|Waiting for the Tidal Wave |
|Willam Ashmead Courtney|
|Rev. William Henry Harrison Heard|
Dr. William Demosthenes Crum, 1859–1912. The son of a white father and a free black mother, Crum attended medical school in the North. There he married Ellen Craft, the daughter of William and Ellen Craft, fugitive slaves who fled to England and wrote an acclaimed book about their escape. Crum assisted Reverend Heard in organizing protests after the earthquake. President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him collector of customs in Charleston, a post that gave him authority over white men. Frank Dawson’s successor as editor of the News and Courier wrote that Crum “is a colored man, and that in itself ought to bar him from office.” President William Howard Taft named Crum consul general to Liberia.
|Marie Hélène Burdayron|
|Dr. Arthur B. McDow|
Grover Cleveland, 1837-1908. Elected U.S. president as a pro-business Democrat in 1884, he owed much of his support in the South to Frank Dawson. The president was fishing when the earthquake struck, and at first sent neither relief nor sympathy. (Even Queen Victoria showed more concern). When Dawson complained, the President turned a cold shoulder to Charleston. Dawson stuck with him in the 1888 election, but the country turned out for the Republican Benjamin Harris, who pledged to "bring freedom and equal rights" to southern blacks.
William John McGee, 1853–1912. This noted scientist was sent to Charleston as part of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Commission. His explanation of the causes of earthquakes calmed many fears. McGee tracked the earthquake in fine clothes and can be seen in many USGS photos wearing a bowler hat. The Charleston earthquake alerted American scientists to the need to study seismicity in North America. Improvements in seisemoscopes and siesemometers soon followed, though no one has yet discovered a reliable way to predict earthquakes.
|William John McGee|
McDougall was served an almost-bald ear of corn in Summerville after the quake. When he complained, his waiter scolded that he shouldn’t be so particular. “Dis de bes’ we kin do, and de Laud have mercy on our souls. It’s ’nuff to wait on the table, when we ought to be in de meetin’ prayin’, sah, widout bein’ ’bused fo’ bringin’ dat kine ob’ curn.”