Mecklenburg, NC Earthquake, Aug 1886
On the last night of August, in 1886, the people of Mecklenburg were shaken up, and many of them alarmed at the convulsions of nature. Some few persons who had a clear conscience and a good digestion, slept on as peacefully as an infant. The first came about 10 o'clock, probably one-third of the people in Mecklenburg were asleep, and many of those who had clone a hard day's Work, did not awake. But on the farms the negroes were badly frightened; they called their nearest neighbors to come to their relief ; some prayed aloud with great earnestness; others thought some enemy was trying to pull down their house, and they were defending their premises with rifles, pistols, shot guns, or anything they could get hold of. Cries of distress and fear could be heard on all sides, that were truly distressing. A large family who lived in a large house, some of the members had retired, and the father had partaken too freely of his cups to be reasoned with, when the family all got safely out of the house, begged the father to get up and come out of the house, that judgment day had come. Immediately the firm answer came back, "Go back to your beds you fools you, don't you know judgment day is not coming in the night?" How many people will leave home when great fear comes upon them; they are hunting sympathy, or protection. In a negro church near Huntersville, the house was crowded when the first shock was felt, but the preacher partially quieted the alarm, saying, "If that is some mischievous persons doing that, they will be afraid to do it again; but if it's the Lord, look out." Just at the instant the house was shaken more violently than before, when the negroes poured out the doors and windows, and over the heads of those who did not move fast enough it was a panic. A religious awakening was started among both whites and blacks; but, like all revivals that spring from fear, it soon passed away.
The history of Mecklenburg County from 1740 to 1900; Charlotte, N.C.: Observer Print. House, 1902, pages 317-318.