Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: EARTHQUAKE OF 1755

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On Tuesday, November 18, 1755, occurred the third great earthquake felt in New England since its first settlement. This has been considered more violent than either of the others. It occurred "in the morning about an hour and a half before day." "The weather was remarkably serene, the sky clear, the moon shone bright, and a solemn stillness pervaded all nature at the time it commenced." The shaking of the earth was so great that several chimneys in this town were thrown down. The agitation was as perceptible on the sea as on the land. The shock was so severely felt on the vessels in Portsmouth harbor, the men on board thought they had struck on the rocks. The earthquake occurring at an hour when the mass of the people were asleep, many of them being suddenly awakened, were very much terrified, not immediately perceiving the cause of the commotion. The older people, however, had not forgotten the earthquake of 1727, and now, as on that occasion, they recognized the hand of God in the occurrence. Two days afterward a meeting was held in Hampton, at which the pastor of the church preached from Psalm CXIX: 120."My flesh trembleth for fear of thee and I am afraid of thy judgments."

Shocks were frequently felt during the next fortnight. The most considerable one occurred in the evening of Saturday of the same week, about half-past eight o'clock. One who experienced it, calls sit "a very great shock." He says: "Our house trembled very much. To our surprise it was cloudy and rainy all night long."

About two weeks after the first shock, the people of this town observed a day of fasting and prayer, "occasioned by the terrible earthquake and the war, [French and Indian war.] by which God is seeming to frown upon us by the aspects of these judgments which we see and hear." Sermons were preached by Rev. Joseph Whipple of Hampton Falls, and Rev. Jeremiah Fogg, of Kensington, the former from the first clause in Jeremiah II:22, and the latter from Amos III:4-8.

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