18 FIRST NEWS OF THE GREAT CALAMITY.
The estimate made by citizens of Galveston was that
four thousand houses, most of them residences, were destroyed,
and that at least one thousand people had been drowned, killed
or were missing. Business houses were also destroyed. These
estimates, it was learned afterward, were far below the actual
The city, Mr. Timmins averred, was a complete wreck, so far
as he could see from the water front and from the Tremont Hotel.
Water was blown over the island by the hurricane, the wind
blowing at the rate of eighty miles an hour straight from the
Gulf and forcing the sea water before it in big waves. The gale
was a steady one, the heart of it striking the city about 5 o'clock
in the evening and continuing without intermission until midnight,
when it abated somewhat, although it continued to blow
WORST HURRICANE EVER KNOWN.
The water extended across the island. Mr. Timmins said
it was three feet deep in the rotunda of the Tremont Hotel, and'
was six feet deep in Market street. Along the water front the
damage was very great. The roofs had been blown from all the
elevators, and the sheds along the wharves were either wrecked
or had lost their sides and were of no protection to the contents.
Most of the small sailing craft were wrecked, and were either
piled up on the wharves or floating bottom side up in the bay.
There was a small steamship ashore three miles north of Pelican
Island, but Mr. Timmins could not distinguish her name. She
was flying a British flag. Another big vessel had been driven
ashore at Virginia Point, and still another was aground at Texas
City. At the south point of Houston Island an unknown ship
lay in a helpless condition.
The lightship that marks Galveston bar was hard and fast
aground at Bolivar Point. Mr. Timmins and the men with him
o.the schooner rescued two sailors from the Middle Bay who
had been many hours in the water. These men were foreigners,
and he could gain no information from them.
A wreck of a vessel which looked like a large steam tug was
Lester, Paul. The great Galveston disaster, containing a full and thrilling account of the most appalling calamity of modern times including vivid descriptions of the hurricane. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth26719/. Accessed September 2, 2014.