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Earl Allumbaugh wrote about Tracy 1924 tornado

July 1, 2012
By Ellayne Conyers , Marshall Independent

Part II

Mr. Edwards owned a fairly large safe that was found a short distance from his house. He was considered wealthy and I guess didn't let his wife know too much about his business. No one knew the combination or what was in the safe so father let them put it in our kitchen until it could be checked for valuables. It was heavy and we were afraid the floor would not hold it. All efforts failed to open it until during harvest father had hired a man who made the remark, 'He could open it.' I remember we all gathered around him as he used a wooden mallet to tap it as he turned the dial. He had his ear very close to the safe and everyone had to be very quiet. Finally he turned to Mrs. Edwards and said, 'I can get all the tumblers but one. There must be something loose inside that keeps it from sliding back.' Later it was taken someplace where a torch was used to cut a hole in it. Sure enough there was a screw that had come loose binding the tumbler. I think the man was given ten dollars for his effort. We all figured that he had opened sages before.

Shortly after the cyclone the guard came to father and said there was a hog along the road with the lower part of its jaw gone. A board had sheared it off. The hog was destroyed. As with all storms like this there were straws sticking into posts, boards laying all over fields which caused trouble for many years. There were many small boards all over which harbored rats and cows got to chewing on these boards, and getting nails in their stomachs. We lost several. The nails that penetrated the stomach would be shiny. You could hear the cow groan every time the stomach rolled. Many of the clothes that were drawn out of the broken windows were found in trees along the lake.

I understand that mother received a letter from someone saying they were sorry that she had lost her son. I now wish I had kept that letter.

Later that summer as the hip roof was being completed on the new barn, the carpenter was outside on the top helping to fasten the cupola on when he lost his footing and slid down the roof feet first and sailed through the air over a pile of lumber to the ground. I remember Ed Larson grasping for air and getting to his feet and walking away. He received a strained back.

In the 1930s was the depression and drought years. There seemed to be much wind. I was working in the West field one time when a storm came up. For many years everyone was afraid of any storm. I unhitched the four horses and started running for the barn. The wind caught us blowing me off my feet. By hanging unto the reins I stayed with the horses."

NOTE: On June 13, 1968 another tornado hit Tracy. The home of Roy and Martha Allumbaugh (Earl's parents) was again severely damaged, but they survived again.

The following poem written by Howard Mohr says it all.



Listen for noises.

If you do not live

near railroad tracks,

the freight train you hear

is not the Northern Pacific

lost in the storm:

that is a tornado

doing imitations of itself.

One of its favorite sounds

is no sound.

After the high wind, and

before the freight train,

there is a pocket

of nothing:

this is when you think

everything has stopped:

but do not be fooled.

Leave it all behind

except for a candle

and take to the cellar.


if straws are imbedded

in trees without leaves,

and your house except

for the unbroken bathroom mirror

has vanished

with out a trace,

and you are naked

except for the right leg

of your pants,

you can safely assume

that a tornado

has gone through your life

without touching it.

Howard Mohr

Permission given by Howard Mohr

for inclusion in this article.



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