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.
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…
- “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). ↩