Galveston Storm – The Great Storm Of 1900
On September 8, 1900 a hurricane hit Galveston, Texas. Also known as the “Great Storm of 1900,” killed an estimated 8,000 to 12,000 people. The dead bodies were burned for a week. It is not the deadliest from the size of the hurricane, but because technology back then wasn’t great and everyone discarded the forecast. The only way of knowing this major storm was coming was because traders on boats and ships warned people. Warnings came from Galveston, Cuba, Florida, and along the Coast of Mississippi and Louisiana.
If there was the Hurricane Scale back then, the hurricane would have been named Saffir-Simpson. The wind picked up to 150 to 200 miles per hour! It destroyed more than 3,600 buildings and it costed 20 million dollars to repair, but it was never the major port it was once called. The worst hurricane that can happen is a hurricane five. This one was a four. The only way to known there was a storm coming was from the traders that came through.
The day started with clear skies. On the SouthEast Coast of Texas, Saint Mary’s Orphanage was warned that they should come inland. The ten Catholic Nuns decided to stay with their ninety children, both boys and girls, and risk their lives. The wind started to pick up, and clouds formed turning the sky gray. Sister Elizabeth Ryan went into town to gather food for the children. While there, many begged her to stay until after the storm had passed. She declined their offer saying, “If I do not go back, the children won’t have any supper.” She came back to see that the all the boys moved to the girls dormitory, for it was the newest and most stable. The Nuns got a long rope and tied each other together with about eight children between each nun. They sang “Queen of the Waves” to comfort the kids. One nun hugged two kids telling them she won’t let the go. Their foundation wasn’t stable. The building collapsed over everyone and only three boys made it out alive: William Murney, Frank Madera, and Albert Campbell. All three were found in a tree hanging on. After cleaning up Galveston, they found the dead nun and two kids still wrapped in her arms. She had kept her word, hugging them even through death. The three survivors of the orphanage stayed close for a while. Then, they split paths and tried to make a family of their own.
“We knew there was a storm coming, but had no idea that it was as bad as it was.” (William Mason Bristol) This sentence shows that almost all people thought it would be a light rain that would go over with no harm. When time came and everyone figured out it was worse than it seemed, it was already too late. There was no way to evacuate. “We left our house about 4 o’clock thinking we would be safer in a larger house, not dreaming that even that house would be washed away.” The sea walls weren’t able to stop the deadliest storm, it went eight feet over it. Anyone who thought they were safe then, has opposite feelings now. This event is important to Texas History because it brought Texans more together. Even though it was a very devastating event, everyone pulled together to help rebuild Galveston. Many people all over US came to help out. It made news title for about 3 to 4 weeks. It may have taken months to clean up, and even more to rebuild, but whenever Texans and others join together as one big team, we can get things done.
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