1937 New London, Texas school explosion. - Tom Malmay

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1937 New London, Texas school explosion. - Tom Malmay - THE WEATHER (Bj U. ft Weatbei Bnreac;...
THE WEATHER (Bj U. ft Weatbei Bnreac; Brownsville and the Valley: Partly cloudy Friday night and Saturday; cooler Friday night. TIDE TABLE High and low tide In the pass and along this Immediate coast Saturday under normal meteorological conditions: conditions: . High 12:44 p.m.. Low ,. 3:47 a.m. FORTY-FIFTH YEAR rom F I N A L E D I T I O Win Sentce «· »· Associated Frew BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS, FRIDAY, MARCH 19, 1937 TEN PAGES TODAY MANGLED BODIES OF 425 CHILDREN REMOVED IN WORST SCHOOL TRAGEDY LEGISLATORS PULD VISIT BLASHCENE Cause of Explosion To Be Sought; Agencies Rush Ai dto Victims In Tragedy AUSTIN, March 19. (AP) --The Texas house of representatives representatives adopted a resolution resolution providing for a legislative legislative investigation to deter- «piine the cause of the explosion explosion which wrecked the London school house in East Texas and took the lives of hundreds of children. Under the resol u t i o n, which will be sent to the senate senate for action by that body, the inquiry would be conducted conducted by a committee of three members of each house. The senate approved a resolution instructing three of its members to go to the scene of the disaster and ascertain what the legislature could do to relieve conditions. Sympathy Expressed The house also adopted resolutions expreiising sympathy with the bereaved bereaved parents of children whose lives were snuffed out or who were Injured, providing that $2.!iO of each member's pay for today be set aside for relief, and instructing Dr. Geprge W. Cox. state health officer, to take all possible steps to assist the London London community. The senate committee of inquiry was composed of Senators John S. Redditt of Luikin, Will D. Pace of Tyler and Harold Beck of Texarkana. Texarkana. all representing Eiist Texas districts. Governor James V. Allred has or- CSee LEGISLATURE on Page Two) WHERE HUNDREDS OF TEXAS SCHOOL CHILDREN WERE KILLED · ' " ' v ' . ·. ' rr . ' ' Cause Cause Being Sought By Military Chiefs In Oil Field Town ' at KIN OF LOCAL WOMAMILLED Sister Dies In School Explosion *«* -era, hundred pupils w e r e e t o . (Associated Press Phpto) ·y ALLEY H I G H W A Y S ABE choked in these days of rushing the remainder of the grapefruit crop to canneries and shippers, and for the relief market. Travelers along the main highway report they meet or pass a half dozen fruit-laden trucks to every passenger car. This traffic is now increasing with the announcement Thursday by Secretary Secretary of the U. S. Department of Agriculture that an increasing condition condition of Morelos fruit fly infestation may call for closing the season before before April 1. Officials of the department have quarantined several Brownsville orchards, orchards, and none of that fruit may be shipped except to certain states. It all calls for a more thorough clean-up against next year's crop. * * * J J. WRIGHT OP MISSION, WHO has been a reader of The Herald Herald for the past twenty-nine years writes in to say: "In your 'In Our Valley' column you wonder if the farmers of Cameron Cameron and Willacy counties are more individualistic than the farmers elsewhere, elsewhere, "I think when the vote is count(Continued count(Continued on Page Two) The New London disaster reai-h- ed into the Valley Thursday when Mrs. Ted Parker, -Brownsville, received received word that her sister had been killed and many relatives injured in the school building explosion fatal to an estimated 500 children. · Mrs.. Parker and her husband, radio operator for the Pan American Airways, left by auto as soon as they received a wire telling what had happened. ;. Formerly a school teacher here, Mrs. Parker conies from one of the families that founded New London, and was related to many of the children trapped in the fallen building. building. She is a niece of the New London school superintendent, W. C. Shaw The sister killed was Kate Shaw, a teacher in the destroyed high school As Thelma Shaw, Mrs. Parker taught in the Washington Park school here for two years. She re signed three years ago to get mar ned. Youth Who Was Supervisor * .* * * · - · · * . * * *·**·'H*:^* ** Of Only Surviving Class ·'* * * * * ; * * * · · » , » Tells of School Disaster JUDGE, KELLEY (EDITORS NOTE: Don Nelson,; 24, is a young East Texas oil field,' worker. He was one of the pitifully: few who survived the New London! explosion). ' . . ' i By DON NELSON ! Written for the Associated ^Pre'ss ! NEW LONDON, March 19. TO--I went to- the London consolidated Valley Traffic toll for 1937 FDR Marshals Aid For Blast Victim WARM SPRINGS, Ga., March 19 (f J--President Roosevelt, shocked b the tragedy of the New London Texas, school explosion, ordere governmental agencies Friday t help succor the oil town where sev eral hundred school children wer killed in Thursday's blast. He requested the Red Cross an government agencies to "stand b,, and render every asistance in their 3ower to the community* to which this shocking tragedy has come." In a formal statement he said h was appalled by the news. Crude Arch Saves 2 Blast Survivors NEW LONDON, Tex., March 19 /P)--Clasped in each other's arms, a boy and girl were found alive early Friday in the ruins of the blast shattered $1,000,000 London consolidated consolidated school. The explosion, which killed more than 300 children formed formed a crude arch of falling debris which sheltered the two. Hysterical and sobbing, they were carried through the throng hastily and their names were not learned. They were of junior high school age. Hughes to Testify Before Committee? WASHINGTON, March 19. (OT-Chief (OT-Chief justice Hughes may be the principal witness next week at hearings hearings on the Roosevelt court bill, if some senate opponents realize their hopes. Whether he will be willing to testify testify apparently depends in part on discussions with other members of the supreme court. Preparations were under way Friday Friday to invite him formally to appear unless he should indicate a disinclination disinclination to accept. WALLY CLEARED OF 'COLLUSION* Barrier to Ex-King's Marriage Removed i LONDON, March 19. (*) -- The last apparent barrier to Mrs. Wal- hs Simpson's absolute divorce and her marriage to Edward of Windsor Windsor was cleared Friday when a charge of "collusion" was dismissed of the "British ··school a little before 3 o'clock Thursday Thursday afternoon about thirty minutes before the explosion. My mother Mrs. J. D.. Nelson, wished wished me to take her place for a little while in the elementary school department. department. I went to the fifth grade room where I was to supervise temporarily temporarily twenty-five youngsters I don't suppose their ages run more than ten or eleven years. I am not B. teacher, as 1 am emr ployed by the Humble Oil and Refining Refining company in the oil fields. Shortly Shortly after I arrived my mother went to another part of the building. No Warning The. explosion came Without any warning. Everything was quiet in my room. I was leaning against a window. window. There was a loud noise. It wasn't deafening, but it was plenty icud The walls and floor shook. The plaster plaster started falling. · . I am just human, and I thought for'a' split second of that'window. Then two or three of the kids started started running toward me. I didn't have another thought but to stick. While tne tumult and roar continued, I had noldea what it was. I herded them out into the open fast. In less than a minute after "the firstTthund"er"we were all out. My room was the only room so lortunate. I didn't have a child in- by the president divorce court. Sir Boyd Merriam, president of the court, directed the charge: ~- -- j ------ ~ «*«.. * ii«* t a, vium in- stricken from the record after the ! JUTe °f .Maybe one or two got scratch- king's proctor informed the court i · a t ?L we 8Ot out - x am not ' sure that, treating the case "as any aD ? ut that " other," he had made a careful in- ! ^SSpTM^TM 6 a11 out ' Z ran vestigation and failed to find any SUPERVISOR on Page Ten) grounds to prevent the absolute I (See WALLY on Page Two) TONIGHT'S MOVIES IN THE VALLEY Brownsville: The Capitol -- Hlchard Dix Dolores Del Rio and Chester Morris Morris In Devil's Playground." The Queen ne Autry In "The Big Sno-w." = Sf, 01 ,* 01 The B'voll-- Pat O'Brien ^Sybil Jason in "The Great O'MalHarllngen: O'MalHarllngen: The Arcadia-- Richard Dlx Dolores Del Bio and Chester Morfls In The Blalto -"Code -"Code of the _? ev } ls Hayground." Charles Starrett In Range. La Feria: The Bijou-- Preston Foster D"D^° Dvorak In "We Who Are About Raymondvllle: The Rio-- Glenda Farrell Farrell and Barton McLane In "Smart S'onde." The Hamon-- Charles Starrett n "Dodge City Trail." Donna: The Plaza-- Jean Arthur and George Brent la "More Than a Becre- ary." San Juan: The San Juan -- sonja ienie and Don Ameche In "One In a Million. Mercedes: The Capitol-- Joan Craword. Craword. Robert Montgomery and William Powell In "The Last of Mrs .Cheyney" Weslaco: The Bltz -- Victor McLaglen res i on , Fostel ' and Ida Luplno In "Sea Hunt to McAllen: The Palace-- Humphrey Bo- art and Ann Sheridan In "The Black Sfp^LfSSSi^ 011 Janua?y ln Edlnburg: The Valley-- Tom" Keene no John King In "Ace Drummond." Mission: The d George Brent In etary. SHIPMENTSAT RECORD LEVEL Total Now 31,198; 425 In One Day With citrus pouring out in a solid stream, the Valley's crop movement Friday stood at the all-tima new high figure of 33,198 carloads, as against 19,731 cars at the same time last year. The total included 18,925 carloads of citrus. Two'new daily records were hung up Thursday njght, when a total of 425 cars of produce rolled, including 220 cars of grapefruit. Shipments so far this season Include Include 14,391 carloads of citrus by rail, ninety-eight cars of mixed fruits and vegetables and 11,3(10 cars of vegetables, for a total rail movement movement of 28,869. At the same time last year the rail movement included included 4596 cars of citrus, eighty-six mixed,' mixed,' Mid 10,035 vegetables for a total Movement by truck includes 4484 ca £? W citrus and 2845 cars of vegetables vegetables this year, as against 2505 cars of citrus and 2509 of vegetables last Verbal Clash Marks 1 'Murder Trial . (Special to The Herald)' · EDINBUKG, March 19.--Description 19.--Description of ..the.^gruesome details of ihe "Donna river front murder" were followed 'in .'Vlje..trial of Ascension (Chon) Martinez Friday morning with a sharp clash between Judge Bryce Ferguson, and District Attorney Attorney Rogers Kelley.'.. During the questipning of the foreman of the .grand .Jury that indicted indicted the six men being hejd in connection connection with the murder, Harry Hall assistant defense - attorney, · objected to a question and answer..and-Judge Ferguson upheld the objection. Kelley jumped to 'his feet a.rxJ objected objected to the court's action.. i Judge Ferguson said Kelley had insulted the dignity of the court: ."You ."You know better, and I anr giving giving you a last chance to conduct yourself in a correct manner on I will be forced to take strenuous measures against such conduct." Martinez, with five others, Is charged with killing an unidentified man and throwing the body in the (See TRIAI, on Page Two) Oil,, Gas Sign Is Survivor Of Blast NEW LONDON. Tex., March 19. , ')--A lesson in natural resources survived the school blast here. As workmen cleared away the debris, a blackboard was exposed on which was scrawled the following: "Oil and natural gas are East Texas' greatest mineral blessings. Without them this school would not be here and none of us would be here learning our lessonsi" An accumulation of natural gas was blamed for the explosion, which snuffed out hundreds of lives. DISASTER At Glance - ---(By ---(By The Associated Press) Dead--Reliably estimated at or in excess of 425. Injured--Estimated at 175. Scene--High school building, London, Texas, consolidated district. district. Geography -- Located between London, a very old town, and New London, Rusk county, in the midst of the gigantic East Texas oil field. Estimated population of two communities 2,000. Enrollment from thirty-mile area approximately approximately 1,200. Time--3:20 p. m. Thursday, ten minutes before dismissal time. Cause--W. C. Shaw, superintendent, superintendent, said blast undoubtedly due to an accumulation of natural ga« Recovered--425 bodies. Identified--121 bodies. Construction--Two story, brick and hollow tile structure of a two building plant. AUSTIN--Governor James T. Allred acted quickly and ordered martial law and sent troops into stricken communities. WASHINGTON -- Headquarter* of Red Cross ordered relief workers workers to scene. WARM SPRINGS -- President Roosevelt, appalled, instructed government government agencies to render all necessary aid. LONDON, Tex., Known Dead (By The Associated Press) The identified dead in the New London, Texas, school explosion: MAXINE ROGERS, 13, school girl ADUS FRANKLIN DORSEY7 9 schoolboy. LAVERNE BARTON, 13, school girl. GERALDINE STEARNS, school girl. H. D. GUNN. G. P. SCOTT THOMAS ROGERS. MAY LLOYD. RUTH APPLE. MARY ETHEL NEAL LATHAM BAKES. HELEN HARRELSON. CORRINNE CARP. ' MAY HEW. BOBBIE LORRAIN BROWN MYRTLE FREEMAN. BETTY RUTH APPLE. BILLY MOREFIELD. HERMAN WALKER. CORAL MILLER. BESSIE ESTEL HOLLAND. · VESTER NORTON. PAULINE BARRETT. PRANCES HANKING. CHARLES HOLBROOK. MANDINE STEPHENS. MARTHA ELLEN HOUSE BRBEY NETHERTON. JEVELINE ANDERSON. H. C. MILLS. - BEATRICE ALDERMAN. HENRY STEELE. SUE DUNKEN. BELLE MAE YORK. EARL SCOTT. EDWIN GRIGGS. LOUISE MAXWELL. CHARLES RAY TAYLOR INEZ WALKER. BETTY LOU CURLEE DORK JEAN WILLIAMSON. HOLLY JOE ELLISON. . (See DEAD oil Page Two) Vivid Story of Disaster Told by Surviving Youth (EDITORS NOTE: Seventeen year old John Nelson, survivor of the London consolidated school tragedy, tells a, graphic story of the nation's most appalling modern child disaster). By JOHN NELSON Written for the Associated Press NEW LONDON, March 19. (IPf- Five of my classmates and my teacher teacher were killed. I'm lucky to be telling you this. . I was in the manual arts shop in the basement of the building, working working on a lathe. My teacher, Mr. I*. Butler, was standing about five feet away. I guess there were fifteen kids in the room. Suddenly a big mass of sand and what, looked like a bail O f fire turn- Sled into the room. Something hit me on the leg. It slit the front of my pants. See? It felt like a. 'charley horse' you get playing football. It knocked me down but I scrambled scrambled up and rushed outside. I had a funny sort of feeling and I Mt down on the ground. I looked up and saw my sister hangipg on a window pane. I climbed up and got her down. She was unconscious and bruised. i Then I ran back into the room and found Jack Stripling, unconscious and with a broken ankle. I dragged him across the room and out into the open. They told me later Jack wouldn't live; I hurried back into the room. Mr. Butler and : five of my friends were dead. · · · Back outside I helped them look for bodies for/-about fifteen minutes and' then I got sick. They took me Seine, and today I'm in a hospital, a serum' for possible lock- getting jaw. Our family was almost lucky. My mother, a teacher, was killed. One of my little sisters, and a brother, Evelyn and Thomas, had gotten out or school an hour before and gone Iwme on the bus. My older brother, Don, was in the building but wasn't Hurt. March 19. (AP) -- Laborer, the London ff d« u rily 8aid " the of of debrfs removed from the pile Colonel C. E. Parker, National Guard commander, ,.id every brick had been turned in the basement of the ex- had^enl^ H 8trUC -!, UI ? "I* ^ ^ j ° b ° f " eekin * bo "« .hf,,r K' ^ e 8 " ld f S al ° emin * Up would t»k« only about an hour longer. He said about 425 bodies had V * "'I* ° f "r el and b " ck and added *« l f M j f c VC b j; en * feM :, m0re than that." Wearied oil field laborers who had toiled for nearly 21 hours, several of them during a slashing rainstorm, stopped work groups and went home to bereaved wives. MILITARY INQUIRY BEGUN hi ?T h » d T d * orn , 1bodi « o* children came out of the blast-shattered schoolhouse in a rainstorm as a military inquiry wa* quickly set in motion within the ruins It was . dismal, drizzling scene, dotted with frenzied, »'/ P ar «nts and determined investigators. mJ.* JOr i35*I 011 H ° ward ' «PP»ed at the nation', worst modern child tragedy, said an investigation board of six would start functioning Friday afternoon. Survivor, and eyewitnesses would be questioned in an open hearing, First definite indication that accumulated gas caused th* blast that If ted hundred, of school children, he^vy H" nd ^ ICk u hu " dred » £ fe " '·» ^e air, came from Howard when he said Dr. E. P. Shoch, noted chem- i,try professor at the University of Texas, had been summoned summoned a, a witness. Major Howard said Dr. Shoch, expert expert on ga, explosions who had testified in similar hear. mg, throughout the nation, would be hurried here by state highway police from Austin. f d t V h " b ° Dard , We r e C ° lonel H - H - Carmichael, the Texas Public Safety Department; Captain Ed Clark, Colonel C E. Parker, National Guard Capta ·I?' "J Natl ? n ? ! Guard and Captain Z. E. Combe, who will preside as judge advocate. Seven additional bodies had been taken from the wreckage since dawn, Colonel Parker said, but sudden ram following a violent electrical storm hampered work. WORK IS HAMPERED Nurses in^an emergency hospital set up immediately in the rear of the building revealed they were rushing pre- aration s to care for "about 75 more bodies" expected exhumed from the basement of the south wing Production Superintendent H. S. McGarry of the Hum- Ie Oil and Refinery Co., estimated at 9 a. m. that 450 odie, had been identified and added he was confident there are others still unidentified -- 26, I understand Simultaneously, Captain Lee Miller of the state highway highway patrofc said he "was certain" about 400 bodies had been removed from debris that tumbled down on the children children as they sat in their classrooms. RED CROSS CHIEF IS DUE First definite organization work was planned with the rnval by plane of Albert Evans, Red Cross disaster relief director of St. Louis. Major oil company executives, Overon Overon city officials and Colonel Parker were ready to meet with Evan, in a session reports said would delve into prob- We cause, of the shocking slaughter of the bulk of the ich oil sector's younger generation. Welders pushed acetylene torches into huge beam, which barred the way to scores of youngsters believed en- ombed in the basement rooms. Derricks and cranes hoist- d huge slab, of concrete and steel and dragged them ards away from the building. Workmen dropped out at intervals after 19 steady h . our * *' boring into ruins of a $250,000 structure that rightfully owned the title of the world', wealthiest rural school. Work stopped in the fields, largest petroleum sector in the world, and schools were closed tight. PARENTS ARE IN STUPOR Dismal, drizzling dawn found New London red eyed in grief Friday. Only tiny tots had slept. Parents, shocked into stupors by one v of the nation'* mo,t appalling school child tragedies of all times, the killing of hundreds in a school house explosion, wandered wandered from one morgue to another, peering beneath crimson tinted sheet,. Throughout the night they plodded from one East Texas hamlet to the next, seeking word of children hastily hastily whisked away from the London consolidated high school after the blast late Thursday. They crowded around radios in drug store,, (training to catch the dronings of an announcer who read and reread reread the list of dead and injured. Stretched end to end on an Overton, roller skating rink floor at one time were 136 dead. The line past the shrouded shrouded figure, was steady.. Nurse, lifted covers, tousled heads appeared, as rapidly as they were identified they were taken away to morgues. A clearing agency established at the Overton city hall wa, haven for anxious kin. There they gave description, (See EXPLOSION on Page Two)

Clipped from The Brownsville Herald19 Mar 1937, FriPage 1

The Brownsville Herald (Brownsville, Texas)19 Mar 1937, FriPage 1
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  • 1937 New London, Texas school explosion. - Tom Malmay

    Tom_Malmay – 10 Sep 2013

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