Updated: 03 Apr 2012

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The Daily Oklahoman
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
June 27, 1907
page 1

Death and Damage In Tornado's Wake

Fierce Storm Sweeps O'er Mid-Continent Oil Fields

Three Rig Builders Are Killed Near Sapulpa, I. T.

Oil On River Ablaze

Derricks Blown Down - Storm Strikes Many Territory Towns

Three lives were lost, hundreds imperiled and property valued at thousands of dollars destroyed by a fierce tornado that swept across the northern portion of Indian Territory and northeastern Oklahoma yesterday morning.

Bartlesville, Collinsville, Sapulpa, Tulsa, Ramona, I. T., and Cleveland and Pawnee, Okla. are among the towns visited by the twister and each sustained slight damage.

The loss of life and the greatest property destruction occurred in the mid-continent oil field, where it is estimated that 150 derricks have been destroyed and hundreds of thousands of dollars damage done to oil and gas property.

Special to the Oklahoman.
Sapulpa, I. T., June 26. Three men were killed and 150 oil well derricks were demolished by a tornado that swept this vicinity from the southwest at 8:30 o'clock this morning. As a result of the tearing up of oil and gas pipes, with the toppling over of the many derricks, a great number of the wells have broken open and large volumes of oil and gas are escaping. Polecat creek is covered with a layer of oil a foot thick, which as caught on fire and is now burning fiercely for more than a mile.

The flames are leaping to the clouds and the entire country is illuminated from the blaze. The roar of the escaping gas from a dozen different localities can be plainly heard.

The three men killed were all well rig builders working on a new derrick one and a half miles from town. John Robin is the only one of the dead who has been identified.

Both the wagon bridge and the railroad bridge across Polecat creek are in imminent danger of burning from the oil on the river and large companies of men have been on duty for hours guarding these structures from the flames.

The loss in escaping oil and gas and the destruction of derricks will mount into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The storm passed over this city, but did little material damage. The partially completed roof of the new hotel was blown off, as were a number of porches to dwelling houses. The wires were down in every direction, and it is impossible to ascertain the extent or range of the storm.

Special to the Oklahoman.
Tulsa, I. T., June 26. Three people are known to have been killed several are injured, and property to the amount of at least a million dollars was destroyed by a tornado which sweep this section of Indian Territory today. The known dead are Frank Roper and two unknown men.

The storm came from the north and traveled due south until it struck the hills north of Tulsa, when it turned southwest through the heart of the Glenn oil field.

Mammoth steel tanks were blown down; 30 derricks were demolished and one entire rig and several oil tanks were destroyed by lightning.

The camp of the Gulf Pipe Line company was wiped off the map and a great gas well on the Nevada-Berryhill lease was freed from its casing and is beyond control.

Kiefer, Red Fork, Jenks, Mounds, Sapulpa and other towns south of Tulsa report property destruction and people injured.

For 60 miles south of this city the path of the storm is plainly traced by the destruction left in its wake.

Bartlesville, Collinsville and Ramona were in the path of the storm when it came down from the north and the Turley, the Skiatook and the Bird Creek fields were visited by the twister.

In Tulsa several buildings were unroofed, others were blown from their foundations, giant ___ were blown down and a dozen people were slightly injured by flying debris. Telegraph and telephone service is badly crippled and the full extent of the storm can not be ascertained.

Special to the Oklahoman.
Muskogee, I. T., June 26.  A terrific tornado swept the mid continent oil field from Cleveland, Okla. to Muskogee, at an early hour this morning. One death has been reported and the property loss is climbing rapidly. Frank Roper, a tool dresser was killed at Kiefer. He was working at well No. 1, on the Hoffsteter lease when the wind struck the rig demolishing it and killing Roper. The Barnes Oil company at Kiefer lost five rigs and the Quaker & Eastern Oil company lost about $20,000 worth of oil property, principally pump houses and tanks. A member of the Refinery Oil company operating at Turley, lost five rigs at that place and three more at Cleveland, Okla. A dispatch from Turley says that there are 54 rigs in sight from that place that have been blown down and wrecked. No lives were lost there so far as can be learned.

The storm came from the north. It was a straight wind accompanied by a heavy rain. Its force was broken when it reached Muskogee.

A telephone message from Sapulpa tonight says that a church and the new hotel at that place were unroofed and that considerable damage was done to plate glass fronts and to residences. The message also insists that two men were killed just south of town but they have not been identified. Keifer is in the heart of the Glenn Pool and a telephone message from that point tonight states that there are in sight from Keifer 150 derricks that were wrecked by the storm.

Lightning struck an oil tank near Keifer and set it on fire. Reports from various sections of the oil field in the Osage nation indicate that practically all the rigs in exposed parts of the nation have been blown down and incomplete steel oil tanks that were being erected in the tank farms have been wrecked.

Lightning struck one of the buildings at the Creek orphan home two miles east of Okmulgee and the building with all of its contents were burned.

At Choteau and Miami in the Cherokee nation the tornado unroofed several houses and blew down the walls of unfinished brick buildings.

The home Mr. Smith, at Mazie, is reported to have been wrecked.

The damage to growing crops and to the oil interest all over the mid-continent field has been tremendous, fields of corn have been laid flat and the oil field is strewn from end to end.

From most reliable reports possible together under the circumstances it appears that the storm area extended from Cleveland, Okla. on the west to Choteau on the east and from the northern part of the Osage nation on the north to Muskogee on the south.

Special to the Oklahoman.
Pawnee, Okla. June 26. One frame building in Pawnee was blown down and a farm residence one mile from town was badly damaged by lightning this morning, during the heaviest wind and rainstorm that had visited this section for years.

Seven box cars were blown from the Santa Fe tracks and other minor damage was done by the storm and wind. No fatalities have been reported. Word received here from Cleveland says that a number of oil well derricks were blown down and demolished.

Special to the Oklahoman.
Chouteau, I. T., June 26. During a heavy wind and rain storm here today considerable damage was done. At Mazie, five miles south of here, it is reported that the walls of a brick building were demolished and several houses and barns unroofed. It is reported that a house owned by a Mr. Smith was completely overturned, but the statement is not verified.

[NOTE: I checked June 28-30 and found no further mention of the tornado or the names of those three who died]

 

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