Researched by : Tina Easley

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April 1, 1897



Almost Laid Waste a Village

In Arkansas




Further News of the Oklahoma Storm. Increase Its Horror - - List of Killed Reaches 26 - - Over 130 Received Injuries – Chief Justice Dale’s Close Call


            Pine Bluff. Ark., April 1 - - A cyclone and hailstorm has passed over Gradys, 21 miles south of here. It almost laid waste the entire village, killing four colored women and wounding several others, among them the station agent’s wife. There was not a house left standing on Hall place and the sectionhouse was entirely demolished. Hailstones were so large that trainmen had to find places of safety. All trains are late. The town is entirely cut off from the telegraphic communictaion.

            GUTHRIE, O.T….April 1 - -It is learned every house in Chandler, both business and resident, with the exception of two. Were destroyed by the cyclone.

            The list of killed reaches 26 and and the injured over 150.

            Fourteen will die.

            Chief Justice Dale of the Oklahoma supreme court, who was holding court when the cyclone came up, narrowly escaped. He ran with his wife to a hollow and the two were protected ny a large bowlder and were unhurt. Others in the courthouse. Which was crowded, did not fare so well, one being kiled and a dozen injured. The structure was twisted around  and hurled into the street a complete wreck.

            Chandler was a town of 1,500 people. It was built on a hill, in a thick timber, and situated 50 miles southeast of Guthrie. It was one of the most prosperous of the territory boom towns, but was without railway facilities. But two lef tstanding. They were the Mitchell Hotel and the Grand Grocery Store.

            The night in Chandler was one of undescribable terror. With many of its inhabitants dead or dying and the remainder too badly injured or unable from fright or because of the darkness to render assistance, noorder prevailed. Rain poured down in torrents. The injured in many cases unavailingly cried for help and lay in the wrecks of their homes until daylight made it possible for them to help themselves, or when aid from surrounding towns arrived.

            But one of Chandler’s physicians escaped uninjured, and, even after aid from Guthrie arrived, there was a scar-city of surgeons. Only two were able to do anything last night, and one of these, Dr. Walcott, with blood streaming from a sightless eye, worked until he fainted.

            The city has put to use all its cash, about $700, for immediate aid. Hundreds of tents have been sent from Fort Reno and Guthrie and will provide temporary shelter for the unfortunates. All are homeless, however, and more substantial aid must quickly follow. Food is scarce and there are not half enough coffins to bury the dead, and practically all the town’s supply of medicine has been destroyed.

            A list of the dead follows:

                        Attorney John Dawson

                        E.R. Demoff

                        Emma Dressinger

                        Unknown Woman

                        Child, all burned to death by being pinioned in the wreck of the Lincoln Bank

                        Mrs. Tom Smith, crushed

                        Mrs. Philip Johnson and child.

                        Mrs. Dr. Lee

                        A.W.  Keller and wife

                        Unknown Man

                        Three unknown children, burned to death

                        Mrs. Mitchell

                        James Woodyard and wife of Eldorado, Kan.

                        Mrs. Demment

                        H. Bemar, a barber

                        D.F. Johnson

                        Emma Rittenstein

                        Mrs. F.G. Johnson, babe and little boy


                        The fatally injured are:

                        Woodyard girl

                        Dr. L. Lee

                        Arthur Jewett

                        Peggie Johnson

                        Mrs. McCall

                        D.C. Gooding

                        Mollie Ulam

                        Andrew Asher and wife

                        Sidney Kennon

                        D.C. Johnson and wife

                        William Tilghman

                        George Hefendon

                        Many others received less injuries