January 14, 1932
Ten Of Family
Ten Lives Out of One Family Snuffed Out With
Only a Few Moments Warning.
Home, Barns and Livestock Destroyed
Effects and Debris of Family and Home Scattered
for Many Miles By Death-dealing Tornado.
A family formerly of near Rutherford but whom have been living about eight miles west of Trenton the past two years on the farm of Mrs. J. Wilbur Dickson of this city, were almost entirely wiped out by a cyclone at about 5:30 p. m. last Thursday.
There were thirteen in the family including a son and daughter-in-law living with them and a small granddaughter, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Paul McDaniel of near this city temporarily with them. The family was composed of P. W. and Mrs. Rice; daughters, Opal, 17; Hazel, 14; Edith, 9; son Horace, 10, a six-months’ old child and others.
At the hour mentioned a cyclone approached and struck the home with such force that it was completely ripped to pieces and scattered over a wide are of territory also scattered the dead, dieing and wounded bodies of the entire family over a considerable territory.
Some near neighbors could tell that something had happened and rushed to the scene and began taking up the dead and wounded having to hunt around for some time to find them all. Mrs. Rice and some of the children were found dead. Mr. Rice suffered a broken back and died at or on the way to the nearest hospital and others died in a short time except the older son and his wife whom were not so badly hurt.
The storm cut off immediate communication but later information of the disaster with its terrible results Trenton and other communities and soon there were a number of physicians, nurses and ambulances and several hundred people on the scene to render all the assistance possible.
The barn on the place was torn to pieces and several fine white-face cattle were killed and others more or less crippled up and one mule was killed. The barn of a neighbor was blown down and his home slightly damaged. It is said the owner of the home, a Mr. Norvel, saw the funnell shaped could coming and carried his family out into a field and out of the path of the twister.
NEIGHBOR TELLS WHAT HE SAW
F. H. Crenshaw, a farmer, told of seeing the Rice home picked up and jerked to pieces by the rap-idly moving funnel-shaped black cloud.
"While standing in my yard, I heard a roaring in the southwest and saw a black cloud, dipping down in the shape of a funnel, possibly a couple of miles away.
"It traveled very rapidly and its noise almost deafened me as it came near my place and then struck directly at the Rice home.
"When it hit, the air was filled with flying particles. I grabbed a lantern and raced my car to the place to find several other neighbors arriving.
"The house was torn all to pieces and scattered over a wide area. We found Mrs. Rice’s body near the house. A little distance away, I found one of the little girls, badly injured. Other members of the family were found scattered over a radius of 100 yards or so, some of them dead and others badly hurt."
BURIAL AT MT. OLIVE SATURDAY
Burial of nine of the family and the little granddaughter took place at Mt. Olive cemetery five miles southwest of Rutherford on Saturday morning following appropriate services conducted at the church there by Rev. Cox, pastor of the Rutherford Baptist church, and Rev. Grist of Dyer. The ten corpse were brought to Mt. Olive by two County Trucks but remained on the trucks out-side and not opened during the services. Probably the largest concourse of people that ever witnessed a burial service in Gibson County was present at this sad rites to the unfortunate ones.
Only two graves were dug, one wide enough for the nine caskets of the Rice family to be placed side by side, and one for the little granddaughter by the side of an infant sister preceding her.
Another daughter is still in the hospital and there is hope for her recovery.
The wife of the older son who lived with the family is still in the hospital with hope for her recovery.
RUTHERFORD IN LINE
Rutherford did not experience any wind as a result of the tornado nor even hear it and it was about two hours before information of the bad catastrophe reached here, but evidently the wind passed over our town at an altitude too high to be heard. At the home of D. W. Flowers here Mrs. Flowers was frightened at some-thing striking the side of the house. This proved to be a piece of plank something like two feet long and a few inches wide. At other places in or near town pieces of shingles and other debris is said to have been found. Near Walnut Grove northeast of town a check in an envelope bearing the signature of Mr. Rice which had been paid was found. A strawberry ticket bearing the names of Rice & Dickson was found near Northern school house northwest of Rutherford. George Mitchell reports finding parts and almost whole cypress boards scattered about, all over the big farm he lives on just south of town.
The tornado virtually dried up a pond covering half acre of land.
Jars of fruit, vegetables and meats were carried to a field some hundred yards away and left intact.
Thorns from trees were stuck inches deep in other trees. A chair round was driven two inches deep into a tree.
Nine buildings were torn to pieces, but a nearby residence, said to be 100 years old, was left intact while surrounding buildings were blown away.