1936 Tornado Terrorizes Archibald, Kills Two, Injures Many

The following is an account of the tornado which struck the Archibald and Mangham communities in 1936. From Sat, Jul 4, 1936 – 1 · The Richland Beacon-News (Rayville, Louisiana, United States of America)

Charles and Howard Bradford Die; Others Not Expected to Live

Several Homes In Mangham Demolished; School Plant Damaged to Extent of Over $20,000.00 of property in its wake.

A cyclone, making a small path and striking only in a few places, but with the well-known tornado fury, struck Mangham and the Big Creek neighborhood east of Archibald early Thursday morning, leaving death, injury and destruction of property in its wake.

Two persons were killed and nearly a score of others injured, at least eight or ten seriously. The fatalities occurred east of Archibald when the home of George Bradford was blown away. Four of the eight most seriously injured reside east of Archibald and the others in Mangham.

The storm first struck the home of Underwood in the western part of Mangham. His residence was blown to pieces and part of it deposited in the front yard and on the front part of the residence of M. D. McConnell on the adjoining lot. McConnell’s house was blown down with the exception of a part of the rear end. The storm next struck the Mangham High School building and the gymnasium of the school, demolishing Dart of the roofs and walls of both buildings with damage to this property to the amount of $20,000 to $25,000 00.

The narrow but furious tornado seemed to rise after striking the Mangham school property and next dipped at the residence of J. G. McCormick about a mile to the northeast. The McCormick residence, barns outbuildings were completely de-been The residence was a total nothing being left of this except the concrete steps to the front porch. The material of which the house was built and all the household goods were carried away, practically nothing being left but the vacant lot.

The Dead

  • Charles Felix Bradford. 4 years old, Archibald.
  • Howard Bradford, 6 years old, Archibald.

The seriously injured

  • Aaron Free, 10 years old. Archibald, fractured rib, punctured lung.
  • George Bradford, Archibald, father of Charles Felix and Howard Bradford, with scalp lacerations, possible fracture of skull and back and possible kidney injuries.
  • Mrs. Otis Bradshaw, fractured jaw.
  • Percy Keen, 9 years old, Archibald, fractured left arm and possible fractures of skull and left ankle.
  • Mrs. J. G. McCormick. Mangham, fractured arm and serious lacerations.
  • Mrs. John Baskin, serious lacerations and internal injuries.
  • Mrs. Baskin’s son was also seriously hurt.

The slightly injured

  • J. G. McCormick. Mangham, bruises and shock.
  • Mrs. Carlton Underwood, Mangham.
  • Carlton Underwood, son of Mrs. Underwood. Mangham.
  • Mrs. George Bradford, Archibald, mother of Charles Felix and Howard Bradford, general bruises and shock.
  • Lottie Lee Peterson. Archibald. Otis Bradshaw, bruises and lacerations.
  • Ance Keen, severe bruises.

The tornado came from the southwest and traveled in a northeasterly direction. It was followed by torrential rain. After striking the McCormick residence and demolishing it and other property on the home site of the McCormick plantation home, it seemed to rise from the earth and was not heard from until striking the Big Creek community east of Archibald.

The headline following deadly tornado striking Archibald.

It was next heard from at Darnelle, fifteen to twenty miles to the northeast.Damage in Richland parish to buildings alone is estimated at $75,000.00 to $100,000.00 and that to crops down can not be estimated The McCormick family were taken a sanitarium in Vicksburg while the seriously injured east of Archibald were taken to a Monroe sanitarium treatment. Freaks were performed by the storm, as is usually the case with tornados. All of the chickens at the McCormick place were picked.

A negro was milking a cow in the McCormick barn when the cyclone struck. The cow was carried away the wind and had not been found the last we heard of this story. The negro was greatly shocked by the experience.

A large part of the Underwood residence was carried over into the McConnell yard, and the hedge between the lots was not disturbed, showing the building was lifted clear of the shrubbery in its travel A number of those injured and suffering the loss of their property will need medical and financial help and rehabilitation, and application will no doubt be made for this needed assistance.

H. W. Free, Archibald farmer and father of Aaron Free and Mrs. Bradford, who was at the bedside of his relatives here last night, said that his son and little daughter, Maude Ellen Free, aged 5, had gone to the Bradford home just before the tornado struck to get a pair of boots. Free himself had just finished feeding his stock and had gone to the nearby home of a son, Lige Free, preparatory to dipping some cattle.

“While I was at my son’s home we saw the cloud forming over in the direction of Mangham and come swooping towards us,” Free said. “My son, his wife and baby and myself then started running to my house and I had just got inside when I felt the tornado strike.

“I didn’t see my neighbors’ homes torn down, it was done so quickly, but I saw the demolished homes of three of my neighbors, Otis Bradshaw, Ance Keen and George Bradford, immediately afterwards.

“I was one of the first persons to rush to the aid of the injured and the first person I saw was my daughter, Mrs. Bradford, lifting the body of her little son, Charles, from the wreckage of their home. A portion of the brick chimney had fallen on the child, killing him almost instantly. Mr. Bradford was found 25 yards from the house, lying injured in the mud, and my own little son and daughter were found about 60 yards from the house. My little daughter was not hurt. The Bradfords, my two children and Lottie Lee Peterson were all in the kitchen of the Bradford home when the tornado hit.

“Mrs. Bradford told me that the roof was torn from the house first and went spinning up into the air, the fierce wind twisting and breaking it up like kindling. Not a moment later the walls of the house were wrenched loose and scattered about. “The homes of Ance Keen and Otis Bradshaw were just as badly damaged as the Bradford residence. Ance Keen was holding his little son, Percy, in his arms, when the tornado swooped down upon his home. Keen was badly bruised and his little boy’s arm was broken.

“The tornado just missed my house, but didn’t skip my place altogether. The roof was blown off a new barn I had just built and off my horse stable. A neighbor told me later that two of my yearlings had been killed. “It’s hard to describe just how it all happened, it happened so suddenly, and a person just has to be in a tornado to get any idea at all about its terror,” Free concluded.

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