Amanuensis Monday: Cherokee (Georgia) Advance Newspaper Account of the 1928 Tornado

Story #1:

From page of the Friday, March 28, 1928 edition of the Cherokee Advance


Five Killed and a Score Injured. Many Houses and Barns Blown Away


Most Appalling Disaster Ever Visited Upon Cherokee County



William J. Millwood, 55

Mrs. William J. Millwood, 45

Allen Millwood, 17

Estelle Millwood, 15

Osie Heath, 25

Grady Fowler, 30, died Wednesday morning


Alfred Millwood, 20, badly bruised about the face

Leo Millwood, 11, left arm broken

Edith Millwood, 9, badly bruised

W. J. Millwood, 7, severe lacerations of scalp

Mr. and Mrs. Howard McCuen

The tornado which struck Cherokee County last Monday night at about 10:00 o’clock near Lathemtown and Orange, was probably the most appalling disaster that has visited our county. Five persons were hurled to death and a score of others injured, houses and barns blown away, cattle hogs and chickens disappeared and vehicles demolished, is the toll that this brutal tornado exacted  Coming on this little community while they slept and striking with viciousness and without warning, the windstorm carved a path oa quarter of a mile wide and four miles long of the countryside, leaving uprooted trees, demolished homes and death and destruction in its wake. The tornado struck first at the home of William J. Millwood in the Orange Community, and after killing four members of this family and injuring five others, and scattering the Millwood home over a lot of land, traveled east to Lathemtown and destroyed four more houses.

The dead are William J. Millwood, 55; Ida Millwood, 45, and their children Allen, 17 and Estelle, 13, all of Orange, and Osie Heath, 25, of Lathemtown.

The injured are Alfred Millwood, 20, Leo Millwood, 11, Grady Fowler, 30, Mr. and Mrs. Howard McCuen of Lathemtown. Fowler has 8 ribs broken near the spine and a fractured arm and is not expected to live. Edith Millwood, 9, has both arms fractured and Leo Millwood, 11, has the left forearm broken. W. J. Millwood Jr., 7, received a serious laceration of the scalp, while Alfred Millwood was badly bruised about the head.

Osie Heath was crushed beneath his falling home and his body was all but severed in twain. Mr. and Mrs. Fowler were visiting at the Heath home at the time of the storm and before the three could rush out of the house on hearing the storm’s approach the house was twisted around and demolished. Mrs. Fowler narrowly escaped injury.

A harrowing story was of the fury of the storm was told by Alfred Millwood, who is at Coker’s Hospital here, who said that he and the other members of the family were in bed about ten o’clock Monday night when he heard a terrible rushing noise coming toward them. he ran to the door to see what the trouble was, and started out of the house when a window frame struck him on the head and he went sailing thru the air about 15 feet above ground for a distance of 25 yards, landing in the road, his face in the mud.

He said: ‘I was dizzy for some time after landing and when things quieted down I heard some of the children crying and finally located three of them, and we took refuge in an old house nearby, where I built a fire for them. When dawn came, I went to the home of W. F. Edwards and got help.’

Young Millwood told a horrible tale of rushing through the air at lightning speed and of seeing beams and pieces of timber flying by him like birds. He does not quite understand how he escaped serious injury himself, he said.

On learning of the tragedy, Mr. Edwards summoned aid and the injured were rushed to Canton for medical attention. Mr. Edwards said he heard the storm when it passed Monday night, but did not realize that anyone had been injured until dawn came. The tornado made a noise like an airplane, drowning out the thunder.

Mr. and Mrs. Joe Edwards and their baby had a narrow escape when a portion of their home, located near the Millwood residence, was torn down by the storm. Edwards’s barn was demolished and most of the house was wrecked. This family escaped uninjured.

Apparently the tornado was of a most freakish nature, as tornadoes are, for it tore up the Millwood home, splintered it to small kindling wood over a distance of half a mile and failed to disbturb at all a tall pile of cordwood a few years from the house. A floor still two inches by 8 inches was carried by the wind for half a mile and driven several feet into the clay bnak of a gully near where the body of Mr. Millwood was found.

Small iron tolls [sic] were lifted and carried half a mile while small articles such as pillows and clothes were carried only a few feet away from the original home site. The barn was lifted from over the heads of frightened animals and torn into bits. On a hill in the path of the storm, practically every tree was uprooted to a width of a quarter of a mile.

Mrs. Millwood was carried a quarter of a mile by the tornado and dropped into a small gully where she was found early Tuesday morning. The two dead children were found near the ruins of the home. All of the dead people were thickly covered with mud and had on practically no clothing at all.

After wrecking two homes in the Orange community, the tornado moved onto Lathemtown and destroyed four more homes, those of Grady Fowler, Osie Heath, T. W. Green and Howard McCuen. Mr. and Mrs. Fowler were visiting the Heath home during the tornado. Mrs. Fowler was uninjured. Fowler’s home was located some 200 yards from the Heath home while the McCuen’s home was next door to Heath’s place. Mr. and Mrs. McCuen were injured while their baby was not even scratched. The home of T.W. Green, half a mile off east of Heath’s home, was demolished, but Green and his family were not at home.

At Heath’s home the tornado splintered heavy beams, but left unbroken a box of glass bottles. It lifted the floor and deposited it several feet away, and took the walls and roof and splintered them. Part of the chimney was left standing. The force of the tornado seemed more concentrated at Lathemtown, as it did not move the pieces of houses very far.

The Canton chapter of the Red Cross, headed by Mr. W. S. Elliott, chairman, went to the aid of the tornado sufferers, and arranged for their treatment of injuries and of the burial of the dead. Major Green of Atlanta was in Canton Wednesday in the interest of the relief work.

At Canton no damage was caused but for a heavy downpour of rain and some little wind, but it was apparent to the close observer that there was trouble in the eastern portion of the county.

Funeral arrangements were made by C. H. Peacock of Jones Mercantile Co., undertakers. Mr. Heath was buried at ten o’clock Wednesday morning while the four Millwoods were buried Thursday. All four of them being buried in one grave.


The the People of Cherokee County:

The appalling disaster which visited our county last Monday night brings home to us sorrow and suffering seldom, if ever, before experienced in this section. The tornado killed five and seriously injured many more. Four homes were destroyed. The families of these unfortunates were left in destitute circumstances. For the relief of this situation immediate contributions in substantial amounts are required and the local chapter of the Red Cross appeals to you to subscribe liberally to this fund.

The following persons are on the local committees in their respective communities and you are urged to hand your contribution to them without delay.

CANTON: Major H. M. McCanless, chairman; P. W. Jones, Roy Crisler, A. M. Mode, W. S. Dick, Mrs. O. G. Glover, Mrs. A. P. Bobo

WOODSTOCK: Smith L. Johnston, Mrs. O. D. Perkinson

BALL GROUND: Mrs. C. W. Groover, Mr. C. W. Groover, Mr. B. R. Jones

WALESKA: Dr. W. M. Bratton, Prof. J. K. Dean, Mrs. H. W. Derden, Mr. T. J. Carpenter

HOLLY SPRINGS: Mayor Geo. A. Kelly, Mrs. W. J. Satterfield, Mr. Loomis Reece

ORANGE & LATHEMTOWN: E. M. Lathem, Mrs. Louie Lathem, E. J. Hamrick, Mrs. E. J. Hamrick

Do not wait to be called upon; go to a member of your local committee and make your contribution at once.


Chairman, Cherokee County Chapter of the Red Cross

Story #2:

From the front page of the April 6, 1928 edition of the Cherokee Advance


Those injured in the recent tornado that struck the eastern part of Cherokee county last Monday night a week ago, are recovering. The three Millwood children, aged 7, 9, and 14, are at Coker’s Hospital. The little 9-year-old girl was the most seriously injured, having both arms broken and other injuries. They have been given the best of attention at the hospital. They are surrounded by dolls, picture books, toys and the things dear to a child’s heart. These children came from a good home, but an humble one. These little fellows, it is said, had never been to town, and had never tasted ice cream. They didn’t seem to know what it is all about — so many nice things, and so many kind visitors.

Dr. Coker has given these unfortunates every attention with no thought of recompense or reward. Alfred Millwood, the older boy, left the hospital last week and is able to be about.

Last Sunday he visited the scene of the tornado and was an interesting spectator to the many hundreds of visitors who went to view the disaster caused by the twister. During the entire day a stream of automobiles paced down the narrow country road. Some of the citizens of that took the situation in hand and acted as traffic cops, making a one way road each fifteen minutes.

People were there from towns and cities many miles distant. Interested visitors were going over every inch of ground for a mile around, viewing the disastrous results of the tornado. Pieces of iron beds were strewn for 200 yards from the site of the house. Every plank was torn loose and scattered for a quarter of a mile. One could look east and see the path of the hurricane, which was about 100 yards wide. Uprooted trees, showing red clay, clearly marked the tornado’s path. A family living one half mile distant from the Millwood home noticed nothing unusual about the clements except for a brisk gale.

A storm pit was within 100 feet of the occupants of the house but no one had time to think about it.

Six of the victims were buried by the Red Cross organization. The people have been generous in their contributions to this fund. Many checks coming from out the country and state. This fund will be used for paying burial expenses and clothing, medicine and food for the injured, and probably for rehabilitation to some extent.


2 thoughts on “Amanuensis Monday: Cherokee (Georgia) Advance Newspaper Account of the 1928 Tornado”

    • Right? I really found the community effort to help the survivors spectacular. People from all parts of the county collected money, and the doctor treated the surviving children for free. It’s also a chilling testament to tornadoes that one house got entirely blown away while a neighbor just thought he was hearing a windstorm!


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