Extract of a letter, received in Cincinnati, from Fort Wayne, dated February 7th, 1812


There was a very engaging phenomenon attending the sun on the morning of the 21st January, commonly called Sundags. Tho' it may be a very small matter of speculation to philosophers, it certainly was very interesting to me. I will endeavour to give you a partial description of its appearance; but, as there were no instruments for observation, you will take it as the wild calculations of fancy, and not as a hypothesis. It was observed at the Sun's rising, that he was surrounded by a very large circle, apparently ten times as large as his disc, with bright lines dividing his surface into quarters; the line running N. and S. extending into the heavens beyond the circle to two of its diameters, and ending in points resembling faint clouds. At that part of the circle where the north and south line crossed, there appeared a concentration of light of considerable magnitude, so that it reflected a very visible tract thro' the doors and windows. Indeed, so strong was the reflection from those foci, or points, at it became very painful, in a short time, to the eye of the observer. This sublime phenomenon attended the Sun in his course with little or no change in either position or magnitude, until about 11 o'clock, when it was observed to be dispersing; at one o'clock P.M. very sensible gone, and at 2 o'clock unobservable.

The same letter takes notice of the several shocks of earthquake perceived at that place-in substance as follows:--

December 16, 2 h. 10 m. A.M., 3 min duration; violent, accompanied with a noise resembling distant thunder. Same day, 7 h. 20 min. A.M. 1 min 30 seconds duration; less violent. The third, 12 h., 1 min duration; the weather for several preceding days intensely cold, but at & afterwards moderate. Feb. 7, 3 h. 35 min A.M. [1 min?] 35 seconds duration, accompanied, like that of Dec. 16 with a distant rumbling noise. This was, by far, the most violent and terrific to the [people]; even the fowls left their roost, and [they?] were found at a considerable distance buried in the snow. - - Next follows an account of the Earthquake as felt at Fort Dearborn [i.e. present-day Chicago], which is considerable N.W. from Fort Wayne; and which varies but little from the former. Each accounts place the points of disruption in the S.W. quarter.

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


How to cite this article: : “Extract of a Letter,” Western Spy (Cincinnati, Ohio), 22 Feb. 1812, p. 3, available at http://history.hanover.edu/texts/1811.