Many tragedies have occurred in the Appalachian Mountains throughout time. During times of war, men lost their lives fighting for this great country. Incurable sicknesses without the assistance of modern medicine or technology claimed innumerable people. Natural weather related disasters have claimed many lives throughout history all over the world.
In meteorology, a cyclone is defined as a “large scale air mass that rotates around a strong center of low atmospheric pressure.” One such “cyclone” hit the mountains of East Tennessee in the year 1933. My uncle Homer, age 83 in 2013, recounted this story to me. According to him, it was the worst weather they had ever seen on the branch (Fox Branch Road in Kyles Ford, Tennessee) since he’d been alive. Strong winds did major damage and uprooted trees, homes, and even claimed the lives of several mountain folks.
My second great-grandmother, Harriett, had an old house at the mouth (entrance) of the holler where they lived off of Fox Branch. Her sister, Rachel Pridemore, was staying in this house at the time the cyclone hit. I was curious to know more, so I did a search but could not find anything other than Rachel’s death certificate that listed the cause of her death as “Enjuries received in cyclone.” The certificate shows Rachel being 86 years old and the date of her death was March 28, 1933. She was buried just up the road in the family cemetery.
Uncle Homer remembers being a young boy (10-11 years old) and having to help build the house back so Grandma Harriett could live there. He said the cyclone blew it away on March 14, 1933. He helped carry the logs and use the hammer and nails to build it. He said my grandmother, Ethel, which was his sister, was in South Carolina during this time working in the cotton mill. The picture shown has the house in the background with my Grandmother Ethel and her Grandmother Harriett standing in front of it.