Woman recalls deadly 1925 tornado

Published: Mar. 18, 2010 at 5:59 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 23, 2010 at 6:21 PM CDT
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By Laura Forbes - bio | emailTwitter
Posted by Rich Miller - email

Thursday marked The 85th anniversary of the tri-state tornado that devastated parts of MIssouri, Illinois, and Indiana, killing 695 people.

It's still the deadliest single tornado in US history.

92-year-old Evelyn Stone was just six years old when the tri-state tornado ripped through her town of Griffin.

"My mother washed for people. She had a lot of clothes on the line that day and when the wind picked up she called for us girls to come and help her. So that's what we was doing. We had no idea. We'd never heard of a tornado.  It was sort of like a dream to me."

More than the storm itself, she remembers the devastation it left behind.  Evelyn says her family's house wound up in a different spot.

"Turned it around like that and took it off its foundation and set it in our garden."

Evelyn's dad was working at a gas station in Griffin when the tornado hit. He was injured and taken to the hospital, but his family didn't know what happened to him for three days.

"We just thought the Lord had taken him up to the sky."

Eventually, the house was put back where it was and is still standing today.  Something she still can't explain.

"Nowadays it's not hard to move a house, but what did they do back then because all they had was horses? I don't know."

In the meantime, her family stayed in another house nearby.

"When I walked in the door I saw a baby laying on, it was either a table or a sewing machine. I never did find out what that baby's name was, but it was dead. It was laying there dead."

That baby was one of 70 people in southern Indiana who were killed on that day...

A day that still haunts Evelyn.

"You don't want to be around me," she says. "I almost go to pieces when a high wind or a black cloud..."

The remaining survivors of the tornado can't forget it's terror, even 85 years later.

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