Sunday, February 21, 2010

Family History: The Night The Stars Fell

In our Social Studies book Social Studies Made Simple, we are studying "change." In this unit students are to learn how change affects their lives. For this, we were to ask our family and friends to share stories and pictures from events that happened long ago. My father-in-law shared a great story about Gesserine's great, great, great, great grandfather who experienced the "Night the Stars Fell" in 1833. I will first share her article with you here.

The Night The Stars Fell
Nov. 12-13, 1833

William Sevedge and his family were in the process of moving to Hempstead County, Arkansas and were camped on the St. Francis River on the "Night the Stars Fell." The "Great Leonid Meteor Shower" that occurred on November 12-13, 1833 was referred to as the night the stars fell from the sky which is exactly what eye witnesses, such as my great, great, great, great grandfather William Sevedge and his family probably thought was happening. The storm that year was very intense and lead to the first formulation of a theory on the origin of meteors.

"On the night of November 12-13, 1833, a tempest of falling stars broke over the Earth... The sky was scored in every direction with shining tracks and illuminated with majestic fireballs. At Boston, the frequency of meteors was estimated to be about half that of flakes of snow in an average snowstorm. Their numbers....were quite beyond counting; but as it waned, a reckoning was attempted, from which it was computed, on the basis of that much-diminished rate, that 240,000 must have been visible during the nine hours they continued to fall." - Agnes Clerke's, Victorian Astronomy Writer

We had a lot of fun researching this event. I first found some great information and images at We also used a section in our article which came from a Nasa site about this history Leonids. We also looked up some videos taken of more recent Leonid showers to let Gess get a feel for what it might have looked like. We found this one on Youtube which was pretty good. Here is what the Leonid Shower of 2001 looked like.

Next we had Gess take this information and put in into an article format. Our Social Studies book had the template inside. I, of course, did the writing, but she helped to cut and glue it into place. We read it and talked about it as we put this together.

This then, gave Gess a sudden desire to watch Chicken Little. We haven't seen that movie in quite some time, but I think this story reminded her of his cry that the "sky was falling!" That shows me that she really grasped what was going on! In any event, we had fun, not only learning about the Great Leonid Meteor Shower of 1833, but realizing that our family was there to experience it!


Kim said...

How neat. I love the video clip. I can totally see why that would make her want to watch Chicken Little. Plus, it's a cute movie. :-)

Kathleen said...

I, too, am a descendant of William Sevedge. His wife, Elizabeth Anne Wade, was the daughter of Richard Wade and Judith Hancock. Richard was captured with Daniel Boone at the Blue Licks and Judith was at the siege of Boonesboro. If you would like more information let me know in your follow-up comment.

Regards, Kathy


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