Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Western Spectator, December 21, 1811

On the morning of Monday the 16th instant, at 35 minutes past 2 A.M. the inhabitants of Marietta and the vicinity were alarmed by a violent shaking of their houses, which was soon found to proceed from an earthquake. The same motion was felt at 20 minutes past three and at half past seven, when the tremor of the ground continued, we are informed until about eight o’clock – and was again felt with less violence, on the following day, a few minutes before noon.

The sensations of different individuals on the first shock were different of course, but were generally those of alarm, aggravated beyond even what must naturally be felt on such occasion. We suggested in our last the groundless apprehensions of our citizens concerning the Indian hunters, squaws and papooses, encamped at no great distance from us. We regret to add, that instances of thieving and even housebreaking have of late been alarmingly frequent among us. The motion and noise caused by the earthquake we believe was rather calculated to impress people just waking from a sound sleep with the idea that some persons were breaking into their houses. To many the idea of invading Indians! was suggested with all its horrors – and several seized their weapons to repel the tomahawk. Some dodged with great skill to avoid being caught by invaders whom they fancied to have entered their castles. To others the idea of house breakers more naturally occurred.

The first shock was certainly very strong – but quite different from earthquakes which have previously been felt by the writer of this article. It was of much longer continuance and stronger with more regular motion, and less trembling.

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 a pavement.

* * *

Gov. Meigs has issued a proclamation, reciting that whereas an unusual number of Indians are hunting on our grounds – to which they have a right by the treaty of Greenville – it being also forbidden by a law of Ohio to sell them spirituous liquors – all persons are enjoined not to molest said Indians while they demean themselves peaceably; and to forbear selling them spirituous liquors.

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