The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas on October 10, 1950 · Page 5
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The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas · Page 5

Blytheville, Arkansas
Issue Date:
Tuesday, October 10, 1950
Page 5
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^TUESDAY, QCTUKER 10, 1950 Bl/VTHEYIU.E, (ARK.) COUTUER NEWS NewMadrid Quake SpeededSettlingof NortheastArkansas UMI( befor* settlement of Blythevill* and Mississippi Count* wu •ontemplated, a natural phenomenon struck thin trot and—disastrous u H vu at. the time—actually speeded the tetUinr o< Southtm** MU- •ouri and Northeast Arkansas. RKCTTON A—PAGE FIVT5 (^.Nearly a century and a half ago. V vast and lingering earthquake recited this area. It devastated most of the New Madrid settlement in Missouri, altered (he course of the Mississippi River anil formed Big Lake in Arkansas and Reelfoot Lake In Tennessee. This great upheaval swallowed up entire farms, whole buildings and forest* sank below the raging *ater» of the disrupted river. Successive tremblers opened and then snapped shut great fissures in the land. Geysers of hot water, sand and a coal-like stone belched from the jagged cracks. ' Homeless Given \civ Land When the earth finally ceased its trembling, word of the disaster reached Washington. Tn order lo rehabilitate the homeless and displaced fanners, trappers, lumbermen and -merchants, the government opened a land office in this *rea and issued certificates to those whose land had been swallowed up. These earthquake victims were . given unoccupied lands in Southeast Missouri and Northeast Arkansas and they moved to these areas, thus speeding settlement of both states. All this happened while bath Missouri and Arkansas were still territories ... the Louisiana Purchase was only eight years old . . . the War of 1812 was yet to break out '. . . Its waters gathered up like a mountain, leaving for a moment many boat*, which were here on then- way to New orlean, on bare land, In which time the poor sailors made their escape from them. It then rose 15 or 20 feet perpendicularly and expanding sis it were, at the same moment, the banks were overflowed with a retrograde current rapid as a torrent. The boats which had been left on the sand were torn from their moorings »nd aud- denly driven up the little creek at the mouth of which they.had laid, to the distance > In some instances of nearly a quarter of a mile. The river, falling immediately as rapidly as II hu risen, receded within Its hanks again with such violence (hit It took with it whole jroves of young cotton wood tree* which edged Iti borders. They were broken off with such regularity In some Instance! that persons who had not witnessed the fads could be persuaded with difficulty thai Jt had not been the work of man. A great- many fish were left on the banks, unable to keep pace with the water. Th riv literally Although it is referred to as the ^Xev Madrid earthquake of 1812 ^ftie tremblers actually began Dec, 16, 1811. With varying intensity, tliev "continued until February of R12. Early settlers and itinerant trappers estimated that the earthquake racked an area 50 miles wide and 10 miles long. The earth tremors were felt as far north as St. Louis, w'.iere. window panes svere broken and riverfront docks were damaged. Lengthened Boat Routes In addition to forming Big Lake and Reelfoot Lake, the giant earthquake re-routed the course ot the Mississippi River by forming an S- curve below New Mardid. This added some 30 miles to the route used by river boats. Where the river formerly ran almost due south, it now curves sharply northward about 10 miles south of New Madrid. Tile river then runs almost back lo New Madrid a little to the west of the original channel. Below New Madrid it again twists southward and angles its way to the Gulf of Mexico. Even though the hardest shocks ended about mid-February, 1812. one eyewitness reported that light <«:ocks were felt intermittenly as long as four years later. This eyewitness was a woman named Eliza Bryan, who described the devastation of the earthquake in a letter to the Rev. Lorenzo Dow. This ; letter, written March 22, 1816, follows: New Madrid, Territory ot Missouri, March 23, 1816 Dear Sir: In compliance with year request, I will now give you a history, as full in details a.s the limits of the letter will permit, of the Inte awful visitation of Providence in thus place and its vicinity, on the loth day of December, 1811, about 3 o'clock a.m. we were visited hy R violent shock of an earthquake, accompanied by a very awful noise, resembling loud but distant thunder, but more hoarse and vibrating, which was , followed in a few minutes by the complete saturation of the atmosphere with sulphorous vapors, causing total darkness. The screams of the frightened Inhabitants running to and fro not knowing what to do or where 'jp go. the cries of the fowls and flpe beasts of every species, the cracking of trees falling, and the roaring of the Mississippi, the current of which was returned lew minutes, as is supposed, to the Interruption of its bed formed m. scene truly horrible. Prom that time until about sunrise a number of lighter shocks occurred, at which time one stil more violent than the first took place and the same accomplishment as the first, and the terror which had been excited In ever; one and Indeed In all animal nature was now if possible, doubled The Inhabitants fled in every direction to the country supposing (if It can be admitted that thel minds exercised at all) that there was less danger at a distance from that near the river. In one person a female, the alarm was so grea that she fainted and could not be restored. There were shocks each day, "ul lighter than (hose already menlloned, until (he 23rrl of Jan- wary, 1812, when one occurred as rlolenl as (he severest or (he former ones, accompanied hy the same phenomena as the former. From this on nnlll Ihe llh of Fthrnary (he earth was In ctm- llnnal situation, visibly waving as a jrenlle sea. f)n that d«v there was another «rnlle shock nearly »s hard as the preceding ,^*ie. Next day, four such and on Ihe llh, about 4 e'clock a.m. con- ensslon lo pla.ce so much more Ttolenl than those which had preceded H thai llj was rirnomln- lalrrl Ihe hard shock. The awful daixness ot the at mosphcre which, as foimerly. w« saturated with sulphorous vapori. and Ihe violence oi the tcmpeslu ous thundering , noise that nccom panted It, together with all th other penomen» mentioned •* at lending the description o? which would require the most fanclfu Imagination. At tirst the Mls-lv;lm>l | covered with wreckage of boats and; 'tis said that one was wrecked in 1 which there were a lady and six s children, all of whom were lust. In ' all Ihe hard shocks mentioned, .the earth was horribly torn to pieces, the surface of hundreds of acres was from time to time covered ever to various depths by the sandVhtch : issued from the fissures, which were ' made in great numbers all over this • country, some of which closed up] immediately after they, had vomited forth their "sand and water,' which it must be remarked, was generally the matter thrown up. i In some places, however, there ; was a Mibst:,nce somewhat resemb- • ing coal or impure stone coal hrown up with the sand. It is Ini- [ •wssible to say to wh'at depths of; he fissures or Irregular breaks! were. We have reason U> believe hat some of them were of great depth. The site of this town was evidently settled at least It feet i and not much more than halt aj mile below town there does not ap- \ )ear to be an alteration of the; lanks of the river, but back Irom he river a small distance the numerous supply of large ponds or lakes, ! as they are called, which covered a : ireat part of the country, were! le.irly-all dried up. - i The beds of some of those were elevated above their former banks several feet, producing an alteration nf 15 to 2» feet from thetr ! original state. And lately It has been discovered that a lake hat been formed on Ihe opposite aide of Ihe Mississippi In the Indian country upwards of a hundred miles In ienaih and from one to six miles In width and fronr the' depth of 1» lo M feet. It has eom- mnnlotion with Ihe river at both ends and it h figured that it will not be many year* before the principal part. If not the whole of the Mississippi will pass that way. We were constrained by the fear of our houses falling to live 12 to 18 months alter the shock in little ight camps made of boards, but we gradually became callous and returned to our horhes again. Most of those, who fled from the country m time of the hard shocks have returned home. We have felt aince their commencement In 1811, and still continue to feel light shocks, occasionally. It is seldom, indeed, that we are more than a week without feeling one, and sometimes there are four in a day. There were two the past winter i much harder than we have felt' them for two years; but sinct then they appear to be lighter than they ever have been and we begin to hope that ere long they will.entire- ly cease. I have now, sir, finished my promised description ot the earthquake, imperfection, it i* true; but just M it occurred to my memory. Most of the truly awful scenes have occurred three or four years ago. They of course, are not related with that precision which would entitle it to the character of the full and accurate picture. But such as it Is with great pleasure in the full confidence that Is given a friend. And now sir. wishing you all rood, I must bid you adieu. Your humble servant, Eliaa Bryan 1919— teemed t« ttcedt itotu IU bank* and Bo/i Caudill Heads Red Cross Board Here Prome the Nov. «, 191 of the Blythevllle Herald The Executive Board ckasawba District Cha Red cross met Friday elected the following the ensuing year: G.' Chairman; W. M. Chairman; J. A. M W. o. Anthony, Tr The chairmen of committees were elr Nurslnf Commit Smith. Chapter School J. W. Bader. Horn* Service Mahan, Publicity c TODAY IN BLYTHEVILLE you proof of progress at STILL & YOUNG MOTOR CO THREE YEARS OF FAST GROWTH AS YOUR LINCOLN-MERCURY DEALER The only wayo business can grow is to offer the public a better product and better service. That is the explanation for the growth of Still & Young Motor Co. which in 1950 has its home in this modern building. It stands as testimony to the wisdom of you people who recognized the sound value of Lincoln and Mercury cars. For unless car owners are satisfied with what they buy, an automobile agency can not expand. .Yes, we thank you for your vote of confidence in the past. And in the future years we will continue to offer you automobiles you will be proud and wise to own. STILL & YOUNG MOTOR

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