Text Box: Cleaning up at Judsonia after the storm.
Photo courtesy Becky Williams White County Historical Society


Memories of the Judsonia Tornado 50 Years Ago

Late in the afternoon it was about as dark as night where I lived about nine miles out in the Providence community. The cloud was the blackest I have ever seen and appeared to have a green tinge to it. Some time later someone drove by and yelled that a tornado had hit Judsonia. We had relatives there and immediately set out for there. I was almost 10 at the time, but I remember the trees, wires and houses down all over the place. My great-aunt Maudie McDaniel Fisher lived in a small house behind a two-story one. She was found on the roof of the two-story house. The next few days were the coldest I think I ever knew at the time. Entry into and out of the town was through checkpoints of the National Guard. Some say they felt three gusts of wind or three shocks, as if three hit one after the other or the same one hit three times! A family owned a small grocery/station across from Judsonia High School. Their house was next door and they were sitting in the living room when it hit. It took the roof off their house and their son from the living room, and he was killed. They were unhurt.                                --Sam Womack

My wife and I lived in Memphis along with our son Danny, who was almost four at the time of the Judsonia tornado of 1952. It was really storming and a friend called and spoke with my wife Mary and said, "Isn't it horrible?" My wife thought she was speaking of the storm here and replied that yes, it certainly was raining hard. The friend said, "No. Haven't you heard that Judsonia was wiped off the map by a tornado?" My parents Ira and Virgie Strahl lived in Judsonia along with many aunts and uncles on both sides of the family. We couldn't find out anything so the next morning a coworker and friend drove us to Judsonia. I had no idea what I would find once we reached it.   Although the town looked as though a bomb had hit, my parents and other family members survived. Mother was in the hospital getting stitches on an injury caused by flying glass. Dad was wandering around in a daze on the property. The house was completely destroyed. Dad was already in his 70s but did rebuild the house. This time it was smaller brick home rather than wood and a storm cellar was added. Dad lived 12 more years and mother 4 more. They were indeed lucky. 

                                                                                   --Jack D. Strawl