National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

In 1912, the main form of communication for current events was newspapers.  The style of how newspaper articles were written in 1912 differs from current times.  The newspaper writers of that time were poetically descriptive and didn't filter out all of the details.  This webpage points out some of the more interesting sections of the newspaper articles covering the tornado outbreak from April 27, 1912.


The Cordell Beacon


The following newspapers quotes come from the Cordell Beacon printed on May 2, 1912.

"In the Parman home there were seven people when storm struck, old Mrs. Parman was killed, Mrs. Jack Parman was injured so severely that she died soon afterward. Mr. Parman was seriously though not fatally hurt. The other four were bruised up, but sustained no serious hurt. The Symcox family saw the cloud approaching and sought refuge in their storm cave so entirely escaped injury. Members of the Treece family were badly bruised. The other three houses struck were unoccupied."

"Doctors, workers and sightseers hurried to the scene expecting to find fully one half of the city destroyed. The injured were taken to the home of Wilson Haynes where they were cared for. For more than half the night there was a steady stream of people going out to view the damage wrought."

"There was a miraculous escape at the home of R. B. More, three miles south. Their house is a two story rock structure, the stones being in the neighborhood of eighteen inches in thickness. There were in the house at the time the cyclone struck, twelve people, all of whom escaped with only the slightest injuries. The house was literally torn to pieces and the rocks and timbers fell about the inmates like hail. Mrs. More was in bed with a five day old baby, and although there was at least two feet of timbers and debris piled over them they were not hurt a particle."

This next set of quotes comes from an article in the Cordell Beacon titled, Stories of the Storm.

"Dave Murdock's reputation as foot racer has gone up several notches since Saturday night."

"It is told in Rocky that a cow was taken in the air and transferred from one lot to another, and without injury."

"Several new storm caves were started Monday morning and contractors tells us there are many more to follow."

"The entire side of one of the houses on the north side was found over by the track- not a vestige of the paper or canvas was left, nothing but the tacks."

"Hiram Reagan will consume a little more time in preparing his toilet before going to the storm house hereafter, even though the twister looks twice as large as it did the other night."

"The house of Mr. Mathison was on the outer edge of the whirling cloud, 'twas lifted bodily off the foundation. The lamp which was burning on the table was not overturned."

"The steel bridge on the river east of town was torn to pieces and twisted as though it were nothing but bailing wire. The loss of this bridge will not be felt a great deal as there is a bridge on the state road less than a mile away."

"One peculiarity of the storm was that of the nine people killed, all were women and children. Not a man met death though many were seriously wounded."

"F. W. Sutton who has been up and down with the rheumatism for the past two weeks, had the stiffness scared out of him Saturday night. He had gone to bed when he glanced out of the west window of his room and saw the funnel cloud hanging down.  He was in his trousers in two jumps and his steps leading to the McCauley's dugout measured four feet and two inches."

"Jake Neufeld was enjoying a first class shave when somebody hollered "cyclone." With lather on the side of his face he made a shoot for the front door, grabbing his coat and umbrella on the way. When he had gone a couple of blocks, he lightened his load by dispensing with his coat and umbrella; the exact time taken for the trip from the sop to his home in the south part of town, we have been unable to learn, but suffice it to say that he beat all former records."


The Hobart Republican


A few quotes from the Hobart Republican from May 2, 1912 reveal the amount of destruction and death that occurred across southwestern Oklahoma.

"King's house was turned over two times. Mrs. Hanly in this house was the lady injured. An unknown man living up the creek was seriously hurt and neighbors called Hobart doctors. The orchard of William Jacquart's was practically ruined. The barn of John Stewart was destroyed. Joe Terry was not hurt. His barn was blown away. Frank England of Hobart was in front of the barn in a buggy. The buggy was turned over by the wind and England blown into a hog wire fence. The buggy was damaged considerably."

"At Lugert the greatest damage was done. Eighteen families are entirely destitute, and the remaining homes of neighbors sheltered the homeless and injured Saturday and Sunday nights. All houses in Lugert were demolished but the Orient depot and Frank Lugert's store. The latter was practically ruined."

"The entire town [Rocky] was covered with wreckage. Roofs were dumped in the middle of streets and planks and boards were strewn everywhere. It would be hard to estimate the damage done but conservative heads say it will go above $50,000."

Much like current times after a horrific tornado outbreak, donations of food, supplies, and money were sent into the tornado stricken areas and were documented in some of the newspapers, including the Hobart Republican.

"Requests for aid were sent out, and at Hobart Monday the Chamber of Commerce got busy and raised $560 in money, three wagon loads of clothing, quilts, blankets, etc. Of the $560, contributed the Elk Lodge gave $100."

"A committee composed of C. G. Long, R. L. Waggoner, A. E. Fritsche, John Hyndman and J. M. Rule has charge in dispensing this assistance. $250 and two loads of clothing were sent to Lugert and the remainder will be given to the sufferers west and northwest of town. Tents from Hobart, Altus and Lone Wolf were sent to Lugert, and will house the homeless until other arrangements can be made. Those in need of assistance may call the Chamber of Commerce and the committee will attend to same. The subscription list is left open so that those who did not get in Monday may yet do so."

"The contributions in cash and goods so far will reach $1,500, and it is all used as fast as received. More can be used."


National Newspapers


The tornado outbreak of April 27, 1912 certainly caught the attention of local Oklahoma newspapers, but it also gained the attention of newspapers from large cities, such as Chicago and Boston.  The fact that a tornado outbreak in Oklahoma drew enough attention that big city newspapers decided to write about the rural Oklahoma devastation is quite impressive, especially since the RMS Titanic sank less than two weeks before and, not surprisingly, was the main topic of newspapers.

The Chicago Examiner wrote about the destruction on April 28, 1912, less than a day after the outbreak.

"OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla., April 27. – The tell of the tornado which swept Southwestern Oklahoma this afternoon will be at least nineteen dead, scores injured and property loss amounting to many thousands of dollars.

The town of Lugert suffered the most. Fifteen are dead there.  Four are reported dead at Eldorado.  Ten or a dozen towns suffered more or less storm damage. Little is known of what occurred in the rural districts.  It is known that the damage was severe.

An early report that twenty were killed and forty hurt when a Kansas City, Missouri & Ohio train was blown off the track is denied.  The train encountered the storm and was blown over, but no lives were lost.

A family of seven was injured at Yukon. One, Mrs. Jerry Brown, is thought to be dying."

Additionally, the Boston Evening Transcript also relayed the story of the tornado outbreak on April 29, 1912.

"Oklahoma City, Okla., April 29 – While there have been no additions to the list of fifty-four killed in storms which swept through sections of Oklahoma Saturday, the number of injured is much larger, and the property loss is greater than indicated in yesterday's reports.  Wire communication has not been restored to many of the gale-stricken points.

"Twenty towns were struck by the storm which swept northward Saturday afternoon from Texas through portions of southwestern and central Oklahoma.  Butler and Foss were destroyed, and forty-one dead and over a hundred injured are accounted for.  Other deaths are reported, but cannot be verified because torrential rains in the wake of the tornado made streams overflow, preventing rescue parties from exploring whole sections.  All of central Oklahoma seems to be demoralized and it may be several days before an accurate report of the loss of life and property damage is obtained."