Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Day the Earth Shook in Pelham: July 11, 1872

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On a sultry summer morning, July 11, 1872, just as the sun began to rise, the earth quaked and Pelham shook. It as about 5:30 a.m. Witnesses said that the earthquake seemed to come from the south and roll toward the north. "Timid ladies", one report said, "became greatly alarmed". Little Pelhamville felt the quake that was described in the following article.

"An Earthquake in Westchester County and Long Island.

About 5 1/2 o'clock, yesterday morning, the residents of the villages along the eastern shore of Westchester County were startled by a shock of earthquake. Houses were shaken to their foundations, and crockery and glassware in the closets were considerably disturbed by the shock. Timid ladies became greatly alarmed, fearing results of a more serious character. In the villages of East Chester, Mt. Vernon, Pelhamville, New Rochelle, Mamaroneck, Rye and Port Chester, in Westchester County, and at Greenwich, Conn., the earthquake was both heard and felt very distinctly. It was also noticed in some of the villages along the line of the Hudson River Railroad. There was no storm or thunder prevailing in the localities mentioned at the time the earthquake was felt.

The inhabitants of Glen Cove, Roslyn, Sand's Point, and other places on the north shore of Long Island, report having felt a slight shock of earthquake about 5 1/2 o'clock yesterday morning.

The shock is reported at the beginning to have been similar to that of a piece of artillery or heavily laden cart driven rapidly over frozen ground. It seemed to come from the south and roll away off toward the north. It was sufficiently loud to awaken nearly all the sleepers, to cast down piles of coal in the cellars, to shake the crockery in the rooms, and to give a very perceptive vibration to the houses.

This is the third time that a shock of earthquake has visited the same neighborhood in Long Island. Last year it occurred about 7 1/2 o'clock one Sunday, after a heavy rain. The circumstances were very similar this time -- the shock following so closely upon the heavy storm of the previous evening."

Source: An Earthquake in Westchester County and Long Island, N.Y. Times, Jul. 12, 1872, p. 5.

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