The Sea Island Hurricane of 1893: A List of Links and Materials

BDC New Logo_Blue   BayStreet1893 (Bay Street, after the hurricane of 1893; Courtesy of Beaufort County Library)

The Hurricane of 1893 was the most devastating natural disaster to ever befall Beaufort District, SC. This list of selective materials and links was compiled by Grace Morris Cordial, MLS, SL, CA, Beaufort District Collection Manager. The Beaufort District Collection is the special local history collection and archives unit of the Beaufort County Library (SC), “Where Local History Finds Safe Harbor.”

Latest update: 23 January 2017 (Originally posted: 27 September 2012)  Published Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License;  Version 4

 Online Resources:

The Beaufort County Library posted a digital copy of the rare booklet, The Storm Swept Coast of South Carolina by Mrs. R. C. Mather (1894) through our partnership with the Lowcountry Digital Library.

Storm of 1893 Death List is a compilation of the names of 294 people whose deaths were attributed to the Great Sea Island Storm of 1893 in Beaufort County Coroner’s Inquisition Records.  The inquests were held over a period of three days, August 28 – August 30, 1893.  Not all bodies are identified.  Due to the nature of this natural disaster, an unspecified number of people were swept out to sea.  Thus, this list is only a partial list of the Beaufort County casualties of the hurricane.

Beaufort Hurricane of 1893 Photograph Collection features 20 photographs that record the damage caused by the hurricane that swept through Beaufort County on August 27th, 1893. Images captured include wrecked and stranded ships and steamers, including the “City of Savannah,” damaged buildings and wharves and a debris covered Bay Street.  This collection was posted online through our partnership with the Lowcountry Digital Library.

Read about the effect of the “Sea Island Hurricane” in Georgia at

See the entire path of the “Sea Island Hurricane” at

For the wind speed on any day from its formation (September 25) off the coast of the Cape Verde Islands to its decline (October 15) in Canada, see

“The Sea Island Hurricane of 1893: Economic History,” by Betty Joyce Nash, Region Focus, Winter 2006, pp. 45-47.  On online PDF of this article is found at

For excerpts from sources used to inform the article, see

For the ranking of the Five most Deadly Storms see

“The Sea Island Storm” is still considered the 5thmost deadly. “1893  Sea Islands Hurricane” page on the “Hurricanes: Science and Society” website

School teachers will appreciate the lesson plan for 8th graders studying South Carolina’s history entitled “Winds of Change: The Hurricane of 1893?” found at  The article is also a part of

“Sea Island Sufferers” begins at p. 43.  Governor Tillman asks the SC General Assembly to grant the State Comptroller- General the authority to suspend collection of state taxes in the hard hit counties of Beaufort, Colleton, Berkeley and Georgetown during his Annual Address delivered in November 1893.

For the effects of the “Sea Island Hurricane” in Pennsylvania, read the online version of an “Old Troy Register Describes 1893 Hurricane,” a newspaper article Troy Gazette-Register, Troy, PA; Thursday, Sept. 22, 1983; page 12 at

An interview with Bill and Fran Marscher by Joyce Dixon about their book Living in the Danger Zone (2001) is found at

For information about the impact of the “Sea Island Hurricane” in the Charleston area, read 1893 (August 27) Cyclone from the Preservation Society of Charleston.

“A History of Hurricanes in New York, including the day in 1893 that Hog Island disappeared for good” is available online at

“NOAA Revisits Historic Hurricanes” is available at

Online text of Joel Chandler Harris’ article on relief efforts for Scribners Magazine February 1894 is available at

The text of the historic marker erected at Penn Center to commemorate the “Great Sea Island Storm” is found at

To learn more about the 1893 storm from the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, go to pages 36 – 51 of the PDF of Storm Tides in Twelve Tropical Cyclones (including Four Intense New England Hurricanes) by Brian R. Jarvinen for Section 7: The Sea Island Hurricane of 1893.  The PDF is found online at

Janson, J. M. (2012).  Mad Ruins of the Wind: The Story of the 1893 Sea Island Hurricane (Unpublished master’s thesis). Savannah College of Art and Design. Retrieved January 20, 2017, from (Download pdf from

For related materials about local relief efforts, also consult the bibliographies on:

Clara Barton

Rachel Mather

Robert Smalls

You can check out these materials from Beaufort County Library:

975.799 ROW V. 3 The History of Beaufort County, South Carolina: Volume 3: Bridging the Sea Islands’ Past and Present, 1893-2006 by Lawrence S. Rowland and Stephen R. Wise, Chapter 1: “The Great Sea Island Hurricane of 1893 and Its Aftermath,” pp. 1- 18.

551.5 MAR  The Great Sea Island Storm of 1893 by Bill and Fran Marscher (BDC, BLU, HHI, STH)

551.5 MAR  Living in the Danger Zone: Realities about Hurricanes by Bill and Fran Marscher (BDC, BEA, BLU, HHI)

551.55257 FRA  Lowcountry Hurricanes: Three Centuries of Storms at Sea and Ashore by Walter J. Fraser, Jr. (ALL)

551.55257 RUB  Hurricane Destruction in South Carolina: Hell and High Water  by Tom Rubillo (ALL)

975.799 GAT  Gathering Voices: Living Off the Land  by Beaufort Middle School, Eighth Grade Humanities Class, 2005. (BDC, BEA, BLU, HHI)

Come to the Beaufort District Collection to see these items:

B Barton  A Story of the Red Cross by Clara Barton (BDC only)

SC 551.5 HAM  Storm Center by Elizabeth Verner Hamilton (BDC and HHI)

SC 551.55 JOR  A History of Storms on the South Carolina Coast by Laylon Wayne Jordan (BDC, HHI)

SC 551.552 HAR  The Sea Island Hurricanes (reprint from Scribners Magazine, February 1894) by Joel Chandler Harris (AKA “Uncle Remus”). (BDC only) Online text of Joel Chandler Harris’ article for Scribners Magazine, February 1894

SC 551.552 LAN  The Hurricane of August 28, 1893 by Remer Y. Lane. (BDC, HHI)

SC 551.552 MAT  The Storm Swept Coast of South Carolina by Mrs. R. C. Mather (BDC only)

Hurricane — 1893 vertical file

Print 20: “Relief work among South Carolina Sea-Islanders” from Harper’s Weekly, [1894]

Diary, Frederik Holmes Christensen, vol. 1, 1893.

Diary, Susan Hazel Rice, 1893 has her entries regarding the storm and the drowning of her brother, Dr. William Gowan Hazel during the storm.

Penn School Papers, 1862-1976 [Microfilm] includes witness statements about the storm.

We have placed digital copies of photographs of the destruction caused by the Hurricane of 1893 in the Town of Beaufort in the Lowcountry Digital Library.  The physical photographs are quite fragile so we limit handling of these precious artifacts.


BDC = Beaufort District Collection
BEA = Beaufort Branch Library
BLU = Bluffton Branch Library
HHI = Hilton Head Branch Library
LOB = Lobeco Branch Library
STH = St. Helena Branch Library

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s