1788: Account of a Hurricane

Middletown, Sept. 15.

William Van Deursen
William Van Deursen

On Thursday last arrived here the Sloop Hannah, William Van Deursen, master, 27 days from Martinico, but last from St. Eustatia. He informs that he was blown out of Martinico the 14th of August, in a heavy gale of wind. The gale came on in the morning of the 14th, the wind at N.E. with very heavy squalls of rain–at 11 A.M. the wind back’d to N.N.W. and began to blow fresh–at one P.M. it blew a hard gale. Capt. Van Deursen then went out of the road, being the second vessel out, a great sea beginning to heave in. The wind then haul’d to N. and kept increasing, so that he could not show any sail, till 7 P.M. when it blew a violent hurricane, the wind veering from N.N.W. to N.E. till 11 P.M. when it shifted suddenly to S.W. and blowed with redoubled violence till one A.M. when the gale broke. Capt. Van Deursen then found himself to close aboard the land that if the gale had continued half an hour longer he must have lost his vessel. He then bore away for St. Eustatia, where he arrived on Saturday the 16th. Between St. Kitts and St. Eustatia he fell in with the Sloop Dolphin, dismasted, Hiram Coffin, Master, belonging to Casco-Bay, having been upset under Dominico in the hurricane, and lost one man, and his decks all torn up;–the master and one man came passengers with Capt. Van Deursen.–Arrived at St. Eustatia on the 17th, Sloop—–, Israel Bishop, master, belonging to New-Haven, blown out from Martinico, lost one anchor, cable and long boat, under command of the mate, Capt. Bishop being left at Martinico. He informed Capt. Van Deursen that when he left St. Pierrs-Road, Schooner ——, John Paddack, master, belonging to this port, and three other vessels, belonging to the Eastward, were drifted almost on shore, he thinks the vessels must have been lost. Arrived, also at St. Eustatia, Sloop —— Phillips, master, belonging to Boston, blown out from Martinico, who on his passage down fell in with a Ship and a Brig, dismasted.

The Shipping at St. Eustatia put to sea, but had no very hard blow, but a very heavy sea from the Southward, heaving into the Road.

On Sunday preceding the hurricane at Martinico, they had a light shock of an earthquake.

There was no account at St. Eustatia of the damage done at the windward, when Capt. Van Deursen left there.

From the Middlesex Gazette (Middletown, Connecticut), Monday, September 15, 1788.

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