Pennsylvania Weather Events

Flooding through Chester and Lancaster Counties in 1805- Worst in History at that time

The Centinel, Gettysburg, PA
September 25, 1805

Philadelphia Sept. 18

By a gentleman from Chester County, Pennsylvania, we learn that on the morning of the 28th ultimo, a tremendous fall of rain took place in the upper end of that and adjacent parts of Lancaster county, such as the oldest inhabitants of the neighborhood never before experienced. Our informant states, that for some time it appeared as though the sluices of the great deep were broken up; that the water descended in torrents, swelling the rivulets and large streams to an enormous height, and rolling impetuously down the hills, swept with resisters fury for all that opposed its progress in the vallies below, bearing down fences and enclosures, as well as mill dams of every description and some buildings; among the latter are mentioned one forge and one coal house totally washed down, another forge nearly washed down and two more much injured; one saw mill carried off, and two others materially damaged and removed from their foundation; one valuable flour mill and one nail factory completely torn to pieces and almost entirely washed away; and three valuable bridges, two of them stone piers, swept off together with sixteen valuable mills and four dams entirely leveled to their foundations, all within a distance of about fifteen miles, principally on the Brandywine, and the smaller streams emptying therein. One or two families were obliged to fly for their lives; leaving their houses and furniture to the mercy of the furious elements; fortunately no lives were lost. The destruction of fences, our informant adds, is almost inconceivable. The best idea he can furnish on the subject is, that on the meadows of one person, nearly 30,000 rails are deposited.

Considerable damage has also been done on the Octorara creek, in Lancaster county, as well as on the streams composing Eds river in Maryland - particulars not ascertained.

On the Brandywine, which presented such a scene as the neighboring inhabitants has never before witnessed, the water in less than eight hours rose twenty feet perpendicular.

Several letters have been received in town, corroborating the above account, one of which says, that this was absolutely unequalled in the annals of American floods.


14 Horses Killed In an 1810 Severe Storm

The Centinel, Gettysburg, PA, June 6, 1810

Harrisburgh, June 2

In a severe thunder gust on Wednesday last, 14 horses out of 17 which were proceeding in teams on the turnpike between Lancaster and Philadelphia, were instantly killed by one slash of lightening. It is said there were riders at each of the teams which escaped unhurt.


July 1824 Severe Lightning Storm Destroys Property and Takes Lives

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)

The Centinel, Gettysburg, PA, July 7, 1824

The thunder, on Monday and Tuesday of last week, appears to have extended over a considerable distance of country. On Monday morning a barn belonging to Capt. T. M'Knight, of Franklin township, was struck by lighning and consumed - and on Tuesday morning, two horses, the property of Mr. Charles F. Wasmus and Mr. James Barber, of this borough, which were in a field together, were killed. On Monday, also, a barn of Mr. David Chriswell, of Mifflin county, Pa., and a barn of Mr. Mane, near Frederick, Md. Were struck by lightning and consumed.

On Monday morning, a man named John Kautz, a mill-wright, was killed in the second story of a mill, near Manchester, Md. On the following night, the lightning struck in several places in the city and suburbs of Baltimore, and a man by the name of Bunce was killed.


1825 Severe Storm In Pennsylvania and Maryland

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)
July 17, 1825

The barn of Jacob Housel, Esq. of Berlin, in this county, was consumed by lightning on Tuesday the 12th instant. Mr. Jacob Coldenbaugh, and his two apprentices, John Anthony and John Koons, were in the barn cleaning grain when it was struck.  They were all stunned by the shock, but Mr. Coldenbaugh immediately recovered  and went to the house for assistance - which arrived in time to save the lives of the young men, tho' the fire had already begun to fall about them. The lightning struck one of them on the left shoulder, where it was divided - one part going down the left side, and the other, attracted by a knife in the right side pocket of his pantaloons, passing across his body, searing the skin severely in its course, particularly where the knife lay. The other was struck across the right side.

On the same evening, the Shop, Stable, barkmill, and bark house of John Weidman, Esq. of Jonestown, Lebanon County, together with about 70 cords of bark and a quantity of hides, were destroyed by fire - one of the buildings having been struck by lightning.

On the same day an excellent barn, the property of Mr. Michael Brenneman, of Annville township, in the same county, was also struck by lightening, and consumed, together with its contents, consisting of about 2000 dozen sheaves of grain, hay, &c.  Mr. Brenneman and two of his workmen, who were in one of the stables, were stunned by the lightning, but soon recovered and escaped.

Two barns, one the property of a Mr. Worthington, and the other belonging to Mrs. Smith on Carroli's Manor, Frederick county, Md were also consumed  by lightning on the same evening.


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