[meteorite-list] The large meteorite of 1859: anyone know if this has a grain of truth?

Sterling K. Webb sterling_k_webb at sbcglobal.net
Tue Mar 6 04:14:58 EST 2007

----- Original Message -----
From: "chris aubeck" <caubeck at gmail.com>
To: <Meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>
Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2007 2:35 AM
Subject: [meteorite-list] The large meteorite of 1859: anyone know if this has a grain of truth?

1859 07 06 Coshocton Progressive Age [Ohio]
July 6, 1859
Great Natural Phenomenon.
From the Oswego Palladium.

On Wednesday (yesterday) morning [June 29]
the inhabitants of the towns of Boylston and
Redfield, in this county, were startled by the
occurrence of a most remarkable phenomenon
-- the descent from the heavens of an immense
meteoritic mass. The body struck the earth
between the hours of three and four A.M.,
with a crash that was truly terrific, and the
shock was sensibly felt and people aroused
from their sleep at a distance of five miles from
the scene. The body fell upon the farm of
Horace Sanger, situated on the line of Boylston
and Redfield, striking in a meadow and partially
on the highway. It is estimated by our informant
to cover half an acre of land. The earth was
torn up in a terrible manner, and large fragments
were thrown a distance of two-thirds of a mile.
The mass is very irregular in shape, and rises at
some points to sixty to eighty feet in height, and
is supposed to be imbedded in the earth many
feet. The surface generally has the appearance
of iron ore. The excitement occasioned by the
event among the inhabitants was intense, and
the crash is said to have been terrific beyond
description. Many supposed that the final
winding up of terrestrial affairs had truly arrived.


I was awakened about three o'clock on
Wednesday morning, by the room in which I
slept being filled with light, and immediately
heard a rushing sound like the coming of a great
wind. This did not last above a few seconds
after I was awake, when an explosion followed
of which I can give no description -- it was
terrific. The whole house shook as if a hundred
cannon had been fired under the windows;
quite a number of panes of glass were broken
out of the windows, and the plastering of the
room I was in came tumbling about me. The
light, which was so brilliant that I could plainly
see every object in the room, was at once
extinguished. The window of my room is on
the opposite side of the house from the place
where the meteor fell, so that I can only judge
of its direction. The light seemed to come from
some body moving very rapidly and from south
to north, and seemed to increase rapidly during
the brief space that preceded the explosion.

The aerolite struck the earth in some timber
land belonging to Mr. Sanger, in a thinly
inhabited portion of the town. We believe Mr.
Hadley's is the nearest dwelling. It seems to
have been an almost spherical body of, as
near as we can judge from the fragments
remaining, about seventy-five feet in diameter.
Its course was from southwest to northeast,
and descended at an angle of not more than
thirty degrees from the horizon, which is proved
by its track through the heavy hemlock trees
before it touched the earth.

The trees are cut through as a cannon ball would
cut through a hedge, leaving a clear track. The
velocity must have been immense. The earth is
torn up for several rods, and the huge trees are
splintered and piled up like brush. One large
hemlock, at least four feet in diameter, near whose
roots the meteor struck, was thrown bodily for
eighty yards, crushing the surrounding trees like
pipe stems. Fragments of a huge sandstone
boulder which lay in its course were thrown in
all directions, and one weighing half a ton was
found on the road three-fourths of a mile away.

Was there a meteorite in this location, at that time?

Hi, Chris

You have to ask? An 80-foot high meteorite
covering 0.5 acre (100' x 200')? Which was
originally a 22 meter iron sphere?
That object, at the slowest entry speed (12
km/s), gets you a 1 MegaTon (TNT) impact
and a 1650-foot crater, 352 feet deep!
I think SOMEBODY would have noticed.
Coshocton, Ohio, just LOVES meteorite
stories! Last one in 02-15-07, another in 2004.
Mark Bostick's site shows old ones in 1939, 1930,
1925, 1916. Meteoric Tall Tales seem to a strong
Coshocton tradition... Or at least a tradition of
Coshocton newspapers, a proven circulation
booster, perhaps?
Maybe they're jealous of the New Concord
meteorite in the next county over.

Sterling K. Webb

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