Coal County, Oklahoma

Weather Stories

Many Children Were Injured During the Afternoon Session of School In the Collapse of the Building
Special to The Oklahoman
Owl, I.T. May 5--A tornado which struck here at 2:20 this afternoon resulted in the injury of fourteen people, four fatally.  Those injured were all in the school house in which school was being held.  Professor Blackburn and three children were seriously injured.  Seven business buildings were badly damanged and fifty dwellings, lifted from their foundations.  The only church in the town was completely destroyed.  It is thought the damage will amount to about $50,000.  As soon as telegraphic connection could be had, physicians were ordered from Coalgate to the scene and the injured were cared for.

The storm came from a southwesterly direction and struck the town fully.  The path covered by the storm was about 700 feet wide and made a clean sweep.  Limbs of large trees were deposited all over the town, and many of the injuries occurred from flying debris.  The afternoon passenger train on the Katy, bound for Oklahoma City, was standing on the track when the storm struck.  No damage resulted to railroad property.  People were frantic during the terrible wind, and crowds ran from one portion of the town to the other, apparently not knowing where they were going, having been driven from their homes.

J.B. Dickerson of Davis, I.T., reached the city last evening and to an Oklahoman reporter described the tornado at Owl, which he witnessed from a Rock Island Trail.  "As we were approaching the station," he said, "someone called out that a tornado was approaching from the southwest.  The engine crew probably saw the approaching storm for the train was stopped on the edge of the prairie outside the town limits and all the people on the train rushed out to gaze upon one of nature's most terrifying phenomenn.  The tornado was approaching from the southwest and travelling with the speed of a railway train.

"The cloud was funnel shaped," presenting the form of an inverted cone from four to six hundred feet in diameter at the point of connection with the earth's surgace.  Within this might maelstrom could be seen oak trees and all kinds of debris whipping about like blades of grass in a summer whirlwind and constantly mounting upward and falling outside the mighty whirl.  When first seen by us at a distance of two miles its awful roar could be plainly heard, much resembling the sound of a railroad train crossing a trestle bridge.

"Passing through a tract of oak wood, through which it mowed a broad path, the tornado moved across the valley and hit the hills where, pausing like an enraged lion, it ground upon the trees and rocks, raing in majestic rage, then passing over the hilltops and out of vision.  We could not see the town when enveloped by the tornado, but the spectacle was appalling when the death-dealing storm has passed.  Six business house and about twenty residences and a school house had been demolished.  We learned that in the school house one man and a little girl were killed and about twenty others injured.

"The railway track was not damaged where the tornado had passed over it, but for a distance of seven hundred feet the track was strewn with oak trees which had to be cut away bvefore the train could proceed.
[Source:  The Oklahoman Archives:  Story printed May 6, 1905 on the Front Page
Transcribed by Linda Craig

Storm Swoops Down on Coalgate Out of Clear Sky; Terrific Rain Follows

Coalgate, Okla., June 1 - Five persons are known to have been killed, four were fatally injured and between twenty-five and thirty seriously injured by a tornado which swept thru this mining town of 3,500 inhabitants at 5 o'clock this afternoon. Four of the injured are so seriously hurt they are expected to die. A school building and about one hundred and fifty homes were demolished

The known dead:

W. F. Edge, 40 years old

Four-Year-Old daughter of Morris Milstein, Banker

Two-Year-Old baby of A. L. Cook, Merchant

Two Unknown Negro Men


The fatally injured:

Miss Amy Burleson

Mrs.  A. L. Cook and her 7-year-old daughter

Mrs. Frances Greenon

The storm swept the entire north western part of the city, destroying practically every residence. The Westward school building, a brick structure, was demolished.

The Elks clubrooms and residences have been turned into a hospital. Twenty-five injured are being cared for at the club. Three special trains, one each from McAlester, Atoka and Temple, have arrived bearing doctors, nurses and citizens.

The storm struck Coalgate almost without warning, coming out of an almost clear sky. It moved in a semi-circle around the northwestern part of the city, razing residences and other buildings in its path. Following the tornado was a rainstorm of terrific intensity. (Tulsa World, Tulsa, OK., Saturday, June 2, 1917, page 5)

Are Sending Coalgate Help

Ada is Liberal in Donations to Victims of Tornado

Ada, Okla., June 8 - The Red Cross society sent a big donation of clothes, furniture and money to the victims of the cyclone of Coalgate this week.  More than five hundred people were made homeless and the donations were given here freely and plentifully. (Tulsa World, Tulsa, OK., Saturday, June 9, 1917, page 3)


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