Summit, MS Tornado, Dec 1892
And Nine Persons Injured.
Eleven Houses Scattered Over the Hills and Fields.
Broken Furniture, Clothing, and Household Effects Hanging from Tree Tops.
Pine Trees Seen Floating in the Air Like Straws.
The editor spent Wednesday evening at the scene of the cyclone and talked with eye-witnesses, interviewed the wounded, and traveled out two miles along the track of the cyclone.
We first went to the residence of Mr. J. Kennebrew who lives about 200 yards from the track of the cyclone. Here we found Mr. S. A. Lowe, his wife, and five children. His wife was resting very easy but was so severely wounded that she could not move, and only spoke in a whisper.
She said she was just preparing to go to the sewing machine when she heard the roaring noise. She went to the door to call her two younger children in the house when she felt the house moving. Her little daughter, Nellie, aged four years, was standing by her side and the baby was on the floor. From this time on she remembered nothing, until she found herself fastened between some plank, and just a little to her left she saw her little daughter Nellie lying with a timber across her chest; she saw her move her had, but she never moved or spoke again. The baby was only slightly bruised and the two children in the yard were not hurt at all. She was rescued by some negro woman and taken to the residence of Mr. Kennebrew. Mr. Lowe was five miles from home and knew nothing of the storm until told of it. He hurried home and found only a few timbers and plank lying where he had left a happy mother and six little children only a few hours before. Not even a single sign of his household effects were left, his wife dangerously wounded, and his little daughter, the pride of the family, gone forever to that home where there are no storms. Little Nellie was a twin sister and when the editor saw the little sister he asked Mr. Lowe if this was the twin sister to little Nellie. Mr. Lowe said, “Yes, but little Nellie had blue eyes,” and the heart-broken father turned his head and wept.
His house stood between two other houses not more that 50 yards apart; one was slightly damaged and the other was not hurt.
In company with Mr. Lowe we then proceeded to the former residence of Rev. S. R. Young. The scene presented here is beyond our power of description; a few timbers, plank, and brick were all that could be seen, but far down over the fields and beyond in the swamp were strewn with timbers, planks, shingles, pieces of furniture, bedding, clothing, books, and particles of household articles too numerous to mention, clothing were hanging in the tree tops.
Here we met Mr. Dave Bolian, who was an eye-witness to the storm and was the first one to reach the side of Mr. Young.
He said I was at my brother’s corn crib, when his wife called to us to come to the house – a storm was coming, my brother went to the house, but I remained at the corn crib. I became frightened and got out of the crib and got under it. I crawled to the edge where I could see and I saw a thousand limbs in the air and one large pine tree floating in the air as graceful as a kite. It all lasted about two minutes. I crawled out and ran to my brother’s house, seeing he was all right I ran towards Mr. Young’s house and when I got close enough to see his house I was dumbfounded, for there was no house there. I ran faster and when I got close I heard Mr. Young calling out for the negro. I ran to him, he was lying on his side, he said his arm and leg was broken. (It was pouring down rain.) I got two planks and laid him on them so he would not be lying in the water. I then ran to his wife – she was sitting up on the ground nursing her little babe and the blood was trickling down his little face. She could not get up – she asked me to get something to wrap up the baby but I could not even find a piece of clothing big enough to cover him. She told me that when she was up in the air above the tree tops she saw the negro holding on the gallery post and after it was all over she saw him lying about twenty feet from her, she called him several times (see there he lies) he’s dead. – Oh my children get them, find them. I went and looked at the negro and then started to look for the children. I could only find two; I could not find the little girl Flora. I then went and told Mr. Young that I was going to town to take the news and get help, he did not want me to leave him, but I could do nothing and I ran every step of the way to Summit, two miles and a half. I told Capt. Gracey first and he telegraphed for an engine. I then put on some dry clothes (it was raining all the time), and went back on the engine and have not left here since. Little Flora, Mr. Young’s youngest daughter, about three years old, was found down there below the plum orchard about two hundred yards from the house. Little Flora is seriously hurt and at this writing is not expected to live, her right arm and leg is broken in several places and she has a terrible wound to the head, she has never been conscious since the accident. Her little brother Monroe, about five years old is also seriously injured, his left arm is broken and he is also badly wounded in the head, the doctors think he will get well. These two children are at the residence of Rev. Mr. Sibley, formerly the Dickey place.
Mr. and Mrs. Young are at the residence of Mr. Ben Gillis in Summit. After bringing two of Mr. Lowe’s children to the residence of Mr. Marshall Elzey, the editor proceeded to the residence of Mr. Gillis to see Mr. Young.
He was lying on a small bed in the West front room and when we entered, he opened his eyes and spoke, extending his right hand, tears filling his eyes, as he said “Richard it is awful, sit down and I will tell you all about it” – but as the doctor had ordered keep quiet Mr. Gillis said
“ he did not come to talk about it. He only came to see how you were . He knows all about it.”
“Well,” said Mr. Young in a low ? voice. “I carried above the tree tops and fell in a pile of brush. The house was fully thirty feet above the ground when it came to pieces and I fell. I was not excited. I was composed and I know what I am saying. When I get well I will tell you all about it.” We advised him to be quiet and he again closed his eyes.
He is seriously hurt, his leg is not broken as first reported but his left arm is broken in two places and he is seriously hurt internally.
We learned that Mrs. Young and the baby were getting along nicely and would in all probability be able to be up and about in a few days.
The following telegram was sent from Summit to the Times Democrat on the day it occurred.
STARTED AT CLINTON, LA
The following telegram was sent to the New Orleans papers:
Clinton, Dec. 13 – This morning at 8 o’clock a mighty roaring was heard coming from the southwest, it was a tornado. It first struck the town near the residence of the late Mrs. M. Gurney, where it blew down a small residence and a number of trees, one of which fell on the house, from thence it passed between and near many residences carrying away fences and out houses. A negro boy was badly injured. It then left town and went in a northeasterly direction. The track was not more than fifty yards wide, but when it struck the timber it cleaned up everything in its path.
It is fairly certain that as it struck Clinton at 8 o’clock and just above Summit at nearly ten that it was the same cloud. It crossed the railroad and went on in the direction of Monticello, whither other damage was done or not we have not been able to learn.
Mr. Young has been very unfortunate; last summer his team became frightened and his wife was thrown from the buggy, breaking her ankle from which she was confined to her bed for several months. Last fall his residence took fire and was burned to the ground, nothing being saved.
Since writing up the above cyclone, and just as we going to press, we learnt that Mr. Young silently passed away at 2:15 (Friday) noon at the residence of Mr. Ben Gillis, Summit, MS.
Mrs. Young and the baby are much better, but the little girl, Flora, is not expected to live.
SOURCE: McComb City Enterprise, December 17, 1892