This account of the New Madrid Earthquake was recorded by George Heinrich Crist, residing at the time in Nelson County in north-central Kentucky, near the present location of Louisville. It was submitted to The Virtual Times by Floyd Creasey – 4th tier great-grandchild to author, now a Texas resident.
16 December 1811
“There was a great shaking of the earth this morning. Tables and chairs turned over and knocked around – all of us knocked out of bed. The roar I thught would leave us deaf if we lived. It was not a storm. when you could hear, all you cold hear was screams from people and animals. It was the worst thing that I have ever wittnesed. It was still dark and you could not see nothng. I thought the shaking and the loud roaring sound would never stop. You could not hold onto nothing neither man or woman was strong enough – the shaking would knock you lose like knocking hicror nuts out of a tree. I don’t know how we lived through it. None of us was killed – we was all banged up and some of us knocked out for awile and blood was every where. When it got day break you could see the damage done all around. We still had our home it was some damage. Some people that the home was not built to strong did not. We will have to hunt our animals. Every body is scared to death. we still do not know if anybody was killed. I made my mind to one thing. If this earth quake or what ever it was did not happen in the Territory of Indiana then me and my family is moving to Pigeon Roost as soon as I can get things together.
23 January 1812
“What are we gonna do? You cannot fight it cause you do not know how. It is not something that you can see. In a storm you can see the sky and it shows dark clouds and you know that you might get strong winds but this you can not see anything but a house that just lays in a pile on the ground – not scattered around and trees that just falls over with the roots still on it. The earth quake or what ever it is come again today. It was as bad or worse than the one in December. We lost our Amandy Jane in this one – a log fell on her. We will bury her upon the hill under a clump of trees where Besys Ma and Pa is buried. A lot of people thinks that the devil has come here. Some thinks that this is the beginning of the world coming to a end.
8 Febuary 1812
“If we do not get away from here the ground is going to eat us alive. We had another one of them earth quakes yesterdy and today the ground still shakes at times. We are all about to go crazy – from pain and fright. We can not do anything until we can find our animals or get some more. We have not found enough to pull he wagons.
20 March 1812
“I do not know if our minds have got bad or what. But everybody says it. I swear you can still feel the ground move and shake some. We still have not found enough animals to pull the wagons and you can not find any to buy or trade.
14 April 1813
“We lived to make it to Pigeon Roost. We did not lose any lives but we had aplenty troubles. As much as I love my place in Kentucy – I never want to go back. From December to April no man – woman or animal if they could talk would dare to believe what we lived through. From what people say it was not that bad here – They felt the ground move and shake but it did not destroy cabins and trees like it did in Kentucky. I guess that things was as bad here but at least they could see the enemy. on 3 September 1812 the Shawnees that William thought was friendly went crazy and them savages killed twenty four people….”