The Otsego Herald for Aug. 31, 1818, compiled, with comments:
Lexington Kentucky the Target
A tremendous rain storm, accompanied by vivid flames of lightning and deep toned peals of thunder, which made the welkin ring and the earth tremble, burst suddenly upon us on Saturday last (July 25), about 4 o’clock P.M. In the course of 20 or 30 minutes the streets were completely deluged with water; in some of them an unbroken sheet, rapidly descending to its level and home in the neighboring streams, was presented to the eye, for a considerable time after the storm subsided.
The lightning was stronger and more brilliant than we ever beheld it; the loud thunder which shook every building to its foundation, and reverberated from afar was terribly sublime. The grandeur of the scene is not so easy to describe, but the sensation it excited will long be remembered by those who witnessed it.
The electric fluid was seen to play and sparkle and blaze on the Franklin rods. Several houses unprotected by these conductors, were struck and much injured; in one of them, three persons, brothers, the eldest about 15 years of age, the sons of a Mr. Loney, were killed; — in another a lady was severely shocked — and several persons in different houses were slightly shocked.
The passengers in the Versailles mail stage, were wonderfully preserved — the horses, just as the stage entered the suburbs, were all knocked down — but one only was killed. The storm with such uncommon violence extended but a short distance. – Lexington (Ky.) Reporter, July 29
COMMENT: To “make the welkin ring” is just a very obsolete phrase (and our only use nowadays of the word “welkin”) meaning to make a very loud noise.
Hurricane in Virginia
A dreadful hurricane, almost unexampled in violence, we understand passed over the northern neck of Virginia, and obliquely across the Potomac, into Maryland, on Saturday afternoon, prostrating in its course trees, fences, &c. on the land, and on the river committing injuries much more distressing.
Several vessels, we are informed, were sunk, amongst them one which was carrying several passengers from the navy yard, in this city, on a visit to their friends below, and which, seeing the hurricane approaching, had come to anchor.
Four ladies and four or five children who were on board this vessel, perished — the names of all of them we have not yet learnt; and we fear many more lives were lost.
We shall be better informed of this melancholy occurrence by the steam boat. – (Washington) National Intelligencer.
One boy and eight blacks were drowned by a vessel upsetting in the Potomac, during the hurricane lately experienced there.
COMMENT: The only reference I find to this storm is that “A hurricane passed through the central Atlantic east of Bermuda to south and east of the Azores between August 26 and September 5, 1818,”
??A Boom Town??
The town plot of Franklin, Missouri, was, in August 1817, a corn field. It contained, in June last, nearly 200 houses, of different descriptions, built the present year, and was still increasing.
COMMENT: Founded in 1816, and named for Benjamin Franklin, the town of Franklin enjoyed a good deal of history. It was the eastern end of the Santa Fe Trail and the home of both Kit Carson and two of Daniel Boone’s sons. However, its population today is all of 95. That is because after a disastrous flood in 1827, most of its population moved to the new nearby town of New Franklin, a quarter of a mile away up a hill, whose population today is an enormous 1,089.
Giant Iceberg off Newfoundland
Letter, dated June 23, 1818, Havre, from Captain Doten of the brig Governor Carver.
“On the 23d of May...near the easterly end of the Grand Bank...we observed some small islands of ice. ... While in the act of handing the sails, I discovered an object twice as high as our mast head, appearing like a water spout. ... I immediately ordered the helm a weather ... hoping to get ... clear of the danger; ...
“But before this could be done, we found ourselves completely surrounded and covered by this immense mountain of ice, which projected over our heads, so that the water, which run from it in streams and rivulets, fell over the vessel on the opposite side. ...
“Fortunately we succeeded in getting clear, and in less than five minutes, and while so near that the rebounding of the water reached the vessel, this immense body of ice fell over directly towards us, with a crashing noise resembling the heaviest thunder, and continued for the space of a minute and a half.”
COMMENT: The Grand Banks are a famous fishing area southeast of Newfoundland, and Havre (now Harbor Grace) is a Newfoundland town. “Helm a weather” means an order to put the helm over to the windward (or weather) side of the boat. It was in this area, famous for its fogs, that the Titanic, in 1912, met its fate.
One Cent Reward
RAN AWAY from the subscriber on the 16th [August], an indented apprentice boy, named JOHN PHILLIPS, aged 10 years. All persons are forbid harboring or trusting said runaway on my account
SILAS WOOD. Otsego, August 27, 1818.
Protective associations are forming in New-Jersey to prevent the abominable practice of kidnapping blacks for the southern market.
COMMENT: There were, as usual, several articles relating to sea serpents.