Gainesville, GA Tornado, Jun 1903
CARRIED DEATH TO HUNDRED
CYCLONE AT GAINESVILLE GA.
Came Out of an Almost Clear Sky and in Two Minutes Had Completed and Awful Devasttaion [sic]
HOUSE TOPS CARRIED LIKE LEAVES
Gainesville, Ga., June 1 â€“ Within a space of two minutes today a tornado dealt death and destruction to the city of Gainesville and environs, killing at least one hundred people, wounding one hundred and fifty more, leveling one hundred cottages to the ground and tearing two stories off the Gainesville cotton mill. Probably two-thirds of the killed were women and children operatives in the cotton mills. The death list includes only about six negroes.
From Clear Sky.
The storm came from the south out of almost a clear sky, swooping down on the Gainesville cotton mills, near the southern railroad station, at 12:45 p.m.
With a terrible crash the two upper stories were swept away leaving thirty two operatives dead. The cyclone then swept around the outskirts of the city to New Holland, two miles away, where are located the Pacolet cotton mills, one of the largest institutions of this character in the south.
Women and Children.
The mills were not seriously damaged, but probably 100 cottages nearby, occupied by the operatives employed in the mills were completely demolished, killing thirty-three people. These were mostly women and children, as the heads of the families were nearly all in the factory at work.
The store of Joseph Logan near the Gainesville cotton mills was crushed by the wind and eight men who had taken refuge there were instantly killed.
The Jones general store met a similar fate and in the ruins one man and one woman were crushed to death.
The property loss at Pacolet mills is estimated at $75,000 and at the Gainesville cotton mills at $40,000.
Some houses were torn into fragments; others were lifted from their foundations and carried intact for blocks, white roofs sailed like leaves in the air and many persons were picked up and carried over the trees and houses for long distances.
One of the first large buildings to fall was the Gainesville cotton mills, a three story structure. The third and second stories were shaved off smoothly and it is believed every person working in them perished. About fifty were working in the mills at the time, but the great portion were in the lower story and escaped.
Fire In Wreckage.
In five brick buildings on the main street about eighteen people were killed most of them employes [sic] of stores.
Fire had started in the wreckage and the department is unable to get to it because of obstructions in the street.
As soon as the storm had razed the buildings those not disabled immediately went to work rescuing the victims. Every male citizen who could lend a hand promptly joined in the work of rescue. This work is now going on and the dead in the path of the storm are being identified and given to relatives as quickly as possible. The cyclone tore down all wires leading into Gainesville except those of the Southern Bell Telephone company. There lines are now being used by survivors to communicate with the outside world.
All surrounding towns have been appealed to send doctors.
The Southern depot was blown down. The iron works were demolished and several people perished in the wreck. The cotton oil mills were blown down. The old Piedmont hotel, now used as a school and apartment house, was razed and half a dozen or more people killed. Piedmont hotel was wrecked and several people perished with it.
Five brick stores on Main street were swept away. In all 200 buildings were demolished.
The dead as far as obtainable at Gainesville are:
MRS. J. M. CAMP and baby,
MISS WILLIE BOONE.
J. E. SUMMERVILLE.
MRS. DOC. CLARK.
BABY OF MRS. HOWINGTON.
Nathan Jones and wife.
W. T. Henderson.
W. O. Miller.
Decatur Herald, Decatur, IL 2 Jun 1903