The invention of the telegraph allowed swift communication between cities for the first time in history. Newspapers from around the country would receive reports via telegraph and re-print them in their entirety. The following article was published in the August 28, 1846 Baltimore Sun about a recent earthquake in Boston. The news made the first page of the newspaper:
"THE EARTHQUAKE AT BOSTON. — We find the following notices of the recent earthquake at Boston, mentioned in our telegraphic report of yesterday, in the papers of that city of Tuesday afternoon [August 25, 1846].
EARTHQUAKE. — At exactly three minutes before five o'clock this morning, the shock of an earthquake was sensibly felt in all parts of our city, accompanied by a rumbling sound that resembled that caused by the passage of a train of railroad cars across a short bridge. The first shock lasted several seconds, and in a few seconds was followed by another shock less violent and of less duration. This shock seems to have extended in almost every direction, and we hear of its having been felt in almost every place within 40 or 50 miles of us. At Jamaica Plains, a chimney was shaken down; in Worcester the door bells of two houses were rung. In Braintree, Dedham, Concord, and various other places, we hear of it being felt.
A smart shock, accompanied with much tremor, and a rumbling noise ten or fifteen minutes in duration, was felt in Newburyport this morning at precisely 5 o'clock. The earthquake was sensibly felt in Worcester, and in all the towns on the line of the railroad. In Wilmington the shock was also severe—the houses were much shaken, and in some instances crockery were thrown from the shelves. A correspondent from Beverly writes to us as follows:
Mr. Sleeper: — We had a very heavy earthquake this morning at Beverly, about 5 o'clock. It was felt in every part of the town. My bed shook, and it sounded like a dozen railroad cars were passing over the roof of my house.
Was it an Earthquake? — At five minutes before five this morning, a heavy noise and shaking was heard and felt by a number of our citizens. It was longer in duration than could have been produced by a cannon or an explosion of a powder mill. The 'oldest inhabitant' does not recollect so violent a shock in this vicinity before. — Springfield Repub. of Tuesday."
From the above report, it sounds like the epicenter of the earthquake was somewhere along Boston's North Shore, possibly at Newburyport. A completely unscientific deduction would be that it was a about a 5 on the Richter Scale.