Communicated: Earthquake

Monday Evening, December 16

During the 12 hours, ending at 11o’clock a.m., of this day, our town has experienced several shocks of an earthquake.  The first and most considerable, as to force and time, occurred about 20 minutes after 2 o’clock.  It shook the houses, rocked the furniture, opened several partition doors that were fastened with falling latches, and threw down bricks from the tops of some chimneys.  Its duration was computed by different persons, from 2 to 5 minutes.  In about half an hour this vibration was succeeded by another, less violent and considerably shorter.  At 20 minutes past 7 o’clock, or in five hours from the first, a third shock was felt.  It commenced gradually, became strong enough to produce all the effects of the first, in a lesser degree, and nearly subsided in about a minute when it was succeeded by a fourth, more violent than it, but of only a few seconds duration.  In 8 or 10 minutes a fifth followed, about as strong as the second.  Between 10 and 11 o’clock the 6th occurred, but was so slight as not to be generally observed.  It is asserted by some that 2 or 3 shocks were felt the preceding evening; but this, perhaps, is incorrect.

It appears, from the observations of the bulk of our citizens, that no rumbling noise in the air or in the earth, nor any flashes of light, preceded or attended these vibrations, tho’ the contrary is asserted by a few.  It is certain that no unusual sound was heard before the third and fourth concussions.

The first shock was felt in Newport, on the opposite side of the river, where it threw down the top of a chimney; and also four miles down the river, where it did the same damage.  We have received intelligence of it occurrence at the Great Miami, 18 miles NW at Springfield, 15 miles N and in Clermont County, 30 miles E of this town.

The morning of the 14th was clear and frosty, the thermometer at 28 degrees.  In the course of the day a gentle breeze spring up from the SE continued till last night.  The thermometer from 28 rose to 38 degrees, and continued stationary at that, till today, when it rose to 48.  During the afternoon oF the 14th it began to be hazy and by the next morning the atmosphere was thick with haze, clouds and smoke.  It then began to mist.  The day proved unusually damp and one of the darkest observed in this country.  The morning of the present day was entirely calm, foggy and smoky, with broken clouds slowly moving from the S.  During the afternoon a faint breeze was observed from the E and SE.  This evening is clear, warmish and perfectly serene.    

To quiet the apprehensions of those persons who expect more violent shocks than those we have sustained, it may not be amiss to observe, that situated as we are, in a level, limestone country, several hundred miles from mountains, seas, and volcanoes, there are no reasonable grounds for dread; destructive earthquakes having probably in no instance occurred under such circumstances.

The above communication was written on Monday evening.  The same night the above was written several persons state that a slight shock was felt about 9 o’clock; and yesterday, the 17th, about 12 o’clock, another slight shock was pretty generally felt, which lasted about one minute.

Made possible by the Rivers Institute and the
History Department of Hanover College.


How to cite this article:  "Communicated: Earthquake," Liberty Hall (Cincinnati, Ohio), 18 Dec. 1811, p. 3, available at