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 execution.
(ON, 10/02, p.3)
1850 Jan, In San Francisco a
number of wealthy men used $5,000 of their own money and $6,000
voted by the town council, to buy up lots in the Happy Valley area.
Roads leading into area were created, brush was removed and elegant
homes began to spring up.
(SFC, 5/30/20, p.B2)
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 4, A 2nd great fire
broke out in San Francisco on Portsmouth Square. It consumed 16
blocks and 300 buildings with damages estimated at $4 million.
(SFC, 12/24/99, p.A24)(SFC, 4/17/21, p.B3)
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 Jun 14, A 3rd great fire
broke out in San Francisco. It raged for 3 days and consumed several
hundred buildings with losses close to $5 million.
(SFC, 12/24/99, p.A24)(SFC, 4/17/21, p.B3)
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, Báb, founder of
Bábism and one of the central figures of the Baha'i Faith., 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'' premiered at Weimar, Germany, under the direction
of Franz Liszt.
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, The US 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. The
Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 set fines up to $1,000 for facilitating a
slave’s flight. The act authorized federal commissioners to receive
a $10 fee if they decided for a slaveholder, but only a $5 fee for
deciding for a fugitive.
9/18/97)(WSJ, 1/30/03, p.D8)(AH, 10/02, p.53)
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 Sep, A 4th great fire
broke out in San Francisco.
(SFC, 4/17/21, p.B3)
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 Oct 29, In Yerba Buena,
later San Francisco, Eustachquio Valencia (20) married Ann Frances
Moses (16) in Mission Dolores. She had arrived with her Mormon
family in 1846.
(SFC, 6/12/21, p.B1)
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 Nov, San Francisco voters
approved a plank road from downtown out to the Mission. Alderman
Alfred Green and brothers George and John Treat immediately began
working on competing plans for racetracks in the Mission.
Entrepreneur Col. Charles Wilson and partners had proposed the toll
road at their own expense. The town council agreed, but stipulated
that ownership be turned over to the city in seven years.
(SFC, 5/14/16, p.C2)(SFC, 11/28/20, p.B4)
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 Robert Ridley opened a bar
south of San Francisco, called the Mansion House, in a decaying
building of the Mission Dolores complex.
(SFC, 11/28/20, p.B4)
1850 San Francisco was roughly
bounded by Union St. to the north, Market St. on the south, Powell
St. on the west and Montgomery St. on the east.
(SFC, 11/28/20, p.B1)
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 In San Francisco an
official graveyard site called Yerba Buena Cemetery was chosen in
the triangle formed by Market, Larking and McAllister streets. The
13-acre site later became the SF Civic Center.
(SFC, 3/5/16, p.C4)(SFC, 3/31/18, p.C1)
1850 In San Francisco only
seven of 4,025 Chinese were women.
(SFC, 1/6/18, p.C1)
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 British author Charles
Dickens published “The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and
Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone
Rookery" in book format. It had been serialized a year earlier.
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 18, In San Francisco
the new 40-foot-wide Mission Plank Road opened at a cost of $96,000.
A horse rider was charged 25 cents; a wagon with two horses, 75
cents; a four-horse team, $1. The road was an enormous financial
(SFC, 11/28/20, p.B4)
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 24, In San Francisco
pedestrians and horse drawn vehicles streamed out on the new Mission
Plank Road to the new Pioneer Race Course, built by the Treat
brothers. It was bounded by 24th, 26th Capp and Florida streets. It
closed in 1864.
(SFC, 5/14/16, p.C2)
1851 Mar 25, Sarah Chesham
(41), of Clavering, Essex, was publicly executed at Chelmsford jail
after being found guilty of attempting to murder her husband Richard
by poisoning him with arsenic a year earlier. Legal and medical
experts later determined that small traces of arsenic, found in her
supposed victims, were not uncommon in the human body and that tests
carried out at the time proved inconclusive. During Victorian
Britain’s ‘poison panic’, 167 people were charged with murder or
attempted murder by poison between 1840 and 1850. In 2019 her
descendants wrote to David Gauke, the Justice Secretary, in a bid
for a posthumous pardon so their ancestor's name will be cleared.
(The Telegraph, 3/29/19)
1851 Mar 27,
Paul-Marie-Theodore-Vincent d'Indy, composer (Symphonie Cevenole),
was born in Paris.
1851 Apr 2, Rama III (b.1788),
King Phra Nangklao, died. King Phra Nangklao reformed the tax and
treasury system and oversaw a boom in trade with China during his
27-year rule from 1824. Siam renewed official contacts with western
powers for the first time since the late Ayutthaya period, and
supported the British in their first Anglo-Burmese War in 1824. The
king did not name a successor and the throne passed to his
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 Apr 30, The California
State Legislature passed an act creating a State Marine Hospital in
San Francisco. $50,000 was earmarked for its construction.
(SSFC, 5/22/16, p.N10)
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 of 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. Damage was
estimated at $12 million.
(SFC, 12/24/99, p.A24)(SFC, 11/27/00, p.A18)(SFC,
10/13/18, p.C1)(SFC, 4/17/21, p.B3)
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. The Niantic Hotel was rebuilt and operated until 1872. In 1977
new construction uncovered the Niantic’s burned remains.
(SFC, 9/8/01, p.A11)(SFC, 2/4/05, p.E16)(SFC,
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 Jun, In San Francisco a
6th major fire caused $3 million in losses.
(SFC, 4/17/21, p.B3)
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 Jul, In San Francisco
Alfred Green’s new Pavilion Race Course opened. It was bounded by
20th, 22nd, Capp and Treat streets. It closed in 1863.
(SFC, 5/14/16, p.C2)
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 17, The Fort Laramie
Treaty was signed between the US government treaty commissioners and
representatives of the Cheyenne, Sioux, Arapaho, Crow, Assiniboine,
Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nations. 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."
p.43)(SSFC, 8/29/04, p.M5)
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 (b.1778), daughter of Louis XVI and
Marie-Antoinette died in Austria of pneumonia.
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 10, Karl von Drais
(b.1785), noble German forest official and inventor, died in
Karlsruhe. He invented the Laufmaschine ("running machine"), later
called the velocipede, draisine (English) or draisienne (French),
also nicknamed the hobby horse or dandy horse. It incorporated the
two-wheeler principle that is basic to the bicycle and motorcycle
and was the beginning of mechanized personal transport. Drais also
invented the earliest typewriter with a keyboard (1821).
1851 Dec 19, Joseph Mallord
William Turner (b.1775), English painter and printmaker, died. In
2016 Franny Moyle authored “The Extraordinary Life and Momentous
Times of J.M.W. Turner.
(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 John Everett Millais
(1829-1896) English painter and member of the a Pre-Raphaelite
Brotherhood, created his work "Mariana."
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 San Francisco 's first
street lights were erected on Kearny St.
(SFC, 6/13/20, p.B4)
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. Meiggs
had learned of the redwood and fir forests in the area following
efforts to retrieve cargo from the 1850 shipwreck of the Frolic. A
town built around the sawmill was first called Meiggsville before
becoming Mendocino City.
(SSFC, 6/3/01, Par p.20)(SFC, 8/8/20, p.B4)
1851 Kalman Haas arrived in San
Francisco and soon began operating a grocery wholesale business. The
company later switched to liquor wholesales.
(SSFC, 4/3/06, p.G5)(SFC, 3/19/17, p.C2)
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 In the SF Bay Area a
nearly weeklong bull and bear fiesta at Mission Santa Clara featured
12 bulls, two grizzly bears and a considerable number of Indians of
whom four were killed on the 2nd day.
(SFC, 3/4/17, p.C4)
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 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 5, Serranus Clinton
Hastings (1814-1893) began serving as California’s third Attorney
General and continued to Jan 2, 1854.
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 18, In San Francisco
Domingo Ghirardelli, an Italian candy-maker from Peru, announced the
opening of his chocolate business at Washington and Kearny streets.
(SFC, 10/8/97, Z1 p.6)(SFC, 4/26/02, p.G8)(SSFC,
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 Jun, In San Francisco one
of the weekly bull and bear fights held this month near the
crumbling old Mission Dolores was described in detail in a journal
by Theophile de Rutte.
(SFC, 3/4/17, p.C4)
1852 Jul 5, In Rochester, New
York, Frederick Douglass gave the speech “What to the Slave is the
Fourth of July," in which he called the celebration of liberty a
sham in a nation that enslaves and oppresses its Black citizens. In
2006 James A. Colaiaco authored "Frederick Douglass and the Fourth
(WSJ, 7/1/06, p.P6)(AP, 7/6/20)
1852 Jul 5, Johann Baptist
Weigl (69), composer, died.
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,
1852 Nov, In San Francisco John
Quinn was ordained at St. Francis Church.
(SSFC, 3/25/12, DB p.41)
1852 Dec 2, Louis Napoleon, the
little nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, established the Second Empire
in France (1852-1870) and called himself Napoleon III. He married
the Spanish beauty Eugenie and ran a semi-liberal autocracy for 18
(WUD, 1994, p.950)(WSJ, 3/14/95, p.A16)(MC,
1852 Dec 24, The race between
the B&O railroad and the C&O Canal to reach the Ohio River,
that began in 1828, ended with the railroad victorious.
(SFEC, 4/25/99, p.T6)
1852 Dec 29, Emma Snodgrass was
arrested in Boston for wearing pants.
1852 Dec 30, Future U.S.
president Rutherford B. Hayes married Lucy Ware Webb in Cincinnati.
1852 Dec 31, The richest year
of the gold rush ended, with $81.3 million in gold produced.
1852 Eugene Delacroix painted
"Desdemona Cursed by Her Father."
(WSJ, 9/24/98, p.A16)
1852 German naturalist
Alexander von Humboldt and French botanist Aime Bonpland published
the first three volumes of “Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of
America, During the Years 1799-1804." It eventually ran to 34
(http://tinyurl.com/gmttuy6)(Econ, 11/7/15, p.78)
1852 A lighthouse was built on
Alcatraz island in the San Francisco Bay.
(SFC, 2/22/07, p.A13)
1852 Seattle, USA, began as a
(WSJ, 9/19/95, p.A-1)
1852 The Mission of the Holy
Rosary in the town of Truchas was built. It is the youngest and
simplest of the 6 adobe missions scattered along the western
shoulder of the Sangre de Cristo mountains between Taos and Santa
Fe, New Mexico.
(SFC, 5/12/96, p.T-5)
1852 Frank Leslie's Weekly,
later often known in short as Leslie's Weekly, was founded. The
American illustrated literary and news magazine continued
publication to 1922.
1852 John Neumann, Catholic
missionary, became the bishop of Philadelphia. he was later made a
(SFEC, 9/14/97, p.A18)
1852 The Mormons conceded for
the first time that they practiced polygamy, or "plural marriage."
(SFC, 4/9/96, A-7)
1852 The Hopi people of
northern Arizona arranged for a diplomatic packet to reach Pres.
Fillmore via a delegation of 5 prominent men from the Tewas of
Tesuque Pueblo in New Mexico, who sought legal protection from Anglo
and Hispanic settlers.
(NH, 11/1/04, p.26)
1852 The US Senate rejected
treaties with 18 California tribes that included some of the
(SFEC, 5/18/97, Z1 p.4)
1852 The US Navy bought Mare
Island in SF Bay from its owner for $83,491 and established a repair
(SFEC, 2/9/97, p.W4)(SFC, 1/3/15, p.C2)
1852 The Young Ladies’ Seminary
was founded in Benicia, Ca. In 1865 missionaries Cyrus and Susan
Mills bought the Seminary for $5,000, renamed it Mills College, and
moved it in 1871 to Oakland, Ca. In 2021 Mills College said it will
stop enrolling first-year undergraduates after the Fall of 2021 and
will confer its final degrees in 2023.
(www.mills.edu/about/mission_and_history.php)(SFC, 3/18/21, p.A1)
1852 The California legislature
convened in Vallejo.
(SFEC, 3/1/98, p.W26)
1852 The state passed a
fugitive slave law that allowed slave masters to reside indefinitely
despite the state’s prohibition on slavery.
(SFC, 7/18/98, p.A15,18)
1852 Frederick F. Fortmann and
his wife emigrated to San Francisco from Germany and started the
Pacific Brewery at Fourth and Tehama streets.
(SFC, 1/26/19, p.C4)
1852 Heinrich Schliemann,
German businessman, moved from California to Russia and made another
fortune selling indigo and potassium nitrate to the Russian army.
(Nat. Hist., 4/96, p.46)
1852 White Sulphur Springs in
St. Helena opened as the 1st spa in California.
(SSFC, 7/20/03, p.C5)
1852 The Vallecito Stage
Station was built on the San Diego-San Antonio line called the
(SSFC, 11/17/02, p.C1)
1852 The San Francisco Gas Co.
was founded by 3 brothers. In 1905 it merged with California
electric Light to form PG&E.
(SFC, 4/7/01, p.A5)
1852 In San Francisco the Daily
Alta California reported on “full grown persons engaged very
industriously in the game known as town ball."
(SFC, 9/21/13, p.C1)
1852 In San Francisco
half-brothers George and Samuel Shreve opened Shreve & Co.,
their 1st jewelry near what later became Union Square. It remained a
retail store until 1881 when George (d.1893) opened a jewelry-making
(SSFC, 7/21/02, p.F3)(SFC, 9/19/07, p.G6)
1852 Sam Brannan, San Francisco
newspaperman, arrived in Calistoga, Ca. and began plans for a health
spa to rival the famed Saratoga Hot Springs in New York State. [see
(Article on Calistoga by Sybil McCabe, 7/95)
1852 In San Francisco the Hip
Yee Tong association started trafficking women and by 1873 imported
some 6,000 women from China making an estimated profit of $200,000.
(SFC, 1/6/18, p.C2)
1852 Moses Dinkelspiel opened
his Dinkelspiel Store in Vallecito, Calaveras County.
(SFC, 11/17/98, p.B2)
1852 Almaden Vineyards was
begun by Etienne Thee, an émigré from France, who settled near Los
(SFC, 1/24/08, p.C3)
1852 Miners found caves in
Amador County, Ca., near Volcano. They were named the Black Chasm
(SSFC, 4/8/01, p.T5)
1852 Meriden Britannia Co. of
Meriden, Connecticut, began operating as a silver plate maker. In
1898 it joined other silver companies to form the Int’l. Silver Co.
(SFC, 10/22/08, p.G3)
1852 Mr. Formwalt, the first
mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, was stabbed to death by a ruffian.
(WSJ, 4/9/96, p.A-1)
1852 James Strang, king of Big
Beaver Island, announced and won election as a state representative
(Smith., Aug. 1995, p.88)
1852 Smith & Wesson founded
its business in Springfield, Mass. Horace Smith, a toolmaker, and
Daniel Wesson, a former apprenticed gunsmith, combined their skills
to produce a revolutionary handgun.
(WSJ, 9/12/97, p.A20)(SSFC, 1/28/07, p.F3)
1852 Tennessee Coal, Iron and
Railroad Co. was formed as Sewanee Mining Co.
(WSJ, 5/28/96, R45)
1852 Elisha Graves Otis
invented a safety elevator in Yonkers, NY. Otis invented the safety
elevator to brake the car to a halt if the supporting cable broke.
Otis Steam Elevator Works made its 1st sale in 1854 to P.T. Barnum
for display at the New York’s World Fair. In 1889 (the same year
Eiffel built his Tower) the elevator met electricity. United
Technologies acquired Otis in 1976. In 2001 Jason Goodwin authored
"Otis, Giving Rise to the Modern City."
(HT, 5/97, p.23)(HNQ, 4/21/01)(WSJ, 10/9/01,
p.A20)(ON, 5/05, p.12)
1852 The first Holstein cow was
shipped to North America on a Dutch ship whose sailors requested
(SFC, 3/24/00, p.B3)
1852 John Kennedy invented dog
tags and tried without success to sell them to the Union Army, but
numerous soldiers bought them individually.
(SFC, 3/8/96, p.E3)
1852 Capt. Charles Melville
Scammon, a whaler, discovered the spawning area of the Pacific grey
whales in the lagoons of Magdalena Bay off the Baha coast.
(SFEM, 5/7/00, p.9)
1852 There was heavy flooding
on the Red River in North Dakota and Manitoba.
(SFC, 5/3/97, p.A11)
1852 The Grand Turk Lighthouse
was built at the tip of Grand Turk island, at the bottom of the
Bahamas chain, as the area thrived from the salt trade.
(SSFC, 1/7/07, p.G6)
1852 More than 20,000 Chinese
immigrants arrived to the US. They were fleeing floods, droughts,
famines and revolutions and some 20,000 went to California. A
foreign miner's tax was enacted in California and enforced largely
against the Chinese. Other states passed similar taxes. The number
of Chinese in California reached 25,000, about one-tenth of the
(SFC, 7/8/96, p.D2)(SFEC, 2/6/00, Rp.10)(SFEC,
9/20/98, Z1 p.4)
1852 In England the Victoria
and Albert Museum was founded by Henry Cole as the South Kensington
Museum and later named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It
was the first museum to collect and exhibit photography. Charles
Thurston Thompson was the first "superintendent of photography."
(WSJ, 11/4/97, p.A20)(WSJ, 3/24/98, p.A20)
1852 Lady Charlotte Guest took
over the helm of Dowlais Iron Co. in Wales after her husband died.
(SFC, 3/16/04, p.A1)
1852 In Finland the Lutheran
Helsinki Cathedral was completed.
(SSFC, 6/3/12, p.H4)
1852 France established its
penal colony at Devil’s Island. It was one of 3 islands called the
Iles du Salut (Islands of Salvation). Some 70,000 convicts were sent
there until 1946.
(SSFC, 12/15/02, p.L5)
1852 Maria Vernet Worth, a
Parisian shop clerk, became the 1st professional model when her
husband found that he sold more dresses when she helped.
(SFEC, 2/6/00, Z1 p.2)
1852 The first piano accordion
appeared in Paris.
(BAAC, 8/96, p.6)
1852 In Dublin John Henry
Newman delivered a series of lectures that were meant to establish
the principles of the new Catholic University of which he was the
first rector. The collected work was published in 1996 by Yale Univ.
Press as "The Idea of a University. "
(WSJ, 9/16/96, p.A14)
1852 In Iran Mirza Hoseyn 'Ali
Nuri (Baha' Ullah, b.1817), founder of the Baha’i Faith, became
aware of his mission as a messenger of God while in the notorious
Teheran prison known as the Black Pit for involvement in the
unsuccessful attempt in 1852 on the life the shah of Persia, Naser
od-Din. Released and exiled to Baghdad in 1853, Baha’ Allah revived
the Babi faith that had sprung from Shi’ah Islam in the 1840s. He
went on to found the Baha’i movement that subsequently spread
throughout the world.
(HNQ, 4/6/99)(HN, 11/12/00)
1852 In Poland Ignacy
Lukasiewicz, a druggist, found oil seeping from the ground and in an
attempt to make vodka distilled it to produce the first kerosene.
(SFEC, 8/3/97, Z1 p.2)
1852 James Young (1811-1883),
Scottish chemist, took out a US patent for the production of
paraffin oil by distillation of coal. Both the US and UK patents
were subsequently upheld in both countries in a series of lawsuits
and other producers were obliged to pay him royalties.
1852-1853 Leo Tolstoy served as a young artillery
officer in Chechnya. He wrote his short story "The Raid" in 1853
based on his experiences there.
(WSJ, 5/10/00, p.A1)
1852-1870 In France Napoleon III, Louis Napoleon
Bonaparte, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte I, served as emperor.
(WUD, 1994, p.950)
1852-1892 The Salt Lake Temple on Temple Square in
Salt lake City was constructed over this period.
(THM, 4/27/97, p.N2)
1852-1911 Edwin Austin Abbey, American illustrator
(AHD, 1971, p.2)
1852-1929 James Brander Matthews, American author
and educator: "A highbrow is a person educated beyond his
1852-1932 Grace King, American author: "Patience!
Patience! Patience is the invention of dullards and sluggards. In a
well-regulated world there should be no need of such a thing as
1852-1933 Henry van Dyke, American clergyman:
"Self is the only prison that can ever bind the soul."
1852-1935 Paul Bourget, French author: "We had
better live as we think, otherwise we shall end up by thinking as we
1853 Jan 8, 1st US bronze
equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson was unveiled in Wash. DC. [see
1853 Jan 16, Andre Michelin,
French industrialist and tire manufacturer (Michelin), was born.
1853 Jan 19, Giuseppi Verdi's
opera "Il Trovatore" premiered in Rome.
1853 Jan 19, Napoleon III
married Eugenie de Montijo.
1853 Jan 28, Cuban
revolutionary Jose Marti was born in Havana.
1853 Mar 2, The Territory of
Washington was organized after separating from Oregon Territory.
(HN, 3/2/99)(SC, 3/2/02)
1853 Mar 3, A transcontinental
railroad survey was authorized by Congress.
1853 Mar 3, US Assay Office in
NYC was authorized.
1853 Mar 4, Pope Pius IX
recovered Catholic hierarchy in Netherlands.
1853 Mar 4, William Rufus de
Vane King (D) was sworn in as 13th US Vice President.
1853 Mar 5, Arthur W. Foote,
organist, composer (Suite for Strings in E), was born in Salem,
1853 Mar 5, Howard Pyle, writer
and illustrator (The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood), was born.
1853 Mar 6, Giuseppe Verdi's
Opera, "La Traviata," premiered in Venice.
(AP, 3/6/98)(MC, 3/6/02)
1853 Mar 8, The first bronze
statue of Andrew Jackson was unveiled in Washington, D.C. [see Jan
1853 Mar 30, Vincent Van Gogh
(d.1890), Dutch artist, was born in Zundert, Neth. His work included
"The Drawbridge and Sunflowers in a Vase," and "Harvest in
Prevance," which was done both in oil and as a watercolor. The
watercolor sold in 1997 for $14.7 mil. He produced an estimated 900
paintings and 1200 drawings but sold virtually none of them. In 1997
it was reported that more than 100 of his paintings and drawings
might be fakes. 300 of his canvasses were painted in the last 15
months of his life.
(AAP,1964)(WUD,1994, p.606)(SFC, 6/26/97,
p.A21)(SFC, 7/5/97, p.A8)(SFEC, 1/4/98, Z1p.8)(HN, 3/30/98)(MC,
1853 Apr 1, Cincinnati, Ohio,
established a fire department made up of paid city employees.
1853 Apr 7, Dr. John Snow
administered chloroform to Queen Victoria at the birth of her 8th
child, Prince Leopold.
(ON, 5/05, p.9)
1853 Apr 11, A steam line burst
on SF Bay ferry Jenny Lind as it made its way from Alviso to San
Francisco. 31 passengers were killed.
(SFC, 4/13/13, p.A1)
1853 Apr 14, Harriet Tubman
began her Underground Railroad, helping slaves to escape.
1853 Apr 15, Johann Leopold
Fuchs (67), composer, died.
1853 Apr 16, India's 1st steam
locomotive pulled 14 cars and 400 people 34 km. from Bombay to
Thane. The government of India, directed by the Britain’s East India
Company, had begun construction of a vast rail network this year.
(NG, 5/95, p.140)(Econ, 12/6/03, p.61)(Econ,
1853 Apr 18, The first train in
Asia began running (Bombay to Tanna, 36 km).
(HN, 4/18/98)(MC, 4/18/02)
1853 May 6, The 1st major US
rail disaster killed 46 at Norwalk, Connecticut.
1853 May 11, Baron Nathaniel de
Rothschild of England purchased Chateau Mouton in Bordeaux, France,
for 1,125,000 gold francs.
1853 May 14, Gail Borden
applied for a patent for condensed milk.
1853 May 21, Lola Montez
(1821-1861), Irish-born dancer and former lover of Franz Liszt and
mistress of King Ludwig of Bavaria, arrived in San Francisco aboard
a steamer from Panama.
(SFC, 5/31/14, p.D1)
1853 May 26, John Wesley Hardin
was born in Bonham, Texas. The 19th-century Western outlaw John
Wesley Hardin was named after John Wesley, who began the Methodist
movement in 1738.
1853 Jun 6, The ship Carrier
Pigeon, a merchant sailing vessel, struck a reef off of Whale Point
(later Pigeon Point) on its way from Boston to SF. The wreck helped
prompt the erection of the Pigeon Point lighthouse in San Mateo Ct.
(SFEC, 5/25/97, p.T3)(SFEC,11/16/97, p.B8)(Ind,
1853 Jun 29, Napoleon III met
with Georges-Eugene Haussmann to outline plans for the “strategic
beautification" of Paris and assigned him to modernize the city. For
the next 17 years Haussman, as prefect of the Seine, transformed
Paris. He is responsible for the tree lined grand boulevards, the
Bois de Boulogne, several railroad stations, the aqueducts, and a
tourist friendly sewer system. Haussmann employed one Parisian in
five and financed his projects using private capital raised with
bonds. The project forced some 200,000 residents from their homes.
He used surpluses in his operational budget to cover deficits in his
capital budgets. The debts paralyzed the city until the Gaullist
(WSJ, 1/17/1995, p.A-16)(SFEC, 6/28/98,
p.T9)(WSJ, 12/9/98, p.A20)(ON, 9/06, p.9)
1853 Jul 4, Moses A. Gunst,
millionaire cigar retailer and SF police commissioner, was born in
NY and raised in Atlanta.
(Ind, 3/2/02, 5A)
1853 Jul 5, Cecil John Rhodes
(d.1902), politician, diamond merchant, was born in South Africa. He
discovered a vast lode of diamonds at Kimberley and founded the De
Beers Mining Co. He ran for Cape parliament in 1881 and was prime
minister of the Cape Colony from 1890-1896. He founded Rhodesia
(later Zimbabwe) for mineral speculation and endowed the Rhodes
scholarships upon his death with £3 million.
(WSJ, 1/11/98, p.R18)(MC, 7/5/02)
1853 Jul 8, An expedition led
by Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in Edo Bay, Uraga, Japan, on a
mission to seek diplomatic and trade relations with the Japanese.
Perry sailed his flagship USS Susquehanna into Edo Bay. He soon
forced Japan to open its ports with his big gunboats, the
steam-powered “Black Ships."
(AP, 7/8/97)(SFEC, 1/25/98, Z1 p.2)(ON, 11/04,
1853 Jul 14, Pres. Franklin
Pierce opened the 1st industrial exposition in NY. Some 4,000
exhibitors gathered for a trade show at the New York Crystal Palace
(later Bryant Park).
(WSJ, 9/14/00, p.A24)(MC, 7/14/02)
1853 Jul 14, Commodore Matthew
Perry met with Prince Toda and Prince Ido at ceremony at Kurihama,
Japan, and presented a letter from former Pres. Fillmore to Emperor
Osahito requesting trade relations. Fillmore's term of office had
already expired by the time the letter was delivered.
(ON, 11/04, p.12)(AP, 7/14/07)
1853 Jul 25, David Belasco,
actor, playwright and producer, was born.
1853 Jul 25, Joaquin Murrieta
(b.1829), aka the Mexican Robin Hood or the Robin Hood of El Dorado,
was shot and killed by California Rangers near Coalinga. A plaque
(California Historical Landmark #344) near Coalinga at the
intersection of State Routes 33 and 198 later marked the approximate
site of the incident. His head was reportedly paraded around mining
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joaquin_Murrieta)(SFC, 3/3/14, p.D2)
1853 Jul 29, Pope Pius IX
established the archdiocese of San Francisco, Ca.
(SSFC, 7/27/03, p.A22)
1853 Aug 21, Henry Wellcome
(d.1936) was born in Wisconsin. In 1880 Henry went to London to join
Silas Burroughs and set up a successful pharmaceutical firm called
Burroughs, Wellcome & Co.
1853 Aug 24, The 1st potato
chips were prepared by Chef George Crum at Saratoga Springs, NY.
1853 Sep 14, The Allies landed
at Eupatoria on the west coast of Crimea.
1853 Sep 20, The Allies
defeated the Russians at the battle of Alma on the Crimean
1853 Sep 30, Johannes Brahms
met Robert and Clara Schumann. In this year Brahms composed his
Sonata in C major and his famous Liebestreu. In this year Brahms
also meets Joseph Joachim, Konzertmeister of the King of Hanover,
while traveling with the Hungarian violinist, Eduard Remenyi.
(BLW, Geiringer, 1963 ed., p.36 )
1853 Oct 2, Austrian law
forbade Jews from owning land.
1853 Oct 13, Lillie Langtry
(d.1929), British actress, was born. "The sentimentalist ages far
more quickly than the person who loves his work and enjoys new
challenges." She started the California Guenoc and Langtry Estate
(AP, 7/27/98)(HN, 10/13/00)(SSFC, 6/9/02, p.C8)
1853 Oct 15, William Walker set
out from San Francisco with 45 men to conquer the Mexican
territories of Baja California Territory and Sonora State. He
succeeded in capturing La Paz, the capital of sparsely populated
Baja California, which he declared the capital of a new Republic of
Lower California, with himself as president and his former law
partner, Henry P. Watkins, as vice president. He then put the region
under the laws of the American state of Louisiana, which made
1853 Oct 19, Juana Maria, the
last living native of San Nicholas, the southernmost Channel Island,
died in Santa Barbara weeks after she was found living by herself on
the island. Her story later inspired Scott O'Dell's book: "Island of
the Blue Dolphins" (1960).
1853 Oct 26, R.H. Kern,
American artist, was killed by Indians in Utah.
(SSFC, 4/10/05, p.F9)
1853 Oct 29, Pierre Joseph
Guillaume Zimmermann (68), composer, died.
1853 Oct 30, Pietro Raimondi
(66), Italian composer (Potifar, Giacobbe), died.
1853 Oct, Henry Bessemer
(1813-1898), English mechanical engineer, invented a new type of
artillery shell. He presented it to the War Department for use in
the Crimean War, but they were not interested. He then offered it to
France’s Napoleon III, who agreed to test the shells. The larger
shells demanded a new type of cannon made of stronger metal, which
led to his experiments in making iron.
(ON, 9/06, p.4)
1853 Nov 9, Stanford White,
architect, was born. His designs include Madison Square Garden and
1853 Nov 24, William Masterson
(Bat Masterson), journalist, gambler, frontier lawman, was born in
Henryville, Quebec. He died at his desk as a NYC sports reporter.
[see Nov 24, 1856]
(SFC, 8/2/97, p.E3)(MC, 11/24/01)
1853 Nov 28, Olympia was
established as capital of the Washington Territory.
1853 Nov 30, The Russian fleet
attacked and burned the wooden Turkish ships at the port of Sinop on
the Black Sea coast of northern Turkey. The guns of the Russian
ships destroyed the port and its defensive installations. Of the
4,400 Turkish seamen, 3,000 were killed.
1853 Dec 22, Maria Teresa
Carreno (d.1917), Venezuelan composer and singer, was born in
1853 Dec 23, In San Francisco a
housewarming was held for Montgomery Block, the largest building on
the West Coast, at Montgomery and Washington streets. In 1951 Idwal
Jones authored "Ark Of Empire: San Francisco's Montgomery Block."
The four linked structures, known as the Monkey block, were torn
down in 1959 to make room for a parking lot. This later became the
site of the Transamerica Pyramid.
(SSFC, 5/25/14, p.C2)(SFC, 10/13/18, p.C2)
1853 Dec 30, The United States
bought some 45,000 square miles of land from Mexico in a deal known
as the Gadsden Purchase. It included parts of Arizona and New Mexico
(29,640 sq. miles) south of the Gila River. The purchase was
ratified by Congress on April 25, 1854.
(AWAM, Dec. 94, p.31)(HFA, ‘96, p.28)(AHD,
1853 Jean Ingres painted his
portrait: "Princesse Albert de Broglie."
(WSJ, 5/28/99, p.W12)
1853 Rembrandt Peale painted a
portrait of Martha Washington based on a 1795 portrait done by his
father, Charles Vincent Peale.
(SFEC, 7/27/97, DB p.35)
1853 Charles Dickens
(1812-1870) authored his novel “Bleak House," which castigated the
insufferable delays of the legal process in Britain.
(WSJ, 2/24/07, p.P10)
1853 Solomon Northrup (b.1807)
and Henry W. Derbu authored "Twelve Years a Slave, Narrative of
Solomon Northrup, a Citizen of New York, Kidnapped in Washington in
1841, and Rescued in 1853 from a Cotton Plantation Near the Red
River in Louisiana." In 2013 Rachel Seligman, David Fiske and
Clifford authored “Solomon Northrup: The Complete Story of the
Author of Twelve Years a Slave." A film based on the 1853 book
won the Best Picture Oscar in 2014.
(ON, 11/99, p.7)(SFC, 3/17/14, p.A8)
1853 Elizabeth Schermerhorn
James, the aunt of Edith Wharton, built the Wyndclyffe mansion in
(WSJ, 9/29/03, p.A1)
1853 The US government asked
its diplomats not to wear court dress frippery. Diplomats in dark
tailcoats were then sometimes confused with butlers.
(Econ, 11/23/13, p.13)
c1853 Senator William Gwin, a
leader of pro-slavery interests in California, proposed to divide
California to create a pro-slavery southern half. He was opposed by
David C. Broderick.
(SFEC, 3/1/98, p.W26)
1853 William Waldo, a Whig
candidate for governor of California, lost the election and moved to
Oregon. He was a major property owner in southern Marin Ct. and his
name stuck to the steep hill and later the tunnel just north of the
(SFC, 1/26/98, p.A11)(SFC, 8/20/14, p.E4)
1853 The California state
prison at San Quentin was completed. It was built to house 50
inmates. An associated housing development on the prison grounds was
(SFEC, 3/1/98, p.W26)(SSFCM, 8/19/01, p.11)(SFCM,
1853 Levi Strauss,
Bavarian-born dry goods merchant, arrived in California. and Co. He
got his start peddling tough canvas pants to California gold miners.
When his canvas ran out he switched to serge de Nimes, which evolved
into denim [see 1873, 1874].
(SFC, 1/23/96, p.C4)(SFC, 1/9/99, p.D3)(CHA,
1852 A general store opened in
the town of Knights Ferry, Ca. Operations continued into 2011 as the
oldest running store in state history.
(KCSM TV, Calif. Gold, 10/10/11)
1853 Silas Coombs, lumberman
from Maine, moved to the Mendocino coast of California and lived at
what is now the Little River Inn.
(SFEC, 4/13/97, p.T9)
1853 In California a Morse
telegraph was station was erected on the SF hill now known as
(HT, 5/97, p.12)
1853 Levi Strauss and Co. got
its start peddling tough pants to California gold miners. The first
pair sold for $13.50 a dozen. Strauss acquired the idea and patent
from Jacob Davis, who first produced canvas pants with rivets for
(SFC, 1/23/96, p.C4)(SFC, 1/9/99, p.D3)(CHA,
1853 The 7 Mile House opened as
a stagecoach stop on the edge of Brisbane. In 2017 it was recognized
as one of the oldest restaurants in the country.
(SSFC, 4/30/17, p.A2)
1853 In San Francisco the
Chinese Presbyterian Mission Church became the first US church with
an Asian congregation.
(SFC, 4/15/17, p.C1)
1853 San Francisco’s city
engineer Milo Hoadley submitted a plan calling for the leveling of
Telegraph and other hills. A special three-member board decided his
plan would be too expensive, but did order some streets to be
(SFC, 5/28/16, p.C2)
1853 By this year there were 12
daily newspapers published in SF. The Sun was the favorite.
(PI, 8/8/98, p.5)
1853 In San Francisco the US
Marine Hospital was built on Harrison St. between Main and Beale.
(SFC, 5/28/16, p.C2)
1853 The US government
fortified the 22-acre island of Alcatraz to protect SF from attack.
(SFEC, 3/8/98, p.W38)
1853 Fr. Flavian Fontaine, a
member of the congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus, acquired
land in San Francisco and built a brick building for the Catholic
College of Mission Dolores. The site at 14th and Walter Streets
stood empty as Fontaine, unable to pay his debts, fled to Panama.
The site was acquired by Fr. John Nobili for $11,000. A Jesuit
school here was opened in 1854 with Fr. Francis Veyret, SJ, as its
only teacher, but it closed in September.
(GenIV, Winter 04/05)
1853 Joseph J. Atkinson, a
brick contractor, built a 4-bedroom house at 1032 Broadway. It was
designed by William Ranlett and remodeled by Willis Polk in 1893. It
survived the 1906 earthquake and fire.
(SFC, 2/23/99, p.A15)(SFC, 10/1/14, p.C2)
1853 Henry Meiggs completed a
wharf between Mason and Powell to serve the lumber trade. It
extended 1,900 feet into the Bay. He fled to South America to avoid
his creditors and died in Peru in 1877. His wharf grew to become
Fisherman’s Wharf. Early businesses in the area included Abe
Warner’s eatery “Cobweb Palace," Cockney White’s museum, Driscoll’s
Salt Water Tub Bathing Emporium, and Riley’s Shooting Gallery. The
1998 book “Crab Is King" by Bernard Averbuch covers the story of
(SFEC, 7/12/98, DB p.30)(SFC, 8/8/20, p.B4)(SFC,
1853 A Morse telegraph was
station was erected on the SF hill now known as Telegraph Hill.
Telegraph Hill was once known as Tin Can Hill until a semaphore
station was set up on the summit to alert the city on ship arrivals.
(HT, 5/97, p.12)(SFC, 11/27/00, p.A18)
1853 John Parrott (42), SF
businessman, married Abigail Eastman Meagher (18) in Mobile, Ala. He
brought her back to SF and they set up house in a new brownstone on
Folsom St. in the Rincon Hill. In 1859 they acquired property in San
(Ind, 11/24/01, 5A)
1853 Levi Strauss,
Bavarian-born dry goods merchant, arrived in California. and Co. He
got his start peddling tough canvas pants to California gold miners.
When his canvas ran out he switched to serge de Nimes, which evolved
into denim [see 1873, 1874].
(SFC, 1/23/96, p.C4)(SFC, 1/9/99, p.D3)(CHA,
1853 Joshua Norton attempted to
corner the SF rice market with the purchase of $250,000 worth of
rice but went bust when rice carrying ships sailed into the Bay. He
filed for bankruptcy.
(G&M, 7/30/97, p.A24)
1853 J.G. Knowles established
the first dairy in San Mateo County in the middle of what is now
Daly City to supply milk to SF.
(GTP, 1973, p.63)
1853 In SF the Laurel Hill
Cemetery was established. Residents were moved to Colma in 1939-1940
and the site was used for housing.
(SFC, 5/7/08, p.G6)
1853 The SF YMCA was founded
and was the basis for the later Golden Gate Univ.
(SFEC, 3/15/98, p.W21)
1853 The El Dorado saloon on
Kearny St. in SF received a piano shipped around Cape Horn. The
piano was later sold to the David Fay family of soap makers.
(SFCM, 8/28/05, p.11)
1853 The population of San
Francisco numbered about 36,000.
(SFC, 10/11/10, p.A9)
1853 In San Francisco Col.
Charles Wilson built a 2nd plank road on Folsom St. to Mission
(SFC, 11/28/20, p.B4)
1853 In California the steam
freighter Tennessee was wrecked off the Marin headlands in heavy
fog. Everyone escaped safely. Tennessee Point and Tennessee Cove
were named after the freighter. The event spurred Congress to fund a
lighthouse at Point Bonita.
(WSJ, 9/17/96, p.A12)(G, Winter 96/97, p.3)(SSFC,
1853 The town of Austin,
Indiana, was founded. It became an important rail stop between
Indianapolis and Louisville.
(SFC, 4/6/15, p.A7)
1853 Charles Loring Brace
founded the Children’s Aid Society. Its goal was to build character.
(WSJ, 2/120/00, p.A24)
1853 In Boston Sarah Parker
Remond was thrown out of a theater for refusing to be seated in an
area reserved for blacks. She fell and filed suit and was awarded
monetary compensation. The theater was later desegregated.
(SFEC, 4/5/98, BR p.5)
1853 Heinrich Steinweg founded
his piano dynasty in a Manhattan loft on Varick Street three years
after arriving to the US from Germany. His story is told in "The
Steinway Saga: An American Dynasty" by D.W. Fostle. He later
designed a piano with a heavier internal mechanism that needed to be
balanced by fatter keys and thus set the standard 48-inch wide
(WSJ, 6/2/95, p.A-9)(WSJ, 11/4/97, p.A1)(Econ,
1853 Keebler Foods was founded
in Philadelphia. It was acquired by Kellogg in 2001.
1853 Elias Howe settled law
suits with 7 rivals of Singer Sewing Company. Singer settled with
Howe in 1854.
(ON, 11/00, p.9)
1853 James Strang, king of Big
Beaver Island, declared that his female subjects should dress in
loose, knee-length smocks worn over modest pantaloons similar to
those popularized by Amelia Bloomer, an earlier new York feminist.
(Smith., Aug. 1995, p.90)
1853 The New Haven Clock Co.
was founded. It made inexpensive brass movements until it bought a
clock manufacturing company in 1856. In 1946 it changed its name to
the New haven Clock and Watch Co., and went out of business in 1959.
(SFC, 3/19/97, z1 p.3)
1853 The hypodermic needle was
invented for morphine injection. It was believed that addiction
would be prevented if the digestive system was bypassed.
(SFEC, 11/10/96, Z1 p.2)
1853 Charles Frederic Gerhardt
first synthesized acetylsalicylic acid, but he failed to understand
its molecular structure and its potential importance to humanity.
1853 The low pressure steam
engine was developed and reduced the low frequency noise of the
single-cylinder steam engines on riverboats, which could be heard
(SFEC, 1/23/00, Z1 p.2)
1853 John C. Fremont began his
5th expedition west, his 2nd into the Colorado Mountains, and
traveled across Kansas, southern Colorado and Utah in search of a
railroad route over the Central Rockies. The group reached Mormon
settlements in Utah. Fremont brought along photographer Solomon
Nunes Carvalho, who took hundreds of daguerreotypes. Many of the
images were lost in an 1881 NYC warehouse fire. In 1994 Robert
Shlaer set out to recreate the images and in 2000 published "Sights
Once Seen: Daguerreotyping Fremont’s Last Expedition Through the
(SFEC, 7/9/00, BR p.12)(ON, 12/06, p.7)
1853 A smallpox epidemic hit
Hawaii and 5-6000 people died.
(SFC, 10/19/01, p.A17)
1853 Yellow Fever broke out New
Orleans. Some 9,000 people were killed.
(Econ, 5/14/16, p.52)
1853 William Beaumont (67), a
US Army assistant surgeon and author of "Experiments and
Observations on the Gastric Juice and the Physiology of Digestion"
(1833), died. [see 1822]
(ON, 1/02, p.6)
1853 Chief Tenaya of the
Yosemite Ahwahneechee was killed by a Paiute chief near Mono Lake.
(SFEC, 5/18/97, Z1 p.4)
1853 Matthew Arnold wrote his
poem "Scholar Gypsy."
(SFEC, 8/20/00, p.T9)
1853 Victorian England enacted
a law criminalizing violence against women and children.
(Econ, 1/28/17, p.14)
1853 Sarah Losh (b.1785),
English architect, died. In 2012 Jenny Uglow authored “The Pinecone:
The Story of Sarah Losh, Forgotten Romantic Heroine – Antiquarian,
Architect and Visionary."
1853 Hormuzd Rassam
(1826-1910), Mosul-born Assyrian, and Sir Austen Henry Layard
(1817-1894), British archeologist, uncovered ancient Assyrian
tablets at Nineveh (Iraq). Layard published his paper on
Assyrian-Egyptian Cross-Dating. By using seal-impressions of rulers
occurring on the same piece of clay, Layard was able to assign a
date to the Assyrian dynasty because the Egyptian ruler’s reign was
p.59)(ON, 11/07, p.4)
1853 The Taiping army of Hong
Xiuquan took the city of Nanjing as its heavenly capital in the
Taiping Rebellion (1851-1864). He claimed to be Jesus' brother and
ruled there until 1864. Imperial troops crushed his movement and
tens of millions died. Some 10,000 people were killed at Nanjing.
(WSJ, 1/5/96, p.A-8)(WSJ, 4/26/99, p.A6)(SFC,
1853 The Croatian lighthouse
Sveti Ivan Na Pucini was built on the northern Adriatic Sea.
(SSFC, 6/20/04, p.D9)
1853 French wines were first
ranked at the order of Napoleon. The top grades were selected on the
basis of price, not taste.
(SFEC, 2/1/98, p.T4)
1853 German physicist Heinrich
Magnus (1802-1870) first described the phenomenon, which came to be
called the Magnus effect, whereby a spinning object flying in a
fluid creates a whirlpool of fluid around itself, and experiences a
force perpendicular to the line of motion and away from the
direction of spin. According to author James Gleick (b.1954) Isaac
Newton described it and correctly theorized the cause 180 years
earlier, after observing tennis players in his Cambridge college.
1853 Vilmos Zsolnay founded a
pottery in Pecs, Hungary, that became renowned for its colored tile.
The Zsolnay factory used a 5-tower mark from about 1878, which
symbolized the 5 medieval churches in Pecs.
(SFC, 8/31/05, p.G3)
1853 In Mexico Benito Juarez,
patriot and reformer, was locked up for 11 days in the dungeon of
the fortress of San Juan de Ulua in Veracruz.
(SFEC, 5/17/98, p.T12)
1853 The island of New
Caledonia was made a French possession. It served as a penal colony
for four decades after 1864. Agitation for independence during the
1980s and early 1990s has dissipated.
1853 In the Ottoman Empire the
Sultan moved from Topkapi to Dolmabahce Palace in Constantinople.
(Sky, 4/97, p.58)
1853-1857 Franklin Pierce, 14th President of the
US, acquired land from Mexico and supported the nation’s 1st trade
agreement with Japan. Jefferson Davis served as his secretary of
(A&IP, ESM, p.96b, photo)(WSJ, 2/11/03,
1853-1857 The 1st perforated postage stamps were
made under the administration of Pres. Franklin Pierce.
(WSJ, 2/11/03, p.A10)
1853-1890 Theo Van Gogh, the younger brother of
Vincent Van Gogh. Theo's widow, Johanna Van Gogh-Bonger, inherited
the paintings of Vincent that had been in Theo's hands.
(SFC, 1/18/99, p.B2)
1853-1902 John Twachtman, American impressionist
painter. He was born in Cincinnati, lived and painted in Munich and
Paris, and founded an informal art school in Cos Cob, Conn.
(WSJ, 4/10/00, p.A44)
1853-1927 Hudson Maxim, brother of Hiram, invented
high quality smokeless powders used in cannon projectiles and
1853-1927 Joao Capistrano de Abreu, Brazilian
historian. He later wrote "Chapters of Brazil Colonial History,
1500-1800," first published in 1907. The Oxford Library of Latin
America published a new edition in 1998.
(WSJ, 2/3/98, p.A20)
1854 Jan 5, The steamship San
Francisco wrecked and 300 died.
1854 Jan 10, William
Walker proclaimed the independence of lower California, calling it
the Republic of Sonora. A serious lack of supplies, discontent
within his party and an unexpectedly strong resistance by the
Mexican government quickly forced Walker to retreat and return to
San Francisco where he was tried but quickly acquitted.
1854 Jan 13, Anthony Foss
patented an accordion. [see 1850, 1852]
1854 Jan 18, Thomas A. Watson,
inventor and assistant Alexander Bell (Telephone), was born.
1854 Feb 6, Composer Robert
Schumann was saved from a depression-induced suicide attempt of
walking into the Rhine.
1854 Feb 11, Major streets were
lit by coal gas for 1st time.
1854 Feb 11, Commodore Matthew
Perry pulled into Edo Bay, Japan, 12 months early with 9 warships to
begin talks for a treaty.
(ON, 11/04, p.12)
1854 Feb 16, Franz Liszt's
symphony "Orpheus," premiered.
1854 Feb 17, Friedrich A.
Krupp, German arms manufacturer, was born.
1854 Feb 23, Great Britain
officially recognized the independence of the Orange Free State.
1854 Feb 27, Composer Robert
Schumann was saved from a suicide attempt in Rhine.
1854 Feb 28, Some 50 slavery
opponents met in Ripon, Wis., to call for creation of a new
political group, which became the Republican Party. [see Mar 20, Jul
1854 Mar 1, The SS City of
Glasgow, a steamship of the Inman Line, left Liverpool harbor with
480 passengers and was never seen again.
(SC, 3/1/02)(WSJ, 7/1/03, p.D8)
1854 Mar 7, Charles Miller
patented the 1st US sewing machine to stitch buttonholes.
1854 Mar 8, US Commodore
Matthew C. Perry landed at Yokohama on his 2nd trip to Japan. Within
a month, he concluded a treaty with the Japanese. In 2003
Christopher Benfey authored "The Great Wave: Gilded Age Misfits,
Japanese Eccentrics and the Opening of Old Japan."
(AP, 3/8/98)(SSFC, 5/18/03, p.M6)
1854 Mar 14, Thomas Riley
Marshall, 28th U.S. Vice President (Woodrow Wilson), was born.
1854 Mar 15, Emil von Behring,
first recipient of the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1901, was born.
1854 Mar 20, The Republican
Party was founded when former members of the Whig political party
met to establish a new political party that would oppose the spread
of slavery into the western territories. [see Feb 28, Jul 6]
1854 Mar 28, During the Crimean
War, Britain and France declared war on Russia.
1854 Mar 31, Sir Dugald Clerk,
inventor of the two-stroke motorcycle engine, was born.
1854 Mar 31, Chief Shogun
Iyesada, following negotiations with Commodore Perry, approved the
Treaty of Kanagawa on behalf of Emperor Osahito. This forced Japan
to open its ports to foreign trade.
(Jap. Enc., BLDM, p. 215)(ON, 11/04, p.12)
1854 Mar, A slab of marble,
donated by Pope Pius IX, was stolen from the Washington Monument. It
had once belonged to the Temple of Concord in Rome. Members of the
Know-Nothing Party, an anti-Catholic political movement, reportedly
heaved it into the Potomac River.
(ON, 3/00, p.9)(Econ, 7/25/15, p.25)
1854 Apr 3, The SF Mint opened
at 608 Commercial St. It issued $4 million in gold coins this year.
An Indian princess appeared on gold dollars. The mint used equipment
previously employed by SF-based Moffatt & Company.
(SFC, 8/21/01, p.A12)(SSFC, 1/28/03, p.E1)(WSJ,
12/12/03, p.W15)(SFC, 4/2/04, p.F3)(Economist, 9/8/12, p.18)
1854 Apr 3, John Wilson
(b.1785), Scottish advocate, literary critic and author, the writer
most frequently identified with the pseudonym Christopher North of
Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, died in Edinburgh. A scene from his
play "The City of the Plague" was adapted by Alexander Pushkin as "A
Feast in Time of Plague" and become a subject of a number of
1854 Apr 15, The immigrant
steamer ship "Powchattan" (Powhattan) struck Brigantine Shoals and
sank off Long Beach, NY. Over 300 people died.
1854 Apr 16, Franz Liszt's
1854 Apr 16, San Salvador was
destroyed by an earthquake.
1854 Apr 25, Congress ratifies
the Gadsden Purchase. [see 1853, Gadsden]
(HFA, ‘96, p.28)
1854 Apr 29, Henri Poincare
(1912), French mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, was born. He
investigated the idea of space and led to the notion that space is
too complex for mathematics. Rather space is an assumption, and it
can be described and controlled only so far as we assume it. In
other words there is no such thing as space. Instead, there are as
many spaces as there are people... for every person can assume an
indefinite number of different spaces.
1854 May 3, William Beale (70),
1854 May 5, English pirate
Plumridge robbed along pro-English Finnish coast.
1854 May 24, Anthony Burns
(1834-1862), an escaped slave from Virginia, was arrested in
Massachusetts under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and returned to
bondage. He was eventually ransomed from slavery, with his freedom
purchased by Boston sympathizers.
(SSFC, 3/5/17, p.E6)
1854 May 24, Louis Mountbatten
(d.1921), British admiral (WW I), was born in Graz, Austria.
1854 May 26, In Massachusetts a
crowd of abolitionists of both races, including Thomas Wentworth
Higginson and other Bostonians outraged at the arrest of escaped
slave Anthony Burns, stormed the court house to free the man. In the
melee, Deputy US Marshal James Batchelder was fatally stabbed, the
second US Marshal to be killed in the line of duty.
1854 May 30, The
Kansas-Nebraska Act, designed by Sen. Stephen A. Douglas of
Illinois, was passed by the US Congress. It allowed people in the
territories of Kansas and Nebraska to decide for themselves whether
or not to allow slavery within their borders. The governor of the
Kansas Territory was James William Denver. Pres. Pierce kept
appointing proslavery governors. The Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed
the Missouri Compromise and opened the north to slavery. This period
of Kansas history was incorporated into the 1998 novel "The All-True
Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton," by Jane Smiley.
(AP, 5/30/97)(WSJ, 2/11/03,
p.A10)(www.historyplace.com/lincoln/kansas.htm)(ON, 4/08, p.1)
1854 May 30, Vermont native Elisha Graves
Otis (1811-1861) unveiled his invention, the safety elevator at the
New York World's Fair. Audiences gasped as Otis, riding on the
hoist's platform, dramatically ordered the lifting rope cut. Instead
of falling, the car locked safely into the elevator shaft. Prior to
the 1850s there was no existing market for passenger elevators
because there was no safety mechanism in the event of a cable break.
In 1852 Otis was a master mechanic working at a bedstead factory in
Yonkers, N.Y., when he built a hoisting machine with two sets of
metal teeth at the car's sides. If the lifting rope broke, the teeth
would lock into place, preventing the car from falling. Otis never
realized the potential of his invention. His sons built the Otis
Elevator Company, enabling the skylines of cities throughout the
world to be transformed with skyscrapers.
(HNPD, 5/30/99)(ON, 5/05, p.12)
1854 Jun 10, The U.S. Naval
Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, held its first graduation.
1854 Jun 17, The Red Turban
revolt broke out in Guangdong, China. The Red Turban Rebellion of
1854-1856, sometimes known as the Red Turban Revolt, was a series of
uprisings by members of the Tiandihui or Heaven and Earth Society in
the Guangdong province of South China.
1854 Jun 18, E.W. Scripps
(d.1926) was born in Rushville, Ill. He founded the Scripps-Howard
newspaper chain and the UP wire service.
1854 Jun 21, The first Victoria
Cross was awarded to Charles Lucas, an Irishman and mate aboard the
HMS Hecla for conspicuous gallantry at Bomarsrund in the Baltic. The
medal was made from metal from a cannon captured at Sebastopol.
1854 Jul 1, The Singer Sewing
Company settled a sewing machine patent suit with Elias Howe and
paid him $15,000.
(ON, 11/00, p.9)
1854 Jul 6, The Republican
Party was officially organized in Jackson, Michigan. The Republican
Party was formed in Ripon, Wisconsin, by a group of anti-slavery
politicians at the Little White Schoolhouse. [see Feb 28, Mar 20]
(Hem., 7/96, p.28)(HN, 7/6/98)
1854 Jul 12, George Eastman
(d.1932), inventor of the Kodak camera, was born in Waterville, N.Y.
1854 Jul 13, US forces shelled
and burned San Juan del Norte, Nicaragua.
1854 Aug 8, Smith and Wesson
patented metal bullet cartridges.
1854 Aug 9, Henry David Thoreau
published "Walden," in which he described his experiences while
living near Walden Pond on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
(Hem, Dec. 94, p.44)(AP, 8/9/97)
1854 Aug 29, Daniel
Halladay patented a self-governing windmill.
1854 Sep 27, The first great
disaster involving an ocean liner in the Atlantic occurred when the
steamship Arctic sank off the coast of Newfoundland with 300 people
(AP, 9/27/97)(Arch, 7/02, p.7)
1854 Aug 30, John Fremont
issued a proclamation freeing the slaves of Missouri rebels.
1854 Sep 1, Engelbert
Humperdinck, German opera composer (Hansel & Gretel), was born.
1854 Sep 14, Allied armies,
including those of Britain & France, landed in Crimea.
1854 Sep 19, Henry Meyer
patented a sleeping rail car.
1854 Oct 3, William Crawford
Gorgas (d.1920), US Surgeon-Gen, was born. He helped cure yellow
fever. He served as the chief sanitary officer of the Panama Canal
(WUD, 1994 p.610)(MC, 10/3/01)
1854 Oct 3, San Francisco
businessman Harry Meiggs departed SF aboard the bark America with
his family after embezzling $800,000 from the city to cover debts.
He took refuge in Chile where he built a railroad between Santiago
and Valparaiso. After 13 years he moved to Peru.
(SFC, 1/18/14, p.C2)
1854 Oct 4, Abraham Lincoln
made his 1st political speech at Illinois State Fair.
1854 Oct 16, Abraham Lincoln
delivered a speech in Peoria, Ill., part of a series against
legislation proposed by Sen. Stephen Douglas that would allow
settlers to decide the status of slavery in Kansas and Nebraska. In
2008 Lewis E. Lehrman authored “Lincoln at Peoria: The Turning
(WSJ, 7/26/08, p.W9)
1854 Oct 16, Oscar Wilde (born
as Fingal O'Flahertie Wills, d.1900), dramatist, poet, novelist and
critic, was born in Dublin. His work included "The Picture of Dorian
Gray." "Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write
it." [see 1856-1900]
(HN, 10/16/98)(AP, 2/16/99)
1854 Oct 17, James Simpson, a
Baltimore inventor, received a patent for a multi-walled ice
(SFC, 12/30/98, Z1 p.2)
1854 Oct 20, Arthur Rimbaud
(d.1891), French poet (Illuminations), was born in Charlesville.
(HN, 10/20/00)(MC, 10/20/01)(SFC, 2/12/02, p.D3)
1854 Oct 25, During the Crimean
War, a brigade of British light infantry was destroyed by Russian
artillery as they charged down a narrow corridor in full view of the
Russians. The Crimean War is largely remembered for the Charge of
the Light Brigade, a hopeless but gallant British cavalry charge
against a heavily defended Russian force. The battle began when the
Russians attacked the British-French supply depot at Balaclava, some
eight miles from Sevastopol, on the Black Sea Crimean Peninsula.
Taken by surprise, the British counterattacked but failed to follow
up. Through a staff error, Gen. Lord Cardigan's Light Brigade of 673
horsemen was ordered to charge the Russian position through a
mile-long valley and prevent them from carrying away some captured
cannon. The Light Brigade advanced up the valley, taking casualties
all the way, and reached the guns. But once there, they could not
hold their position and were forced to retreat. Of the 673 men who
took part in the senseless charge, only 195 were present at roll
call that night. The Charge of the Light Brigade ended the battle,
but Balaclava remained in the hands of the British-French Allies.
The event was described in a poem by Tennyson. French General
Bosquet remarked "It is magnificent, but it is not war."
(AP, 10/25/97)(HNPD, 10/25/98)(HN, 10/25/98)(MC,
1854 Oct 26, Charles William
Post, food manufacturer, was born. He created "Grape Nuts" and "Post
Toasties." [see Oct 26, 1855]
1854 Nov 4, The first
lighthouse on the West Coast was built at Alcatraz Island.
(SFC, 5/19/96,City Guide, p.7)(MC, 11/4/01)
1854 Nov 4, Florence
Nightingale (d.1910) and 38 nurses arrived at the Barrack Hospital
in Scutari following the outbreak of the Crimean War. She was
appointed to oversee female nurses to be dispatched to military
hospitals in Turkey to help with increasing casualties. She had been
trained as a nurse--against the belief that nursing was not a
suitable profession for women--before serving as Superintendent of
the Establishment for Gentlewomen during Illness in London in 1853.
At Scutari, soldiers appreciated her kindness and devotion as a
nurse. Among other things, she later became known for her ideas
about hospital reform and for creating reading rooms in hospitals.
In 1907, she was the first woman to be awarded the Order of Merit.
She died at the age of 90, at home in London. In 1951 Cecil
Woodham-Smith authored "Florence Nightingale."
(HNPD, 11/4/98)(HN, 11/4/98)(ON, SC, p.12)
1854 Nov 5, The British and
French defeated the Russians at Inkerman, Crimea.
1854 Nov 6, John Philip Sousa,
"The March Master," American bandmaster, composer and the king of
American march music, was born in Washington, D.C. He later wrote 5
novels. Among his 140 marches are "Stars and Stripes Forever" and
(AP, 11/6/97)(SFEC, 2/8/98, Z1 p.8)(HN, 11/6/00)
1854 Nov 9, Franz Liszt's
1854 Nov 13, George Whitfield
Chadwick, composer, was born in Lowell Mass.
1854 Nov 13, "New Era" sank off
New Jersey coast with loss of 300.
1854 Nov, A wooden boat called
Mystery set sail from Cornwall, bound for Australia with seven
Cornishmen hoping to escape their lives of poverty and dig for gold
Down Under, a trip that eventually took 116 days.
1854 Dec 8, Pope Pius IX
proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. In the encyclical
Ineffabilis Deus (Latin for "Ineffable God") he stated that: "The
Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by
a singular grace and privilege of almighty God… Preserved immune
from all stain of original sin".
1854 Dec 9, Alfred, Lord
Tennyson’s poem, "The Charge of the Light Brigade," was published in
1854 Dec 26, Wood pulp paper
was 1st exhibited in Buffalo.
1854 Gustave Courbet painted
"The Meeting [Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet!]." It depicted a meeting
with his patron, art collector Alfred Bruyas (1821-1877).
(SFC, 1/22/05, p.E1)
1854 Franz Xaver Winterhalter
painted a portrait of Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III.
(WSJ, 4/3/03, p.D8)
1854 A lighthouse, the first on
the West Coast, was completed on Alcatraz.
(SFEC, 3/8/98, p.W38)
1854 The National Hotel was
built in Nevada City, Ca. In 2006 it was California’s oldest
continuously operating hotel.
(SSFC, 2/5/06, p.F9)
1854 The Detroit Observatory,
the second oldest building of the Univ. of Michigan was initiated by
Henry P. Tappan, first pres. of the U of M.
(LSA, Spring 1995, p.39)
1854 Dr. George W. L. Bickley,
a Virginian who had moved to Ohio, organized the first "castle," or
local branch, of the Knights of the Golden Circle in Cincinnati and
soon took the order to the South, where it was enthusiastically
received. Its principal object was to provide a force to colonize
the northern part of Mexico and thus extend proslavery interests,
and the Knights became especially active in Texas. The Knights of
the Golden Circle was a secret society organized in the 1850s in the
American Midwest that promoted the extension of slavery. During the
American Civil War the society sympathized with the Confederacy,
encouraged desertion in the Union Army, resisted enlistment and
interfered with the draft. At its peak there were some 200,000
members. It changed its name to the Order of American Knights in
1863 and in 1864 to the Sons of Liberty. Northern authorities
arrested many members in 1864 and sentenced to death three of its
leaders. The death sentences were later suspended, the leaders
ordered released in 1866 by the Supreme Court.
1854 Lola Montez, international
performer famed for her “Spider Dance," moved to Grass Valley, Ca.,
and taught her neighbor, Lotta Crabtree, how to sing and dance.
(CVG, Vol. 16, p.11)
1854 The Royal and Ancient Club
of the Old Course at St. Andrews was established. It oversaw the
rules of the game of golf which was played as early as ~1473.
(SFC, 6/25/95, p.T-9)
1854 US Congress passed a
resolution that declared: The great and conservative element in our
system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and divine
truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
(WSJ, 6/26/01, p.A23)
1854 The New England Emigrant
Aid Society was created to colonize Kansas with Northern
abolitionists. The Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Society, founded by
Eli Thayer of Worcester, Massachusetts, promoted the settlement of
anti-slavery groups in Kansas, with the ultimate objective of making
it a free state. Adhering to the cause of "popular sovereignty," the
organization-which was reincorporated in February, 1855 as the New
England Emigrant Aid Company-founded the town of Lawrence and other
Free State communities. Active into 1857, it helped settle some
2,000 people in Kansas.
(WSJ, 3/27/98, p.W10)(HNQ, 10/5/99)
1854 In San Francisco the Bank
Exchange saloon opened in the Montgomery Block. It was here that
bartender Duncan Nichols (1854-1926) became known for serving Pisco
Punch, a cocktail that used Peruvian Pisco Brandy. The recipe for
the drink was reportedly rediscovered in 1964.
(SFC, 12/28/19, p.C2)
1854 In San Francisco the Lone
Mountain Cemetery was established. It was later renamed Laurel Hill
(SFC, 3/5/16, p.C4)
1854 The California Legislature
defined a public grave-yard as a place where the bodies of six or
more persons are buried.
(WSJ, 12/16/98, p.CA1)
1854 Yosemite Valley was
granted to California as a public trust.
(SFEC, 5/18/97, Z1 p.4)
1854 Ulysses S. Grant was
stationed at Fort Humboldt in northern California.
(SFEC, 4/13/97, p.T5)
1854 The US Navy bought Mare
Island near Vallejo for $83,491. Commander David Glasgow Farragut
arrived to transform the island into a productive shipyard. He later
became the Navy’s first admiral.
(SFC, 5/7/97, p.A15)(SSFC, 8/11/02, p.C5)
1854 The Mariposa County
courthouse was built. The county initially covered a third of the
state. The Mariposa Gazette began operations. In 2003 Mariposa
County ranked 53rd among the state's 58 counties in terms of
population and income.
(SFC, 5/29/03, p.A14)(SSFC, 7/1/07, p.W8)
1854 The Union Democrat
newspaper of Sonora, Ca., began publishing.
(SFC, 1/3/98, p.A19)
1854 A newspaper began
publishing in Eureka, Ca. By 2006 Times-Standard operated with a
paid circulation of 20,000 and was managed by Dean Singleton of the
Denver-based MediaNews Group.
(SFCM, 8/13/06, p.10)
1854 Seth Shaw built his family
home in Ferndale, Ca. The town later became a California historic
landmark and the Shaw House an Inn listed on the National Register
of Historic Places.
(SSFC, 6/10/07, p.G8)
1854 In SF the city’s original
International Hotel was built on Jackson Street.
(SSFC, 8/19/07, p.B1)
1854 San Francisco’s South
Park, the city’s first green space, was created as a private
(SFC, 12/12/15, p.C2)
1854 The 1st California State
Fair was held in SF. It was managed and funded by Col. J.L.L.
Warren, a respected California seed and floral agribusiness man.
1854 St. Paul, Minn., was
(USAT, 3/5/04, p.9A)
1854 In NYC teacher Elizabeth
Jennings Graham (1827-1901) helped desegregate public
transportation. She filed a lawsuit after being thrown off a
streetcar that barred black riders. Her case was decided in her
favor in 1855, and it led to the eventual desegregation of all New
York City transit systems by 1865.
(SFC, 3/8/19, p.A6)
1854 A US naval surgeon at the
Brooklyn Navy yard perfected the manufacture of ether.
(Econ 7/15/17, p.26)
1854 Stephen Hedges of NYC
patented his convertible chair, a half round table hinged to a half
(SFC, 7/8/98, Z1 p.3)
1854 Washington State became a
(HT, 3/97, p.8)
1854 In Keshena Falls,
Wisconsin, the Menomonee (people of the wild rice) Chiefs Oshkosh
and Keshena met with federal Indian agents and agreed to retain only
275,000 acres from their original 9 ½ million acres. As part of the
settlement the chiefs and their followers were promised eternal
government protection. In 1954 Congress voted to withdraw that
(NG, Aug., 1974, p.235)
1854 The Bradley & Hubbard
Manufacturing Co. was founded in Meriden, Conn. The company made
clocks, tables, frames, irons, chandeliers and other metal objects.
Their lamps are prized by collectors.
(SFC, 8/6/97, Z1 p.6)
1854 Bernard Riemann
conjectured that the universe as a whole might be non-Euclidean in
nature, curving into a "hypersphere".
(WSJ, 2/17/95, p.A-10)
1854 Archeologist G.B. de
Rossi, while excavating the Christian catacombs in Rome discovered a
marble-pillared chamber filled with rubble and fragments of
inscriptions suggesting the burial of several early Popes.
(ITV, 1/96, p.60)
1854 White settlers in Del
Norte County, Ca., ambushed and killed 30 Tolowa Indians at the
Etculet village on Lake Earl.
(SFEC, 7/16/00, p.B1)
1854 In Australia Chartist
ideas influenced the miners of Eureka Stockade in 1854 in Victoria
where they adopted all of Chartism's six points including the secret
ballot. Chartism was a movement for political and social reform in
the United Kingdom during the mid-19th century, between 1838 and
1850. It takes its name from the People's Charter of 1838.
1854 Elisabeth of Bavaria (16)
married the Habsburg Emp. Franz Josef II (23).
(WSJ, 12/8/97, p.A13)
1854 Daniel Florence O’Leary
(53), Irish-born personal secretary to Simon Bolivar, died in
Bogota. After Bolivar’s death (1830) O’Leary served in a diplomatic
capacity for the Venezuelan and British governments in Bogota. In
1879 his memoirs were published by his son.
(ON, 3/05, p.2)
1854 Charles Dickens authored
“Hard Times." One of his reasons for writing it was that sales of
his weekly periodical, Household Words, were low, and it was hoped
the novel's publication in instalments would boost circulation – as
indeed proved to be the case.
1854 Britain’s national
meteorological office was founded. It began providing forecasts for
the BBC in 1922.
(Econ, 8/29/15, p.47)
1854 In England the Crystal
Palace, a glass and steel structure built for the Great Exhibition
of 1851 was moved to the park at Sydenham, south London. The grounds
at the suggestion of Prince Albert were landscaped with statues of
extinct animals by the sculptor Water-house Hawkins.
1854 Charles Wheatstone,
British cryptologist, invented cipher to be used by diplomats, but a
government official worried that it was too complicated. In 2006
Stephen Pincock authored “Codebreaker" a tale of codes and ciphers
as well as their creators and crackers.
(WSJ, 10/7/06, p.P12)
1854 Phillip Morris began
making cigarettes in London.
(SFC, 9/27/97, p.E3)
1854 Cholera broke out in
London again. Dr. John Snow traced it to cesspool near a public
water pump on Broad Street.
(ON, 5/05, p.9)
1854 British explorer Sir
Richard Burton became one of the first foreigners to penetrate the
"forbidden" walls of Harar, Ethiopia, disguised as a Muslim trader.
Harar, also called Jugol, was founded in the 10th century and is
reputed to be one of the oldest cities in east Africa.
1854 Lord Elgin negotiated a
reciprocity trade agreement with the British North American
colonies. In 1866 America abrogated the agreement.
(Econ, 11/26/16, p.18)
1854 Italian anatomist Fillipo
Pacini discovered the cholera bacillus, but did not prove that it
caused cholera. His work remained obscure and was not translated to
(ON, 5/05, p.10)
1854 Florence Nightingale
(1820-1910) nursed wounded soldiers at Scutari Hospital in Turkey
during the Crimean War.
1854 Alfred Russel Wallace
began his historic study of Malay flora and fauna in and around
Bukit Timah hill in Singapore.
(NH, 4/1/04, p.56)
1854 In northern Russia Solovki
monks fought off a British naval siege.
(Econ, 12/18/04, p.83)
1854 Richard Owen, founder of
London’s Natural History Museum discovered fossils in South Africa
of a plant-eating prosauropod named Massospondylus (bulky
vertebrae). Owen is the man who coined the term dinosaur.
(SFC, 7/29/05, p.A2)
1854 Julia Pastrana (20) became
known as the "ape woman" after she left the Mexico’s Pacific coast
state of Sinaloa. A rare genetic condition covered her face in thick
hair. She was taken around the United States by showman Theodore
Lent. She and Lent married and had a son, but she developed a fever
related to complications from childbirth, and died along with her
baby in 1860 in Moscow. In 2013 the University of Oslo,
Norway, shipped her remains back to Sinaloa, where they were laid to
1854 In Nicaragua a civil war
erupted between the Legitimist Party (also called the Conservative
Party), based in the city of Granada, and the Democratic Party (also
called the Liberal Party), based in León. The Democratic Party
sought military support from William Walker who, to circumvent US
neutrality laws, obtained a contract from Democratic president
Francisco Castellón to bring as many as three hundred colonists to
Nicaragua. These mercenaries received the right to bear arms in the
service of the Democratic government.
c1854-1856 George Robinson Fardon (1807-1886),
British photographer, took pictures of SF for his "San Francisco
Album 1854-1856," believed to be the first camera survey of an
(SFC, 6/19/99, p.B3)
1854-1856 Eliphas Levi (1810-1875), French occult
author and ceremonial magician, published Dogme et Rituel de la
Haute Magie ("Dogma and Rituals of High Magic") as two volumes
(Dogme 1854, Rituel 1856), in which he included an image he had
drawn himself which he described as Baphomet and "The Sabbatic
Goat", showing a winged humanoid goat with a pair of breasts and a
torch on its head between its horns.
1854-1857 David Kerr charted more than 100 sq.
miles of the San Francisco Bay Area marshland for the US Coast
Survey, the first federal mapping agency.
(SFC, 10/25/96, p.A10)(http://tinyurl.com/2uwjs3)
1854-1860 The six golden years of French
photographer Felix Nadar, representing the best of his portrait
(Smith., 5/95, p.72)
1854-1923 Bourke Cockran, American politician and
orator: "You simply cannot hang a millionaire in America."
1854-1928 Leos Janacek, Czech composer. His work
included the opera "Makropulos" (1926), The Dostoevsky based "From
the House of the Dead" and "Katya Kabanova."
(WSJ, 1/3/96, p.A-7)(WSJ, 8/20/96, p.A8)(WUD,
1994, p.763)(SFC, 1/27/97, p.A20)(WSJ, 6/03/97, p.A20)
1854-1932 George Eastman, American inventor,
industrialist, and philanthropist.
(AHD, 1971, p.411)
1854-1937 Frances Brundage, artist and
illustrator. She did paintings of Victorian children and illustrated
over 240 books along with calendars, postcards, cloth dolls and
(SFC, 8/4/99, Z1 p.5)