A catastrophic weather event
March 21, 1932—This was the date of the greatest catastrophe ever to hit Alabama: 268 people lost their lives on that day, and close to 2,000 were injured.
In addition to all the other areas hit, a tornado cut a path of destruction 20 miles long across Cullman County. Twenty-three were killed in this county, and 300 were injured.
Just as is the case today, catastrophic storms bring out the best but also the worst in people. With regard to the worst, National Guardsmen were needed to stop looting. Hartselle’s Guard unit had been superbly trained for such occasions by their previous captain (1926-1931), F. E. Burleson. So, they were an ideal choice to go south to Cullman.
March 26, 1932—Hartselle Guardsmen are in Cullman to stop looting. Their headquarters is in the Cullman County courthouse.
Gov. Benjamin Miller is scheduled to visit the Tennessee Valley next week. The Red Cross has the primary responsibility for dispensing relief, but more funds are needed in Red Cross coffers, according to officials in the areas hardest hit by yesterday’s tornadoes.
Some damage was done near the Burleson homeplace, but other parts of Morgan County were struck more severely.
The Guardsmen in Cullman are under the command of Capt. F. E. Burleson. Persons caught looting by the Burleson troops will be severely dealt with.
Today, the federal government has the primary responsibility for identifying and assisting disaster areas.
Aug. 10, 1932—Officers and men of the 127th Engineering Squadron, Alabama National Guard, Hartselle, demonstrated excellent marksmanship in this year’s outdoor target practice. Capt. F. E. Burleson qualified as a sharpshooter. His brother, 1st Sgt. Joe W. Burleson, qualified as a marksman. Another brother of F. E. and Joe W. Burleson, Pfc. Spencer A. Burleson, also qualified as a marksman.
Sept. 7, 1932—There seemed to be practically nothing Gen. Burleson couldn’t do and do well. In the month following the marksmanship competition, he was leading Hartselle in baseball playoff action against Decatur in the Bee Line League.
Even though his team wasn’t successful, he was the man to watch. For Hartselle, Gen was identified as the “big gun” of such attacks as the team was able to wage against Decatur (which won the game 8-3).
Burleson had the highest batting average, a spectacular .524.
The fans did a great job of sportsmanship. Frequently the Hartselle folks cheered Decatur players for sparkling plays, and Decatur folks did likewise when some Hartselle lad took the heights in either offensive or defensive play.
Jan. 5, 1933—The county chairman for the campaign the dry forces of Morgan County plan to wage in support of continuing the 18th (Prohibition) Amendment will be Prof. F. E. Burleson. The drys will contact every voter and ask him or her to sign a petition in favor of keeping Prohibition.
May 28, 1933—Five-tool player Gen Burleson is the new treasurer of the Alabama-Tennessee baseball league. Hartselle replaces Florence, which no longer has a field to play on. Huntsville will meet Hartselle in Decatur Tuesday afternoon in the first game following their move up from the Bee Line League.
Sept. 9, 1933—F. E. Burleson, identified in the press as “the superintendent of Hartselle schools,” introduced Morgan County Probate Judge Baynard L. Malone at a rally held at the Strand Theatre downtown this morning. Judge Malone is currently a candidate for the U.S. House from the Tennessee Valley district.
In his introduction Prof. Burleson said Judge Malone was “the most energetic man I ever saw running for office.”
(Malone lost, and A. H. Carmichael was elected to two two-year terms. He was succeeded by John Sparkman, who served in the U.S. House until he moved up to the Senate in 1946.)
May 2, 1934—Prof. F. E. Burleson will go back to the Alabama House. This was the decision of voters today in the Democratic Primary (tantamount to election). Burleson defeated Dr. T. B. Brindley by a convincing vote of 3,479-2,862.
The Hartselle educator will once again be working with Alabama’s “education governor,” Bibb Graves, who was endorsed for a second term as the state’s chief executive.
(At this time governors could not serve consecutive terms.)