The Great Tri-state Tornado
Widely considered the most devastating and powerful
tornado in American history, the Great Tri-State Tornado ripped through Missouri,
Illinois, and Indiana on March 18, 1925. In its 219-mile-long wake it left
four completely destroyed towns, and 2,000 injured.
As a result, 540 people died in southern Illinois in the following towns: Gorham (37), Murphysboro (234), DeSoto (69), and West Frankfort (148). In addition, 52 people died on farms and small settlements in southern Illinois.
The counties of Jackson, Franklin, Hamilton,
and White were affected within southern Illinois. The tornado developed during
an afternoon thunderstorm near Ellington.