Central Portion of FL, Hurricane Strikes, Oct 1852


The Wakulla Times of the 13th inst. states that the gale was the most destructive one that ever visited Middle Florida, and that from every quarter it continues to hear of dwellings, gin houses, and negro quarters having been blown down. We understand, also, that communication with the interior has been interrupted and the mails delayed, in consequence of the roads being blocked up with the fallen timber. We copy from the Times the following particulars:

TERRIBLE GALE -- On Saturday morning last about sunrise, a few drops of rain began to fall, accompanied with a light wind, varying from E., S. E. and S. S. E., which gradually increased until about 2 1/2 P.M., when it became a violent hurricane.
About 2 1/2 o'clock the western end of the Court House was blown our; about 3 1/4 o'clock the whole structure was blown down. The Judge of Probate, MR. WM. J. COUNCILL, narrowly escaped being crushed under the falling timber. The gable end of the dwelling of MR. HAYWOOD was also blown down. Several other small buildings were blown down. For some twenty minutes the wind blew, we think, harder than we ever before experienced. About 6 o'clock the wind began to lull, and shifted to the S. W., and the tide commenced falling.
The water at Newport rose about 7 feet above ordinary spring tide, doing considerable damage to the goods in some of our warehouses and some slight injury to the wharves, carrying off large quantities of wood, shingles, &c.
The Plank Road track was washed up as far as the toal-gate [sic]. Hands are engaged relaying it.
Some damage was done to the bridge across the St. Marks River, which has been partly repaired.
The steamer Spray and brig Sampson, Capt. WHEELER, lying at Newport, did not sustain any injury.
At St. Marks, the damage done to the shipping lying at the wharves was most disastrous.
All the wharves at St. Marks are gone. About forty feet of the south end of the Western Railroad warehouse, in which was the office of the Collector of Customs, was entirely unroofed.
The three revenue boats, two of them copper, costing the Government about $500 each, were blown about one mile from the river. Recovered uninjured.
The stores of MR. GEO. HINES and MR. SPENCER were carried away, and their goods scattered in every direction. The dwelling of MR. C. MOONERT, and a small building belonging to MR. MERRILL were carried away. The railroad office, stable, negro quarters, &c., are gone. The railroad track is washed up for the distance of half a mile from the river.
From the Light House, we learn that the keeper's house and breakwater were washed down. All the oil was lost. There was not a boat left on the beach. The persons there sought refuge in the tower, which, it is said, swung to and fro like a tree.
The Wakulla bridge is gone.
As far as we have heard from the surrounding country, much damage has been done to the cotton crop. From the cotton growing portion of our own country, we learn that the portion of the crop which remained unpicked was nearly all destroyed. COL. RICHARDSON'S gin house was blown down.
A gentlemen from Jefferson gives it as his opinion that from fields which have not been picked, there cannot be obtained one bale of cotton from ten acres.
We are told that on the Turpentine Plantations the number of trees blown down is greater than was ever blown down by any storm which has heretofore visited this section of country.
The houses at the Fishing Grounds, at Goose Creek, and Shell Point are all gone, and all the fishing nets, &c., swept off.
On Monday a survey was held on the bark W. H. Brodie, brigs J. G. Anderson and Wacissa, and schr. J. Vail. The Board of Surveyors ordered the Anderson, which had taken in some 600 bales of cotton, to unload.
The Wacissa commenced discharging her cargo this morning.
The Surveyors gave no orders in regard to the Brodie, Wacissa and J. Vail, but merely reported the position in which they were lying to the agents and underwriters.
On Tuesday a survey was held on the John Denham. The Board gave it as their opinion that it would cost more than se was worth to get her off.

The New York Times New York 1852-10-23