Southern, FL The "Labor Day Hurricane", Sept 1935 - Death Toll Exceeds 200



Only 11 of 192 Reported
as Left Alive in One
Florida Camp


Planes and Ships Speed to
the Isolated Keys as Road
Gangs Toil on Repairs


Crossing Lower Georgia and
Is Expected to Blow Out to
Sea Over the Carolinas

MIAMI, Sept. 4 — Scenes of horror
and desolation greeted the eyes of
rescue workers tonight as they
penetrated the storm-battered Florida
keys to count the dead, estimated
unofficially at upward of
200 while the hurricane apparently
was blowing itself out in South
Conservative estimates, which included
tho made by the Red
Cross, placed the number of dead
at possibly less than 200, while
other figures, received from various
sources, ranged upward to between
400 and 500.
Leonard K. Thompson, Red Cross
disaster relief chairman in t he hurricane
area, advised his Washington
headquarters tonight he believed
the death toll would be less
than 200. This estimate, he said,
was made after contact with all
hitherto unheard from points in
the area.
No estimate of the crop and property
damage could yet be obtained
and it was likely a factual total of
the loss of life would not be available
for days. The Red Cross figure
was the first of a semi-official nature
to be announced.
Rescue forces were being organized
in all parts of the affected
area, however, and it was hoped
restoration of communication lines
would quickly reveal the extent of
the storm.
There were reports of high winds
in Northwestern Florida tonight before
the storm passed into Georgia,
with some property damage, but no
indication of loss of life. The
Weather Bureau at Jacksonville
said the disturbance, with decreased
intensity but still attended by shifting
gales, was expected to cross
the lower tip of Georgia and pass
out into the Atlantic through the

West Coast Property Damaged

After lashing the keys early yesterday
the hurricane had zigzagged
across the southern tip of the
mainland through sparsely settled
sections and hurled part of its fury
on Tampa, St. Petersburg, Bradenton,
Sarasota and adjacent communities.
No loss of life was reported
from that section, although
communication lines were paralyzed.
As for the widely varying estimates
of the storm's toll, the Jacksonville
Coast Guard station said
that between 200 and 400 persons
were dead at Matecumbe, where a
number of World War veterans
were engaged in a road-building
project on the keys.
An estimate that the dead in the
keys would not exceed 300 came
from Dr. Joe Stewart, who late today
completed an aerial survey of
the storm-swept keys.
George Branch, station master
at Islamorado, toward the north
end of the island chain, reported
to the Florida East Coast Railroad
that he counted nearly 150 bodies
and estimated the storm had
claimed several hundred lives.
From Jack Combs, a Miami undertaker
who led a rescue expedition
into the keys, came a report
that between 400 and 500 persons
may have died.

Two Camps Isolated

In his report to Washington, Mr.
Thompson said 100 known dead
were from the neighborhood of Veterans'
Camp 1, on upper Matecumbe
Key. One out of every three
persons at that camp was said to
be dead.
Rescue workers for some time
had difficulty in reaching two other
veterans' camps, numbers 3 and 5,
located on lower Matecumbe, which
was isolated when winds and flood
waters carried away the bridges.

(The final death toll of the hurricane was estimated to be between 250-300)

Sept. 5, 1935 edition of The New York Times