Sept 8-9, 1900. Galveston, Texas. Hurricane.
I'll share the life of one of my great-great aunts who raised my great grandmother.
Elizabeth Pulsifer Granger Sweet was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts in 1833. She was the sister of my great-great grandmother Mary Granger Phillips who died just as the Civil War broke out.
Elizabeth was called Lizzy in Mary's letters from Beaumont, Texas to her, telling of her children's births, and various domestic interests, while Lizzy was living in Galveston, Texas. I think she also raised Mary's daughters, Zulie and Ada Phillips, after she married Sidney Sweet, from New York. They had 2 children and by the time the oldest was around 10, Elizabeth (Lizzy) was widowed (1875.)
Elizabeth Sweet (age 69) was living at 1709 Winnie St. in Galveston, as of the June 7, 1900 census, with her son Chauncey Sweet, (age 37) his wife Ada Phillips Sweet, (age 34), nephew Lucian Chamberlain, (3) nieces Ada Swasey (14) and Stella Swasey (12).
(NOTE: Ada Phillips Sweet will be honored on her birthday Sept. 15 here on my blog.)
Sept. 8-9, 1900 was the worst storm to hit that island within recorded history. This was before storms were given names, but it was known by my grandmother, Ada Swasey Rogers and her family as the Storm of 1900. And they would say, "Nineteen Ought."
There's a book that I was given by my grandmother about the storm, about some of the people and about the buildings, A Weekend in September by John Edward Weems (1957.) What is interesting is the difference from today's vacation town and the city of Galveston that was then a boom town, that had become a major port connecting the western US by rail and shipping with the East.
So when a storm killed 6000 people (estimated, there were 4200 listed names) and the rail was knocked out by the storm, the survivors had to deal with the same lack of food, transportation, sanitation, and clean water that all storm survivors deal with, as well as disposal of the bodies of the dead on an island. Horses and wagons were the standard mode of travel following the storm. The book isn't particularly enjoyable reading, and I had to steel my guts to approach it, and read it through as fast as I could.
My father's parent's families all lived through the storm. I never heard them say a word about it. When I asked my grandmother, she just gave me the book. She married 5 years after the storm, so was a teen during it...(she's listed as Ada Swasey (14) in the 1900 census). All these people that survived such an event probably had great respect for survivors of other major storms. But they had already faced their own fears, hadn't they?
I'm sharing today's story with others on Sepia Saturday this week. Come over there to see many other interesting photos which are sepia (or not.)