Storm of 1893 Death List

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Compiled by Grace Morris Cordial, MLS, SL, CA, Historical Resources Coordinator, Beaufort County Library.          (Originally posted: 31 October 2012; Latest update: 16 July 2015.)

The purpose of the Beaufort District Collection is to acquire, preserve, maintain and share a research collection of permanent value about the history, Gullah culture, natural history, archaeology and genealogy of Beaufort District’s long and storied past. Our collection focuses on the people, places, issues and themes relevant to Beaufort County, Hampton County, and Jasper County history, 10,000 BCE to the mid-1960s. The Great Sea Island Hurricane devastated the coastal islands of South Carolina, killing thousands, and destroying the economic base of the area for years to come.

Today the story of the “Tide of Death,” the Great Sea Island Hurricane of 1893, is largely unknown outside our region. Nevertheless, it still ranks in most registers as the fifth most deadly hurricane in US history. It remains the biggest natural disaster in Beaufort County history.

Erected by the Beaufort County Historical Society in 2008 at Penn Center

Erected by the Beaufort County Historical Society in 2008 at Penn Center

When the storm came ashore it hit a radically different Beaufort County than the one we live in in 2015. The county was geographically larger, much less populated, and over 90% black. The sounds were very busy with maritime trade. The major source of employment was phosphate mining.

Shepard-Phosphate Map (Beaufort District Collection)

Shepard-Phosphate Map (Beaufort District Collection)

Indeed 60% of the phosphate produced in the United States came from South Carolina and half of that was mined in Beaufort County as this map from the Beaufort District Collection indicates.

(Beaufort District Collection)

(Beaufort District Collection)

Black Sea Islanders made up the bulk of the labor force. They earned good wages for the time, that is, $1 – $2 a day. The bare bones history of the storm is captured in an historical marker put up at Penn Center in 2008 by the Beaufort County Historical Society: 12 ft tidal surge, 120 mph winds, a dead count of 2000 or more, and up to 70,000 people left destitute in Georgia and South Carolina. Unfortunately few records survive from which we can identify the names of those who perished.

Below is the list of names of 294 people whose deaths were attributed to the Great Sea Island Storm of 1893 in Beaufort County Coroner’s Inquisition Records housed in the Beaufort District Collection.  The inquests were held over a period of three days, August 28 – August 30, 1893. Not all bodies could be 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.

Given the population of Beaufort County at the time, the vast majority of the dead were African-Americans. Three people are known to have died in the town of Beaufort: Thomas Ozier and his wife, Kate, an African-American couple; and Mrs. Thomas Talbird, a pregnant white woman.

(Beaufort District Collection)

Debris behind houses  (Beaufort District Collection)

Only three white people are known to have died as a direct result of the storm according to an article in the Charleston News and Courier (Charleston, SC) published on 2 September 1893:  Dr. William Gowan Hazel, who drowned on Parris Island trying to save two black boys; Mrs. Thomas Talbird, “the only white lady who lost her life, was actually frightened to death by the fury of the storm Sunday night;” and, Martin Hand, an engineer on the Kennedy dredge boat.

You are welcomed to come to the Beaufort District Collection Research Room to read through the Coroner’s accounts.  However, prepare yourself to a difficult task: 1) The Coroner’s accounts are on microfilm; 2) The script is often faint and hard to decipher; and, 3) The depth of personal human tragedy in the accounts is hard to absorb. For current hours of operation and library addresses consult the Library system’s webpage http://www.beaufortcountylibrary.org/content/hours-locations

Scribner's Magazine, February 1894

Scribner’s Magazine, February 1894

Adkins, Frank
Adkins, Henry
Adkins, Lucinda
Adkins, Phoebe
Adkins, Willie
Allison, Julia
Alston, Eallah
Alston, Thaddeus
Baily, Ben
Barns, Thomas
Barnwell, John
Barnwell, Lucy
Beaton, Stephen
Bennefield, Aunt
Bennefield, Elizabeth
Bennefield, Richard
Bennefield, Susan
Bennett, Canealia
Blake, Richard
Blake, Samuel
Blake, Sarah
Blake, William
Bolen, Caroline
Bonner, Eliza
Bowman, Sarah
Bradley, Joseph
Bradley, Thomas
Brisbane, Jane
Brisbane, Philip
Brooks, Cato
Brown, Carnelia
Brown, Clara
Brown, Comsee
Brown, Franklyn
Brown, Hannah
Brown, Jacob
Brown, Jane
Brown, Janie
Brown, Lizzie
Brown, Lucy
Brown, Mariah
Brown, Mattie
Brown, Rebecca
Brown, Rose
Brown, Unknown child of Walley – 1
Brown, Unknown child of Walley – 2
Brown, Unknown child of Walley – 3
Brown, Unknown child of Walley – 4
Brown, Unnamed child of Walter
Bryant, Maria
Campbell, Abram
Cane, Amelia
Cane, E.
Cane, Sallie
Capers, Dan
Capers, Lydia
Capers, Renty
Cochran, Isaih
Cochran, Peggie
Comerhan, Emeline
Daine, Minty
Dawson, Daniel
Dawson, Henry
Dawson, Joe
Dawson, Maryanne
Drayton, Hagar
Drayton, Unnamed child of Joe – 1
Drayton, Unnamed child of Joe – 2
Drayton, Unnamed child of Joe – 3
Drayton, Unnamed child of Joe – 4
Drayton, Unnamed child of Joe – 5
Drayton, Unnamed child of Joe – 6
Drayton, Unnamed child of Joe – 7
Drayton, Unnamed wife of Joe
Ferguson, Nancy
Ficklyn, Roland
Fulton, Stephney
Gadsden, Alice
Gadsden, Arthur
Gadsden, B.
Gadsden, Ritter
Gadsden, Thomas
Gadsden, William
Gardner, Judy
Generch, Ben
Gillison, Clarance
Gooding, Lizzie
Gooding, Mariah
Green, Abraham
Green, Adam
Green, Alexander
Green, Amanda
Green, Archie
Green, Benjamin
Green, Daniel
Green, Diana
Green, Harrison
Green, John
Green, Josephine
Green, Lucy
Green, Maria
Green, Maria
Green, Maria
Green, Mattie
Green, Melvin
Green, Missey
Green, Noble, Jr.
Green, Rebecca
Green, Rosa
Green, Rose
Green, Sara
Green, Scipio
Green, Tyrah
Green, Unnamed child
Green, Victoria
Green, Willie
Green,William
Habersham, Ben.
Haines, Betty
Haines, Daphny
Haines, Julia
Haines, Richard
Harris, Kate
Hazel, William Gowen
Heyward, Rose
Heyward, Unnamed child of Scipio – 1
Heyward, Unnamed child of Scipio – 2
Heyward, Unnamed child of Scipio – 3
Heyward, Unnamed child of Scipio – 4
Hoctor, Cora
Holmes, Unnamed child of Isaac
Hunt, Abbie
Hunt, Phoebe
Jackson, Edw[ard]
Jackson, Richard
Jacobs, S.
Jenkins, Flora
Jenkins, Rebecca
Jenkins, Sam
Jenkins, Wm
Johnson, Oliver
Johnson, Unnamed child of Peggy – 1
Johnson, Unnamed child of Peggy – 2
Johnson, Unnamed child of Peggy – 3
Johnson, Unnamed child of Peggy – 4
Jones, Maria
Laury, Fanny
Lloyd, Charlotte
Lloyd, Unnamed child
Magiah, Sarah
Main, Rosa
Main, Sarah
Main, Unnamed child of Rosa
Major, Pigeon
Major, Tyrah
Manigo, Henry
Maxwell, Philis
McKnight, George
McKnight, Ida
McKnight, Jim
McKnight, Nancy
McKnight, Susan J.
Middleton, Carolina C.
Middleton, Catharine
Middleton, Daniel
Middleton, Emma
Middleton, Jane
Middleton, Jessie
Middleton, Lena
Middleton, Maria
Middleton, William
Miller, Betty
Mitchell, Sam
Myers, Cudjo
Myers, Lewginia
Norman, Margaret
Oblige, John
Obliger, Abbie
Obliger, Emma
Obliger, Richard
Ozier, Kate
Ozier, Thomas
Parker, Affie
Parker, May
Perry, C.
Perry, Lucinda
Perry, Mikey
Perry, Nancy
Perry, Sid
Perry, Sookie
Perry, Unknown child of Sookie – 1
Perry, Unknown child of Sookie – 2
Perry, Unknown child of Sookie – 3
Perry, Unknown child of Sookie – 4
Perry, Unknown child of Sookie – 5
Perry, Unknown child of Sookie – 6
Polite, Unnamed child of Monday – 1
Polite, Unnamed child of Monday – 2
Polite, Unnamed child of Monday – 3
Polite, Unnamed child of Monday – 4
Polite, Unnamed child of Rose – 1
Polite, Unnamed child of Rose – 2
Polite, Unnamed child of Rose – 3
Polite, Unnamed child of Rose – 4
Pritchard, Minta
Pursell, William
Reed, George
Reynolds, Joe
Riley, Thomas
Rivers, Lottie
Robinson, Abram
Robinson, Lucy
Rolland, Grace
Rutledge, Tina
Scott, Lucinda
Scott, Rose
Scott, Roxy
Scott, Samuel
Seabrook, Dinah
Seabrook, Unknown
Seabrook, Unnamed child of Dinah
Simmons, Emeline
Simmons, John Jr.
Simmons, John Sr.
Simmons, Lisbun
Simmons, Mary
Simmons, Rachel
Simmons, Thomas
Simpkins, Abbie
Simpkins, April
Simpkins, Emeline
Simpkins, Lousia
Simpkins, Maggie
Simpkins, Sarah
Singleton, Flora
Singleton, Jacob
Singleton, Mariah
Singleton, Prince
Singleton, Will
Smalls, Molly
Smalls, Nero
Snipe, Rose
Stash, Montie
Toy, Ned
Unknown (Body)
Unknown (Body)
Unknown (Body)
Unknown (Body)
Unknown (Body)
Unknown (Body)
Unknown (boy)
Unknown (child)
Unknown (child) with Th. Barnes
Unknown (Man)
Unknown (Man)
Unknown (Man)
Unknown (Woman)
Unknown (Woman)
Unknown Child
Wallace, Eddie
Wallace, Jane
Wallace, Minty
Wallace, Monday
Wallace, Neptune
Washington, Abby
Washington, Berry
Washington, Bristor
Washington, Bristor Jr.
Washington, Captain
Washington, Collin
Washington, Emily
Washington, Frederick
Washington, James
Washington, Johnas
Washington, Josephine
Washington, Mary
Washington, Mary
Washington, Missy
Washington, Sarah
Washington, Thomas
Washington, Unknown child of Monday – 1
Washington, Unknown child of Monday – 2
Washington, Unknown child of Monday – 3
Washington, Unknown child of Monday – 4
Washington, Unknown child of Monday – 5
Washington, Unknown child of Monday – 6
Washington, Unknown child of Monday – 7
Washington, Warren
Watson, Henry
Watson, Middleton
White, James
Williams, Amy
Williams, Benjamin
Wilson, Nancy

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