Time Line of History
© Linda Haas Davenport
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1800: US Capital moved to Washington D.C. William Herschel discovers infared rays. Alessandro Volta produces electricity. Benjamin Waterhouse successfully vaccinates his son against smallpox and goes on to vaccinate 204 residents - the first medical "test" in the US. A Visual Telegraph System was patented by Jonathan Grout. A series of hilltop poles with movable arms sent coded messages about incoming vessels from Martha's Vineyard to Boston, where merchants awaited word of cargo conditions. Lack of subscribers ended the service by 1807. Thomas Jefferson defeated incumbent John Adams, whose party was bitterly divided, but tied with his running mate, Aaron Burr of New York. Each held 73 electoral votes. The House of Representatives voted 35 times before choosing Jefferson, whom they believed more willing than Burr to maintain the public credit, the Navy and many Federalist civil servants. 2nd Federal Census was taken. Postage was 25 cents a page and was due on delivery. Sent without envelopes it was open to prying eyes at every stage of the journey.
1801: Departing President Adams uses the Judiciary Act of 1801 to appoint Federalist judges. Preachers draw thousands to Cane Ridge, Ky for a Great Revival camp meeting. Mastodon fossils unearthed on two New York farms gave the world its first skeletons of the extinct mammal.
1802: Congress repeals the Judiciary Act of 1801. The Banjo clock patented by Simon Willard, became one of the best known clocks in the county. Some were finished in white with gilded trim as gifts for brides. US Military Academy in West Point, NY opened. E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company began building a gunpowder factory on the Brandywine River near Wilmington, Delaware.
1803: US negotiates Louisiana Purchase from France for $15 million thus doubling its domain, increasing its territory by 827,000 square miles, from the Mississippi River to the Rockies and from the Gulf of Mexico to British North America. Ohio became the 17th state to join the Union (Mar 1, 1803) settled 1788. Gideon Putnam builds a resort hotel, one of the nation's earliest, at Saratoga Springs, NY. Ft. Dearborn was erected at the mouth of the Chicago River. Burned in the war of 1812 it was rebuilt in 1816. US Supreme Court ruled an act of Congress null and void in Marbury v Madison, establishing itself as the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution. Iceboxes promoted in a pamphlet by Maryland farmer Thomas Moore. Refined by others, the iceboxes became widely used by the 1840s. Yellow Fever epidemic in NY.
1804: Alexander Hamilton is mortally wounded in a duel with Aaron Burr. 1st Presidential election held with separate electoral balloting for President and Vice President as required by the 12th constitutional amendment which was adopted after Jefferson and Burr tied in 1800. Thomas Jefferson elected President. Lewis and Clark expedition begins exploration of what is now the northwest. US. Haiti became the first black county to gain its freedom.
1805Minnesota settled. First Covered Bridge in America was built over the Schuylkill River near Philadelphia. The roof helped prevent the wooden structure from rotting but also stopped sleighs in their tracks, forcing the toll keeper to shovel snow inside. Germans found communal Harmony, Pennsylvania.
1806: David Melville introduces gas street lights with coal-gas lamps in Newport, Rhode Island. Yale chemistry profession Benjamin Silliman begins selling bottled carbonated water. Noah Webster publishes his first English-language dictionary, which lists 5,000 new words among it's 37,000. Conspiring to carve an independent republic from the Louisiana Purchase or Mexico, a band of adventurers led by Aaron Burr headed for the Southwest. The plot failed when President Jefferson had Burr arrested and tried for treason. He was acquitted. Frederick Tudor ships ice to the Caribbean, the start of New England's worldwide ice trade. Congress authorizes improvements of the Indian trail from Nashville, TN to Natchez, MS.
1807: Robert Fulton makes the first successful steamboat trip on Clermont between New York City and Albany top speed 5 miles per hour. US embargoed trade with all foreign countries, hoping to force Britain and France to stop interfering with US shipping and sailors. The measure, which hurt New England shippers most of all, was replaced two years later with the Nonintercourse Acts which opened trade with all countries except Britain and France.
1808: St. Louis's Missouri Gazette becomes the first newspaper west of the Mississippi. New Orleans completes a $100,000 opera house. Congressional ban on importing slaves from Africa was enacted after the expiration of a 20-year moratorium on such action written into the Constitution. Illegal importing continued. Louisiana Civil Code combined French and Spanish civil law and rejected English common law, making Louisiana's legal system unique in the US. James Madison elected President.
1809: Montana settled. The first detailed geological survey of the US is published by William Maclure. Elizabeth Seton founded the Sisters of Charity of St Joseph, a Roman Catholic order. A widowed mother of 5, she inspired her followers to open schools, hospitals, and orphanages. Her works brought her canonization as the first American born saint.
1810: Americans in West Florida oust the Spanish from Baton Rouge and secure ties to the US. Noted boxer Tom Molineaux fought English champion Tom Cribb in England, losing a controversial decision in round 33. A former Virginia slave, Molineaux had earned fame and his freedom by beating other slave boxers, to this former owner's great profit. Tranquilizer Chair to pacify mentally disturbed patients was designed in 1810 by Benjamin Rush, a Philadelphia surgeon. Supreme Court overturned for the first time a state law that it felt was in conflict with federal law - Fletcher V Peck (Georgia land grants in a shady deal with Yazoo Land Company).
1811: Oregon and Washington settled. Dec 16th - Mississippi Valley near New Madrid, MO - earthquake reversed the course of the Mississippi River. Fatalities unknown due to sparse population of the area at the time. Aftershocks and tremors continued into 1812. It is the largest known earthquake in North America (Richter Scale measured 8.6; 8.4 and 8.8) First Mississippi steamboat the SS New Orleans leaves Pittsburgh for a four-month trip to the Gulf. By the time the shallow bottomed side wheeler steamboat New Orleans took to the water regular steam boat travel was established on all the major river systems. Livestock shows in Pittsfield, Mass begin the county fair tradition. Construction begins on the National Road from Cumberland MD to the Ohio River. John H. Hall patented his breech-loading rifle. Luddites (followers of Ned Ludd) destroy machinery in England.
1812: War of 1812. US and Britain over freedom of the seas for US vessels. US Constitution sinks British frigate. North Dakota settled. Louisiana became the 18th state to join the Union (Apr 30, 1812) settled in 1699. The first canned foods appeared in 1812. New England Journal of Medicine and Surgery published. New England states refuse to supply militia to "Mr. Madison's War". Benjamin Rush (the inventory of the Tranquilizer Chair to pacify mentally disturbed patients) published his investigations in Medical Inquires and Observations upon the Diseases of the Mind. The word "Gerrymander" was coined when Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry reshaped an election district to gain votes. Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm publish a collection of German folk tales called Kinder und Hausmarchen.
1813: Passenger pigeons that John James Audubon estimated to be a billion strong obscured the sky "as by an eclipse" during a 3 hour flight over KY. The bird was extinct by 1914 due to hunting and loss of habitat. Connecticut armorer, Simeon North, did what Eli Whitney took public credit for but failed to do; produce guns with interchangeable parts. Samuel Slater built the first successful cotton-spinning mill in Boston.
1814:Sep 13th, Francis Scott Key visited the British fleet in Chesapeake Bay to secure the release of Dr. William Beanes, who had been captured after the burning of Washington DC. The release was secured, but Key was detained on ship overnight during the shelling of Ft. McHenry, one of the forts defending Baltimore. In the morning, he was so pleased to see the American Flag still flying that he began a poem to commemorate the occasion. First called "The Defense of Fort M'Henry" it was later changed to "The Star Spangled Banner". The poem gained popularity when sung to the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven" believed to have been composed by John Stafford Smith in 1790. The Star Spangled Banner was adopted as the Nation Anthem by Congress in 1931. George Stephenson builds first practical steam locomotive. Creek Indians defeated by Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, in what is now AL, signed a treaty ceding more than 20 million acres to the US. The term "Lord Willing and the Creeks don't rise" came into popular usage. The word "Creeks" did not refer to a stream of water but to the Creek Indians. The US population exceeds 8 million, concentrated along the Atlantic coast. The White House, the Capitol, and other buildings in Washington DC were burned by the British forces in retaliation for the burning of York (Toronto) by the US. 1st American steamboat, Fulton the First (named after creator Robert Fulton) was launched. War of 1812 ends.
1815: Napoleon defeated by Wellington at Waterloo. Barbary pirates ended raids on American shipping after a US flotilla under Capt Stephen Decatur captured two Algerine warships and forced a treaty with the dey of Algiers. Unaware the War of 1812 had ended at The Battle of New Orleans (over the British threat to close the port of New Orleans) Andrew Jackson defeated the threat with a patched together army of frontiersmen, blacks, creoles and pirates. The US forces the leaders of Algiers and Tripoli to stop supporting piracy in the Mediterranean. French physician Rene Laennec invents the stethoscope.
1816: The Provident Institute for Savings was opened in Boston. Indiana became the 19th state to join the Union (Dec 11, 1816) settled in 1733. First Tariff bill to protect US industry from competition abroad was enacted by Congress. Leaders in the agricultural South later called such tariffs "abominations". Bonus Bill was introduced in Congress by John C Calhoun to "bind the republic together with a perfect system of roads and canals". President Madison's veto of the bill encouraged sectionalism. African Methodist Episcopal Church is founded in Philadelphia. June snow blankets much of New England during the "year without a summer". Gas lamps light Baltimore streets. James Monroe elected President. Robert Finley establishes the American Colonization Society - aimed at settling American Blacks in West Africia.
1817: Mississippi became the 20th state to join the Union (Dec 10, 1817) settled in 1699. Erie Canal construction begins in NY. US begins war against Seminole Indians who refuse to leave FL and GA.
1818: Illinois became the 21st state to join the Union (Dec 3, 1818) settled in 1720. Andrew Jackson invaded the Floridas, had two British men executed for inciting Seminole Indians, and captured Pensacola. The US gave Spain an ultimatum: Control the Indians or cede the Floridas. Property ownership no longer necessary for voting in Connecticut. The National Road is completed. Reaching from Cumberland, Maryland to Wheeling, Virginia and linking the Potomac with the Ohio River. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly publishes Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. US and Canada establish the 49th parallel as boundary.
1819; Alabama became the 22nd state to join the Union (Dec 14, 1819) settled in 1702. Treaty ceded Spanish Florida to the US and established the border between Louisiana and colonial Mexico. The US assumed a 5 million dollar Spanish debt to US citizens and relinquished claims to Texas. Jethro Wood perfects a cast-iron plow with interchangeable parts. Washington Irving publishes Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Severe depression due to the years following the War of 1812 with their rapid economic and social development and English merchants began to dump their inventories (that had piled up during the war) on the American market at cut-rate prices, thus hurting America's manufacturers. The US Bank tightened credit causing the problem to worsen. Danish physicist Hans C Oersted discovers electromagnetism.
1820: After much debate Congress voted that Missouri would be admitted as a slave state but slavery is barred in the rest of the Louisiana Purchase north of the 36th parallel. Hawaii settled. Main became the 23rd state to join the Union (Mar 15, 1820) settled in 1624. Nathaniel B. Palmer, a Connecticut sealer, reached Antarctica in November. The US credited him with the discovery of the continent, though Britain and Russia also made claims. The SS Robert Fulton steamed from New York City to Havana Cuba the first steamship to make an ocean voyage. James Monroe elected to a 2nd term as President. A Nationwide "fever" epidemic starts on Schuykill River in PA and spreads throughout the nation - epidemic lasts until 1823.
1821: Missouri became the 23rd state to join the Union (Aug 10, 1821) settled 1735. Sequoyah worked 12 years to invent a written version of the Cherokee language. Thousands of his people learned to read and write the language, calling their Cherokee newspaper and books "talking leaves". Educator Emma Willard opens first women's school with college-level courses. First penitentiary built that stressed reform as well as punishment in Auburn, NY.
1822: Stephen Austin founded the first legal Ango-American settlement in Texas. Freed slave Denmark Vessy plans rebellion in Charleston; 35 or more are hanged. William Henry Ashley explores the upper Missouri River. Yellow fever kills close to 400 in New York City. US recognizes Mexico's Independence from Spain.
1823: Monroe Doctrine warns European nations not to interfere in Western Hemisphere. Nebraska settled. Horse Race draws estimated 100,000 spectators to the Union Race Course on Long Island to watch northern champion, Eclipse and southern challenger, Sir Henry. Eclipse took the $20,000 purse.
1824: John Quincy Adams elected President. Congress authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to survey potential road and canal routes. Fur trapper and scout Jim Bridger discovers the Great Salt Lake. Lafayette, American's Revolutionary War ally, returned to the US at President Monroe's invitation for a year-long tour. Congress granted Lafayette $200,000 and a township in Florida.
1825: First passenger-carrying railroad in England. First private engineering school in the US (Rensselaer) opens in Troy, NY. Erie Canal completed linking the Hudson River at Albany, NY with Lake Erie.
1826: Joseph-Nicephore Niepce of Burgundy took the first photograph. Using a primitive camera, a pewter plate and light sensitive chemicals he created an image he called the heliograph. Boston's male clergy and laymen form a temperance society as the anti-alcohol movement strengthens. Landscape painter Thomas Cole helped establish the Hudson River school, signaling the emergency of a style that was distinctively American. Thomas Jefferson's death followed hours later by John Adams's, struck many Americans as a sign of divine approval for the nation. The former Presidents died on July 4th, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. The Anti-Masonic Party, earliest third party of the US was established after Masons in New York State were accused of murdering a former member who had written an expose of the Masonic order. His disappearance unleashed public denunciations of this secret fraternal society as a conspiracy of aristocrats controlling government, business, and the courts. The issue temporarily set back the campaign of Andrew Jackson a high-ranking Mason.
1827:1st Black Newspaper Freedom's Journal published. Edited by John B. Russworm. Massachusetts requires every town with 500 or more to have a high school.
1828: Andrew Jackson elected President. The song "Jim Crow" American's first international hit is performed by Thomas Rice. Workingmen's Party organizes, advocating social reform and free public education. First organized strike against manufactures by the child workers.
1829: Chelsea Water Works of London installed the first slow-sand water filter on the Thames River, thus becoming the first public supplier of drinking water to clean water. First commercial railroad, the Baltimore & Ohio, carried passengers in a horse-drawn excursion train. The narrow-gauge line was backed by Charles Carroll, one of the wealthiest men in the nation.
1830:First Steam railroad to carry passengers and freight was the Baltimore & Ohio. Mormon church is formed by Joseph Smith in the US. French tailor Barthelemy Thimonnier patented the sewing machine. It made 200 stitches a minute rather than the average 30 made by a human. Louis Godey publishes Lady's Book, the first successful US women's magazine. New York - largest US city. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act to remove all Indians to west of the Mississippi.
1831: Nat Turner, a pious slave preacher, leads unsuccessful field slave rebellion in Virginia which claimed the lives of 60 whites before it was crushed by the militia. A hundred blacks were killed during the 2 month search for Turner who was finally captured and hanged. Steam Locomotive DeWitt Clinton, one of the earliest, pulled ornate coaches 12 miles from Albany to Schenectady in under one hour. Isaac Dripps invented the front-running cowcatcher which became a standard feature for all locomotives. Jun 17th the boiler exploded on America's first passenger locomotive, The Best Friend Charleston, killing the fireman. He was the first person in American to be killed in a railroad accident. Cyrus mcCormick invents his mechanical reaper. William Lloyd Garrison publishes first abolitionist paper The Liberator advocating total and immediate emancipation.
1832: Cholera Epidemic killed over 3,000 people in New York between July and August; and 4,340 people in New Orleans in Oct. Andrew Jackson elected for 2nd term as President. The nation's first school for the Blind opens in Boston. The New England Anti-Slavery Society formed.
1833:Oberlin College in Ohio was the first coeducational college and awarded the first degree to a woman in 1841. Slavery abolished in England. Nov 8th near Heightstown NJ world's first train wreck and first passenger fatalities recorded. A 24 passenger Camden & Amboy train derailed due to a broken axle, killing 2 passengers and injuring others. Former President John Quincy Adams and Cornelius Vanderbilt, who later made a fortune in railroads, were aboard the train. The birth of the "penny press" - newspapers cheap enough for the general public. The Female Anti-Slavery Society in Philadelphia elects Lucretia Mott its first president. Balloon-frame houses, made of 2 x 4s instead of hefty barn-style beams, were invented by Chicago carpenter Augustine Taylor. Despite critics' predictions that prairie winds would blow them away, the houses proved sturdier than conventional designs. Within two decades frame houses built with mass-produced nails and precut lumber swept across the country. The National Road reaches into central Ohio. Described by one traveler as "a broad, gravel-paved highway ... we are seldom out of sight, as we travel on this grand track, towards Ohio, of family groups before and behind us..." Another traveler wrote; "Old America seems to be breaking up and moving westward."
1834: Charles Babbage invents "analytical engine" forerunner of computers. McCormick patents reaper allowing 6 men to do the work that once required 15. Wyoming settled. Jacob Perkins, a 68 year old Massachusetts inventor living in London, received a patent on a compressor that made ice artificially. In New York City, the Democrats fought the Whigs with such vigor that the state militia had to be called in. Race riots in New York and Philadelphia. New York mob sacks a Catholic convent.
1835: Dec 16th fire in NY City destroyed 530 buildings. Canaan, NH residents tear down Noyes Academy for admitting blacks. PT Branum's first successful hoax: Joice Heth as Washington's 161-year-old nursemaid. Southern states expel abolitionists and outlaw mailing of propaganda. Adult education thrives as some 3,000 lyceums attract speakers to town halls. Alexos de Tocqueville, after a 7,000 mile US tour, published the first two volumes of his classic analysis, Democracy in America. The French political philosopher reported that an American "always speaks to you as if addressing a meeting, and if he happens to get excited, he will say 'Gentlemen' when addressing an audience of one." The National Debt was paid off through tariffs and land sales. Indebtedness returned in 1837. A Chicago newspaper reports: "Almost all vessels from the lower lake region are full of passengers and our streets are thronged with wagons loaded with household furniture and the implements necessary to farming."
1836: The Battle of the Alamo. Texas gains independence from Mexico after winning the Battle of San Jacinto. Dicken's Pinwick Papers is published in England. Arkansas became the 25th state to join the Union (Jun 15, 1836) settled in 1686. Martin VanBuren elected President.
1837: Victoria becomes Queen of Great Britain. Mob kills Elijah P. Lovejoy, Illinois abolitionist publisher while he was trying to safeguard the press on which he printed his weekly antislavery newspaper. He had already lost three presses since moving the previous year from the slave state of MO where he edited the St. Louis Observer. Michigan became the 26th State to join the Union (Jan 26, 1837) settled in 1668. German Friedrich Froebel opened the first known "kindergarten" and Swiss reformer Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi was running the first "infants' school". Blacksmith John Deere invents steel-faced self-polishing plow that turns sod "like butter". Some 600 banks fail, start of a seven-year depression sparked by land speculation. Philadelphia hit with Typhus epidemic.
1838: Steamer Moselle explodes on the Ohio River, more than 130 people die. Trail of Tears claims 4,000 lives as 15,000 Cherokee Indians are forcibly removed from the southwest. Pennsylvania Hall, site of antislavery meetings, was burned by an angry Philadelphia mob who feared losing their jobs to freed slaves.
1839:First Opium War between Britain and China. London, England: Charles Dickens was, and still is, criticized for the number of children's deaths in his novels. Well. Dicken's biographer Peter Ackroyd notes that in 1839 almost half of London's funerals were for children under 10. The average age of death in London was 27 - 22 for the working class. Ackroyd reports: "London's air reeked of the putrescence of decomposing bodies erupting through the surface of overcrowed graveyards, and the stench of human excrement. It puddled in gutters in the middle of muddy streets, and in "cess lakes" scattered through congested neighborhoods, such as the one where 2,850 people lived in 95 dilapidated houses. Families of eight in a single room were not unusual. Brown water, for washing and cooking, came unfiltered from the Thames". Yet in 1889 Chicago was described as: "The streets are inexpressibly dirty, the number of schools inadequate, sanitary legislation unenforced, the street lighting bad, the paving miserable and altogether lacking the alleys and smaller streets, and the stables foul beyond description. Hundreds of houses are unconnected with the street sewers. Children suffer the most, often from malnutrition bordering on starvation and tuberculosis, polio and typhoid fever afflict many poor families." America: Charles Goodyear of Connecticut developed "rubber" and because he did not patent the process died a pauper, leaving over $200,000 in debts unpaid. D.S. Rockwell perfects the horse-drawn seed planter. John W. Draper takes first photograph of the moon. Troy Female Seminary in Troy NW became the first state supported school for women.
1840: William H Harrison elected President. Harrison and running mate John Tyler ran under the slogan "Tipppecanoe and Tyler too". Liberty Party is first to run candidates on an abolitionist platform. US population reaches 17 million. 1/3 of the population lived west of the Alleghenies. Congress passes law limiting a work day to 10 hours after strikers disrupt businesses throughout the country. The Penny Post started in England - 1st modern postal system. Opium War begins - Britain and China. Steamship Britannica is first liner to cross the Atlantic from Nova Scotia to England . Alexis de Tocqueville publishes Democracy in America. Antarctica discovered by Charles Wilkes US Navy.
1841: US President Harrison dies one month after inauguration. John Tyler becomes first vice-president to succeed to the Presidency. Horace Greeley first publishes the New York Tribune. Perishable Chesapeake Bay oysters are canned. Philosophy of transcendentalism inspired George Ripley to organize Brook Farm near Boston, an experimental cooperative community that combined manual labor with visionary idealism. Nationwide Yellow fever epidemic, especially sever in the southern states. Two London writes launch Punch (a magazine of political satire). US Supreme Court frees rebel slaves who were charged with mutiny on the slave ship Amistad in 1839 - major victory for the abolitionist movement. First detective novel published by Edgar Allan Poe - The Murders in the Rue Morgue.
1842: Idaho settled. 1st surgery performed using Ether. A GA physician named C.W. Long excised a tumor from a patient using ether for a fee of $2. However, the operation that brought Ether's use to the general public was performed at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on Oct 16, 1846 when dentist William Morton administered ether before the surgery. Morton spread the news of this wonderful invention and is thought by many to have been the first one to use it. P.T. Barnum calls New Yorkers to the opening of his American Museum. First gummed postage stamps were issued in New York by a private company, City Despatch Post. Stamps changed the way letters were sent and received; senders began to pay the cost of carry letters where in the past it was the receiver who paid the postage. Sam Houston raised 1,200 troops after Mexican raiders kidnapped several Texans. Jacob Byerly opened a gallery as one of American's first daguerreotypists. Physicist Christian Doppler publishes Uber das farbige Licht der Doppelsteme (The Doppler Effect). The New York Philharmonic is founded - first concert under conductor Ureli Corelli Hill. British win Opium War - China cedes Hong Kong to the British. Present day boundary between Maine and New Brunswick established by Daniel Webster and Ashburto Alexander Baring (also included suppression of slave trade) Francisco Lopes discovers gold in CA (will take 6 years before the "Gold Rush" begins).
1843: The mentally ill were "beaten with rods", schoolteacher Dorothea Dix told the Massachusetts legislature. Her testimony and life's work brought needed reform to the mental-health field. Charles Dickens publishes a Christmas Carole. Tunnel under the Thames River opens after 18 years of construction.
1844: Democratic convention called for the annexation of Texas and the acquisition of Oregon . Samuel F.B. Morse patents the telegraph. James H. Polk elected President. Mob in Nauvoo, IL kills Mormon leader Joseph Smith. Colt six-shooters enable 15 Texas Rangers to attack 300 Comanche Indians and kill half of them and intimidate the rest. Government approved "Morse Code" (invented by Samuel Morse in 1838) - message "What hath God wrought" is delivered over 37 miles of telegraph lines. Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) is founded in London. Richard Theodore Greener - 1st Black American to graduate from Harvard - joined University of South Carolina as librarian. 1st draft of On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.
1845:Congress adopts joint resolution for the annexation of Texas as a slave state. First steam-heated building - Eastern Hotel, Boston, MA. Florida became the 27th state to join the Union (Mar 3, 1845) settled in 1565. Texas became the 28th state (Dec 29, 1845) settled in 1682. Ireland ravaged by a potato blight giving rise to the emigration of 1.25 million Irish to the US. New Bedford, MA, the largest whaling center, had a record breaking year producing 52,000 barrels of sperm oil and 84,000 barrels of whale oil and a million pounds of whalebone. Margaret Fuller publishes Woman in The Nineteenth Century. National Election Day established. Banjos become popular. Henry D Thoreau moves to Walden Pond MA and begins his 18 essays about his transcendentalism philosophy (living a simple life). Edgar Allan Poe publishes his poem The Raven in The New York Mirror newspaper - he was editor.
1846: Failure of potato crop causes famine in Ireland. US declares war on Mexico. California and New Mexico are annexed by the US. Brigham Young leads Mormons to Great Salt Lake. Sewing machine patented by Elias Howe. Frederick Douglas launches abolitionist newspaper called The North Star. Iowa became the 29th state to join the Union (Dec 28, 1846) settled in 1788. Englishman James Smithson's bequest founds the Smithsonian Institution. International border separating Oregon County and Canada established along the 49th parallel. Abolitionists were furious at the South for expanding slavery into lands gained after the Mexican War. Oregon counts 5,000 Americans settled there. Zachary Taylor (Mexican War hero) elected 12th President. Donnor party meets disaster on way to CA - cannibalism allows 1/2 of the party to survive. Liberia, founded by freed American slaves, becomes the first African colony to gain independence.
1847:In November and December 1847 half a million of London's 2.1 million residents had typhus fever. 1st US postage stamp issued. Michigan became the 1st state to abolish capital punishment. Utah settled. Irish immigration reaches 105,000 doubling that of 1846. Col. David Hosletter sells "stomach bitters" that will make him a fortune. Epidemic of Yellow Fever sweeps through New Orleans. Worldwide epidemic of Influenza begins and doesn't end until 1848. Charlotte Bronte publishes Jane Eyre, her sister Emily publishes Wuthering Heights. Brigham Young and 148 other Mormons found Salt Lake City. Mexican-American War begins.
1848: US Mexican War ends. Mexico cedes claims to Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Nevada. US Treaty with Britain sets Oregon Territory boundary at the 49th parallel. Karl Marx and Friedrick Engels's Communist Manifesto is published. Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery and joins the Underground Railroad. Wisconsin became the 30th state to join the Union (May 29, 1848) settled in 1766. Cholera epidemic in New York City caused the death of more than 5,000 people and spreads nationwide as people flee the epidemic. Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized the first US women's rights convention at Seneca Falls, NY. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote the Declaration of Sentiments which was signed and accepted at the Women's Rights Convention. Sea gulls of the Great Salt Lake eat locust swarms that threaten the Mormon settlement. Workers begin construction of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. California Gold Rush begins. Six daily newspapers band together to operate a telegraphic relay system to receive news from around the world - beginning of The Associated Press.
1849: Elizabeth Blackwell was awarded a medical degree from Geneva Medical for College of Western NY and became the first female to be issued a Medical degree in America. Nevada settled. Henry David Thoreau publishes Civil Disobedience. Mystery clouded the death of 40 year old Edgar Allan Poe. On the way to pick up a guest for his second wedding, Poe disappeared for five days. He was found semiconscious in a Baltimore tavern and soon died. Speaking out against the "horror of trafficking in the souls and bodies of men," Frederick Douglass became the best known black abolitionist of his age and such a celebrity that a song was written about this life. Composer Frederic Chopin dies in Paris at the age of 38. Preacher George Fox founds the Society of Friends in England. Mechanic William Hunt invents the safety pin.
1850s France:Historian Eugene Weber in his "France: Fin de Siecle" writes: "...even among the upper and middle classes washing was rare and bathing rarer, partly because of the cost of getting water above ground floors. Those who could afford to, bathed once a month. Toothbrushes were rarer than watches. Outside Paris, living was less refined. Rennes (population 70,000) had 30 bathtubs and two homes with private bathrooms. Clothes were cleaned rarely and people who wore underware changed it rarely." America: Henry Clay opens great debate on slavery, warns South against secession. California became the 31st State to join the Union (Sep 9, 1850) settled 1769. President Taylor dies and is succeeded by Fillmore. US Navy bans flogging. Nationwide epidemic of Yellow Fever and Influenza. 200,000 free blacks live in the North and West.
1851:Herman Melville writes Moby Dick. American Isaac Merritt Singer improved the sewing machine patented by Barthelemy Thimonnier in 1830, and the improvement later made by Elias Howe, and launched the garment industry. Britian's Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) arrives in Boston. The Flying Cloud, a clipper ship, sails from New York to San Francisco in 89 days, 8 hours. First color photograph in the US. Invented by Levi L. Hill the process was called daguerreotypes.
1852: Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin is published and sells 300,000 copies in its first year, firing northern hatred of slavery. Franklin Pierce elected President. Elisha Otis invents a system of teeth and ratchets to stop elevators from falling if ropes break. James Ives joins the famed Nathaniel Currier in producing lithographs. Nationwide epidemic of Yellow Fever.
1853: Yellow fever killed 7,790 persons in New Orleans. May 6th, Norwalk, Conn a New Haven Railroad train ran through an open drawbridge and plunged into the Norwalk River. 46 passengers were crushed to death or drowned. This was the first major drawbridge accident in the US. The Army begins surveying railroad routes to the Pacific, mapping four possibilities. Commodore Matthew Perry sails to Japan, winning trading rights for the US the next year.
1854: Kansas-Nebraska Act permits local option on slavery; rioting and bloodshed result. Tennyson writes Charge of the Light Brigade and Thoreau writes Walden. Elisha Graves Otis demonstrated his "Safe Elevator" at the New York City fair and many consider his act the "father of the skyscraper" since his invention made possible safe access to multi-story buildings. English inventor Henry Bessemer discovered and patented the process to produce Steel. American William Kelly made the same discovery at roughly the same time but his patent was filed after Bessemer's. Walter Hunt patents a disposable paper collar that will gain great popularity, but only after his death. The American Party is formed by native-born Protestants who feared that Catholic immigrants would take jobs and power from them. The Party won control of Massachusetts. The Party had died by 1860. Julian Street, an Eastern writer, sends back East this account of Cripple Creek, Colorado's wide open life style: "Stealing, lying, swearing, drinking, gambling and murdering .... Dust was plentier than pleasure, pleasure more enticing than virtue." The citizens of Cripple Creek named a street lined with bawdy houses after him in retaliation.
1855: Armed clashes in Kansas between pro and anti-slavery forces. Florence Nightingale nurses the wounded in Crimea. Congress allocates $30,000 to buy 33 pack camels for the Army in the desert Southwest. John Roebling suspends a railroad bridge across Niagara Falls. Walt Whitman publishes his Leaves of Grass. Nation hit with epidemic of Yellow Fever.
1856: Hurricane hits Last Island, LA Aug 11th leaving 400 dead. July 17th Camp Hill PA two Northern Penn trains crashed head-on 66 church school children bound for a picnic died in the flaming wreckage. Isaac Merritt Singer offered his "Singer Sewing Machine" to individuals for $125.00, more than most folks could afford. But by taking $5.00 down and collecting weekly installments he launched the "lay-a-way" plan of modern days. James Buchanan elected President. Adventure William Walker becomes dictator of Nicaragua and introduces slavery. On the Senate floor SC congressman Preston Brooks beat Mass Senator Charles Sumner senseless with a cane for criticizing slavery and insulting his uncle, also a senator. A martyr to Northerners, Sumner recovered and returned to the Senate 3 years later. Brooks returned to office sooner - with several gold-handled canes, gifts from his proud constituents.
1857: Supreme Court, in Dred Scott decision, rules that a slave is not a citizen. Financial crisis in Europe and the US. Mardi Gras's first carnival society, the Mystick Krewe of Comus, began planning and paying for New Orleans parades. Solidarity of southern whites was threatened by the publication of Impending Crisis of the South by former NC farmer Hinton R. Helper. Using census statistics, he argued that slavery has impoverished many lower-class whites. A large New York city bank closes, Wall Street panics, and 5,000 businesses fail. To a shout of "Play Ball" 16 amateur clubs in New York form the first baseball association. Shipping magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt finances William Walker's ouster from Nicaragua. Worldwide epidemic of influenza begins and won't end until 1859.
1858: Pro-slavery constitution rejected in Kansas. Abraham Lincoln makes strong antislavery speed in Springfield, IL ("... this nation cannot endure permanently half slave and half free."). Lincoln-Douglas debates. First trans-atlantic telegraph cable completed by Cyrus W. Field of Mass. Colorado settled. Minnesota became the 32nd state to join the Union (May 11, 1858) settled in 1805. Major cities witness daily prayer meetings as a revival spreads from New York. A pencil with an erase attached earns H.L. Lipman a patent. Cabinetmaker George Pullman designs sleeping cars for the Chicago & Alton Railroad. 30 Nov 1858 becomes famous date when it is stamped on mason fruit jars with screw type lids (patented by John Landis Mason) - date continued on all jars until 1879.
1859:1st commercial oil well, Titusville, PA with the discovery by retired railroad conductor Edwin Drake when he figured out how to pump oil from a shallow well. John Brown raids Harpers Ferry; is captured and hung. Work begins on the Suez Canal. Charles Darwin publishes Origin of the Species. South Dakota settled. Oregon became the 33rd state to join the Union (Feb 14, 1859) settled in 1811. "Pikes Peak or Bust" declared thousands of would-be miners who left their farms and homesteads after gold was reported near present-day Denver, CO.
1860: South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union, Dec 20, 1860 (readmitted July 9, 1868). Abraham Lincoln elected President. Thousands of Lynn, MA shoemakers walk out of their factories to gain better pay. The Checkered Game of Life, a board game, brings Milton Bradley fun and profit. The American housewife is told by Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine to cook tomatoes for at least 3 hours. Related to several poisonous plants, tomatoes had long been considered poisonous as well. Smallpox epidemic breaks out in PA. Population reaches 32 million with 1/2 living in states and territories which did not even exist in Washington's administration. Average number of children per family - five. 25% of the population lived in cities of 2,500 or more (in 1790 only 5% of the population did so). The census shows the US population to be about 31 million people - 4 million foreign born. The Prince of Wales was the first member of the British royal family to make an official visit to the U.S. Opium war between China and Britain ends. Florence Nightingale establishes a school for nurses in London.
1861: Mississippi Seceded from the Union Jan 9, 1861 (readmitted 1870); Florida Jan 10, 1861 (readmitted 1868); Alabama Jan 11, 1861 (readmitted 1868); Georgia Jan 19, 1861 (readmitted 1868 but the representatives were unseated Mar 5, 1869, the 2nd and final readmittance was 1870); Louisiana Jan 26, 1861 (readmitted 1868); Texas Mar 2, 1861 (readmitted 1870); Virginia April 17, 1861 (readmitted 1870); Arkansas May 6, 1861 (readmitted 1868); North Carolina May 20, 1861 (readmitted 1868); Tennessee Jun 8, 1861 (readmitted 1866). Civil War begins April 12, 1861 as Confederates fire on Ft Sumter. Congress creates Colorado, Dakota and Nevada territories; adopts first US Income Tax; Lincoln inaugurated. Pasteur's theory of germs is presented. Kansas became the 34th state to join the Union (Jan 29, 1861) settled in 1727. Stars and Bars of the South's first flag waved over Montgomery, AL, on the same day as Lincoln's inauguration. This flag was later replaced with the final "Confederate Flag". The slave holding Choctaw Indian nation signs a treaty of alliance with the Confederacy. Paper money backed only by the faith in the Confederacy helped to underwrite the South's war effort. Neutral Kentucky, invaded by a Confederate army, proclaimed itself for the Union, but 1/3 of its citizens (including most of the family of Mary Todd Lincoln) declared for the South. Union forces loses battle of Bull Run. Charles Dickens publishes the first episodes of Great Expectations. Jefferson Davis was elected president of The Confederacy. At his inauguration they played "Dixie" - not knowing that "Dixie" was neither old nor Southern. It was written two years earlier by a Northerner for a Broadway minstrel show. 100 years after it was written, it was used again in a number one record that had nothing to do with the Confederacy, but in a song about a decisive battle in the War Of 1812 against the British, The Ballad Of New Orleans by Johnny Horton.
1862:The Battle Hymn of the Republic is published in the Atlantic Monthly. General Grant demands the "unconditional surrender" of 15,000 Confederates at Ft. Donelson, TN. Clara Barton takes her nurses to the battlefields. Ironclad warships met for the first time and fought to a draw at Hampton Roads, VA. By blocking the James River the ironclad battleship the Virginia helped prevent the capture of Richmond. Slavery is abolished in the District of Columbia. Taking command, Lee breaks McClellan's siege of Richmond in the Seven Days' Battle. US Internal Revenue taxes goods from gunpowder to umbrellas. "One Hundred Sixty Acres Free", were offered under the new Homestead Act. Filed at Dakota city, NE, in 1865 W.W. Hale's claim was one of the nation's first. After the war veterans rushed west to claim "quarter sections". American doctor Robert Gatlin patents a gun that fires 200 rounds. This new "machine" gun was not used until after the Civil War.
1863:Sep 22nd President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which attempted to free all slaves, some areas were exempt and not all states followed the proclamation. The Battle of Gettysburg, one of the most noted battles of the Civil War, was fought on July 1-3, 1963. On Nov 19, 1863, the field was dedicated as a national cemetery by President Lincoln in a two-minute speech which has become immortal. We all remember the opening line: "Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." West Virginia became the 35th state to join the Union (Jun 29, 1863) settled in 1727. Lincoln signs the North's first draft bill, for men age 20-45. Exemptions are numerous. Jefferson Davis throws his pocket money to a mob in Richmond rioting for bread. A Confederate doll called the "Lucy Ann" was used to smuggle much needed drugs to the South. As food shortages mounted in the South, Jefferson Davis asked farmers to stop growing cotton and grow only food for "men and beasts". Surgeon's appointment went to Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, first female assigned to a US Army medical unit. She received the Medal of Honor for her wartime service - the only woman ever so honored. Lincoln proclaims the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day. The poem The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was included in Longfellow's Tales of a Wayside Inn. Draft riots left more than 100 people dead in the streets of New York City. Mobs of Irish immigrants tore up railroad tracks, ransacked shops, and burned an orphanage for black children. Looting continued until police were reinforced by troops fresh from the victory at Gettysburg. Free home delivery of the mail in urban areas began. Red Cross founded by Henri Dunant, a Swiss humanitarian - first named The International Committee for the Relief of the Wounded. First underground railway opened in London. Confederate General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson dies from wounds at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Lake Victoria found to be source of Nile River by J Grant and J H Speke. In Carson City, Nevada, a journalist sent a story to a newspaper called the Virginia City Enterprise, and for the first time, he used a "pen name" that would eventually make him famous to this day. The writer's "pen name" came from his days on the Mississippi riverboats and was inspired by an old riverboat pilot. It was the sound the boatman made when measuring the depth of the river as the boat moved along the "mighty Mississippi." When the river was two fathoms deep he'd yell out "MARK! TWAIN!"
1864: Nevada became the 36th state to join the Union (Oct 31, 1864) settled in 1849. Abraham Lincoln elected to a 2nd term as President. The Gatling Gun, a hand-cranked machine gun that spat out 200 bullets per minute was tested by the Union Army at Petersburg. It was not reliable enough for general use. A new pro-Union Arkansas government approves an anti-slavery constitution. "In God We Trust" first appeared on the new bronze, two-cent coin by order of Congress. Grant stops prisoner exchanges, cutting off a crucial source of manpower for the South. Lincoln calls for 500,000 men to serve in the Union Army for 3 years or for the duration of the war. Congress widens draft eligibility to men aged 17-50. Man and Nature, a pioneering ecological book by George Perkins Marsh, warned, "Man is everywhere a disturbing agent. Wherever he plants his foot, the harmonies of nature are turned to discords." Congress votes to pay black soldiers the same as white soldiers. Atlanta falls to Sherman. Maryland voters approve a new constitution providing for the abolition of slavery. Congress signs into law the "Land-Grant Act" endowing colleges in each state by setting aside a portion of federal land in each territory or state for the building of public schools. Nathaniel Hawthorne dies. London pubs close between one and four in the afternoon to try to decrease drunkeness.
1865: Civil War ends - Sheridan defeats Confederates at Five Forks; Confederates evacuate Richmond and on April 9th Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox. Lincoln fatally shot at Ford's Theater by John Wilkes Booth. Vice-President Johnson was sworn in as successor. Booth captured and dies of gunshot wounds; four conspirators are hanged. . Lewis Carroll (real name Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) publishes Alice in Wonderland. Gregory Mendel's Law of Heredity is published. A boiler explosion on the Mississippi River steamboat Sultana near Memphis TN April 27th killed 1,547 paroled Union prisoners of war. Black troops parade through the seat of rebellion; Charleston, SC. Freedmen's Bureau is established to aid former slaves. Jefferson Davis was captured in GA after a game of "hide & seek" endured for over 2 months. Davis encouraged all southern men to continue to wage guerrilla warfare against the Union. The 13th Amendment abolishes Slavery. The Nation looked to be an unhealthy place as a series of recurring epidemics of smallpox, Cholera, Typhus, Typhoid, Scarlet fever & Yellow fever raged through Philadelphia, NY, Boston, New Orleans, Baltimore, Memphis and DC during 1865 and didn't die out until 1873. A climbing party conquered the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps.
1866:Alfred Nobel invents dynamite (patented in Britain in 1867). Tennessee was the first Confederate state to be readmitted to the Union Jul 24, 1866. Gregor Mendel, an Austrian monk who spent a decade crossbreeding pea plants in his monastery garden, aired his discovery of the basic laws of heredity. Congress authorizes the five-cent coin nicknamed the "nickel". National Labor Union convenes in Baltimore to address unhealthy working conditions. Carpetbags came to be identified with Northerners who hastily threw their belongings into cloth bags and journeyed south to gain a foothold in splintered local governments. The Transatlantic Cable is laid - 1686 miles, customers paid $1 per letter to send messages across the Atlantic. Alfred Nobel (Swedish chemist and engineer) invents dynamite.
1867: Ridiculed by the press and public as "Seward's icebox" the US buys Alaska from Russia for $7,2 million dollars. Nebraska became the 37th state to join the Union (Mar 1, 1867) settled in 1823. Yellow Fever epidemic in New Orleans kills 3,093 people. 14th Amendment grants citizenship to blacks. Horatio Alger serializes the rags-to-riches Ragged Dick. The curveball, credited to pitcher William A. Cummings, further complicated the lives of baseball hitters. Diamonds are discovered in Aftica. Karl Marx publishes the first volume of Das Kapital. Johann Stauss composes the Blue Danube waltz. The first toothpick-making machine was patented by Silas Noble and James P. Cooley of Granville, Massachusetts. The machine converted a block of wood into little toothpicks. They figured out a way to get 7 and a half million toothpicks from one cord of wood with the machine.
1868: Fourteenth Amendment giving civil rights to blacks is ratified. Georgia under military rule legislature expels blacks. South Carolina readmitted to the Union Jul 9, 1868; Florida Jun 25, 1868; Alabama Jul 13, 1868; Arkansas Jun 22, 1868; North Carolina Jul 4, 1868. President Andrew Johnson issues a final amnesty to all parties in the rebellion. An earthquake in San Francisco kills 30 people causes 3 million dollars in damages. The World Almanac, with 120 pages is first published in New York City. Impeachment proceedings began against President Andrew Johnson, who never appeared at his trial. He was acquitted by one vote. Ulysses S Grant elected President. Memorial Day becomes a National Holiday. Federal workers are granted an eight hour workday to replace the normal 10 and 12 hour day. The skeleton of Cro-Magnon Man is discovered in France by Louis Lartet. Louise May Alcott publishes Little Women.
1869:First transcontinental railroad - The Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads joined at Promontory, Utah on May 10th. James Fish and Jay Gould attempt to control the gold market and cause Black Friday panic. Suez Canal opened. Frontier women continued to enjoy greater civic freedom than their eastern and southern counterparts; the Wyoming Territory granted women the right to vote. The Prohibition Party is formed in Chicago. Marvelous iron-tired wooden bicycles - the newest popular invention. Russian Leo Tolstoy publishes War and Peace.
1870:Ada H Kepley became the first woman to be awarded a law degree. A graduate of Union College of Law, Chicago, IL. Mississippi was readmitted to the Union Feb 23, 1870; Georgia Jul 15, 1870 (Georgia first voted to rejoin the Union Mar 5, 1869 but the representatives were unseated Mar 5, 1869); Texas Mar 30, 1870; Virginia Jan 26, 1870. John D. Rockefeller took the 1st major step toward controlling the nation's oil industry when in incorporated the Standard Oil Company of Ohio. 15th Amendment grants suffrage to black males 21 years or older. 9 out of every 10 whites could read and write.
1871: Fighting with Apaches begins in the American West. Boss Tweed corruption exposed in New York. The Great Chicago fire resulted in 250 deaths, left 100,000 homeless, 17,450 buildings destroyed and $196 million in damages. Among the priceless objects lost in the fire was Lincoln's original draft of the Emancipation Proclamation. Stanley meets Livingston in Africa. Peshtigo, WI Oct 8, 1871 forest fire killed over 1,200 people and burned appox 2 billion trees. US population passes 40 million. US government arrests Mormon Brigham Young on charges of polygamy.
1872:Women activists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton carry on the fight for Woman's Suffrage. Victoria Claflin Woodhull nominated by the National Woman's Suffrage Assn. for President on the Nation Radical Reformers ticket. Congress gives amnesty to most Confederates. Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days is published. Nov 9th fire in Boston destroyed over 800 buildings resulting in $75 million in damages. Ulysses S. Grant elected to 2nd term as President. Vice-President Schuyler Colfax is implicated in the Credit Mobiller scandal. Yellowstone National Park established. An equine flue epidemic has killed so many horses that in some cities transit drivers are pulling their cars by hand.
1873:First illustrated daily newspaper - New York Daily Graphic. Economic crisis in Europe. US establishes the gold standard. A panic on Wall Street prompted by unbridled speculation and over-expansion in industry, agriculture, and commerce closed the stock exchange for 11 days. US & Europe experience an outbreak of Influenza that reached epidemic proportions.
1874: The typewriter, patented in 1867, went on the market but sales were slow. Early models failed because they didn't allow the users to see what they were typing. Battered and malnourished, a 9 year old girl testifies in court about her mistreatment. The event sparked the founding of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. The ice cream soda is invented at an exhibition at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.
1875: First Kentucky Derby, won by a small chestnut colt named Aristides. Luther Burbank begins experiments to create new strains of plant life. The whiskey ring directly implicated Orville Babcock, President Grant's personal assistant, in a scheme to cheat the US government of taxes from liquor. Churchill Downs race course is built.
1876: Sioux kill Gen. George A. Custer and 264 troopers at Little Big Horn River. Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone. Colorado became the 38th state to join the Union (Aug 1, 1876) settled in 1858. Dec 5th fire in the Brooklyn Theater killed more than 500 people. Dec 29th Ashtabula Ohio a Lake Shore train fell into the Ashtabula River when a bridge it was crossing collapsed during a snowstorm. 92 were killed. Rutherford B. Hayes elected President. The Centennial Exposition opened in Philadelphia amid great fanfare. Machinery Hall featured recent American innovations such as the telephone, sewing machine, power loom, and Corliss engine, drew the greatest attention of the nearly 10 million visitors. Hottest summer in 60 years screams newspaper headlines. Main legislature abolishes capital punishment.
1877: After the Presidential election of 1876, Electoral Commission gives disputed Electoral College votes to Rutherford B. Hayes despite Tilden's popular majority vote. Reconstruction ends in the American south. Thomas Edison patents the phonograph. The Nez Perce leader chief Joseph is forced to surrender. Chased by US soldiers, Sitting Bull, chief of the Sioux nation, flees to Canada.
1878: 1st commercial telephone exchange opened in New Haven, Conn. There were 21 subscribers to the telephone service and one operator, George Coy, a retired fisherman from Rhode Island, who would switch all of the calls, answering the phone saying "Ahoy! Ahoy!". Yellow Fever epidemic killed over 13,000 people in the lower Mississippi Valley. pharmacist Gerhard Mennen introduces "Mennen's Sure Corn Killer". President Rutherford Hayes hosts the first White House Easter egg roll. Thomas Edison, with the backing of Wall Street financiers, established the Edison Electric Light Company. Smallpox epidemic struck Deadwood in the Dakota Territory, Martha Jane Canary, better known as Calamity Jane, worked in men's clothing to nurse the ill. New Orleans experienced its last great epidemic of Yellow Fever. John Wesley Powell's report on The Lands of the Arid Regions of the United States was submitted to Congress. It created heated debate over new policies of damming western rivers for irrigation of the water-shy West.
1879:Founding of the first "Five & Dime" store. Founded by Frank Woolworth in Utica NY and then moved to Lancaster PA the same year. Thomas Edison patents the "modern" light bulb, safe, long-lasting and inexpensive. After air was accidentally beaten into James N. Gable's new soap mixture the soap floated. Gamble with his cousin Harley Procter marketed it as Ivory Soap.
1880: US-China Treaty allowed the US to restrict immigration of Chinese labor. James A. Garfield elected President. Joel Chandler Harris writes Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings. The American branch of the Salvation Army is established. The first halftone newspaper photograph was printed by the New York Daily Graphic.
1881: President Garfield assassinated. Vice President Arthur succeeds him. Charles J. Guiteau was convicted of the assassination and executed in 1882. Billy the Kid fell to Pat Garrett's bullet in New Mexico Territory. Outside Tombstone in Arizona Territory Wyatt Earp fought in a shoot-out at the O,K. Corral. Helen Hunt Jackson published a searing volume called A Century of Dishonor against the government's treatment of the Indians. Black educator Booker T. Washington became the first president of Alabama's Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute.
1882: Congress adopts the Chinese Exclusion Act. Rockerfeller's Standard Oil Trust is the first industrial monopoly. In Berlin, Robert Koch announces the discovery of the tuberculosis germ lead to the establishment of the germ theory of disease. First Labor Day parade is held in New York City. Barnum Bailey's Circus introduces Jumbo the elephant to Madison Square Garden. Edison and his associates threw the switch on the Pearl Street power plant and delivered electricity to the homes of 60 subscribers in lower Manhattan. First Labor Day parade held in New York City where hundreds displayed placards with the slogan "eight hours for what we will" and "eight hours of work, eight hours of rest".
1883: Vaudeville started at the Gaiety Museum in Boston, MA. Congress creates the Civil Service commission. The Brooklyn Bridge opened hailed by many as the 8th Wonder of the World. The Metropolitan Opera House was completed. Standard time zones are adopted nationwide to coordinate rail schedules. The William K Vanderbilts are finally accepted into New York society.
1884: A series of Tornadoes swept through MS, AL, NC, SC, TN, KY and IN causing over 800 deaths. Grover Cleveland elected President. Ottmar Mergenthaler patents a Linotype typesetting machine. The 10 story Home Life Insurance Building of Chicago was the first skyscraper built with an iron and steel frame.
1885: Huckleberry Finn shared his adventures in the first American edition of Mark Twain's masterwork. Publishing empire began as William Randolph Hearst acquired the San Francisco Examiner from his father George. Moses and Welday Walker are the first blacks in the major leagues, before the color line is drawn. The Washington Monument is completed. Plymouth, PA suffers major Typhoid epidemic.
1886: Bombing at Haymarket Square in Chicago killed 7 policemen and injured many others. Eight alleged anarchists accused - three imprisoned, one committed suicide, four were hanged. Statue of Liberty dedicated. Geronimo, Apache Indian chief, surrendered. Aug 31st an earthquake hit Charleston, SC leaving 60 people dead (Measured 7.7 on the Richter Scale). Atlanta druggist John Pemberton cooked up Coca-Cola and released it as "The Great National Temperance Drink". Federal troops are brought in to quell anti-Chinese riots in Seattle. Yellow Fever epidemic sweeps Jacksonville, FL. Otto Mergenthaler cuts printing costs dramatically with his invention of the linotype machine. The first successful gasoline powered automobile was patented by Karl Benz (Mercedes-Benz in Germany). Karl Benz called his new gasoline powered auto a "Motor-wagon." The car had one cylinder, three wheels and hit a top speed of 15 miles per hour!
1887: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's first Sherlock Holmes story A Study In Scarlet is published. Aug 10th near Chatsworth, IL a burning railroad trestle collapsed while a Toledo, Peoria & Western train was crossing, killing 81 and injuring 372. The Interstate commerce Act was passed to regulate railroads, following complaints of rate discrimination.
1888: Historic March blizzard in Northeast US causes 400 deaths and property damage exceeds $25 million Some areas had as much as 5 foot of snow. George Eastman releases the box camera (The Kodak). After customers took 100 pictures they mailed the unopened camera to have the film developed. J.B. Dunlop invents the pneumatic tire. Jack the Ripper murders in London. Benjamin Harrison elected President. First successful overhead electric trolley line built in Richmond, Virginia. Disc-playing gramophone was demonstrated by Emile Berliner at Philadelphia's Franklin Institute. Theodore Roosevelt promotes protection of big game through the Boone and Crockett club. National Geographic Magazine, journal of the newly formed National Geographic Society, published in its first issue a detailed account of the Great Storm (also known as the Great Blizzard) that had ravaged the Eastern states in March.
1889: Indian Territory in Oklahoma was opened to settlement 50,000 settlers make the Land Run. 2,200 die in Johnstown, PA flood May 31, 1889. Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court was published. Eiffel Tower built for the Paris exposition. North Dakota became the 39th state to join the Union (Nov 2, 1889) settled in 1812. South Dakota became the 40th state to join the Union (Nov 2, 1889) settled in 1859; Montana became the 41st (Nov 8, 1889) settled in 1809; Washington became the 42nd (Nov 11, 1889) settled in 1811. George Eastman introduced roll film. Kansas passes the first antitrust bill.
1890:First criminal electrocuted was William Kemmler in Auburn Prison in Auburn, NY. Congress votes in the Sherman Antitrust Act. Kansas passes the first antitrust laws. Sitting Bull was killed in a Sioux uprising at Wounded Knee, SD in the last "great Indian Battle". Idaho became the 43rd state to join the Union (Jul 3, 1890) settled in 1842. Wyoming became the 44th state (Jul 10, 1890) settled in 1834. United Mine Workers of American is organized in Ohio. Religion on the rise - 150 different denominations are counted. Women in the West were more often employed then their Southern or Eastern sisters. The 1890 census counted over 12,000 female teachers (1 in 10 of all women employed in "gainful and reputable occupations"). Safety bicycle hit the road with equal sized wheels, chain drive, pneumatic rubber tires and a special "drop frame" to accommodate the ladies but selling for $100 to $125 (about $800-1,000 in today's money) it passes by the average man.
1891: James Naismith concocts basketball in Springfield, MA. Italian Talc was packaged with plaster bandages to soothe skin irritations. It became so popular that in 1894 if was marketed as Johnson's Toilet and Baby Powder. Black Roman Catholic Priest Charles Randolph Uncles as the first of his race ordained in the US.
1892: Battle between steel strikers and Pinkerton guards at Homestead, PA; union was defeated after militia intervened. Silver mine strikers in Idaho fight non-union workers; US troops dispatched to the area. Diesel engine patented. Grover Cleveland elected President. Ellis Island opens. To shouts of "softie" boxers don leather gloves.
1893: Hurricane hits Savannah, GA, Charleston and Sea Island SC leaving at least 1,000 dead. Gasoline-powered automobile built by Charles and J. Frank Duryea was the 1st successful one in the US. The Ferris wheel makes its debut at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Depression left the county "standing on its head wild with terror" in Henry Adams's words. Businesses and banks failed and by 1894 almost 20 percent of the work force was jobless - without the benefit of unemployment compensation. The depression would last 4 years. Lizzie Borden, accused of axing her parents, is acquitted in a sensational murder trial.
1894: Jacob S. Coxey of Ohio lead "Coxey's Army" of unemployed on Washington. Eugene V. Debs called a general strike of railroad workers to support Pullman Company strikers; strike was broken. Debs jailed for 6 months. Thomas A. Edison's kinetoscope was given its first public showing in New York City. Sep 1st forest fire in MN destroyed 480 square miles, 6 towns and killed 480 people. Labor Day becomes a national holiday during a time of violent strikes.
1895:First colored cartoon published in the New York World. "The Yellow Kid" by Richard Outcault. X-rays discovered by German physicist, Wilhelm Roentgen. Two French brothers, Auguste and Louis Lumiere produced the first moving picture and projected it to a group of 33 people. Guglielmo Marconi of Italy transmitted a radio signal about a mile and half thus proving that a radio signal could be sent without using wires. Charles Dana Gibson's stylish "Gibson girl" drawings idealize leisure-class life.
1896: Supreme Court's doctrine of "Separate but equal" was set in the Plessy v Ferguson decision. Alfred Nobel's will established prizes for peace, science and literature. Marconi received the first wireless patent in Britain. William Jennings Bryan delivered "Cross of Gold" speech at the Democratic Convention in Chicago. First modern Olympic games held in Athens, Greece. Utah became the 45th state to join the Union (Jan 4, 1896) after the Mormon Church bans polygamy - settled 1847. William McKinley elected President. Austrian immigrant Leo Hirshfield introduced the Tootsie Roll, the first individually wrapped penny candy. Hirshfield began producing the candy in a small store in New York City and named it after his five-year-old daughter, whose nickname was "Tootsie."
1897: Boston subway opened. John G. McDermott wins the first Boston marathon in 2 hours, 55 minutes and 10 seconds. Campbell's Condensed Soup, devised by John Dorrance, cost 10 cents per can - cheaper than others because it had less water weight to ship. Dingley Tariff Bill, signed by President McKinley, enacted stiff import taxes. Duties virtually doubled what importers paid for woolens, sugar and tobacco. "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" counsels the New York Sun.
1898: Spanish - American War begins. "Remember the Main!" became a national battle cry after the USS Maine exploded mysteriously in Havana's harbor killing 260 Americans. The cause of the explosion was never determined, but the incident quickened the passion for war. Peirre and Marie Curie discover radium and polonium. Congress passes the Bankruptcy Act
1899: Spanish-American War ends. "Maple Leaf Rag" was written by the "king of ragtime," black composer Scott Joplin. Ragtime featured vibrant piano compositions that introduced Afro-American rhythms into popular music. A national Anti-Imperialist League is formed. Twain, Carneige, and Gompers join.
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