Old Mines, Farmington MO Tornado Damage, June 1969



Old Mines, Mo. (AP) -- Tornadoes left six persons dead and more than 30 injured in the Missouri lead mining belt southwest of St. Louis Sunday night, the highway patrol said.
One of the victims was identified by the security police at Southern Illinois University as WILLIAM F. BETTERTON, a music professor there.
Officers said he and his wife were driving in a Volkswagen camper bus. The security police said BETTERTON was found strapped to the seat in the unit of the car, but the rest of the car was not immediately found. The tornado had lifted his car from U.S. 67 near Farmington, Mo., and slammed it into a rock bluff.
BETTERTON'S 38-year-old wife, KATHRYN, was found dead about 30 yards from the wreckage.
At Old Mines, one twister destroyed nearly a dozen homes. ROY PRATT, a 45-year-old strip mine employee, and his 8-year-old son FRANCIS were killed.
Seven other members of the PRATT family were injured when they were trapped in their frame dwelling, which collapsed.
Two elderly brothers, JACOB and HERMAN HURST, deid when another twister tore into their home near Farmington about 22 miles southeast of Old Mines.
"We heard this awful roar, just like a railroad train," said a neighbor of PRATT, CLYDE BOYER. "It took the doors right off the storm cellar and my wife and my boy and I crouched down on the floor until it passed."
Most roads in the area were blocked by fallen trees.
The twisters downed power lines and telephone wires and an electrical storm made two-way radio contact nearly impossible in the stricken area for hours, leaving a virtual communications blackout.
Hospitals at Farmington, Ironton and Potosi, reported treating about 35 persons, most of them for minor injuries.
A spokesman for the weather bureau in St. Louis said the tornadoes were spawned by "typical summer storms."

Chillicothe Constitution Tribune Missouri 1969-06-23


My Grandmother and Uncle

My Grandmother and Uncle lived up the road from the Pratt family. I was 11 yrs old. We went down the next day to salvage what we could. I remember seeing pieces of linoleum and scraps of sheet metal, nails and even a pair of scissors embedded in trees. My uncles house was shoved off of its foundation several hundred feet away. My Uncle aunt and infant son we picked up while they huddled together on their couch and flew through the air then gently dumped to the ground. My grandmother, aunt and a cousin rode out the storm under the massive dining room table. At one point my grandmother felt the weight of the flu from the wood stove bearing down on her. They had been praying the entire time under that table and just as she thought they were going to be crushed by the flu, the weight suddenly shifted away from them. She had just put fresh blackberries in her freezer the day before, nobody has ever found that freezer. They had a strange car in their yard that the storm dumped from somewhere else. Amazing what the power of that storm did.