coverage of the Briggs tornado was instigated by the following letter:
Dear Texas Escapes, On the day of April 13, 1906, the day after the
Briggs, Texas tornado, these photos
were taken by my grandfather, Joseph (Joe) Williams who lived on the
Burnet / Bell county line between Oakalla
and Maxdale, Texas, about 11 miles from Briggs. The photos included
in this e-mail are scanned from a collection of 5 x 7 glass negatives
left to me by my father, Ira Williams, son of Joe Williams. I graduated
from Briggs High School in 1955 and it is my request, if possible,
for these historic photos to be added to the existing Briggs [page]
on Texas Escapes. There is also one photo of Briggs taken before the
tornado, and two news items. - Jimmy Williams
The following text is excerpted from the report originally published
in the Florence, Texas Vidette on April 14th, 2006 and supplied to
Texas Escapes by Briggs native Jimmy Williams, grandson of the photographer
Joe Williams, whose accompanying photos have been reproduced from
the original glass plate negatives.
HAIL AND RAIN DO GREAT DAMAGE:
About One Half of the Town of Briggs Blown Away
A Very Severe Storm!
From a report
by the Florence, Texas Vidette
general description of the stormy conditions which prevailed over
the countryside the afternoon of April 12, 1906.
Heavy rains were reported: hailstones which were "as large as a medium-sized
hen's egg" were picked up in Florence.
The roaring of the storm "which could easily be heard in Florence
The wires are all down leading into our little sister city, Briggs
which is located 10 miles northwest of Florence.
But the message came from there about sundown Thursday calling for
our doctors and all other assistance that could be secured. Our two
doctors accompanied by quite a number of men left for the scene, all
having to go by horseback on account of the high water, mud and obstructions
along the road.
arriving in the town, they had to get down off their horses and feel
their way through the wreck on the streets. Wires were promiscuously
across the streets: wagons, buggies, plows and all kinds of vehicles
were piled here and yonder in almost all directions. Lots that had
contained good houses were swept bare and the town resembled a complete
wreck in the darkness.
Hart, a clerk in one of the town's stores started to quit the building
when it was in the act of wrecking, and just as he stepped outside,
the storm picked him up and whirled him through the air when he caught
a telephone pole and held a tight grip thereon until the storm subsided.
Report has it that 16 persons were in one house when it was completely
blown awa y- injuring none of the occupants. The storm cut a path
65 yards wide.
story of the blacksmith Bob Patterson will serve to give you an idea
of what conditions some people found themselves in after the storm:
Every member of his family was found under the wreck of his home;
not one escaped without a serious wound - and some of them perhaps
fatal. Not a plank of his blacksmith shop was found on his lot and
his tools have yet to be found. His residence was served in a like
manner - and not a vestige of his household goods could be found.
A new surrey that he had recently purchased was found to contain one
sound wheel while the rest of it was twisted and wrecked until it
of the injuries included: "A boy of Dick Pulliam's - arm broken; a
boy of Mark Langford - one eye out and the other injured. Two small
boys of Mr. and Mrs. Patterson - one with an arm broken in three places
and the other completely scalped, jaw bone broken and otherwise badly
injured. Their mother had her shoulder dislocated and Arnet Tabor's
back is supposed to be broken."
destroyed in the storm included the school, hardware store, two blacksmiths,
three stores, the post office and a drugstore.
before the 1906 tornado
Photo courtesy Jimmy Williams
personal note written by Ernest Landford was added to the above story.
The epilogue stated "...the Langford boy who reportedly suffered
"one eye put out and the other injured" - recovered completely and
in his 55th year compiled the information which he included in his
1963 book Briggs: Brief Annals of the Times and People. Although
in the newspaper account he was listed as "a boy of Mark Langford"
- his full name was Ernest Landford (author of the piece).