Tekamah, NE Tornado, May 1930

Tekamah NEB Circa 1910 Ruins Ruins Tekamah Luthern Church

TORNADO HITS TEKAMAH AND FOUR KILLED.

TWO MEN, A WOMAN AND A SMALL CHILD LOSE LIVES.

AMOST A HUNDRED PEOPLE INJURED.

PROPERTY LOSS AMOUNTS TO NEAR TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND.

Tekamah, Neb., May 2 -- (AP) -- Swept by a tornado that killed four persons, injured almost a hundred and caused damage that may reach $200,000, Tekamah began reconstruction today.
FIfteen blocks of homes were almost demolished by the storm. Trees still standing are shorn of all foliage and most of their branches.
Schools are closed today and business houses are running with half forces.
The dead are:
JOHN HOUSER.
AL BRINLEY.
MRS. WILLIAM TUTTLE.
Two Year Old Son of MR. and MRS. HANS C. ANDERSON.
Two other twisters swept through northwestern Nebraska, but did little damage.
The three persons most seriously injured are in Omaha hospitals.
They are:
MRS. JAMES K. BATES.
HAROLD BATES, her son.
HANS ANDERSON, father of the baby who was killed.
The ANDERSON baby was torn from his mother's arms and carried more than a hundred yards to his death.

Killed By Tombstone.
MRS. TUTTLE died, it is believed, when hit by a tombstone. She was near the cemetery when the storm broke. Some tombstones were carried away. Others were flattened as if they were cardboard.
The death of BRINLEY is attributed to his fearless nature. When the storm approached, FRED SMITH, a neighbor, ran in to warn the family. The others took refuge in a basement, but BRINLEY and JOHN HOUSER, with whom he had just come home, went to an upstairs window to look at the clouds. The wind carried BRINLEY through the window and left his body, crushed, a houndred yards away.
HOUSER'S body was found unmaked by any injury. It is believed that the suction of the storm suffocated him.
Today more than a hundred workers were clearing away the debris. Some worked through the night. Crews were organized among Legion members and firemen by Mayor POUCHER. The Red Cross has offered to send a special worker and rehabilitation work will be carried on by the Legion, its auxiliary and the Red Cross.
Throughout the night doctors at the Tekamah hospital and the American Legion hall, hastily converted into a haven for the injured, worked by lamp light and flashlights to treat the stricken men, women and children.
Within a few minutes after the tornado had swept through, the north end of Tekamah, the entire town was plunged into darkness when the lighting system failed, forcing the searchers to grope through the darkness in seeking the more seriously injured.

Many Doctors Called.
Doctors were hastily summoned from nearby towns and several of the injured demanding hospital attention were brought to Omaha in a Blair ambulance, when the facilities at Tekamah were exhausted.
Streets were completely cloggged by debris, but by daybreak the salvage crews had nearly completed their cleanup work.
The 2-year-old baby of the ANDERSONS was killed in its mother's arms when the storm wrecked their home. MRS. ANDERSON suffered a broken arm, while her husband, in an Omaha hospital, is in a critical condition.
Other towns to be struck by the two storms that swept the northeast section of the state were Jackson and Homer, the latter barely brushed by the tornado.
An earlier report that Pender had been demolished by a twister proved erroneous.
The storm that brushed Homer was of short duration and moved so slowly that persons in its path, warned by the telephone operator at Homer, were able to escape.
The tornado at Tekamah, witnesses said at first appeared headed for the business district, but suddenly veered and swept through a residence area.
R. K. HANCOCK, teller of the Burt County bank, Tekamah, his family and seven neighbors, escaped death and injury when the wind lifted HANCOCK'S home from its foundations and dashed it into debris a hundred yards further on.
HANCOCK and his family and neighbors had been watching the storm slowly approach. Finally they rushed to the basement. They had scarcely reached the cellar when the house was lifted over their heads.
KEITH METHOD said he saw three women and two children hide in a closet of a house and escape unharmed while the ramainder of the house was swept away.
Funeral services for the four victims will be held perhaps Sunday.

The Lincoln Star Nebraska 1930-05-02

Comments

May 1930 Tornado

It was told to me by my Grandmother, Darleen G. Warren, that they woke that day to hot, humid, and windy conditions. It wasn't till later in the day when they were doing chores when she and her brother heard their father yell to get to the house and for the highered hand to let the animals out of the barn. They all hurried back to the house and down to the basement with her mother grandmother brother father and highered hand when the tornado hit the house. She said it sounded like a freight train and smelled terrible. When the tornado went over the house the highered hand had to hold her grandmother so tight that he broke 6 ribs. Also a brick had fallen from the sky and hit my grandmother on the head to hard that blood pumped from it when her heart beat. When it died down her father went up the stairs to see where it was headed, and her brother followed. As he reached the top he yelled, "it's comin back around!", turned and knocked her brother down the steps. After the tornado had turned around it took the rest of the farm and then headed east.

Tekamah Tornado 1930

It is said by family members that my great-grandfather, Al Brinley, refused to go to the cellar because it was Sunday dinner and he never missed Sunday dinner. I was told that when they found him, he was six blocks away, in a tree with one shoe off.