You never know what treasures may lurk in your father-in-law's old filing cabinet. Such is the case for Glenda Payne Mills from Sikeston, Mo., who came across some stunning photographs of downtown Poplar Bluff
showing the devastation of the 1927 tornado. She writes:
"My father-in-law was Orville R Payne. He lived in Sikeston the biggest part of his life. He moved to Louisiana several years back. Then when he was getting sick enough to die, he came to stay with Ray (my deceased husband) and myself. When he died the family went to Louisiana to retreive his belongings. He had a body shop down there. When they brought the things up here there was an old filing cabinet. When we went through it, we found these pictures. My brother-in-law said his dad had told him he found them at a dump in Louisiana. We found them on May 31, 2004, a year before my husband of 39 years had died. I love genealogy. I just began transcribing for the Missouri Archives and they gave me your web site because they don't handle that kind of stuff. They handle court records from the past. The recognition really belongs to Orville Lee Payne for submitting them. It was his father's and he asked me to do it. Since I married someone else and my last name isn't Payne anymore, I believe he deserves the credit. In some of the census his family was in Butler County and His great great grandfather got married there....Thomas Miles Payne..Thanks for the opportunity to contribute. "
Writing on back of the photos indicates they were the work of two photo studios: Spangler's Studio Poplar Bluff, MO and W.H. Kennedy Photographer Poplar Bluff, MO.
We would like to thank Glenda for scanning these photos and emailing them to us! They are a valuable addition to our photo collection. (Click the image below to open a photo gallery in a new window. Click the photo's upper right corner to advance. Click the bottom right of the last photo to close the window.)
At 3:17 pm on Monday, May 9, 1927, a devastating tornado struck Poplar Bluff, Missouri, the Butler County seat. Much of the downtown area including the county courthouse was destroyed and as many as 98 people were killed, making it one of the deadliest tornadoes on record.
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