Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tornado of 1932, Murray County, Georgia

The tornado of 1932 was a huge storm system, killing about 175 people in Alabama and some in Georgia. Found several local articles.  Following are very brief extracts, along with publication information:


Microfilm roll:
The Chatsworth Times
April 1920-Dec. 1944
Location: Dalton Regional Library in Dalton, Whitfield Co., Georgia
Reproduced by University of Georgia Photographic Services, Athens, Georgia 30602

Article from:

The Chatsworth Times
Thursday, 24 March 1932
Volume 46--Volume 12*     (*This is a misprint:  normally it would say Vol. 46--Number 12, but I extracted "as is.")
Chatsworth, GA 30705

page 1--several articles, also cont'd on last page:

Headline: "Tornado Kills 6 In Murray County"

[Has three photos. Extract compiled from various articles]: 

The tornado struck "last Monday night about seven o'clock..."

"Thirteen are dead in Murray and Polk county, Tennessee..."

"...the home of Conway Sampson was carried off by the winds."

Dead: [incl. Little Murray and Conasauga area]: George Awtrey (father-in-law of Mrs. Joe Awtrey), Willard Awtrey* (age 10, son of Mrs. Joe Awtrey), Marion Awtrey (age 8, daughter of Mrs. Joe Awtrey), Lynch Lauderdale, Mrs. Lynch Lauderdale, Miss Maggie Sampson, Mrs. J.B. Hawkins, Mr. Raymond Parks (alternately, "Ramon," of Tenn.), Mrs. Raymond Parks, Three Parks children, and Infant child of Mr. and Mrs. John Henry Green (which dropped from the mother's arms into the well as the mother tried to hold onto a well curb against which she'd been blown. Doctors think baby died before falling into well).

*"...Willard Awtrey, who later died of his injuries, gathered up cover from the fields with which to cover up his mother."

Badly injured:  Mr. and Mrs. Ratcliff, Mr. and Mrs. Sampson and Miss Annie Sampson and Dewey Sampson (hospitalized).  Also badly injured, Tinker Headrick and family, Mrs. Henry Caylor, Bud Horn, Mrs. Jim Kendrick, Mrs. and Mrs. Gilbert McClure.

 [Transcriber's Note: By the way, I remember my Dad saying that Bud Horn was nearly blinded by ashes when the wind blew down into the chimney and blew the ashes into his face.]

Hurt or badly bruised: Mr. and Mrs. Winston Green, "three children who were at Ball Play," Henry Hawkins, Joe Sampson.

Areas mentioned (communities, towns or counties) in "the Conasauga River Valley":  Beaverdale (which is in Whitfield Co., Ga.) Little Murray (in Murray Co., Ga.), Conasauga (in Polk Co., Tenn.--near Cleveland, Tenn.)

Under subheading of: "Oak Grove School Wrecked" it mentions the Lauderdales (2nd paragraph of article):

"The home of Charlie Ratcliff was completely destroyed, even the concrete foundation was broken up and moved.  His daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Lynch Lauderdale, were killed.  Mr. and Mrs. Ratcliff are in the hospital."

Continuation and more articles on last page, including: 

Subheading, "Funerals Wednesday":

Triple funeral: George Awtrey and his two grandchildren buried at Sumach Wednesday. Also, "Miss Maggie Sampson was buried at Old Fort and Mr. and Mrs. Lauderdale were buried at Liberty.  Mrs. Hawkins was buried at Calvary Thursday."

(Oops--I forgot to note the page number of that last page).



Microfilm roll:
The Dalton Citizen
March, 1931-July 1932
Location: Dalton Regional Library in Dalton, Whitfield Co., Georgia
Reproduced by University of Georgia Libraries Photoduplication Dept.

Article from:

The Dalton Citizen
Vol. LXXXVI, No. 23
Dalton, Georgia
Thursday, 24 March 1932
(On this paper, the banner read, "est. 1847--84 yrs. old, published weekly")

page 1:

Headline:  "Six Killed Near Dalton by Tornado"

Subhead: "Whitfield-Murray Hit Hard by Storm"

Dead:  George W. Autrey, Marie Autrey, Willard Autrey, Lynch Lauderdale, Mrs. Lynch Lauderdale, Miss Maggie Sampson

Seriously injured: 

At Hamilton Memorial hospital:

Conway Sampson (in very grave condition), Mrs. Conway Sampson, Miss Annie Sampson, Dewey Sampson, Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Ratcliff, Miss Louise Archer, Mrs. Beckie Autrey, Weston Autrey, Miss Minnie Lee Autrey, John Crawford, Henry Caylor, Mrs. Walter Whaley, Clyde Whaley.

[Transcription note: Hamilton Memorial would probably be the hospital at Dalton, which is still called Hamilton]: 

Rescue and relief volunteers: Mrs. Marjorie Smith, Miss Janette Sanders.  Also John Penn, the Kennemer brothers, Dr. Shellhorse Dr. Broadrick, Sheriff Butler, Deputy Richards (all of Murray Co.); Wilbur Cline, Henry Warmack, Jimmy Harlan, C.D. McCutchen, Joe Wrench, Dr. Bentley, Dr. Bradley, Mr. Mathis. Various other people representing specific agencies are specifically mentioned.

Destroyed: Oak Grove School, Conasauga Baptist Church, Joe Autrey home.

Section of page 1:

"Lauderdale Deaths"

"The Lauderdale family, when their new home was blown to splinters, suffered two deaths: Mr. and Mrs. Lynch Lauderdale.  Also a heavy sufferer in the disaster was..." (etc.)

(cont'd p. 12):

Section of articles:

"Concrete Torn Up"

"At the Lynch Lauderdale home, a concrete foundation was torn from the ground and the house scattered in fragments over the near-by fields.  Two deaths were sustained there, Mr. and Mrs. Lauderdale both being killed by the windy blast.  Their bodies were blown in different directions from where the house stood; and the body of Mrs. Lauderdale was recovered from the branches of a wind-torn tree."

"Chickens Dressed"

"A flock of chickens at the Lauderdale place were stripped entirely of their feathers..."


Cartersville, Ellijay, Gordon County, and other areas near here had newspapers, some of which are also reproduced on microfilm at the Dalton Library.  Other names may be mentioned.  I just did a quick extract of the main articles.


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