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).
|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.
Did they all see this meteor shower? We will never know…
- “Brief history of the Leonid shower,” National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (https://leonid.arc.nasa.gov/history.html : accessed 12 Nov 2016). ↩
- “Carl Carmer,” Wkipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Carmer : accessed 12 Nov 2016). ↩
- “Stars Fell on Alabama,” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stars_Fell_on_Alabama : accessed 12 Nov 2016). ↩
- RootsMagic (https://www.rootsmagic.com/ : accessed 12 Nov 2016). ↩
- “Alabama1833c.sid,” Birmingham Public Library (Alabama) (http://bplonline.cdmhost.com/cdm/singleitem/collection/p4017coll7/id/298/rec/2 : accessed 12 Nov 2016). ↩
- “File:Leonids-1833.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonids#/media/File:Leonids-1833.jpg : accessed 12 Nov 2016). ↩