Return to home1850 Jan 6,
Franz Xaver Scharwenka, German pianist and composer (Mataswintha),
1850 Jan 27, Samuel Gompers
(d.1924) was born in London. Gompers, labor leader and first
president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), apprenticed as
a cigar maker in, London. At the age of 13, Gompers arrived in
America, joined the Cigarmakers' Union in 1864 and became the
union's president in 1877. In 1881 Gompers was among the founders of
the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the U.S. and
Canada, which was reorganized as the American Federation of Labor in
1886. He served as president of the AFL every year from its
inception (except 1895) until his death. As the acknowledged leader
of America‘s labor movement, Gompers stressed practical demands of
hours and wages and opposed theorists and radicals.
(HN, 1/27/99)(HNQ, 2/24/00)
1850 Jan 29, Lawrence Hargrave,
inventor of the box kite, was born.
1850 Jan 29, Ebenezer Howard,
pioneer of garden cities, was born in London.
1850 Jan 29, Henry Clay
introduced in the Senate a compromise bill on slavery that included
the admission of California into the Union as a free state.
1850 Jan 29, Luigi Sabatelli
(b.1772), Italian artist, died in Milan.
c1850 Jan 30, Charles Steingraff (50), a bachelor
farmhand, was hanged in Ohio for the murder of a deaf and blind,
12-year-old girl. An estimated 25,000 spectators watched the
(ON, 10/02, p.3)
1850 Feb 12, Washington's
original Farewell Address manuscript sold for $2,300.
1850 Feb 18, The California
state legislature created the original 18 counties including the
city of San Francisco.
(SFEC, 1/11/98, DB
1850 Feb 25, Doro Eldengge
Huwangdi (b.1782), the Daoguang emperor, died. He was the 8th
emperor of the Manchurian Qing dynasty and the 6th Qing (1820-1850)
emperor to rule over China.
1850 Feb 27, Henry Edwards
Huntington, US railroad exec, was born.
1850 Mar 7, Tomas Masaryk,
Pres. of Czech (1918-35), was born to a Slovak father and
Czech-German mother in the small town of Hodonin in South Moravia,
very close to what is now the border with Slovakia.
1850 Mar 7, In a three-hour
speech to the U.S. Senate, Daniel Webster endorsed the Compromise of
1850 as a means of preserving the Union.
1850 Mar 9, Alexandre Luigini,
composer, was born.
1850 Mar 11, The Pennsylvania
legislature passed an act to incorporate the Female Medical College
of Pennsylvania, the first regular medical school for women in
1850 Mar 16, Nathaniel
Hawthorne’s "The Scarlet Letter" was first published.
1850 Mar 18, Henry Wells &
William Fargo formed American Express in Buffalo. [see Mar 18, 1852]
(HN, 3/18/98)(MC, 3/18/02)
1850 Mar 26, Edward Bellamy
(d.1898), writer, was born. His work included the utopian novel
"Looking Backward, 2000-1887," which forecast what America might
look like if people worked together for the common good.
(WSJ, 12/10/99, p.W17)(HN, 3/26/01)
1850 Mar 27, The party of Dr.
Thadeus Hildreth found a 22-pound gold nugget in Tuolemne County,
Ca. The place was initially named Hildreth’s Diggings, then changed
to New Camp, then American Camp and finally Columbia. The population
soon swelled to 15,000.
(SFEC, 1/5/97, p.T5)(SFEC, 3/19/00, p.T6)(CVG,
Vol 16, p.1)
1850 Mar 29, Ireland's SS Royal
Adelaide sank in storm and 200 people died.
1850 Mar 30, Charles Dickens
published the first issue of his magazine “Household Words."
1850 Mar 31, The US population
hit 23,191,876, with the Black population at 3,638,808 (15.7%).
1850 Mar 31, John Calhoun
(b.1782), US vice-president (1825-1832), died while a senator from
South Carolina. He was elected vice president under two presidents,
John Quincy Adams in 1824 and Andrew Jackson in 1828.
(WUD, 1994 p.210)(HNQ, 8/19/99)(MC, 3/31/02)
1850 Apr 1, The San Francisco
County government was established.
1850 Apr 4, The city of Los
Angeles was incorporated.
1850 Apr 8, William Henry
Welch, US pathologist (founded John Hopkins), was born.
1850 Apr 15, The city of San
Francisco was incorporated.
1850 Apr 16, Thomas Sidney
Gilchrist, British metallurgist and inventor, was born.
1850 Apr 16, Marie [Gresholtz]
Tussaud (89), Swiss-born maker of wax figures, died.
1850 Apr 20, Daniel Chester
French (d.1931), sculptor of the Concord Minuteman, was born at
Exeter, New Hampshire. He had his estate in Stockbridge, Mass. His
work also included the Lincoln Memorial. His Chesterwood estate
became a museum with an annual 6-month summer season. [Ph.
(HN, 4/20/98)(WSJ, 5/4/99, p.A20)
1850 Apr 23, William Wordsworth
(b.1770), English poet, died.
1850 Apr, During the debate on
the Compromise of 1850, Senator Henry Foote, a unionist and
supporter of the compromise, drew a pistol on Senator Thomas Hart
Benton, an opponent of the deal. Other senators intervened before
Foote could fire.
(SFC, 7/25/98, p.A6)
1850 Apr, The side-wheel
steamship General Anthony Wayne sank in 50 feet of water in
lake Erie about eight miles north of Vermilion, Ohio. 38 of the 93
passengers and crew on board died. The wreckage was discovered in
1850 May 10, Thomas Johnstone
Lipton, yachtsman, tea magnate (Lipton Tea), was born in Glasgow.
1850 May 16, Johannes von
Mikulica-Radecki, Polish surgical pioneer, was born.
1850 May 18, Oliver Heaviside,
physicist who predicted existence of ionosphere, was born.
1850 Jun 4, A self deodorizing
fertilizer was patented in England.
1850 Jun 11, Cardinal Franzoni
told Rev. Joseph Sadoc Alemany, a Dominican missionary who had
worked in the Midwest frontier, that he was appointed the new bishop
of Monterey, Ca.
(SSFC, 7/27/03, p.A22)
1850 Jan 16, The first real
play in San Francisco, “The Wife," was staged at the modest
Washington Hall theater. This was located on the 2n d floor of a
building that later became the city’s swankiest brothel.
(SFC, 5/24/14, p.C2)
1850 Jun 16, Pope Pius IX
persuaded Rev. Joseph Sadoc Alemany to return to the US and to go to
(SSFC, 7/27/03, p.A22)
1850 Summer, James Strang
announced that he was divinely directed to become a king arranged
for his coronation at St. James on Big Beaver Island in Lake
(Smith., Aug. 1995, p.86)
1850 Jun 27, Lafcadio Hearn, US
journalist, author (Chita), was born.
1850 Jun 27, Ivan Vazov, poet,
novelist, playwright (Under the Yoke), was born in Bulgaria.
1850 Jul 2, Prussia agreed to
pull out of Schleswig and Holstein, Germany.
1850 Jul 2, Sir Robert Peel
(b.1788), former British prime minister (1834-35 and 1841-46), died.
He founded the Conservative Party and the London Police Force whose
officers were called "bobbies." In 2007 Douglas Hurd authored
“Robert Peel: A Biography."
(HN, 2/5/99)(Econ, 6/30/07, p.93)
1850 Jul 4, President Zachary
Taylor stood hatless in the sun for hours listening to long-winded
speeches. He returned to the White House and attempted to cool off
by eating cherries, cucumbers and drinking iced milk. Severe stomach
cramps followed and it is likely that Taylor's own physicians
inadvertently killed him with a whole series of debilitating
treatments. [see Jul 9]
1850 Jul 4, William Kirby
(b.1759), English entomologist, died. He was an original member of
the Linnean Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society, as well as a
country priest. He had studied how the ichneumon insect devours the
living body of the caterpillar upon which it preys.
1850 Jul 9, Zachary Taylor
(b.1784), the 12th president of the United States, died of cholera
at the age of 65 after serving only 16 months. He was succeeded by
Millard Fillmore. Taylor was a Southerner, a slaveholder and the
hero of the Mexican War in 1848 when he was nominated by the Whig
Party as a candidate for president of the United States. He was an
inoffensive candidate in the anxious years leading up to the Civil
War because he had never taken a position on a political issue or
even cast a vote in his life. During his 16 months as president,
Congress addressed the explosive issue of slavery's expansion to the
west with the Compromise of 1850, but Taylor himself never had the
opportunity to act on this issue.
(WUD,1994,p.1679)(SFC, 9/26/96, p.E10)(AP,
7/9/97)(HN, 7/9/98)(HN, 7/11/99)
1850 Jul 9, Bb, Bahi prophet,
was executed in Tabriz, Iran.
1850 Jul 10, Millard Fillmore
(Whig) was sworn in as the 13th president following the death of
(SFC, 2/21/97, p.A25) (AP,
1850 Jul 14, The 1st public
demonstration of ice made by refrigeration took place. James
Harrison of Australia designed an ice-making machine. It was an
improvement on one invented by Jacob Perkins in 1834.
(MC, 7/14/02)(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R14)
1850 Jul 15, Mother Francis
Xavier Cabrini, the first American canonized saint, was born.
1850 Jul 17, Statesman Daniel
Webster said: "I was born an American; I will live an American; I
shall die an American."
1850 Jul 17, Astronomer William
Cranch Bond and photographer John Adams Whipple focused on Vega and
produced the 1st photograph of a star.
(NH, 7/00, p.16)
1850 Jul 19, Margaret Fuller
(b.1810), America’s first foreign correspondent, died aboard the
Elizabeth, along with her husband and child, as the ship slammed
into a sandbar less than 100 yards from Fire Island, NY. In 2012
John Matteson authored “The Lives of Margaret Fuller."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Fuller)(SSFC, 1/29/12, p.F4)
1850 Jul 20, John Graves Shedd,
president of Marshall Field and Company, was born. He was the first
Chicago merchant to give his employees a half-day off on Saturdays.
1850 Jul 25, Gold was
discovered in the Rogue River in Oregon, extending the quest for
gold up the Pacific coast.
1850 Jul 25, The clipper ship
Frolic, enroute from Hong Kong to SF, wrecked on a reef at the north
edge of what is now California’s Preserve off Point Cabrillo Light
Station. It had run opium from India to China to trade for silver
and merchandise. The crew escaped in small boats and though all
trade goods were lost the area became recognized as ideal for a
1850 Jul 26, The final design
for London’s Great Council Exhibition, the first-ever World’s Fair,
was officially approved. The structure of the glass and iron
building, designed by Joseph Paxton, was essentially completed
by Jan 1, 1851. The Exhibition opened May 1.
(WSJ, 1/26/98, p.A16)(ON, 7/04, p.12)
1850 Aug 5, Guy de Maupassant,
short story writer and author of "The Necklace," was born.
1850 Aug 5, Herman Melville and
Nathaniel Hawthorne met at a picnic with friends at Monument
Mountain near Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Two days later, Melville
visited Hawthorne at his little red farmhouse in Lenox. Hawthorne
gave him two bottles of champagne and they took a walk to the lake.
That same day, Hawthorne wrote to a friend, "I met Melville, the
other day, and liked him so much that I have asked him to spend a
few days with me before leaving these parts." For a year and a half,
the two friends lived six miles apart during the most productive
time in their writing lives. Their five greatest books - The Scarlet
Letter, The House of the Seven Gables, Moby-Dick, The Blithedale
Romance, and Pierre - were either being written or published. In
fact, The Blithedale Romance and Pierre were written at the same
time, and The Scarlet Letter and Moby-Dick were published only a
year apart. In the fall of 1851, Melville dedicated Moby-Dick to
1850 Aug 17, Jose Francisco de
San Martin (b.1778), Argentine-born South American revolutionary
hero, died in France.
1850 Aug 18, Honore de Balzac
(b.1799), French novelist, died at age 51.
(WUD, 1994, p.115)(MC, 8/18/02)
1850 Aug 22, Nikolaus Lenau
(48) (pseudonym of Nikolaus Franz Niembsch), Hungarian-born poet and
writer, died in Austria.
1850 Aug 23, The 1st national
women's rights convention convened in Worcester, Mass.
1850 Aug 26, Charles Richet,
French physiologist (anaphylaxis-Nobel 1913), was born.
1850 Aug 28, Richard Wagner's
opera "Lohengrin'' was premiered at Weimar, Germany, under the
direction of Franz Liszt.
(WSJ, 3/16/98, p.A20)(RTH, 8/28/99)
1850 Sep 2, Eugene Field,
author, poet and journalist, was born. His work included "Little Boy
(HN, 9/2/00)(MC, 9/2/01)
1850 Sep 9, California was
admitted as the 31st state of the US.
(INV, 7/95, p.12)(SFC, 6/13/96, p.A17)(SFC,
1/25/97, p.A17)(AP, 9/9/97)
1850 Sep 9, Territories of New
Mexico and Utah were created.
1850 Sep 11, Jenny Lind, the
"Swedish Nightingale," gave her first concert in the United
States, at Castle Garden in New York.
1850 Sep 18, Congress passed
the second Fugitive Slave Bill into law (the first was enacted in
1793) as part of Compromise of 1850. It allowed slave owners to
reclaim slaves who had escaped to other states. Dedicated
Massachusetts abolitionist Silas Soule ironically gave his life for
the red man, not the black. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 set fines
up to $1,000 for facilitating a slave’s flight.
(AP, 9/18/97)(HN, 9/18/98)(MC, 9/18/01)(WSJ,
1850 Sep 20, The slave trade in
Washington, D.C., was abolished as a provision of Henry Clay’s
Compromise of 1850. Because each state had its own slavery code when
the District of Columbia was founded in 1800, Washington had adopted
Maryland’s laws. Although the 1850 legislation made the slave trade
illegal, slavery itself was still legal. Nevertheless, Washington
became a haven for free blacks. By 1860, free blacks outnumbered
slaves almost four-to-one. President Abraham Lincoln put an end to
Washington’s slavery altogether in 1862, freeing about 2,989 African
Americans who were then slaves according to the slavery code.
(HNPD, 9/20/98)(HN, 9/20/98)
1850 Sep 22, An earthquake in
Sichuan, China, killed some 300,000 people.
1850 Sep 28, Flogging was
abolished as a form of punishment in the U.S. Navy.
1850 Sep 29, Pres. Millard
Fillmore named Mormon leader Brigham Young as the first governor of
the Utah Territory.
(HN, 9/29/98)(SFC, 10/23/02, p.H4)
1850 Oct 3, The Univ. of Mich.
Medical School received its first students.
(MT, Fall/99, p.3)
1850 Oct 12, The 1st women's
medical school, the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, opened
1850 Oct 19, Annie Smith Peck
(d.1935), one of the world’s renowned mountain climbers, was born in
Providence, Rhode Island.
1850 Nov 6, The San Francisco
Bay Yerba Buena and Angel islands were reserved for military use.
1850 Nov 9, Lewis Lewin, German
toxicologist and father of psycho-pharmacology, was born.
1850 Nov 13, Robert Lewis
Stevenson (d.1894), novelist, was born in Scotland. His books
included: "Treasure Island" and "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and
Mr. Hyde." In 1996 R.C. Terry edited and published “Robert Louis
Stevenson: Interviews and Recollections."
(Smith., 8/95, p.54)(SFC, 9/1/96, Par. p.12)(HN,
1850 Nov 19, Lord Tennyson
became the British poet laureate.
1850 Dec 17, In California some
500 Indians in the Yosemite region attacked a store on the Fresno
River owned by James Savage. A clerk and two other whites were
killed and the $25,000 in cash and goods were taken. This marked the
beginning of the Mariposa Indian War. Savage had employed some 500
Yokut Indians to pan for gold.
(SFC, 5/16/15, p.C2)
1850 Dec 24, Frederic Bastiat
(b.1801), French free-market economist, died in Rome of
1850 Dec 28, Rangoon, Burma,
was destroyed by fire.
1850 Dec, The Taiping rebellion
began against the ruling Manchu-led Qing Dynasty and continued to
1864. It was led by heterodox Christian convert Hong Xiuquan, who
having received visions, maintained that he was the younger brother
of Jesus Christ. About 20 million people died, mainly civilians, in
one of the deadliest military conflicts in history. In 2012 Stephen
R. Platt authored “Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, the West,
and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War."
1850 Gustave Courbet
(1819-1877), French artist, painted "Burial at Ornans."
(WSJ, 11/28/06, p.D8)
1850 Benson J. Lossing,
journalist and engraver, published his 2-volume "Pictorial Field
Book of the Revolution."
(AH, 10/01, HT p.23)
1850 Donald Grant Mitchell
wrote his best-selling novel "Reveries of a Bachelor," under the pen
name Ik Marvel.
(SFEM, 6/28/98, p.30)
1850 Bayard Taylor authored "El
Dorado," a reporter’s account of the California gold rush. In 2001
it was reprinted as "Eldorado: Adventures in the Path of Empire."
(SSFC, 2/4/01, BR p.5)
1850 Books prior to this year
were printed on alkaline paper and tended to survive. Books printed
after this date were on acidic paper and began to crumble with age.
(SFEC, 1/18/98, Z1 p.8)
1850 Ivan Turgenev, Russian
writer, produced his greatest play: "A Month in the Country."
(WSJ, 4/26/95, p.A-14)
1850 A building census in
Norfolk, Virginia indicated that there were 10,000 18th and early
19th century structures. Of these only a handful survive.
(Hem. 1/95, p. 69)
1850 Allan Pinkerton
(1819-1884) partnered with Chicago attorney Edward Rucker in forming
the North-Western Police Agency, later known as the Pinkerton
Agency. "We never sleep" was their motto. The company’s emblem—a
wide open eye—inspired the term "private eye. In 1999 the agency was
sold to a Swedish company, Securitas AB.
1850 US President Millard
Fillmore issued an executive order that designated the southern
point of the Marin Headlands a military reservation later called
Lime Point Military Reservation. Fillmore also reserved Alcatraz
Island for military use.
(The Park, Summer 1995)(SFEC, 8/1/99, p.B4)(OAH,
1850 Pres. Fillmore signed and
enforced the Fugitive Slave Act that authorized the return of slaves
seeking sanctuary back to their masters.
(SFC, 2/10/97, p.A1)
1850 Senator Henry Clay of
Kentucky introduced the 8 provisions of the Great Compromise Bill.
The provisions of the Great Compromise bill were reduced to 5 and
passed one by one. They were in sum: 1) the admission of California
as a free state; 2) slavery in the territories of Utah and New
Mexico would be resolved by popular sovereignty; 3) slavery would be
ended in the District of Columbia; 4) the federal government would
assume a $10 million debt by Texas; 5) the federal government would
be responsible for the return of runaway slaves. New York Sen. W.F.
Seward stated: "The unity of our empire hangs on the decision of
(SFC, 2/21/97, p.A25)
1850 The US Supreme Court
opined that an invention had to be something more than the
work of a skilled mechanic to qualify for a patent.
(Econ, 5/5/07, p.78)
1850 Laws in California were
passed that allowed the enslavement of Indians.
(SFEC, 9/20/98, Z1 p.4)
1850 California passed
anti-sodomy legislation in its “crime against nature" law.
(SSFC, 5/11/08, Books p.4)
1850 Ygnacio, the grandson of
Dona Juana Sanchez de Pacheco, built the first homestead in the
Walnut Creek area of northern California.
(SFC, 7/17/06, p.B5)
1850 Col. John Geary, the first
mayor of San Francisco, donated land for a square to be held in
perpetuity for park use. It later became Union Square. He owned the
surrounding property and looked to increase its value.
(SFEC, 3/15/98, p.W27)(SSFC, 7/21/02, p.F2)
1850 Nevada City, Ca., was
(SFC, 4/14/96, T-3)
1850 In San Francisco Fred
Lawson, a Norwegian sea captain, began sinking ships to lock in his
underwater real estate. By 1953 he sank numerous ships including
four in a block of water later bounded by Davis, Drumm,
Pacific and Jackson streets.
(SFC, 1/25/14, p.C1)
1850 Ferry commuting began on
the SF Bay.
(SFC, 4/21/97, p.A11)
1850 Suisun City, Calif. was
founded. Suisun means "West Wind" in the language of the Patwan
Indians who lived in this area.
(Hem., Nov.’95, p.91,95)
1850 Residents of the northern
California town of Rough and Ready rebelled against taxes and began
a secession movement from the US. It lasted just 3 months in part
because nearby saloonkeepers refused to sell liquor to the
(SSFC, 8/10/08, p.E8)
1850 The US Treasury contracted
Moffat & Company, a private mint firm in San Francisco, to mint
American government stamped coins.
(Economist, 9/8/12, p.18)
1850 The Arapaho Indians issued
a $5 bill.
(SFEC, 1/25/98, Z1 p.8)
1850 Kentucky updated the state
constitution. One provision was the ineligibility for public office
of anyone who had participated in a duel since ratification.
1850 The Mormons applied
unsuccessfully for Utah statehood. Debates with the federal
government ensued over political issues and polygamy.
(NW, 9/10/01, p.48)
1850 Erasmus Corning founded
the New York Central Railroad. He later built a banking network
along its route that nurtured the growth of new communities.
(WSJ, 5/8/95, p.A-14)
1850 Marshall Field (16)
started working a dry goods clerk in Pittsfield, Mass. In 1855 he
moved to Chicago. In 1947 John Tebbel authored "The Marshall Fields:
A Study in Wealth." In 2002 Axel Madsen authored "The Marshall
Fields: The Evolution of an American Business Dynasty."
(WSJ, 10/9/02, p.D8)
1850 The Willard family
acquired a 4-story hotel in Washington DC and turned it into the
100-room Willard Hotel at 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. In 1901 it was
replaced by an opulent 389-room Beaux-Arts building. In 1968 it was
closed and scheduled for demolition. In 1986 it re-opened following
a $73 million restoration.
(SFC, 1/5/06, p.E4)
1850 Directors of the Brooklyn
released 8 pair of sparrows imported from England. They did not
thrive and director Nicolas Pike acquired 50 more pair and released
them in Brooklyn’s Greenwood Cemetery 1853.
(AH, 6/02, p.39)
1850 Woodsmen marched west from
New York clearing forests of white pine, yellow birch, hemlock,
maple, and oak.
(NOHY, Weiner, 3/90, p.51)
1850 Heinrich Schliemann,
German businessman, moved to California and made a fortune in
(Nat. Hist., 4/96, p.45)
1850 In California Gregorio
Briones, a soldier of the Spanish and then Mexican army, claimed
title to 13,320 acres of west Marin land.
(SFC, 5/26/97, p.A10)
1850 Cincinnati, the largest
meat-packing center in the United States at that time, earned the
1850 Brigham Young was
appointed governor of the Utah territory.
(SFC, 4/9/96, A-7)
1850 The Ansonia Clock Co. was
founded in Derby, Conn., by Anson G. Phelps. After 2 fires and
reorganizations the company moved to NY in 1880.
(SFC, 12/15/98, Z1 p.6)
1850 James Folger (18), a
native of Massachusetts, began roasting beans in SF. Folger’s Coffee
established itself on the Barbary Coast and was the first major
coffee company in SF. Jim Folger eventually traveled to the gold
country to sell coffee to miners.
(SFC, 6/28/97, p.D2)(SSFC, 8/5/01, p.A1)(SFC,
1850 George Jones of London
built a hexagonal ended instrument using a diatonic German
concertina fingering system to which he added another row of
accidental notes making the instrument chromatic. It became known as
the Anglo-chromatic or Anglo system concertina.
(BAAC, 8/96, p.6)
1850 Baking Powder was
(SFC, 1/11/97, p.B7)
1850 The US census showed a
black population of 3,639,000 people of whom 90% were born in
America. The mulatto count was 406,000.
(SFC, 5/3/96, p.A-25)
1850 An estimated 50,000 Irish
prostitutes worked in New York City.
(WSJ, 3/17/97, p.A18)
1850 The population of Chicago
(Econ, 3/18/06, Survey p.12)
1850 Only 2% of the American
population lived past 65.
(SFEM, 6/28/98, p.40)
1850 Sally Thomas (b.1787),
quasi-slave, died. She had grown up as a Virginia slave and was
relocated to Tennessee. She had 3 mixed-race sons by 2 white men,
one a Virginian plantation owner, the other John Catron, became a
member of the US Supreme Court. In 2005 John Hope Franklin and Loren
Schweninger authored “In Search of the Promised Land: A Slave Family
in the Old South."
(SSFC, 8/28/05, p.C2)
1850 Expeditions to the Arctic
found evidence of the Franklin Expedition. Three graves dug into the
permafrost were discovered in 1850, their headstones dated 1846. A
written record was found in 1859, indicating that Franklin died on
June 11, 1847, and that Erebus and Terror were abandoned in April
1848. The crews’ deaths have been attributed to either scurvy or
lead poisoning originating from the solder on food tins. Both ships
and the remains of most of the 129 crewmen have never been found.
1850 Rabbits were introduced to
Australia about this time and soon became pests.
(Nat. Hist., 4/96, p.16)
1850 The Granny Smith apple
originated about this time in Australia. According to Morgan and
Richards The Book of Apples: A Mrs. Smith, born in England in 1800,
emigrated to Australia in 1838. In 1860s she found some seedlings
growing in a creek where she had tipped out some apples brought back
from Sydney. Tree was propagated and later family increased their
orchards and marketed fruit in Sydney.
1850 In Vienna, Austria, F.
Walther re-arranged the reeds of a 3-row diatonic accordion to play
a 46 note chromatic scale and created the chromatic button
(BAAC, 8/96, p.6)
1850 The Wenlock Olympian Games
were set up by Dr. William Penny Brookes in Much Wenlock, England. A
typical program of events featured running and leaping competitions
and throwing a cricket ball, as well as non-athletic pursuits such
as choir singing and awards for reading, arithmetic, knitting and
1850 England established its
1st public libraries.
(Econ, 5/1/04, p.59)
1850 French priest
Jean-Baptiste Lamy was dispatched by Rome to bring order and
discipline to the New Mexican territory.
(WSJ, 9/13/06, p.D10)
1850 A mob in Athens burned
down the home of a British citizen. In response Viscount Palmerston,
Britain’s foreign secretary, called for a blockade of Greece.
(Econ, 7/15/06, p.56)
1850 In Hong Kong the Lane
Crawford department store first opened.
(Econ, 6/8/13, p.65)
c1850 A Mongolian national consciousness emerged
in the mid-19th century.
1850 In the Netherlands Zwarte
Piet (Black Pete), a Dutch version of St. Nicholas, made his debut
as an African servant in a book. By 2012 he was being described as a
racist caricature of a black person.
1850 Christchurch was settled
in earnest with the arrival of the Canterbury Association, which had
formed in England to found a colony in New Zealand.
(SSFC, 2/12/12, p.H4)
1850 On the Orkney mainland
Skara Brae was rediscovered by William Watt, the laird of Skaill,
after a fierce storm stripped the grass from a high sand dune.
(SFEC, 3/23/97, p.T3)
1850 Panama’s city of Colon was
founded as the isthmus of Panama became a route for the California
(Econ, 5/17/08, p.47)
1850 Switzerland established a
currency union to replace multiple cantonal currencies.
(Econ, 7/19/14, p.49)
1850-1853 Millard Fillmore is the 13th President
of the US.
(A&IP, ESM, p.96b, photo)
1850-1854 Of the 1200 murders in San Francisco in
this period, only one results in a legal execution.
(SFC, 11/15/95, p.B-1)
1850-1859 The Lehigh Valley town of Bethlehem,
Pennsylvania, became an iron-making center in the 1850s thanks to
discoveries of coal and iron ore nearby.
(WSJ, 10/8/08, p.A15)
1850s In Cincinnati abolitionist Nicholas
Longworth hired Robert Scott Duncanson to paint 8 large murals in
his home. The murals were covered by wallpaper by 1869 and not
uncovered until 1931. The house and a large art collection were
given to the city by Charles and Anna Taft around 1928.
(WSJ, 8/8/00, p.A20)
1850s In New York City the African-American
community of Seneca Village was razed to make way for Central Park.
The village had 264 frame houses, 3 churches, 2 cemeteries and a
(AM, May/Jun 97 p.62)
1850s In San Francisco Washerwoman’s Lagoon was a
large pond used as a laundry site at Gough and Greenwich. By 1882 it
had become polluted and was filled in.
(SFEC, 11/15/98, p.A15)(SFC, 6/14/14, p.C2)
1850s In California John C. Fremont occupied
Fremont’s Ranch in Bear Valley, north of Mariposa, a Mexican
land-grant of 44,000 acres. He later became the state’s first US
Senator and the first Republican candidate for president. He also
became a Civil War general and a governor of the Arizona territory.
In 2000 David Roberts authored "A Newer World: Kit Carson, John C.
Fremont, and the Claiming of the American West.
(SFEC, 4/12/98, p.T6)(SFC, 6/5/98, p.A20)(SFC,
6/5/98, p.A20)(WSJ, 1/10/00, p.A24)
c1850s Mormon settlers began moving to Lana’i,
Hawaii, with the idea of establishing a "City of Joseph" under their
leader William Gibson. Gibson placed title to all the community land
under his own name and even under threat of excommunication refused
to give up the deed. Gibson registered the land under his own name
and refused to hand the deeds over to the Mormon Church. He went on
to become a friend, advisor and cabinet minister to King Kalakaua.
(SFEM, 10/13/96, p.24)(SSFC, 8/26/01, p.T10)
1850s The political organization called the
American Party, which flourished in the 1850s, is better known as
the Know-Nothing Party. Originally a clandestine organization,
members were instructed to say that they "know nothing" when asked
about the party, hence the name. Primarily, the party was
anti-immigrant and stood in opposition to whatever political power
immigrant groups happened to have in Northern cities. In 1854 the
American Party won significant elections in seven state governments.
The party’s national platform in 1856 included anti-Catholic and
1850s John Augustus of Boston persuaded the courts
to release young offenders into his custody instead of sending them
to prison. This was the start of the practice of probation.
(SFEC, 11/21/99, Z1p.2)
1850s Elizabeth Ware Packard led successful
struggles in 13 states to obtain due process of law for women, who
previously could be committed to mental institutions simply on the
word of their husbands.
(SFC, 3/25/98, p.A22)
1850s Publishers switched to cheaper paper based
on wood pulp instead of rags and linen. The new material contained
an acid residue to ate the wood fibers and destroyed books in as
little as 30 years.
(WSJ, 7/10/97, p.A6)
1850s English inventor Alexander Parkes is
credited with being the first to make plastic in the 1850s. Parkes’
plastic was a cellulosic made by treating a mixture of cotton and
nitric acid with camphor. In the United States, John and Isaiah
Hyatt developed a similar plastic in 1869 as a substitute for ivory
in the manufacture of billiard balls, which they called celluloid.
The first completely synthetic plastic, Bakelite, was invented in
1907 and produced in 1909 by Dr. Leo H. Baekeland. Parkes mixed
chloroform and castor oil to make the first plastic which he called
(HNQ, 5/8/98)(WSJ, 1/11/98, p.R18)
c1850s Staffordshire potters in England made many
different Shakespeare figurines.
(SFC, 9/4/96, z1 p.5)
1850-1854 About this time English adopted the form
filibuster, from Spanish filibustero. It was applied to certain
adventurers who committed unsanctioned activities in the West Indies
and Central America. [See William Walker Sep 12, 1860]
1850-1870 A major wave of Italians immigrated to
California. The majority came from Liguria and Tuscany. A 2nd wave
began in 1880.
(SSFC, 7/10/05, p.D5)
1850-1891 Sophia Kovalevsky, mathematician. In
1983 her biography by Don H. Kennedy was published: "Little Sparrow:
A Portrait of Sophia Kovalevsky."
(NH, 6/96, p.20)
1850-1900 The Hawaii of this period is described
in the 1997 novel "A Map of Paradise" by Linda Ching Sledge.
(SFEC, 8/17/97, BR p.3)
1850-1910 This period is covered in the book
Railroad Crossing: Californians and the Railroad 1850-1910 by
(SFC, 7/8/96, p.D2)
1850-1910 Margaret Collier Graham, American
writer: "People need joy quite as much as clothing. Some of them
need it far more."
1850-1919 Ella Wheeler Wilcox, American poet:
"The only folks who give us pain are those we love the best."
1850-1925 Emma Carleton, American journalist:
"Reputation is a bubble which a man bursts when he tries to blow it
1850-1930 In 2005 Richard J. Orsi authored “Sunset
Limited: The Southern Pacific Railroad and the Development of the
(SSFC, 5/8/05, p.B1)
1850-1933 Augustine Birrell, English author and
statesman: "History is a pageant and not a philosopher."
1850-1956 The Empire Mine in Grass Valley, Ca.,
produced over 5.8 million ounces of gold. It had 365 miles of
tunnels and was later turned into a 784-acre state park.
(SFEC, 4/12/98, p.T7)
1850-1990 The world human population tripled in
(NOHY, 3/1990, p.52)
1851 Jan 6, Leon Foucault
(d.1868), French scientist, watched a pendulum swing and shift its
plane of motion. This he realized was due to the rotation of the
Earth. In 2003 Amir D. Aczel authored "Pendulum: Leon Foucault and
the Triumph of Science."
(WSJ, 8/28/03, p.D18)
1851 Jan 25, Sojourner Truth
addressed the 1st Black Women's Rights Convention in Akron. [see May
1851 Jan 27, John James Audubon
(b.1785), wildlife painter and conservationist (Audubon Society),
died. He was buried in NYC. In 2004 Duff Hart-Davis authored
"Audubon's Elephant," an account of his 12 year sojourn to Europe to
oversee the production of "Birds of America." In 2004 William Souder
authored “Under a Wild Sky: John James Audubon and the Making of the
Birds of America." In 2004 Richard Rhodes authored “John James
Audubon: The Making of an American."
(WSJ, 3/26/04, p.W6)(SSFC, 6/20/04, p.M6)(SSFC,
10/17/04, p.M6)(AH, 10/04, p.75)
1851 Jan 28, Northwestern
University, near Chicago, was chartered.
1851 Jan 31, Gail Borden
announced the invention of evaporated milk.
1851 Feb 1, Mary Wollstonecraft
Shelley (53), novelist (Frankenstein), died.
1851 Feb 6, Robert Schumann's
3rd Symphony "Rhenish," premiered in Dusseldorf.
1851 Feb 8, Kate (Katherine
O'Flaherty ) Chopin (d.1904), American novelist, short story writer,
was born. Her work included "The Awakening." She wrote tales of love
and passion that presented women testing the boundaries of social
convention. "There are some people who leave impressions not so
lasting as the imprint of an oar upon the water."
(AP, 3/11/99)(SFEC, 11/14/99, BR p.5)(HN,
1851 Feb 15, Black
abolitionists invaded a Boston courtroom to rescue a fugitive slave.
(440 Int’l., 2/15/99)
1851 Mar 3, Congress authorized
the smallest US silver coin, a 3¢ piece. The trine obverse side
depicted a shield over a six-pointed star.
(SC, 3/3/02)(WSJ, 12/12/03, p.W15)
1851 Mar 21, Yosemite Valley
was discovered (by non-natives) in California. The 58 men of the
Mariposa Battalion under Major James D. Savage were the first whites
to enter Yosemite Valley. Their first view of the valley was from
the plateau later named Mount Beatitude. They expelled Chief Tenaya
and his band of Ahwahneechee Indians. Dr. Bunnell, a physician in
the battalion, named the valley Yosemite to honor the local Indians.
He did not realize that the word "yohemeti" meant "some of them are
killers" and was an insult against the valley people.
(SFEC, 5/18/97, Z1 p.4)(SFEC,12/28/97, Z1
1851 Mar 21, Emperor Tu Duc
ordered that Christian priests be put to death.
1851 Mar 27,
Paul-Marie-Theodore-Vincent d'Indy, composer (Symphonie Cevenole),
was born in Paris.
1851 Apr 12, Emil Liebling,
composer, was born.
1851 Apr 14, Morgan Earp was
born in Marian County, IA.
1851 Apr. 23, The first
Canadian postage stamp was issued.
(CFA, ‘96, p.44)
1851 May 1, The Great Council
Exhibition, the first-ever World’s Fair, opened in London’s Hyde
Park. Some 6 million people came to see the new glass and iron
Crystal Palace, designed by Joseph Paxton (1823-1865). Paxton used
roof ventilators and underground air-cooling chambers to regulate
(WSJ, 1/26/98, p.A16)(ON, 7/04, p.12)(Econ,
12/4/04, TQ p.17)
1851 May 4, The Sydney Ducks
set fire to a store on San Francisco’s Portsmouth Square. Most of
the dwellings on Telegraph Hill were destroyed. The heart SF was
destroyed and some 2000 buildings burned down. This led to the
formation of the secret Committee of Vigilance, which hung several
criminals and drove others out of the city. Remnants from Hoff's
store, built on a wharf over the bay, were found in 1986 during
excavations for the Embarcadero West 33-story high-rise.
(SFC, 12/24/99, p.A24)(SFC, 11/27/00, p.A18)
1851 May 4, The 1840-ship
General Harrison burned to the water line. It was salvaged for
parts, buried and not seen again until 2001 when construction at
Battery and Clay revealed its remains. The whaling ship Niantic,
already converted to a waterfront hotel, burned and sank into the
bay. In 1977 new construction uncovered the Niantic’s burned
(SFC, 9/8/01, p.A11)(SFC, 2/4/05, p.E16)
1851 May 6, Dr. John Gorrie
patented a "refrigeration machine."
1851 May 6, Linus Yale patented
his Yale lock.
1851 May 12, A treaty was
signed on the south bank of the Kaweah River, the site of John
Wood's grave. Woods was killed by Yokut Indians. The California Tule
River War ended.
(HN, 4/28/00)(WW, 6/99)(HN, 5/12/01)
1851 May 18, The
Amsterdam-Nieuwediep telegraph connection linked.
1851 May 20, Emile Berliner,
inventor of the flat phonograph record, was born in Germany.
1851 May 20, Rose Hawthorne
Lathrop, US nun, daughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne, was born.
1851 May 25, Jose Justo de
Urquiza of Argentina led a rebellion against his former ally, the
absolute ruler Juan Manuel de Rosas.
1851 May 28, Freed slave and
abolitionist Sojourner Truth attended a national women's convention
in Akron, Ohio, where the female delegates were heckled by men in
the audience who claimed that men were superior to women. Frances
Gage, president of the convention, recorded Sojourner Truth's words
that day. "Dat man ober dar say dat women needs to be helped into
carriages and lifted ober ditches, and to hab de best place
everywhar. Nobody eber helps me into carriages, or ober mud-puddles,
or gibs me any best place! And ain't I a woman! Look at me! Look at
my arm! I have ploughed, and planted and gathered into barns, and no
man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat
as much as a man--when I could get it--and bear de lash as well! And
ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen chilern, and seen 'em mos'
all sold into slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief,
none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?" Sojourner Truth's
words, according to Gage, "turned the sneers and jeers of an excited
crowd into notes of respect and admiration."
(SFC, 3/30/97, Z1 p.6)(HN, 7/13/99)(MC, 5/28/02)
1851 May 29, Leon Bourgeois,
French premier (1895-96, Nobel 1920), was born.
1851 May, In San Francisco Sam
Brannan and several other leaders formed the First Committee of
Vigilance. They took it on themselves to purge the city of
criminals. The group disbanded in September.
(SFC, 5/19/96,City Guide, p.16)(SFC, 6/1/13,
1851 Jun 2, Maine became the
first state to enact a law prohibiting alcohol. By the Civil War 13
Northern states had bans on alcohol sales. In 1998 Thomas R. Pegram
authored "Battling Demon Rum," a history of anti-alcohol movements
in the US. Crusader and entrepreneur Neal Dow had led the push to
(AP, 6/2/97)(WSJ, 10/5/98,
p.A28) (SSFC, 12/15/13, p.A19)
1851 Jun 5, Harriet Beecher
Stow published the first installment of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in The
1851 Jun 9, In San Francisco
Father John McGinnis celebrated Mass in a hall at Fourth and Jessie
and marked the founding of St. Patrick’s. St. Patrick’s Church was
built on Market St. at the present site of the Sheraton-Palace
Hotel. It was moved in 1872 to Eddy St. near Divisadero and served
as the Parish Hall for Holy Cross. The wooden structure is thought
to be the oldest in the city.
(SFEC, 3/2/97, z1 p.7)(SSFC, 6/10/01, p.A22)
1851 Jun 11, San Francisco
vigilantes lynched John Jenkins (aka John Simpton) on Portsmouth
Square for stealing a safe. He was part of contingent of ex-con
Australians known as the Sidney Ducks.
(SFC, 6/1/13, p.C1)
1851 Jun 15, Jacob Fussell,
Baltimore dairyman, set up the 1st ice-cream factory.
1851 Jun 21, Daniel Carter
Beard, organized the first [US] boy scout troop, was born.
1851 Jul 8, Sir Arthur John
Evans, English archaeologist who excavated Knossos, Crete, was born.
1851 Jul 23, Sioux Indians and
US signed the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux.
1851 Jul 28, A total solar
eclipse was captured on a daguerreotype photograph.
1851 Aug 3, Lady Isabella
Caroline Somerset, temperance leader, was born.
1851 Aug 12, Isaac Singer was
granted a patent on his sewing machine.
1851 Aug 13, John Lincoln Clem
(d.1937), Drummer (last survivor of Union Volunteers), was born.
1851 Aug 14, Doc Holliday was
born in Griffin, GA.
1851 Aug 22, The Schooner
America outraced the Aurora in the Solent, a stretch of sea
separating the Isle of Wight from England proper, to win a trophy
that became known as the America’s Cup. For 132 years the New York
Yacht Club defeated all challengers to retain the prestigious
America’s Cup, the record for the longest winning streak in sports
history. The Liberty lost it to the Australia II in 1983.
(AP, 8/22/97)(SFEC, 10/1/00, p.T4)(SSFC, 4/15/07,
1851 Aug 31, The Yankee clipper
ship Flying Cloud set a record for sailing from NY to San Francisco
around South America in 89 days.
1851 Sep 11, African Americans
skirmished with a band of slave bounty hunters intent on capturing
any fugitive slaves hidden in the abolitionist town, Christiana,
Pennsylvania. This was one year after the second fugitive slave law
(first law was on February 12, 1793) was passed by Congress,
requiring the return of all escaped slaves to their owners in the
South. One bounty hunter was killed and 1 wounded during the
1851 Sep 13, Walter Reed
(d.1902), U.S. Army doctor, was born in Gloucester County, Va. In
1900 he went to Cuba and verified that yellow fever was caused by a
(HN, 9/13/98)(WSJ, 10/22/99, p.B1)(AP, 9/13/02)
1851 Sep 14, James Fenimore
Cooper (b.1789), writer, died at Cooperstown, NY.
1851 Sep 18, The first edition
of The New York Times was published as the New-York Daily Times. It
was founded by Henry J. Raymond, Republican Speaker of the NY State
Assembly, and banker George Jones as a conservative counterpoint to
Horace Greeley's Tribune.
(AP, 9/18/97)(SFEM, 1/16/00,
1851 Oct 2, Ferdinand Foch,
French Allied commander in WW I, was born.
1851 Oct 4, In San Francisco
the third Jenny Lind Theater opened on Portsmouth Square on the same
site as the two preceding it, which were destroyed by the fires of
1851. In 1852 the city of San Francisco purchased the theater for
$200,000 for use as the city hall. In 1949 the site was named state
landmark No. 192.
1851 Oct 19,
Marie-Therese-Charlotte (72), daughter of Louis XVI and
1851 Nov 2, Louis Napoleon staged a coup
and took power in France as Napoleon III of the Second Empire.
(WSJ, 2/10/98, p.A16)(DoW, 1999, p182)
1851 Nov 6, Charles Henry Dow,
American financial journalist, was born. He (with Edward D. Jones)
inaugurated the 'Dow-Jones' averages.
Nov 11, Alvan Clark of Cambridge, Massachusetts, patented a
telescope. Clark, a portrait painter interested in astronomy, had
made several small lenses and mirrors as a hobby. The fact that he
could detect the small residual errors in one of the best lenses
Europe could offer convinced him that he could make them as well.
After he gained a reputation in Europe the American orders started
to come in. The Alvin Clark Company became one of the foremost
producers of some of the largest lenses for telescopes in the
1851 Nov 13, The
London-to-Paris telegraph opened.
1851 Nov 14, Herman Melville’s
novel "Moby Dick" was published in the US. The 1st publication was
in London on October 18.
1851 Nov 16, In France
officials drew the winning numbers for the Lottery of the Golden
Ingots. Some 7 million tickets had been sold for one franc each to
finance the shipment of hand-picked French emigrants to California.
From October 1851 to January 1853 a lottery ship sailed every month
from Le Havre. 3,293 passengers of 4,016 arrived in San Francisco.
The rest disembarked en route.
(SFC, 9/5/15, p.C2)
1851 Dec 4, Pres. Louis
Napoleon Bonaparte forces crushed a coup d'etat in France.
1851 Dec 10, Melvil Dewey,
creator of the Dewey Decimal System, was born.
1851 Dec 19, Joseph Mallord
William Turner, English painter and printmaker, died.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._M._W._Turner)(SFC, 6/20/15, p.E3)
1851 Dec 24, Fire devastated
the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., destroying about 35,000
1851 Dec 29, The first American
Young Men’s Christian Assn. was organized, in Boston.
1851 Dec 30, Asa Griggs
Candler, developer of Coca-Cola, was born.
1851 Thomas Wilmer Dewing
(d.1938), American artist, was born.
(SFC, 4/11/01, p.E1)
1851 Cabanel created his
painting "The Death of Moses."
(WSJ, 9/9/03, p.D6)
1851 Matthew Coates Wyatt
created his dog sculpture of the Earl of Dudley’s Newfoundland
Bashaw. It was a star exhibit at the British Great Exhibition.
(WSJ, 12/6/01, p.A19)
1851 Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze
(b.1816) painted "Washington Crossing the Delaware." It was later
acquired by the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art.
(SFC, 9/30/97, p.A7)(WSJ, 4/9/99, p.W16)
1851 John Everett Millais began
to paint his work "Ophelia," completed in 1852.
(WSJ, 2/19/97, p.A15)
1851 Eugene Scribe, French
playwright, wrote "When Ladies Battle" (Bataille de Dames) with
Ernest Legouve. Scribe is known for writing the "well made play."
The setting is Lyon, France in Oct. 1817.
(WSJ, 1/2/96, p. A-7)
1851 A lighthouse was built at
Point Loma near San Diego, Ca.
(AAM, 3/96, p.46)
1851 Mormon pioneers founded
San Bernadino in southern California.
(SFC, 4/9/96, A-7)
1851 California Governor Peter
Burnett said that unless the Indians were sent east of the Sierras,
"a war of extermination would continue to be waged until the Indian
race should become extinct."
(HN, 4/29/00)(WW, 6/99)
1851 Fewer than 100,000 Indians
remained in California.
(SFEC, 9/20/98, Z1 p.4)
1851 Books Inc. first opened as
an independent bookseller in San Francisco.
(Hem., Nov.’95, p.134)
1851 In San Francisco the St.
Francis Church was rebuilt in adobe and blessed by Joseph S.
Alemany, the new Bishop of Monterey. St. Francis served as his
cathedral until Old St. Mary's was built in 1854.
(SFC, 10/4/99, p.A21)
1851 In San Francisco the
congregation of the First Presbyterian Church moved into its first
building in Chinatown, which burned down after 6 months.
(SFC, 5/20/99, p.A19)
1851 Jacob Gundlach arrived in
SF and soon established a brewery. In 1858 he bought a winery in
(SFC, 12/19/02, p.D4)
1851 The Hitchcock family
transferred to SF and were welcomed into the Chivalry, a polite
fraternity of transplanted Southerners.
(SFEM, 4/2/00, p.46)
1851 The first SF omnibus line
began operating between Portsmouth square and Mission Dolores.
(SFC, 10/6/99, p.A4)
1851 Henry Casebolt (1816-1892)
of Virginia came to California and established himself as a builder
and inventor in San Francisco.
1851 Harry Meiggs, founder of
Fisherman’s Wharf in SF, sailed to Mendocino with a full sawmill and
made Mendocino the primary source for the Bay Area’s lumber.
(SSFC, 6/3/01, Par p.20)
1851 Haas Bros. began operation
in San Francisco as a grocery wholesaler. The company later switched
to liquor wholesales.
(SSFC, 4/3/06, p.G5)
1851 In San Francisco six
prominent businessmen obtained a franchise for a water project to
deliver water from Mountain Lake through a tunnel to the Presidio
and then to downtown SF. The Mountain Lake Water Co. raised $300,000
and in 1853 broke ground on the tunnel. The project went bust after
they failed to get an additional $500,000 to complete the project.
(SFC, 10/11/10, p.A9)
1851 In San Francisco 6 men
sailed to the Farallon Islands and declared themselves owners by
right of possession. They began gathering eggs and selling them to
(SFC, 5/25/13, p.C3)
1851 About 775 abandoned ships
sat in the SF Bay. Some began to be used as offices and public
buildings. The ship Euphemia became the city’s 1st jail and insane
asylum. An enterprising barkeep cut a hole in the beached sailing
vessel Arkansas and began selling what he called “Gud, Bad and
Ind’ifferent Spirits" at 25 cents each. The Old Ship Saloon at
Pacific Avenue and Battery Street was built in 1907 and remodeled in
(Ind, 9/2/00,5A)(SSFC, 11/15/09, p.A2)
1851 Francisco Guerrero,
Mexican official in Alta California, was struck in the back of the
head by a slingshot and died. His murder was believed to have kept
him from testifying in a murder trial.
(SFEC, 9/21/97, p.C7)
1851 In northern California
gold was found in Plumas County and the mining town of Seneca was
born. It later became pretty much a ghost town with a bar called the
Gin Mill, which was sold to a pair of hunters in the 1970s. In 2013
the Gin Mill and surrounding 10 acres were put up for sale for
(SSFC, 12/8/13, p.C12)
1851 The New-York Times was
founded by Henry J. Raymond, Republican Speaker of the NY State
Assembly, and banker George Jones as a conservative counterpoint to
Horace Greeley's Tribune.
(SFEM, 1/16/00, p.17)
1851 La Vielle Russie was
opened in Manhattan by the family of Peter Schaffer and featured
(SFEM, 6/9/96, p.20)
1851 John Kiehl opened an
apothecary at Third Ave. and 13th Street in Manhattan to sell
potions, lotions and remedies such as to cure baldness and enhance
virility. He also sold a get-rich essence called Money Drawing Oil.
In 1999 the firm did some $40 million in business with just freebies
and word of mouth advertising.
(F, 10/7/96, p.76)(WSJ, 12/29/99, p.B1)
1851 President Fillmore sent
the USS Michigan, the Navy’s first iron-hulled warship, to Beaver
Island to arrest James Strang. Strang was put on trial in Detroit
and was declared innocent of all charges. Strang then effectively
detached his kingdom from the US but maintained voting rights.
(Smith., Aug. 1995, p.88)
1851 The Fort Laramie Treaty
was signed between the US government and the Sioux Indians. The
Sioux pledged not to harass the wagon trains traveling the Oregon
Trail in exchange for a $50,000 annuity. The treaty did not last
long. Some 12,000 American Indians gathered at Fort Laramie for a
peace council with the US. The government agreed that 12 million
acres of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Indians would remain free
of settlement (eastern Montana, northeastern Wyoming and western
North Dakota). In 1949 Congress authorized a forced relocation to
build the Garrison Dam in North Dakota. In 1986 Martin Cross won a
settlement of $149.2 million for the unjust taking of reservation
land. In 2004 Paul VanDevelder authored “Coyote Warrior: One Man,
Three Tribes, and the Trial that Forged a Nation."
(HT, 3/97, p.43)(SSFC, 8/29/04, p.M5)
1851 In Minnesota Chief
Shakopee and the Dakota Indians were pressured into selling 24
million acres for pennies an acre. Food and money from the federal
government was to be distributed to the Indians as part of the
(WSJ, 2/5/98, p.A1,6)
1851 Amory Houghton, a Boston
entrepreneur, bought an interest in a predecessor of Union Glass in
Somerville. The operation became Corning Inc. and by 2000
transformed itself into a major player in the fiber optic business.
(SFC, 6/19/00, p.G7)
1851 A Mormon trading post in
Carson Valley, later called Genoa, became the 1st permanent white
settlement of Nevada.
(SFEC, 7/9/00, DB p.67)(SSFC, 6/22/14, p.N22)
1851 Andrew Jackson Pope and
Frederic Talbot of Maine built their 1st sawmill on Puget Sound, Wa.
Pope & Talbot were soon shipping lumber around the world.
(Ind, 6/7/03, p.5A)
1851 The US state of Virginia
switched to a voter-elected chief executive.
(Econ, 8/10/13, p.26)
1851 Western Union was founded
as the New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Co.
(SFC, 2/2/06, p.A13)
1851 Simon Lazarus, a
rabbinical scholar from Germany, opened a dry-goods store in
Columbus, Ohio. The operation grew to become F&R Lazarus, after
the names of his sons, who in 1929 created the Federated Dept. Store
chain. The downtown Columbus store closed in 2004.
1851 Dr. John Gorrie
(1803-1855) patented an ice-making machine to cool hospital rooms.
1851 Photography had a major
breakthrough with the development of a new emulsion called
collodion, which caused photosensitive salts to adhere to a sheet of
(Smith., 5/95, p.75)
1851 The Beckwourth Trail,
discovered by James P. Beckwourth (1798-1866), an African American
explorer, opened to pioneers. It is the lowest pass (5,221 ft) over
the Sierras. Beckwourth was a freed slave and mountain man.
(SSFC, 4/29/01, p.T9)
1851 Rawlinson unlocked the
Persian cuneiform script. The key to unlocking these scripts was
found in the names of great rulers.
1851 Australia’s first gold
(SFEC, 9/10/00, p.T9)
1851 Francisco Guerrero,
Mexican official in Alta California, was struck in the back of the
head by a slingshot and died. His murder was believed to have kept
him from testifying in a murder trial.
(SFEC, 9/21/97, p.C7)
1851 By this year more than
half the population of Great Britain was living in towns, and
country-house owners found it increasingly hard to dominate politics
or protect their own positions.
(NG, Nov. 1985, p.689)
1851 Big Ben, the tower clock
of the House of Parliament in London, was designed by Edmund Beckett
Denison. He was assisted by clockmaker Edward John Dent and Sir
George Airy, the royal astronomer. Originally the name "Big Ben"
referred only to the clock’s huge bell.
(SFC, 9/30/98, Z1 p.3)
1851 Victor Hugo sought refuge
on the Channel island of Guernsey where he wrote "Les Miserables"
and other works.
(WSJ, 2/10/98, p.A16)
1851 Paul Julius Reuter
(1816-1899), a German-born immigrant, began transmitting
stock-market quotes between London and Paris over the new
Dover-Calais submarine telegraph cable.
1851 German traveler Heinrich
Barth discovered the Royal Chronicle or Girgam, which described the
history Kanem-Bornu Empire. It existed in Chad and Nigeria from the
9th century AD onward and lasted as the independent kingdom of Bornu
1851 The Chateau
Pichon-Longueville was built in the Bordeaux region of France.
(USAT, 5/9/03, p.2D)
1851 Mt. Pelee volcano on the
French Island of Martinique erupted. It left the city of St. Pierre
(NH, 10/02, p.76)
1851 Rama IV (d.1868) began his
rule over Siam and played off European powers against each other.
(Econ, 1/10/04, p.76)
1851-1920 Mrs. Humphrey Ward, an erudite
anti-suffragist, wrote novels on major issues of her day.
(WSJ, 11/15/96, p.A14)
1851-1962 In California the Benicia Arsenal was
active. It was the 1st ordnance supply depot in the West.
(SFEC, 8/29/99, p.A14)
1851-1873 The US minted a 3-cent piece called a
(SFC, 4/8/00, p.B4)
1852 Jan 3, The 1st Chinese
arrive in Hawaii.
1852 Jan 6, Louis Braille (43)
died of tuberculosis in France. He had been blinded by an accident
during childhood and spent years developing a system to read by
touch. In 1997 Russell Freedman wrote "Out of Darkness: The Story of
7/6/97, BR p.10)(ON, 10/04, p.9)
1852 Jan 17, At the Sand River
Convention, the British recognized the independence of the Transvaal
1852 Feb 2, Alexandre Dumas
Jr.’s "Le Dame aux Camelias," premiered in Paris.
1852 Feb 11, The 1st British
public female toilet opened at Bedford Street in London.
1852 Feb 16, Charles Taze
Russell (d.1916) was born. He founded the International Bible
Students Association. In the 1870’s Russell abandoned the Adventist
movement and formed his own, which was later named Jehovah’s
1852 Feb 17, The Imperial
Museum, the 5th and last building of what became known as the New
Hermitage, opened to the public (Feb 2 OS) in St. Petersburg,
Russia. It was commissioned by Nicholas I and designed by Leo van
Klenze of Germany.
1852 Feb 21, Nikolai Gogol,
Russian playwright (Dead Souls), died. [see Mar 4]
1852 Feb 26, Dr. John Harvey
Kellogg (d.1943) was born. He was 24 years old when he became staff
physician at the Battle Creek Sanitarium--a position he held for 62
years. Dr. Kellogg, a respected abdominal surgeon, ran "the San" as
a health institute where the wealthy could rejuvenate themselves
with Kellogg's offbeat cures. Illness was caused, Kellogg believed,
by poor eating habits that left poisons in the intestinal tract.
Among Kellogg's solutions to the dietary dilemma were
"fletcherizing," or chewing food hundreds of times before
swallowing, and a vegetarian diet high in bran. It was the bowels,
however, that received Kellogg's undivided attention. Patients at
the San were subjected to regimens of "cleansing enemas" that cured
"ulcers, diabetes, schizophrenia, acne...and premature old age." In
1895, Kellogg's search for the perfect food led to the development
of breakfast food flakes made of wheat called Granose. Will Keith
Kellogg, John's brother, improved on the Granose idea and founded
the W.K. Kellogg Company.
1852 Feb 26, The British
frigate Birkenhead sank off South Africa and 458 died.
1852 Feb 28, The French ship
arrived in San Francisco from Le Havre with some 200 lottery
emigrants. They included criminals, political prisoners, honest
workers, common thugs and others considered undesirable. France had
organized a national lottery for a gold bar and used the proceeds to
ship people to California.
(SF, 8/29/15, p.C1)
1852 Mar 4, Lady (Isabella
Augusta) Gregory, Irish playwright, was born. She helped found the
1852 Mar 4, Nikolai Gogol,
Russian writer (43), died. [see Feb 21]
1852 Mar 13, A familiar symbol
of the United States, Uncle Sam, made his debut as a cartoon
character in the New York Lantern.
1852 Mar 18, Henry C. Wells
founded Wells, Fargo & Co. with William C. Fargo in San
Francisco as a Western equivalent to their east coast American
Express. It evolved into Wells Fargo Bank, headquartered in San
Francisco and now one of the largest financial institutions in the
U.S. In 2002 Philip L. Fradkin authored "Stagecoach: Wells Fargo and
the American West" for the company’s 150th anniversary. [see Mar 18,
(SFEC, 1/4/98, Z1p.4)(SFC, 6/9/98, p.A10)(HNQ,
11/20/98)(SFC, 2/6/02, p.D1) (SFC, 3/19/02,
1852 Mar 20, Harriet Beecher
Stowe's (1811-1896) "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was first published in book
form after being serialized. It was based on the theme that slavery
is incompatible with Christianity. In 2011 David S. Reynolds
authored “Mightier Than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle
(SFC, 3/30/97, Z1. p.6)(AP, 3/20/08)(SSFC,
1852 Mar 29, Ohio made it
illegal for children under 18 and women to work more than 10 hours a
1852 Mar, Hubert Bancroft
(1832-1918) was sent to San Francisco from New York to established a
regional office of his family’s book selling business. In 1868 he
abandoned business to devote himself entirely to writing and
1852 Apr 1, Edward Austin
Abbey, US, painter (Quest of the Holy Grail), was born.
1852 Apr 12, Carl Louis
Ferdinand von Lindemann (d.1939), German mathematician, was born.
1852 Apr 13, Frank W. Woolworth
(d.1919), founder of the retail chain of 5&10 cent stores, was
born on a farm near Watertown New York.
(SFC,10/20/97, p.B2)(HN, 4/13/98)
1852 Apr 23, Edwin Markham, US
poet and 1st winner of Amer Acad of Poets Award in 1937, ("Man with
a Hoe"), was born.
1852 Apr 29, The first edition
of Peter Mark Roget’s Thesaurus was published. Roget (1779-1869) was
a London physician of French-Swiss ancestry who began to collect and
organize English words to improve his public speaking.
(HN, 4/29/98)(WSJ, 9/3/98, p.B1)
1852 Apr 30, Anton Rubinstein’s
opera "Dmitri Donskoi," premiered in St Petersburg.
1852 May 1, Calamity [Martha]
Jane [Burke], frontier adventurer, Indian fighter, was born.
1852 May 8, A war between
Denmark and Prussia lasted three years (1848–50) and ended only when
the Great Powers pressured Prussia into accepting the London
Protocol of 1852. This was the revision of an earlier protocol,
which had been ratified on August 2, 1850, by the major Germanic
powers of Austria and Prussia. The 1852 London Protocol confirmed
that the duchies of Schleswig-Holstein should remain undivided.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Protocol)(Econ, 6/23/12, p.20)
1852 May 18, Massachusetts
ruled that all school-age children must attend school.
1852 May 25, Louis Franchet
d'Espèrey [Desperate Frankey], French marshal (WWI), was born.
1852 May 29, Jindrich z Albestu
Kaan, composer, was born.
1852 May 30, George Chinnery
(b.1774), painter of Asian scenes, died in Macau. The English
painter spent most of his life in Asia, especially India and
(Econ, 6/18/11, p.91)
1852 Jun 9, Georg Heinrich von
Langsdorff, German-Russian naturalist, physician and explorer, died
of typhus in Germany. He first participated as naturalist and
physician in the great Russian scientific circumnavigation
expedition commanded by Ivan Fedorovich Kruzenshtern, from 1803 to
1805. He returned from San Francisco by ship to Siberia and thence
to Saint Petersburg by land, arriving in 1808.
1852 Jun 21, Friedrich Frobel
(b.1782), founder of the Play and Activity Institute (1837) in
Germany, died. In 1840 he created the word kindergarten to describe
1852 Jun 25, Antoni Gaudi
(d.1926), Spanish modernist architect (Sagrada Familia, Barcelona),
(MC, 6/25/02)(SFEM, 10/8/00, p.61)
1852 Jun 26, Tzu Hsi (17), aka
Orchid or Lady Yehonala, married Ch'ing Emperor Hsien Feng. She had
competed to become one of his 7 official wives or 3,000 concubines.
(SSFC, 2/1/04, p.M6)
1852 Jun 29, Statesman Henry
Clay (75) of Kentucky died. He was a master politician in the era
preceding the Civil War. Born in 1777, Clay was a lawyer by trade.
He began his lengthy political career in the Kentucky legislature
and made three unsuccessful bids as the Whig Party's presidential
candidate. By the time of his death, Clay had served his country as
secretary of state under John Quincy Adams, U.S. Senator and Speaker
of the House of Representatives. Clay was the chief architect of the
Compromise of 1850, a contribution that earned him the nickname "The
(HNPD, 6/29/99)(MC, 6/29/02)
1852 Jul 4, Frederick Douglass
delivered the keynote speech for the Independence Day celebration in
Rochester, NY. In 2006 James A. Colaiaco authored Frederick Douglass
and the Fourth of July."
(WSJ, 7/1/06, p.P6)
1852 Jul 12, Dr. John Hudson
Wayman camped at the City of Rocks in Idaho and called it “one of
the finest places of its kind in the world." US Congress named the
area a national reserve in 1988.
(SFC, 7/6/06, p.E2)
1852 Jul 27, George Foster
Peabody, philanthropist and namesake of the Peabody awards for
excellence in broadcasting, was born.
1852 Jul, San Quentin State
Prison opened in Marin County, California.
1852 Jul, In California a group
of squatters led by a Major Harvey illegally encroached on Indian
reservation lands on the Kings River. A number of “old squaws" were
(SFC, 5/23/15, p.C2)
1852 Aug 2, State Sen. James W.
Denver, from Klamath and Trinity counties, challenged Edward
Gilbert, editor of the SF Alta California newspaper, to a duel due
to an inflammatory editorial. The pair met at Fair Oaks, near
Sacramento, and when Gilbert forced a 2nd round of shots, Denver put
a fatal shot through his chest. Denver’s 2nd shot hit Gilbert above
the left hip. C.A. Washburn succeeded Gilbert at the Alta.
(PI, 6/13/98, p.5A)(PI, 8/8/98, p.5)(SFC,
1852 Aug 3, In the 1st
intercollegiate rowing race, Harvard beats Yale by 4 lengths.
1852 Aug 16, In northern
California trader James Savage entered the Kings River Indian
reservation and encountered Major Harvey, who had led an attack
there on local Indians. A fight ensued and Harvey shot and killed
(SFC, 5/23/15, p.C2)
1852 Sep 14, Augustus Pugin
(b.1812), English Gothic architect and designer, died. In 2007
Rosemary Hill authored “God’s Architect: Pugin and the Building of
1852 Aug 20, The steamer
"Atlantic" collided on Lake Erie with the fishing boat Ogdensburg,
and sank. An estimated 150-250 people were drowned.
1852 Sep 3, Anti Jewish riots
broke out in Stockholm.
1852 Sep 14, Arthur Wellesley
(b.1769), General and Duke of Wellington, died at 83.
1852 Sep 14, Augustus Welby
Northmore Pugin (b.1812), English artist and architect, died.
1852 Sep 23, William Stewart
Halsted, was born. He established the 1st US surgical school.
1852 Sep 24, Henri Giffard, a
French engineer, flew over Paris in the 1st dirigible flight.
1852 Sep 30, Charles Villiers
Stanford, Irish organist and composer, was born.
1852 Oct 24, Daniel Webster
(70), lawyer, speaker and senator from Massachusetts, died. In 1997
Robert V. Remini wrote his biography: "Daniel Webster."
(WSJ, 9/30/97, p.A20)(MC, 10/24/01)
1852 Nov 2, Franklin Pierce was
elected US president over Gen’l. Winfield Scott, who ran as a Whig.
In 1852, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution giving Scott the pay
and rank of a lieutenant general. Scott, not Ulysses S. Grant, was
the first to hold this rank since George Washington. William R. King
was elected vice-president.
(SFC, 10/22/96, p.E8)(http://tinyurl.com/8ku7j)
1852 Nov 10, Dr. Gideon Mantell
(b.1790), obstetrician and English fossil hunter, died from an
overdose of opium.
1852 Nov 21, Duke Univ.,
founded in 1838 as Union Institute in NC, was chartered as Normal
1852 Nov 27, Ada Lovelace
(b.1815), Lord Byron’s daughter and the inventor of computer
language, was bled to death by physicians at age 36. She had helped
Charles Babbage develop his "Analytical Engine," that performed
mathematical calculations through the use of punched cards. Her last
years were spent in a netherworld of addiction, gambling and
adultery and she died of cancer. In 2001 Benjamin Wooley authored
her biography: "The Bride of Science."
(SFC, 1/22/98, p.D7)(SFC, 4/30/98, p.E1)(WSJ,