The Night the Stars Fell

16 Jan

If you have had the chance to read any of the WPA Slave Narratives you might have come across stories from slaves recalling what is known as the Night the Stars Fell. I’ve been fascinated by this night because often times it has been used by genealogists to guesstimate the ages of those who did not know their age, but who had witnessed the event. The Night the Stars Fell is formally known as The Leonid Meteor Shower and it occured on the night of November 12 – 13, 1833. I’ve always been drawn to this story and the way that former slaves spoke of their experiences that night. Some stories I have read have indicated that slave owners came out of their homes to “make things right” with their slaves by telling them their history, where their parents had been sold to etc. because they thought it was the end of the world. I came across the telling of this night by Sidney Green, a former slave of Lauderdale County. He recalled that,

“One night they witnessed a biblical historical night, when the stars fell from the heavens”

Sidney Green belonged to Judge Green and lived on what was known as the Walker Farm. Judge Green had come to Lauderdale County from Virginia that same year. I decided to do a search on Sidney Green and discovered that he was born about 1828 – 1830 in Virginia. I am going to go with 1828 since he had memories of the Night the Stars Fell. It is also possible that he had memories of what he had been told by his parents or others about this night.


Have you all heard stories of the Night the Stars Fell?


Source – Kate Johnston Peters “Lauderdale County from Earliest Times” page 254.


2 Responses to “The Night the Stars Fell”

  1. Judi Carroll-Thompson July 12, 2014 at 7:35 am #

    Years ago, my cousin interviewed and recorded our older cousin in Logan, WV. She told a story about the night the stars fell and how one of our family members was born that night. This was back in the Prodigy days of the internet. I searched and search trying to find out more information on the night. Finally, I found information about the night the stars fell and found it very interesting.

    • Tiffany July 13, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

      Thanks for commenting. The stories around that night are very interesting. You may want to provide your local library or archives with a copy or transcript of that recording so that it can be preserved for future generations. Most libraries would be interested in information like that for their local history or genealogy rooms.

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