'Just devastated,' S.C. woman recalls Hugo

09/01/2009 12:01 AM

09/01/2009 12:44 AM

Mary Scott’s family — the Morrisons — was one of the original founding families of McClellanville. She still lives there, in the village devastated by Hugo 20 years ago, in the home she returned to the morning after the storm, after 10 feet of tide came up in the house that sits between Jeremy Creek and the waterway.

“We went across the highway (before Hugo hit) thinking we’d be safe from the water there. We were at the Crab Pot restaurant (on U.S. 17) with our friends, the McClellan family, and my mother-in-law and her sister.

“ ... During the storm, the tide came in the restaurant. It was knee-deep when (we) decided we better leave. It was early morning, still dark outside.

“We had a truck, and by the grace of God it cranked. I have four children, she has three, and our husbands and (relatives). There were a lot of people. We all got in the truck. Two of the older boys walked beside the truck because you couldn’t tell where the highway was. Several tornadoes had touched down, and there was tin flying from the roof next door. We went to a house about a half-mile down from the Crab Pot — it was up on a hill — and we stayed there until the morning.

“We started walking in. You couldn’t drive into the village. When we got to the first road in the village, the friends with us could see their TV was in the street, so we knew things were bad. They lived a mile from there.

“ ... My husband’s a shrimper, so he had to check on his boat. ... Boats were all over town.

“I came on home and the house was still standing, but the inside was gutted. There were furniture and pictures everywhere. We did have an upstairs, so we stayed up there. We didn’t have power for a long time, but people brought in supplies. People were really good. Things got back in order, but it was months and months and months.”

(In the photograph, Scott, a nurse, is giving a tetanus shot to her cousin, Ben Graham, who was working on houses.)

“I had a little patio off the upstairs bedroom, and I used that and my bedroom. I had first-aid stuff up there. It was mostly preventative, (along with) a few minor cuts and scrapes. I stepped on a nail and got a bad infection in my leg, which kind of slowed me down for awhile.

“... Everybody was on the same level — just devastated. It didn’t matter how much money you had, everybody was put on the same level, and everybody helped everybody.”

— Megan Sexton

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