On Sunday, April 22, 1883, an outbreak of tornadoes spread across central and southern Mississippi and into Georgia by evening. In southern Georgia, the towns of Albany, Preston, and Eastman all had casualties. The Dahlonega Signal on April 27th contained an account of a storm that moved across northwestern Lumpkin County in North Georgia. The article was reprinted in Andrew W. Cain’s History of Lumpkin County (pp. 340-1), published in 1932. In language typical of the era, every storm was described as the worst or the most terrible ever seen; and there is always something about a child or an object being blown hundreds of yards away and surviving unharmed.
A TERRIBLE STORM
The most terrible hail-storm and cyclone that ever visited this section of the state, passed through the north-western portion of this county on last Sunday evening. We are informed by persons living in and near the scene of the disaster, that the timber is literally all blown down in a strip half a mile wide. Isaac Woody had some of the logs blown out of his house and his family landed under the floor. John Hood’s house was demolished, and his family narrowly escaped destruction. Ephraim Lee, who was drawn on the jury, had left home and come part of the way to town, so as to be on hand early Monday morning. His house was set on fire (probably by lightning) and destroyed; he had reached town before the news reached him, and he was excused by the court and went home. Erwin Smith’s house was blown away and his infant child, with the bed on which it lay, was carried about a quarter of a mile from home and when found was comfortably covered up in the bed, fast asleep, with a log across each end of the bed. The child was entirely unharmed. Esquire John Woody says that at his house there were plenty of hail stones as large as goose eggs, while W. C. Walker says that large blocks of ice the size of a man’s hand, fell at his house. The severest part of the storm was in an uninhabited part of the section near the foot of the Blue Ridge, hence the damage to life and property was comparatively light.