The Great Sea Island Storm
15 Jun 2008
A new marker, erected May 1, 2008 at Penn Center on St. Helena Island by the Beaufort County Historical Society, commemorates The Great Sea Island Storm, which was the most devastating storm to hit South Carolina (aside from hurricane Hugo) and took place on August 27, 1893. The marker reads:
“On the night of August 27,1893 a huge “tropical cyclone,” the largest and most powerful storm to hit S.C. until Hurricane Hugo in 1989, made landfall just E of Savannah, Ga.
With gusts as high as 120 mph and a storm surge as high as 12 ft., the worst of the storm struck the Sea Islands near Beaufort – St. Helena, Hilton Head, Daufuskie, Parris, and smaller islands were devastated.”
The severe storm killed more than 2,000 people and left more than 70,000 destitute in coastal South Carolina and Georgia. Losses in lives and property were most catastrophic among blacks who were former slaves or their descendants. Clara Barton and the American Red Cross launched a massive relief effort, the first after a hurricane in U.S. history. Donations in 1893-1894 fed, clothed, and sheltered thousands.
Editor’s note: The Beaufort County Historical Society dedicated the marker to William Marscher II. For more information please contact Iva Welton at (843) 671-4865 or firstname.lastname@example.org.