Oklahoma Tornado Took Everything People Had

People persevered, even when it seemed hopeless after an Oklahoma tornado destroyed all their belongings.

| Good Old Days

I was born in 1900, the year a hurricane killed so many people in Galveston, Texas. The tail of the storm dumped heavy rain in western Oklahoma where my parents were living. A gopher hole in the top of the dugout let water pour in on me, a little baby lying in bed. The top of the dugout caved in and my mother rescued me just in time to save my life.

When I was eight, my mother died, and my brothers and I went to live with our grandparents. I was there on April 27, 1912, when an Oklahoma tornado swept across the farm and tore up all the buildings except the rock house we lived in. It broke all but one window in the house and it jammed the doors shut so tight that we could not open them and had to crawl out a window.

My uncle and aunt had a new house on the same farm. They saw the Oklahoma tornado corning toward them and started to run across the road to a neighbor's cellar. When they realized they could not get there in time, they got down in an old dug well. The tornado went over them and destroyed their house. So much rain fell that the old well was nearly full of water when they climbed out of it.

Some of our neighbors lost their houses, too, and one woman lost her home and 80 hand-pieced quilts. At one house, the cyclone blew away the walls but left the floor with the rug, organ and organ stool standing in place.

When my uncle rebuilt his house, he put in a cellar with a door at each end. 

Mrs. J. O. Kidling
Foss, Oklahoma

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: October 13-14, 2018
Topeka, KS

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!