a few days late, but I’ve been working on this list for weeks – a list of those who died in Rhode Island (one estimate was 229) on Sept. 21, 1938 – the great Hurricane of 1938. It came without sufficient warning during a time long before the sophisticated instruments we have today. The names have been gathered from a variety of sources, including Find-A-Grave, but mostly culled from actual death records found at Familysearch.org.
I will update the list with further info and any missing names as I conduct more research. The dead included men, women and children of all ages, members of families, working folks, children getting off their school bus, vacationing folks, visitors to Rhode Island, people enjoying their summer cottages, and others who walked to the shore to watch the waves when the winds picked up. Most drowned, but some died of injuries after being crushed or hit by debris. Some were swept away in their homes, their boats, even in a lighthouse – some, their bodies found days later, others, their bodies never found.
Anyone with additional acedotal info, please feel free to share in the comments section. I would love to flesh out the lives of the folks on the list – to remember the life of each, rather than only names and ages.
Hurricane of 1938 – Deaths in Rhode Island
based on death records and lists found online (which I also used to create a virtual cemetery at Find-A-Grave)
unidentified white male (about 50 years old), probably a fisherman at sea, at Block Island; “body found drowned on Oct. 1, probably result of hurricane of Sept. 21,” according to death record. Buried at Island Cemetery, Block Island. “Washed ashore Oct. 1, 1938, at Dorry’s Cove, Block Island (western shore), man of probably 50, height 6 feet, completely bald.”
Harry Chandler Adams, age 71, died at Charlestown
Cora Ella (Holbrook) Aldrich, age 82, died in Old Buttonwoods, Warwick
Ethel May (Carrier) Aldrich, age 49, a resident of Norwood in Warwick, died at Quonset Point, North Kingstown, due to accidental drowning.
Walter Almon Aldrich, age 79, husband of Cora, died in Old Buttonwoods, Warwick
Mary Ann (Jenkinson) Almond, aged 74, died at Portsmouth
Robert Almond, age 74, husband of Mary Ann, died at Portsmouth
Leonard Augustus Almy, age 46, a maintenance man for Standard Oil Co. of N.Y., died at India Point in Providence of accidental drowning during hurricane (the death record says something unreadable, looks like “last seen in a small boat he was rowing to one of the tanks”).
Edwin Bowen Arnold, age 46, a marine engineer and a resident of Warren, died at Barrington,
Dorothy Ellen Atwood, age 13, died in Providence from head injuries/crushed skull when a brick wall fell on her (while siting in an automobile?) during the “gale storm” – per death record.
Ethel Belle (True) Avery, age 62, died at Charlestown.
Alfred Cornelius Bamford, age 59, died at Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket of “shock, fractured skull” on Saylesville Road, in yard, struck by tree; accident due to hurricane.
Mabel (Bateman) Barber, age 66, died at Charlestown Beach.
Leroy J. Beebe, age 32, he was working at his business, a parking lot at Third Beach in Middletown; his body was found in Little Compton
Harry Norman Bennett, age 65, died at Westerly
Lillian Louise (Bass) Bennett, age 62, wife of Harry, died at Westerly
Alexina (LeHoux) Bertrand, age 48
*Mrs. Bishop, a Sunday School teacher, died in Westerly. (see New England Today Living article)
Beatrice (Brooks) Bliven, age 53, died at Westerly
Ella (Crandall) Bliven, age 72, died at Charlestown
Evelyn Adeline Bliven, age 37, died at Westerly
Myrtie Hall Bradley, age 61
Clarence E. Braley, age 63
Chester C. Breckenridge, age 68, died at Charlestown
Edith Louise (Oatley) Breckenridge, age 65, wife of Chester, died at Charlestown
Joseph Medeiros Brilhante, age 25, died at Portsmouth
Ellen L. Brown, age 71, died at Portsmouth
Ann (Huddersfield) Buckley, age 86, died at Shore Cottage, Quonset Point, North Kingstown, by accidental drowning, along with her daughter Helena (Buckley) Petrie.
Wesley Hibbard Bunce, Sr., age 72, died at Charlestown Beach
Amos Edgar Burdick, age 70, died at Charlestown
Lois P. (Davis) Burdick, age 68, wife of Amos, died at Charlestown
James Patrick Burke, age 58, he was a bricklayer with the WPA working at Ft. Adams; died at Portsmouth
Eva Olivia (Shafer) Button, age 81, died at Westerly
Mae Button, daughter of Eva, age 51, died at Westerly
Adelaide (Bottsford) Byrnes, age 48, died at Watch Hill in Westerly.
Oranzo Joseph Caprino, age 3, died at Middletown
Frank A. Carpenter, age 84, died at Narragansett
Joseph Caswell, age 80, died at Westerly
Ida Chace, age 82, died at Tiverton.
Amy (Huddersfield) (Buckley?) Charnley, age 63, died at Shore Cottage, Quonset Point, North Kingstown by accidental death from drowning. Sister of Henea Petrie?
Walter Bradford Chase, age 65, died at Portsmouth
*Marion Elizabeth Chellis, age 7, of Jamestown (per Jamestownpress.com story), was one of seven children who got off a school bus and was drowned. She was to be buried in Plattsburg, N.Y.
Anne Mary Clark, age 47 died at Charlestown
George Otis Clark, age 68, died at Allen’s Harbor in North Kingstown, from accidental drowning.
Celia Elizabeth (Carr) Clarke, age 86, died at Charlestown along with two of her daughters, Harriet and Florence
Florence Clarke, age 55, died at Charlestown, along with her mother Celia and sister Harriet
Harriet Sumner Clarke, age 58, died at Charlestown, along with her mother Celia and sister Florence
Hattie Mitchell Clarke, age 65, died at Westerly
Isabelle Frances (Manning) Clarke, age 33, a nurse from Queens General Hospital in Long Island, N.Y., died by accidental drowning at Allens Harbor in North Kingstown.
Mabel (Gould) Clemens, age 61, wife of Philip, died at Charlestown
Philip Arthur Clemens, aged 62, husband of Mabel, died at Charlestown
Rosamond Cole, age 79, a resident of Providence, died at Barrington.
Frank Augustus Colwell, age 74, a fisherman, died at New Shoreham (Block Island). A note from the medical examiner, attached to his death record: “his body was found afloat on Block Island shore on Sept. 28. Last seen alive about 4-5 p.m. on Sept. 21, during hurricane, when tidal wave swept away his boat with him aboard. Fragments of his boat found next day along beach, but body not found until 9/28 – in a state of decomposition, but fully identified by his former associates.”
John Francis Considine, age 59, died at Portsmouth Park
Cora M. (Adams) Cook, aged 71.
Lloyd Milton Cook, wife of Cora, age 66.
Genevra C. (Arnold) Crapo, age 72, died at Charlestown.
Elizabeth (Sharples) Craven, age 59
Rev. Patrick J. Crawley, age 69, died at Newport
Walter H. Cremin, age 58, died at Newport
Alga (Olga?) Croce, age 26, a resident of Brockton, Mass., died at Barrington.
George W. Cross, age 65, died at Chalestown
Edith A. (Farmer) Crumb, age 70, wife of Wallace, died at Charlestown
Wallace B. Crumb, age 79, husband of Edith, died at Westerly
Catherine (Welch) Culley, age 79, died at Charlestown
Florence May (Peck) Curran, age 46, died at Allen’s Harbor in North Kingstown, accidental drowning. (house blew down?)
Maria C. (Impagliazza) D’Ambra, age 68, died at Oakland Beach, Warwick, along with her son Philip
Philip D’Ambra, age 37, son of Maria, died at Longmeadow, Warwick
Alice Mary (Hamfield) Davison, age 66, died at Westerly
Mary A. (Dyer) Devine, age 62, died when her house (103 Seaview Drive, Oakland Beach, Warwick) was carried away by hurricane and tidal wave
Minnie T. (Tefft) Dewey, age 71, died at Westerly
Bertha Ann (West) Dinsmore, age 49, died at Westerly
Hugh L. Donnelly, age 32; he is buried in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Teresa V. (Creed) Dorgan, age 64
Arthur Forest Dunham, Jr., age 29, died at Portsmouth, with his father Arthur, Sr.
Arthur Forest Dunham, Sr., age 54, died at Portsmouth, with his son, Arthur, Jr.
Walter Barge Eberle, a 40 year old father of six and former Navy submariner (see IndependenttRI.com story from 2010). the second assistant lighthouse keeper was trapped in a cast-iron Whale Rock Lighthouse when it was washed off its foundation; his body was never found.
Samuel S. Edwards, age 35, a fisherman. His body was found on a beach at Block Island, identified by a receipt in his pocket (per article posted to Find-A-Grave). “Deceased body was washed up on West Beach of Block Island on Friday, Sept. 23, at noon, evidently dead about 36 hours, no bodily injury, no water in lungs; was a seaman, probably washed overboard during hurricane of the 21st; watch stopped at 5:15. Identification positive,” according to medical examiner’s note on death record.
*Rev. Timothy Fitsgerald or Fitzgerald of Massachusetts
Zonia P. “Zoe” (Phillips) Fletcher, age 65, died at Charlestown.
Obeline (Lucier) Fontaine, age 68, died at Charletown along with her husband Walter, when a tidal wave sept over and destroyed their summer home at Charlestown Beach.
Walter Francies Fontaine, age 67, an architect, died with his wife Obeline, at Charlestown.
Angelina (Gendron) Forloni, age 37, a resident of Warwick, died at Barrington.
Ruth Evelyn (Crandall) Friend, age 44, had gone to Misquamicut with the Mother’s Club from Christ Church (see New England Today Living article)
Bernice M. Fuller, age 34, died at Portsmouth, along with her mother Eva V. (Davis) Fuller Wellman.
John Stamos, aged 6, and Constantine, age 5, Gianetis of Jamestown (per Jamestownpress.com story),were two of seven children who got off a school bus and was drowned during an attempted rescue.
Marion (Manuel?) Gomes, aged 33, of Jamestown, a farmer, died from a fracture at the base of his skull after a barn fell on him
Anne Elizabeth (Costigan) Goodby, age 63, died at Conimicut Point, where she was a summer resident.
Robert Gould, age 54, died at Charlestown of a head and skull injury.
Caroline (Drescher) Gruttemeyer, age 66, died at Westerly.
Edward Gustavus, age
Mable F. (Norwood) Gustavus (and son Edward), age 60, died at Middletown; She was wife of George T. Gustavus, lighthouse keeper at Prudence Island Light Station.
William Blake Hareter, aged 13.
Louise May (Needham) Harrop, age 38, died at Babcock Beach, North Kingstown, due to accidental drowning.
Harriet (Roy) Hartenstein, age 64, died at Westerly.
Thomas B. Hartley, age 64, a dressmaker, died at the Weekapaug Breachway in Westerly.
Jessie May (Manchester) Hathaway, age 70, died at Tiverton.
Rosalie Christina (Bickerstaffe) Haworth, age 52, died at Narraganset.
Harry Chester Hayes, Jr., age of 29, died at Providence, accidental drowning in flood area.
Marguerite B. (Bolton) Henry, age 78, died at Buttonwoods in Warwick.
Agnes P. (Collier) Herrick, age 46, died at Westerly.
Annie Irene (Bromley) Higginbotham, age 45, died at Westerly. (see New England Today Living article) Harold, Irene and Jimmy had gone to Watch Hill to watch the waves, but hurried back to their cottage, and stopped at another cottage to pick up Alma Bailey who was dating Ken Higginbotham. Their car stalled in flood waters; Harold got everyone out and into a two-story cottage, but the tidal wave crashed into the house. Her remains were found four days later. Alma and Harold survived.
James “Jimmy” Wilson Higginbotham, age 10, died at Westerly.… he was found unclothed, under eight feet of rubble, near Brightman’s Pond, identified by his brother Stan (see New England Today Living article)
Hubert James Higgins, age 48, he andd his wife died at South Kingstown.
Kathryn Gilmore (Feely) Higgins, age 47, died with her husband at Narragansett.
Ernest Albert Hill, Jr., age 14, died at Tiverton.
Marrion Himes, age 52, died at Charlestown.
Florence I. (Carroll) Holgate, age 56, died at Charlestown.
Annie Alzada (Stedman) Holland, age 62, died at Westerly
Thomas Francis Holland, age 64, a bricklayer with the WPA, a resident of Providence, died at Portsmouth.
Frances (Pedley) Horton, age 71, died at Charlestown along with her husband William.
William Grant Horton, age 73, died at Charlestown, along with his wife Frances.
Frank D. Howell, age 69, died in Portsmouth.
Elizabeth (Schlegel) Inglis, age 74, died in Tiverton.
Harold Christie Jacobs, age 56, died in Greenhill Beach, the site of his family beach home, according to a bio on Find-A-Grave; his body was found a few days later.
Theodore Jean, age unknown.
Abdau Kabbas, age 55, died at Miriam Hospital in Providence, of internal injuries and cerebral injuries; garage door fell on him while closing it during the hurricane causing fracture of metatarsal bones.
Ebenezer Keith, age 56, a fisherman for the Grinnell estate, died at Little Compton.
Gladys C. (Lester) Kenyon, age 43, died at Westerly, along with her parents William Lester and Carrie (Cummings) Lester.
Ruth M. (Henry) Kettlety, age 37, died at Warwick.
Ella (Williston) Kingman, age 83, died at Westerly; informant was a Miss Lester, so probably related to Grace (Lester) Kenyon and her parents William and Carrie Lester, who also died that day.
Minnie M. Kuhlthau, age 62, died at Warwick.
Walter Kurdzo, age 22, died at Narragansett.
Freda G. (Bengtson) Larkham, age 69, died at Charlestown.
Nellie Mabel (Gardner) Leonard, age 73, died at Westerly.
Carrie Eleanor Cummings Lester, died 66, died at Westerly along with her husband William and daughter Gladys (Lester) Kenyon.
William Wallace Lester, age 69, died at Westerly, along with his wife Carrie, and daughter Gladys C. (Lester) Kenyon.
Edythe M. (Crandall) Livingston, age 40, died at Westerly.
Zallee Jayne (Sloan) Livingston, age 62, died at Westerly.
Bartolo LoVerde, age 45, a self-employed real estate agent, died at Conimicut Point in Warwick.
May Rosa (Brogan) Lowry, age 48, died at Westerly.
Hannah Alice (Grundy) Loxley, age 64, died at Charlestown, along with her husband Samuel.
Samuel Loxley, age 69, died at Charlestown, along with his wife Hannah.
Carrie Burdick Lull, age 55, died at Charlesown,along with her father William Lull.
William Barrett Lull, age 82, died at Charlestown, along with his daughter Carrie.
Clorinda Lupoli, age 21, died at Providence when a roof crushed the car she was in – “crushed by roof blown on auto” per death record.
Ellen (Wyatt) Lynch, age 67, died at Newport, along with her husband James.
James G. Lynch, age 74, died at Portsmouth, along with his wife Ellen.
Kate (Brown) Maine, age 76, died at Westerly.
Matoes children (four: Joseph, age 13, Teresa, age 11, Eunice, age 7, and Dorothy), of Jamestown (per JamestownPress.com story), were four of seven children who drowned during an attempt to save them from their stranded school bus. Dorothy’s body was never found.
Alvin Wilson Mawson, age 43, died at Westerly, along with his wife Mary.
Mary C. (Crowe) Mawson, age 44, died at Westerly, along with her husband Alvin.
Elizabeth Agnes (O’Driscoll) McCool, aged 55, a resident of East Providence, died at Barrington, along with her mother Catherine O’Driscoll.
Winifred E. (Stacey) McCooey, age 37, a resident of Blackstone, Mass., died at Barrington.
*Margaret Theresa (Glynn) McDonald, age 63, a resident of Providence, died at Barrington.
James Henry McDuff, age 65, a candy maker at J. F. Gibson’s, died at downtown Providence, accidental drowning.
Elaine E. (Armstrong) McHugh, age 30, died at Portsmouth with her one-year-old son Francis, and her parents Ernest and Hannah Armstrong.
Francis J. “Laddie” McHugh III, age 1, died at Portsmouth along with his mother Elaine, and maternal grandparents.
Katherine Mary (Finnigan) McSweeny, age 63, died at Charlestown.
Helen (Shugrue) Mee, age 30, died at Charlestown, along with children Timothy and Jean.
Jean Mee, age 6 months, died at Charlestown, along with his mother and brother.
Timothy Mee, Jr., age 2, died at Charlestown, along with his mother and brother.
Jennie Bell Miller, age 70, died at Westerly.
*William M. Monks, Jr., age 21, a fisherman, at New Shoreham (Block Island). “Killed instantly by blow at base of brain, fracture of 1st and 2nd cervical vertebra, in an accident on dock at Old Harbor; flying debris, struck by piece of roofing from Ocean View Hotel; broken neck,” according to death record.
Jessi Mary Hurst (Jackley) Moore, age 70.
*James W. Moriarty
*Mary Ann Moriarty
Catherine Murphy, age 49, died at Newport.
Johanna Murphy, age 80, died at Shawomet in Warwick, on date of hurricane; unclear from death record if her death was storm-related.
John Cushing Norris, Jr., age 31, died at Narraganset, along with his mother Maria.
Maria Seville (Dobson) Norris, age 69, died when the hurricane swept over her summer home at Narraganset Pier, along with her son John.
George Washington Northup, age 43, died while visiting at a friend’s home in Conimicut in Warwick.
Mary Nunes, age 40, a resident of Fall River, died at Portsmouth.
Catherine E. (Mullen) O’Driscoll, age 77, a resident of East Providence, died at Barrington, along with her daughter Elizabeth Agness (O’Driscoll) McCool.
Rose (Borges) Oliveira, age 52, died at Portsmouth.
William “Bill” Lockhart Ordner, age 13, and his mother Gladys Marie (Lockhart) Ordner, age 43, of Jamestown (per JamestownPress.com story); Bill was a seventh grade student and, with his mother, was headed to Beavertale to watch the waves when they died at Mackerel Cove.
Emilie (Jacob) Paine, age 83, died at Warwick.
Janie P. (Cornish) Pascoe, age 70, died at Westerly.
Lena Ann (Clarke) Peckham, age 65, died at Tiverton, along with her son Oswald.
Oswald Clarke Peckham, age 38, died at Little Compton, along with his mother Lena.
Grace May (Lawton) Perrin, age 58, died at Westerly.
Helena (Buckley) Petrie, age 58, died at Shore Cottage, Quonset Point, North Kingstown, from accidental drowning, along with her mother Ann Buckley. Sister of Amy Charnley?
Huldah Charlotte (Sealander)Pieczentkowsky, age 56, died at North Main Street, Providence, from “crushing injuries to head” during hurricane; chimney fell while sitting in automobile.
Dorothy Pierce, age 44, died at Charlestown.
Manuel A. Pimental, age 30, a gardener, died at Newport from a fracture of the skull after a pole hit him.
Josephine (Lauzon) Pimintel, age 59, a resident of Warwick, died at Barrington.
Ricardo Pimintel, age 60, a fireman/steam boilers, a resident of Warwick, died at Barrington.
Jessie C. Potter, age 60, died at Charlestown.
Nellie Frances (Vickery) Poutray, age 54, died at Misquamicut, Westerly.
Patrick Aloysius Preston, age 68, a bricklayer with the WPA working at Fort Adams, died at Portsmouth.
Elliefair Ruth Price, age 17, a maid at a summer house for two months, died at Westerly.
Marie Anna Katherine (Lueck) Read, age 69, died at Westerly.
*Thomas Redfern, age 75, died at Providence. He was found dead, notes on his death record list probable causes of death to acute cardiac failure caused by physical strain during the storm.
Dorothy Evelyn Reiss, age 22, died at Middletown.
Mabelle (Hill) Reynolds, age 59, died at Charlestown.
Zoel Rhault, age 83, died at Narraganset.
William Leo Riley, aged 61, a ship builder at Ship Yard, died at Providence, accidental drowning during hurricane, His body was washed up in the flood, and found at Providence River at So. Water Street.
Sarah Jane (Kershaw) Rodgers, age 71, died at Portsmouth.
Emily Rushton, age 40, working as a domestic, died at Rivervue, in Warwick.
Charles Albert Sabins, age 53, a fisherman with the estate of Capt. Frank Grinnell, died at Little Compton.
Isabel Arletta Salisbury, age 67, a nurse, died at Bay Spring, Barrington; home swept into Narragansett Bay during hurricane and tidal wave.
Etta Schlegel, age 63, (a printed lists has her age as 59?), died at Tiverton.
Adele (Cilento) Scialo, age 36, a Providence resident, died with her two-year old daughter Louise at Barrington.
Louise Scialo, age 2, died with her mother at Barrington.
Elsie Searles, age 53, died at Newport. A nurse, she had been living in Boston at the time. She is buried in Ontario, Canada.
George Nicholas Sherman, age 64, a fisherman, died at Narragansett. His Find-A-Grave memorial says he lived on the docks at Galilee.
Howard Merrick Smith, age 78, a resident of Lakewood in Warwick, died at Quonset Point, North Kingstown, from accidental drowning.
Margaret Josephine Smith, age 28, a Providence resident and a winder at a woolen mill, died at Barrington
Sarah Hayden (McAdams) Smith, age 76, died of accidental drowning at Narraganset.
Margarida (Andrade) Sousa, age 45, died at Little Compton, along with her husband Vasco.
Vasco Sousa, age 52, died at Little Compton, along with his wife Margarida.
Jessie L. Squires, age 61.
Pauline Stearns, age 48, died by accidental drowning at Charlestown Beach, along with her mother Sarah.
Sarah E. Dow Stearns, age 74, died by accidental drowning at Charlestown Beach, along with her daughter Pauline.
Jacob Stepp, age 70, a retired Navy officer, died at Oakland Beach in Warwick, accidental death by drowning, along with his sister Laura.
Laura Carolina Stepp, age 73, died at Oakland Beach in Warwick, accidental death by drowning, along with her brother Jacob.
Lyra (Kingman) Swan, age 62, died at Westerly.
Margaret (Manning) Sylvester, age 75, died at Allens Harbor, North Kingstown from accidental drowning.
Joseph Wilfred Thereault, age 7 months, died at 26 Bay Ave., Oakland Beach in Warwick.
Martin Thompson, age 70, a retired lighthouse keeper, died at Portsmouth.
John Joseph Thorpe, age 33, died at Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket, with a fractured skull caused by hurricane. He was struck by a telephone pole while walking on Park street; accident.
Jane Augusta (Jacobs) Todd, age 67, died at Westerly.
Laina K. Uusimaki, age 45, died at Westerly.
Mary (Carter) Wade, age 62.
Daisy (Deraleau) Wakeley, age 38, died along with her husband Harry.
Harry Raymond Wakeley, age 41, died at Narraganset along with his wife Daisy.
Betty (Charlesworth)Walker, age 61, died at Portsmouth.
Helen Walsh, age 37, a resident of Pawcatuck, Conn., died at Westerly.
Alvah Francis Warner, age 64, died at Portsmouth.
Flora Celinda (Armstrong) Waterman. age 56
*Ethel B. Allen Watson
Frank Weeden Weaver, age 63, died at Portsmouth.
Job Scott Weeden, age 75, died at Narragansett, along with his wife Margaret.
Margaret (Anderson) Weeden, age 59, died at Narragansett, along with her husband Job.
Eva V. (Davis) Wellman, age 72, died at Portsmouth.
William Henry Whalen, age 50, died at Narragansett.
Nancy Anne (Pearce) Wilbur, age 82, died at Little Compton.
John Downie Wilson, age 53, died at Middletown.
Mae Ella Wischnowsky, age 39, a resident of Providence, died at Barrington.
… and others I have yet to locate a grave for*, including (from a list from the Los Angeles Times, whose names may have been misspelled or who may have otherwise been misidentified):
Glen Alby, a Mrs. Ate, Edward Barber, George Braley, Thomas Cannelan, Rosamond Cole, Robert G. Collinge, Mrs. Currie of Westerly, George Darling of Jefferson Mass who died at Portsmouth; William Fuller of Newport at Block Island; Mr. and Mrs. Harris, Emily Hopkins of Pawtucket; Mrs. William Kuahlthman of New Jersey; Mrs. Landon of Jewett City who died at Westerly; B. I. Lanphere, Mr. and Mrs. Lovelet of Westerly, Herbert Lule, “a Mrs. Mead and two children”, a Mrs. Nazareth of Fall River who died at Portsmouth; John V. Osteline, John Ostermein, Mary Peckham, Richard Peckham – and anyone else I might have missed…