As a child, I loved the movie The Wizard of Oz. While the movie fueled our young, active imaginations, it also generated a whole new set of fears.
|My brother and I|
Additionally, the movie also taught me to fear tornadoes, witches, and of course the thing that all children of that era feared…..flying monkeys!!
While my Georgia kin had little to fear from poppies, witches or flying monkeys, they did, however, live with the very real fear of tornadoes, or cyclones as they were sometimes called.
The University of Oklahoma maintains a great online digital book collection that includes the book, “Tornado” written by John Park Finley. Finley was an American meteorologist who was among the first to study tornadoes in depth. Finley's book, published in 1887, educated people about the dangers of tornadoes as well as how people could anticipate and protect themselves during a tornado.1
|Illustration from Finley’s Tornadoes2|
Describing the eerie cloud formations that often precede tornadoes, Finley stated that “the dark clouds at times present a deep, greenish hue, which forebodes the greatest evil and leaves one to imagine quite freely of dire possibilities.” 3
|Illustration from Finley’s Tornadoes5|
The Friday, June 10, 1887 edition of the Carroll Free Press, which was published the same year as Finley's book, carried an article about which citizens of the Carroll County community had received the most damage during a tornado and hail storm that hit there. 6 The article also mentioned a “Citizens’ Meeting” held to discuss measures to provide aid to the victims. A resolution was adopted to collect funds and distribute them to those who had received the most damage. Included in the list of citizens needing relief were P.H. Chandler, B.W. Cook and G. P. Chandler, all people in my family tree.
|Picture of home following a tornado that |
hit the Atlanta area
Late 1800’s or early 1900’s. 7
The article also indicated who had donated money, how much they donated and who received the financial aid and how much they received. A committee had distributed the donated funds to those that were in the most need and had not already received help from others of the community.
As I scanned the list of citizens who had received financial help, I found that B.W. Cook, G.P. Chandler and P. H. Chandler were not included. Did that indicate then that they were among those who had received help from others? Living in Carroll county at that time were Mary’s siblings, Martha Ganus Brock, Rebecca Ganus Lee and Addison Ganus and their spouses and children. Living in neighboring Haralson County were Mary’s other siblings, John M. Ganus, as well as Margaret Ganus Blackmon and James W. Ganus and their spouses and children. True to typical southern culture, the siblings had remained in close proximity to each other.
Did the Ganus siblings help repair damage sustained to Mary and Burton’s home? Did they help fix barns and outbuildings, locate scattered livestock, and replant crops if needed? Did they bring in meals and share of what they had? I would like to think that Burton and Mary did not need aid from the community because they received help from their family. I would like to think they were living close to one another not only for the social advantage but also so that they could provide help and support through good times and bad.
Given the history of tornadoes in the south, I am sure that this was not the only time that the Ganus family was impacted by the wrath of a storm. I am confident that each member of that family faced many storms during their lifetime, both physical and emotional in nature and hopefully each time they found their greatest source of support and strength in their family.
1. Finley, John P., Tornadoes. New York: The Insurance Monitor, 1887. Digital Images. History of Science Collections, The University of Oklahoma Libraries. http://ouhos.org/2010/06/19/digitized-books/
2. Ibid. at p. 40
3. Ibid at p. 29
4. Ibid at p. 30
5. Ibid at p. 44
6. USGenWeb Archives, Carroll County Georgia, Newspapers, Carroll Free Press, Issue of Friday, June 10, 1887. File was contributed by Judy Campbell.
7. Photograph of home of Oct(via) Kite blown away by tornado, Fulton County, Georgia, ca. 1897-1903, Georgia Division of Archives and History, Vanishing Georgia. http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/vanga/query:gk%3A+%28octa+kite+tornado%29
Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2013