On the morning September 8, 1900 the folks in Galveston woke up just like you did this morning. They ate breakfast, went to work, went shopping and visited with neighbors.
The city was a jewel. Thriving. Prosperous. The third largest port in the nation. The Ellis Island of the West. Before the sun rose again nearly a quarter of them would lose their lives and 90% would be left without roofs to sleep under.
"Galveston is destroyed beyond its ability to recover."
- Army Quartermaster report to War Department
Three quarters of the city was completely demolished. The local authorities were powerless to maintain order. Ghouls looted everything. Some were found with pockets stuffed with gold rings, many still on the owner's finger.
The National Guard arrived and martial law was declared. Private guns were confiscated. Looters where shot on site. John Coulter arrived.
Coulter was a historian, biographer and journalist. His aim was to record the facts of what had happened and to publish the survivors stories...in their own words.
The result is this book: The Complete Story of the Galveston Horror. It was history in its most immediate sense, published less than two months after the storm.
- tales of survival, floating on debris in the darkness
- stories of being conscripted to work on the 'Dead Gangs' disposing of bodies
- descriptions of roaming thugs plundering homes and despoiling bodies
- letters written by survivors to their families in other cities
- the names of all the identified victims...nearly 3000 of them.