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Mementos, trash from Louisville fall in Caledonia after tornado


Keith Knight, of Caledonia, displays a check with a Louisville address dated 1974 along with other debris he recovered in his lawn following Monday’s storms.

Keith Knight, of Caledonia, displays a check with a Louisville address dated 1974 along with other debris he recovered in his lawn following Monday’s storms. Photo by: Mary Alice Weeks/Dispatch Staff


William Browning



Ripped and weathered scraps of paper and photographs from Louisville -- tiny reminders of the hurt and destruction a tornado caused there -- fell from the sky into Caledonia yards Monday. 


Charles Culpepper was in his Dale Road yard, watching the approaching storm Monday evening, when he noticed debris swirling in the air. There were leaves, but not from trees near his property, and then a small piece of paper landed. 


It was an advertising insert, the kind found in newspapers, for a Winston County business. Culpepper scratched his head for a moment. Then, he said, he realized "that's from the tornado out of Louisville." 


Caledonia, a Lowndes County town of about 1,000 people, sits northeast of Louisville. The towns are about 70 miles apart as debris flies.  


The tornado entered the Louisville area a little after 4 p.m. Monday with winds that reached 185 mph, cutting a brutal path across Winston County, according to  


Not far from Culpepper's place, Keith and Judy Knight were huddled with their extended family in their Lawrence Ridge Road home. Things never got too bad in Caledonia and the Knights eventually went to bed. 


On Tuesday morning Knight walked his two-acre yard finding dozens of odd pieces of trash. A piece of Styrofoam. Some aluminum wrap. Some insulation. Sheet rock. A paper that appeared to be some sort of medical record. All that could have come from anywhere. 


On Wednesday, though, Knight found in his front yard, near his driveway, a Bank of Louisville check written on April 2, 1974. It was for $1,120.25 and made out to the Gulf Oil Corporation. It was from a Louisville-based business owned by a man named George E. Jarvis and signed by his wife, Frances. 


"It might have come out of someone's attic," Judy Knight said. 


Later, Keith Knight discovered a high school graduation portrait in his backyard. It shows an unidentified smiling young man dressed in khakis and Polo shirt. It is from the year 2000. 


Knight also found a ripped piece of a USPS -stamped envelope laying in his yard. It was addressed to a home at 1140 Hopkins Rd. in Noxapater, a small town in south Winston County. 


Over on Old Wolfe Road, Angela Toms also found a torn photograph in her yard Tuesday morning. It shows an older, unidentified woman in a Sunday dress and white shoes, standing in what appears to be a back yard, smiling at the camera. Toms is convinced it is from Louisville. 


"We would love to return it to the owner if we could find her," Toms said. 


Across the road in front of the Knight's home is an open, large and uncut field. 


"That field is probably full of stuff," Knight said while looking at it Wednesday afternoon. 


At press time, the death toll in Louisville was at nine.


William Browning was managing editor for The Dispatch until June 2016.



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