Whispers of the Museum

On this day, Sunday August 11th, 1771 at 8 o’clock in the morning, when I was in the heated room, near the window, I suddenly heard a loud noise, a little bit like someone had slammed a door with fabric around the edges, or blinders, so hard that the whole house shook. Right away I thought : what clumsy slamming ! But I remembered that we don’t have any such doors and I hadn’t heard anyone open or shut any doors in the house at that time. That’s when the idea of an earthquake came to mind. But since they were practically inconceivable in the Ban de la Roche, and I had my mind on other matters, I ended up forgetting about it.

We had lunch at noon at young Ulric Banzet’s house, the farrier of Belmont. They told us how his wife, who has just had a baby, felt a rocking motion in her bed. As for the father, J. Banzet the old man, who lived more comfortably in the upper part of the village and who was at the window at that time, he felt the windows shake and saw the pile of laundry on the windowsill wobble. All of this in an instant, at eight o’clock in the morning.

The earthquake, which was felt on August 11th in the regions stretching from Augsburg to the Rhine and which shook an area 20 miles long and more than 30 miles wide, manifested itself several days later in many regions of Italy, etc.

Excerpted from “Annales du Ban de La Roche surtout de la Paroisse de Valdersbach Commencées l’an 1770” Manuscript – Collections of the J.F. Oberlin Museum