1952 Judsonia AR tornado damages and survival of a mansion.

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Advantage
http://actvra.in/bmr

 

 

 

Judsonia AR tornado

Two days ago I wrote about Judsonia AR, White County, and how in 1952 it was almost wiped out by a vicious tornado. Over 50 people were killed and the town never recovered.  The ones who lived through it and even the ones who were miles away came away with fear that never subsides. 

This photo is one that shows damages on a block or two.  Strangely enough the mansion at the back of the photo made it through.  The house at the back right also survived enough to be livable.  In fact, at one point in the last 25 years I had the house listed.  The front porch had been ripped off and was replaced.  I recognized it when I saw this picture.  It was made of strong stuff! 

close

This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Location:
Arkansas White County Judsonia
Groups:
Realtors®
Almost Anything Goes
Most Active ActiveRain Blogging Agents
Posts to Localism
Dedicated Bloggers
Tags:
judsonia tornado
white county
searcy ar
tornado damages
arkansas

Anonymous
Post a Comment
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the pants to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the cloud to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Show All Comments
Rainmaker
717,844
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Searcy AR

Elizabeth, I just noticed you comment on my tornado blog.  It must have never come through to me.  Did you really see water picked up!???  You are such an interesting person with so many life experiences!  I'm glad I met you on the rain.

Sarah Tucker, you live in Judsonia?  I'll bet you've heard many stories.  How does the mansion look now.  I have not driven by it in years.  Thanks for finding my blog.

 

August 11, 2008 08:51 PM #13
Anonymous
Anonymous
Elaine Valentine

Both my Grandparents are from Judsonia. I have An Aunt, Uncle and cousin's that are still there. You might know my mom and dad, Francis and Anna (Chumley) Bunch. As much as I know about Judsonia and have been there I do not know where the manison is located. I would like to drive by and see it next time I am there. My Grandparents were: Earl and Eunice Bunch, and Lomey and Bertha Chumley. My dad was getting ready for his Senior Dinner when the tornado hit. One of his friends Ray Parish died. My foiks told me lots of stories about that day and night. Please if you can, contact me at onearkie@mutualdata.com as I do not go on the web much.

Thank you, Elaine Valentine

October 25, 2008 05:25 PM #14
Rainmaker
717,844
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Searcy AR

Elaine, thanks for commenting on the Judsonia tornado blog.  I have another one that gives the first hand account of a lady who survived.  If you read this and want me to send it to you, let me know.

October 26, 2008 09:51 AM #15
Anonymous
Anonymous
Elaine Valentine

I would love for you to sent it to me. Thank you so much.

onearkie@mutualdata.com

December 19, 2008 10:07 PM #16
Anonymous
Anonymous
Elaine Valentine

I would like to thank Ms. Oleta Brill for such an interesting story about the Judsonia tornado. I am so glas the story is recorded for history. Than you so much for taking the time to do that. I was not here at the time. My parent were engaged but not married then. Anna Bell Chumley and Francis Bunch. But, they told all us girls about the tornado. It must have been such an awful time. Again thank you Oleta Brill for takeing time to share with us your story.

 

December 20, 2008 02:28 PM #17
Rainmaker
717,844
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Searcy AR

Elaine, I'm glad you found the story and that you were impressed.  I also hope Mrs. Brill reads your comment!    That tornado must have been awful! 

December 20, 2008 02:47 PM #18
Anonymous
Anonymous
Lisa Fry

I would love to read the account of Oleta Brill and the tornado of 1952.  My grandfather Calvin Bryant died in it...he had a daughter named Mamie Bryant, my grandmother, and his wifes name was Zula.  Any information provided would be most appreciated.  Thank you in advance for your kindness.

Lisa

January 09, 2009 05:07 PM #19
Rainmaker
717,844
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Searcy AR
Anonymous
Anonymous
Lisa Fry

Thank you. for the link again!  Is there somewhere I can look or find if anyone has any recollection of my greatgrandparents? Calvin and Zula Bryant.  I have heard that she was an exceptionally beautiful woman.  She died in the 40's and Calvin Bryant remarried..not sure to whom?  Where might I begin looking for this information?  Thanks for all your help. My email is lisajfry@comcast.net if anyone would like to contact me.  Have a wonderful evening!

 

Lisa Fry

January 09, 2009 06:45 PM #21
Rainmaker
717,844
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Searcy AR

Lisa, I didn't grow up here so I don't know that many people.  I just had dinner with a girl who survived the tornado.  Her name now is Mary Cargile 501 268 2502 and she was telling me about growing up over there and being blown several feet in the tornado.  She read Mrs. Brill's account and I encouraged her to go on the blog and give her story.  Call her if you'd like. 

January 09, 2009 08:01 PM #22
Anonymous
Anonymous
Olieb@att.net

Hello Ms Duncan,

Do you know a Mary Cagile?  She e-mailed me and seems to know alot of the same people that I did in Judsonia, she also said that she was in grade school at the same time I was.

I haven't been on the internet for a while, I've been de-cluttering and painting the inside of my house. I want to move to a warmer climate, this -0 is getting to me.  The housing market picked up a little, sellers are finally coming down on thier prices.  I hope it gets back to normal.

Thanks,

Oleta Brill

January 29, 2009 06:13 PM #23
Rainmaker
717,844
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Searcy AR

Mrs. Brill, yes I know Mary Cargile.  She's a wonderful person.  You two need to visit about the tornado.  Call her and talk .  She was also thrown around by the tornado. 501 268 2502 is her number.  She said that she also had been at the same store you mention in your story and she also didn't stay which probably saved her life.  Give me your phone number if you'd like and I'll tell her to call you.

January 29, 2009 06:47 PM #24
Anonymous
Anonymous
cheryl allen

Barbara,

Hi!  Thank you so much for posting this photo!  I own the "house to the right of the mansion".  Bought it thru Ms. Jimmie England in 1994. 

Do you have the original photo posted here?  If so, I would like a copy.

Cheryl Allen

July 20, 2009 01:09 PM #25
Rainmaker
717,844
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Searcy AR

Cheryl, the picture I have is a copy of an original.  I think I found it at Wal-mart or somewhere at some time.  They had copied and printed and framed lots of old pictures and had them for sale cheap.  I once had your house listed for sale!!

July 20, 2009 02:08 PM #26
Anonymous
Anonymous
Callie Feagin Dunavin

I just wrote quite a bit about the tornado and lost the text when I tried to submit. I didn't see the graphic box below. So I'm not going to reconstruct all of that except to say that I grew up in Judsonia and my mother and her family have always lived there, until my parents moved to Searcy when they retired. They survived the tornado and my mother tells the story of she and her brother holding the doors in their house shut, although that wouldn't have been effective in a direct hit. W.E. Orr wrote the only official history of the town in a book titled That's Judsonia, and he devoted a full chapter to the tornado. The White County Historical Society has publications that contain information as well as other resources such as the state library and research libraries. I agree with a comment in an earlier post that the town was never the same...to this day, people measure time as "before the tornado" and "after the tornado." For those who are really interested in more information, just google "Judsonia, tornado" and several links will generate...many are personal accounts or stories handed down through families...and many with pictures. Some links will be to weather/storm sites with more official information, such as the tornado being an F4 and about the series of storms that slammed the state that night. The mansion is the Henson House (Alfred W. Henson House), built in 1884. It's still there at 111 Main Street, one street over from Judson Avenue (the actual main street). It's about 1/2 block from where the old post office was and a block behind the location of Hearn's Grocery and Farmers and Merchants Bank. Hearn's Grocery is no longer there and I am not sure about the bank.

Thank you for bearing with me through this long message. As you can tell, this little town means a lot to me as I spent my childhood and teenage years there and still have some family there. I love history, and this town is full of it...as well as historical buildings and structures. I am fascinated by weather and the stories of the tornado...and those who survived have some unique stories to tell. I hope that this has been helpful and encourage you to take some time to learn more.

August 18, 2009 10:56 PM #27
Rainmaker
717,844
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Searcy AR

Callie, thanks so much for adding to our Judsonia tornado blogg.  Lots of people have found it and every comment has been appreciated by not just by me but by the readers of the blog.  Please share any other info that you have.

August 19, 2009 09:25 PM #28
Anonymous
Anonymous
don evans

Barbara thanks for the photos..I can relate very well that house..I lived on same street about 3 houses away when that awful day happened..It killed several of my neighbors..My family (mom and dad) never received a scratch..Our house was destroyed and we spent the night in neighbors car..They were both killed..They were the telephone operaters (those were in private houses then)...My fathers business was right in front of the crushed car of the royal crown bottlers you see in pictures..I can recall what happened very well to this day..Thanks again...Don Evans

November 07, 2010 12:28 PM #29
Rainmaker
717,844
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Searcy AR

Don, the tornado was so terrible and anyone who lived through it can't forget it.  Even the ones who lived miles away can't forget it.  In fact, I didn't even live in Arkansas but every time I go to Judsonia I think of it.  Thank you so much for contributing to this blog with your comment.

November 07, 2010 03:01 PM #30
Anonymous
Anonymous
Jerry Reed

I was 11 years old at the time of the big Judsonia Tornado.  We lived on a farm about a mile north of the little community of Midway.(now sure what it's called now).  I think if was called Midway because it's halfway between Judsonia and Bald Knob. We were out of the path of the storm, however the wind blew so strong straight toward the tornado that it blew down all the buildings on the farm except the main house. 

I want bore you with all my stories, but the one that stands out in my mind is kind of humorous and happened to my Dad. He was in the barn milking the cows when the storm hit.  The barn blew down on him.  When the wall came down on top of Dad, a wood hay manger held the wall up off Dad so he didn't get crushed.  He made it to the house while the wind was blowing at it's hardest.  He was carrying 2 big milk buckets with about 2 inches of milky water in the bottom.  He looked at Mom and said sheepishly "Sorry Mar, I spilled the milk."        

I was in the 6th grade at Bald Knob Elementary at the time.  Because my Dad didn't have barns for the cattle after the storm we moved to a farm at Rocky Point.  As a result of the move I changed schools and graduated from Judsonia High School in the class of '58.   

June 20, 2012 10:56 AM #31
Rainmaker
717,844
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Searcy AR

Jerry, thank you so much for sharing your Judsonia tornado story.  Someday perhaps this blog can be used to help someone write a book.  The story about your dad and the milk is sorta funny!   It is also sorta funny that even though Judsonia blew away and Bald Knob didn't you finished school at Judsonia instead of Bald Knob!  It was a memorable event and no one who lived through it has forgotten it.

June 20, 2012 05:37 PM #32
Anonymous
Post a Comment
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the cat to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Show All Comments
Rainmaker
717,844

Barbara S. Duncan

CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Searcy AR
Ask me a question
*
*
*
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the flag to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase: