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Bollinger, Co Missouri

The foot path of the Grim Reaper

Bollinger County, MO: History

The foot path of the Grim Reaper

The tri-state tornado of 18 March (Wednesday) 1925 killed 695 people, it began its path of destruction near Ellington, Mo, and passed through Bollinger Co., Mo. injuring 32 school children, its path was from Missouri into Illinois and then Indiana. in all it traveled 219 miles. It is considered the deadliest storm (Tornado) in U.S. History

Killer of 30 May 1917 (Wednesday)

On (Wednesday) afternoon 30 May 1917 around 7pm a killer tornado struck the southwest part of Bollinger County Missouri. It is believed that the tornado originated in Texas County Missouri killing several there and then across Shannon County into Wayne County and then made its way into Bollinger and Scott counties killing many in its path of destruction. A destruction that was later discribed by a eye witness as having left nothing standing, not even a tree. Homes, barns and even fencing were completely ripped up and carried away, livestock as well. A destruction so great that only fate could have saved a living person, and it was fate or divine intervention, whatever it was it left many dead and many close to death that some that lived were given up for death. As I read over the Newspaper reports from the Cape Girardeau Daily Republican as reported by A.H. Hinchey and Alvin Macke and seen the effort that all the people made to save those that were spared it was the only good feeling I got from it, their description made it sound like a hell on earth for those that did survive.. Nurses and Doctors from all the surrounding towns went to help, they included: Miss Louise Kies, Ms. Norene McCain, Mrs. G.B. Schulz all nurses, with Drs. I. Rosenthal, A.H. Hope, G.W. Walker, G.B. Schulz, O.L. Seabaugh, F. D. Rhodes and S.T. Adams (all Medical Dr.'s) Dentists as well went, Dr. J.D. Porterfield, jr. W.E. Yount, J.W. Berry, John St. Avit.

The Old Baptist Church at Zalma was turned into a hospital, the wounded there were screaming and groaning from their wounds. Too much for the local doctor there at Zalma to handle ( I regret his name was not reported) 50 homes were destroyed 75 people were badly hurt. Such stories were told that it seems to me that only fate did save them. M.C. Blackwell his wife and five children saw the "twister" coming and all ran from the house and held onto a rose bush and lay flat on the ground and escaped death. At Ardeola there were probably 15 injured, some very seriously.. At Dongola there were 20 or more injured, also very seriously.. One of the orphan children of the Grimsley family will die and one of the Morgan children will also,,, ( I did not find no death certificate for either child). Dan Cato is seriously hurt, his wife was killed. Mrs. Tom Barger was killed, Town folks from Brownwood and Advance did noble work in helping, doing more than their share. Cape Girardeau of course sent the most aid and medical supplies, the staff of doctors and nurses that I have already mentioned. John Howard is so badly injured he will die ( I did not find his death certificate) W.W. Grimsley may die also, he was injured all over. Leonard Morgan, age 18, was also in bad shape and will probably die, ( I did not find his death certificate) Some were taken by train on 1 June (Friday) to the St. Francis hospital in Cape, the names were not included, only a few, Mrs. Bennie Revelle and her younger sister Jannie were taken there, but gangrene posion had set in at their deep wounds and they passed away, Both daughters of Isaac Wilfong from the Dongola area. Dongola was wiped from the face of the earth only a few buildings were left standing, one was the local Baptist Church. The little towns of Zadock and Chaonia all suffered many deaths. The efforts were delayed by stacked high at places were trees, logs, and rails, roads were washed out.

Glennon, Missouri, St. Anthonys Catholic Church was completely destroyed.

I will list now who was reported dead at that time in the papers and those that I found in the death certificates, some dying at a later date;

At Zalma: Haley Catherine Slaughter age 52, her husband, C. (Jack) Slaughter 55 both buried at Brushy Creek Cemt. Mrs. Dan Cato, buried at Brushy Creek Cemt. John Morgan, buried at Brushy Creek Cemt. Mrs. Walter Fish,20, buried at McGhee Creek Cemt.(Mrs. Fish was a bride of ten days) Mr. McAllester age 25, buried at Brushy Creek Cemt.( a visitor from Wayne Co, in the home of John Morgan) Roy Skiles buried at Union Hill Cemt. William Henry Skiles age 8, son of Henry and LIzzie, buried at Union Hill Cemt. Bud Wilkerson & Lewis Wilkerson age 10, childern of William C. Wilkerson and wife Carolina. Caswell Sherrill age 3, son of Perry S. and Ada. buried at Berrong Cemt. Mrs. Martha Borders buried at Speer Cemt. Mrs. Fulton Cooper & John Howard.. Mrs. Tom Barger. At Dongola; Lester Harris, 18, son of Frances Harris, Mrs. John Shell, Edward Seabaugh, Mrs. George Bidewell, Mrs. William M Killian,age 80, Mrs. Bennie (Wilfong) Revelle, Miss Janie Wilfong sisters. Mrs. Bennie Revelle was 24 and her sister Janie was 14, (the paper states that Mrs. Revelle has been the victim of cruel fate for sometimes, her husband being taken from her and sent to the penitentiary for forgery sometime ago.

At Zadock; Mrs. John D. Brooks and her little daughter

At Chanoia; ( I am not certain but I beleive this town or township to be in Wayne Co) Montgomery, Mary Dellena A. 13 yrs of age. daughter of Andrew B Montgomery, Myrtle E. Montgomery age 19, daughter of Andrew and Martha Montgomery, Agnes Pauline age 6, daughter of Andrew B. Arah Susan Montgomery age 9, daughter of Andrew Montgomery, Lee Palmer Montgomery age 2, son of Andrew Montgomery , Andrew Benjamin Montgomery age 40 yrs, all the above buried in the Montgomery Cemetery (the paper stated that Mr. Montgomery and his wife and six children were killed,, I only found the above) they did not name them.

George Ralph White, age 6, son of H. White and wife Mary buried Dees Chapel.

The following are victims from Wayne Co. Ethel Augusta Bennett, age 19 (Married to Earnest Bennett) buried Twidwell Cemt.
Jane James, age 66, buried at Chapel Hill Cemt.
Jones, Sarah age 22, buried at Chapel Hill Cemt.

In Texas County on the same day, 30 May 1917 a cyclone killed the following people,, so I beleive that it was the same storm: James Beard, age 3 , son of Burnie and Ella Beard buried Big Piney Cemt. Joe Blanche Beard, age 5, son of Burnie and Ella Beard Fannie Fletcher, age 45, (this lady was killed by lighting from the storm) buried in Sucess Missouri, Stalcup Cemt Opal Fletcher, age 7 yrs, ( daughter of Fannie and was killed by lighting also) buried in Sucess Missouri. Stalcup Cemt R. M. Jackson, age 46, Margaret H. Quirller age 36 both buried in Craddock Cemt.

In Scott county also the same day 30 May 1917 at about 7:30 pm a tornado passed just north of Sikeston Missouri ( I suspect the same tornado) causing considerable damage to the country side, five people were seriously injured, two of whom are not expected to live ( I did not find any death certificates for anyone on that date or later who were killed by the storm) Raymond Jeffry, Maude Jeffry, Glenn Jeffry, Mrs. Jim Medcalf and John Keller. Every building in Crowder Missouri was damaged and almost all blown away. The warehouse, Sikes-McMullin Grain Co., James Marshall Store, warehouse and mule barn all gone, M.E. and Christian Churches and the school house were all demolished. Cries for help were heard as far away as Vanduser, two miles away. Barns near Oran and Blodgett were blown down and trees uprooted and fencing carried off. Oran lost many homes but no life reported lost.

This was a terrible day and a terrible loss of life. Given what they had to work with and the conditions under which they did the Dr.'s and Nurses and all of those that were not mentioned, the neighbors and bordering towns that gave all they could did so for the love of their fellow man. I wanted to write about this killer storm so that those who read it will be very much aware that this could happen again, as man cannot change weather.. Today we cringe when we hear of someone being killed in a auto accident, death has a strange way of lingering in our minds even when we don't know the deceased if its a violent death. I have to wonder if we would respond today as they did back in 1917, they have my vote for sure what a great people they were.

Now when a strong wind blows or I hear the crackling of lighting and the rolling of thunder I think of a safe place to go just in case, tomorrow can happen again today. ( contact me at

Submittedby William Dean Crader Poster-#-86-

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