National Weather Service

Forget Cristobal, which will maybe offer up rough seas as it passes well off shore. Lots of folks around here will remember Hurricane Gloria. And maybe your parents or grandparents remember Hurricane Diane. But apparently you’d have to be a real-life Boston Brahmin to have a relative that lived through the granddaddy of all New England storms, the Great Colonial Hurricane of Aug. 25-26, 1635. The storm punished the Pilgrims and Puritans 379 years ago.

The National Weather Service has culled accounts from mariners and settlers at the time and pieced together an estimated storm track and surge pattern for the storm. They estimate the storm was a Category 3 hurricane at landfall somewhere along Long Island Sound and plowed into settlements made of wood and the sweat of our forebears’ brows.

The Boston Globe dug up some contemporary accounts of the hurricane, including one from William Bradford—yes, that William Bradford:

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Writing at the time, William Bradford recounted that the hurricane, “blew downe sundry houses & uncovered others.”

“Diverce vessels were lost at sea, and many more were in extreme danger,” he continued. “It caused ye sea to swell about 20 foote, right up & downe, and made many of the Indeans to clime into trees for their safetie.”

Click here to read the full Boston Globe report.