The Deadliest Woman in the West
Mother Nature on the Prairies and Plains 1800–1900
by Rod Beemer
The storm was expected.
The hurricane-force winds were suspected.
The devastation was neither.
According to the 1900 U.S. Census there were 37,789 residents on the island. After assessing the storm damage, Texas Governor Joseph D. Sayers stated his belief that the loss of life was 12,000.
Other reports place the number at “six thousand in the city, one thousand on the island, and one thousand on the mainland.”
No one will ever know for sure, but there were roughly thirty thousand survivors; each with a story of deliverance. And there were roughly 8,000 to 12,000 tragic stories of death. Most of these stories will never be known.
Yet, there are thousands of recorded incidents showing why the 1900 Galveston Storm reigns as the most deadly natural disaster in U.S. history.
— The Deadliest Woman in the West, p 320
THE GALVESTON HURRICANE OF 1900. The disastrous New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12. A devastating tornado ripped through St. Louis, Missouri, killing more people than Custer lost at the Little Big Horn. Mighty thunderstorms. Pounding hail. Ravaging floods. Blazing lightning struck men dead and ignited roaring prairie fires. Some of the planet’s most intense weather events played out across the trans-Mississippi West’s prairies and plains. Here is the story of encounters with Mother Nature upon this stage during the nineteenth century. Rod Beemer’s detailed narrative of historic events provides interesting insight into the dangerous, destructive, and deadly obstacles these daring pioneers faced while traversing and settling the nation during its westward expansion.