|Death:||Died in Mobeetie, Wheeler, Texas, United States|
|Cause of death:||Died of injuries from a cyclone|
|Managed by:||Maria Edmonds-Zediker, Volunteer Curator|
About James M. Exum
Judge James M Exum was born in Maury County Tennessee, had a country school education and was elected as a democrat to the office of county chairman in Madison County, Tennessee, an office similar to that of county judge in Texas. He was a Methodist and a Master Mason, was a man of many excellent social characteristics but never sought the distinctions of public life. He brought his family to Texas in 1875, locating on a ranch on Sims Creek in Lampasas County. From there he moved to Mobeetie in the Panhandle and was killed there by a cyclone in 1898, at the age of sixty nine. Judge Exum married Miss Drusilla Ann Jones, who now resides at Amarillo. She was born in 1842 in West Tennessee. Her mother was a Garland of the Tennessee and Arkansas families of that name and one of whom was United States Attorney General Garland. The children of Judge and Mrs Exum were; Frank; Sallie Lee who married RB Masterson and at her death left two sons; Anna Eliza who became the second wife of RB Masterson and is now living at Amarillo; Louella who died at Miami, Texas, the wife of LD Miller; Flora who married JM Shelton of Amarillo; Hugh Edgar; manager of the Shelton and Trigg Ranch, the old XIT Ranch at Channing Texas.
The following article detailing the Mobeetie Cyclone was copied as it was printed. Contributed by FAG member Sue Lilley. Original photocopy work by Jeff Jackson.
THE LAMPASAS LEADER FRIDAY, MAY 13, 1898
THE MOBEETIE CYCLONE
Several of Our Former Citizens Wounded and One Killed.
The town of Mobeetie, in Wheeler county, was almost totally destroyed by a cyclone on the morning of the 1st. Four persons were killed outright and three fatally and fifteen painfully injured. Among the killed was a baby of Ben Masterson, who formerly lived here, and Mr. J.M. Exum, who came to Lampasas in April, 1877, from Madison county, Tennessee, and resided here until 1889, when he removed with his family to the Panhandle. Mrs. Exum was seriously if not fatally injured, as was also Mrs. Martha Anderson, who lived for several years out on Sim's creek. Mrs. Anderson is a sister of Mr. Masterson and an aunt of Dr. J.W. Hamilton and Mesdames H.N. Key and J.H. McCaleb, of Lampasas. Mr. Exum was the father-in-law of Mr. Masterson.
Mr. Key, seeing a brief account of the catastrophe in the Dallas News, wrote Mr. Masterson for particulars and received the following letter in reply:
MOBEETIE, Texas, May 6, 1898. Mrs. H.N. Key, Lampasas, Texas: DEAR HARRY-In reply to your favor received yesterday, will say that we are dreadfully torn up here by a cyclone that struck the town center on the southwest at 2 o'clock Sunday morning and cut a swathe 800 yards wide through it to the northeast, leaving nothing standing in its track but stone foundations to mark where once stood happy homes. My house, with those of Mack's and Mr. Exum's, were swept away. The body of my house was constructed of adobe, the falling walls of which killed my baby boy six weeks old. My wife had left the bed but a moment before, followed by Mrs. Anderson, who was spending the night with her, to remove our little girls from an adjoining room to the family room for safety. They had not reached the children when the top of the house was taken away and the walls blown down. Anna received many bruises, but collected herself enough to remove the adobes and timbers, with the assistance of our little girl, Fanny Fern, from off of Martha and Sallie, after which she led and dragged them to the nearest house left standing, some 200 years away.
Ben and Tom were in the house. Tom escaped uninjured, but Ben was badly hurt in the back and has ribs broken.
Anna Belle was spending the night with her grandparents, and got badly hurt.
Mr. Exum died on the 3rd instant from injuries received. Mrs. Exum is improving some, and may recover.
Martha's wounds consist of frightful cuts on the scalp. She is clear of fever this evening, and the doctor thinks out of danger except from blood poison, which is improbable, as her health has been unusually good this winter.
Mack's family escaped serious injury. Ben and Anna Belle are improving, and we hope will be out of bed in a few days.
I was at Miami, some 18 miles from Mobeetie, when word from home reached me at sunup next morning. In an hour I was on the scene. May God spare me from ever witnessing another one like it. On every hand were relatives and friends half clad in the night clothes, all smeared with blood and mud, some dead, others dying, while those but slightly injured were suffering from wet and cold.
There was but one doctor in town, and the drug store was blown away, so there was but small relief to be given to the suffering town. By noon, however, other doctors with medicine had arrived,and by nightfall all the wounded had been cared for.
We hope there will be no more deaths from the great calamity, but Mobeetie and her people will bear marks in evidence of it for many, many days.
With love to all, I am you friend, R. B. MASTERSON.
The people of Lampasas tender their warmest condolence to the afflicted ones of this horrible catastrophe.