Belton, Anderson, SC Tornado Damage, May 1933
15 KILLED AS TORNADO SWEEPS THROUGH STATE.
MANY INJURED AS STORM HITS PIEDMONT BELT.
BELTON COMMUNITY, NEAR ANDERSON, SUFFERS LARGEST DEATH LIST.
MANY ARE HOMELESS.
FARM HOUSES DESTROYED -- DAMAGE ESTIMATED AT MILLION DOLLARS.
By The Associated Press.
At least 15 persons were killed and more than 60 injured by a tornado which swept eastward through the heart of Piedmont South Carolina late yesterday, doing damage which was estimated to reach $1,000,000.
Deaths were reported from Anderson, Laurens and Greenville counties, while heavy damage was done in Chester county.
Heavy Loss At Belton.
The heaviest loss was at Belton, near Anderson, where ten were killed, between 45 and 55 injured, 25 seriously, and approximately 60 families made homeless. The Blair Towel Mill there was practically demolished, and C. BLAIR RICE, its president, estimated the company's loss at $150,000.
Four persons were killed in the Lebanon section of Greenville county and another across the line in Laurens county.
MISS CLARA BELL PHILLIPS, 12, of Belton.
MRS. DELLA PHILLIPS, 48, Belton.
MRS. McALLISTER, of Belton.
MISS EFFIE McKEE, 30, of Belton.
RUTH HAMBY, 5, Belton.
MRS. JOHN ROGERS, 55, Belton.
GEORGE HAYNIE, an infant, of Belton.
JESSE M. PHILLIPS, Belton.
GEORGE E. PHILLIPS, a baby, of Belton.
An unidentified negro woman of Belton.
MRS. J. BREADUS THOMPSON, of Lebanon, Greenville county.
JAMES, 8, and RICHARD, 2, sons of MRS. THOMPSON.
An unidentified negress at the THOMPSON home.
MRS. ELIZABETH SPOON, 65, of Laurens county.
Twenty-five Belton residents were in the hospital at Anderson last night while 20 or 30 others received treatment and were discharged. A number of those still in the hospital were expected to be released today. Ambulance attendants and surgeons refused to estimate the number treated at the scene.
Skips Over Anderson.
Sweeping up from storm-torn Alabama and Louisiana, the tornado skipped over Anderson with a roar, dipped several times in sparsely settled sections and then tore through the heart of Belton's industrial section. Seventeen houses were demolished in the Blair mill section alone, while 14 were destroyed in the Belton mill village. Other damage was heavy.
Tearing away the heart of the towel mill, the twister uprooted a tall water tank and sent it crashing into the three story building at the weave room in which 200 men had been working. Employes on the third floor seeing the storm coming, had warned their fellow workers and all marched to the ground floor where all escaped death but many were injured by falling debris.
Veering, the storm then swept into the Belton mill village, unroofing practically all houses which it did not destroy. Huge trees were uprooted throughout the Belton area, and ambulances were forced to halt nearly half a mile from the scene of destruction. Traffic was restored as night fell.
MRS. SPOON Killed Near Laurens.
MRS. SPOON was killed by a falling chimney when the storm struck her home nine miles north of Laurens, in the Barksdale section, where more than a score of persons were so seriously injured as to require hospital treatment. MRS. ALGIE THOMPSON was among them, with slight chance of recovery. Her husband and two-year-old son also were hurt.
The BREADUS THOMPSON home was completely destroyed, burying MRS. THOMPSON, her sons and the negro woman.
The storm dipped down in tow sections of Chester county, demolishing five buildings and unroofing three others at the A. A. OWENS farm six miles southeast of Chester in the Peden's Bridge section, and doing considerable damage in the Lewis Turmout section seven miles north of Chester where it was accompanied by hail.
The Anderson county relief unit of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation rushed food and relief supplies into the Belton area, and Belton's business men announced their entire facilities had been turned over to Mayor COBB.
The Anderson National guard unit was mobilized to take charge of the devastated section in case looting or other disorder should develop, but no call had been issued for its services last night.
WERTH WILSON of Chester, who was at Belton taking penny portraits, gave an account of the storm as he gradually recovered from shock and exhaustion at the Anderson county hospital.
He said the center of the tornado passed in about three minutes, after striking first about 100 yards north of the little town. He said it ripped its way down Main street, doing considerable damage to signs and other structures, and then veered across to the Blair Mill.
Saves Life Of Child.
MRS. BESSIE OWENS saved the life of her 18 month old baby by holding up the torn wall of a neighbor's kitchen in which she was trapped. She suffered a serious head wound and an injured shoulder, but staved off the falling timbers until help arrived.
A school teacher at Broadway, between Anderson and Belton, saved the lives of her pupils by leading them into a nearby ditch as the storm approached. The building was wrecked.
At Lebanon, in Greenville county, a school house was demolished the Lebanon church was badly damaged, the Warner Creek church was destroyed the Highland Creek church was badly damaged and every tombstone in its graveyard was blown down.
The roof of the house in which MRS. SPOON was killed was said to have been blown two miles, and bales of cotton were picked clean from the ground and carried several hundred yards.
Among the injured whose names were obtained in the Lebanon - Greenville county section where the storm cut a path approximately half a mile wide destroying and damaging many homes were:
J. B. SPOON, BUB SPOON, MRS. MARIE SPOON, MRS. JESSIE SPOON, MELVIN STOKES, HAROLIND and KENNETH OWENS, MISS LOUISE GRAY, five small children of THOMAS W. BARKSDALE, GASTON SIMS, negro and his wife and four children.
A large number of persons were treated at their homes, but many were taken to Laurens.
Florence Morning News South Carolina 1933-05-05