National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

March 18, 1925 map

On the same day as the infamous Tri-State Tornado of March 18, 1925 that devastated parts of southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, and southwest Indiana, at least 3 deadly tornadoes struck central portions of Middle Tennessee.  Part of the same tornado outbreak as the Tri-State Tornado, these 3 tornadoes killed at least 42 people in Tennessee and left dozens injured. The (estimated) F4 tornado that struck Sumner County and then continued into southern Kentucky was one of the deadliest tornadoes in Middle Tennessee history, killing 27 or more people, injuring nearly 100 others, and wiping numerous homes off their foundations. Other deadly tornadoes in this outbreak struck parts of central Kentucky and northern Alabama.


The Liberty Tornado Sumner County News The USGenWeb Project
Tennessee State Library and Archives The Tornado Project NWS Louisville 1925 Tornadoes


Grazulis, Thomas P. Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991. St. Johnsbury, VT: Environmental Films, 1993.
Creasy, J. F. (n.d.). The Liberty Tornado March 18, 1925. Retrieved October 22, 2016, from


F4 Sumner County Tornado
Counties: Sumner/Macon TN & Allen/Barren/Metcalfe KY
Time: 5:00 PM CST
EF Scale: F4
Damage Path Length: 60 miles
Damage Path Width: 400 yards
Fatalities: 41 (29 TN / 12 KY)
Injuries 95


GRAZULIS: Moved ENE from near Buck Lodge, 8 miles N of Gallatin. Homes were swept away in many communities, including Keytown, Angle, Oak Grove, and Liberty. As many as eight people died in one home. Trees were blown down in the steep valleys as well as on the hilltops. At least 27 people died in Tennessee. Crossing into Kentucky, the tornado struck Holland, killing four. The funnel may have either weakened or lifted over southern Barren County before striking Beaumont, Metcalfe County. There, it killed eight more, five in one family. Over 150 homes were damaged or destroyed.


SHAMBURGER (2016): This historic, well-documented tornado was one of the strongest, if not the strongest, tornadoes ever recorded in Middle Tennessee. The devastation in northern Sumner County, including homes being completely swept away, bodies carried hundreds of yards and being dismembered, and ground scouring suggest this tornado may have reached F5 intensity. The detailed account of the tornado path from John F. Creasy also suggests the tornado may have lifted in extreme northwest Macon County, with the next member of the tornado family touching down southwest of Holland, KY. However, the path by Grazulis extending from Buck Lodge, TN to Beaumont, KY is kept here due to uncertainty. Finally, both Grazulis and the Nashville American newspaper list at least 27 deaths from this tornado in Sumner County with at least 50 serious injuries, some very critical. In fact, later newspaper articles and genealogy websites indicate Charles Hughes of Westmoreland died from his injuries on March 21, 1925, and Nellie Nimmo Harris of Westmoreland died from her injuries on April 17, 1925. This brings the final death toll in Sumner County to 29, which is used here, along with an injury total of 50. Damage in Sumner County totaled over $300,000.


F3 Williamson/Rutherford County Tornado
Counties: Williamson/Rutherford
Time: 5:45 PM CST
EF Scale: F3
Damage Path Length: 20 miles
Damage Path Width: 200 yards
Fatalities: 1
Injuries 9

A man was killed in one of several tenant homes swept away as a tornado moved ENE, passing 2 miles W of College Grove and through Kirkland. All casualties were at Kirkland. Eight small homes and 30 barns were damaged or destroyed. F3 damage occurred at one larger home. "Every vestige of plant life was torn from the ground.


F3 Bedford/Rutherford County Tornado
Counties: Bedford/Rutherford
Time: 6:10 PM CST
EF Scale: F3
Damage Path Length: 12 miles
Damage Path Width: 300 yards
Fatalities: 4
Injuries 15


GRAZULIS: Moved ENE from near Unionville to 2 miles NE of Fosterville. At least 10 homes were destroyed, and a woman and young boy were killed in two.

FROM THE NASHVILLE TENNESSEAN, MARCH 21, 1925, PAGE 1, "OFFICIAL REPORT SETS STATE TOLL IN TORNADO AT 31":  ...The death toll of the tornado, as corrected and reported for the state last night is 31. Four were killed near Shelbyville, one near Kirkland, and one in Knoxville...

SHAMBURGER (2016): Numerous newspaper articles in the Nashville American indicate 4 people were killed in Bedford County from this tornado, not 2 as Grazulis lists, and a total of 4 was used here.