More info from letters

When I first started researching Marsalis genealogy Tempe Fenn Crosby sent me a copy of a letter written in 1958 by May Fredricks Toney an early researcher and the daughter of Letha Ann Marsalis Fredricks daughter of James E. Marsalis (1821-1882)and a granddaughter of Peter H. and Mary Magdalene Gordon Marsalis. In part it says: “On Grandma Marsalis’ place (Amite, MS) there was a shed where dry oak bark was stacked high to be used for starting fires in the fireplaces. One morning ‘Grandma Marsalis’ went out before day light to get bark. She told mama: ‘The stars were falling!’ What a mystery that was to me as a child and heard mama tell about what ‘Grandma Marsalis’ told (saw). Since I grew up I have read that our earth passed through the tail of a comet about the year 1833. I am sure this was the time that ‘Grandma Marsalis’ believed that the stars were falling.” Mary Magdalene (Polly) Gordon Marsalis lived from 1784 to 1862. ……………………… Quote: The first report of a Leonids meteor storm was in 902 AD by Chinese astronomers who reported “Stars fell like rain”……. In more modern times Displays have been seen in 1799, 1833, 1866, 1966. The 1799 Storm was observed from Europe and South America. The storm vanished in the following years but gained strength again in 1831, 1832 and 1833. Between Nov12-13 1832 huge storms were observed …. An observer in Boston estimated a rate of 9000 meteors in 15 minutes! There was more to come however. In 1833, the following year, there would be another storm, probably the most dramatic ever seen. Huge displays were seen above the USA. Accounts from the time report that people fainted believing that the world was ending and dawn would bring the start of doomsday….

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