On This Day

What Happened in December 1831

Historical Events

  • Dec 1 Erie Canal closes for entire month due to cold weather
  • Dec 5 Former US President John Q Adams takes his seat as a member of House of Representatives
  • Dec 10 "Spirit of the Times" begins publishing in New York City, the premier sports journal of the 19th century
  • Dec 25 Louisiana & Arkansas are first states to observe Christmas as holiday
  • Dec 26 Vincenzo Bellini's opera "Norma" premieres in Milan

Darwin Discovers The Secrets of Life

Dec 27 HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin on board departs England for a survey of South America, a voyage Darwin later said "determined my whole career"

  • Dec 31 Gramercy Park is deeded to New York City

Famous Birthdays

  • Dec 6 Joshua Woodrow Sill, American Brigadier General (Union Army), born in Chillicothe, Ohio (d. 1862)
  • Dec 10 Alexander Conze, German archaeologist, born in Hanover, Germany (d. 1914)
  • Dec 19 Bernice Pauahi Bishop, Hawaiian philanthropist (d. 1884)
  • Dec 22 Mark Rutherford [Hale White], English writer, born in Bedford, England (d. 1913)
  • Dec 22 Robert Ogden Tyler, Bvt Major General (Union Army), born in Hunter, New York (d. 1874)
  • Dec 25 Johann Herbeck, composer
  • Dec 27 Lucius Fairchild, American politician, diplomat, and Brigadier General (Union Army), born in Kent, Ohio (d. 1896)
  • Dec 29 Adam Badeau, American author, Union Army officer, and diplomat, born in NYC, New York (d. 1895)

Famous Deaths

  • Dec 2 Traugott Maximilian Eberwein, German composer, dies at 56
  • Dec 8 James Hoban, architect who designed White House, dies
  • Dec 10 Thomas Johann Seebeck, German physicist (Seebeck effect), dies at 61
  • Dec 11 John George Schetky, American violoncellist, music teacher and composer, dies at 55
  • Dec 15 Paulus Roelof Cantz'laar, Dutch naval officer and colonial governor, dies at 60
  • Dec 18 Willem Bilderdijk, Dutch poet and literature (My Relief), dies at 75