The following is the substance of a letter from Mr. Jesse Hunt, of this town, dated near Fort Pickering, Feb. 17th

Mr. H. had got this far on his passage down to Natchez without experiencing any uncommon obstruction in the Mississippi, tho' frequently shook by earthquakes, especially on navigating that river. About [unreadable] experienced before; [unreadable] injury received. About [20?] miles above [New] Madrid the land was sunk in many places, and in others cleft with fissures. Found a part of the town sunk from one to 5 feet in depth; the buildings entirely 'knocked down,' and not a chimney standing. According to reports of the inhabitants, the country for 20 miles back was entirely destroyed; in some parts sunk, in others broken up with fissures, and lying in 'waves like the ocean.' - - T'was also said, the river rose from 10 to 20 feet in the short space of 20 minutes - - that several boats were lost, others driven on shore; that a family of a mother and 7 children were lost with one of the boats, the husband only being saved. From Fort P. to the Little Prairie, Mr. H. says the scene is truly distressing and far beyond the account given of it by Mr. Beckel (published in the Western Spy some time since.) Mr. Blackman, a gentleman in company and well acquainted with the Mississippi, says he does not see much difference, as to the sawyers, except that in one or two places, they are disturbed with their roots upwards, and stand somewhat thicker than before the convulsion occurred. Mr. H. confirms what was said in our last number, as to the inhabitants of New Madrid having fled and encamped in the fields; and adds that the cause of its ruin was the early shock of the 7th Feb. The Little Prairie was entirely abandoned.

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


How to cite this article:  "Earthquake," Western Spy (Cincinnati, Ohio), 4 Apr. 1812, p. 3, available at