You can reach Ben Sheldon, the author of this blog, by emailing [email protected].


At one time you would find Island 94, known as Crow’s Nest Island or Stack Island, on the Mississippi River, whose islands were numbered consecutively south from where the mouth of the Ohio fed into her muddy waters. This particular island was known as a haven for rogues, thieves and river pirates who would prey both on the commerce and towns of the river.

In the early morning hours of December 16, 1811, the island would disappear forever, disintegrating into the river as just one small result of one of the worst natural disasters to strike what is now the midwestern United states: the New Madrid earthquakes.

This series of earthquakes would continue for more than 6 months, causing the light alluvial soil of the Mississippi River Valley to roll like ocean waves and destroying much that had been built or settled. The quakes were seen at time as the wrath of God, an electrical disturbance of the earth or as the fulfillment of a prophesy by the Native American leader Tecumseh who, while soliciting support for Native American unity in reaction to U.S. land grabs and aggression, threatened a disagreeing tribe with this:

I shall go to Detroit. When I arrive there, I will stamp my foot on the ground and shake down every house in Tuckhabatchee.


I have always found the early history of North America to be fascinating. Not just the struggling nation of the United States and her nieghbors, but the individuals, heard of or not, who lived during the time. These were both the people seeking a better life, long before the encouragements of Horace Greely, and those hoping to maintain and regain what they had or had already lost.

After reading the most excellent book, When the Mississippi River Ran Backwards by Jay Feldman, an account and analysis of the New Madrid Earthquakes, I thought, Now there’s an idea for my blog.

The idea of Island 94 evokes in me a neo-Atlantean idea. Despite, or perhaps because of, my closest held beliefs in science and causation, I can never quite be sure that something has disappeared without knowing for sure where and why it’s gone.

I envision a place filled with dropped sewing needles, mismatched socks and my box turtle, Rex. A place somewhere in the backwaters where the inhabitants of Island 94 are still living and thieving (perhaps on Atlanteans and Roanokeans) unaware, or perhaps content, that everyone else believes them lost.

This website is a backwater of my own; a repository for my own thoughts and experiences threatened by the forward roll of life and time held in an imperfect memory.