What Happened in 1855

Historical Events

  • Jan 9 Clipper "Guiding Star" disappears in Atlantic, 480 dead
  • Jan 23 The first bridge over the Mississippi River opens in what is now Minneapolis, Minnesota, a crossing made today by the Father Louis Hennepin Bridge.
  • Jan 28 The first locomotive runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean on the Panama Railway.
  • Jan 31 Western railroads blocked by snow
  • Feb 3 Wisconsin Supreme Coutt declares US Fugitive Slave Law unconstitutional
  • Feb 4 Soldiers shoot Jewish families in Coro, Venezuela

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Feb 6 British government of Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston forms

British Prime Minister Henry John Temple
British Prime Minister
Henry John Temple
  • Feb 8 The Devil's Footprints mysteriously appear in southern Devon.
  • Feb 10 US citizenship laws amended; all children of US parents born abroad granted US citizenship
  • Feb 11 Kassa Hailu is crowned Tewodros II, Emperor of Ethiopia, by Abuna Salama III in a ceremony at the church of Derasge Maryam.
  • Feb 12 Michigan State University was established.
  • Feb 14 Texas is linked by telegraph to the rest of the United States, with the completion of a connection between New Orleans and Marshall, Texas.
  • Feb 24 US Court of Claims forms for cases against government
  • Mar 2 Aleksandr Romanov becomes tsar of Russia
  • Mar 3 US Congress approves $30,000 to test camels for military use
  • Mar 3 US Congress authorizes registered mail
  • Mar 6 Gustave Flaubert writes goodbye to Louise Colet
  • Mar 7 17th Grand National: John Hanlon aboard Wanderer IRE wins
  • Mar 8 1st train crosses 1st US railway suspension bridge, Niagara Falls
  • Mar 15 Louisiana establishes 1st health board to regulate quarantine
  • Mar 24 Manhattan Kansas founded as New Boston Kansas

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Mar 27 Abraham Gesner patents kerosene

Physician and Geologist Abraham Gesner
Physician and Geologist
Abraham Gesner
  • Apr 21 1st train crosses Miss River's 1st bridge, Rock Is Ill-Davenport Ia
  • Apr 26 Composer Gioacchino Rossini leaves Italy
  • Apr 28 1st veterinary college in US incorporated in Boston
  • May 3 Antwerp-Rotterdam railway opens
  • May 5 NYC regains Castle Clinton, to be used for immigration
  • Jun 1 US adventurer William Walker conquers Nicaragua, reestablishes slavery
  • Jun 2 The Portland Rum Riot occurs in Portland, Maine.
  • Jun 5 Anti-foreign anti-Roman Catholic Know-Nothing Party's 1st convention
  • Jun 13 Opera "Les Vêpres Sicilenne" is produced (Paris)
  • Jun 17 Heavy French/British bombing of Sebastopol, Crimea: 2,000+ killed
  • Jun 20 Commissioners appointed to lay out SF streets west of Larkin
  • Jun 28 The Sigma Chi Fraternity was founded at Miami University

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jul 4 In Brooklyn, New York, the first edition of Walt Whitman's book of poems, titled Leaves of Grass, is published.

  • Jul 20 1st train from Rotterdam to Utrecht in Netherlands
  • Jul 31 Hottest July in Stockholm since at least 1756 (21.4°C avg)
  • Aug 1 Castle Clinton in NYC opens as 1st US receiving station for immigrants
  • Aug 3 Rotterdam-Gouda railway opens
  • Aug 4 John Bartlett publishes "Familiar Quotations"
  • Aug 9 Battle of Acapulco during Mexican Liberal uprising
  • Sep 3 Indian Wars: In Nebraska, 700 soldiers under American General William S. Harney avenge the Grattan Massacre by attacking a Sioux village, killing 100 men, women, and children.
  • Sep 8 Crimean war - assault of Malakof Tower under Patrice de Mac-Mahon, Duke of Magenta
  • Sep 8 British and French troops capture Sevastopol from the Russians, effectively ending the Crimean War.
  • Sep 27 George F Bristow's "Rip Van Winkle", 2nd American opera, opens in NYC
  • Oct 9 Isaac Singer patents sewing machine motor
  • Oct 9 Joshua Stoddard of Worcester, Massachusetts, patents first calliope
  • Oct 17 Bessemer steelmaking process patented

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Oct 18 Franz Liszt's "Prometheus" premieres

Composer/Pianist Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Nov 17 David Livingstone becomes the first European to see Victoria Falls in what is now Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Physician and Explorer David Livingstone
Physician and Explorer
David Livingstone

Famous Birthdays

  • Jan 3 Hubert Bland, English socialist (d. 1914)
  • Jan 5 King Camp Gillette, inventor (safety razor)
  • Jan 10 Peter J Blok, Dutch historian (History of the Dutch People)
  • Jan 15 Jacques Damala, Greek military officer and actor (d. 1889)
  • Jan 20 Amedee-Ernest Chausson, composer
  • Jan 21 John M Browning, US, weapons manufacturer
  • Jan 22 Ernst Kullak, composer
  • Jan 22 Albert Neisser [Albert Ludwig Sigesmund Neisser], Schweidnitz Prussia, German physician who discovered the bacterias that cause gonorrhea and leprosy
  • Jan 23 John Moses Browning, American inventor (d. 1926)
  • Jan 26 Arthur Hervey, composer
  • Jan 28 William Seward Burroughs, NY, inventor (recording adding machine)
  • Feb 13 Paul Deschanel, French President (d. 1922)
  • Feb 15 Gustav Hollaender, composer
  • Feb 17 Otto Liman von Sanders, German general in Turkey (WW I)
  • Feb 21 Alice Freeman Palmer, educator (Hall of Fame)
  • Feb 25 George Bonnor, cricketer (big-hitting Aussie batter 1880-1888)
  • Feb 25 Cesário Verde, Portuguese poet (d. 1886)
  • Mar 12 John White, American composer (d. 1902)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Mar 13 Percival "Percy" Lowell, American astronomer (predicted discovery of Pluto), born in Boston, Massachusetts (d. 1916)

Astronomer Percival Lowell
Percival Lowell

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Mar 24 Andrew Mellon, American banker (Mellon Bank), industrialist and Secretary of the Treasury (1921-32), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (d. 1947)

Banker, Industrialist and US Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon
Banker, Industrialist and US Secretary of the Treasury
Andrew Mellon
  • Mar 24 Olive Schreiner, South African writer (Portrait of a South African Woman)
  • Mar 27 Alfred Ewing [James Alfred Ewing], Dundee, Scottish Physicist (magnetic properties of metals, hysteresis)
  • Mar 31 Alfred E. Hunt, founder of Alcoa (d. 1899)
  • Apr 9 Gyula Reviczky, Hungarian author/poet
  • Apr 18 Abraham Bredius, Dutch art historian (Jan Steen)
  • Apr 18 Josef Gruber, composer
  • Apr 29 Anatol K Liadov, Russian composer (Bewitched Lake) [OS]
  • Apr 29 Edmund van der Straeten, composer
  • May 1 Cecilia Beaux, American portrait painter , born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • May 2 Theodore Moses Tobani, composer
  • May 8 John Gates ("Bet-a-million" Gates), American inventor and industrialist who established the market for barbed wire fencing, born in Chicago, Illinois
  • May 9 Julius Rontgen, composer
  • May 10 Anatoli Liadov, St Petersburg, Russia, composer (Enchanted Lake) [NS]
  • May 11 Anatol Konstantinovich Lyadov, Russian composer (Bewitched Lake)
  • May 15 Eduard von Keyserling, Baltic German writer (Dritte Stiege)
  • May 21 Emile A G Verhaeren, Belgian poet/writer (Les Flammes Hautes)
  • May 24 Arthur Wing Pinero, British playwright
  • Jun 14 Robert Marion La Follette, Wisconsin, presidential candidate (Progressive)
  • Jun 17 Fritz Steinbach, composer
  • Jun 22 Sam Morris, Hobart, cricketer (Barbados parents only black Aus player)
  • Jun 23 Maude Valerie White, composer
  • Jul 3 Piotr Maszynski, composer
  • Jul 7 Ludwig Ganghofer, German writer (d. 1920)
  • Jul 9 Johann P Zilcher, German composer
  • Jul 14 Richard Samuel Hughes, composer
  • Jul 16 Charles Francis Abdy Williams, composer
  • Jul 19 Emil Paur, Austrian conductor, born in Bukovina (d. 1932)
  • Jul 25 Edward Solomon, composer
  • Jul 26 Ferdinand Tönnies, German sociologist (d. 1936)
  • Jul 30 James Edward Kelly, US, sculptor "Sculptor of American History"
  • Aug 3 Joe Hunter, Former Australian cricketer (d. 1891)
  • Aug 11 John Hodges, Australian cricketer (d. 1933)
  • Aug 18 Alfred Wallis, English artist and mariner (d. 1942)
  • Aug 31 Stefan Surzynski, composer
  • Sep 1 Innokenty Annensky, Omsk, Russian Empire, poet, critic and interpreter (poètes maudits)
  • Sep 6 Ferdinand B Hummel, composer
  • Sep 7 William Friese-Greene, British photographer (d. 1921)
  • Sep 9 Houston S Chamberlain, British/German race theorist
  • Sep 9 Anthony Francis Lucas Croatian-born oil exploration pioneer (d. 1921)
  • Sep 12 Simon-Napoléon Parent, Canadian politician (d. 1920)
  • Sep 28 Thomas F Tout, historian (Manchester school of historiography), born in London, England
  • Sep 29 Michele Esposito, composer
  • Oct 8 Gustav Ehrismann, German germanist
  • Oct 12 Arthur Nikisch, Szent-Miklos Hungary, conductor (Berlin Philharmonic)
  • Oct 12 August Sauer, Austria literature historian (Euphorion)
  • Oct 12 Jacobus of Looy, Dutch writer/painter (Death of My Cat) [or 9/12]
  • Oct 14 George Edwardes, British composer (Gaiety Girl)
  • Oct 16 Camille Looten, Belgian priest/literature historian
  • Oct 16 Samedbey Mehmandarov, Russian general (d. 1931)
  • Oct 24 James S. Sherman, Vice President of the United States (d. 1912)
  • Oct 28 Ivan V Mitshurin, Russian botanist (new types of fruit)
  • Oct 29 Paul Bruchési, archbishop of Montreal (d. 1939)
  • Nov 1 Guido Adler, Austria, musicologist (Still in the Music)
  • Nov 5 Eugene V. Debs, Terre Haute, Indiana, American labor leader and Socialist presidential candidate (d. 1926)
  • Nov 5 Leon P Teisserenc de Bort, French meteorologist (stratosphere)
  • Nov 6 Eduard Yosif Kotek, composer
  • Nov 6 Ezra Seymour Gosney, American philanthropist and eugenicist (d. 1942)
  • Nov 7 Edwin H Hall, US physicist (Hall effect)
  • Nov 10 Josiah Royce, US, philosopher (conception of God)
  • Nov 13 Daniel F Scheurleer, Dutch musicologist/banker
  • Nov 19 Billy Bates, cricketer (England all-rounder 1882-87, hat-trick 1883)
  • Nov 30 Marie WF Treub, Dutch economist/minister of Agriculture/Finance
  • Dec 5 Clinton Hart Merriam, American ornithologist (d. 1942)
  • Dec 10 Marios Varvoglis, Greek Composer (d. 1967)
  • Dec 10 Henry Nicholas Ridley, West Harling Hall, Norfolk, U.K., Botanist (Malay Peninsula rubber industry)
  • Dec 11 Julian Edwards, composer
  • Dec 23 Alan Gray, British composer (Trinity College), born in York (d. 1935)
  • Dec 25 James Galvin, pitcher, shut-out every opposing team in 1884
  • Dec 26 Arnold Ludwig Mendelssohn, composer
  • Dec 27 Paul Ehrenreich, German etnologist/mythologist
  • Dec 30 Heinrich Hart, German writer (Song of Humanity)
  • Dec 31 Giovanni Pascoli, Italian classicist/poet

Famous Weddings

  • Jun 16 Salvation Army founder William Booth marries Catherine Mumford

HeartWedding of Interest

Nov 14 Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart (22) weds Flora Cooke in Fort Riley, Kansas

Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart
Confederate General
J.E.B. Stuart

Famous Deaths

  • Jan 6 Giacomo Beltrami, Italian explorer (b. 1779)
  • Jan 10 Mary Russell Mitford, Engl playwright/poet (Julian), dies at 67
  • Jan 25 Dorothy Wordsworth, English writer, brother of William Wordsworth, dies at 83
  • Jan 26 Gérard de Nerval, French writer (b. 1808)
  • Feb 6 Josef Munzinger, Swiss Federal Councilor (b. 1791)
  • Feb 20 Joseph Hume, social reformer, dies

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Feb 23 Carl Friedrich Gauss, mathematician, dies

Mathematician, Astronomer, and Physicist Carl Friedrich Gauss
Mathematician, Astronomer, and Physicist
Carl Friedrich Gauss
  • Mar 2 Nicholas I Pavlovitch, tsar of Russia (1825-55), dies at 58

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Mar 8 William Poole, Infamous member of New York City's Bowery Boys gang, dies of a gunshot wound at 33

Gang Leader Bill the Butcher
Gang Leader
Bill the Butcher
  • Mar 17 Ramon Carnicer y Batlle, composer, dies at 65
  • Mar 20 Joseph Aspdin, English mason and inventor (b. 1788)
  • Mar 29 Henri Druey, Swiss Federal Councilor (b. 1799)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Mar 31 Charlotte Brontë, English novelist (Jane Eyre), dies at 38

  • Apr 13 Henry De la Beche, English geologist (b. 1796)
  • Apr 18 Jean-Baptiste Isabey, painter, dies
  • Apr 24 Walenty Karol Kratzer, composer, dies at 75
  • Apr 30 Henry Rowley Bishop, British composer/conductor, dies at 68
  • May 4 Camille Pleyel, Austria piano builder/composer, dies at 66
  • May 5 Sir Robert Inglis, Bt, English politician (b. 1786)
  • May 15 Jan Mazereeuw, Frisian farmer/sect leader, dies at 75
  • May 23 Charles Robert Malden, English explorer (b. 1797)
  • May 27 Nikolaj A Bestoezjev, Russ writer/painter (Account of Holland), dies
  • Jun 16 John Gorrie, American physician (b. 1803)
  • Jun 28 Giovanni Agostino Perotti, composer, dies at 86
  • Jun 29 John Gorrie, American scientist (b. 1802)
  • Jul 7 Konstantin Batyushkov, Russian poet (b. 1787)
  • Jul 8 Sir William Edward Parry, English Arctic explorer (b. 1790)
  • Jul 9 Lord Raglan Commander of the British forces during the Crimean War
  • Aug 7 Mariano Arista, President of Mexico (b. 1802)
  • Aug 16 Henry Colburn, British publisher (b. ?)
  • Aug 27 Francisco Eduardo da Costa, composer, dies at 36
  • Sep 24 Alexandre Stievenard, composer, dies at 86
  • Oct 6 August L Crelle, inventor/mathematician (Rechentafeln), dies at 75
  • Oct 13 Gottfried Rieger, composer, dies at 91
  • Oct 25 Willem F earl van Bylandt, military, dies at 84
  • Nov 11 Søren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher (b. 1813)
  • Nov 26 Adam B Mickiewicz, Polish poet (Polish Legion), dies at 56
  • Dec 6 William John Swainson, English naturalist and artist (b. 1789)
  • Dec 15 Jacques Charles François Sturm, French mathematician (b. 1803)