The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Among my collection of accounts of the meteoric shower that occurred on the night of the 13 of November 1833, is a description given me by Mr. George Beazley and Mrs. Elizabeth Beazley his wife. Beazley and his wife were not married at the time the display was observed but they both lived in the same neighborhood in the river bottom on the Mississippi River in Franklin County Illinoise. Each one of them said that the meteors resembled flakes of snow on fire. Part of them had the appearance of hitting the ground but they do not suppose they did only had the appearance of it. Some people in their neighborhood said the falling stars did strike the ground and burst but the majority who claimed this was soared. Some claimed that the detonations were awful and that they could feel the earth tremble beneath their feet, but they thought this was a mistake in those people who told it. Mrs. Beazley said she was only 5 years old that night and was at the home of her grand father and grand mother Joe and Nancy Plasters. On the day preceding the night of the display there was a wedding in the neighborhood. The bridegroom was Wash Johnson and the bride was Miss Eliza Wallar and they were to celebrate the wedding with a big dance at the residence of the brides father Dick Wallars. Among the invited guests were Sam Plaster and his sister Sallie my uncle and aunt. All the young people who assembled there expected to reap a feast of joy and were all in the midst of a great glee of myrth when the shower of meteors were observed which produced fear and consternation among the young and old there. The dance stopped forthwith and all the people crowded in the doors to look at the gorgeous display. But it was not pleasure for all of them believed that the last hour was at hand. In a small space of time terror and confusion began to prevail and it spread through the assembly until almost every one present was crying aloud in fright. It was now that some one proposed to unite in prayer and it was agreed at once and down on their knees they dropped. It was not only one prayer but a continuous one and it was kept up during the entire night without any intermission. But on the following morning when day light dome the party saw that nothing was jarred loose and as far as any of them knew the earth was not out of harness - was still on its pegs. The sun rose in the eastern sky as usual and the sublime but awe inspiring objects had disappeared and the distress among the people and agony of suspense vanished and they all separated and started for their respective homes and as danger of the destruction of the earth and all its inhabitants seemed to have passed away they forgot to assemble together again on the following night and resume their prayer meeting.

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