Orangeburgh, SC Devestating Tornado, May 1861


The Orangeburgh correspondent of the Charleston Mercury, gives the following account of a tornado which visited that district on May 6:
"It began about 4 1/2 o'clock, going from west to east. It first broke in its fury upon the plantation of L. C. GLOVER, Esq., doing much damage to the fences and very seriously injuring one of his negroes. Rapidly passing from this locality, it rushed in its desolating course successively over the plantations of R. T. H. LEGARE, J. J. ANDREWS, H. ELLIS and H. WANNAMAKER, tearing the fences to pieces, and ripping up the crops most frightfully. It next swept through the plantaion of MRS. JOHN O'CAIN, utterly destroying all the buildings upon her place, crippling one little negro, and throwing MR. GEO. H. POOSEE about 100 feet, literally covering him with lumber. It next passed to the plantation of DR. J. G. JENKINS, and here the work of devastation was most complete. The Doctor's dwelling and out-buildings were entirely new, and well arranged, but so utter was the destruction wrought in a moment by the furious whirlwind that scarcely a vestige of any of the houses remain. Two of his negroes were instantly killed, and he himself, his wife and child and two negroes were badly bruised and wounded.
The hurricane next passed over the plantation of JNO. RICKENBACKER, Esq., destroying all his negro houses, and wounding one or two of his negroes. It then passed over Four Hole Swamp, but what damage it has occasioned beyond is not yet ascertained.
The course of the gale which I have indicated extends for a distance of twenty-five miles, and the width of the path of the whirlwind was about a quarter of a mile. The roar of the tempest was frightful. When first seen, the whirlwind was red, but soon afterwards it became very black. Its power was wonderful, and it bore heavy fragments of DR. JENKINS' houses more than two miles from the site of the houses. In traversing the wood, it twisted up and prostrated the largest pine trees in every direction, and in one instance it tore up a stone wall entirely leaving it with its foundations highest. I may give you hereafter some further accounts of the effects of this tremendous tornado."

The New York Times New York 1861-05-19