The Storm Took Me – A Recollection of the 1915 Galveston Hurricane

My name is My name is Jane Angela Smith (née Dart) and I’m about to tell you my story. At least I lived a long life — many of the victims of that horrible storm had barely begun their lives that were lost to the terrible disaster of mother nature in Galveston, Texas in August of 1915.

Market_Street,_1915_Galveston_flood
Market Street, 1915 Galveston flood

But let us back up a little, and see what brought me here. I was born in Herrick Township, Pennsylvania in 1840 to parents Simeon Spencer Dart and Mary Elvira Dart (née Kent). Unlike many of my sisters (Sarah Candance, Orpha Elvira, & Addie Diana), I didn’t get married until later in life — in fact, I was 36 when married my husband, Eugene A. Smith in 1876.

After being a small town gal for so many years, Eugene and I traveled all around the Atlantic — from Florida to Kansas to Texas we went, dragging our two children, Roy Ford and Eugenia Louise around.

In 1915, I was living in San Leon, Texas, a former pirate-owned stronghold. About 15 years prior to that time, in August and September of 1900, the deadliest (of all time) of hurricanes hit Galveston and killed upward of 6,000 – 12,000 souls. After this horrific storm, the Galveston Sea Wall was built to try and prevent another such tragedy, and this time it helped, but 400 lives were lost to it.

Seawall Built in 1905

On the 5th of August 1915, the storm was formed in the Atlantic Ocean, quickly picking up speed and destruction as it grew to Category 4 storm by the time it hit Galveston, and my tiny town of San Leon, situated in Galveston Bay on the 16th of August.

It honestly happened so fast and so violent that my cause of death was officially labeled as “Storm Victim of the Storm of Aug. 16 1915” with no clues to the exact nature of my death.

I was seventy-four years old and left behind my by husband and two grown children when I died. This is my story, what’s yours?


 

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