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Jackson, MS Tornado, Mar 1966

Jackson MISS tornado track.JPG


JACKSON, Miss. (UPI) -- Police and volunteers began a sweep of devastated areas of central Mississippi at first light today in a search for more victims of tornadoes that killed at least 58 persons and injured 450 others in Mississippi and Alabama.

Authorities feared the toll would rise as searchers moved across rural lands where many farmhouses were flattened by the awesome storms which also spawned flash floods in portions of Alabama and Georgia.

Additional state troopers were dispatched to the Jackson area to aid in the search through a four-county area scarred by a destructive swath some 65 miles long. Other twisters Thursday wreaked damage and killed one man in three Alabama counties.

One twister hit a crowded shopping center in a Jackson residential area, killing at least a dozen persons. A family of six was wiped out when their home at Leesburg was blown apart.

AUTHORITIES feared the toll would go higher as rescue squads sifted through debris under emergency floodlights that gave the Candlestick Park shopping center in Southwest Jackson the appearance of wartime London.

Part of a weather system that also spawned deluges which sent hundreds of persons fleeing from flash floods in Alabama and Georgia, the tornadoes struck their most devastating blows in the Jackson area.

Roaring "like an express train," a twister plowed into the Candlestick Park teeming with late afternoon shoppers and left a rubble of mangled bodies and twisted steel.

"I've been in Korea and the shopping center looked as if it had been hit by a bomb," said KENNETH FAIRLY, city editor of the Greenville (Miss.) Delta Democrat-Times. "There was only one building left that even looked like a building."

A little girl ran from one of the wrecked houses as Mayor ALLEN THOMSON inspected the damage. "Where's my mommy and daddy?" she cried, and fainted at THOPMPSON'S feet.

Rescue workers uncovered six bodies in neighboring Flowood, and 20 more victims were reported at the Parkville-Leesburg-Walnut Grove area about 30 miles northeast of Jackson. A family of six was killed at Leesburg.

"Candlestick Is Flattened"

JACKSON, Miss. (UPI) -- The sharp metallic voice on the police cruiser's radio blurted out the message.
"Candlestick is flattened' get us some help down here."

Detective JAMES BLACK was driving, his partner JOHN MOULDER was riding shotgun.

"Let's go," BLACK said. He slammed down the accelerator. MOULDER worked the siren. We headed southwest.

During the brief six-mile ride, the police radio told the story.

EDITOR'S NOTE: KEN FAIRLY, this paper's city editor, was on assignment in Jackson when the twister struck. By chance, he happened to be among the first newsmen to witness one of the state's greatest tragedies.

From the squad car on the scene: "Get the rescue unit, get somebody down here to help these people."

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Hurricane Camille

I was 10 years old and home alone. The radio was saying a tornado was going down streets and destroying every other home. My brother had gone to candlestick park to play slot cars at the indoor track there, something happened and he got out of harms way. I met a CPA in Tulsa whose dad was an elementary teacher that's car was picked up and thrown down killing him.

Candlestick 1966

March 3rd 1966 was a terrible day for a lot of us. I was in the 5th Grade at Oak Forest, The basketball team had traveled to Forest Hill to play a game, that would be cancelled. Our coach Mr Louis Mosley was dropping all of us at our homes around the area. I was the last one to be dropped off that day and within mins, the storm hit and he lost his life. We had just passed Candlestick Park about 8 mins before the storm hit. Yes it was a bad day for a lot of us, but worse for some.

Candlestick Park Tornado

My grandfather Theodore Gaetz Sr. was the druggist at Southwest Pharmacy. Sadly he was killed in the tornado. I was 12 years old when the phone call came to us the night of March 3rd 1966. I plan on being at Candlestick Park on March 3, 2016 at 4:33 CST to remember Grandpa Gaetz and all the vistims.

Randy Gaetz

Family on Siwell Road

Wow. when i see your response. It brings tears to my eyes. I am the baby that was in the mud. Yes , I have heard the story from my grandparents, who have passed now ,about your family finding us. About my mom being put on a door. She was badly injured .

I woiuld love to get in touch and just talk for a little while. My daughter is documenting the story from folks who have memories.

Please email me at

A BIG Thank you to your family. I believe they saved my life and my mom's !


I think members of my family might have been the first ones to your family after the tornado. My older sister and my dad (both now deceased) along with others were the first to help a family that lived on Siwel Rd. at the end of McCluer Rd. I know it was a woman and a small child. They used a door as a stretcher for the woman. Her husband had just arrived and was looking for their baby. My dad spotted the child covered with mud. My sister held the child as they drove them to the hospital.

My husband survived this

My husband survived this storm, as did his sister & brother. They lived outside Morton on Deason Rd. His parents and infant baby brother were killed. I see his father's name on the list but not his mother or brother. Mother - Lena Mae Kincaid, brother Milton Kincaid, approximately 6 months old. We were there this weekend for a funeral and were talking about it. One cousin remembers seeing the tornado coming across one of the fields and it had two tails.


I was 10 years old when this happened. We had just moved from Woodell Drive in Jackson to Houston Texas 5 months before this happened. A beloved teacher at our school, Mr. Mosely was killed. My brothers and sisters and myself spent summers at Oak Forest Elementary day camp with Mr. Mosely. It was horrible hearing stories from family friends still there what it was like.

Candlestick Tornado

I was a senior at Murrah High School and working as the stock boy at Morgan & Lindsey dime store in Morgan Center (now Woodland Hills). I was taking some trash out that afternoon when I saw the tornado from the loading dock at the back of the store. The base of it was huge and looked to me like it was just South of Murrah, but turned out it was crossing the Pearl River down by Hwy 80. I could see large chunks of debris swirling and bright flashes from power line arcing. I ran to get my boss to come see it but by the time we got back to the door rain was pouring so hard we could barely see the parking lot. The tornado had sucked the mighty Pearl dry and dumped it on us. We could see a few fish flopping in the street and swimming in the gutters! I had been planning to go slot car racing at the hobby store in Candlestick after work and am very happy the twisted didn’t strike an hour later.

You can list them here.

Just list the corrections here. Many times the names aren't spelled correctly in the newspaper articles.

Name Corrections

I have a few names that need to be corrected in this article. How would I go about this or who would I need to contact.

Thanks you!

article | by Dr. Radut