This article, taken from the Mountain View Progress Newspaper, was contributed to this site by Frances Barkley Willess granddaughter of J. S. Barkley, who died in the tornado. This information remains the property of Ms. Willes.
Vol. VII. Mountain View, Kiowa County, Oklahoma, Thursday, November 9, 1905. No. 26
The cyclone: It has struck Mountain View at last and great is the death and destruction that followed in its wake. Many have been the times that ominous looking clouds, from which the lightning flashed and the thunder roared have overspread the sky and many people have gone hurrying to places of refuge; only to find on emerging a little later than nothing greater their fears (sic) had disappeared with the storm. But now when the autumn days had come and the "cyclone season was ended" and no one thought of danger, was when the storm burst in its fury and carried with it both life and property in a few seconds of time and without the warning of a moment.
J. S. Barkley.
Frank W. Clark
Mrs. Jennie Hulme.
Mrs. W. M. Holt.
Milford and Eskel Holt.
Wade T. White.
Mrs. J. S. Barkley, injured about the head and face.
Mrs. E. McBride, injured in the face and knee crushed.
J. D. Hollis, left shoulder, dislocated.
Ed Hollis, back sprained, right arm cut, internal injuries.
J. T. Hollis, point of shoulder blade broken, leaders in left wrist severed, right shoulder and right leg injured.
John Gordon, cut full length of forehead, elbow injured, splinter driven through arm.
M. Hollis, badly bruised.
F. A. Mittendorf, back sprained and leg cut.
Flayel Holt, injured in head and both legs and arms, very serious.
Ruth Holt, sprained ankle and bruise on forehead.
Susie Moore, broken arm.
Mrs. W. C. Foster, badly bruised.
Mrs. Thomas Smith, cut bout the head and face, badly injured.
Thomas Dunn, collar bone broken and shoulder crushed.
Fay Barkley, slightly bruised.
Cleo Barkley, cut on knee, injured slightly.
M. N. Whittle, internal injuries
Mrs. Geo. Broughton, bruised, injuries slight.
I.W. Gray, back sprained and bruised.
On Saturday, November 4, at about five o'clock in the afternoon during a heavy downpour of rain, a cyclone struck Mountain View and passed through the town from southwest to northeast destroying a large amount of property and killing seven people and injured about eighteen more.
The storm seems to have formed near the southwest corner of the townsite and after moving Mrs. Hager's house slightly from it (sic) foundation and twisting an unoccupied house west of Lance's and moving the Graves residence about two feet to the east and north and also T.D. VanKirk's and tearing up VanMeter's and A. J. Foster's barns, it struck the schoolhouse and lifted it bodily in the air turning it completely over and crushing it to the ground; the west half going literally to pieces while the east half remained intact standing on the roof and but a few feet from its foundation.
The Christian church, which stood a little to the west, was blown from its foundation and badly wrecked, while the Methodist church which stood to the north in the same block was totally wrecked. The parsonage which stood on the same grounds as the church was moved from its foundation and the shed-roofed kitchen was demolished. The front end of the main part of the Chinese laundry was torn away as was also the west side of the washhouse.
Crossing Main street the wind whipped to the west and demolished two small houses and twisted another north of Dr. Reynolds' then following to the northeast, Sample's carpenter shop and Bonebrake's warehouse were swept away and the awning torn from the Farmers and Merchants bank. The Farmers Independent Lumber Co's yard came next and sheds were destroyed and lumber twisted out of shape and split to kindling wood, while the Union Supply yards fared much the same though not to so great extent. Coker's livery barn was completely demolished and O. D. Coker's house badly damaged while the sheds from Foster's wagon yard followed the general wreck.
Crossing the railroad track it struck Kelley's feed store, tearing away the porch and awning and the entire front of the building, then swept across to C. W. Foster's house, which was left a total wreck, and Thomas Smith's and J. I. Stewart's to the west were blown completely away, not a board of them remaining anywhere in the neighborhood where they stood.
But the saddest part of the story is yet to come, for so far no loss of life had occurred, nor yet serious injury, except in the case of Mrs. Thomas Smith, whose condition is noted among the list of the injured. The course of the storm then changing more to the east the Wells Gin and also the Wells home stood directly in its path, and on the former the fullest fury of the storm seems to have been spent. The heavy timbers and machinery were lifted and twisted about like straws completely demolishing the whole plant, with the exception of the seed house which is still standing though badly wrecked and the boiler and engine, which may be used again though badly damaged. The gin proper, storage house and office were entire swept away and it was here that J. S. Barkley met his fate. He was standing at his post as suction feeder when the heavy machinery fell on him crushing him to death and it was here also that Thomas Dunn, the
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Engineer received his injury. I. W. Gray the bookkeeper was in the office and was injured while making his escape from the falling building. The Wells home was blown about ten feet from its foundation and turned part way round. The porches and smoke house were blown from the premises and have not yet been identified among the general wreckage. The Farmers Gin which stood a block to the east was also badly damaged though the machinery escaped unharmed. But here again comes the sad story of death. The office building was blown away and the bookkeeper W. T. White received the wounds from which he died in less than thirty minutes from the time he was rescued.
The Barkley home, near by, was also wrecked and Mrs. Barkley so severely injured that her life was for a time almost despaired of and her children were also slightly injured. The Morris home was also swept away but the occupants escaped unharmed. The Shaul hotel, livery barn and wagon yard were all completely destroyed, as were also the residences of G. W. Bryce, and E. McBride in the same vicinity. And though the buildings were completely wrecked and eight horses killed in the yards; no member of these families were seriously injured, with the exception of Mrs. McBride, whose injuries are listed elsewhere.
Next came the ill-fated building where lived Mrs. Jennie Hulme and her brother F. W. Clark in the rear and W M. Holt and family in the fore part. This building was reduced to a mass of kindling wood and splinters, here perished Mr. Clark, Mrs. Hulme, Mrs. Holt and two children--five of the seven dead. Passing on to the north the house of W. H. Hines, near the river, was demolished while the family found refuge in a storm cellar. So far as known this is the only damage done off the townsite.
A party of people from the country were caught at the gin just as they had started for home in a surrey, and were carried some distance by the wind when the surrey was overturned and most of the party quite serious injured. The party consisted of J. D., J. T., A. M. and Ed Hollis, and John Gordon, all grown, besides three little boys, aged eleven, nine and seven. The children escaped practically unhurt, while the injuries of the others are listed elsewhere.
J. S. Barkley met instant death being buried under the heavy machinery of the gin and his body was not rescued for some little time. His face and head were crushed almost beyond recognition.
F. W. Clark was dead when found and he too was badly disfigured.
Mrs. Holt was found some distance from the wreck and though still breathing when found she died on the spot and without gaining consciousness. Her head and chest were crushed and her left leg broken. Her little son Milford, two years old lay near his mother and was dead when found, but Eskel, the six months old baby, was not found until nine o'clock, and when it was brought in, its little body was covered with mud.
Mrs. Hulme's head was crushed in the back, but her face was not badly disfigured. She was alive when found, and was carried to the Allen House, where she soon died, but not until after telling something of the storm.
W. T. White was also living when found but died from internal injuries, soon after being taken to the hotel.
Mr. Barkley leaves a wife and four small children and other relatives, among whom is a sister, Mrs. Belle Day, of Okfusky (sic), Indian Territory. His wife is among the badly injured and at the time of his burial was hardly expected to live. The children are three boys and one girl, Fay, Roy (Note: Should be Ray) and Leo and Cleo the last two being twins.
Mrs. Holt was the mother of five children, two of whom perished with her and the eldest, Flavel, a boy of seven years, is very badly injured and his recovery is by no means assured. Two little girls, Ruth and Una, escaped with but slight injury, the former with a sprained ankle and bruised forehead and the latter with scarcely a scratch. The husband was not in the house at the time and was uninjured. The mother was well known among her neighbors as a good Christian woman and one who carefully cared for and instructed her children, to whom she was especially devoted. Her father, G. H. Langford, came in Monday from Bonita, Texas, and left Tuesday, taking with him the two little girls, Ruth and Una. Eskel, the baby, was born on the night of May 26, which will be remembered as the date of the hail storm which, until the cyclone in which his little life was ended, was the most terrific storm ever known in Mountain View.
Mrs. Hulme was formerly Mrs. Jennie Jones, by which name she is better known among her old neighbors and friends. She was fifty-six years of age and her brother, Mr. Clark, was seventy-two. The latter was an old soldier and quite feeble. Their brother, T. H. Clark, and his son, H. H. Clark, came in from Boise in time to attend the funeral Monday.
W. T. White was a young man, twenty-seven years old and unmarried. He had been bookkeeper at the Farmers gin since 1903. His mother lives in Mississippi, to where his body was shipped for burial. E. L. Campbell accompanied the remains as far as Chickasha where James Wooten took charge to Brooksville, Mississippi.
No sooner had the storm passed than the town turned out in a body to care for the dead and rescue the wounded and dying. The Manhattan Hotel building and the Allen House were both thrown open, the dead and part of the wounded being carried to the former and most of the wounded to the latter, while a few of the wounded were taken to private homes.
The local physicians, Drs. Morgans, Smith, Darnell and Burns, assisted by impromptu but willing nurses worked heroically until the dead were laid out and the living made as comfortable as possible. The stores, which fortunately were not in the path of the storm, were thrown open and supplies of every kind freely and promptly furnished.
The west-bound freight coming in shortly after the storm the engine and caboose were quickly detached and run up to Gotebo, from where a return trip was soon made with valuable assistants. The west-bound passenger was late and came in about eight o'clock, bringing with it doctors and nurses from Anadarko, Ft. Cobb and Carnegie and also the Anadarko firemen. Later in the night a special from Hobart came in and the regular morning passenger brought still others from Hobart and large numbers from Mangum, Roosevelt and Snyder.
Sunday afternoon brought a special from Chickasha which came in charge of L. C. Hutson, manager of the Indiahoma Gins, J. S. Browne, of the Union Supply Co.; the Manager of the Chickasha Milling Co.; and Editor Granlee of the Chickasha Express. The train brought valuable assistance and a purse of $122.90 which was turned over to the relief committee. A popular subscription of $172.90 had been taken and the cost of the train was $100, half of which was donated by the Railroad Co., leaving as stated above $122.90 for the relief fund.
Carnegie sent $79.50, Snyder $100 and Siboney $26.15.
The day had been cloudy with occasional light showers of rain but unaccompanied by thunder or lightning; until after four o'clock when the rain began falling in torrents and a few flashes of lightning were seen followed by a low rumbling thunder. The clouds presented a uniformly gray misty appearance and no thought of danger seems to have been entertained by any one until the crash came and all was over. Those who escaped did not realize there had been any danger until it had passed. The path of the storm followed pretty closely the ravine which passes through town from the southwest to the northeast yet for the most part it traveled more north than east.
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Death Dealing Cyclone.
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Parties from Gotebo say they plainly saw the cloud which must have been invisible here on account of the rain which was falling in perfect torrents and at the time of the storm the streets were rivers of water. Parties from Binger also say they saw the cloud traveling in the air supposedly after it had passed Mountain View. So far as we have been able to learn no damage was done either before or after it struck the town.
Some people living in plain sight of the school building did not know that anything had happened until after it had fallen while others saw it go. Eye witnesses say they could see under it while it was suspended in the air when it overturned and then came down to the ground with a crash where it now stands on the roof. It was a two-story frame building and its nearness to the foundation in its present condition clearly proves that it was overturned while in the air then let down again in almost the same spot from which it rose. A fire insurance was carried on this building but no tornado, which makes it a total loss.
The Methodist church is lying flat as though a heavy hand had struck it from above and crushed it to the earth, with the entire structure resting almost wholly within the limits of its original foundations. This building was undergoing a series of repairs and a number of workmen had left it only a short time before it fell. $1000 insurance was carried on it and the parsonage together.
One corner of the Coker house was torn off and a number of planks from the barn are driven through the wall of the room where Mrs. Coker and her two children were when the storm struck and they escaped, uninjured.
Mrs. C. W. Foster attempted to leave the house with her baby in her arms but was thrown to the ground from where she was unable to rise until the wind subsided. The family of J. L. Stewart was saved by going to a cave.
Mrs. J. W. Morris and two children were rescued from the wreck of their home and found uninjured under a table, which was braced against the stove, while the side of the house was blown in over them.
S. A. Shaul saved himself and three little boys by throwing his arms around them and a heavy post which stood firm in spite of the storm. Susie Moore who was boarding with the Shaul family had her left am broken. Mrs. G. W. Bryce and children and Mrs. Geo. Broughton were in the same house with Mrs. Shaul and children. All escaped without serious injury. Little Floreeda Bryce seven years old, had her lip slightly cut and one braid of her hair was cut close from her head but without injuring the scalp.
Ms. Graves and children and also Mrs. VanKirk and baby were at their respective homes when the houses turned but were uninjured.
When the heavy rain struck the Hollis brothers and children in their surrey, their horses ran in the shelter of the gin and they could not drive them from it, until the cyclone carried them away and lifted horses, surrey and occupants from the ground and turned them all in a heap. How any of the party escaped from death is a mystery to themselves as well as others who saw them.
E. A. Mittendorf was weighing a load of corn at the Farmers Gin, but went to the office and tried to assist Mr. White, who was later killed, in his effort to hold the door shut. But the building soon went and Mittendorf escaped though not without severe injury.
The family of G. W. Wells, consisting of his wife and children and his mother were sitting quietly in their house, when the storm struck, and it all passed so quickly that they made no attempt to move until it had passed, and were uninjured though the house was badly damaged.
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Death Dealing Cyclone.
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A meeting was held Sunday morning when an organization was perfected by electing A. E. Stinson, president, A. W. Ralston, secretary; and T. E. Givens, treasurer.
Sub committees were appointed and soon everything possible was being done to clear away the wreckage, to properly provide for the care of the wounded and destitute and to bury the dead.
Every effort was made by each individual committee to have the work assigned to it thoroughly done and as a result, everything is now in as good condition as could be expected.
The homeless have been provided with groceries, clothing and bedding and also temporary homes es(sic) and the sick and wounded have been made as comfortable as possible.
Efforts are being made to find the most suitable accommodations for the schools and it is hoped they may be able to open again next Monday. Places for Sunday school and other services will also be provided.
The Farmers gin is rapidly undergoing repairs and is now almost ready for work. Owing to the lateness of the season the Wells Gin, which is beyond repair, will not be rebuilt before next spring.
Aside from the loss of life, the destruction of the gins, churches and schoolhouse are the worse (sic) calamities that have befallen the town, but in the few short days that have already passed much has been done to overcome the disastrous effect.
The Alexander Drug Co. of Oklahoma City, sent in surgeons' supplies to the amount of $25 worth, which have been made good use of in caring for the wounded.
We understand that a check for $25 has been received from Secretary W. E. Grimes.
At about nine o'clock on Monday morning a procession formed at the Manhattan hotel, from where the bodies of all the dead but Mr. White were taken to the new cemetery where the funeral scrvices (sic) were held by Rev. A. J. McMillan, after which the interment was made.
A clock found in the ruins that was known to have been running before the storm struck, had stopped at just 2-1/2 minutes before 5 o'clock.
Flavel Holt who was severely injured in the head and face and both legs and one arm with his little body completely covered with bruises, is being cared for at the home of T. E. Given.
Mrs. Barkley is being cared for at the home of E. L. Campbell and Mrs. McBride at J. W. Penn's and the Barkley children at George Gordon's.
(Note: Alice Frances Watson (Mrs. John Shaw) Barkley kept this newspaper. About 1985 Leo Barkley gave the paper to his niece, Frances Barkley Willess, of Austin, Texas. It was very hard to copy because of the age of the paper, and the creases that had been in it for so long.)
My dad, Fay Wilson Barkley, often talked about the cyclone which killed his father when he was seven years old, and I wish I had paid more attention. I do remember some of the stories he told.
Daddy told that his mother, Alice Frances, was cooking supper, and he was sitting on the floor rolling a little red rubber ball. Suddenly the wall lifted from the floor and the ball rolled outside. The next thing he knew he was in the street outside the house. He calmly watched as his younger brother Ray, 6 years old, floated past him sitting on a door, and made no effort to stop him. Ray and Leo were the only family members not injured. Granny (Alice) told in the 1930's that she still had the rubber ball in her trunk, but years later when we had a chance to go through the trunk the ball was not found.
Daddy remembered seeing nearby houses with broom straws sticking in the walls, where the straw had hit with such force it was driven in to the wooden walls and stayed there. The house across the street had the curtains hanging outside the window panes. The glass had been lifted out, the curtains pulled out, and the glass popped back into place with the curtains on the outside.
Alice grabbed the twins, Leo and Cleo, then two years old, and held them so tight it took several men to pull them from her arms. She hit her head on the stove and was unconscious for several days. After the storm her hair literally turned snow white overnight. John Shaw Barkley was crushed when the press in the gin fell on him. Leo Barkley told that his body was not identified until Alice's brother, James C. Watson, arrived and identified him. Since the storm hit on Saturday afternoon and the burial was Monday, it seems unlikely that Jim could have arrived from his home in a rural area of Central Texas, so must have been visiting a brother who lived in Oklahoma. John and Alice had a baby, Guy Earl, buried in the old cemetery across the river. Since the river was on a rise and they could not cross it to bury him with his baby, John was buried in the new cemetery in Mountain View. Before returning to Texas with her brother Alice paid a man $40 to put a tombstone on his grave. The family moved to Bell County, Texas, and none of the family returned to Mountain View until 1952. His children were very upset when they found there was no stone on his grave. Unfortunately, his grave is still unmarked, although the location is known.
The Barkley family lived near Sparta in Bell County, Texas until the 1920's. Ray moved to Dallas, Texas, where he lived until his death in 1964. Fay remained in Belton, Texas until his death in 1970. Alice, Leo, and Cleo moved to Los Angeles, California about 1927, and Alice died in El Monte in 1947. After their retirement Leo and Cleo, along with the Leo's family, moved to Oregon. Cleo, who never married, died in Canby, Oregon in 1983; and Leo died there in 1987.
Frances Barkley Willess
1011 Karen Avenue
Austin, Texas 78757
May 26, 2000
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