S.C. Sea Grant Consortium

Coastal Heritage Magazine

Early Europeans in America: Hurricanes Steer the Course of History

Since Europeans began settling North America, hurricanes have altered the course of history. Hurricanes helped determine which nations would settle the Atlantic coast and where they would build the first colonial outposts. From the Chesapeake Bay to the Carolinas to Florida, the dreams of explorers and colonialists were often capsized by giant storms, which created long-lasting impacts on our heritage.

Hurricane damage to Bay Street in 1893.

Aftermath. Bay Street in downtown Beaufort was severely damaged by the intense hurricane of 1893. Photo courtesy of Beaufort County Library.

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Coastal Heritage Magazine

Volume 13 – Number 1
Summer 1998

John H. Tibbetts

Early Europeans in America: Hurricanes Steer the Course of History

For more than 200 years, hurricanes were the Jokers of American history, wild cards deciding winners and losers among Europeans warring over crucial beachheads on the Atlantic coast. In the 16th and 17th centuries, severe storms sank colonial warships, destroyed early forts, and affected outcomes of important battles as France, England, and Spain struggled for a foothold in North America.

If not for hurricanes, historians say, perhaps South Carolinians would speak French today instead of English. Or maybe Spain would’ve ruled Charleston for a time. Or Puritans might have settled in the South instead of along New England’s coast.

The first Europeans to encounter Atlantic Ocean hurricanes were Spanish explorers. In fact, the word “hurricane” comes from the Spanish huracan, borrowed from the name of an evil spirit feared by the Taino, an extinct Caribbean people. Other Indian tribes used similar names for various devils, storm gods, and for giant cyclones as well.


On the Cover. In this sculpture by Willard Hirsch, Cassique, chief of the Kiawah Indians, directs settlers to the bank of the Ashley River, where Charles Town was founded in 1670. Photo by Wade Spees.

Indeed hurricanes can have devilish consequences, explorers learned. In 1493, during his second voyage, Christopher Columbus founded the first colonial town—Isabella—in the New World, on the north coast of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. But only two years later, a June whirlwind crushed the town and swamped two of Columbus’ three ships.

By 1502, on his final voyage to America, Columbus had learned the danger signs of approaching tropical cyclones, perhaps from Indians. As Columbus stopped for supplies at the harbor of Santa Domingo, the new settlement on Hispaniola, he warned a rival Spanish fleet that a giant storm was approaching. Columbus sheltered his boats in a nearby cove. But the rival fleet ignored his warning and set sail, losing 26 ships and 500 men. Like its predecessor, Santa Domingo was flattened.

Over the next century, hurricanes would present both roadblocks and opportunities for Europeans competing to build colonies in North America. Nations competed for frontier outposts to provide havens for shipwrecked sailors, to establish and protect trade routes, and to convert natives to Christianity, by force if necessary. In fact, religious fervor was a powerful motive for colonialization. During the 16th century, Catholics and Protestants were engaged in bloody holy wars in Europe, wars they carried with them to America.

Catholic Spain was the most powerful nation in Europe and the greatest colonial power of the time. But hurricanes thwarted its ambitions in North America, which Spanish King Philip II called “La Florida.” In 1528, a Spanish fleet tried to establish the first European settlement on the continent near what is now Pensacola. A giant storm, however, wrecked the fleet, and only 10 of 400 men survived.

In 1545, 1551, 1553, 1554, and 1559, Spain sailed into the Gulf of Mexico, seeking to build forts along the coast, but every time storms destroyed the fleets. Some native tribes would capture shipwrecked crews and burn them in sacrifice to the hurricane gods. Discouraged, Europeans would stay away from the Gulf coast for more than a century, turning instead to the Atlantic coast.

In 1562, a fleet led by French Huguenot Jean Ribaut entered Port Royal Sound, hoping to build a settlement where Protestants could be free from Catholic repression. He built a fort on Parris Island and named it “Charlesfort” after his king. The continent behind the island he called “New France.” The fort’s remains were found in 1996 on the eighth fairway of the Parris Island golf course.


Time Tested. In 1562, Protestant Jean Ribaut built a column to mark France’s claim at Port Royal Sound (above). But soon Catholic Spain, with help from a hurricane, drove France away from the coast. Today, archaeologists (below) dig near a commemorative column where Ribaut built the first European fort in North America. Photo by Wade Spees.

Ribaut left 30 soldiers behind to defend the fort and sailed home to raise money for more settlers and supplies, says Chris Judge, S.C. Department of Natural Resources Heritage Trust archaeologist.

France’s rulers were Catholic, though the royal court included Protestant sympathizers who sometimes aided Huguenot ventures. In this case, however, Ribaut could not find financial help in Paris, so he went to England and secretly made a pact with Protestant Queen Elizabeth. She would fund relief of Charlesfort; in turn, he would hand over the settlement to the English. Ribaut later wanted to renege, and when he tried to flee England he was arrested and jailed.


Searching for Clues. Chester DePratter, a South Carolina archaeologist, has studied an early Spanish outpost on St. Helena Sound called Santa Elena, which was battered by a hurricane in the 1580s. Photo by Wade Spees.

When Ribaut did not return to America, his men grew restive and “put whatever food they could in a rickety ship they built” and sailed toward Europe, says Judge. Miraculously, they survived the trip to France, where Spanish spies learned about the new settlement and informed King Philip, who dispatched a fleet to burn it down.

Still, France was determined to settle America. With 600 Huguenot settlers, Rene de Laudonniere, who had been Ribaut’s second-in-command, founded Ft. Caroline on a bluff overlooking the St. John’s River near what is now Jacksonville, Florida, in 1564. He was later joined by Ribaut, who had been released from prison.

Spain, equally resolute to hold La Florida from French incursions, dispatched a fleet led by Pedro Menendez de Aviles, who intended to “expel the Lutherans from this land,” as he noted in his memoirs. Mendendez built a fort called St. Augustine, just 32 miles south of Ft. Caroline.

What happened next “would capture the attention of Europe and affect history of the southern coast for more than two centuries,” notes University of South Carolina-Beaufort historian Lawrence S. Rowland in a 1996 history of Beaufort County.

On September 10, 1565, Ribaut sailed to St. Augustine with four galleons, far more firepower than Spain’s forces. But before Ribaut could attack, he had to wait offshore for high tide so he could cross a sand bar at the harbor mouth. As France waited, a giant hurricane struck.

“Such a storm came up, with such heavy winds, that the Indians assured me that it was the worst that had ever come to that coast,” wrote Laudonniere. The storm battered and tossed the French fleet down the coast, wrecking all the ships.


Mapping the Way. The Flemish engraver Theodore de Bry was inspired by drawings of the artist Jacques le Moyne de Morgues, who illustrated French Huguenot settlements in the New World in 1562-1564. Later, Spain and a hurricane drove France off, and for the next century Spain ruled the region.

Spain saw its chance. “At this juncture I believe we are presented with a most remarkable opportunity to serve our God and our King,” Mendendez told his men. After slogging up the densely wooded, storm-sodden coast, Mendendez attacked Ft. Caroline and killed the defenders, though a few French settlers escaped, including General Laudonniere. Then the Spaniards returned to their own fort, and with fresh troops found the shipwrecked French soldiers and shot them. Ribaut was stabbed and his head was cut off.

If not for this storm, perhaps France could’ve sustained a crucial beachhead in the region. “French settlers and explorers were very enterprising and forceful,” says Rowland. “But once Mendendez had established the base at St. Augustine, it was very difficult for the French along the southeastern coast.” Ft. Caroline was abandoned, eventually disappearing. Spain also built a fort at the site of destroyed Charlesfort on Parris Island, calling it Santa Elena.

At the very least, a hurricane helped to determine which nation dominated the coast for generations. “The storm had a substantial effect,” says Rowland. “It ensured that Florida was a Spanish colony.”


Crossroads. A street sign in Beaufort reflects the bitter conflict between Spanish and French settlers in the hurricane-prone region 400 years ago. Photo by Wade Spees.

Early English Settlers

After the defeat of France in the 1560s, Spain continued to colonize the coast north of St. Augustine. In what is now Georgia and South Carolina, Jesuits and Franciscans built missions and other frontier outposts.

Meanwhile Queen Elizabeth, King Philip’s hated arch-rival, sent an English fleet to establish an outpost in America. In 1585, Sir Francis Drake tried to land ships on Roanoke Island in Pamlico Sound, but gave up after a four-day hurricane “with great spouts at the seas as though heaven and earth would have met.” A few weeks later, a small number of English settlers arrived at Roanoke Island and were left behind to occupy the spot.

In 1586, Drake once again returned to America to attack Spanish holdings and resupply the Roanoke Colony. He burned St. Augustine, then sailed up the coast, intending to burn Santa Elena as well, but he couldn’t find the entrance to the harbor, says Chester DePratter, University of South Carolina archaeologist. Some sources say that Drake sailed by the harbor at night and missed it; others argue that as the hurricane of 1586 drove up the East Coast, the storm chased Drake north and he lacked time to attack Santa Elena.


This Old Boat. For centuries, hurricanes routinely destroyed ships—like this model at Charlestowne Landing in Charleston—that traveled between Europe and the New World.

In any case, Drake reached the struggling Roanoke settlement, but the hurricane caught up with him and sank the supply ship. Drake’s own ship survived, though. Discouraged and exhausted, the Roanoke settlers hitchhiked a ride back to England with the English pirate and naval hero.

It seems likely that the hurricane that sank the Roanoke supply ship severely damaged Santa Elena, as well. Archaeologists have found evidence of extensive numbers of trees knocked down and Spanish wells rebuilt dating from that period at the site, DePratter says.

Soon after Drake returned to England, the balance of power among European nations slowly began to shift. In 1587, Drake and other English raiders skirmished repeatedly with Spanish vessels, provoking perhaps the most famous sea battle in European history—England’s dramatic destruction of the Spanish Armada in the English Channel in 1588. This battle marked the beginning of the end for Spain as the greatest European power.

The next English attempt to settle North America was in 1607 when explorers, led by John Smith, built Jamestown in what is now Virginia. For the next two years, Jamestown settlers were harried by Indians and decimated by disease and hunger as they waited for aid from England.

In 1609, seven English ships filled with supplies and settlers set out from England for the New World. And, yes, once again ships were hit by a hurricane. One vessel sank; another was blown to Bermuda and wrecked. The surviving vessels finally limped into Jamestown, but their food supplies had been ruined by the hurricane. Over the next winter, two out of three Jamestown settlers died of starvation.

Finally, Puritans established the first enduring English settlement in 1620 much farther north at Plymouth, where such storms have been quite rare.

Carolina Settlers

The English did not return to the southern shores until 1670 when they built a settlement called Charles Town on the west bank of the Ashley River. Early Charles Town faced a variety of dangers, including Spanish incursions and destructive storms. In 1680, when the community was moved to its present site on the peninsula, Indians told colonists about a hurricane that had “raised the water over the tops of the trees where the town now stands,” wrote diarist John Bartram in the 18th century, relating stories passed from generation to generation.

As Charles Town struggled to survive, a fort called Stuart Town was established by Scottish Presbyterians in 1684 near Port Royal Sound, about a mile and a half from present-day Beaufort.

Stuart Town’s founders were aggressive, with significant political autonomy from the older settlement. Almost immediately Stuart Town competed directly for the crucial Indian trade, trying to push Charles Town aside, and as early as 1685, “it seemed that the Scots were winning,” notes Rowland. Apparently there was only enough room for one colony along the coast. Each community needed a trading and military alliance with the Yemassee Indian tribe to survive economically and to stand up to Spain and its Indian allies, the Timucuans to the south.

In 1685, the Scots sponsored a Yemassee raid in the direction of St. Augustine to catch Timucuan Indians as slaves. The Yemassee burned towns, killed 50 Timucuans and carried off 22 to Stuart Town. Charles Town leaders were outraged by the Scots’ recklessness in attacking Spanish territory. Indeed Spain retaliated the following year, sending three warships into the Port Royal River with 100 soldiers and Indian allies. The Spanish forces burned Stuart Town, killed livestock, and drove off the Scottish settlers.

Spain then sailed north to attack Charles Town as well. But a hurricane battered the fleet, destroying two ships and killing the Spanish general. It also caused massive damage to Charles Town. “The whole country seems to be one entire map of devastation,” wrote a settler. “The great part of our houses are blown down and still lie in their ruin ….The long incessant rains have destroyed almost all our goods which lie intombed in the ruins of our houses. Our corn is all beaten down and by means of continued wet weather lies rotting on the ground.”

Yet Charles Town was saved by the “Spanish Repulse Hurricane of 1686,” as it became known. Stuart Town, on the other hand, was not rebuilt. And the Scots, frightened and discouraged by the Spanish attack, went elsewhere to settle.

“It was the end of Stuart Town,” says Rowland. The storm and the destruction of the Scottish settlement “gave an advantage to Charleston, an advantage over the Port Royal area that has been sustained ever since.”


“What a Gale We Had” Storms Transform Coastal Plantations

Giant hurricanes brought long-lasting changes to the South Carolina coast through the 19th century, especially transforming rice plantations.

For generations, catastrophic hurricanes have shaped how South Carolinians live and work along the coast. Huge storms destroyed countless buildings, killed thousands of people, devastated businesses and industries, wiped communities off the map, and knocked down forests. But arguably the greatest impacts of giant storms in South Carolina were felt by rice planters and African-American slaves who labored for them.

In the late 19th century, hurricanes dealt a final blow to a decaying agricultural economy that had once depended on slavery to survive. Giant storms put the last nail in the coffin of rice plantations along the South Carolina and Georgia coast, and helped to usher in a new presence along the coast—wealthy Northerners who bought bankrupt plantations and turned them into hunting preserves.

Soon after Charles Town was founded, an English ship captain brought a bag of rice seed to the new settlement, and almost immediately colonials learned that rice could be grown in freshwater swamps. Within several decades, rice farming made a number of Carolina plantation owners extremely wealthy. It was the lucrative rice and indigo trade that drove the rebuilding of Charleston after the fire and hurricane of the mid-18th century and turned the city into a rich commercial center. By the early 19th century, South Carolina rice planters were a dominant force in the economy, culture, and politics of the South. Later, many were strong proponents of secession from the union.


Recording History. In her diary of August 28, 1893, Susan J. Rice describes the second-most deadly hurricane in U.S. history, which struck the Beaufort area, killing 2,000 to 3,000. “What a gale we had all night—. Every room soaking wet . . . But we are better off than many others.” Photo by Wade Spees, Courtesy of Beaufort County Library.

But from the beginning of the English colony, hurricanes were a formidable threat to rice agriculture. Arriving in clusters, hurricanes killed large numbers of slaves, shoved saltwater up into rice fields, crushed crops, and destroyed the infrastructure of the farms, filling up ditches and flattening trunks and banks of rice impoundments. Yet for more than 200 years, rice planters controlled the economic and labor resources to rebound from each battering by huge storms.

Wealth from rice agriculture was sustained by slave labor and expertise. Indeed planters learned how to grow the crop from slaves native to rice-producing areas of West Africa. During summers, most planters and their families fled to higher ground to escape heat and disease in the swamps, leaving plantations in the capable hands of slaves known as drivers, notes Western Washington University historian Mart A. Stewart in a 1996 book.

Planters and their drivers established a complicated agricultural system to manipulate water flows into swamps along tidal rivers. The system required the construction and maintenance of floodgates, trunks, irrigation drains and canals, banks, and ditches to manage tidal surges into impoundments.

Planters needed a large, inexpensive, yet well-trained labor supply to make this system work. Rice production was back-breaking, hazardous work under harsh conditions in malaria-ridden swamps. Free men refused to do such brutal work, so countless Africans were kidnapped, enslaved, and hauled across the Atlantic for this purpose.

In the early 19th century, a series of destructive hurricanes severely tested this agricultural system. In 1804, 1811, 1813, 1814, and 1815, huge storms battered the coast, causing massive destruction to rice plantations. And then in 1822, a fierce storm arrived in September, striking between Charleston and Georgetown. On North Island alone, north of Georgetown, 125 people were killed, nearly all slaves who lived in rickety shacks vulnerable to the storm surge.

In total, about 300 were killed by the storm, which also washed away a “summering” village at Cedar Island on the Santee River. After the storm, the old resort site was abandoned because its elevation was considered too low, and Cedar Island residents established the village of McClellanville on higher ground. The irony is that in 1989 Hurricane Hugo poured a 17- foot storm surge into McClellanville, destroying numerous homes.


Moving Up. Early colonial structures were built on grade, but after numerous storm surges and floods, South Carolinians increasingly constructed homes on higher foundations (left). Photo by Wade Spees.

The cluster of hurricanes in the early 19th century, however, did not wipe out rice production. Planters were wealthy enough, with a captive labor force, to rebuild. “Before the Civil War, planters had labor, capital, and means to restore the rice fields after hurricanes,” says John Winberry, University of South Carolina geographer.

But the Civil War, which emancipated slaves in the South, changed rice agriculture forever. In the late 19th century when a cluster of huge storms destroyed impoundments and other infrastructure, rice planters lacked slave labor and often could not afford to rebuild.

Indeed within a few decades after the war, many former slaves along the coast were small landowners who operated truck farms for nearby cities. They could also make a living from fishing, oystering, turpentine gathering, lumbering, and by working for wages on a daily, weekly, or seasonal basis. “The freedmen—former slaves—did not want to work in gangs in the rice fields,” says Winberry.

From Georgia to North Carolina, major hurricanes struck twice in 1893, then in 1898, 1899, 1906, and 1911. Smaller hurricanes also struck twice in 1893, 1896, 1898, 1900, 1901, 1904, 1906, twice in 1908, 1910, and 1911. The first major storm of 1893 was the most damaging hurricane to strike South Carolina and the second most deadly natural disaster in U.S. history. It arrived in August, killing 2,000 to 3,000 people and thousands of farm animals. For many years, the storm was acknowledged as the most important event in the recent history of Beaufort, Savannah, and nearby islands. “Local folks on the islands usually referred to events as occurring either before or after ‘The Storm,’” says Lawrence Rowland.

Although planters tried employing imported laborers, including Irish, English, Italian, and Chinese workers, and even leased convicts from prisons, these experiments failed, and rice farming collapsed. “Rice planters were simply overcome by the environmental challenges they had once been able to meet,” writes Stewart.

Hurricanes, in fact, were a tremendous blow to the political and economic power of plantation owners. At the same time, many blacks were moving toward greater independence, establishing a small-landowner class along the coast. Soon huge tracts of plantation land were left fallow and bought up by rich Northerners for hunting preserves. The migration of prosperous newcomers to the coast had begun.

Historians Study Weather

“Let us begin by discussing the weather, for that has been the chief agency in making the South distinctive,” argues Ulrich B. Phillips in his influential 1929 study Life & Labor in the Old South.

Traditional historians have usually limited themselves to studying culture, society, and politics. But over the past 20 years, a new generation of researchers—known as environmental or ecological historians—has taken up Phillips’ call. To understand the past, these historians have studied science and nature, examining data on winds, tides, precipitation patterns, and severe storms.

With this information, historians can show how climate and weather have affected America’s exploration and settlement, agriculture, infectious diseases, and population booms and busts, writes University of Kansas environmental historian Donald Worster in his 1993 book The Wealth of Nature.

Above all, environmental historians want to learn how people have adapted to natural events and how societies have altered ecosystems to their benefit and sometimes to their detriment. “Our history,” notes Worster, “can never be truly complete unless we realize how much of it really centered on a process of interaction with the forces of nature.”

Which Hurricanes Were Most Intense?

Hurricanes can grow far bigger than Hugo or Andrew, which rank 11th and 3rd, respectively, on the list of the most intense tropical cyclones to strike the United States mainland in this century.

U.S. meteorologists rank hurricanes on the Saffir-Simpson Scale from 1 to 5 according to their wind speeds. The smallest hurricanes are category 1 storms, with winds of 74 to 95 miles per hour. The largest are rare, catastrophic category 5 hurricanes with winds more than 155 miles per hour.
Hurricane Opal, which struck the Florida panhandle in 1995, and Hurricane Fran, which battered North Carolina in 1996, were category 3 storms. Hugo was a category 4 storm, as was Andrew, which struck Florida and Louisiana in 1992, costing $25 billion, the most expensive hurricane in U.S. history.

But the biggest recorded storm ever to spawn in the Atlantic was Gilbert in 1988. During its first landfall at Kingston, Jamaica, on September 12, Gilbert was still just a category 3. With gusts of 150 miles per hour, Gilbert killed 45 in Jamaica, destroying or damaging four-fifths of the island’s houses. Over the next two days, Gilbert roared south, blooming in warm late-summer seas, turning into a category 5. On satellite images, the hurricane covered the entire western half of the Gulf of Mexico. Fortunately, Gilbert struck the lightly populated Yucatan peninsula. Even so, the storm killed more than 200 in Mexico, mostly from flash flooding, and destroyed more than 60,000 homes.

Bricks & Mortar

In the earliest years of the English colony in South Carolina, residents adapted quickly to disasters. By 1730, only 50 years after its founding, Charleston was a substantial city with nearly 30,000 people, more than 20,000 of them slaves.

Virtually everyone lived in wooden structures, but soon this would change.

A great fire in 1740 burned nearly half of Charleston. And in September 1752, a huge hurricane pushed a 17-foot storm surge over downtown Charleston, killing 20. (In comparison, Hurricane Hugo drove a 10-foot surge into the city.) About 500 buildings were washed away or crushed by hurricane winds and storm surge. “All wooden houses above one story in height, were either beaten down or shattered,” noted a local physician who in 1804 wrote a history of Charleston hurricanes. In the mid-18th century, prosperous Charlestonians began to build homes of masonry instead of wood.

What Shutters are for

The use of window shutters helped reduce wind damage in colonial structures. In early Carolina settlements, windows were just small openings, and shutters were used mostly to provide shade and to protect homes against thieves.

Later, when colonials could afford glass windows, which were very expensive, sturdy shutters helped to guard these investments from strong winds. Without realizing it, colonials also protected the structural integrity of their homes with shutters, which kept wind from entering houses and lifting off roofs from the inside.

For many decades, Americans followed this model of building near the sea. But during most of the 20th century, “people have forgotten what shutters are really for,” says Charles Chase, preservation officer and architect for the City of Charleston. Today, Chase must constantly educate homeowners that new structures in the Charleston historic district have to be designed with functional shutters instead of decorative devices that are nailed to the walls.

Post-War Boom

Over the past few decades, a huge population boom has corresponded with a dearth of major hurricanes along the U.S. southern Atlantic Coast, the fastest growing region of the country. Between 1960 and 2010, the nation’s population near shorelines will have grown almost 60 percent. But the region that includes North and South Carolina, Georgia, and the eastern shore of Florida, will have grown 181 percent, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Today, four million residents live in just two counties in south Florida, Miami-Dade and Broward. That’s more people than lived in all of the coastal counties from Texas to Virginia in 1930, according to Roger Pielke, Jr., a political scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, in Boulder, Colorado, and Christopher Landsea, researcher with the National Hurricane Research Division of NOAA.

Not surprisingly, the rapid development since the 1960s has corresponded with a cycle of relatively few major hurricanes striking the Atlantic coast. From 1940 to 1966, 17 major hurricanes battered the East Coast, more than one every two years. In contrast, from 1966 to 1997, only five major hurricanes struck the East Coast. The 1998 Atlantic hurricane season is forecasted to include six tropical cyclones, including two major storms, says William Gray, Colorado State University meteorologist. The 1998 season likely will be more active than 1997 because El Ninó and some trade winds are weakening. The Atlantic Basin averages 5.8 hurricanes and 2.3 intense hurricanes a year.

Colonials Raised Houses to Escape Flooding

In the earliest years of Charles Town, homes were built on grade, their first floors on the ground. But after the huge hurricane of 1752 when hundreds of homes were flooded by a 17-foot storm surge, homes were increasingly built on high foundations, notes College of Charleston historian Laylon Wayne Jordan in a 1982 S.C. Sea Grant study of coastal storms and South Carolina history. During this period, many Charleston homes were “built on high basements …with their first stories starting half-a-story above ground.”

Some experts, though, doubt that raising of foundations was due primarily to the threat of hurricane surges. It is true that homeowners wanted to escape rising water, especially those who lived on landfill and on lower elevations near the harbor, says Charles Chase, preservation officer and architect for the city of Charleston. Homeowners, though, were likely not responding to unusual, catastrophic events but to “more regular environmental conditions, especially floods during fullmoon high tides and heavy rainfall.”

Charleston colonials of the mid-18th century were also more prosperous than early settlers, notes Sea Grant researcher Peter Sparks, Clemson University civil engineer. Settlers’ cottages were crude structures with dirt floors. A generation later, some wealthier colonials built homes with wood floors, which required elevation to prevent moisture damage. In the Beaufort area, a similar change in building elevation occurred about the same time, perhaps following Charleston’s example, says Lawrence Rowland, University of South Carolina-Beaufort historian.

Although it seems common sense to raise coastal homes to reduce flood damage, this technique was forgotten in the 20th century. Only during the past 30 years have growing numbers of communities required many homes built higher off the ground, primarily due to federal flood insurance requirements.

Further Reading

Douglas, Marjory Stoneman. Hurricane. New York: Rinehart and Company, 1958.

Dunn, Gordon E. and Banner I. Miller. Atlantic Hurricanes. Louisiana State University Press, 1960.

Helm, Thomas. Hurricanes: Weather at Its Worst. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1967.

Jordan, Wayne Laylon. A History of Storms on the South Carolina Coast. Charleston: S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, 1982.

Ludlum, David M. Early American Hurricanes 1492-1870. Boston: American Meteorological Society, 1963.

Rowland, Lawrence A. et al. The History of Beaufort County, South Carolina, Volume 1, 1514-1861. Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1996.

Stewart, Mart A. “What Nature Suffers to Groe.” Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1996.