Trois-Rivières, Québec, Canada (Three Rivers) - 1842 - EARTHQUAKE
From the Quebec Mercury of Nov. 10 -
The Canadien of last evening gives the following account of the recent shock from an earthquake, received in a letter from Three Rivers.
'This morning, about 10 o'clock, we experienced a violent shock of an earthquake. I was present at a marriage, (we omit the names of the parties) and the grand vicair. Mr. Cook, had reached the Angus Dei, when on a sudden a sound was heard resembling the rolling of a cart over hard frozen ground; this noise continued perhaps four seconds, and was followed by an explosion resembling that of a twenty-four pounder; the trembling of the earth then commenced shaking the walls of the church, and making its arched roof crack in a fearful and surprising manner. I thought the building, which was crowded with people, would have crumbled over our heads. The scene which ensued baffles description; the piercing lamentations of the females, and cries of terror of the men, with the piteous, despairing, shrieks of the children, were truly awful.'
'A general rush was made to the door by the congregation, the revered pastor and the affianced couple alone retaining their position, not without however feelings of great apprehension, as to what might happen. The weathercock on the steeple spun, as in a high wind. This trembling lasted for five or six seconds; had it endured beyond, the church must have fallen, and many would have perished. Descending the steps, I raised three females whom the crowd in the crush of their escape had thrown to the ground, but they were so affrighted as to be incapable of standing. The shock was violent throughout the town. Glassware was destroyed, stones detached from the chimnies, and window-panes broken in many houses; universal terror reigned. It was strongly felt at the St. Maurice forges, at Yamachiche, and Pointe du Lac, and still more so at Becancour, Nicolet, and St. Gregoire. The waters of the Saint Lawrence were seen by many to be violently agitated.'
In addition to the above, we have been favored with the following particulars, by a friend, who was also at Three Rivers at the time; and have received the subjoined letter, on the subject, by post this morning from Riviere du Loup. We father learn that it is extended down the St. Lawrence to St. Anne, and even to St. Augustin, in the neighborhood of this city.
'Precisely at 9 o'clock, A. M., on Monday, the 7th instant, I was sitting at breakfast, at Bernard's Hotel, on the steamboat wharf, at Three rivers, when a sudden shock, or concussion, was felt, so severe as to cause my 'compagnon du dejeuner' and self to stare at each other perfectly aghast; - the house actually seemed to reel to and fro, like a drunken man - the floor trembled beneath us, the table shook as though suddenly grasped by some one in the act of falling, and all the breakfast apparatus jingled again, from the violence of the shock! - My own impression was, that some large steamer, in coming into port, having suddenly lost her helm, had come crashing against and destroying the wharf.'
Dr. Gilmour, who was in the act of passing along the street to visit me, at the hotel, describes his sensation to have been as though suddenly electrified, his legs tottering under him an a most unaccountable manner. I have experienced two earthquakes in the West Indies; both lasted considerably longer than this, but the latter was much more violent than either of the former. I have no doubt but that we shall find hereafter that some terrible commotion has taken place farther South.
November 16, 1842
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