June 8, 1917
Violent Wind & Hail Storm
Last Thursday night about ten o’clock Caddo and vicinity was visited by a terrific wind and hail storm, in which was done much damage to property, but no lives were lost, and little personal injury.
The main storm continued its fury about an hour; after which desolation stalked throughout the country. It came from the west and continued due east, covering a strip about four miles wide.
Every west window glass in town was broken out, the wire screens offering little protection; some north lights were broken; the roof of the McCoy building was taken off, as were several others in town, though damage from this was not heavy. Gardens were ruined, oats in many places were blown down and the stems badly broken by the hail, making this crop where struck almost a total loss.
In the crop damages the communities known as the Pate, Gravitt, Barney, Wood, Freeny, and Turnbull were the worst sufferers. All the cotton in these will have to be planted over and oats are almost a total loss, while most of the corn will recover. South of town to the fish hatchery was not damaged so badly; the Charley Jones place north of town was touched lightly; while the Baxter and Caddo Hill communities were not touched at all. As nearly as can be figured out it is estimated that the damage to crops in the Caddo community will amount to one third. At first it was thought to be greater, but a few days of sunshine have brought out the crops wonderfully. The losses to cotton are the greatest, for wherever the hail struck it is believed all the cotton will have to be planted over.
There are some wonderful tales told of narrow escapes, of heroic action and of damage done.
Friday morning about 7 o’clock a small cyclone struck the earth near the home of Charles Semple, which took the roof off his house and barn and off another house near by, wrenched three telegraph poles out of the ground, and scattered pieces of wreckage for many hundred yards. Yet no one was hurt.
Thursday night the little five year old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Johnson was struck by lightning and for a while it was thought she was dead, but she is recovering nicely. The bolt drove a hole thought the pillow on which the child was lying.
The home of J. M. Hogue three miles east of town was demolished, but the family was saved in a cellar; the barn, also, was demolished. Many houses east of town are thrown from their blocks; the Corinth schoolhouse is almost a total wreck.
Sam Beard barely had time to get his wife and child out of the house with one quilt, when the wind took the house away. He protected them with his body lying over them. His body was severely bruised, but the family was unhurt.
A family in town found a new storm cellar. Hardy Rudsill happened to remember that at the man holes in the sewer is a large cavity to be used whenever the sewer needs repairs so he took his family into it and they went uninjured.
There was quite a rush on the window glass dealers to replenish the broken glass in town. W. F. Dodd alone had to order some $500 worth of glass. Carpenters were busy making repairs.
A large number of those injured carried storm and hail insurance which will probably lessen the losses to a great extent.
A Bad Predicament
The Knights of Ezelah, under the leadership of Mr. A. B. McCoy and Rev. C. A. Clark, got into a pretty bad predicament last Thursday night.
The party consisting of seventeen boys and the two men left here Thursday at noon, going to Blue river on a fishing trip. After making camp and doing a little fishing they tried to go to bed, but about this time that terrible hail and wind storm was brewing in the south and west, and there was not much chance for little fellows to sleep with such surroundings. The storm struck them and save being blanched with hail and rain, they went unharmed. Just after the storm they waded through water to their necks to the home of George Simmons, a near by farmer who helped to care for them. It is hard to tell who was the most frightened, the boys, or their mothers in town, but if either was frightened more it was the latter: they had weird illusions of their sons being swept down the mad stream to destruction, and those of you who saw, or was in the storm cannot blame them either.
Immediately after the first storm was over in Caddo, the men who had children in the party were rushed out to find their boys. They hunted all night over blue bottoms and the surrounding country, and finally came home in despair, not knowing where the party of boys could be.
Upon reaching home, however, they found the boys to be safe and sound, having preceded them by about two hours. They promised themselves never to let another such thing happen in May.