"The Cyclone of Rye Cove"

Rye Cove main page | song & audio | newspaper clippings

On May 2, 1929, an unusually violent storm struck the little community of Rye Cove, located in the mountains of Scott County.

During the storm the local two-story schoolhouse, with over 150 children and teachers inside, was struck directly by a tornado. The building was completely leveled, and the debris caught fire from an overturned stove. Thirteen were killed. The dozens of injured were rushed by special train to the hospital in Bristol.

A. P. Carter--leader of the famous country music group, the Carter Family, and a prolific songwriter--was in the next valley on the day of the storm. He rushed to Rye Cove to help with the rescue efforts. Carter was touched by the horror of what he saw and soon composed "The Cyclone of Rye Cove." The Carter Family recorded the song that same year for RCA Victor. "The Cyclone of Rye Cove" easily became a part of the musical traditions of Southwest Virginia.

Rye Cove main page | song & audio | newspaper clippings

Deathly Lyrics:
Songs of Virginia Tragedies


Audio Credits


Breeding Mill

Caty Sage


Dewey Lee


Freeda Bolt

Great Kanawha

Kent Steffie

Mollie Tynes

Old 97

Poor Goins

Roanoke Riot

Rye Cove

Talt Hall

Vance Song

Wreck of the 1256