Stars Fell On Alabama 1833 – Who Was There?

  On the evening of Tuesday, 12 November 1833, a historic meteor shower rained down upon the Earth. The falling stars were such that many people thought this to be Judgment Day. The Leonid meteor 1 event sparked a book in 1934 by Carl Carmer entitled “Stars Fell on Alabama”2, which in turn sparked a Jazz hit 3 in the same year.

   So, I wondered… Where were my ancestors on this date?

  I focused my research on just direct ancestors living in Alabama in 1833. I found an excellent report in my RootsMagic 4 genealogy software program called the “Who Was There List”, which saved me hours and hours of research. I had fourteen individuals in three family lines — Paternal Grandfather (red), Paternal Grandmother (blue), and Maternal Grandmother (green).

The list:

Rev. Kedar Hawthorne 36 3XGG Butler County
Martha (Baggett) Hawthorne 34 3XGG Butler County
Clinton Ford 26 3XGG Mobile City
Marcelite (Laurendine) Ford 19 3XGG Mobile City
Mary Theresa (Mitchell) Laurendine 48 4XGG Mobile City
Rev. Paul Hampton Nabors 22 3XGG Shelby County
Mary Hannah Harless 20 3XGG Shelby County
Henry Harless, Jr. 56 4XGG Shelby County
Margaret (Basore) Harless 44 4XGG Shelby County
Abraham Nabors 43 4XGG Shelby County
Nancy Crockett (Crawford) Nabors 41 4XGG Shelby County
John C. Hicks 28 3XGG Montgomery County
Mary Ann Elizabeth (Loper) Hicks 22 3XGG Montgomery County
Hannah (Bergsteiner) Hicks 52 4XGG Montgomery County


Below is an 1833 map of Alabama 5 with arrows pointing to the areas where my ancestors lived. I colorized the arrows to correspond to the names above. Permission granted to me to publish this map by Birmingham Public Library.



Photo Credit: A famous depiction of the 1833 meteor storm, produced in 1889 for the Seventh-day Adventist book Bible Readings for the Home Circle. 6

Did they all see this meteor shower? We will never know…

Show 6 footnotes

  1. “Brief history of the Leonid shower,” National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) ( : accessed 12 Nov 2016).
  2. “Carl Carmer,” Wkipedia ( : accessed 12 Nov 2016).
  3. “Stars Fell on Alabama,” Wikipedia ( : accessed 12 Nov 2016).
  4. RootsMagic ( : accessed 12 Nov 2016).
  5. “Alabama1833c.sid,”  Birmingham Public Library (Alabama) ( : accessed 12 Nov 2016).
  6. “File:Leonids-1833.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons ( : accessed 12 Nov 2016).

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