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Disasters in Hancock County

Yellow Fever


In the New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal, 1851 July by A.P. Merrill, it was mentioned that an epidemic occurred, not named, but believed to be Yellow Fever.

Postmaster Joseph Evariste SaucierJoseph Evariste Saucier, Postmaster of Bay St. Louis, shows how mail was struck with a wooden paddle set with nails after which it was shaken in a box of sulphur dust and presumed free of the Yellow Fever germ.



His first case at the Bay of St. Louis occurred on July 15, 1853, the second on the 17th.

The first was a resident of New Orleans, the second had just arrived from Nicaragua. Both were taken on board of the steamboat from New Orleans on their passage across the Lake. These were the first cases occurring at the Bay of St. Louis. Previous to this time intermittents prevailed generally.

The Doctor returned to town (presumably New Orleans), and cannot say if the disease spread from these cases. Dr. Picton thinks the disease communicable from one person to another, wherever the epidemic influence prevails; thinks the disease was imported this year. The weather at the Bay of St. Louis was warm during the day and rather cool at night during the latter part of August and first of September. Westerly winds prevailed during the month of July and first of August. Noticed much formation of mould during the summer.

Has never seen a second case of Yellow Fever occurring in the same individual. Thinks the intemperate are more liable, and the attack more likely to be fatal. Thinks the epidemic ceased from want of subjects. Has seen two cases of recovery from black vomit--one was a young lady of fourteen; the other a Negro of twelve years of age. Always observed a peculiar odor in Yellow Fever patients. First noticed this in 1847.

"Report of the Sanitary Commission of New Orleans on the Epidemic Yellow Fever of 1853" (1854) p. 64-65


Mail was treated with sulfur bath. (BSL 100 yrs.p 15)

At Bay St. Louis one death occurred on August 18, 1878 (Daily Picayune Sep 1, 1878 - JMS VII 00025)

Rev. A. B. Nicholson, writing from Pearlington October 23, 1878 says, "Yellow fever has been in this town ever since the first of August. It has visited this place several times, but has never been an epidemic, in the common acceptation of that word, though it proved fatal in nearly every case, so it has this year. No new cases at this date. Business of all kinds has stopped; church matters suspended; Sunday-school stopped; our flock scattered - some have crossed the last river, mostly young people. Logtown, two miles above here, a small place of not more than two hundred inhabitants has been awfully scourged by the fever, in fact I question whether any place in the South has suffered more than Logtown, according to its population. While the entire population has been prostrated; the death rate very heavy. In that community we had a new and beautiful church, a respectable congregation, Sunday-school and Missionary Society; but alas, how sad to-day. Our steward there Bro. Robert Carrie, a noble Christian gentleman, was among the first to fall victim to the disease, and none left to take his place. The fatality has been in the main among the young people. Gainesville is eight miles above Logtown. When I was there last but two cases were reported. The white population is almost gone. We quarantined, but too late; the fever was in our midst before we began the work. We have a yellow fever doctor with us doing a good work Nurses have been sent by the Howards. Our local physician, Dr. Mead, though born and educated in the north met the monster face to face, with a moral heroism that entitles him to a great praise. We have today cold north wind."

From the Christian Advocate, New Orleans, October 26, 1878 (PC&C p 38)


Yellow Fever report of Oct 30, 1897First reported cases of Yellow Fever in Bay St. Louis confirmed on October 17 by Drs. Harolson and Gant.
In The Medical News of October 30, 1897, the Office of the Supervising Surgeon-General of the United States Marine Hospital Service reports 7 cases in Bay Saint Louis, of which one resulted in death, and 2 cases in Waveland for the period of October 17-19. For the period of October 23-28 the numbers had risen to 33 cases and 3 deaths. For the period of October 29-November 5 there were 42 cases and 2 deaths reported. (Click the thumb to enlarge.)


The British steamship "STRATHENDRICK" went into Ship Island Quarantine July 21, 1911 from St. Lucia. The vessel went to New York and is to load at Gulfport for Rotterdam. On account of the cholera in New York, Passed Assistant Sergeon Burkhalter may detain the ship, which has a Chinese crew, some time. Dr. C.A. Sheeley, acting Assistant Surgeon at Gulfport, stated that Swinburne island and not New York was affected, and in his opinion the vessel would enter after proper fumigation. (VF MJS 00319)


1879, "The largest hotel in town was burned to the ground seven years ago" L & N RR publication 1886. (What hotel?)
1881, Burned the L & N bridge.
1893, Burned the L & N bridge.
1894, February. Burned 506 South Beach and many others.

The Sea Coast Echo wrote:

Olivari, Mr. L., whose general merchandise store was formerly known as "SPOTORNO & CO.", furnished the first food for one of the most disastrous conflagrations in the history of Bay St. Louis at about half past four o'clock this morning, as it was here where the fire was given birth.  The fire created loses that can and never will be correctly estimated, owing to the vastness of the destructive powers of the angry, rushing flames.

The origin is not known, but there is every indication to believe it the work of an incendiary.  Fanned by the strong wind the fire had soon gained considerable headway and it was plainly evidenced that the entire front square was doomed.  An alarm was soon turned in and the fire department and our citizens were prompt to respond and to battle the flames.  It was a hard struggle, but after repeated efforts all was consumed that was in the doomed path, the fire was controlled. Assistance from New Orleans was telegraphed for and two engines from that city were on the way to the Bay but were sent back when the fire was controlled.  Mr. MatFahey is deserving of much praise and credit for his kindness and thoughtfulness in sending his bridge gang to the scene.  This assistance was very valuable.

This fire has left more than one penniless and homeless, and the president of St. Stanislaus college is out this morning with a subscription list for the benefit of the unfortunate.  The list is headed by the college with one hundred dollars cash.  The following is a list of the properties totally destroyed:

  • L. Olivari, one frame store, and warehouse buildings and two cottages.  Valued at $35,000;  well insured.
  • Quintini, August, one cottage and small shop building occupied by an oyster dealer and owned by August Quintini, valued at about $2,000; insurance not known.
  • Keller, August, two frame one story dwellings, valued at $10,000; well insured.
  • "Mulberry Cottage", owned by Charles Sanger and valued at $3,000; insured.
  • Guerra, R., barber shop, residence and one two-story from building, valued at $5,000; no insurance.
  • Huber, Mrs., one frame building valued at $1,000; no insurance.
  • Monti, Mr., building valued at $2,000; not known if covered by insurance.
  • Keller, August, store with contents valued at $15,000;  insured for one-third of value.
  • Menez, Mrs., three single frame cottages valued at $3,00; no insurance.
  • Bosetto, Mrs., two single frame cottages valued at $25,000; no insurance.
  • Belleme, Mrs., two frame cottages valued at $2,000; no insurance.
  • Yenni, W.H., one story frame building, occupied as a residence and shoe store and valued at $2,000; insured for about half.

THE ECHO, owing to the lateness of the fire as we go to press, is unable to go into more details and to correctly state the total loss, but it is safe to say that, including the above list of properties with stock of the stores, household effects, out-houses & etc., that $150,000 will not cover the damages wrought by the largest fire ever witnessed in Bay St. Louis. (SCE Feb. 17, 1894)

1927, September 4, Burned Main to A & G. Theatre
1907, November 16, 5 AM.  Burned or damaged
Ruins of 'Our Lady of the Gulf' after the fire of November 16, 1907Ruins of "Our Lady of the Gulf"
after the fire of November 16, 1907
  • Opera House (immediately south of Merchants Bank)
  • Clifton Hotel
  • Clifton House Annex (Pavillion, east side of Front St).
  • studio of Charles Butler
  • Res and Bus of A. Weinberg
  • St. Joseph Academy,
  • Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church.
  • Catholic Rectory,
  • Planchet building occupied by King’s Daughters Library.
  • H.S. DeGillum Store
  • Thomas Reed Drug Store
  • Office of Dr. Turner
  • Three buildings owned by Mrs. Planchet
  • Miss Josie Walch’s News Stand (east side of Front St).
  • A fruit Stand (east side of Front St). owner?
  • J. W, Watts’ Machine Shop
  • Thos. W. Evans Drug Store (east side of Front St).

The Echo account of the above fire of Nov 16, 1907 read:

Every building was burned between Union St and the L & N Railroad except the W. J. Gex home and Merchants Bank. It was noted that the fire was first seen by a baker who reported it to the telephone company who called Mr. Osoniach. While he tried to fight the fire his brother attempted to sound the bells at OLG but the rope normally left on the outside of the tower for such use was not there. There was a light breeze from the north. The opera building, which was completed about 1 year ago at a cost of approximately $15,000.

  • Clifton House
  • Studio of Charles A. Butler
  • Res and Bus of A. Weinberg
  • St. Joseph’s
  • Our Lady of the Gulf
  • Res of Ref Father Prendergast & Husser
  • Planchet Building occupied on 1st floor by Kosminsky & Layman, dry goods and on the 2nd floor by Cumberland Telephone Co. as central exchange.
  • Planchet Residence
  • Planchet building occupied by
  • Kings Daughters Public Library
  • Beach Side of Front Street
  • Planchet buildings (3) occupied by
  • Store of H. S. DeGillum
  • Thomas Reed Drug Store
  • Dr. R. J. Turner’s office
  • Newsstand of Miss Josie Welch
  • J. W. Watts Machine Shop
  • Thomas Evans Drug Store building owned by Elisabeth Feahny.

(No mention was made of Osoinach’s store of beach side but the Bay Mercantile operation in the Opera House building was listed as the site of the origin of the fire.  (Gulfport Daily Record-Tribune among other sources, VF MJS VIII 00271)

From the Gulfport Daily Record-Tribune:

This morning a fire was discovered about 5 o'clock in Osoinach's Theatre (Opera House).  Immediately north of the big Opera House was located the Merchants Bank while in the same yard, a little westward, stood the handsome home of Walter Gex, the well known attorney. Across the street were located Evans Drug Store, an annex to the Clifton House, a fruit stand, and Miss Josie Welch's Book Store.  South of the Opera House extending to the corner of Union Street where the fire was finally brought under control, stretched a number of costly buildings including the Clifton Hotel, St. Joseph's Convent, the Catholic Church, the Planchet Store building, and a number of private dwellings.  The Bay is supplied with very poor fire fighting apparatus and still poorer system of water works.  It was only the wide sweep of open country between the Bank and the Pickwick Hotel that kept the latter from going also.  The Markey House (Crescent Hotel), one of the old landmarks was gone and the Convent building (St. Joseph's), loved and revered by every Bay St. Louisian - also the Church of Our Lady of the Gulf.  Osoinach's Opera House was of recent construction at a cost of $12,000.  It is said to be insured for about $4,000.  The Merchants Bank was completed about six months ago of brick and cost $10,000.  The Convent consisted of several buildings worth in the neighborhood of $18,000 to $20,000.  The Church was a venerable old pile and, together with the rectory, cost about $20.000.
(Gulfport: The Daily Record-Tribune, Sat. Nov. 16, 1907).

From the Sea Coast Echo:

Conflagration originating from unknown causes destroyed a business portion of Bay St. Louis, including St. Joseph's Academy and Church of Our Lady of the Gulf.  Losses will reach $250,000.  The fire originated in the Bay Mercantile Co. building on the ground floor of the Opera House owned by John Osoinach.  Buildings burned and damaged:
   - Opera House
   - Clifton Hotel
   - Studio of Chas. A. Butler
   - Residence and business of A. Weinberg
   - St. Joseph's Academy
   - Church of Our Lady of the Gulf
   - Catholic Rectory
   - Planchet Building occupied by King's Daughters Library H. S. DeGillum Store
   - Thomas Reed Drug Store
   - Dr. Turner's office
   - Three buildings owned by Mrs. Planchet Miss Josie Welch's News Stand
   - J. W. Watts' Machine Shop
   - Thos. W. Evans Drug Store

With this conflagration is wiped away one of the oldest landmarks:  Father Leduc's beautiful Church of Our Lady of the Gulf with its four dialed town clock and the Bells (a gift from Mrs. Schiller), which for all these years sounded the different events - joyous and solemn - as was their office to do.  There was something almost human when the church clock struck 7:30 just as the steeple which encased it crumbled and fell.
(SCE Nov. 16, 1907)

1923, November 1

"at an early hour and from unknown cause", a fire destroyed the A & G Theater, a value conservatively estimated at the time of $2,700.00.
(SCE 4/16/1927)


Hurricane of 1819, July 27-28. Eye passed over BSL

Schooners "FAVORITE" and "THOMAS SHIELDS" sought shelter in the Bay of St. Louis. The 12 gun 150 ton Man-of-war schooner, "FIREBRAND" was anchored between Cat and Ship. After Midnight, the "FIREBRAND" parted her cables and was wrecked on Square Handkerchief Reef. None of her compliment survived. "FAVORITE" was beached at Henderson Point and the "THOMAS SHIELDS" keeled over and went down with five men aboard. J. C. Monet of Sheildsboro reported that the eye passed over BSL late on the night of July 28 at 11 or 12 o’clock with about a 10 minute calm. He said that 3 houses remained standing in P. C. New Orleans had little damage.

Hurricane of 1821, Sep 16, Eye passed over BSL.

Gale winds on Sat morning, Sep 15th. Virtually a repeat of the storm of 1819. The packet "WASHINGTON" loaded with passengers for Mobile broke her anchorage off P. C. and all aboard perished. No hurricanes struck the Gulf Coast for the next 10 years.

Hurricane of 1831, Aug 16-19. West of Grand Isle.

Storm of long duration but winds not as strong as 1821 or 1819.

Hurricane of 1852, Aug 24, 1852. Eye between Pascagoula and Mobile.
Hurricane of 1855, Sep 15-16. Eye passed over BSL

The "CALIFORNIA" anchored off Round Island. The "CREOLE" anchored off Henderson Point until 3 am when she broke her cables, then fled into Bayou Portage until noon. Upon leaving in calm winds she soon discovered that she was in the eye of the hurricane and fled this time into the Jourdan River until Monday morning. For three hours waves broke over the bluffs at Shieldsboro. The main wharf broke up immediately after the "CREOLE" had landed her 20 passengers. Two local women were killed when the wharf collapsed. On Monday when the "CALIFORNIA" returned, John Martin’s mule carts were used to take passengers out far enough into the water that the small boats from the "CALIFORNIA" could receive them by lantern light. (Brown’s and Pardat"s wharves, protected by Deer Island, were the only two to survive between BSL and Pascagoula)

Hurricane of 1860, Aug 10-12. Between Biloxi and Pascagoula.
Hurricane of 1860, Sep 14-15. Eye passed over BSL

The storm hit Shieldsboro full force by 2 am Sat and twelve hours later the eye passed over. Not one of the town’s 97 wharves remained. 300 cattle drowned on Cat Island.

Hurricane of 1860, Oct 2nd. Tue. Smaller storm, centering more toward New Orleans.
Hurricane of 1860 - 1893 - 33 years with no major storms.

(1870 was the beginning of the railroad and consequently the beginning of the decline in boat traffic)

1891, Feb 7.

There have been no mails to this place since Saturday, February 6, 1881. The New M. E. (Methodist Episcopal) Church, about half completed, was blown down on Sunday morning February 7. (From the N. O. Picayune, Wed. Feb. 9, 1881 - PC&C p 39)


A huge waterspout was seen on Wednesday evening between Cat Island and Pass Marion light house. It was viewed by many of our people (SCE 8/6/1892)

1892, Sept. 03

On Sunday evening at about 6:30 o’clock a terrific wind and rain storm swept over the land and water at a rate noted for its velocity. The rain fell in a deluge, said a visiting writer; the electrical flashes were varied in character exceedingly brilliant and constant for an hour, while the thunderous concussions shook the land until the houses trembled.

The storm had more force in the direction of Waveland where a rare phenomenon preceded the torrential downpour. A dense black cloud rolled up from the south, out of which came a huge finger-like projection of greyish smoke color. Gradually cloud and appendage grew more funnel shaped, and on the waters directly beneath a patch of torn and twist-cloud appeared. It was a water spout in process of formation.

Driven by the strong wind and currents, high above, this threatening cloud and whirlwind rapidly approached the land, and just as the clouds above and below united, Mr. Lanaux’s pierhead was reached, the roof and benches on which were swept away as if they were just a childs toy. The whole body of highly charged vapor then swept over the shore line, striking a big oak tree that broke up the whirlwind, when the projecting cloud drew up into the main body. The force of wind and water, however, with the lightning did considerable damage.

Several summer houses, wharves, trees, fences, etc. were completely carried away. We are informed that a house was completely blown away. (SCE 9/03/1892)

Hurricane of 1893, Oct 1-2 - (Sun & Mon) Mouth of Miss, thence Pascagoula.
  • Not a wharf left standing.
  • 7500 ft of L & N bridge swept away.
  • Planchet cottage occupied by Dr. W. E. Walker wrecked.
  • Dr. Turner’s office adjoining Dr. Walkers damaged.
  • P. O. Building wrecked. Louis Piernas, postmaster.
  • Combell Hardware building severly damaged.
  • Dr. Roemer’s office was a complete wreck.
  • Geo. Muller Meat Market was washed out of existance.
  • Chas G. Maoreau building and the Echo had a close call.
  • L. Spotorno warehouse flooded.
  • F. Delcuze’s home was injured to the extent of $500.
  • Fort Nicholson grounds suffered
  • Dr. Von Gohren grounds damaged. Trees fell against house.
  • G. W. Dunbar’s had heavy loss. Cannery almost in ruins.

(From the Daily Picayune 6 Oct 1893 pg. 6)


Not since the storm of 1860, when the old iron light ship was blown and wrecked a half mile from the front of this city, thirty-three years ago, has such destructive high tide and storm visited this city and the entire Mississippi Gulf coast as that of Monday morning when the entire coast was threatened with total destruction.

Between 12 and 1 o’clock Sunday the blue Italian-like skies suddenly assumed an inky hue in the east, followed by an incessant rain. Night soon came on and the weather continued. By the time the moon was due, the tide rapidly rose and soon the bosom of our peaceful bay was a rolling and hissing sea accompanied with a violent wind, howling from the north-east. Louder and stronger blew the wind and the rain fell in torrents.

About 5 o’clock Monday morning the wind and water were at their highest. The water washed over the railroad bridge and on parts of the front road. By this time bath houses, wharves and boats were dashed ashore to one heap of debris. Stout-hearted men, women and children were frantic like, and the front was lined with people, who had relatives on water, wringing their hands with all hopes shattered.

A short while longer with increasing wind and rising tide meant total destruction to the entire front, but fortunately, the wind suddenly ceased and the tide gradually receded. At 8 o’clock the storm was no more.

To floating property the storm played its heavy forces to its fullest extent, and at this writing it cannot be accurately ascertained as to the number of boats wrecked and lives lost. If we are to estimate the number of lives lost only off the coast of Mississippi according to the best of information from rumors it would be correct to figure over one hundred. The unfortunate are strewn upon the beach of Cat Island. Whatever rumors may be afloat, it is certain and safe to say that a good number of lives were lost. Schooner owners, crews and boats from Bay St. Louis and vicinity are missing, and there is no saying what fate has been met with.

Local pleasure boats were totally lost and badly damaged. The famous old "FLYING DUTCHMAN" was completely wrecked. Messrs. Telhiard, Miltenberg, Coburn and Pere’s boats are entirely put to splinters; loss, $350. All skiffs before the storm are now with the storm - the past.

Of two hundred and fifty bath houses and wharves (closely estimated) only two bath houses remain. The loss is a heavy one and can just be covered by seventy-five thousand dollars. The total lack of bath houses and wharves gives a pretty water view, but the scene is heavily tinged with somberness and makes one feel as if worldly charm were no more.

The railroad between this city and Henderson Point is no more save the iron draw bridge and a small portion of the Bay end. This is an extremely heavy loss, and men who should know say it would be very risky of being wrong if they were to make a glance estimate. This bridge was overhauled last winter at a cost of forty thousand dollars.

Messrs. Reid, G. Planchet, the college, Judge E. Miltenberger, Mrs. Annie Allen, the proprietress of the Bay St. Louis Hotel; Mr. F. Jordy, Mrs. A. Gragnon, Messrs. Lanaux are the heaviest losers of the damages to beach banks.

Street traffic was impossible Monday morning. Front Street was one continous heap of trees and branches that had been blown the night previous. The same evening all was cleared and traffic resumed as usual. Early in the morning the handsome and completely furnished dental office of Dr. W.E. Walker was blown flat to the beach over its foundation, entailing a loss to the Doctor of one thousand dollars. The building was owned by G. Planchet and valued at about three hundred dollars.

The office adjoining Dr. Turner’s was slightly damaged to the extent of being moved about one foot from position. Next to this is the post office. Post master Piernas slept therein Sunday night, and sought safer refuge from threat of the entire office being entirely demolished at 3 a.m. Soon after his leaving the building with all valuables contained therein, the entire front platform collapsed and was washed away. The damage will not exceed fifty dollars. The building is owned by G. Planchet. The mail was all transferred to the office building of Evans’ drug store and at 8 o’clock Monday morning the Postmaster and his assistant were ready for business.

Messrs. G. W. Dunbars’ Sons sustained a loss of several hundred dollars damage to their cannery building on the beach. The factory wharf which alone cost several hundred dollars was completely washed away. The extent of their loss is very wide, and it will require a nice sum of money to fix and strengthen every thing.

The magnificent improved beach property of Mr. Louis Leonhard is no more. His pleasure boats were washed ashore and totally wrecked with the break water construction. Mr. Leonhard’s orchard of pear trees, one of the finest at the Bay, suffered very seriously. Two thousand dollars will hardly cover the loss.

Capt. W. H. Boardman informs us that one thousand dollars will about cover his loss of wharf, boat property and fruit, pecan and shade trees. Property owners in that vicinity nearly all suffered a similar loss.

At about 5 o’clock, when the storm was assuming its most violent form, the Fulton Market building, owned by William Ames and occupied by Sylvester Bros., was washed away with its foundations and scattered over agitated waters. The building has already been rebuilt and is occupied by its former occupants.

The Gulf Coast Market, owned by Mrs. Ruisech and occupied by Geo. Muller, came down at about 5:30 o’clock, with all tools, meat, vegetables, etc. The building was totally swept away.

In the front yard of Mrs. Gragnon, corner Bookter Avenue and Front Street, water from the lake measured three feet, and debris from the wrecks off the water formed a block head over the ravine near by. Dr. Mitchell’s office near by was damaged by a fallen tree.

Had the storm subsisted a few minutes longer the following buildings would have certainly given way and crashed to the angry sea beneath: Store of L. Spotorno, head of Main Street; Dr. Turner’s office, U.S. post office, Piernas’ oyster shop, near and at the head of Union Street; hardward store of J. Combel, near head of Bookter Avenue; ice cream parlors of Maniere Bros., head of Washington Street; The Echo building. This building was made vacant of all its contents and had a close escape from going under. Mr. Spotorno lost twenty-seven bales of hay and his store seriously damaged. He estimates his loss at three hundred dollars. About one hundred dollars will right Mr. Combel’s store. Dr. Rohmer’s office, next to the above mentioned store, toppled backwards but not seriously damaged.

The wires of the Western Union Telegraph Company were down in most parts from the coast to New Orleans, making the situation worse in Bay St. Louis by all communications being totally cut off. Thursday morning at 10 o’clock the N.O. end and this city were up, and Agent J. A. Green was kept very busy at this end of the line.

At the bayou, near the Raney property, the public bridge was washed away. On the beach five large schooners were swept ashore and considerably damaged. The schooner "HENRY WESTON," owned by F. Taconi Sr., lies half buried on the beach near Apothecary Street. It will cost a great deal and take much pains to remove the big boat. On the Jordan river, near the mouth, five schooners were blown ashore, and the homes of inhabitants blown to atoms, blown off foundations and otherwise damaged. Out Main Street and in the interior many are the homes that were damaged, and valuable trees blown away.

Ever since Sunday night, after the southbound mail train went through, railroad traffic has been temporarily suspended, but either today or the beginning of the coming week the tracks from here to the south end will all be in position. Business men from New Orleans who were here from Saturday evening with the intention of remaining until Monday morning were very much disappointed, and in several cases were heavy losers by absence from their businesses, and were all united in denouncing the "old reliable" L.& N. in failing to send relief by water. By the road’s failure to furnish transportation great inconveniences have been suffered by our merchants and business men. The delay of the United States mail is the biggest intercourse with the outside world being blocked.

The first transportation of passengers from here to New Orleans started from here Wednesday morning. It was a working schooner with eighteen passenters, at $6 apiece. With the hope of better facilities offered by the rail road company an immense crowd of anxious-to-get-home people refused to be "schoonered" home. This schooner reached New Orleans on Thursday noon. Thursday morning the Weston Lumber Company’s steamboat "SARAH" reached here direct from New Orleans at 6 o’clock, and at 10 o’clock left the Bay with eighty passengers at $5 apiece.

Messrs. Dougherty and Marti, hands of the draw bridge, experienced a terrible time during the storm. Both men spent the night at the draw, anad when the water reached the draw house and the bridge tore away from both sides, their only refuge was at the top of the draw which fortunately stood unmolested. They were rescued Monday evening.

Wm. McDonald, of Pass Christian, arrived at the Bay Monday morning, and relates a terrible experience in escaping with his life. He was off Henderson’s Point on board his schooner, the "CENTENNIAL," early that morning, and by the rapid increase of the forces of both water and wind he was parted from the boat. Two boards were at hand, and with great presence of mind, he lashed the lumber to his clothing and drifted to the bridge. His boat was wrecked.

At Pass Christian, we have from reliable authority, that the storm was as violent as here and not one bath house walk remains and every bath house, except one, was blown away. On land a few frail sheds, fences were demolished, and almost any number of trees uprooted, causing a loss of about seventy-five thousand dollars. The railroad tracks were seriously damaged.

Outside of Bay St. Louis we understand that the loss of life and property is appalling and devastation exists on all sides, but as yet this news has not been confirmed.

From a Monday’s Picayune we learn that the city of New Orleans is without the least damage. From the same source we further learned that Grand Isle, La., has disappeared beneath water with all buildings and inhabitants. From an eye witness it is learned that Chanadeleur island and the U.S. quarantine station are no more. (SCE 10/07/1893)

STORM OF 10/1/1893 - Waveland people do not intend to rebuild their bath houses with the long rail and expensive wharf. They propose to build their bath houses on the beach. (SCE 10/14/1893)

STORM OF 10/1/1893 - The first train of passengers to arrive over the L. & N. from New Orleans reached here yesterday at 2 o’clock. Passengers were transferred across the bay by railroad ferry boat. (SCE 10/14/1893)

STORM OF 10/1/1893 - In The Echo’s big account last week of the storm the name of Mr. A. G. Peiri was omitted from the list of losers. A small building on the water with about $200 worth of drugs was washed away, and other losses sustained. Over $400 will right the damage. (SCE 10/14/1893)


Storm Echoes In Bay St. Louis.

The storm was general. Boats from Bay St. Louis that were lost in the storm were the "BERTIE," "SANTA MARIA," "DARNELLA," "JAMBON," "SANBATIO," "RAPHAEL DOMANDO," "ROSALIE," "ELMER," and others. The loss of the schooner "JULIA" proved only a fabrication. Advice from Washington placed the revenue cutter "SEWARD" at the disposal of the public for their transportation from this city to New Orleans Sunday morning. The boat returned Tuesday evening and left for other points along the coast.

One hundred and eight extra copies of last week’s issue of The Echo were sold. Its account of the storm’s local work proved "the best" and the extra copies were bought to send away. More could have been sold had the number printed been larger.

The side wheel steamer "NEW CAMELIA" arrived at the Bay from New Orleans on Sunday morning, bringing for the first time in seven days the U.S. mail from New Orleans. The steamer has arrived here every second day, bringing passengers and mail from both points.

Four men from Bay St. Louis were drowned and two bodies found on the Bay beach. The men drowned were named Capt. Sentelli, Mart Torsi, Malestesta and Frank Ergo. The bodies found here were that of an unknown colored man and Chas. Charlot, col, from Pass Christian.

The New York World made inquiries by wire to its Bay St. Louis correspondent whether it could be of service to the unfortunate storm sufferers at the Bay. The correspondent declined with many thanks, and that the assistance offered be given to the more unfortunate in other parts. We applaud his action.

The cutter "SEWARD," rumored in Bay St. Louis last week as lost with all aboard, arrived in this port late Saturday morning and reported to the customhouse officials. Her return was hailed with delight. She weathered the storm near the Pascagoula river at Scranton and it was here where she encountered the heaviest sea and wind in the history of her existence. The cutter was very instrumental in assisting disabled vessels and rescuing lives.

The water front presented an animated appearance last Sunday. It reminded the old inhabitants of the "good old times" when the gift of the Almighty- water - was used, and the artificial way of railroad transportation was unknown in these parts. The steamers "LOUISE," "SEWARD," "CAMELIA," "LOUISIANA," "PEARLINGTON," and "SARAH" landed at the bridge during the day. The "PEARLINGTON" conveyed about forty men to the Point to join the railroad working gang. Many of the people in Bay St. Louis are expressing indignation of the acceptance of provisions from the relief boat on Sunday morning by the mayor of the city.

Individually the majority of our people would have done likewise on the moment, but much to the discredit of our good people. What will the outside world say? Are we Bay St. Louisians not sufficiently able and of sympathetic feeling to render the little assistance needed? The acceptance of provisions is widely considered an affront by our charitable and good people while other victims of the storm are in distress. Mrs. Breath, a worthy and charitable lady of the Bay, on Monday morning in a few hours collected a bundle of good ready made clothing, dry goods and $5.10 in cash. This was appropriated to the benefit of Mrs. Maletesta and children, the most needy of the families of the drowned schooner men.

ON THE COAST AND VICINITY - Dan Green, the post master at Lookout, lost 200 head of hogs and his schooner. The lugger, "RAFFAEJE-ROMANO," plying between New Orleans and this coast. was wrecked off Biloxi. Laivanore Carmelite and John Marl were the only two saved out of five aboard.

Train No. 3 south-bound, and due here early Sunday morning, was hemmed in at Ocean Springs. On Friday its freight of humanity was transferred by the steamer "CAMELIA" to a special train at Rigolets. Boarding houses of the Springs charged very moderate and did a splendid business during the sta of the train. The L.& N. tracks from Gulf View to Pearl river were washed into the marsh. The bridges were lightly damaged. Supt. Chas. Marshall was in Mobile during the storm and his presence was much to an advantage of directing repairs at that end of the road. Mr. Jacobs, his chief clerk, directed repairs from the New Orleans end. At Pass Christian the steeple of Saint Paul’s church was blown to one side, and the two beautiful memorial windows of the Episcopal church were shattered. Dr. A. K. Northrop’s new store building, head of Davis Avenue, was damaged to the extent of $1000. The entire loss at the Pass is estimated, at the minimum, to be from $100,000 to $150,000. All the vessels landed in front of Pass Christian disappeared during the night of the storm. Among them were the yacht "IRIS," belonging to J. B. Donally & Co.; the sloop "UNCLE JOE," owned by Captain Charlot, and the schooners "CINDERELLA," belonging to Capt. W.A. Terrell, and the "CENTENNIAL," recently purchased by Captain W. F. McDonald.

A dispatch dated the 10th, instant, from Washington, says: Capt. Mullan, inspector of the Gulf Lighthouse District, reports to the Treasury Department that many light stations were damaged by the late storm. He mentions among other places where damage should be repaired: Choctaw Pass, Day Beacon, Gladden, Dog River Bar, Red Light, Ship Island and Chandeleur Island.

The effects of the storm at Pearlington and along the Pearl river pale into insignificance when compared with Louisiana and the Gulf coast. The storm was there but at no time did it assume serious proportions. Trees were loosened by their roots, houses slightly damaged and fences blown down; no lives were lost. The Poitevent & Favre Lumber Co., lost heavily the wreck of several schooners at sea.

The Louisville and Nashville railroad bridge between Ocean Springs and Biloxi is a complete wreck, nothing being left but the pilings and the iron draw. Wm. Shepherd, one of the bridge tenders, was swept off and drowned on the morning of the storm. The bridge had just been repaired at a cost of $62,000; the loss is estimated at a quarter million. The front of the hill city of the Gulf was exceedingly damaged.

The following Pearlington boats lost: Schooner "T. M. FAVRE" found bottom up; crew lost. Schooner "ALICE McGUIGIN," W. Delavery, captain; "GUY FREIGHTMAN," Jno Delavery, captain; Guy Freightman, Jno. Walker, Jno. Baker, Perry Harris, and two unknown New Orleans young men were lost. Schooner "ANGELINE," Steve Peters, Capt., lost with crew. The brig "ROSELLA SMITH," belonging to Capt. John Poitevent, Henry Howard and three sailors lost.

At Chandeleur Island the light house is half demolished and abandoned. The keepers were rescued after being two days without food and water. As stated in last week’s Echo, the quarantine station buildings were washed away. The damage is so great to the island that it will be impossible to build another station. The water was 12 feet. Advice from Washington commands the reestablishment of quarantine at Ship Island.

The vessels gone ashore along the front of Biloxi were twenty in number. A big majority of these were completely wrecked. It would be difficult to attempt at depicting the desolated looking wrecked front of the properous town. It has been transformed from a most prosperous village, within one day, to a storm-beaten, sorrowful sea coast town. The canning factories were the heaviest losers, and the Montross hotel badly damaged by sea wrecks washed ashore.

Captain F. D. Morgan, of the lugger "FLORA," brought to Biloxi Thursday night a report from Capt. Pank, of Slidell, La., who was in the Louisiana marshes, in which the following wrecks and loss of lives is given: Three boats capsized with crews all gone; could not ascertain the names of the men. The schooner "CLEMENTINE," of Biloxi, found bottom up. The bodies of Capt. Wm. H. Patton and Hugh Miller, of Biloxi, were found, and that of Captain Patton buried, Miller’s body was so badly decomposed that it was impossible to handle. The schooner "IDONA," of Biloxi, is a complete wreck; of the crew of three men, only the body of Frank Lepp was found, which was buried. The schooner "DELLA," of Biloxi, found bottom up, with crew of three men drowned. The Biloxi lugger, "ROSALIE," found bottom up, crew drowned. The sloop "ST. HELENA," of Biloxi, found upright on Martin island, crew all saved. Schooner "ANGELINE," of New Orleans, total wreck with crew lost. Sloop "GEORGIANA,": bottom up and the schooner "YOUNG AMERICA" found in splinters.


Eighteen lives were lost off Grand Isle and all buildings demolished. The hotel alone was valued at seventy-five thousand dollars. The total loss of lives exceeds three thousand in number, and the total loss of property, from a conservative estimate, $10,000,000.

A whale measuring sixteen feet and weighing three thousand pounds, was washed high and dry at Port Eads, La. The people busied themselves in extracting oil from the baby monster.

The New Orleans Times-Democrat and Picayune, with their usual spirit of enterprise and generosity, sent relief and special chartered boats of their own to the scenes of devastation and appalling suffering on the Louisiana coast, and did much to benefit the suffering victims.

Matteo Kumasich and Matteo Kuluz tossed aimlessly for five days on the bosom of the gulf clinging to an up-turned skiff. Both men were in camp at Grand lake, at Razoire island. The up-turned skiff, with its human freight, had drifted out fully twenty miles into the gulf of Mexico when it was met by a most welcome back current that turned the men coastwards. Inward they were borne along, until the fifth day, when the first sign of land was sighted and subsequently reached. It was Shell Island, located between Southwest Pass and bayou Cook, and seventy miles from Razoire island, whence they first started. They were rescued by a passing lugger.

At Cheniere Camada, La., the storm proved more disastrous than any other portions of its ill-rated path. Cheniere is situated on the coast of Louisiana and was the once happy home of a people depending mainly upon the fishing industry as a means of their subsistence. About two million dollars of property was lost and twelve hundred souls suddenly swept in to everlasting eternity under the violent influences of the storm of the century. The population at Cheniere Camada island was 1471. The first effect of the storm was felt between 4 and 5 o’clock Sunday evening. The full story of the storm at this point is complete with scenes creating a character that moves the heart of the most stern and coldest type of man, and will be celebrated in verse, story and song.


At an early hour Sunday morning the steamer "ALICE" landed along side the L.& N. Railway wharf. The "ALICE" was direct from New Orleans. This is the boat which the Commercial club, a popular organization of the metropolis, had sent out to extend aid and relief wherever required by the sufferers of the storm.

The "ALICE" was under the command of Capt. Alex Muir, and had on board Drs. Price, Souchon, Butterworth, Lanier and Brown. Dr. Brown was sent as the representative of his honor, Mayor Fitzpatrick and was in charge of the medical end of the expedition. The committee in charge of the relief, appointed by the club, delegated Capt. T. Campbell to look after provisions and superintend the supplies. Messrs. Long, Comeford and Latil, who volunteered to accompany the party, were also aboard. The Echo reporter boarded the "ALICE" soon after she landed. He met on the deck Mr. John Kendall, a reporter of the Picayune, who was accompanying the expedition on behalf of his paper. From him a full story of the trip was obtained.

"We left New Orleans,": said Mr. Kendall, "on Thursday evening last. At 10 o’clock the following morning we reached Shell Beach which had been completely devastated by the storm. Nothing was left standing but the Shell Beach Shooting Club, a large edifice of wood. It is valued at $7000, and has been badly torn both on the walls and roof. There were few casualties here. Two men, Robert Ferio, and another, had their arms broken, and one is supposed to have been drowned. The wounded men were sent to the Charity Hospital in New Orleans, on Wednesday.

"At San Malo, eight miles away, there had been five houses wrecked and four persons in the Bonefacio flamily drowned. Two of the bodies had been recovered and buried. The rest were never seen. The "ALICE" left plenty of supplies with the survivors, who were domiciled in the larger of the only two houses that remained.

"There was a good deal of indignation expressed against a schooner which had been seen sailing about, robbing the dead and plundering deserted houses." Mr. Kendall, who went for the Pica- (unfinished- page 2 missing)

Memories of October 3, 1893 by Marie N. Edwards

Older residents recall the October storm of 1893...the most destructive storm since 1860. Winds reached 75 mph velocity. The storm broke early Oct.3. Relentless in its fury it carried death and destruction in its path. At that time the beach road was shells ten miles in length, averaging five feet above waters edge, at some points 10 feet.

Every beach resident maintained a pier and bath house which were destroyed and debris made the road impassable. In addition, the bridge across LeNeuere was torn away and the only transportation between here and New Orleans was by boat. At the head of Union, on the waters edge of the beach, many buildings went, including the dental office of W. E. Walker.

The building owned by P. Planchet, used as a Post Office were all or partially destroyed. The adjoining office of Dr. R. T. Pierrer, the drug store of T. L. Evans, Louis Pierras, then Postmaster, recalls having abandoned the building at 2:00 am where he was sleeping. The next morning he relates all that was holding were 2 posts, the earth beneath was almost completely washed away.

The G. W. Dunbar cannery suffered serious damage. Property of Louis Leonard. great grandfather of Junior Breath and Mrs. Roger Boh was completely destroyed, together with pleasure boats and his pear orchard was seriously damaged. Capt. W. T. Boardman, father of Mrs. Carl Olsen and Mrs. J. C. Roland lost boats and pecan trees. The Gulf Coast Market owned by Ruisich, occupied by Geo. Muller a total loss. In the front yard of Mrs. A. Gagnon, corner of Bookter and Front Sts. The water was 3 feet and the debris from wrecks off the water blocked the ravine nearby. Wires of Western Union were gone and all communications were cut off, according to D. A. Green, Agent.

The schooner, "HENRY WESTON" owned by Frank Paconi was partially buried in the beach, near the mouth of Jourdan River. Five schooners were blown ashore and the homes of residents completely destroyed. First transportation to New Orleans, 18 passengers at $6.00 apiece. Weston lumber camp boat "SARAH", took eighty at $5.00 apiece. Pass Christian also suffered extensive damage with thrilling experiences with people barely escaping alive. South Louisiana and City of New Orleans had great damage. Grand Isle completely disappeared beneath the water with all buildings and inhabitants. The Chandelier Islands and the U. S. Quarintine Station was completely destroyed. So this was the "October Storm".

(Sea Coast Echo. Vol 51, No.41, Oct.9, 1942)

Storm of Oct 1, 1893

Messrs. F. Graves and Bob Scott, reporting on the October 1, 1893, hurricane, say they have reliable information that there are 35 schooners abandoned in the marshes, driven off the oyster reefs. Each of these vessels carried a crew of from three to six men, and of these but five have been saved. One of these was blinded by the spray and sand, having drifted on a piece of wreck for fifteen miles and landed on Cat Island.

When found by a passing boat he was in danger of being eaten up by the coons, which were driven to desperation by hunger, and attacked him furiously. He is an Italian. He was dreadfully bitten, but it is thought he will recover. He was carried to Biloxi.

One luggar was found in the marshes with four dead men lashed to the rigging. They could not be identified.

(Picayune, Friday Oct. 6, 1893 p 6 col 7 - VF MJS VII00479)

Hurricane of 1901, Aug 15 - Eye over Pascagoula

The front shell drive of the Bay was badly damaged but Mayor O’Brien reported the road had been cleared of the wreckage by Sunday morning August 18, 1901. ( N.O. Daily Picayune Friday, August 23, 1901.)

Hurricane of 1906, Sep 26-27 Eye over Pascagoula
Hurricane of 1909, Sep 20-21 Grand Isle

Photo (BSL 100 Years pg 65)

Hurricane of 1915, Sep 29 - Eye over Grand Isle and New Orleans.

photo (BSL 100 Years pg 65)

Hurricane of 1916, Jul 5 - Ocean Springs and Pascagoula.

Three scooners brought to Biloxi Monday (Oct 16, 1916) 480 barrels of shrimp, which is one of the largest catches during the present season. A fleet of 100 fishing schooners returned to Biloxi harbor fearing rough weather in the Louisiana marshes where they have been fishing for shrimp and oysters. Advisory warnings have been received for several days telling of a storm in the Gulf. (Times-Picayune - Tuesday, Oct 17, 1916 - VF MJS VIII 00422)

Hurricane of 1947, Sep 18-19 - Miami thence to La, Eye over N.O.

Photo BSL 100 Years pg 65

Hurricane of 1948, Sep 3-4 - Grand Isle. (Hurricanes)
Hurricane of 1956, Sep 24. -  Mouth Ms. and thence Ft. Walton Beach. "Flossey"
Hurricane of 1960, Sep 15 - Biloxi-Pascagoula. "Ethel"
Hurricane of 1965, Sep 9 - 10 - Miami - Grand Isle, eye N.O. "Betsy" (a #3)
Hurricane of 1969, Aug 17 - Mouth Ms. thence Ms Coast. "Camille" (a #5)
Hurricane of 1979, Jul 11 - Grand Isle "Bob" (#1)
Hurricane of 1979, Sep 12 - Eye over Pascagoula "Frederic" (#3)
Hurricane of 1985, Aug 14 - SW Louisiana "Danny" (#1)
Hurricane of 1985, Sept 1-2 - Pascagoula westward "Elena" (#3)
Hurricane of 1985, Oct 29 - South La, thence Ala. & Fla. "Juan" (#1)
Hurricane of 1985, Nov 21 - Florida Panhandle "Kaste" (#3)
Hurricane of 2005, Aug 29 - Katrina
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