On January 13, 1812, William Clark, the Governor of Louisiana, wrote one of the first requests for federal relief as a result of the New Madrid Earthquakes. He wrote in part,
William Clarke was the famed explorer who with Meriwether Lewis had explored the American West in 1803 to 1805.
Whereas the Catalogue of miseries and afflictions, with which it has pleased the Supreme Being of the Universe to visit the inhabitants of the earth there are none more truly awful and destructive than Earthquakes ... The inhabitants of the late District now County of New Madrid, in this Territory, have lately been visited with several calamities of this kind, which have deluged large portions of their country and involved in the greatest distress many families, whilst others have been entirely ruined ... In the opinion of the said General Assembly provisions ought to be made by law for or cashiered to the said inhabitants relief, either out of the public fund or in some other way as may can meet to the cost demand availability of the General Government.
More information about the New Madrid Earthquakes can be found in my earlier post here and by Landon Jones here.