The water kept rising, and between three and four o'clock the smaller houses began to yield to the resistless force of the waves, which not only moved them from their foundations, but turned them over on their sides and tops. A little later the larger houses began to give way, and death by drowning seemed in store for every person in the place. Great fatality accompanied the giving way of the buildings.
Two brothers named Pomeroy were picked up by a schooner in Sabine Lake. They had been in the water thirty-six hours clinging to their capzied [sic] yawl. Their mother and sister and Mrs. Captain Junker, her son and [a] little girl of the party were lost. The Pomeroys report that fifty lives were lost at the Porter House, where the people had collected as the best place of safety. It went to pieces at nine o'clock. Many persons are missing.
This in brief is the story. The storm made its appearance Tuesday about noon... There were about forty-five women and children at the Porter-house tavern and some fifteen or twenty men...A yawl was hitched to the house, the water having risen about four feet, when the end of the house was blown off and the remaining part of the structure began to shake; the yawl was manned to its fullest capacity, and an effort was made to reach the high ridge back of the town. On the yawl were... Mrs. E. Pomeroy and two daughters...Mrs. Laura Pomeroy and child, Fred Rube, Geo. and Charley Pomeroy... Of these only Fred and Rube Pomeroy are now alive. Let Rube Pomeroy, a boy about 18, tell the story of the yawl Tivas: "About half past 9, when we went on board, the yawl was loaded down to the water's edge, and I and my brother Fred jumped on a plank that was floating near, in order to light it off. I caught hold of the stern of the yawl, and held to it. The sea was terrible rough, and several times we were almost cast off the plank, but I held on to the yawl for dear life. The wind seemed to be blowing in every direction. The yawl was danced around without any effort being made to direct it. Homer King became much excited. He prayed aloud and frequently jumped up and caught his wife in his arms. This excited the other women on board, and they all began to jump up and cling to each other. During one of these spasms a wave struck the yawl and nearly half filled it. All of them rushed to one side and the boat capsized and some of them were never seen again. Carlisle Junger got hold of the bottom of the upturned boat with one hand and held his mother with the other. I grasped my mother and held on for some time, but in a few minutes she died in my arms. My two brothers, George and Charlie, were clinging to the yawl, too. The plank on which I and my brother Fred were drifted away from the yawl, but in about two hours we run on to it. We (Fred and I) in the meantime had got ahold of one of the life-saving boats. It was drifting around. We crawled in, but there was nothing to guide it. Carlisle Junker and my two brothers were still clinging to the upturned yawl. We tried to reach them but could not. They told me they could not hold on much longer, as their fingers were nearly worn off. Carlisle Junker told me that his mother died in his arms. The yawl drifted away toward the lake and was found by W. B. Crawford, of Beaumont, and a search party about two miles inland yesterday morning. Of course they were all drowned. They fought for their lives, but could not win. The boat I was on drifted around and finally reached shallow water beyond the railroad between the two Neches and Sabine Rivers, and finally was picked up by the schooner Andrew Boden.
- A.A. Pomeroy gives a date of death as 1898 in Galveston, TX, stating that the "entire family perished in the Galveston Calamity of 1898". However, evidence suggests this not to be the case. The 1820 U.S. Census shows Joel Pomeroy (1764-aft 1840) living in Vernon, Oneida County, NY; the George Pomeroy who resided in Sabine Pass, TX reported having been born in Vernon, NY when he enlisted in the U.S. Army in Albany on June 23, 1844; therefore, we believe the Pomeroy family who lost their lives on October 12, 1886 were the widow and children George Pomeroy, son of Joel Pomeroy.
- US Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914
- Death Certificate for Oneida (Pomeroy) Woolford lists her mother’s name as Elizabeth Ogden. Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976.
- 1860, 1870, 1880 U.S. Census
- The Galveston Daily News, Galveston, Galveston County, Texas, 22 August 1877
- 1886 Hurricane at Sabine Pass historical marker
- New York Times, 15 October 1886, “The Terrible Gulf Storm.”
- We believe George Pomeroy died prior to the 1886 storm as Eliza Pomeroy is listed as the person who would have been responsible for paying state and county taxes in 1886. See The State of Texas, General Laws of the State of Texas Passed at the Regular Session of the Twentieth Legislature convened at the City of Austin, January 11, 1887, and Adjourned April 4, 1887. Chap. 23.--[H.B. No. 383.] “An Act to release certain inhabitants of Sabine Pass City, county of Jefferson, from the payment of taxes assessed and now due for the year A. D. 1886, in consequence of a great public calamity. Section 1...they are hereby released from the payment of the several sums named, the same being the amount of State and county taxes assessed against them and now due for the year A. D. 1886, to-wit:...Mrs. E. Pomeroy $1 40”