Various Towns, IL - IN - MO "The Great Tri-State Tornado", Mar 1925
HUNDREDS DIE IN MID-WEST TORNADO.
DEATH TOLL MAY REACH 1,000 AS REPORTS ROLL IN.
SEVERAL TOWNS REPORTED WIPED OFF MAP BY FORCE OF STORM WHICH SWEEPTS INDIANA AND ILLINOIS, WITH REPORTS OF DEAD AND INJURED TRICKLING IN OVER WRECKED AVENUES OF COMMUNICATION.
WEST FRANKFORT, LITTLE MINING VILLAGE, REPORTED HARDEST HIT.
(By The Associated Press)
Chicago, Mar. 18. -- A tornado tore through southern Illinois today after lashing eastern Missouri and then caused considerable damage in Indiana before it died out to the north-east after collecting a reported toll of 3,631 persons dead or injured on the basis of estimates available tonight from the storm-swept regions where communication was largely destroyed.
While darkness and prostrated wires made the collection of data difficult estimates which came in through various sources with ever-increasing tolls, placed the total dead at 957 and the injured at 2,674 before midnight.
The destruction of property was enormous. Several towns being almost entirely wiped out and such populous places as West Frankfort and Murphysboro having lost whole blocks of buildings. In the town of Parrish only three persons were said to have escaped injury or death out of a population of 500.
The wind was so powerful at Parrish that bodies were carried more than a mile. It was reported at Murphysboro, where the dead totaled 100, a school house was blown down over the heads of 245 pupils, while at DeSoto, late estimates placed the dead at 100 and the injured at 300 out of a total population of 703.
A school house at DeSoto also was rezed and only 3 of the 250 occupants escaped unhurt, while 88 bodies already have been taken from the ruins. The latest reports say that 700 persons were killed at Parrish and West Frankfort alone, but other information placed the loss in these towns somewhat lower.
Chicago, March 18. -- More that 1,500 persons are reported killed or injured by a tornado which swept through southern Illinois and Indiana late, today, causing great property damage and virtually wiping out two or three towns in its path from Missouri to othe northeast. Wires were down in every direction under the fury of the winds and it was impossible tonight to check the reported casualties.
West Frankfort, Ills., a mining town on the face of tonight's reports suffered the greatest loss of life, estimates of the dead running as high as 1,000.
Murphysboro, thirty miles south-west of West Frankfort, with a population of 11,000, suffered severely with a casualty list reported as high as 250. Great havoc was wrought to buildings in this city and fire broke out in the debris. On report of this situation an effort was made by Governor Small to send troops to Murphysboro while relief trains and Red Cross workers prepared to depart from Chicago and St. Louis for the storm area.
While railroad dispatchers from previous experiences thought that first estimates of the casulaties might prove excessive it seemed certain from reports originating in many places on the edge of the storm's path that the dead might number in the hundreds. No reports had been received at a late hour of damage in the rural regions.
Among the other towns and cities to report damage and loss of life were DeSoto, Illinois, with 150 casualties reported; Parrish, Illinois, with all but three of a population of five hundred reported either killed or injured; Princeton, Indiana, with an estimate of 100 casualties; Griffin, Indiana, with twenty; Gorham, Illinois, with 37; Carmi, Illinois, with 150, and Crossville, Bush and Hurst, Illinois, reporting serious damage and numerous casualties.
Darkness descended over the desolated area shortly after the wind, had twisted its way to the northeast and the streets of the demolished towns were filled with frantic inhabitants climbing over the piles of wreckage, seeking missing friends and relatives. From the recesses of the jumbled timbers came the cries of injured persons, who were pinned beneath the wreckage, while the bodies of the dead could be seen far down in the debris whence it was impossible to extricate them.
Starts In Missouri.
The twisting wind apparently assumed its dangerous proportions in eastern Missouri, shortly after 3 o'clock this afternoon. It wiped out most of Annapolis, Missouri, and then tore its way across the Mississippi river into Illinois, apparently lifting its devastating force and spreading out like a river delta until the various twisters descended some 25 miles east of the Mississippi.
It was around 3 o'clock when the tornado again touched earth with its mighty swish, swinging through Murphysboro and Desota, and laying these places waste in the twinkling of an eye. The wind rushed on close to earth for 15 or 20 miles and then apparently lifted until it came to Carmi, Ills., near the Indiana line. After taking its toll in that region the storm again rose only to descend once more, 20 miles west of the state line at Princeton, Ind.