Lake Okeechobee, FL Thousands Die In Hurricane, Sep 1928

The Dead.
Bodies recovered at Okeechobee City: FRANK GODWIN, 60; LUCILLE COOK, 3; EUGENE COOK, 3 months; WILLIAM LEE, 79; JASPER LEE, 40; _____ LEE, girl, 2; JESSE STEVENS, 3; WINIFRED FRAZIER, 7; ROBERT LIGHTSEY, 6 months; PAULA RUTH UPTHEGROVE, 5; ROBERT UPTHEGROVE, 4; ELBERT UPTHEGROVE, 7.

Known drowned: DAMON UPTHEGROVE, 23; Eight persons of STEPHENS and FRAZIER families; Five members of the ROBERTS family; Three members of the YEATH family; SYLVESTER ARNOLD; SIMON CARTER; BILL WALDRON.

Jacksonville, Fla., Sept. 19 (AP) -- While the remnant of last week's West Indian hurricane was veering toward the Virginia capes, Florida today canvassed a reported known death list of 250, casualties in the thousands, and an emergency requiring military aid and immediate relief.

Figures Available.
For the first time since Sunday, when the hurricane struck the mainland just south of West Palm Beach, comprehensive figures on the dead and official computation of damage were becoming available.
Prefacing his estimate with the statement that "this storm can't be exaggerated." HOWARD SELBY, chairman of Palm Beach County Red Cross committee last night said the death toll in the county alone, one of the worst hit areas of the state, would range around 400, and that damage would be $25,000,000. Senator JOE T. ROBINSON, Democratic vice presidential nominee who left the area last night after donating the use of his private car, said damage was estimated at between $70,000,000 and $100,000,000.

Wave Swept Section.
But out of the border towns of Lake Okeechobee came word of the greatest loss of life, the missing reported by various relief committees ranging around 300. The hurricane swept up a huge wave in the lake which overran the countryside all along the eastern shore from Okeechobee City on the north to Belle Glade on the southern tip. The dead as verified by competent authorities, however, was 32 identified.
Confronted by this emergency, Governor JOHN MARTIN authorized military units to proceed into the stricken areas from Tampa, Arcadia and other points, giving Adjutant General V. B. COLLINS authority to confer with the Red Cross at West Palm Beach and use his troops accordingly.

Conditions Critical.
On receipt of reports by the Red Cross at Miami, which escaped harm, that conditions were "extremely critical" from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach, the governor sent a telegram to CHARLES H. MANN, president of the state board of health, which asked fullest cooperation.
Meanwhile, the United States army had cooperated to the extent of sending 1,000 army cots from the fourth corps area headquarters at Fort McPherson, Ga., and seven disaster relief workers were moving into the West Palm Beach area from the Washington offices of the Red Cross. The United States public health service had authorized a representative to cooperate from Jacksonville and planned to expedite delivery of antitoxins.

Serums Needed.
Typhoid and other serums were badly needed, particularly in the Okeechobee section, where sanitary conditions were extremely serious. Relief workers sent in from Miami reported that 150 bodies had been counted south of Fahokee, and only 11 had been moved into the town due to poor facilities. Many were left on dykes to await trucks.
Apparently serious conditions obtained in Florida only on the eastern shore of Lake Okeechobee, and in the Palm Beach Area, which embraced Pompano, Deerfield, Delray, Boynton, Lake Worth, Canal Point and smaller adjoining communities.

Storm Turned.
Central Florida escaped harm of serious nature when the disturbance turned Monday morning somewhere east of Tamps, and struck toward Jacksonville. Minor damage was reported there, together with interrupted communication lines, conditions which obtained up the Atlantic coast as far north as the Carolinas. Western Florida escaped unscathed, and Clewiston and Moorehaven on the western side of Lake Okeechobee apparently escaped with only minor damage.

Continued

Comments

1928 hurricane

Trying to find casualty list for this hurricane. Trying to find out if Mr. HH Jones and his wife Carrie were killed in this storm. No record of them exists after 1919 and they were supposedly traveling in Florida with his job. (Salesman, never heard from again, supposedly lost in this hurricane or the one in 1926.) Help would be appreciated. Thanks!

My grandfather

Arlan was also my grandfather - the father of my father who was 10 years old and who was with his mother and 3 siblings in a concrete building (he was oldest of the great uncles of which you speak). Your great grandfather / my grandfather was actually trying to save this other family - some of whom perished - by placing them in the attic of a house which later was washed off the foundation and crashed into a church building. The oldest daughter who actually survived, told the story later to my father and grandmother. If you want to know what she said, e-mail me and I will share all that with you - Just heard the story again this weekend while visiting with my 94 year old father.

Grandfather survived this storm

My grandfather survived this great storm. He was in Belle Glade farming beans for another man. When the storm hit he managed to get to a tree and climb to the top. After the storm he moved back to the North Florida panhandle and never came south again. He refused to talk about the storm or the times after it was over. Until the day he died if a thunder storm or bad rain storm came over the house he would always get everybody to the center of the house for safety. He never got over the fear of bad weather from then on.

you are welcome

Lillian
You are most welcome. And I thank you for sharing your story on this tragedy, which is surprisingly not remembered in many parts of the United States.
God Bless
Stu

My great-grandfather...

...drowned in the 1928 hurricane. His name was Arlan Woodham. He had gone to Belle Glade to work and earn money for his family; he left my grandfather, great-grandmother, and my two great-uncles and great-aunt behind in Frostproof, Florida, planning to send for them when he had enough money for a homestead. Sadly, that never happened. He was staying with a family there, and every member of the family drowned with him except for the two youngest girls who escaped death by clinging to tree branches when the waters rose. Their story was actually featured in an issue of "Reader's Digest." He was loved very much by my grandfather, who told me so many stories of him and how kind he was when I was little that I, despite never having met him, love him too.

I was in a boating accident in 1997 in which I almost drowned. I thought of my great-grandfather then, and have never forgotten those feelings. It's almost unbearable to think of what he must've gone through then.

Thank you for remembering the victims of this terrible tragedy. Even though it was 80 years ago, they still have relatives who care.