Dispatch, April 11, 1889


Transportation -- Water - WrecksWatermen -- Personal injury

NORFOLK, VA., April 10. -- The crew of Little Island Life-Saving Station, No. 4, found the body of Elijah J. Lawson on the beach this morning. Two hundred and six dollars were found on his person. He was from Cherrystone, Va., and captain of the fishing-schooner Northampton, lost last Sunday. Mate John Parks and Seaman William Brown, of the schooner, were the other men drowned, and John Moody, a colored seaman, escaped to the shore. Mr. Isaac Lawson, the father of Captain Lawson, arrived here today and will carry the body of his son home tomorrow.


Weather -- Northeast stormsTransportation -- Water - WrecksSea -- Fish factoriesNatural resources -- Shoreline migrationInfrastructure -- Public - Government : Life-saving serviceInfrastructure -- Public - Government : Lighthouse service

At Tangier Island and Other Places on the Eastern Shore.

(Special telegram to the Dispatch.)

ONANCOCK via TASLEY, VA., April 10. -- Persons have reached here from Tangier island, in the Chesapeake Bay, bringing intelligence of the immense damage done there by the recent storm. The waves rolled up by the high wind broke upon the eastern side of the island and submerged all the living places, causing many people to take refuge in the upper stories of their houses or go to higher places, where they remained for nearly forty-eight hours in mortal terror of being swept away by the water.

The harbor at Tangier faces the east, and it caught the full fury of the storm. All the vessels laying here were driven ashore, and the pungy John Scarborough was sunk, and is thought to be a total loss. The great shell-pile, on which Captain Henry Crockett's fish-factory stood, was in a great part swept away and considerable damage done to the building. The old men on the island say that such a strong wind and such high water were never seen there before within the memory of those now living. The beach along the entire eastern and southern side is terribly washed and torn to pieces. Captain Crockett estimates his own loss at several thousand dollars.

Lieutenant Wild, commander of the United States revenue marine in this district, has just returned from Matompkin Beach, on the seaside, where he happened to be during the storm. The waves covered almost the entire island and swept the earth away around the life-saving station there. The men in the life-saving station in attempting to walk their beats along the shore had frequently to wade through water waist-deep and time and again had their feet swept from under them by the surging waves. Matompkin Beach was cut away by the waves clear up to the station-house, which was formerly more than a hundred yards from the shore line. The southern part of the island was washed away, making the inlet into Matompkin bay much wider than before.

All the islands along the Virginia coast from Chincoteague to the capes were more or less inundated by the high water, and it is feared that the breakwater protecting Smith's Island lighthouse has been seriously damaged. In the northern part of Accomack George H. Justice had one of the chimneys on the house blown down and the roof crushed in, and John Arbuckle's barn, in the same neighborhood, was blown down and demolished by the wind.

April 11, 1889