Galveston's Devastating 1900 Hurricane and the Shreveport Connection
The Tragic Death of Annie Christian
Greenwood Cemetery; Shreveport, Louisiana
Annie Christian was one of the daughters of Charles Massengale Christian and his wife, Nancy "Nannie" Antoinette Hendricks. She was described as being beautiful and accomplished. Annie's father, Charles. was a prominent businessman and civic leader, descended from a pioneer Shreveport family. In fact, he was born downtown in a log cabin on June 21, 1852. His family endured a lot, yellow fever epidemics, boons and busts financially, but one of the hardest losses the Christian family had to face was the tragic death of Annie.
In late summer of 1900, Annie took an excursion to Galveston, Texas to visit her cousins, the Dorians. Like most well to do young women of the times, Annie would be gone for weeks to enjoy the sunshine and beach. Unfortunately, without much warning, as hurricane predictions were in their infancy...the populace of Galveston was unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with the ferocity of the beast that roared through the mini-paradise on September 8. The Dorians, with their guest Annie, decided to move further inland to their neighbors, assuming that house would be a much safer shelter. It was not. The home was destroyed in seconds and all inside were killed, most trapped, crushed and drowned by falling lumber and furniture. Tragically, the Dorian house stood firm...but empty. Annie's father left Shreveport immediately and made the trip by train and carriage, to get as close to Galveston as he possibly could. The citizens of Shreveport could do nothing but wait and worry, they had very little communication from the area.
A sad telegram arrived from Charles to his wife and was published in local papers:
"...Houston, Tex., September 12, 1900.
Mrs. C. M. Christian, 1052 Reynolds Street:
Poor Annie is dead and buried. Will be home tomorrow."
C. M. Christian
According to SPAR burial records for Greenwood Cemetery, Annie was interred at Greenwood (or at least her headstone set) on the 8th anniversary of her death, Sept. 8, 1908. Charles and his wife are buried in Oakland Cemetery, not far from where he was born. The Christian children bought and resubbed a plot in Section 2 of Greenwood Cemetery for their burials and that is where Annie's life and death are chronicled in granite. (Above photo, Annie is to the left in the family lot.)
The book "Isaac's Storm: A Man, A Time and The Deadliest Hurricane in History" by Erik Larson, gives a fascinating account of the 1900 Galveston hurricane and it's horrific force. Isaac Cline was the National Weather Bureau's chief meteorologist who scoffed at the idea that the Texas coast would ever be vulnerable to such a dramatic weather event. Isaac's brother, Joseph, was fairly certain Isaac was wrong and he was. The island was overtaken, killing an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 people, including nuns and children at the coastal St. Mary's orphanage. Their bodies would be found buried in the sand, nuns and children tied together with rope in an effort to save themselves. Isaac Cline's wife, Cora, also drowned also a victim of the hurricane, which haunted Isaac for the rest of his life.
The blog title comes from a Jimmy Buffet song, "Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season."