SNYDER BURIES ITS DEAD AMID SCENES OF
Scores of Graves are Made and Victims of the Tornado are Carried to Their Last Resting Place
WORKING IN A DELUGE OF RAIN
People Were Soaked to the Skin and Had no Shelter, Yet They Bravely Toiled on --- Scarcely a Dry Place in the Town --- Vandalism Among the Dead Is Charged --- Engineer Corps Camped on the Scene
Special to the Oklahoman
Snyder, O. T., May 12 --- Nearly one hundred corpses were buried here last night and today, removing the most gruesome of evidences of the cyclone which nearly destroyed the town Wednesday night. None of the injured died during the night, some of whom have been kept alive only by the skillful efforts of physicians and nurses working in the emergency hospital, and as soon as daylight came people were at work getting ready to perform the last rites for the dead. Three carloads of coffins arrived during the night from Oklahoma City, together with a dozen undertakers from the convention of undertakers in session there. Workmen also came in on a special train furnished by the Frisco, and the work of burial was carried on with utmost dispatch.
During the morning a very heavy rain came up and rendered operations
difficult. The floor of the morgue was covered with water, most of the buildings
that remain standing admitted water through the roofs and sides, and the temporary
hospital where the injured remaining here are kept, leaked like a sieve, wetting
a number of the patients. The rain, which was accompanied by some wind and hail,
served to frighten the residents, but those who were able kept bravely at work
through the water and mud, caring for their suffering, injured and burying their
dead. Several of the newly made graves were filled with water.
Two more injured were discovered under some debris early in the morning, but neither was identified. They were pinioned under a house beam. One, a man, was delirious, and the other, a boy, was unconscious.
Owing to the failure to keep any records at the outset, there has been great difficulty in accuring [sic] an accurate list of the number of dead. The Daily Oklahoman representative secured the first list approaching completeness on Thursday afternoon, and but few alterations have been made. The two or three bodies that have been found since have not been identified.
Responses of a generous nature have been made by many cities and towns
in the territory, several thousand dollars worth of food and clothing having
been sent in and placed in charge of the local committee for distribution. Relief
work has also been furnished sufficiently to meet every requirement.
During the day complaints were made to the city marshal that bodies of the dead had been robbed by vandals, and he issued an order that badges must be worn by every person in town. The order was accompanied by a warning that those who refused to wear badges must go to jail or leave on the first train.
The engineering corps, a division of the Oklahoma National Guard, arrived from Lawton during the afternoon and went into camp by direction of Governor Ferguson. It is presumed that the mission of the company is to assist in preserving order and protecting property.
One of the most remarkable phases of the disaster is the great percentage of killed. Twice as many persons were killed as were seriously injured, and of the latter many were fatal. There were remarkably few minor injuries, in proportion to the dead, and the killed exceed 10 per cent of the total population of the town. The number of dead, as nearly as can be ascertained, is 100.
Tonight there are few unburied bodies left, and interment will be completed
in the morning. The citizens will then turn their attention to the erection
of suitable habitats for the living, many of whom were compelled to live with
practically no shelter. While buildings that are habitable are filled to overflowing.
A second appeal has been sent out by the local committee, stating that food
and clothing have been received in abundance, but the necessity for funds with
which to build homes for the homeless is pressing
It is thought that about ten or twelve of the most seriously injured will die.
A revised list of the most seriously injured follows:
Archer, Albert: neck twisted and head bruised; may die.
Attaway, Fannie: head and shoulders bruised.
Bailey, Mrs. Geo. W.: arm and leg broken.
Beckwith, A. J.: cut on hip and leg.
Buser, Grace: thigh cut open; eye out.
Carson, Mrs.: spinal fracture.
Coleman, Florence: dislocated shoulder.
Crooks, M. A.: fractured skull.
Crooks, Stella: fractured shoulder.
Craver, J. V.: fractured shoulder.
Dill, Elva: head and back.
Dunn, Alice: limbs broken.
Harrison, Ed: skull crushed.
Hudson, Lavina: skull fractured.
Hudson, ----: skull fractured, leg broken, eye out.
Jonce, Clarence: skull fractured.
Lawson, John: spinal fracture.
Lawson, Martha: internally.
Mueller, Mrs. Dr.: leg broken, head injured.
Mize, Mary: internal.
McCart, Mrs.: skull fractured.
McCart, N. W.: arm off.
Paulson, G. C.: back crushed.
Paulson, W. A.: fractured skull, eye out.
Zeigler [sic], Mrs.: fatal internal injuries.
Seigler [sic], Letta Jane: internal.
Stubblefield, child: will die.
It is now claimed that the list of dead as a result of the cyclone totals 103. However, those who make the claim cannot furnish the names, and after sifting the various reports the conclusion has been reached the total is about as stated yesterday. As no accurate list of the dead has been kept, it is extremely difficult to get at the facts.
G. J. Helena, treasurer of the local relief committee, made the following statement this morning: “The pressing need of our citizens is money. The towns near us have responded liberally and we do not want for food and clothing, but we have about 100 bodies to bury and nearly fifty injured persons to be taken care of and besides those who were so fortunate to escape the fury of the elements are without shelter, and this they cannot provide without money. As all they had was swept away in fifteen minutes, they cannot provide this shelter. The whole resident portion of the town was destroyed, leaving everybody homeless. If the liberal people of the southwest care to contribute and will send money to me as treasurer of Snyder relief committee, the money will be used to alleviate the condition of persons who are as worthy and as much in need as humans can be.”
Return To Snyder Tornado Intro
February 14, 2007