Comet and Earthquake of 1744
It’s History of Sutton Sunday :). These memories come from “History of the Town of Sutton Massachusetts From 1704 to 1876”. Apparently 1744 was quite the year for natural events. For many locals, these were signs of a great reckoning coming.
Note that the comet discussed was the 6th brightest comet in recorded history. It was also very unusual in shape. The painting shows its spectacular six fan tails. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Comet_of_1744
Jan. 23, 1744. “A blazing star or comet in the West has appeared for near two months; at first small, but now of great length beyond what I ever saw. This is the third that has of late years appeared. I would not be dismayed at ye signe of Heaven, but O ye sinners fear who live in ye neglect of God and O y’t I might so far regard it as to trim my lamp and get ready.” [*Dr. Hall’s Diary]
Feb. 16th. A more particular description is given of this comet,
“The blazing star from the south-west has appeared near three months. It was small it passed by north of the sun; when it first appeared its Tail was about a yard long to appearances, was bent towards the Equator. When it came down about north of the sun its Tail was pointed towards the North Pole Its Tail appeared about 12 Degrees in Length at a farther distance from the sun. Its Body or Nucleous appeared about 3 Inches in Diameter to the naked eye. Feb. 4th. It appeared half an hour after sunset about half an hour high and about an hour and a half to the North of the sun, it being so near in the sun gloss its Tail did not appear above two yards long next morning it rose before the sun and appeared much in the same shape. Its tail must be several millions of miles long. The Lord sanctify so awful a token of an approaching God, who thus hangs out his ensign in ye skies y’t ye nations may tremble before Him.” [Dr. Hall’s Diary]
June 3d. “There was a considerable shock of an Earthquake just as we were going to the House of God.” [Dr. Hall’s Diary]
Lisa note – this powerful earthquake shook houses as far away as Boston. One person wrote a 231-line poem about it, and included a woodcut showing its awesome power. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/94dcc09d-5c9a-b24d-e040-e00a180620e0