The Goliad Tornado


The Goliad Tornado struck the town of Goliad, Texas, on May 18, 1902, touching down on the south side of the San Antonio River at 3:35 P.M. It claimed 114 lives, injured 230 people, and caused damage equal in value to $50,000 in 1902 dollars. It is considered to be one of the two most destructive tornadoes in the history of Texas, the other being the Waco strike of 1953. Of the 114 deaths, fifty were members of an African-American Methodist church who died when their church was destroyed. This tornado sounded like a heavily loaded freight train. The northwest section of the town saw an area one mile long and half a mile wide, totally wiped out and one hundred homes lost. The dead were buried in one long trench, for there was no time to dig separate graves or conduct individual funerals. Following the disaster, the Goliad County Courthouse served as a temporary hospital and morgue.

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