1943 Hackleburg, Alabama Tornado

“…all in the twinkle of an eye.”

Franklin County Times, Russellville, Alabama (Thurs. Apr. 15, 1943, Page 1)

While researching my husband’s Mann family, I stumbled upon a tragedy. Around 1:30 AM on Monday, April 12, 1943 a tornado struck the town of Hackleburg in Marion County, Alabama. Four people were killed immediately and 26 people were admitted to the hospital. Walter James Mann (hubby’s 2nd cousin 3x removed) and his wife Dovie (Tidwell) Mann were 2 of the 4 people killed. Walter’s mother, Clarise Ann (Britnell) Mann, and 3 of his 5 children were among those admitted to the hospital.

Walter was the son of Monroe Mann and Clarise (sometimes called Clarsie) Britnell. Monroe’s grandparents and my hubby’s 4x great grandparents were William and Susan (Harris) Mann. Monroe and Clarise were married on November 21, 1895 in Marion County, Alabama. They had four children: Luther, Victoria, John, and Walter. They divorced before 1919 and Monroe remarried.

Walter was born October 8, 1906. He and Dovie Tidwell were married October 10, 1926 in Marion County. They had five children between 1927 and 1937: 1) James Beauford, born 6/12/1927; 2) Margie Josephine, born 7/24/1929; 3) Elewene, born 1/17/1932; 4) Alfred, born 12/4/1933; 5) Hubert, born 9/26/1937. In the 1940 census, taken on April 23rd, the family was living in Hackleburg, and Walter was employed as a railroad section head. Walter was listed as 33, Dovie was 29, and the kids were 12, 10, 8, 6, and 2.

Walter and Dovie with one of their sons, from Ancestry

On April 12, 1943, the first tornado of the year in Alabama struck Hackleburg in Marion County. Now it is classified as an F4 tornado, with a path length of 5 miles and a maximum path width of 200 yards. According to the National Weather Service, at least 85 homes and 17 businesses were destroyed, along with most of the town. The four deaths all occurred in their homes, since it was 1:30 in the morning. First reports of the tornado said that 3 of the Mann children were missing.

Images of the damage from the Birmingham News, April 12, 1943, p. 1

“First persons known to have been killed at Hackleburg were Postmaster Powell and his wife. Their bodies were found in the wreckage of their home. Three children of Mr. and Mrs. Mann, who earlier were believed to have been blown away by the wind, later were found safe, but injured. The three Mann children, Eloween [Elewene], 10, Albert [Alfred], 8, and Hubert, 6, were injured , however.”

The Birmingham News, April 12, 1943, p. 8
The Marion County News, 4/22/1943, p. 1

After the tornado, the children went to live with relatives. James joined the U.S. Merchant Marines, and was living in St. Joseph, Missouri on June 12, 1945 when he filled out his draft registration card (his 18th birthday). He joined the Army on February 8, 1946 and was discharged on March 28, 1947.

The other children, Margie, Elewene, Alfred, and Hubert, lived with their father’s brother, Luther, and Luther’s wife Myrtle at 835 Benicia Road, Vallejo, Solano County, California. In the 1948 city directory, Margie was a clerk at the Mare Island Navy Yard, while Luther was a welder. In the 1950 census, Luther was listed as an electric welder at Mare Island. Elewene was 18, Alfred was 16, and Hubert was 12. I think Margie was living as a lodger at the home of Arthur and Ruby Ewing in Vallejo, Solano County, California in 1950. She was 20 and a saleslady at a retail department store.

From Jimmy Emerson on Flickr

On April 27, 2011, an F5 tornado struck Hackleburg and Marion County and 25 people were killed. In April 2012, a memorial was dedicated remembering the victims of that tornado, as well as the 1943 tornado. The 2 additional deaths listed for 1943 were Walter’s mother, Clarise, who died on October 1, 1943 (presumably from injuries acquired during the tornado) and Charles “Pink” Lunsford. He and his wife were both injured. He was described by the Birmingham News as the “most seriously injured among those hurt at Hackleburg” and “was said to have suffered several broken ribs and other injuries.” He was 81 at the time. He died due to his injuries on June 1, 1943.


A Sister’s Sacrifice

The title of this post comes from an article in the Christmas Eve 1889 edition of the Bay City (MI) Times. I’ll be writing about Emma Baker, the sister of Jacob Baker (my husband’s great-great grandfather). Emma was born to George and Elisabeth (Kline) Becker on January 13, 1869 in Ohio. She was the 7th of 9 children. In the 1870 and 1880 censuses, the family was living in Richfield Township in Lucas County, Ohio. Emma’s older brother Conrad (1860-1933) married Mary Hager in Bay City, Michigan in October 1884 and remained in that area. Jacob joined Conrad in Bay City sometime between 1884 and 1889.

Emma Baker
photographed by G. F. Sterling of West Bay City, MI between October and December 1889

Jacob became ill with “typhoid-malarial fever” and Emma came up from Ohio around the beginning of October 1889 to care for him – I assume since he was single and didn’t have anyone else to tend to him. According to the Bay City Times article, “For nine weeks [Emma] attended carefully to his wants, remaining at his bedside day and night, and sacrificing her health and rest for his good.” Around December 13, 1889, Emma too got sick. While she was ill, their brother Conrad also came down with the sickness and was moved to a different house (I assume since he had a pregnant wife and young son at home). Emma died on December 23, 1889 at about 10:30 AM.

Bay City Times, 12-24-1889, page 5

Emma was buried in plot 1264 in Bay City’s Pine Ridge Cemetery on December 24, 1889 at 2 PM. Jacob and Conrad recovered from their illnesses. Jacob was back in Ohio by 1900 where he married Bertha Knisel. He and his wife named their first child Emma Maud Baker, a touching tribute to his sister who nursed him, or as the article said, “…[laid] down her own life that her brother may live.”


Veto McKinley

James Alfred Mann, seated left, with his first wife Emma and their children Arthur Veto McKinley, Margie, Martelia and baby Mary in 1910

Another 2nd cousin 3x removed from my husband was a man with the interesting name Arthur Veto McKinley Mann. He was born May 16, 1900 in Marion County, Alabama to James Alfred Mann and Emma Frances Coons. They had been married in February 1899. One can only assume Arthur’s father didn’t want Republican President McKinley to win re-election that coming November 1900. Since the voting age in 1896 was 21, it’s safe to say James, who was only 16 when McKinley was elected the first time, didn’t vote for him or his opponent Democrat William Jennings Bryan. In fact, 1,201 men in Marion County voted for Bryan, while only 502 voted for McKinley. Bryan won all 11 of Alabama’s electoral votes, as well as the popular vote (130,298 to 55,673)

On June 21, 1900, about a month after Arthur Veto McKinley Mann was born, William McKinley and his running mate Theodore Roosevelt were officially nominated at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. On November 6, 1900, McKinley again defeated William Jennings Bryan, but not in Marion County, nor Alabama. Marion County went for Bryan 1,137 to 685 for McKinley. Bryan again won all of Alabama’s electoral votes and the popular vote (McKinly got nearly the exact same about as in 1896 – 55,612, while Bryan received 97,129 votes).

McKinley’s second inauguration took place on March 4, 1901. On September 6, 1901 while visiting the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, McKinley was shot by Leon Czolgosz. McKinley died from his wounds on September 14, 1901.



Dating Photographs through their Photographers

Recently, my mother-in-law gave me a 19th-century album full of family portraits. She knew the portraits were of relatives from her father’s side of the family, but none of them were identified. Luckily, I recognized one of the photos from Ancestry.com. It was of my husband’s 3rd great-grandmother Elisabeth (Kline) Becker/Baker and her sisters Catherine (Kline) Hartman and Dorothea (Kline) Eberhart.

Original portrait from the album
Image from Ancestry.com user with their caption

Most of the portraits were from photographers in Owosso and Bay City, Michigan, Toledo, Ohio, and Danville, Illinois. In examining the Kline family, who came to the U.S. in around 1854, Elisabeth and Dorothea’s families lived in Danville, Illinois in 1860, and while Dorothea stayed in Illinois, Elisabeth’s families re-located back to northwest Ohio, where Catherine’s family had stayed. Meanwhile, other Kline siblings Frederick, Wilhelmina, Conrad, and John Nicholas moved to Bennington, Shiawassee County, Michigan.

While I had a general idea of the possible identities of the portraits, I thought finding out when the photographers were in business would help me date the images and (maybe) further narrow down the identities.

Michigan Photographers

The Clements Library at University of Michigan hosts the online edition of the Directory of Early Michigan Photographers by David V. Tinder. This resource was incredible helpful – arranged by city (including different address changes) and also by photographer. Here are the photographers contained in my mother-in-law’s collection:

Beebe & HorsemanOwossoca1893
Moore Bros.Owosso1884-1891
W. E. MarshallBig Rapids1886-1913
G. F. SterlingWest Bay City1886-1895
Harman & VernerBay City (914 N. Water St.)1884-1889
Miller / Miller’sBay City (710 Washington Ave.)1884-1887
DragoBay City1886-1897
C. B. ColburnBay City1869-1891

Illinois Photographers

I wasn’t able to find a source for Illinois photographers as good as Michigan’s, but I did find a website that mentioned “Early Danville Photographers.”

Phillips & BergstresserDanville1886-1888
W. BoyceDanville1884-1888

Ohio Photographers

In Google Books, I was able to search the 1998 version of Ohio Photographers, 1839-1900 by Diane VanSkiver Gagel.

BallToledo (205 Summit St.)1890
ChesebroToledo (61 Summit St.)1883-1888
ChesebroToledo (417 Summit St.)1890-1893
Arthur & PhilbricToledo (159 Summit St.)1888
Geo. FieldsToledo (57 Summit St.)1878-1886
Geo. FieldsToledo (113 Summit St.)1889
A. C. SwainToledo (205 Summit St.)c1891-1900


I do have one photograph by Hutchinson of 110 Jackson St., Elkhart, Indiana but I haven’t been able to find any information on this one.


Alpha and Omega

I found some interesting names recently while researching my husband’s family. Apparently it was a thing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to name twins Alpha and Omega. My husband’s grandmother’s extended family from Tennessee/Alabama has two sets! The first set is related to him by marriage. Alpha Wills was married to my husband’s 2nd cousin 3x removed, Terah Y. Stiles. Terah’s grandfather Franklin A. Martin, Jr. and my husband’s 3x great grandmother Missouri Frances (Martin) Mann were siblings. Alpha was born in Texas on December 24, 1895 and died September 25, 1993. Alpha’s twin sister Omega (of course also born on Christmas Eve 1895) died on February 1, 1981.

Alpha and Omega Wills in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census

The next set of twins is a “step” situation so the relationship is a bit convoluted, but hopefully I have it figured out. Missouri’s son Alexander Mann was married first (in 1911, separated in 1912) to a woman named Nancy Alice Reynolds who had previously been married (in 1895) to a William Lewis. They’d had 6 children including twin daughters born in 1907 named Alpha and Omega Lewis.

Alpha and Omega Lewis in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census after their mother had married a third time.

52 Ancestors · Prompts · Spouse

#11 Mann Family

Front row Left to right-Myrtle, Enzil, Virgil, Martha, Lillian, and Joyce. Back row L. to R.- Fred, Herbert, Leonard, Violet, Ray, Fay, Ellen, Frank, Vesta, and Nancy.

My husband’s grandmother was Lillian Mann Eklund. She had 14 brothers and sisters, some born in Tennessee and some born in Michigan depending on where their father, Virgil Mann, had a job at the time of their births. Virgil and his wife Martha Byrd were married May 7, 1927 in Carter County, Tennessee. Their 15 children were born between 1928 and 1953. Their first child, a son named Richard, was born on April 19, 1928 in Adrian, Michigan. He died on New Year’s Day 1929 of pneumonia and whooping cough at 8 months old. He was buried in Palmyra Cemetery. At the time, the family lived at 921 E. Beecher in Adrian.


The Manns’ next four children were daughters. Their 2nd child was born in November 1929 in Elizabethton, Tennessee, but the family was back in Adrian for the 1930 census on April 9th. Lillian was born June 7, 1931 in Palmyra, Michigan. In the 1932 Adrian City Directory, Virgil was listed as a laborer for Ervin Foundry & Manufacturing Company. Their 4th child, Myrtle, was born in December 1932 in Michigan.

In the 1934 city directory, Virgil was listed as a molder at the same company, and their 5th child was born in Michigan in September 1934. The Manns’ next three children were sons. Their 6th child was born in 1936 in Tennessee, while their 7th child was born in Michigan in April 1939. In the 1940 census, taken April 9th, the family was renting a house in Palmyra, Lenawee County, Michigan for $10 a month and Virgil’s occupation was listed as “hauling iron” at Ervin Foundry. The Manns’ 8th child was born in Adrian, Michigan in February 1941. Their 9th child, a daughter, was born in September 1942. Their 10th and 11th children were a set of twins, a boy and a girl, born in June 1944 in Tennessee. The Manns’ 12th child, a daughter, was born in Tennessee in October 1945. Their 13th child, a son, was born in 1947 in Tennessee. Their 14th and 15th children, both daughters were born in Michigan in 1950 and 1953 respectively. In 1951, Myrtle was a senior at Adrian High School, while Lillian was married in December of 1951.

Martha died November 20, 1981 in Franklin County (Tennessee) Hospital at the age of 74.  Virgil died March 31, 1984, aged 78, at the same hospital. At the time, he was living in Elora, Tennessee. They are both buried in Pleasant Ridge Cemetery in Huntland, Tennessee.

virgil and twins
Virgil Mann and his twin great-grandsons in 1983. My husband is the one on the left.

Week11 (March 11-17) – Large Family

52 Ancestors · Maternal · Prompts · Spouse

#7 Grandparents in Love

I love finding pictures of my grandparents when they were young and in love. So sweet!

My maternal grandparents, Helen (Oakes) & Charles Wilson on June 4, 1932

My husband’s paternal grandparents, Ellsworth & Lillian (Mann) Eklund, in 1948

My husband’s paternal great-grandparents Leonard and Mayme (Kivi) Eklund on their wedding day, June 23, 1931

Week 7 (February 11-17): Love

52 Ancestors · Prompts · Spouse

#33 Delia Grodi Salisbury

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census had an additional schedule called the “1880 Schedule of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes.” This enumerated individuals that had deafness, blindness, or other disabilities, as well as “paupers.”

Delia Grodi Salisbury

The individual I’d like to talk about this week is one I haven’t been able to find in this schedule, even though she was deaf. In fact, I haven’t been able to find her at all in 1880. Her maiden name was Delia Mary Grodi, and she was born to Nelson and Margaret (Bushroe) Grodi on August 17, 1875 in Erie, Monroe County, Michigan. She would have been 5 years old in 1880, and while her family was enumerated in Erie, she was not living with them. She may have been at a school for the deaf.

By 1886 though, Delia was a definitely a student at the Michigan School for the Deaf in Flint, Michigan. This school enrolled students aged 9 to 20, so she wasn’t there in 1880 (I checked). She was also listed as a student between 1891 and 1894 in the other reports I could find. I’m assuming she was also a student in the years between 1886 and 1891.

Snippet of the “18th Biennial Report of the Board of Trustees of the Michigan School for the Deaf at Flint”

The Michigan School for the Deaf was established in 1848 as the Michigan Asylum for Educating the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind. In 1879, the Legislature separated the school for the blind from the school for the deaf. In December 1885, there was a diptheria epidemic at the school, and five students died.

Michigan School for the Deaf in Flint, Michigan

Delia married Lyman Salisbury on May 18, 1895 in Lucas County, Ohio. In the 1900 census, she, Lyman, and their daughter Ida were living in Toledo. In the “Can speak English” column of this census, she is listed as “no.” Lyman and Delia had a son, also named Lyman, in 1901, but he died in September 1902.

In 1910, the family, now with son Ernest (my husband’s great-grandfather), lived in Erie, Michigan. Delia was listed as “deaf and dumb.” Her husband Lyman died on December 20, 1918 in Erie of Bronchopneumonia and Asthma. In 1920, Delia and her other children were living with Ida and her husband Jacob Conrad in Bedford, Monroe, Michigan.

In 1930, Delia and her children Howard and Hazel were living in Bedford, Michigan and she was employed as an inspector at an awning factory. In 1940, Delia and Hazel were living in Bedford and Delia was an inspector in the textile industry. Delia’s son Howard died in 1944. Delia herself died July 23, 1955.



52 Ancestors #33 – Defective, Dependent, & Delinquent

Prompts · Spouse

Lifespans of Husband’s 3rd Great-Grandparents

My husband’s 32 great-great-grandparents are, by ahnentafel number:

32. Elias Hansson Eklund (1841-1891), 50 years
33. Lizzie Olafsdotter (1841-1930), 89 years
34. Johan Stenbacka (?-?), ?? years
35. Suava Mattson (?-?), ?? years
36. Tuomas Henriksson Skinnari (1821-1896), 75 years
37. Sanna Liisa Hietanen (1838-1912), 74 years
38. Matti Halvas (?-?), ?? years
39. Wilhelmina Sarvela (?-?), ?? years
40. Joseph Richard Mann (1850-1929), 79 years
41. Missouri Frances Martin (1847-1925), 78 years
42. Asa Bradley (1857-1932), 75 years
43. Nora Jane Pate (1859-1937), 78 years
44. Blake Byrd (1853-1932), 79 years
45. Caroline Clark (1855-1937), 82 years
46. Cornelius Brewer (1850-1918), 68 years
47. Martha Fields (1853-1903), 50 years
48. Johann George Becker (1826-1886), 60 years
49. Elisabeth Kline (1832-1905), 73 years
50. John Knisel (1834-1914), 80 years
51. Dorothea Straber (1838-1890), 52 years
52. Frank Dunham (1862-1935), 73 years
53. Elizabeth Bowersox (1864-1945), 81 years
54. Bernhard Flick (1859-1933), 74 years
55. Paulina Garbe (1861-1941), 80 years
56. Warren Salisbury (1820-1894), 74 years
57. Fidelia Pinkerton (1840-1892), 52 years
58. Nelson Grodi (1839-1924), 85 years
59. Margaret Bushroe (1850-1916), 66 years
60. ? (?-?), ?? years
61. Martha Amstutz (1865-1922), 57 years
62. Gottlieb Krauter (1853-1933), 80 years
63. Anna Mary Ertel (1860-1927), 67 years

The average birth year for third-greats is 1846, with a range from 1820 to 1865. (Calculated with 27 of 32 birth years).

The average death year for third-greats is 1918, with a range from 1886 to 1945. (Calculated with 27 of 32 death years).

The average lifespan is about 72 years, with a range of 50 to 89 years. Males average lifespan is 73 years, and females average lifespan is 70 years.


Ironwood Genealogy Trip – Eklund Family


This summer my husband and I traveled to Ironwood and the Keweenaw Peninsula for our vacation. His Eklund and Kivi ancestors settled there after arriving from Finland, most of the men working in the iron ore mines.

Last time, I discussed the Kivi family, related to my husband’s great-grandmother Mayme. This time, I’d like to talk a little about the Eklund family, relatives of my husband’s great-grandfather Leonard. The Ironwood Daily Globe is fully searchable at Ancestry.com for the years 1919-1977 and has been an invaluable resource. Ancestry also has a U.S. School Yearbooks, 1880-2012 collection, which includes Ironwood’s Luther L. Wright High School, where Leonard attended.

Leonard Eklund's senior picture from the 1927 Hematite
Leonard Eklund’s senior picture from the 1927 yearbook, the Hematite

Leonard’s parents and sister are buried in Riverside Cemetery in Ironwood. His father Erick Eliasson Eklund came to the U.S. in 1896 and, in the 1900 census, worked as a mine laborer in Ironwood living with his brother Emil, sister Sofia and her husband Andrew Mattson. On November 23, 1901, Erick and Johanna Sofia Nelson (maiden name also possibly Stenbacka) were married in Ironwood.

Erick and Johanna Eklund, 1901
Erick and Johanna Eklund, 1901

They had a daughter, Helmi, in 1906 and a son, Leonard in 1910. In 1918, Erick worked as a surface laborer for the Oliver Iron Mining Company. The family lived at 228 E. Ash Street in Ironwood. According to his death certificate, Erick died on January 4, 1929 of pulmonary tuberculosis, which he had been suffering from for three years.

Erick Eklund’s Obituary from the Ironwood Daily Globe, Jan. 5, 1929

Here is a recent photo of the house on E. Ash St. where the Eklund family lived since at least 1918. In 1910, they were living on E. Oak St. Notice the garage, which Johanna received a permit to build in 1941.

228 East Ash Street
228 East Ash Street
Article from the Daily Globe on Oct. 25, 1941
Article from the Daily Globe on Oct. 25, 1941

Johanna Eklund died December 29, 1955 at 228 E. Ash, where her daughter Helmi and her husband Warren Ekman were living. The funeral was held Tuesday, January 3, 1956.

Johanna Eklund's Obituary from the Ironwood Daily Globe
Johanna Eklund’s Obituary from the Ironwood Daily Globe (Click to enlarge)
Article about Johanna's funeral from the Jan. 4, 1956 Daily Globe
Article about Johanna’s funeral from the Jan. 4, 1956 Daily Globe
Johanna's gravestone in Riverside Cemetery
Johanna’s gravestone in Riverside Cemetery