Van Buren Hit by Tornado Tuesday

A tornado made a recent visit ot Van Buren Tuesday afternoon, after the first visit December 23, 1889, when it did considerable damage, destroying several buildings but no person was fatally injured. The twister this time was more severe. It stuck the city about four 0'clock and was on it's way east in less than ten minutes, leaving about half the city in ruins. The northern edge of destruction was along Alexander Street which runs east-west by the Baptist church, and its width extended across the river but didn only slight damage to property. The main force of the storm was spent in a strip of which the court house was near the center. One of the two large elms in the courtyard was blown down and the other one badly damaged. The court house roof was damaged until it will require a new roof. Nearly all the tress in the southeast part of the city were well soaked and a crew of volunteers uprooted, due to the ground being worked all night and most of Wednesday clearing the streets for passage of cars. Several business houses lost glass windows. No person was seriously injured but several reported miraculous escapes. James Renick, 75, was caught fishing a short distance above the bridge where he apparently had attemped to seek cover, slipped and his head struck a rock, crushing his skull. Six Persons Die in Fremont Tornado Fremont, ten miles west of Van Buren, suffered the most serous damage from the tornado. Six persons lost their lives there and the little city was almost completely wiped off the map. Nearly every building in the city limits was completely destroyed by the twister which appeared to dip into the little valley and lifted soon after completing its destruction and di little damage until the funnel dipped into Van Buren a few minutes later. The Fremont high school building was completely destroyed bute due, to the fact that school ended Friday, there was no one about the building.

List of tornado dead and injured in Carter County:

The dead:
At Van Buren-James Renick, 75, a fisherman.
At Fremont-Mrs. Della Jones, 40.
Mrs. Marlene Jones, 22, Mrs. Jones' daughter-in-law.
Dwane Jones, 5, son of Mrs. Marlene Jones.
Mrs. Maud Simpson, 56.
Jack Alley, aged 65, and his wife-Alice, 60.

The injured:
Antrease Jones, 6, daughter of Mrs. Marlene Jones.
Frank Parmer, 62, left leg broken, right wrist broken.
Mary Parmer, 61, wife of Frank, chest injuries.
Donald Parmer, 11, grandson of Frank and Mary Parmer, shoulder injury.
Jane Wilson, 9, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Glen Wilson of near Van Buren, broken left arm and facial cuts.
K. D. Hedspeth (sic), 74, lacerations, bruises and shock at Fremont.
Mary Hedspeth (sic), 70 his wife, lacerations of the arms, legs and body.
James Weible, 82, lacerations, cuts, and bruises.
Mrs. Lula Weible, 67, his wife. broken arem. They resided on Highway 60 west of Van Buren.
Oscar W. Tedder, 71, broken wrist and shoulder.

Source: The Current Local, 23 May 1957
Submitter: Kathleen Moore