It was April, a month noted for bringing severe weather to Arkansas, and this one didn’t disappoint. An F5 tornado ripped through Jackson, Lawrence and Sharp counties leaving death and destruction in its wake. Many houses were turned into kindling, many people did not survive and the landscape was changed as was the look of many structures that were left standing but were stripped of their original look and changed into something less imposing.
My grandmother and my mom both spoke of how dark it got in the early part of the afternoon, so dark the chickens went confusedly to roost in the middle of the afternoon. The clouds had a threatening look and the air seemed to hang heavy as a portent of what was coming.
Eula Winchester, I think she was a Weir before she married, was blown away during this tornado and a splintered board was driven through her thigh and pinned her to the ground until she was found several hours later. She said splinters worked out of her flesh for years. She showed me the frightful scar on her thigh and told of the horror of waiting for help. While talking with me she admitted she still became nervous when severe weather threatened and it had been thirty years since the tornado.
So many lives changed by the weather. But also many pieces of property changed. The house I grew up in, the house we lived in for so many years it became “The Hinshaw House,” was one of the pieces of property changed forever. This is what the house looked like before the tornado came through town.
After the tornado, the lovely railings around the porches were gone and the gable you see at the back on the right side was torn off. When the house was repaired, that gable end was extended to make the rooms larger. Inside the house you can see where the new joins the old because the wood in the floors of the new section do not run the same direction as the old section. Much of the grace and Southern charm of this ediface was lost when the porch railings were not replaced, but the house was a wonderful place for our family to grow up and all of us have super fond memories of our childhood there.
This is the house as it currently looks.
The tornado that changed it all was April 10, 1929.