Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: EARTHQUAKE OF 1727

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EARTHQUAKE OF 1727

This was the second great earthquake since the settlement of New England. It occurred about half past ten o'clock in the evening. In the afternoon before, Rev. Nathaniel Gookin, pastor of the old church, preached a sermon, which, at the request of his people, was published, together with three other discourses, two of which were occasioned by the earthquake. In an appendix to the volume containing these sermons, is given "some account of the earthquake as it was at Hampton." A considerable portion of this account is transferred to these pages:

"The earthquake, which was felt throughout the country, in the night between the 29th and 30th of October, 1727, was in this town much as it was in other places, of which there are divers printed accounts."

"The shake was very hard, and was attended with a terrible noise, something like thunder. The houses trembled as if they were falling; divers chimneys were cracked and some had their tops broken off. It was especially so in the south parish, where the hardest shake seemed to be on the hill, where the house of God stands. Three houses on that hill had their chimneys broken, one of which was the house of the Reverend Mr. Whipple. When the shake was beginning, some persons observed a flash of light at their windows, and one or two saw streams of light running on the earth; the flame seemed to them to be of a bluish color . . . . The sea was observed to roar in an unusual manner. The earth broken open, near the south bounds of the town and cast up a very fine bluish sand. At the place of the eruption there now [This account was written Jan. 25, 1728.] continually issues out considerable quantities of water; and for about a rod around it, the ground is so soft, that a man can't tread upon it without throwing brush or some other thing to bear him up. It is indeed in meadow ground, but before the earthquake, it was not so soft but that men might freely walk upon it. A spring of water, which had run freely for fourscore years, and was never known to freeze, was much sunk by the earthquake, and frozen afterwards like any standing water."

The writer goes on to state, that there were other shocks the same night, and that the sound and the shake were very perceptible, at times, every day for a fortnight. Afterward it was heard, but less frequently.

On December 24th, at night, there were two shocks; the first of which was very loud and jarred the houses. There were also shocks felt the next month, on the 1st, 6th, and 16th; and on the night of the 24th, there were two shocks, which made the houses tremble.

"It is hard to express the consternation that fell on both men and beasts, in the time of the great shock. The brute creatures ran roaring about the fields, as in the greatest distress; and mankind were as much surprised as they, and some with very great terror."

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