The Earthquake

Further accounts of it are received by every mail.  At present we are unable to trace its extent, in a northern direction (east of the mountains) beyond the city of Washington, we find however, that on this side, it has been felt in much higher latitudes.  In our last notice such information as had reached us by the preceding mails.  But since then several shocks have been experienced in this town; indeed, there was not a day for three weeks together in which one or more were not perceived. — The Pittsburg Mercury, in speaking of the phenomenon, as felt in different places, has this observation; ‘but there is one thing more curious (or at least more uncommon) that the earthquake which is not mentioned in the papers of other towns — it is the light that was perceived at the time of the concussion.’  Now this light was visible to some in Cincinnati, and likewise at Knoxville, Tennessee where, it is said, ‘at the end of the first & longest shock there were in a direction due north, two flashes of light (an interval of about a minute between them) much resembling distant lightning.’  At Nashville (Tenn.) the same earthquake was felt, succeeded, within a few minutes of the first shock, by a ‘rumbling noise, like the rolling of a heavy body over the floor of an adjacent room.’  It is stated to have lasted between 5 and 6 minutes.  Another shock (says the same account) ‘did some injury, such as displacing and knocking the tops off chimneys and several houses were moved several inches.’  We suppose the writer meant to say, the houses were rocked.

 — From Vincennes (I T) we learn that repeated shocks happened there on different days by which ‘two or three brick chimnies were cracked, and the roofs of several house thrown off — so says this account! — By the Pittsburgh Gazette it appears convulsions were perceived at the same time far up the Allegheny River at Meadville and Waterford, where three smart shocks were felt on the 16th and 17th ult. —

Having now before us some particulars of the earthquake, as felt at Marietta, we shall barely notice as a fact corroborative of various other statement, that by some an explosion was heard, resembling the noise made by emptying loads of small stones, or that of a carriage in rapid motion on  pavement. — Concussions were also felt at Clarksburg, Va. But the account of them is too meager to merit particular notice.  We are yet disappointed in hearing from the Missouri.

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


How to cite this article: "The Earthquake," Western Spy (Cincinnati, Ohio), 11 Jan. 1812, p. 3, available at