The McKinney Examiner. (McKinney, Tex.), Vol. 27, No. 10, Ed. 1 Thursday, January 30, 1913 Page: 1 of 8
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OFFICE OF PUBLICATION OPPOSITE COUNTY JAIL.
Vol. 27, No. 10
McKINNEY, TEXAS, THURSDAY, JAN. 30, 1913.
$1.00 Per Year
McKinney Shrouded in Sorrow
COLLAPSE OF BIG DEPARTMENT STORE CRUSHES MEN, WOMEN
AND CHILDREN—EIGHT DEAD-MANY INJURED.
The Great Building Crumbles Instantly
Victims, Absolutely Without Warning Have No Time to Escape—Fire Breaks Out, Adding to Horrible Scene.
Sobs of Anguish Stricken Women and Children Heard While Hundreds of
Men Work Frantically to Rescue Them.
Property Loss Estimated at One Hundred Thousand Dollars
BY H. L. MARRIXER
in Dallas News
McKINNEY, TEXAS. Jan. 23.—The most appalling
tragedy in the history of this city or county was enacted
this afternoon in the collapse of two of the city's largest
brick buildings, both filled with customers at the time.
Until the ruins, which caught fire, are completely
cleared from the fatal spot, the exact loss of life can not
be ascertained, but it is believed tonight the death list will
pwtV t number of. bodies bay? b^"1' h'lcw f™i
^"""""the ruins and no others are thought to be in the wreckage.
The list of injured is thirteen.
STOP RESCUE WORK AT 11 O'CLOCK
At 11 o'clock tonight rescue work was stopped by City
Marshal J. S. McKinney, after a conference with the
Mayor and workers. It was decided that all bodies had
been removed and efforts to find more were suspended for
the night. , ..
"I believe that all bodies are now out, said the flavor
at 11 o'clock. "For a while it looked as though we would
had been tenderly removed by 300 workers and the forms
of thirteen injured persons carried to the four hospitals of
the city or to private homes after emergency medical atten-
The collapsed stores were the three-story Odd Fellows
building, occupied by the dry goods store of Cheeves Bros.,
crowded with women and children attending a white goods
sale at the time, and the adjoiningtwo-story implement store
of T. J. Tingle.
find fifteen or twenty more bodies, but we are greatly
relieved at finding many have escaped from the building and
been reported safe.
''The tragedy is bad enough in all conscience, but the
citizenship of McKinney is gratified to know that it was not
so bad as it looked at first. This has been the greatest
disaster in the history of the county, and there are many
sad hearts, not only here, but all over the State. I
"I in >• j saw such work in my Jife. I did not think
iwnfaLuyj >, nnl-i i-frmtivo no f -^Vuavt-o.. ti K. IBOTTI STORES-* WEI
[ "The proffers of assistance from all over the Sttme
have been fully appreciated and go to show that when thcae 1 he dry goods store stood on the northeast corner of
real trouble there are real people to offer real help." < l)U')"e srll,art' the other adjoining. 1 he collapse of a
TTTHvmRFrm TAT WORK wa" the il,1Pleinent ,lou«e threw its weight of
implements against the corner building, and with a noise
The entire city and all this section of the State was that jarred the town to its foundations both sank into ruins,
shocked to a point that was almost stupefaction. Recover- The collapse of the two buildings took place exactly at
ing, willing hands by the hundreds tore apart the smoking 3 :40 o'clock. A sale of white goods was on in the great
bricks of the fallen buildings, hurling aside smoke-black-| three-story department store, and men, women and children
ened and water-soaked timbers, and four hours after the,thronged its counters. The implement store adjoinin
collapse the mangled and crushed bodies of eight persons | doing a thriving business.
FIRE ADDS TO HORROR;
RUINS BECOME A CRATER.
The streets were thronged with citi-
zens and people in town for theii
trading. Suddenly those in the build-
ings heard a groaning as of timbers
in distress. A harsh cracking follow-
ed and clerks and customers alike
broke for safety of the streets.
Pressed outward by the weight of the
heavy implements of the stock, the
wall of the implement store swayed,
sagged, and burst through into the
department store, and in an instant
hundreds of tons of merchandise and
wrecked and shattered building ma-
terial roared into a tremendous heap
of debris on the site of the ruined de-
partment store, piling thirty-five feet
in the air and settling in a cloud of
dust that rose like a pall above the
buried bodies, while jagged timbers
thrust ugly heads from the mass.
After a moment of stunned amaze-
ment, of paralyzed inactivity, hun-
dreds of willing workers pitched into
the ruins. Scarcely had they mount-
ed the heap when tongues of flame
burst through it and an alarm of fire
added to the confusion. From all ov-
er the city came workers, hundreds ot
.them, and as they came they were
formed into relays by Mayor Finch
and those assisting him. As one shift
became exhausted another took its
place, and from a mound of debris
the smoking, steaming ruins became
a crater, bricks were hurled aside,
timbers torn out and cast into the
streets and mangled and crushed
\ forms were tenderly lifted from the
twisted mass of wreckage and hurried
to various hospitals in waiting wag-
ons. The dead were carried to the
\ undertaking establishment and the
work continued with feverish energy.
R. N. Presley was brought out alive,
but died from his burns. While un-
der the wreckage he told rescuers
that Leslie Bush was under the ruins,
as he had just been waiting on him.
The body of Bush was taken out ot
the ruins about 9:30 o'clock. Mr.
Bush, who was about 55 years old,
was one of the most, prominent men
in Collin county. He was a large land
owner, and the brother of Walter
Bush, the banker, of Greenville.
Electric Light# are Placed.
Ab darkness fell strings of electric
lights were strung across ft he ruins
and, lighting up the gruesome spec-
tacle, showed to the experienced eyes,
such as those of Mayor Finch, that
little or no hope could be intertained
of finding living beings ieneath so
grim and stern a mass. 1
On one side rose a hea of brick
and debris thrown aw scratched
aside by the workers, /n the other
hung in the glare of tlx lights the
ruined floors of the im/ement build-
ing, literally dropping vAlcles and im-
plements into the sodd' scene below.
Hales of dry goods pS suspended I
from torn rafters, a? before this
scene stood on eithe side of the j
ruined corner a crow 'hat numbered
thousands, standing™ everything
possible, and watchit the fury of la-
bor that they achedJ j°'n-
McKinney is a ci whose people
are not like those many, and in
McKinney relative 9:ick together
more closelv than Bewhere. A num-
ber of old and s>d families have
their homes here1'! from McKinney
these families na seat scions to all
parts of the Sta
News S^8 Quickly.
The news ofhe disaster spreads
like wildfire, ablatives and friends
of those eithfin 'he buildings, or
supposed to p t ly be in the build-
ings. soon be' arriving on every
train. The tPhone anc* telegraph
n-irpc wprp li&lly swamped and con-
gested A f'al train was run in
from Green1' with 400 People from
that citv piersviiie and Princeton,
and special"-8 were run on the in-
Everv d^r 'n "le county volun-
teered 'hie®r,r'ce3' an(! offers of
every sor?d description poured in.
Finding t'ca' help plem-.ul, mauy
doctor* ,red w'th 'heir hands at
tearing i® ,he wreckage.
The s' was one of a sort t0 bring
i lie s' ,, c
bad dre1' Greasy and tramped by
thousair' ^eet' ru'ned fancy goods
from tonce well-equipped store—
slimv t 1'ipes strung by the weary
^re " iers stretched across the
streere ev" serpent3, and buried
themjb under the dripping and
shatt/ planking—shouting work-
erg >uetted against the light, tore
plajJ>ricks and rubbish aside and
cast)™ far away with warning
cr|Jid, filling the square, stood
thJse crowd, some weeping and
Mrs. Marie Emerson Stiff
Miss Rosa Welcli
Miss Katie Milligan
Miss Bessie Wade
Miss Eva Searcy
L. W. [Leslie] Bush
Miss Ann& Curts
Mrs. Hugh Kistler
Mrs. Wick Graves
Mrs. Belle McWilliams
Little Anna Graves Kistler
Miss Lida Moreland
Miss Jennie Barnett
Mrs. Mort Shirley
Miss Lula Searcy
Miss Cassie Seay
Colored Porter, in the store
| anxious; some dry-eyed and curious,
absorbed in watching the ghastly
I work, for it was evident early that
| no life could remain beneath that pile
I of wreckage.
| There were many pitiful scenes—
sobbing fathers, mothers and rela-
j lives stopped every one who might
i know to ask wildly for missing rela-
Many people, some old and gray,
! hung over telephones and sought in-
formation, and from all over North
Texas came wild demands for infor-
mation, specified information, de-
manded by right of anxiety and sufT-
One of Pitiful Scenes.
One of the most pitiful scenes was
that of the attempted rescue of Nor-
man Presley. Presley was a clerk in
the department .store, and was pinned
beneath timbers and fearfully burned.
He met the firemen smilingly and told
them casually that he was suffering
badly and wished he had something
to deaden the pain. He also told
(them that Mr. Bush was beneath the
ruins, as he had been waiting on him
when the crash came. He died from
his burns as he was being removed.
The Kistler family had a remarka-
ble escape or partial escape. The
father, who is a mercnant across the
square from the scene, heard the
crash and looking across saw a dust-
clouded heap of ruins, where he knew
ills wife, his little daughter and his
wife's mother had been shopping. Al-
most crazed, he rushed across, mount-
ed the quivering pile and began tear-
ing away debris and. as if by some
miracle, worked straight into the
heap to where his little daughter lay,
almost unhurt. He carried the sob-
bing child, kissing her wildly, to rel-
J atives on the other side of the street,
and returned for feverish search for
the others, and found that they had
both been brought out.
^Property Lots Estimates.
j The collapsed building was ail old
J timer. Ii was rebuilt after a fire in
1874 and had another story, nn'klirr it
three stories, twenty-five years later
It is variously estimated that the
property loss will he from $75,000 t>
LEAVE FOR SCENE OF ACCIDENT.
Dallaa People Who Have Relatives
and Friend* There, Anxious.
Dr. John T. Watson and son, Claude
E. Watson, went to McKinney on the
t> o'clock car to assist, if they might,
in aid to the injured and to find it any
relatives were in the wreckage. Dr.
Watson telephoned at !) o'clock that
.Miss Ruth Stiff of Temple, his niece,
who had been visiting in Dallas at the
Watson home and had gone to McRin
r.ey to visit the Sterling Coffey family,
but was away when the fall came.
DESCRIBED BY DALLAS MAN.
S. C. Banks, Who Was in McKinney,
Tells of Scenes Following
S. 0. Banks of 3400 Cole avenue,
Dallas, a traveling salesman, was In
McKinney yesterday afternoon and
remained there for more than an hour
after the collapse of the buildings. He
"Not more than five minutes before
the tragedy I passed by the Missis-
sippi Store, on the northeast corner
ot the public square, on Tennessee
and Virginia streets. I had walked. In
no great hurry, to the southeast cor-
ner of the square, on Tennessee and
Louisiana streets, when I heard a
great rumble, and looked around in
time to see the wreckage still falling
I hurried to the place, as hundreds of
others did, and we could hear the
groans of those Imprisoned. Marshal
Johnny McKinney organized a relief
corps promptly and put the men to
work, and when I left the city at 5:10
o'clock, an hour and forty minutes
after the fall of the structures, eight
had been rescued from the building,
injured more or less severely, and
about the same number had been tak-
en out dead. Moth the three-story
Odd Fellows' Building at the corner
and the two-story house on the square
adjoining, collapsed. It was thirty
minutes before any were removed.
' The two-story house was occupiel
b> a buggy and Implement concern.
The three-story had the first, two
floors used by the Mississippi Store,
Cheeves liros., proprietors; the third
s'.ory by the Odd Fellows. I was in-
formed that there had been no Int'-
matlon of any weakness to the build-
"A little after the fall a fire brok-
en t In the wreckage fmm a heatln>
stove In the store. There was gor
water pressure and the firemen tj
the blaze under control prom /
(Continued on 4th page.)
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Thompson, Clint; Thompson, F. C. & Sneed, J. H. The McKinney Examiner. (McKinney, Tex.), Vol. 27, No. 10, Ed. 1 Thursday, January 30, 1913, newspaper, January 30, 1913; McKinney, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth192234/m1/1/: accessed December 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Collin County Genealogical Society.