The Tornado of 1925

Franklin County, IL

* These newspaper articles was generously contributed by Sheila Cadwalader who obtained the article from a collection of Newspaper clippings at the Brehm Library in Mt. Vernon, IL.  The Some of the newspapers were not identified.  A special thank you  goes to Carla Pulliam who aided Sheila in compiling this information. The obituaries are extracts from Harold Felty's Legacy of Kin.  
Thanks, Sheila!

Some info. here comes from History of Illinois and Her People, pub. 1927; pg. 406-407

Franklin County, IL

The storm reached West Frankfort, a thriving city in Franklin County of more than twenty thousand people, at ten minutes past three. The northwest part of the city was completely demolished.  The great New Orient mine with more than a half million dollars worth of buildings was in the path of the storm, but strange as it was the equipment was not greatly damaged.  It so happened that the part of the city passed over was occupied by the homes of miners and other laboring people and the money loss was not so great as it was in Murphysboro, where public buildings and beautiful homes were destroyed.

The miners several hundred feet below the surface heard the passing of the storm, and noticed the suction in the mine--the air moving with considerable force toward the several shafts.

A Baptist and a Methodist church were destroyed, also two schoolhouses.  As many as three or four hundred dwellings were completely destroyed and scores more or less damaged.

An eye witness said the twenty or thirty minutes the people in the city were dazed.  They knew something awful had happened but they did not know that they could render any help.  Presently someone broke the spell by calling for help and then hundreds of men, women and even children rushed to the devastated part of the city.

The rescue of the injured and the dead was the first task.  Before darkness came on nearly a hundred and fifty dead had been found, and the injured filled the miners' hospital and temporary hospitals were opened in the Methodist, the Christian, and other churches.  The Masonic Hall, The Elks Home and other public places were opened.

A relief train arrived at West Frankfort from Chicago and other trains early the next morning.  Before noon on Thursday the 19th, the relief work was organized. There was a chief Executive Committee, with subordinate committees on hospitals and furnishing, food, clothing, traffic, et.  The efficiency of relief work was attributed to the presence in West Frankfort of a permanent unit of the Salvation Army.  This local unit was re-enforced by nurses, workers, and officers at once.  The Red Cross was early on the ground but for some reason it did not organize its work at once and it is reported by some people in the city that there was some misunderstanding between some of the units of relief which delayed the work somewhat.

From West Frankfort the storm next visited the town of Parrish, a small mining town of three or four hundred people, seven miles northwest of West Frankfort.  This mining village had but two houses left out of more than a hundred.  Many dead were taken from the wreckage.  [History of Illnois]

West Frankfort, IL

There are missing issues of the newspapers containing stories of the tornado of March 18th that took so many lives in southern Illinois, although on April 4th a condensed form was published.  By the time the newspaper is again available in April some had even blamed the tornado on the fighting that was occurring in Williamson County. The Red Cross was trying to help survivors in need of groceries and other items. Free typhoid shots were being given to West Frankfort citizens by the public health department. For some reason, the county was stricken with rabid dogs shortly after the tornado.  In May 1925 an article ran stating "Women and girls are asked to stay off the streets of Murphysboro by city and county officials due to men of all character swarming into the city since the tornado. These are men of characters such that they have no respect for women."  Over 1200 homes were destroyed in Murphysboro in the tornado and at least 142 lives were lost in West Frankfort.

The full fury of the storm broke over West Frankfort at 3:25 p.m.    Although hundreds of extra copies of the paper were published each day during the time of the storm, the supply proved inadequate to meet the enormous demand. Hence this edition.

Here is the story of the storm and its aftermath, re-written, in a condensed form to our readers who were unable to secure copies of the papers they desired.    One hundred and thirty-nine persons dead and three hundred injured was the toll in human life in the worst storm to ever visit this section of the state, which spent its wrath upon West Frankfort shortly after 3 o'clock, Wednesday afternoon, March 18th. Hundreds of injured were cared for in the hospital at West Frankfort and at emergency first aid shelters in all parts of the city. Doctors, nurses and ambulances rushed here during the afternoon and evening from surrounding cities and aided in caring for the injured and dying. Three hundred homes were lying in ruins and rescue workers searching among the debris for victims of the storm. Improvised beds were set up in the hospital on the floors in the corridors, and in the bathrooms. Churches, lodge rooms and school houses were converted into emergency hospitals and still there was not ample facilities to care for the injured.

The storm entered the city from the west at the Joiner School and swept a path about a mile wide, leaving death and destruction in its wake. Mine #1 at New Orient was damaged to the extent of several hundred thousand dollars.  As rescue workers rushed into the stricken areas a few moments after the storm had passed, men, women and children were rushing frantically among the wrecked homes, pleading for some word of their loved ones. Many mangled, bleeding fathers and mothers asked for knowledge of the fate of their children, as they lay, moaning among the wreckage. Children ran screaming about the streets, calling for father and mother. One woman was found in the midst of a ruined home, with her five month old baby clutched to her breast. Mother and babe had died together.

At Caldwell, Mine #18, the storm swept a path a half mile in width, leveling all the homes and everything in its course, level with the ground. At the south of the mine, where the storm seemed to have reached its height, more than a score of houses were completely demolished.

From the fields north of the Orient mine, blackened figures of miners, engaged in probing the wreckage of the houses could be seen. A miner, still in his pit clothes, carried a pitiful, bloody little bundle which he held limp in his arms. It was five year old Leroy ROBERTS, who had been taken from the wreckage of his father's home, more dead than alive. He had no shoes, and his little stocking feet seemed horribly still. There was no movement that could be discerned, but the man who carried him said that he was not dead. In the house lay Mr. and Mrs. ROBERTS, both terribly injured. The air was full of cries and screams, of those who were homeless, helpless and grief stricken, This reporter left the scene with the screams ringing in his ears. They are ringing there yet. One mother was lying in bed in a house, her breast torn open and a tiny infant crawling around her cold body, attempting to nurse. On a porch lay a woman, her head split wide open, her scalp laid back and hanging from the porch floor. Another woman was found with a stick driven through her head. Other had arms and legs twisted completely off. And so it went.

A store and dwelling belonging to Ike KARNES of Caldwell were completely destroyed, killing KARNES' wife; Mrs. Charles CAMPBELL, a daughter of KARNES; and two children of Roscie KARNES, son of the elder KARNES, were killed and Charles CAMPBELL, a son-in-law, was seriously injured.

The surface plant, engine room, boiler room and tipple of Mine #18 was completely destroyed. Railroad cars on the storage tracks near the mine and the miner's cars were hurled from the tracks and blown about as mere scraps of paper in a stiff breeze.

There was an unusual stillness about West Frankfort the night following the storm, a silence that was symbolic of death that had so suddenly and surely visited so many homes here. It was a silence that was broken only by the clanging of an ambulance or the screaming of a siren as the huge van-like cars darted about the city streets with their freight of dead and dying. It was human freight that they bore, pieces of bleeding or of cold inanimate clay that only a few hours before had been joyous laughing humans, living and loving, concerned with the thousand and one petty details that go to make up life.

But now they were of no consequence at all. Almost in the twinkling of an eye, it had all been changed. A black ugly-looking cloud, the herald of approaching death, a terrific wind that threw hailstones about, the crash of falling walls, screams, and then blackness, and for many, Eternity. And scarcely an hour later the warm sunshine streamed down as if in mockery on the wreckage of the victims.

West Frankfort, IL


Twenty-Seven Injured Persons Are Still in Benton Hospitals, Nearly Forty of the Dead in West Frankfort Were Small Children. The list of known dead in Franklin County was increased today with the death here of Frank GALLOWAY of Parrish, five members of whose family had previously died.  Twenty-seven persons were still in hospitals here today.

Chats with injured people brought to Benton from the Parrish storm area reveal stories of horror and pathos, some of them telling of miraculous escapes from the storm's wrath and bearing out all but unbelievable facts.

The family of Everett PARKS residing a half-mile from Parrish is authority for one of these stories. Mrs. PARKS is receiving treatment in the Christian Church relief hospital here, and on the cot with her is her six months old babe, Imogene. The mother has a slight fracture in her skull and the baby's face is cut and bruised.

Little Margaret, five years old, and her brother, D.C., aged four, are at the home of Benton people where they are being looked after and their minor injuries treated. The father yesterday afternoon was able to leave the relief station.

Little Margaret, who is a guest at the home of the writer, earnestly tells of the things she saw. "The sky was dark, and the wind commenced blowing, oh so hard," she says. "We were scared and before we knew it we were blown away and our home was ruined. When I woke up Mother was holding me tight in her arms and we were way out in the field. A great big plank was on me and my dress was gone. A nail or something had torn my underwear. Daddy picked us up and we all went to Parrish and then they brought us over here on the train."

The little girl's father says that he and his family were carried a quarter of a mile from their home.   "I did not remember anything after the storm struck until I found myself holding a fence post a quarter of a mile from the house," PARKS said. "I happened to glance over my shoulder and saw my little boy in the air, only a few feet above the ground and coming directly toward me. I reached and was barely able to grasp him by the leg. I pulled him down to me and held him until the storm had passed. Then I picked up my other two babies and led my wife to Parrish a miles away. We were picked up at Parrish and brought to Benton."

Mary MELVIN, 17, is on a cot near Mrs. PARKS. Her mother and five brothers and sisters were with her in the home near Parrish when the storm struck.  When asked what the family did to escape the storm, Miss MELVIN said, "We didn't do anything. We had no idea it was a s bad as it turned out to be. When the wind started to blow so hard, we tried to hold the windows and doors to keep them from being blown down. While we were at this the house was lifted up and carried away and we were dropped several hundred feet away from where our house stood. I came to myself and got up, but I don't remember anything from then on until I seemed to wake up sitting on the porch of a neighbor's home."

Miss MELVIN suffered a broken collar bone and several injuries of a minor nature. Her father, Jim MELVIN, was away from home, and the only member of the family to escape injury.

Dr. W.J. PARTINGTON, a physician and surgeon of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was driving through the country near Thompsonville, on his way to Paducka, Ky., when the storm struck. He arrived in Thompsonville just as the first relief train backed into that city from Parrish and asked for doctors and relief workers.

Dr. PARTINGTON rushed to a Thompsonville drug store and commandeered all the surgical dressings and supplies available and boarded the train. Reaching Parrish he organized the first relief squad and started work of sending the injured ones to Benton.   "We loaded fifteen people on the first train," he said, "and while they were being brought to Benton I helped pick up thirty other injured and dead. I gave first aid to the injured and did what I could for them until they could be brought to Benton."

He has been in constant attendance on his adopted patients since they have been in the Christian Church relief hospital here.

The family of Ed KARNES, living between West Frankfort and Plumfield, had gone through a cyclone that destroyed their home in 1912. When they saw Wednesday's storm coming, they realized what it meant and ran into a storm cellar. Mr. KARNES, peering though a window, saw the timbers flying through the air. He had sent a farm hand to the school a mile away after their little son, but when he saw the fierceness of the storm, he told Mrs. KARNES that he could not bear to stay there, knowing that his boy was probably in great danger. He made a dash for the cellar door but was held back by his wife. With her arms tight around her husbands neck she held him back until the storm had passed.

After the storm they started to search for their son and found him along the road bathing the face of the farm hand who had been sent for him, and had been caught beneath his automobile when the wind blew it over and pinned him to the ground. The boy had been in the White School House, which was destroyed by the storm, but had escaped with only a few minor scratches.

One of the most striking features of the tornado here was the large proportion of women and children killed. More than 1500 coal miners were at work beneath the surface in the devastated area and thus escaped injury or death.

Nearly forty of the dead in West Frankfort were small children. One of the most heart-touching scenes was the long (paper torn) morgue of little bodies from whom life had been snuffed out almost in the twinkling of an eye.

Five children in the families of three KARNES brothers here were listed among the dead as well as two adults. In the Parrish neighborhood, Frank GALLOWAY lost his wife, a son, a daughter, a son-in-law, and a grandson. GALLOWAY himself received a broken leg and other injuries and was brought to Benton, where he lived until Saturday morning. His folks were buried at Thompsonville yesterday.

West Frankfort and other storm stricken communities in Franklin County today went about the grim task of burying the bulk of their dead. Of the 163 known dead in the county, virtually all had been identified and funeral arrangements had been made.

West Frankfort, IL


Wind Plays Freakish Pranks in Vicinity of Mine #18

Charles SINKS and John KNIGHT, weighmen at the Industrial Coal Company Mine #18, were on the tipple, eighty feet above the ground when the tornado struck. In an instant the wind had bent the tipple to the ground. KNIGHT was able to walk away and suffered only minor injuries. SINKS had both legs broken.

More than 500 miners at #18 were 600 feet below the surface when the storm broke. Power was cut off from the cages and the men were forced to climb tiresomely to the surface while they conjectured as to what had happened.

Jack BURBOGE was in the washhouse at #18 when it blew down. He was covered with brick and mortar which required half an hour to dig him out, but he was not seriously injured. Ten persons in a boarding house near the mine escaped with scratches although the 15 room building was flattened to the ground.  The engineer at Orient Mine #2 crawled under the engine and held on or probably would have been killed when the surrounding buildings collapsed.

George MEYER, a boss at the same mine, was at work while his wife and two children were in their home nearby. The roof was lifted off and all the furniture sucked up but the family escaped with minor injuries.

Many escaped injury by seeking shelter in basements. Among these was Sam KNOWLEN (NOLEN?), township supervisor, who with his wife and twelve children, reached the basement just before their home collapsed.


(Comparison of reported dead on 21 March 1925 issue of Benton Evening News, and reported dead in the 3 April 1925 issue of the West Frankfort Daily American)

Published 21 March 1925   
Benton Evening News, Benton, IL
Published 4 April 1925
Daily American, West Frankfort, IL
AYDEBTT, Sarah, W. 5th St.  Mrs. Sarah AIDLOTT (AYDELOTT)
Margaret ARNO
BANES, Earl, 3 Earl BARNES
Bertha May BARNES
Mr. and Mrs. BAXANIC **
BAYS, Harvey Raymond BAYS
Mrs. Virgie BELL
BIGGS, Fred     Fred BIGGS
BIGGS, Mrs. Fred     Mrs. BIGGS
BIGGS, Marguerite  Marguerite BIGGS
BLACK, John, 64 John BLACK
BROWN, son of Jesse, 1
BROWN, Francis, 29
Billie Jean BROWN
Frances, alias "Jessie" BROWN
BROWN, Jesse   Jesse BROWN
BROWN, Jesse (child)  Jissut BROWN
BROWN, Zukarkia
wife of Fred.
BURNS, E.E., Fall City Chloe Emmett BURNS **
BURTON, Mrs. Ola        Ola BURTON
BURTON, baby Infant of Ola BURTON
CAMPBELL, Charles, 18 Charles CAMPBELL
CAMPBELL, Mrs. Charles * Mrs. Charles CAMPBELL
(Daughter of Ike KARNES)
Jeannette CAMPBELL
CHURCH child CHURCH child
CLARK, Mrs. E.G. Mrs. E.G. CLARK
CONTER, Wesley Joiner CONNER, child **
CUDY, Elizabeth, 60
Mrs. Jeff DAVIS
DEATON, Charles Charles DENTON
DIXON, Flora  Mrs. Flora DIXON
Mrs. Minnie DONNOR
FISHER, Mrs. Charles Mrs. Charles FISHER
FOOTNEY, Helen, Belleville, Il.
FORD, Mr. George
FORD, Mrs. George
FORD, Miss Lorriane Miss Loren FORD
Mrs. Nora FORD
Wesley GUNTER Jr.
Mrs. Maggie HAMMONDS
HAND, Laudean, 209 S. Douglas  Loudean HAND
HAND, Mrs. Joe, 209 S. Douglas Mrs. Nell HAND
HICKS, Mrs. C.L. Mrs. C.I. HICKS
HICKS, Ruth, child
Harry HILL
Elizabeth HOWARD
Gertrude HUNTER
Anna Lou JOHNSON, Plumfield
KARNES, Oscar, 4
KARNES, Roscoe, 6
KARNES, Roscoe, 2 (see above?)
KARNES, Larraine, 5   Lorene KARNES
KARNES, Lorriane (see above?)
daughter of Tim KARNES
KARNES, Randall    Randall KARNES
KARNES, Mrs. Tim  Mrs. Tim KARNES
Kenneth KARNES
LEBACH, Stanley
LEWIS, Elmer*  Elmer LEWIS
Mrs. Stanley LOLOVIK
Mrs. Franzisk MANCHURA
McCOWAN, James James McGOWAN
Mrs. Frances McKOTO
Child of Morgan MUNDAY Cantrel Udel MUNDAY
NEIBEL, Bessie         Bessie NEIBEL
NEIBEL, Hattie Hattie NEIBEL
NORRIS, William William NORRIS
Mrs. John OAKS
OGDON, Walter Leroy, child   Walter Leroy OGDON
OGDON, Malcom
ORESLEY, Kenneth
Ella OWSLEY **
PANOVICH, Amelia, 
(Mrs. Metz) of Belleville, Ill.
Mrs. Amelia PONOVICH
PATTILLO-child of Luther PETTILLO  
Mrs. Violet POWELL, Vienna
PRITCHETT, Frank, 25 **      Frank PRITCHETT
Marshall RAMSEY, Jr.
Frank RAZER (not certain)
Infant of C.P. REED
Infant of T.C. RITINGS
Mrs. Cora ROBERTS *
Josie/Joeie? ROBERTS *
ROMLEY, Geraldine  Geraldine REMLEY
Mrs. Marshall F. REMLEY
David Spencer SANDERS
** he did not die until May see obit
SANDERS, Jane, 56 Mrs. Jane SANDERS **
SCOTT, Dollie
Stella SCOTT
SMITH, Mrs. Walter   Mrs. Walter SMITH
dau of J.A. SULLIVAN, 1 1/2
Mrs. Fred TAYLOR
Geraldine TAYLOR
Harold Leigh THOMAS
Girl at TITSWORTH home.
WAMPLER, Bonnie, child of C.R. WAMPLER. 611 S. Logan St. Bonnie WAMPLER
WAMPLER, Dorie, 
wife of C.R. WAMPLER
Mrs. Ralph WAMPLER
WATSON, Pearl, child  Pearl WATSON
WATSON, Pearl (same as above?)
WILLIAMS, Elbert, Ohio Valley
WILLIAMS,  Mrs. James Mrs. James WILLIAMS
Man, 36, unidentified   Unidentified man
Lady, 39, unidentified      Unidentified woman
Man, 38, unidentified  Unidentified man
Lady, 55, unidentified  Unknown woman
Boy, 16, unidentified        
Man, 34,        "
Woman, 35    "
Woman, 38    "
Man, 47,        "
Man, 35         "
Woman, 60,   "
Man, 32          "
Lady, 35         "
Lady, 65         "
One small unidentified child



ARINO, Margaret      BLACKBIM (BLACKBURN), Jacob
CAMPBELL, Mrs.; Mrs. Margaret CHANCE, Lulu and Anna M.
CLARK, E.C. CLAYTON, Ellen and J.M.
COBERT, Nettie and Messett COOPER, John
CROW, Clarence    CULPEPPER, Roy
DOSHO, Mary EUDACK, Albert
FORD, Mary (released); G.W. (died)  GARDNER, John S.
GIBSON, Ilene and Helen     GILBERT, Bagret and Francis
GORDON, William   GREGORY, Marie
GUNTER, Herbert   HILL, Claude and Mary
HUGHES, Mike and wife      HUNTER, Gertrude and Violet
LAKANO, Tony   LAKOSH, Rosie
LEKSHA, Mrs. Tony (see LAKANO)   LEVI, Mike
LEWIS, Mrs. Elmer and daughter; Elmer LITTLE, Mrs. James
MARTIN, Mrs. David and 2 children McCABE, Leone
McCLELLAN, Mrs. Frank    MATHERS, George
MITCHELL, Lucy and Gladys   MUZZARELL, Tony
NUGENT, R.C.    OAKES, Mrs. Martha
OLEAR, John  OWSLEY, Arthur and Etta
PRITCHETT, Mrs. Frank    QUICK, Abe
RAINEY, Nancy  REED, Arthur Marion
SHIPP, Mandy    SIKIE, Augusta
SMITH, Mrs. W.F SPIRES, Joseph
STAGNER, Eliza; Sylvia and 2 children SULLIVAN, Leroy and Ann and Gladys
THOMAS, Loretta  TURNER, Mrs. Ralph and 2 children
WALL, Mrs. Eloise; Mrs. Ed WATSON, A.C. - mother at Cocoa, Florida.
Mrs. A.G.       WHITE, Raymond - 308 S. Emma
WILLIAMS, Flora     WILLIS, Henry - (Chicago)
Two unknown girls     Three small boys
Unknown child  Unknown
Two babies (Jess Brown dead)


03 Apr 1925 - ANNA SMITH (she died the day of the storm but could have been from some other cause) Annie, daughter of James and Parthena SMITH, was born in Lincoln County, Tennessee 22 June 1853; died 25 March 1925. She was married to James DORRIS 13 January 1870. The happiness of this home was added to by the coming of ten children, five boys and five girls. Five of the children are now deceased, those living are: Mrs. Annie WALLACE, Mrs. Scott WILLIAMS, and Mrs. Elmer GRAY of West Frankfort; Jimmie DORRIS of Ulin, Illinois; and Everett DORRIS of Thompsonville, Illinois. In addition to her children, she leaves 30 grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren. Her husband, James DORRIS, had been a deacon of the County Line Baptist Church for a number of years prior to his death.  

04 Apr 1925 - While two daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Elmer LEWIS, aged 10 and 12, went sorrowfully about preparing for the funeral of their father, Elmer LEWIS, who was killed in the tornado, a sister, five years old was lying critically injured in a hospital and the mother of the children was also in critical condition. Mrs. LEWIS was seriously injured in the storm. She is soon to become a mother. NOTE: On 8 April the paper reported that a 7 pound girl was born to Mrs. LEWIS.  

A store and dwelling belonging to Ike KARNES of Caldwell were completely destroyed, killing KARNES' wife; Mrs. Charles CAMPBELL, a daughter of KARNES; and two children of Roscie KARNES, son of the elder KARNES, were killed and Charles CAMPBELL, a son-in-law, was seriously injured.  

06 Apr 1925 - Chloe Emmett BURNS, son of W.J. and Nancy TRIPP BURNS, was born 24 Oct. 1894 near Goreville, Illinois; was killed in the tornado 18 March 1925, at the Round House in West Frankfort, Illinois where he had been an employee for the past ten years. He was a veteran of the World War. He married Miss Lillie EASON of Marion, Illinois 29 August 1921. To them was born one son, Paul Emmett BURNS.  

0 7Apr 1925 - Mrs. Ella OWSLEY, 27, wife of Arthur OWSLEY, died yesterday from injuries received in the tornado. Burial will take place at the Denning Cemetery.  

Mrs. Ira LAWRENCE of Dowell was in West Frankfort today seeking information about her husband who came to this city several days ago in search of employment, She fears he may have been killed in the tornado. Anyone having information is requested to write to her at DuQuoin, R.F.D. 1, Box 89.  

11 Apr 1925 -  NOTICE: F.D. COLLINS of Chicago requests information: "Friends of Pete DeLANOS and family, residents of Bear River, are fearful that they may have perished in the tornado which swept Southern Illinois two weeks ago. They left Routt County about a week before Christmas, going to Frankfort Heights, and are believed to have been there at the time of the tornado. Miss Violet MORRIS, daughter of Mrs. DeLANOS, was the fiancee of Bruce "Shorty" ROBERTS, who is now employed on the construction of the state highway between Elk River and Milner and he had been receiving letters from her in nearly every mail. Since the tornado he has received nothing, in spite of the letters and telegrams he has sent. He greatly fears Miss MORRIS was among the victims." Seven additional children are being cared for at the DuQuoin Orphan's Home: Densanka BAXANIC, of West Frankfort, whose father and mother were killed in the tornado. 

Stella and Joe GARLAND of West Frankfort, whose remaining parent, their mother, was a tornado victim.

18 May 1925 - Another death is attributed to the tornado with the death of David Spencer SANDERS, 60, who died at the Union Hospital late Saturday, 16th., of injuries received during the storm. His wife, Mrs. Jannie SANDERS was killed by the tornado. At the time of her death she was 60y 6m 10d. Burial will take place at the Denning Cemetery today. He was the father of Halcie SANDERS whose home, the Green River Poultry Farm, was destroyed by the tornado. David was the son of Luke R. and Elizabeth SANDERS and was born in Williamson County, Illinois 15 Dec. 1863. He was first married to Mollie WAGONER and to them was born one child, the mother dying when the child was about one week old, the child living to be about eight months old. He was later married to Jannie BOLEN, daughter of Larkin BOLEN of near West Frankfort. To them were born two children, Halcie of West Frankfort and Rome SANDERS of near Benton. He is also survived by two brothers, Otis SANDERS of near Marion and R.H. SANDERS of Arkansas, Agnes MOAKE of Marion, Jane SANDERS of Marion, Susan SANDERS of Herrin. (Relationship of Agnes, Jane and Susan not stated). Written by W.T. SANDERS, a nephew. (Combined with obit carried 20 May 1925)

29 May 1925 -  Mrs. Ruby CONNOR vs. Dwight CONNOR, married 31 July 1914. A child whose custody she sued for was killed in the tornado. Another child had also died.

06 Jun 1925 - Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Andrew GINESAY will please communicate with Hon. J.S. SCHEFEBEEK, Royal Hungarian Consul, S. Dearborn St., Chicago, Il., who has inquiry from his relatives making anxious inquiry concerning his condition since the tornado.

02 Jul 1925 - Mrs. Ben LeMASTER of Orient underwent an operation yesterday. She was injured in the tornado of March 18th. A large piece of wood was hurled through her arm when the storm struck and yesterday's operation was for the removal of granulations from this wound. Mrs. LeMASTER, who was driving a taxi from Orient to West Frankfort had with her in the car at the time, Asa CRAMER, who died as a result of his injuries.

07 Jul 1925 - The father of three sons, D. SMITH, of the state of Washington, was in West Frankfort last week in an effort to locate Harry, Emmett and Hugh SMITH, all of whom had been reported to him as having located in West Frankfort or immediate vicinity. He has yet not been able to find any trace of them. The missing boys are all reported to be of middle age and the father is fearful they may have met death in the recent tornado.

13 Jul 1925 - Halcie SANDERS, proprietor of the Green River Poultry Farm, which was completely destroyed in the tornado of March, has bought an 85 acre farm near Vienna in Johnston County and will leave with his family this week to take charge of the place. In addition to losing his farm here, he also lost his parents and his wife sustained injuries from which she has not fully recovered.

27 Jul 1925 - Edna Georgina, six month old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph CAMPBELL, died Saturday afternoon, July 25th, of typhoid fever. The Campbell's lost three children in the tornado of March 18th and the little one who died Saturday was carried almost half a mile by the destructive winds, when the Campbell home was laid in ruins. The child recovered from injuries received at that time. Her body was taken to the Herrin City Cemetery for burial. (Obit carried July 28th states she is survived by her parents and two sisters, Minnie and Margaret. One brother and two sisters were killed in the tornado while Edna was blown 400 feet and was so injured that her little body was not strong enough to recover from the injury.)

02 Jan 1926 - Gervia B. BURGESS of Johnston City, died unexpectedly last night. His death was attributed to injuries sustained during the tornado on last March 18th.  He was at that time employed at Mine #15 and while on his way home had just reached the Public Well about two miles west of town when the storm struck. He was driving a car but was blown from the machine and against a garage building. The car was completely destroyed. Mr. BURGESS held on to the garage building until it also gave away, some of the timbers falling on him. The morning after the tornado one of his shoes was found several hundred yards east of where the building was. He was a son of the late Dr. BURGESS of Johnston City and was 44 years old. Deceased was a son-in-law of Mr. and Mrs. Ellis HORRELL of Frankfort Heights, he having married their oldest daughter, Bertha HORRELL, more than twenty years ago. She survives along with four children. Burial will take place at the Tower Heights Cemetery. (Combined with article carried 3 January 1926)

12 Feb 1926 - Zona Fay MOORE PRITCHETT, now a resident of Benton, will run in the Democratic primary for County Clerk. Her husband was killed in the tornado of March 18th, 1925 while they lived at West Frankfort. She comes from pioneer stock of strong Democratic tendencies, being a daughter of George B. MOORE, who has served the City of Benton two terms as Police Magistrate and is now serving as Justice of the Peace. Her ancestors were one of the oldest families in Franklin Co.  Zona was born in Frankfort Township, Crawford's Prairie in 1893. She attended Southern Illinois University Normal at Carbondale. She taught school for six years and married Frank PRITCHETT in 1915. Since the death of her husband she has lived with her father, with her three small children who were spared. She is a niece of the late Capt. J.M. JOPLIN, who was the last Democratic County Clerk.

05 Aug 1926 - Leonard GUNTER, 23, of West Frankfort, and Miss Cloe CREMEENS, 19, of Akin, Illinois, were married yesterday. He is the son of the late Charles GUNTER who was killed in the tornado, 18 March 1925, at his home here.

The (school) report card of Guy ESTES, son of Charles ESTES of Caldwell, Franklin Co., Il., which was carried from Caldwell to Bicknell, Indiana by the recent devastating storm, was returned. His teacher was J.R. NEAL. Guy was slightly injured in the storm as were two other children, when the tornado swept over Mine #18. ESTES' wife was fatally injured and died about 8p.m. on the night of the storm. ESTES received cuts and bruises when the tornado caught the mine tipple on which he was working and leveled it with he ground.

JOHN C. SWOFFORD NOT STORM VICTIM - Reports were current in Benton yesterday that John C. SWOFFORD of Carbondale, son of Mrs. Emma SWOFFORD of this city, was among the dead at Murphysboro. The dead man is another John SWOFFORD.

Sheriff Henry DORRIS issued a warning at noon today that visitors and spectators will not be permitted to visit stricken territories of the county tomorrow.

20 March 1925  Daily American (West Frankfort) A live baby was found near Dahlgren in Hamilton County, Illinois, forty miles from home from which it was snatched during the devastating cyclone on Tuesday. It is said the baby was found by a farmer in his field about an hour after the storm had passed. The little one was taken to the farmer's home where nourishment and careful attention will preserve the life of the little one. The child had on no clothes and had no scratches on it's body. It is about three months of age.

A little girl named REED is reported missing. She is two months old, has brown hair and blue eyes.

Mrs. Leonard BRIDGES, one of the storm victims, was not rescued until late last night when she was found lying wounded near their home three and a half miles west of this city.

An unclaimed baby girl, fifteen months old, is in a serious condition at the City Hall. She is suffering from serious burns and the doctors hold out little hope for her recovery. No one has called to claim the child.

The bodies of Mr. and Mrs. C.L. HICKS and seven month old daughter, Ruth, and Mrs. Flora DIXON, mother of Mrs. HICKS, victims of the tornado, were taken to Benton today where their funerals will be held tomorrow with burial at the Oddfellows cemetery there.

The funeral of Mr. and Mrs. George W. FORD and daughter, Norine, aged 4, and Mrs. Nancy KELLY, aunt of Mrs. FORD, will be held tomorrow at 11 am. from the Northern Baptist Church, where the bodies are now lying in state. Burial will be at Carbondale.

The funeral of Mrs. Oscar WHITTINGTON will be held tomorrow at the First Methodist Church with burial at the Benton Cemetery.

The funeral of Mrs. Mahala STARNES will be held tomorrow from the residence of Frank GOLDMAN at 307 E. Clark St. Burial will be at the Benton Cemetery. Mrs. STARNES leaves four children: Mrs. Mary MARTIN DALE of E. St. Louis; James STARNES of Illma, Mo.; and Fred and John STARNES of West Frankfort.

A brother of John ISAACS reported that a team of horses is at his brother's farm about two miles north of West Frankfort. The team is that which an unidentified negro had when he was killed late Wednesday. The negro was riding one horse and leading the other when his horse became frightened and slipped, throwing its rider from his back directly into the path of an oncoming car driven by Felix DILLON. Mr. DILLON had learned of the tornado while in Benton and was returning to West Frankfort.

The funeral of Frank PRITCHETT, who was killed instantly in the tornado, will be held in the First Baptist Church Saturday with burial at the IOOF Cemetery in Benton.

The children of St. John's school have undertaken to furnish 500 sandwiches for the hungry sufferers and workers by 5 o'clock tonight.

Edward JOICEY of Smith St. Injured in Cyclone. During the tornado Wednesday afternoon, Edward JOICEY of Smith St., Benton, who is an employee of Mine #18 in West Frankfort, was severely injured. After coming out of the mine and entering the washhouse, at that time, him and some other men were completely covered by the wreck of the wash house. Mr. JOICEY saw two small children who had entered the entrance of the building (for supposed safety) and were caught in the path of the wreckage, he tried to reach these children but his injuries would not allow him to do so and after being released from the debris, was taken to Frankfort Hospital and later was brought to Benton in a friend's car. Mr. JOICEY is hurt internally and several ribs are crushed.

David Spencer SANDERS, 60 - although he is listed in the April report, he didn't die till later unless this was a son which is doubtful.


21 March 1925, Benton Evening News


BRADEN, Wilma, 5         BRADEN, Martha  
BRADEN, Robert CAMPBELL, Mrs. Joe, 52, m/o Martha BRADEN       
CLEM, Mrs. Gertie   CUNNINGHAM, Billie, 3  
CUNNINGHAM, Mrs. Hannah C.     DOWNS, Andy
HICKS, Columbus and daughter-in-law  FLANNIGAN, Sam  
FLANNIGAN, Mrs. Arlie     GALLOWAY, Royal 
Eugene, 14  
GALLOWAY, Mrs. Frank, 46       GAMMONS, John  
GUNTER, Charles, about 50     GUNTER, Mrs. Bert, 23  
GUNTER, Christina, 3   ING, Mrs. Monroe  
KERLEY, Mrs. Ettie, 47    KERLEY, Bertha, 3  
KERLEY, Otto, 12   KERLEY, Homer, 12  
LAUNIUS, Mrs. Isabelle       McFARLAND, Mrs. Belle, 63  
MELVIN, Mr. and Mrs. Joe     PRICE, Layman, 22  
PRICE, Beulah, 21 PRICE, Jackie Jean, 1  
PRICE, Raymond        PRICE, baby
RAINEY. Mrs. Deboria, 52       RAINEY, William  
SHEW, Mrs. Arthur  SMITH, Hattie  
SMOTHERS, Ivan, 18 SULLIVAN, Mrs. Silas  
TAYLOR, Merl, 4  TAYLOR, Kenneth, 3  
WILLIAMS, Ivory, 32, Station 
agent at Parrish.  
Mrs. ____ Gray 
(as written), 65  
Unidentified Negro  

Hamilton County
Jackson County

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