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Avinger (Cass County) Tornadoes
1885 and 1921

By Marlene Bradford
On November 5, 1885, a small, short-lived tornado cut a five-mile long, thirty-yard wide path of destruction from the extreme northwestern corner of Marion County to near Avinger in Cass County. In its wake the storm left seven injured and six dead. All of the fatalities occurred in the Brady Pittman home where Pittman, his wife, and four boys perished.

On April 15, 1921, a more destructive tornado tore through the town. The weather that spring morning was beautiful, but by the end of the afternoon sixty-six people would perish when four separate deadly tornadoes swept through far northeast Texas and southwestern Arkansas. The first indication that the weather would turn ugly was when a narrow tornado destroyed two homes near Mineola (Wood County) about 12:45; there were no fatalities.

In Avinger, a bright sun reappeared after a mid-morning thunderstorm left the ground covered with four to six inches of hail. About 2:30 a “funny black cloud” that appeared on the horizon headed toward Avinger. This tornado had already killed two and injured ten at Mims Chapel in northwest Marion County. As the roaring storm approached Avinger, many sought shelter in large railroad culverts and storm cellars. The tornado killed six and injured thirty-five as it swept away thirteen homes. One house in Avinger that was not destroyed was picked up and turned around 180 degrees on its site. The Ernest Felker family did not rebuild their house but kept their back porch and kitchen as the front of the house and their living room in the rear. For a more extensive account of this tornado, see Fred McKenzie, Avinger, Texas USA, 1988, M&M Press.


© Marlene Bradford
June 1, 2014
See Texas Tornadoes: The Lone Star State’s Deadliest Twisters
See Avinger

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