August 13 - 1635: Mammoth hurricane almost destroys Plymouth, Upper Cape

1983: Twenty Spanish sailors rescued

1635: Mammoth hurricane pounded colonial villages, swept Cape

Pilgrims are nearly wiped out, seventeen Indians drown

he winds whipped up to 130 mph, snapping pine trees like Pick-up- Stix and blowing houses into oblivion. A surge of water, 21 feet high at its crest, engulfed victims as they desperately scurried for higher ground.

The merciless storm, pounding the coast for hours with torrential sheets of rain, was like nothing ever seen before. One observer predicted the damage would linger for decades.

This wasn’t New Orleans in August 2005. This was New England in August 1635, battered by what was later dubbed “The Great Colonial Hurricane” — the first major storm suffered by the first North American settlers, just 14 years after the initial Thanksgiving celebration in Plymouth Colony.

Once the weather cleared and the sun rose again, the few thousand residents of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies were left to rebuild and recover from a hurricane as powerful as 1938’s killer Long Island Express. The 20th century hurricane killed 700 people, including 600 in New England, and left 63,000 homeless.

The settlers easily could have packed up and gone home,” said Nicholas K. Coch, a professor of geology at Queens College and one of the nation’s foremost hurricane experts. “It was an extraordinary event, a major hurricane, and nearly knocked out British culture in America.”

Coch said the pioneers from across the Atlantic likely endured a Category 3 hurricane, moving faster than 30 mph, with maximum winds of 130 mph and a very high storm surge — 21 feet at Buzzards Bay and 14 feet at Providence. Reports at the time said 17 American Indians were drowned, while others scaled trees to find refuge...

1983: Spanish Ship Aground; 20 Sailors Rescued

On this day in 1983 the Coast Guard rescued 20 Spanish sailors from life rafts after their trawler ran aground between Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. A man whose small boat sank while he was fishing also was rescued. He had clung to to a seat cushion for 12 hours.

Coast Guard spokesman Craig Wellman said the sailors had been rescued from life rafts after their fishing trawler, the 123-foot Spanish Tesarte, ran aground shortly before midnight. No one was injured and the ship remained intact. Richard Cosgrove, 26 years old, of Colchester, Conn., was the man rescued after spending 12 overnight hours in the water. He was treated for exposure.


CapeCodToday.com welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on CapeCodToday.com.