Yes, you are correct... Ted was my great uncle. While visiting my uncle in Sallisaw, we went to the paper and I transcribed what I could of the newspaper article about the tornado that killed them. As a side note, their one daughter who survived is alive and well and living in Ft. Smith. She tells a fascinating story of the tornado.
Here is the article:
Sequoyah County Times - Friday, January 25, 1957
GANS TORNADO LEAVES EIGHT DEAD, 11 INJURED
Twister is sixth one to wreck area; wind strikes at dawn, while most residents are asleep.
B U L L E T I N
Funeral services for four members of the Ted Jenkins family, victims of Tuesday morning's tornado that hit Gans, will be conducted at 2:30pm Saturday in the Whooler Funeral Chapel, Sallisaw.
The victims, Ted, 55, his wife, Norma, 49, their daughter, Bonnie Lou, age 14, and their son, Darrell Glen Jenkins, age 8, will be buried together in the Sallisaw City cemetery.
Surviving relatives include one son, Sammy McCann of Fort Smith, Ark; two daughters, Helen and Lorace Jenkins of Gab??; two grandchildren; Mrs. Jenkins' sister, Mrs. Vivian Harris of Hermosa Beach, CA; Mr. Jenkins brother, McKinley Jenkins of Claremore; and his three sisters, Mrs. Vina Hoyle of Tulsa, Mrs. Lena McCann of Empire, CA, and Mrs. Dan Christinberry of Sallisaw.
Twister... continued from page 1
"The Lights Went Out"
The storm that struck in Gans a few minutes after 6 am leveled the Jenkins and Meeks homes and damaged heavily another dozen houses in the town of 500 population. It hit the town after destroying three homes about a mile southwest of Gans, which is located about nine miles southeast of Sallisaw.
Probably the closest to being an eye witness of any portion of the tragedy was Ernest Henry, who lives across the road from the Jenkins home. He was the first man on the scene after the twister smashed the Jenkins home and two neighboring homes.
"I was up getting ready to milk when I heard what sounded like a freight train" Henry recalled. "The lights went out and I rushed to the door where I could see the Jenkins home had been hit."
Henry rushed across the road and was joined by his brother-in-law, Bradley Dyer, who lives next door to Henry. They found the bodies of the Jenkins couple and their three children widely scattered about the area.
Girl Found Screaming
Nothing, not even a foundation remained of the house. Indicating the strength of the storm, the crushed remains of the Jenkins refrigerator were found in a ditch more than a quarter-mile up the road.
Henry found the parents and two children dead. The other daughter, Helen, was lying screaming about 200 yards from the house. She was taken to Gans in a car. The Jenkins home was the first in a line of three leveled in that area. Next in line was the home of the Bryan Tinney family, and the third house to go was that of Bill Davis and his mother.
Henry reported Tinney had heard the roar of the tornado and had rushed his wife and two teenage daughters into a storm cellar next to the house just seconds before their home was splintered into kindling.