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Richmond Times-Dispatch from Richmond, Virginia • Page 4
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Richmond Times-Dispatch from Richmond, Virginia • Page 4

Richmond, Virginia
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TT it KweKwwererw 0 Richmond Times-Dispatch Friday Oct 2 1959 i Searcher Russell Ray Probes Debris Where Child Parts of House Blown 200 Yards by 11th Body Was Found Tornado in Albemarle Raymond Bruce Fonders Tornado Tragedy at Ruins of His Home He and His Family Were Away His Mother Was Killed in House Nearby f- a Staff Photos by Charles Rosson and Times-Dispatch News Bureau Rainy Day Ends In Death for 10 Of Family of 15 of the 13 at home that day except Ervin Jr Frances Ann and Herbert were dead The day which for the Morrises started with rain saw more and harder rain later in the morning About 2:30 pm the first of at least six tor- ara wa Houses Similar to This and 100 Yards Away Three Homes in Group of Five Were Leveled by Tornadoes in Albemarle Claim llth The twisters spawned in gave vivid descriptions backwash of air from dyingjOf the phenomena Ralph Hoi' tropical atorm Grade struck land a service station operator with no advance warning Ex- on Rt 230 just west of plaining why there was no Charlottesville said the 2:30 warning the Weather Bureau! said the weather wasn't thep' twIatJ 1k a hug type that would justify a con- column tinuoui watch on the a a Mr and Mrs Lichtfold screen Radar Images denoting of Milwaukee who were viait- squally weather weren't strong ing David McKeith at hit home National Guardsmen Clear Road to Spot Tornado Struck Uprooted and Broken Trees Hindered Efforts of Rescuers Were Demolished Winds Girl 3 west of Ivy saw a "peculiar white light" from their automobile just before 2:30 Then they saw over the brim of a hill near Iyy what Mrs Lichtfeld described as a towering column from the top of which "things spewed way above the highest trees" Her husband said "tops of trees 20 feet long were like balloons in the air around the column" Mitchell who lives In a Medium's River home where General Thomas ''Stonewall" Jackson Is believed to have slopped shortly before the start of hia Shenandoah valley campaign said the 4:30 twister caught him by surprise "I didn't know it was here until it started tearing down Mitchell said Hit root of his home was torn off by the twister and blown 600 yards away Continued from Firtt Page Hospital released this list of the fatalities esrly In the day Mrs Lillie Bruce 52 wife of Raymond Bruce Ervin Morris Sr 42 Mrs Frances Morris 42 wife of Ervin George Morris 40 brother of Ervin James Morris 18 son of Ervin and Frances Ruby Morris 15 daughter of Ervin and Frances Wilmer Morris 15 crippled 'nephew of Ervin and ton of Gayton Morris of Ear-lysville Mrs Frances Morris 18 wife of Ervin Morris Jr Shirley Ann Morris 3 daughter of Ervin and Frances Morris Jr Peggy Morris nearly 2 daughter of Ervin and France Morris Jr and Michael Morris 7 months son of Ervin and Frances Morris Jr The injured members of the Morris family besides Frances Ann are Ervin Morris Jr 21 In satisfactory condition at University Hospital and Herbert Morris 8 son of Ervin and Frances Morris Sr He was in satisfactory condition as was Raymond Bruce 58 husband of Mrs Lillie Bruce Other Injured persons were treated and released from the hospital or treated by members of their families By Larry Weekley Times-Dispatch Staff Writer IVY Oct It was the end of everything Wednesday for 10 members of a simple Albemarle county family named Morris It The weather which often stranded them two miles back up the dirt road where they lived ended their live In a burst of wrath For the Morris family the day began like many others It was raining and the men didn't go to their jobs at a Croze lumber yard where they earned a dollar an hour Two daughter! did walk the two miles and catch a school bus leaving 13 members of the family at home In the days when the Lindsay apple orchard was fruitful the Morris house was used as a bunkhouse for apple pickers Lindsay Is in his nineties now and hia orchard doesn't produce much any more neighbors said He rented the bunkhouse to the Morris family for $15 a month according to Raymond Bruce 36 another Lindsay tenant' Lived In Three Rooms The bunkhouse was a wooden structure of three rooms on the main floor Below was a storage cellar and above was a single big attic room which the Morris family didn't use The 15 of them lived in three rooms The house had electric lights and an old refrigerator There was no plumbing Water had to be toted in from a spring Three of the men in the family each had an automobile several years bid which they kept parked beside the dwelling Their supervisors at the Rw Yancey Lumber Co said the four Morris men who worked there never came to work as many as five days week One reason for this was transportation difficulties Two of the men couldn't read and therefore couldn't qualify state driver's permits Good Workers "They were good workers when they got Ysncy Jr said Thursday "But two or three of them bad been caught for driving without licenses so we usually sent a truck back there to pick them up in the morning But we didn't do It on rainy days because we can't work the men in the rain and we would have had to turn around and take them home again" The Morris men were Ervin Morris Sr about 42 his brother George Morris about 40 Ervin Morris Jr 21 and James Morris 18 James was a son of Ervin Sr Also living in the house was Ervin wife Mrs France Morris about 40 and their younger children Ruby Morris younger children These were Ruby Morris 15 Georgia Mortis 13 Mary Morris 11 Herbert Morris 8 Frances Ann Morris 5 The oldest Morris son Otis 23 married five years ago and moved to Afton with his wife The next oldest Ervin Jr 21 married about four years ago After shifting about for themselves Ervin Jrt and his wife Frances 18 moved in with his parents about a year ago Ervin Jr and his wife had three children Shirley Ann 3 Peggy 2 and Michael and all of this younger family lived in the bunk-house too The 15th occupant was Wilmer Morris 15 a crippled nephew of Ervin Sr When the day was over all fpr enough to indicate tornadoes the bureau said Hie first twister whirled down on Ivy about 2:30 pm but did not cause severe damage The second two hours later hit Lindsay's orchard five miles southwest of Ivy It daimed 11 lives then swung north and inflicted heavy damage to house and other buildings at Medium's River Rains before and after the tornadoes washed out two bridgea--one of them 60-foot end a large drain pipe in the northwestern part of Albemarle The Rivanna river in Charlottesville overflowed its banks during the heavy rain Wednesday night causing an estimated $25000 damage to carnival equipment at the Charlottesville-Albemarle Fair Persons who saw the tor- It kept raining the next two hours At about 4:30 pm a tornado came to Lindsay's orchard Its approach was seen by a neighbor of the Morris family Raymond Bruce 58 whose wife was killed "It was a big Mack twirling -thing" he said One of the Morris men must have aeen it coming too because Bruce sew him running toward the house Whether he made it and what the rest of the family was doing at this moment only the three survivors can know They are in the hospital unable to talk about It Warm Sun A warm sun shone into the orchard Thursday morning from a bright-blue sky spangled with fluffy white clouds On the ground in a 1000-yard-long hollow and up the hillsides was the tangled debris of three houses and apple packing sheds It was hard to find two boards still nailed together The door was wrenched off the old refrigerator which was alammed 100 yards up the hollow The first people to reach the scene may have been the two daughters who had gone to school Their school Mis was late and they arrived home about 5 pm with a neighbor boy Paul Evans 14 who told a reporter: "We could see trees were down Mary and Georgia went on over the hills to their house and I heard one of them start crying for her mother went down there and found two of their brothers dead "Everything was torn up One of the men was 500 yards up the hollow He was all mangled About 200 yards from where the house was I saw a man and a little boy and a little girl lying dose together The arm was over them like he was trying to protect them guess he couldn't do Phone Line Dead Paul led the two sisters back up to his mother's house where he tried to phone for an ambulance The phone line was dead It wa not known who got out of the orchard and made it to the nearest working phone But the county sheriff Cook and ambulances began to arrive a little after 6 pm It took rescue workers three hours to And 10 bodies The llth was found at daybreak Thursday Three of the injured end killed were found in an automobile Sheriff Cook said he was told a Negro maid from the Lindsay house came down the hill picked the three off the ground and put them into the car out of the rain Dr EL Davis Jr the Albemarle county medical examiner said most of them died instantly "It was God's will I ssld an in-law Mrs Janie May Toombs of Ivy "They were good Otis Morris strived from Afton during the morning "Nobody told me he said "I believe it And Mum-ma and Daddy Oh God Oh God" A funeral service for the 10 members of the Morris family was tentatively set for 2 pm Saturday at Hebron Baptist Church Nelson county with burial in the church cemetery I i A i i i VJ t' -TO kvtu TkM Storage Shed at Blue Ridge School In Greene County Was Destroyed Authorities Estimated Damage There at More Than 9100000 Historic Home at Medium's River Damaged by Twister Stonewall Jackson Stopped Here On Way To Famous Valley Campaign MMtakAAA- TT i A1.

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