April 13 tornado leaves 1965 note on porch 90 miles away


CROSS - When Sherrie Sedgwick woke up to news of a tornado on the morning of April 13, she walked outside to make sure her home in Cross, near Lake Moultrie, hadn't sustained any damage.

She was in luck. All was well.

But on her porch she found a 55-year-old note from a place not as lucky: The county where the tornadoes were most deadly.

"I stepped out on the front porch and looked down, and there was that little receipt facedown," she said. "It wasn't torn. It wasn't crumpled. It was perfect. The first thing I saw was Bank of Hampton County."

Hampton County, nearly 100 miles to the south, lost five residents in the storms on April 13. A tornado flattened several homes and scattered families' possessions up and down their streets.

When the storm came through and spared Sedgwick's home, it dropped a bank note from Hampton County Bank.

The issuer made out the check to the Nixville Baptist Church on April 11, 1965 - Palm Sunday.

"I had goosebumps," she said.

Aside from the note, there was no sign of the storm in Sedgwick's yard. Not even a fallen tree limb.

The bank note, likely left in an old desk or packed away absentmindedly, took on much more significance to Sedgwick.

"I was a little sad about everything that has been happening, and I was feeling a little bit doubtful spiritually," she said of Easter week. "When I picked that little piece of paper, I thought 'there's your sign, that's what you wanted.'"

"It was like God was saying, 'I'll take care of you through the storms in life,'" she added.

She posted a photo of the note on Facebook, and the post has been shared nearly 1,000 times. Even members of the Nixville Baptist Church have found the post and vowed to find its owner.

The church, which is still active in Hampton County, is one of two places accepting donations for survivors of the tornado.

Sedgwick said when she finds out who originally wrote the bank note, she wants to return it.

"I'm not sure it's home yet," she said.


Tornado debris longevity has long puzzled storm survivors and researchers.

In 2011, an Athens, Alabama, woman started the Facebook page titled "Pictures and Documents found after the April 27, 2011 Tornadoes," after she found several photos in her yard. She made the Facebook group in hopes someone would recognize a person in the photos and reconnect them with their mementos, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

University of Georgia Professor John Knox used the Facebook group as a starting point for a study that examined 934 pieces of tornado debris and how far they traveled, the Times Free Press reported.

The record journey from the study belongs to a photo that traveled from Phil Campbell, Alabama, to Lenoir City, Tennessee, during a tornado - 219 miles.

"The debris can't talk," Knox told the Times Free Press. "But the people on either end of the debris' journey can."