The Russell neighborhood, sixteen miles southwest of Mangum, was considerably torn up by a small cyclone last Friday evening. The path of the twister was not more than fifty yards wide, however, and the destruction was not as great as might have been, for no persons were injured or animals killed, although the damage to houses and crops was considerable. W. J. Hale and his son, J. E. Hale, were the heaviest loosers. The former owns a farm adjoining the town of Russell. There are two houses on the place, the son occupied one and E. J. Wilson and family the other, while W. J. Hale and family live in Mangum.
At the time the storm came up Mrs. E. J. Hale and her sister-in-law, who was visiting her, were at their neighbor's Mr. Wilson. Mr. Hale, who had hurried home from the field, rushed into the house and finding no one there went out and crawled under his wagon, about a hundred feet away. The house was picked up, turned over, and landed with the roof on the ground. The house was completely wrecked and every piece of furniture, except one chair, and every dish was broken.
The family had their clothes in two trunks. The trunk containing the clothes of Mrs. Hale and her sister was found uninjured and the contents alright, but the other one was found in a cotton patch a quarter of a mile away from the house and the only articles it contained were two collars.
Most of their bedding after the storm hung in strings and shreds on the wire fences.
The barn was not injured in the least and the wagon in the yard was not moved from its tracks.
The other house, where Mr. Hale's folks were, about a quarter of a mile away, was not in the path of the twister and was uninjured.
A peculiarity of the cyclone was that it took a zig-zag course - first northeast then southeast.
The first place visited, that we have been able to learn of, was that of Mr. Parkey, a few miles southwest of Mr. Hale's place. It tore up Mr. Parkey's stables and did some other damage, then called on Jim Kerbo and just to show what it could do, picked up a rain barrell, threw it against the comb of the house and landed it on the other side.
At the home of Elva Lansford the family was in the dugout, about twelve feet away from the house. The wind picked up the house and sat it down over the dugout door. He said his father had told him to always take an ax in the dugout with him and "I sure was glad I had it with me that time for I had to cut my way out," said he.
G. W. Irwin's dwelling house was moved ten feet but not seriously injured, while the store, which is kept by Mr. Irwin, and only a hundred yard's from the house, was not shaken.
The church was moved five inches off its foundation. Both gins were in the path and both were torn down and the engine houses demolished.
The greatest damage to crops by the storm was by hail, a heavy fall of which followed in the wake of the cyclone. J. P. Wilson had ten acres of oats ready to cut and the hail beat it down and threshed the seed out on the ground. Mart and Frank Adam's places adjoin Wilson's and the hail ruined a strip through all three of them, stripping the corn and pounding the cotton into the ground.
After leaving the Russell neighborhood the cyclone seems to have jumped into the air and crossed over the balance of Greer County. People along the way watched it and say it took a southeast course.
That same evening the town of Snyder, that was torn up a year ago, had a wind storm that tore down several residences and stores but no persons were hurt as they were all in dugouts.
At Lawton the same evening a number of houses were destroyed and persons injured by a storm, and if it is a fact that the Russell cyclone took a southeast course, it may have been the same one that visited Snyder and Lawton.
Its work in Greer County was done in a few minutes, but it will take several months of good hard work to make good the loss to the victims. Mr. Hale's house that was destroyed was 14 x 16, with a side room 8 x 16. It was built two years ago and cost $500. Young Mr. Hale's loss is the most severe, as he was just getting a start in the world. But he and his wife both take it good-naturedly, have fixed a temporary domicile on one side of the barn, which is a good big one, and are thankful that they were not in the house when it was dashed to pieces.