Monday, July 18, 2011

1811 Charleston Tornado

I was browsing through Hezekiah Niles' news magazine, the Weekly Register for 1811 and found this news item published on September 28, 1811. The tornado was reported on Wednesday, September 11 of that year. "The tornado appears to have been about one hundred yards in width-- after it had prostrated the flag-staff on Fort Mechanic, unroofed the house within the enclosure of the fort, thrown down the blacksmith shop contiguous to it, and unroofed all the houses immediately adjacent the fort, it crossed over to Lynch's lane, where several houses were unroofed..."

Interestingly, at least one reference work states that over 500 people died from the tornado: this contradicts the newspaper accounts, which state that "over 20" deaths occurred.