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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from William Tryon to Wills Hill, Marquis of Downshire
Tryon, William, 1729-1788
September 15, 1769
Volume 08, Page 71

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[From Tryon's Letter Book.]
Letter from Governor Tryon to Lord Hillsborough.

Brunswick 15th Sept 1769.

On Thursday the 7th instant we had a tremendous gale of wind here. It began about 10 in the morning at North East and blew and rained hard till the close of the evening when both wind and rain increased. The wind shifted before midnight to the North West. The gale became a perfect hurricane between twelve and two o'clock on Friday morning the 8th instant. The fury of its influence was so violent as to throw down thousands and I believe from report hundreds of thousands of the most vigorous trees in the country, tearing some up by the roots, others snapping short in the middle. Many houses blown down with the Court House of Brunswick County. All the indian corn and rice leveled to the ground and the fences blown down, add to this upwards of twenty saw mill dams carried away with many of the timber works of the mills, and lastly scarce a ship in the river that was not drove from her anchor and many received damage. This my Lord is but the relation of what happened within fifty miles of this town. We are therefore in hourly expectation of receiving as melancholy accounts from other parts of the province. It is imagined that as the corn was within six weeks of its maturity, the planters may save about half a crop, but they have no hopes of recovering the rice lying at this period under water from the freshets that this gust occasioned. The country will I fear be greatly distressed this winter for provisions as far as this gale has extended, for the people will not only be short of corn, but the hogs which are the support of many families will lose the acorns and nuts in the woods which used to fat them for market, the wind having stripped every acorn from the trees before they were ripe. In short, my Lord, the inhabitants never knew so violent a storm; every herbage in the gardens had their leaves cut off. This hurricane is attributed to the effect of a blazing planet or star that was seen both from Newbern and here rising in the east for several nights between the 26th & 31st of August, its stream was very long & stretched upward towards the So West.