On This Day

What Happened in May 1841

Historical Events

  • May 1 First emigrant wagon train leaves Independence, Missouri, for California
  • May 3 New Zealand proclaimed a colony independent of New South Wales

Historic Event

May 11 American Charles Wilkes lands at Fort Nisqually in Puget Sound


Famous Birthdays

  • May 10 James Gordon Bennett Jr., American publisher (thought to have inspired the phrase "Gordon Bennett"), born in New York City (d. 1918)
  • May 11 Ernst von Possart, German actor and theatre director (Bayerische Hoftheater), born in Berlin, Germany (d. 1921)
  • May 14 Sir Squire Bancroft [Butterfield], British actor and manager known for creating 'drawing-room comedy' (Haymarket), born in Rotherhithe, London (d. 1926)
  • May 15 Giovanni Bolzoni, composer
  • May 20 Sara Louisa Oberholtz, social reformer, anti-smoking advocate
  • May 21 Joseph Parry, Welsh composer and musician, born in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales (d. 1903)
  • May 22 Catulle Mendès, French poet, born in Bordeaux, France (d. 1909)
  • May 24 Charles Napier Hemy, British painter, born in Newcastle, England (d. 1917)
  • May 24 Tito Mattei, Italian pianist and composer, born in Campobasso, Italy (d. 1914)
  • May 28 Giovanni Sgambati, Italian pianist and composer, born in Rome (d. 1914)
  • May 29 Sylvester Magee, last living American slave and oldest person who ever lived, born in North Carolina (d. 1971)

Famous Deaths

  • May 3 Cornelis T Elout, Dutch minister of Finance/Navy/Colonies, dies at 74
  • May 6 John Thomson, Scottish composer, dies at 35
  • May 20 Joseph Blanco White, theological writert, dies
  • May 23 Franz Xaver von Baader, German philosopher and theologist, dies at 76