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Saturday, February 4, 2017

The 1850 Tornado in NC #northcarolinapioneers

The Great Storm of 1850

The GroveThe Grove destroyed in the Hurricane of 1850. " The storm has accomplished a vast work of destruction to the corn and fodder, and the tide rose to a height unparalleled in the recollection of the oldest inhabitant. We understand that the storm was severely felt in a portion of Franklin County, and that its ravages in Halifax were most destructive and appalling. We learn, for instance, that in one place in Franklin County, a cow was thrown some eight or ten feet and lodged in the branches of a tree ! Several calves, it is stated, were lifted from their pens in Halifax, and torn limbless".; " The bridge across Ouankey Creek, on the Wilmington Rail Road, at Halifax, N. C. was blown off and it is four feet higher than had ever been known in the piers, and now lays alongside of them. We learn that the Roanoke ran within eighteen The plantation of Mr. Crowell, four miles south of the Gaston Rail Road Bridge. Mrs. Eppe's Grove at Halifax (which will be re membered by visiters to that place,) was injured to a considerable extent by the tearing up and blowing down of the trees. One end of the depot at Halifax was likewise blown down."

Petersburg News. The most violent, terrific and destructive Tornado ever known to this section, accompanied by hail and heavy rain, visited our town, Saturday night inst, about 10 o'clock. Commencing in the South, it took its course nearly due North, lighting up as it passed the surrounding atmosphere and particularly the embodiment of the storm with a bright twilight glow. We have not ascertained how far south it commenced, but it passed through a large portion of Dumplin Town, prostrating fences, trees and houses in its course, and sweeping from fields of Corn and Cotton every vestige of Their luxuriant : growth. John Ponton, Esq.. sustains a loss of several hundred dollars. The Rail Road Bridge across Quanky, which cost the Company, we learn, $15,000 is totally demolished, not a piece of timber remains upon the Piers, but there they stand fractured and frowning in solitary grandeur, the lone chronicles of departed greatness. The entire bridge, 300 feet in length,was carried a distance from its foundation and precipitated with a tremendous crash to the bottom of the Creek."

"The Grove which has stood for generations past, the ornament of our Village, is a complete ruin. Hundreds of the stoutest Oaks are shivered to the earth. Large trees were carried 20 steps from where they grew and limbs of enormous size were whirled hundreds of yards in tbe air light as a feather on the surge. The large folding door of the Railroad warehouse was forced open and one entire side of the house was blown down. No material damage was inflicted upon the town, as it was brushed only by the right wing of the tempest. Mrs. Eppes arid J. B. Whitehead, Esq., through whose farms it passed,clearing a path about a quarter of a mile wide, sustain a considerable loss, by its ravages. On the plantation of Mrs. Joyner, now in the occupancy of Mr. Evans, every building was blown down except the house occupied by Mr. E. and bis family. Mrs. Austin's large brick residence is much damaged, every chimney was broken off the blinds taken from the windows and carried beyond the reach of discovery, and the beautiful giove fronting the building is split up into fragments. Beyond this we have not yet traced its desolating progress, but we expect to hear still further of its wasting effects. Over a space of 12 miles it has passed like electricity, through fields and forests and dwellings, leaving in its broad track piles of sturdy oaks, dismantled houses, blighted vegetation and excavated chasms in the solid earth. Altogether we regard it as the most appalling display of atmospheric power we have ever witnessed, and one well calculated to impress us with the weakness of man and the majesty of Him H who holds the winds in the hollow of His hand."

Halifax Republican. " On Saturday evening the wind began to blow a pretty strong breeze from the South West; it continued to increase in violence, with occasional dashes of rain, until 11 o'clock, when it blew great guns. The hurricane continued to blow with uninterrupted violence, until 3 A. M., when it began to abate. The oldest inhabitant does not remember a severer wind at this place than that on Saturday night. Being in exactly the opposite direction to the wind during the storm in July, it produced a remarkbly low tide, blow ing all the water out of the river, and leaving many of the wharves dry for once. The Medad Piatt, Boutwell, and Clan Fisher, anchored in Trent river, dragged 4shore, but no great damage was done. A flat load of corn containing some forty barrels, lying in Mr. Stover's wharf, was sunk and the corn very much damaged. Beyond this, we believe there was no damage to property; but the beautiful shade trees of Newbern are nearly ruined. A number are blown up by the roots, and not one in town has escaped the ioS3 of some of its limbs. Between the storm and the hurricane, our shade trees have suffered severely. Nothing has been heard from the coast, and we do not know to what extent damage has been done to the shipping. We expect that the corn crops which were about half destroyed by the storm, are entirely ruined now. 

Newbern Republican. Destructive Tornado. " The wind blew here with considerable violence on Saturday night; but some of the adjoining counties were visited with a most violent tornado, carrying desolation and destruction in its train. We learn that it passed through a por tion of Norfolk county with great fnry, doing much damage in the destruction of tbe growing corn, demolishing houses and upturning trees. It likewise passed over Elizabeth City county, prostrating fences, twisting off the corn and carrying it to an almost in credible distance. As an evidence of its force, we were informed, upon good authority, that a plow was taken from the field and carried to a distance of 200 yards. Fortunately it did not pass through the thick ly settled part of the county or the consequence would have been disastrous in the extreme. We learn that in the county of York the dwelling of Mr. Holaday was blown down, and his wife and two other females were killed under the ruins ; several present were also badly wounded and bruised. In Mathews and Gloucester counties it was likewise very severe and destructive, unroofing many houses and blowing down chimnies. The steamer Osceola on her trip to Norfolk, put in for safety under the Eastern Shore, where she en countered the tornado, it washing over her decks with intense violence sweeping off the wheel house and doing other damage. We have not understood to what distance the storm extended, but no doubt it took a wide range. 

Norfolk Argus. " We were visited on Satorday morning, with a heavy blow from the sontb-west, which prevailed without intermission for SO hours. We should not be surprised to hear that it was the wing of a severe gale on the eoast. The Columbus papers represent the gate there on Saturday as very violent. A correspondent writes us from Doncansville, Barnwell district, that great inju ry to the crops had been wrought by it in ail that re gion, corn and cotton being levelled to the ground. We fear this injury has been widely felt."

Charleston Mercury. "We learn that the storm was particularly destructive on the Dan, the French Broad, and the Catawba, in this State. A friend writing from Milton, says: "This part of the country and West and Norm west of us, have been visited with a flood of water unsurpassed in fifty years. The water commenced rising here on Sunday morning about seven o'clock, and about midnight on Sundsy night it was at its height. The water was fire feet in the wearing room of the Milton Factory. The bridge across Dan River at this place was carried away, and we hear that the Danville and Leaksville bridges are gone. The loss on the Dsn haa been immense. I under stand Mr. J. C. Bruce, of Halifax, estimates his loss alone at 920,000."

The Hornet's Nest thus speaks of the effects of the storm in the South Western part of the State : "A very violent storm of wind and rain passed over this section, and as far as we have been able to hear from North and South, on Saturday night last previ ous to 19 o'clock. It blew down many of the trees and fences in this place, and in its ravages did con siderable injury to the corn crops, bending it to the ground and breaking the ear. At a Mr. Calvert's, some 20 or 30 miles from here, in South Carolina, it made the most serious impression, unroofing every house on the place, killing a horse and lifting another which it bore 900 yards. The waters were higher than they have been since bottoms. " 

Source: The North Carolina Standard, Raleight, North Carolina, Sept. 4, 1850 Halifax County NC Genealogy Records

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