July 2, 1843: The Day It Rained Alligators

Family History
2 July 2013

Times-Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana), Tuesday, July 11, 1843, page 2. Image courtesy of Newspapers.com.
Sure, the sky has never really rained cats and dogs. But alligators? Absolutely.

On July 2, 1843, after a powerful storm, residents of Charleston, South Carolina, came face to teeth with an alligator standing on the corner of Wentworth and Anson, a narrow one-way street lined today with palm trees and power lines on the east side of Charleston near the French Quarter. Editor H. L. Pinckney broke the news in the Charleston Mercury. Though it took longer without the Internet, the story did catch the eye of other editors, and Pinckney’s article was republished in the New Orleans Times-Picayune and the New York Evening Post the following week.
The papers reported that the two-foot-long alligator “had a look of wonder and bewilderment about him,” which is no surprise after his wild ride on a thunderstorm Pinckney described as so terrible “the whole firmament growled thunder and shot lightning” which “burst overhead with a power that shook the solidest of structures.”
Reports stated that the gator “was doing as well as an alligator could be expected to do” after the experience.
—by Julie Ogborn
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