This page is borrowed from The Jackson National Weather Service Preview Web Page, now defunct
from The Free TraderNewspaper in Natchez dated Friday, May 15, 1840
Natchez, MS - Friday, May 8, 1840
HORRIBLE STORM!! NATCHEZ IN RUINS!!!
Our devoted city is in ruins, and we have not a heart of stone to detail while the dead remain unburied and the wounded groan for help. Yesterday, at 1 o'clock, while all was peace, and most of our population were at the dining table, a storm burst upon our city and raged for half an hour with most destructive and dreadful power. We look around and see Natchez, yesterday lovely and cheerful Natchez, in ruins, and hundreds of our citizens without a shelter or a pillow. Genius cannot imagine, poetry itself cannot fill up a picture that would match the ruin and distress that every where meets the eye.
'Twas the voice of the Almighty that spoke, and prudence should dictate reverence rather than execration. All have suffered, and all should display the feelings of humanity and the benevolence of religion!
"Under the Hill" presents a scene of desolation and ruin which sickens the heart and beggars description- all, all, is swept away, and beneath the ruins still lay crushed the bodies of many strangers. It would fill volumes to depict the many escapes and heartrending scenes; one of the most interesting was the rescue of Mrs. Alexander from the ruins of the Steam Boat Hotel; she was found greatly injured with two children in her arms and they both dead!
The destruction of the flat boats is immense; at least sixty were tossed for a moment on a raging river and then sunk, drowning most of their crews. The best informed produce dealers estimate the number of lives lost by the sinking of flat boats at TWO HUNDRED! No calculation can be made of the amount of money and produce swallowed up by the river. The Steamboat Hinds, with most of her crew, went to the bottom, and the Prairie from St. Louis, was so much wrecked as to be unfit for use. The steamer St. Lawrence at the upper cotton press is a total wreck.
There is no telling how widespread has been the ruin. Reports have come in from plantations twenty miles distant in Louisiana, and the rage of the tempest was terrible. Hundreds of (slaves) killed, dwellings swept like chaff from their foundations, the forest uprooted, and the crops beaten down and destroyed. Never, never, never, was there such desolation and ruin.
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