The Virginia Gazette

Today in the 1770s: September 8

WILLIAMSBURG, September 8, 1775.
Every day last week it rained more or less, and sometimes continued chief part of the night; but on Saturday it never ceased pouring down, and towards noon the wind began to rise, which increased soon afterwards to a mere hurricane, it blowing most furiously from the N.E. till near 10 o'clock at night. Infinite damage has been done to the crops of corn and tobacco, much wheat spoiled in barns, a great number of trees blown down, and almost every mill-dam in the country given way. Capt. Robertson and capt. McCunn, both lying at Yorktown, bound for London, and laden with tobacco, were drove ashore, and must unload before they can be got off; but the Prospect, Norwood, likewise for London, with tobacco, had the good fortune to ride out the storm, and has received no injury. Some other smaller vessels were drove ashore, but will be got off with little damage.

Virginia Gazette (Purdie) September 8, 1775
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Also known as the "Independence Hurricane", this savage hurricane raged from North Carolina to Newfoundland. Heavy rains began to fall across the colony on the 29th of August and slowly increased with time. The coast was ravaged from Currituck to Chincoteague. Wharves and storehouses on the waterfront of Norfolk were devastated. Bridges were carried away by the raging waters. At Williamsburg, mill dams broke and corn stalks were blown flat. Winds blew furiously until 10:00 p.m. Many ships were damaged as they were thrown ashore at Norfolk, Hampton, and York. Around twenty-five vessels were run ashore, or "irrecoverable gone." More than 4000 fishermen were killed off Newfoundland when the storm reached that island a few days later, making this the worst Hurricane in Canadian history.

Sources: 18th-century VA Hurricanes; BBC Weather

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