The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970 Page: 59
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Notes and Documents
house, only fourteen blocks from the Gulf of Mexico, was large
and sturdy, and since it had weathered previous storms, Mr. and Mrs.
Focke were confident that their house was safe. At the height of the
storm, only Mrs. Focke, her younger son George, and two servants
were in the house. Mr. Focke remained at his place of business
downtown. Of the remaining six children, Marie was deceased; and
Anna Paula was in Hitchcock, 15 miles northwest of Galveston on
the mainland. The other daughters, Jane and Margaret, were also
married and living with their families in Galveston. John, the elder
son, was at Preston's Store in downtown Galveston."
The next day, September 9, when Mr. Focke managed to return
to his home, he and his wife surveyed their damage. The roof was
practically destroyed, windows were blown out, plaster had fallen,
and most of their furnishings were water-soaked. The Fockes were
among the fortunate. Much of Galveston was wrecked. Its public
buildings were masses of rubble; the long wagon bridge and train
trestles had been washed away. Communications were down, but
dispatches, ferried to the mainland by boat, spread the news that
Galveston, though bruised and broken, was still on the map.
It was of this horror and destruction that Mrs. Focke wrote in
her letters to her daughters 5,000 miles away.
September 11, 1900oo
My dear Daughters:
You will have read in the papers about the terrible disaster that
has happened to our Island. The storm struck as far as Austin and
all along the coast; in New Orleans it is said that 4,700 people lost
their lives." The Wilkens family and all of us here came through
alive, but from Anita in Hitchcock we have not heard a word, and
that town is reported to be completely destroyed. If she [and her
family] perished then only Louis1' and Bubi are left; the latter
12Anita and three of her children were in Hitchcock for the summer and had not
returned to Galveston. Louis H. Runge, Jr., to W.M.D., interview, May 13, 1968. Mar-
garet and her husband, Heinrich Mosle, resided at 1615 Postoffice Street. Morrison
and Fourmy's General Directory of Galveston, z899-..oo, p. 163. Young John Focke
worked at Preston's Drug Store, 2125 Market Street in downtown Galveston. Morrison
and Fourmy's General Directory of Galveston, 1896-z897 (Galveston, 1896), 249; Family
"Estimates have run as high as 12,ooo and as low as 3,ooo: 4,20o bodies were actually
found. About 2,00o were listed as unaccounted for or missing. The most accepted figure
is 6,000. Weems, A Weekend in September, 167.
"Reference is to Louis H. Runge, Sr., stockman and rancher, husband of Anita.
Morrison and Fourmy's General Directory of Galveston, z899-zgoo, p. 196.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970, periodical, 1970; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117147/m1/75/: accessed December 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.