Violent November 1798 Snow Storm and Shipwreck

Shipwreck of the brig 'Hope' at Hampton Beach

Newburyport Herald
November 27, 1798

Portsmouth, Nov. 24.


On Saturday evening last, commenced a violent Snow Storm ; Sunday it abated, Sunday night it increased to greater violence and the wind blew excessively hard from the N. E. -- The tempest continued all day on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and on the evening of Wednesday the weather cleared up. The quantity of snow which fell seems almost incredible, and the oldest people assert that they never knew such a storm so early in the season.

The country posts from various parts inform, that they were obliged to ride thro' fields for miles together, and that in some places where paths had been shoveled, the snow on both sides of the road was as high as their heads when on their horses -- They also observed in several instances the snow was so banked against different houses that it was with great difficulty the inhabitants could get out, until they dug arches under the banks and left the snow pendant above their heads. A few instances of a similar nature accurred in this town and the vicinity.

We fear that many fatal consequences have resulted to our seafaring brethren, but none as yet have came to our personal knowledge, except the brig Hope, Capt. James Hooper, from Demarara, which was coming on the coast, and could not make the harbour ; The Captain and crew finding that their lives were in the utmost danger, (and having previously carried away their mainmast,) were obliged to drop both anchors and make the best of their way to land in an open boat. They were then about six miles from the light house in this harbour, and happily reached the light-house without any lives being lost, where they tarried to watch the vessel, which parted her cables, and drove on Hampton Beach.

Since the storm abated, the Captain & Owners have gone to Hampton, and found the vessel in an upright position, high on the beach, having received but little or no injury in her hull -- and the cargo, (which consisted of Rum, Coffee and Sugars) we are happy to hear, is but triflingly damaged.