and also two children missing. The number injured is so great that all estimates are wholly inaccurate.
The Red Cross and other relief agencies are caring for the injured and dead. The injured reported that Guion was practically demolished. More than 75 persons were injured there and were taken to Batesville. Many critically injured are expected to die.
The lone hospital at Batesville was filled and the dormitories of Arkansas College have been converted into first aid quarters.

Fayetteville Daily Democrat Arkansas 1929-04-11


My grandmother, Anna Moore

My grandmother, Anna Moore Haney, used to tell me the story of this tornado. She was the wife of Jim Haney. My mother, Enid Haney Barber, must have been 6 at the time and she had such vivid memories of the disaster that she was forever afraid of thunderstorms. My grandmother Haney, surprisingly, did tell a humorous story of the event - people often use humor to deal with tragedy. She said that everyone was tearful and upset when a family walked down the street in Swifton, covered head to toe in mud and she and others began to laugh, feeling terrible that they were laughing but somehow unable to stop . . . my grandmother died many years ago, but my mother just passed this March at the age of 89.

Tornados in Arkansas

Could you please post about the tornado that hit Judsonia Arkansas around the 50's I believe. I remember my grandparents talking about it quite vividly. Judsonia is in White County just outside of Searcy. Also, would you email me when this information becomes available?
Thanks Amie