Friday, May 11, 2012

A Deadly Storm

Some of you might remember my posting about a storm occurring during the 1800s on Campobello Island. It brought great danger to the lighthouse keeper w. his family.

They had a daughter, Mary, which was born in 1841. Through an illness, this kid had lost her eyesight at the age of 7 and never regained it. She was an unusually gifted girl. Her ability of doing observations in nature and her outstanding way with words was manifested in her book, which is available for everyone to read if you click on this link.

Little Miss Snell has also left an account of the said storm. I have gone to work and typed off this story and posted it down below. I think it is well worth the time to read it.


I will here give an account of a storm I well remember, a gale of unusual violence, almost amounting to a hurricane. On awaking one morning in the winter I heard the wind blowing heavily from the east, but being accustomed to those things I was not in the least alarmed. I arose with the rest of the family, and while breakfast was being prepared, my father remarked that if the wind increased with the rising of the tide, as it generally did, that the storm would be a fearful one.

The tide in that vicinity rises and falls to the height of twenty-four feet within the limits of twelve hours – being six hours rising and six hours falling. It was now near seven o’clock, and the tide had began to rise. But there was no immediate danger, and my father engaged in family prayers, as was his custom, after which we sat down to breakfast, the storm still raging wildly.

About eight o’clock my father had some thoughts of taking his family on to the main Island, but hoping the tide would abate at half tide, as it sometimes did, and not wishing to take us out in the drenching rain, perhaps for nothing, he delayed doing so until it was too late; the water was over the bar and we were obliged to remain, come what would. The storm steadily increased but did no damage until eleven o’clock; then it began its work of destruction.

The Lighthouse boat was the first thing to be swept away and dashed to pieces by the waves; a small wharf soon followed, and so one thing after the other went until almost everything moveable was washed away. About fifteen minutes before twelve an outbuilding used for general purposes was lifted from its foundation and thrown down on to the beach, where it remained without further injury.

The storm was now at its height. If we passed the next thirty minutes in safety the danger would be over. Higher and higher came the tide; the wind seemed  to have gathered all its strength for one tremendous sweep ere it finally ceased, each succeeding wave leaping nearer and nearer until they dashed fiercely against the house, breaking in the windows and flooding the lower floor with salt water to the depth of several inches. Thus one half hour, we waited in terrible suspense. expecting every moment the house would be swept from its foundation. My father gathered his family around him, and there, amid the roaring of the tempest, he, in fervent prayer, besought God, in whom he trusted, even that God who ruled the storm, to protect us from the threatening danger.

In a few minutes more the tide had turned, the wind and waves had begun to subside,and we again breathed free. As soon as they could cross the bar some of the neighbors came to see how we had fared. Those who were living in sight of the lighthouse watched it anxiously all through the storm. They said the waves ran so high at times the lighthouse could not be seen at all, and more than once it was thought to be gone. But it stood firm and uninjured; the dwelling house sustained no further damage after the windows had been broken in. Before night the storm had entirely passed away, the sun went down in a clear sky, and not a breath of wind or a ripple of the water disturbed the stillness of the evening.




  1. Storms bring situations that we aren't experienced enough to survive in. Being on the water makes those storms even worse. I would think most folks don't understand how rough the bar can get and especially during storms. Those waves during a storm can take anything around them out. We've been in some pretty rough waters just crossing the bar from the Columbia River to the Pacific -- one of the most deadliest bars in the world. It's a very scary thing. Glad the tide turned and everything was safe.

  2. A wonderful true life story of the violence of a real story. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Interesting story about a quite vicious storm. Thanks for taking the time to re-type and share it with us.


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