Search Greer
Search Greer
Greer Co, OK
Greer Co, O.T.

Greer County OKGenWeb map     Old Greer County, Oklahoma Territory

Tornado at Ladessa, Greer County, Oklahoma

From Patsy Hunt - image
A letter from her mother, first week of October, 1951.
Ladessa is south of Mangum.
Thanks for sharing.

Sun. night
Well Pat and Jack, a twister at 7:03 PM [our clock says] Friday demolished our house, dugout, chicken house on the south side of the yard & the barn. We knew the cloud was dark and coming from the northwest & lightning was bad.

Jess said to quit washing dishes & we'd go on to the half-dugout with the kids. I carried [6 month old] Debbie down laid her on our bed - the wind struck & I looked out the south window and it was raining harder than I had ever seen it. I picked Debbie up & we all went to the back end. Just as we got there it broke loose.

I don't remember anything for a while. Jess said we all turned & ran for the door - Doyne first. Jess passed us saying get under the bed, he said. He got ahead of all of us except Doyne 7 grabbed & missed him. Something hit him & he guess he passed out for a little while. {Jess] Doyne said he got the door open & in the lightning saw the cottonwood tree & the rain and Jess said "come back here" and he turned & started back. If he did he just turned because he was pinned where the trunk - would back a little, a 2X6 across his legs, his head between a 2X4 and the roof, we think. The roof and ceiling stayed together, the backend swung southwest, the front part just moved off south.

The first I remember I dropped Debbie, reached down and got her, thinking the girls might step on her., that I must put her further under me, I could tell I was bent over with something on top of me & it was the north dugout wall & the bedsteads were holding it off us , or she'd drown. Jess was saying "Get under the bed", then he picked the girls up & put them on our bed under that wall, and he was calling Doyne. Darrell said "Here he is Daddy" & Doyne had come to & was hollering "Help, oh my head".

It was so dark you couldn't see a thing but had almost quit raining, I believe. I gave Debbie to Jan & said I'd help out Doyne. Jess kicked the roof & Doyne got his head loose, then he's clear out. He walked out - we all went out to the back of the car, it wasn't even touched. But it wouldn't start, so Jess walked to Big John's {Thomason} [we could see his flood light on]. He came and took Doyne & Jess to the hospital, stopped at J.W.'s {Burns} & he came & took us to Big john's. They doctored Jess' cut face & neck & sent him home but they kept Doyne over night. The gash on his head doesn't seem to be so deep, so he came home Saturday evening.

I didn't have any way to take a picture so you'll never be able to picture it. The house is scattered east into the garden. The brood house is in the orchard. We hope the cook stove & heater are ok & the [sewing] machine is. The bottom of both cabinets are alright & 2 -3 of the dining room chairs are ok. The mattress & springs in the house are all right.

The shock was awful, we all shook all night. It was cold too & we were wet to the skin, our hair stringing down, full of mud. Debbie didn't have on anything but her diaper & it was gone & we haven't seen it. Emma noticed her back was just covered with red bumps & ask did the hail do that? Stupidly I said "Did it hail?" I didn't know it, but our crop is completely hailed out. We got out 5 bales of cotton. But I didn't know it hailed any.

The cotton stalks are stripped & the bark beat off the west side of the stalks. The mesquite trees didn't lose a leaf on them. Ours was the only house hit - all Olin's {Hurst} buildings went down except the house, Darden' s barn down. Hail completely ruined the crops down that road from Sam & Eva Penningtons to Ladessa, we know. And at Reed, Jaybuckle, from Mangum to Hobart. We haven't seen a paper or heard a radio report so don't know exactly where it hailed.

Everyone has sure been good. Oakley Moore brought $15.00 this eve, the church took up this morning. Ross has been collecting for us - he went 3 times to see Doyne & brought him here to Mr. Barry's in his car. Alma Dill brought us some shoes this evening & said the community was giving a shower-at school next Thursday night. Mr. & Mrs. Benich brought some clothes yesterday eve & took the girls home with them. They stopped by the Russell Preachers & got some of baby clothes for Debbie.

I was in town washing & Jess was packing up at home, stacking mostly because the yard wouldn't hold the cars was a constant come & go, said it was all today. Mrs. Avery & another woman ran two washers for me & I ran one & we washed 3 hours. She didn't charge me a penny. I'm still shaking from the shock but we are so thankful. We still have our machinery, the stock, chickens. The two chicken houses, the hay stack weren't touched & the machinery was parked there, you know.

But most of all we got out alive. Looking at the rubbish you winder how we even got out alive, Doyne especially. Billie & Estel {Pennington} heard it by 9 o'clock the next morning - word sure passed fast & everyone came to see it. Wasn't quite everyone & its late. Thomas {Crabtree}, Olive {Gramling}, Louis {Barry} & Ellie {Pennington} saw the account in today's Daily Oklahoman. Aunt Dovie {Willingham} said she did. She came out this evening to see it and she was going to visit you Tuesday. But I thought you would want to know we are all ok.