All the dirt, news, culture and commentary for Oklahoma's second century.

A "corps of spirits" led Stilwell away from Galveston, prior to "Great Storm"

Wikimedia Commons
Arthur E. Stilwell was a remarkable individual during his lifetime.
Fertile Ground Compost Service
Help support Red Dirt Report

OKLAHOMA CITY – It was on this very date, 117 years ago when a Category 4 hurricane, with 145 mph winds, made landfall at Galveston, Texas and killed somewhere between 6,000 and 12,000 people, following the 15-foot storm surge covering Galveston Island, which was only eight-feet above sea level.

All this, as a violent and dangerous hurricane - Hurricane Irma - heads for Florida, just a little over a week after Hurricane Harvey struck Houston, Texas, and later flooded out the Texas cities of Port Arthur and Beaumont, along with many others in that coastal region.

In any event, what is so interesting is that it was that horrific storm – one of the deadliest natural disasters ever to strike the United States – had been anticipated by railroad magnate Arthur E. Stilwell, who had been warned by “voices” (also said to be “brownies”) not to build his railroad, the Kansas City, Pittsburg, and Gulf (later, the Kansas City Southern Railroad), all the way to Galveston. Rather, these “voices” told the seemingly psychic Stilwell to send his new railroad down the 94 degrees west line of longitude to a location which would become Port Arthur, Texas, a town which was named after him.

Why? Because, as we noted in this Aug. 30, 2013 story, “Railroad-building visionary had guidance from ‘brownies’” Stilwell was a special person who had tapped into some unique information via “otherworldly” forces. These forces helped Stilwell avoid Galveston, which, a few years later – as we noted above – would be destroyed in the Great Storm of 1900.

The remains of Galveston, Texas, following the Great Storm of 1900. (Wikipedia)

As I wrote in 2013: “Spiritualism was quite popular in the late 19th and early 20th century. Much of it has been debunked - as Harry Houdini did late in his career - but Stilwell was something different. Since an early age he knew he was going to marry a woman named Jennie Wood - and he did. This "corps of spirits," as Stilwell called it, helped him accomplish many feats - build railroads, establish cities and write books and songs. A renaissance man, regardless of the inspiration.

"The engineering plans that I have put in effect have all come from an engineer who been long dead," Stilwell said in the Times interview, published six years before his death. "I have transcribed scores of poems which have been dictated to me by poets. I have written the music of many songs, which have been dictated to me by musicians."

So, I have been gathering more information about Stilwell, an utterly fascinating individual - for whom Stilwell, Oklahoma is named - and would start six railroads and found approximately 40 towns. Amazing, for a person who simply heard those inner "voices," along with his vivid dreams, and listened to his heart, before making a decision.

While not all went well later in life for Stilwell, he did come out strongly against militarism and war and wrote books/pamphlets on the subject. 

We will be writing more about Stilwell's life and legacy in coming months and are preparing to write a book called The Stilwell Enigma over the next year.

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

Editor & Owner.

Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

read more

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

Member of the Oklahoma Press Association
Member of Investigative Reporters & Editors
Member of Diversity Business Association
Member of Uptown 23rd

Rotary Club of Bricktown OKC
Keep it Local OK