At 9:15 a.m. on January 23, 1812, an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.5 hit the area of New Madrid, Missouri. This was the second and smallest of the three main earthquakes that are referred to as the New Madrid Earthquakes. The first earthquake hit on December 16, 1811 continuing with further large shocks on January 23 and February 7, 1812. Thousands of aftershocks are recorded as late as 1817.
See my earlier post for more information here.
One account of the earthquake of January 23, 1812 was left by George Heinrich Crist, residing at the time in north-central Kentucky near present day Louisville:"What are we gonna do? You cannot fight it cause you do not know how. It is not something that you can see. In a storm you can see the sky and it shows dark clouds and you know that you might get strong winds but this you can not see anything but a house that just lays in a pile on the ground - not scattered around and trees that just falls over with the roots still on it. The earth quake or what ever it is come again today. It was as bad or worse than the one in December. We lost our Amandy Jane in this one - a log fell on her. We will bury her upon the hill under a clump of trees where Besys Ma and Pa is buried. A lot of people thinks that the devil has come here. Some thinks that this is the beginning of the world coming to a end.
Another contemporary account can be found in the article entitled "The Earthquake", Liberty Hall (Cincinnati, Ohio), that on 29 Jan. 1812 provided the following report:
At Thursday the 23d inst. at 9 o’clock, A.M., several shocks of the earthquake were felt occurring in quick succession for about six minutes. They were generally thought to be equally severe with the first visitation of this interesting phenomenon on the morning of the 16th ultimo. The houses, as well as furniture, were shook so as to produce very considerable noise; and the vibrations communicated to tall bodies, such as lightning rods, were observed to continue for many minutes. They were ascertained, we are informed, to be S.E. and N.W.About 45 minutes past 8 o’clock this morning (the 27th) a single vibration occurred. It was strong, but only of a few seconds duration. Before neither of these shocks was any unusual noise perceptible.
We feel it a duty to advert to a publication in the “Western Spy” of Saturday last, in which it is stated that for three weeks after the 16th ult. one or more earthquakes were felt every day; and that with intervals of one or more days, they had been constant down to the 25th inst. during which one occurred, and “others were expected!” We have no doubt that the writer of the article alluded to, made his statement with the fullest conviction of its correctness; but in affirming the contrary, we do not hesitate to appeal to our citizens at large, to decide on which side the truth lies.
The shock of this morning constitutes the 11th that has been announced in this paper, and we are confident, as well from attentive observation, as from the general report of our citizens, that no more has occurred, or at least felt by a sufficient number, to warrant an unequivocal assertion of their occurrence.
From the reports of that paper, it will no doubt, be concluded abroad, that, Cincinnati is in the very focus of this grand operation: we wish the truth to be told, and tell it without equivocation when we assert that this place has not received more alarming or frequent visitations than the other places in this and the adjoining states, from which intelligence has been received. Those, therefore, who may be about immigrating to the western country, may consider Cincinnati as secure from the effects of this subterraneous uncontrollable power as any of the sister towns in the Ohio countries.