Antlers, OK (Other Towns) Tornados, Apr 1945

Antlers OK  Tornado of 1945 Memorial.jpg

OKLAHOMA COUNTS 74 TORNADO DEAD; HUNDREDS HOMELESS.

ANTLERS IS HARDEST HIT WITH 55 DEAD; DOZEN PLACES STRUCK.

MUSKOGEE HAS 11 DEAD, STATE SCHOOL FOR BLIND THERE IS WRECKED; FOUR RESIDENCE BLOCKS IN OKLAHOMA CITY LEVELLED.

Oklahoma City, April 13. -- (AP) -- Oklahoma counted its tornado dead at 74 and the homeless in hundreds today after twisters bounced crazily over the state to spread destruction in a dozen cities and rural communities.
The storms swept on into Arkansas, killing three, and two persons were reported missing in a storm at Morrisville, Mo.
Most seriously hit in Oklahoma by yesterday afternoon's storms were Antlers with 55 dead, Muskogee with 11, Oklahoma City with four and Hulbert with three. Boggy had one fatality, as did Red Oak, Greenwood Junction and Rowland. In Arkansas, two were killed at Dora and one near Fayetteville.
There were no accurate estimates of injuries and damage in the typical Oklahoma storms but hundreds of persons were hospitalized and whole sections of cities were swept away by the winds' fury.
Red Cross Chairman PAUL OSBORN at Antlers, struggling to bring order into rescue work, said one-third of the city of 3,000 was demolished when wind caught up 500 or 600 residences. Army posts and Red Cross chapters were sending all available personnel into the area, and Will Rogers Army Air Field at Oklahoma City sent a badly needed portable electric power plant.
At Muskogee a twister whirled through the eastern outskirts, seriously damaging every building of the Oklahoma School for the Blind, many of whose inmates were hospitalized. A large part of the city was without electric power for several hours when lines from a plant on the Arkansas river were blown down.
Damage to the Oklahoma School for the Blind from yesterday's tornado here is estimated at $1,000,000 and the school will be closed for the remainder of the year, officials said today.
The city water supply was cut off, with a reserve of 2,000,000 gallons for fire protection, but the pumping station is expected to be back in operation by noon Saturday. One hundred and fifteen persons are hospitalized here.
K. R. REED, a resident of the southeastern Oklahoma City district hit by the first tornado reported, said the wind accompanied a cloud which he described as "shaped more like an acre-wide spade than anything I can think of." Four full blocks of residences were leveled here.
Collectively, the tornado toll was the worst since a twister hit Pryor in 1942, killing more than 100 persons and smashing a major portion of the city.
Twisters which did damage, but did not kill, also struck at these Oklahoma towns: Cushing, Flower, Kendrick and Choctaw.

ANTLERS FOLK DAZED AFTER TORNADO HIT.

SOLDIRS HELP SEEK VICTIMS; TWISTER CUT RIGHT THROUGH COMMUNITY.

Antlers, Oklahoma, April 13 -- (AP) -- Six hundred soldiers from Camp Maxey, Texas, assisted this stricken community today in a search for victims of a tornado which took a known toll of 50 dead and injured more than 300.
The tornado -- sweeping through this city of 3,000 like a lawn mower -- late Thursday cut a path a half mile wide at its widest point and 1 1/4 miles long. It started in the southwest section of town, zig-zagged through, leaving at the northeast corner.
Temporary aid stations were set up in churches and the high school auditorium. The injured and dead were taken to Hugo, Durant, Atoka, Talihina, Idabel and Paris, Texas, when the lone undertaking establishment here could not handle them.
Light and power were restored to most of the city before dawn. No attempt has been made to estimate damages but many industrial establishments were destroyed and the number of houses blown down was estimated upward from 300. Approximately a third of the town was hit.
RUPERT JONES, head of the funeral home, said he inspected the tornado path and said "he wouldn't be surprised if the death toll rose to over 100."
Most of the bodies were not easily identified.
JONES said his wife called his attention to the tornado bearing down on the city and said it looked like a big funnel which seemed to split into a million pieces as it hit.
The Presbyterian church was destroyed and the pastor's wife, MRS. HERB LAZENBY, was seriously injured. The First National Bank and the post office also were damaged but the court house in the storm's path was not touched.
Forty children at St. Agnes' school escaped injury although the building was demolished. Mother Superior Innocentia said the children were praying when the twister hit. Twi sisters were injured, one seriiously.
The 9-months-old child of LEE WELCH, Pushmataha county attorney, was listed among the dead and also a baby born at 11 a.m. Thursday.
BUCK SMITH, former county attorney, who had just been discharged from the navy, was killed.
The army set up a field kitchen in the heart of the damaged business section and served food and coffee to all who came for breakfast.
Many of the citizens appeared dazed. Some stood on street corners all night discussing the disaster.
BILL BROCK, manager of the Paul Stewart hotel, said he was standing in front of a hotel plate glass window when he sighted the approaching twister. He went into a back room. The hotel suffered only minor damage but a three-story building next door was leveled. It was here a man and wife, owners of a bakery, and three of their employes were killed.
The Rev. A. J. HAMILTON, pastor of the Methodist church, was driving home from a call when the storm struck. He pulled to the side of the road. The wind shook his car, but he was unhurt. Arriving home he found the house next to the church demolished and assisted in taking four children from the ruins. Two were dead. One died later.
Eight children returning from school took refuge -- and were safe -- under a marble water fountain on the street.
The northeast section of residences was virtually leveled. Only one house, owned by H. L. ZIMMERMAN, was left standing in an area of several blocks.
Time of the storm was fixed at 5:40 p.m. as electric clocks stopped at that hour.

IDENTIFIED DEAD AFTER TORNADOES.
Oklahoma City, April 13. -- (AP) -- The identified dead in Thursday's tornadoes.
At Antlers:
BUCK SMITH.
LEWEY TURLEY.
D. D. GALLIGLY.
MARK DAY.
MRS. NIC NASH.
MRS. TOM SPENCE and her four children.
WICK SMITH.
MR. and MRS. JIM PITCHER.
CHARLEY WELCH (infant).
FLOYD MADDOX.
CAROL CRAWFORD.
MR. RYAN.
NELLIE NELSON and her husband.
LYDIA JONES.
Infant COGBURN.
MRS. BARBAROUSE.
MRS. WALKER.
At Muskogee:
MRS. RUBY NELSON, 30.
A. M. HORN, 58.
JERRY HUDDLESTON, 4 months.
MRS. J. O. HANKS, about 42.
MRS. MAYBELLE BRILEY, about 30.
MRS. EARL ADAMSON, 32.
DOLORES HICKS.
ALDA STEPHENS, 14.
JUANITA MOSS, 15 (both students at Oklahoma School for the Blind).
A baby, last name given as HENSHAW.
MRS. BURGESS.
MRS. NOAH.
At Oklahoma City:
Chief Warrent Officer T. D. MORANGE, Detroit, stationed at Tinker Field.
Tech Sgt. HARVEY REASE NEWELL, Atlanta, Ga., stationed at Tinker Field.
W. A. BREWER, civilian, Oklahoma City.
MERRITT CECIL CLANTON, 3.
At Red Oak, Okla.:
THELMA LORENE PRINCE, 8.
At Greenwood Junction, Okla.:
MRS. LEE ENGLISH.
At. Rowland, Okla.:
PEARL JOHNSON.
At Dora, Ark.:
MRS. MINNIE MOSER, 65.
MARGARET MOSER, 1 year old.
At Crosses, Ark.:
SAM GABBARD.
At Hulbert, Okla.:
MRS. SALLY GASSAWAY, 51.
MRS. MAXINE WISE, 19, and her infant daughter FERN.

The Ada Evening News Oklahoma 1945-04-13