Zephyr, TX Tornado, May 1909
Tornado Has A Big Death Toll
Storm in Texas Kills Between Twenty and Twenty-five People.
Town Of Zephyr Is Badly Wrecked By Twister And People Are Left In Great Distress - Fifty Houses Are Entirely Demolished - Two Children Found Dead Two Miles From The Site If Home.
Brownwood, Tex May 31 - With half of its population dead and wounded, nearly every building in the town demolished, and with fire raging in the ruins, the survivors at Zephyr, 15 miles east of this city, are in a state of distress as a result of a tornado that hit that town early yesterday morning.
Until communication has been restored it will be impossible to determine the exact extent of the disaster. The casualties are estimated at not less than a hundred, 32 of whom were instantly killed.
Awakened by Roar of Storm.
According to a railroad man who reached Brownwood this morning on a handcar, the tornado was preceded by a hail storm of unusual severity. The roar of the storm caused the sleeping citizens to awake with a start.
They scrambled out of bed only to be caught between the tottering walls of their houses. In a short time there were scenes of wildest excitement. Weeping women and children, clothed in the scantiest of attire, rushed about in the ruins seeking loved ones, or looking for places of shelter from the storm.
After the first shock of the disaster had passed, the men and women who had escaped death or serious injury turned their attention toward rescuing the dead and dying from the ruins, which had been ignited and burned fiercely. This work, hampered by darkness and the limited number of able bodied men, was necessarily slow, and it is feared that some who escaped the wind's fury met worse fate in the fires that followed.
Relief trains were hurried to the scene and several automobiles carrying physicians, provisions and medical supplies left Brownwood early this morning.
Fatalities Near Temple.
A report from Temple says that conditions are bad, that much damage is believed to have been done to the surrounding country, and that from 20 to 25 persons are dead, as many more injured, and a number of houses destroyed by fire. The partial list of dead at Zephyr is as follows:
MRS. T. T. CABLER and two children, an 18 year old son and infant daughter, Brownwood.
MRS. ARTIE HART, 37 years old, and son ROBERT, six years old, Zephyr.
MISS GERTIE HUSTON, 25 years old, Zephyr.
GIBBS CLOYCE, two year old son of PROFESSOR CLOYCE, Zephyr.
OSCAR WARE 45, and two sons, HARRY and FRANK, 10, Zephyr.
MISS JESSIE WARE, 15, Zephyr.
W. G. SIMMONS and wife and two children, MISS BERTIE, 24 and WEST, 12, 13, Zephyr.
BEN BROWN and wife, Zephyr.
W. AR. RAMSEY, 50 and son OLLIE, 13, Zephyr.
C. M. CARTER, 40 and wife, 35, a son GLOVER, 12 and three-year-old infant, Zephyr.
CAPTAIN COLLINS, 30, Zephyr.
RUBY CAMPBELL, three, Zephyr.
RODNEY CAMPBELL, infant, Zephyr (these latter two the children of MRS. BOB CAMPBELL).
Storm Cuts Wide Swath.
The storm formed half a mile southwest of Zephyr and swept down upon the village, cutting a wide swath directly through the residence and business district.
Nearly 50 houses were entirely demolished. Lighting struck a lumber yard and started a conflagration which destroyed one entire business block.
No effort was made to fight the fire, as the care of the dead and wounded victims demanded all attention.
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