On This Day

What Happened in May 1844

Historical Events

Presidential Convention

May 1 Whig convention nominates Henry Clay as presidential candidate

  • May 6 Johan Thorbecke argues general right to vote
  • May 23 Declaration of Bab (Baha'i festival) ('Azamat 7, 1)

Historic Communication

May 24 Samuel Morse taps out "What hath God wrought" in the world's first telegraph message

  • May 25 1st telegraphed news dispatch is published in Baltimore Patriot

Famous Birthdays

Elijah McCoy

May 2 Elijah McCoy, Canadian-American inventor of African descent, notable for his 57 US patents (lubrication of steam engines), born in Colchester, Ontario (d. 1929)

  • May 3 Édouard Drumont, French anti-semitic journalist, born in Paris (d. 1917)
  • May 3 Richard D'Oyly Carte, English opera impresario (Gilbert & Sullivan operas), born in London (d. 1901)
  • May 3 Thomas Kelly, Australian cricket batsman (2 Tests, HS 35; Victoria CA), born in County Waterford, Ireland (d. 1893)
  • May 8 Hermann Gradener, German composer, born in Kiel, Germany (d. 1929)
  • May 9 [Maria] Catharina Beersmans, Belgian actress (Bad Herders), born in Turnhout, Belgium (d. 1899)
  • May 17 Julius Wellhausen, German biblical scholar (analysis of the structure and dating of the Pentateuch), born in Hamelin, Hanover, Germany (d. 1918)
  • May 21 Henri Rousseau, French post-impressionist painter (The Dream, The Hungry Lion Throws Itself on the Antelope), born in Laval, France (d. 1910)
  • May 22 Mary Cassatt, American impressionist painter (Woman Bathing), born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania (d. 1926)
  • May 23 `Abdu'l-Bahá, Successor to Prophet of the Bahá'í Faith (d. 1921)
  • May 28 Léon Vasseur, French composer, born in Bapaume, France (d. 1917)
  • May 30 Louis Varney, French composer, born in New Orleans, Louisiana (d. 1908)

Famous Deaths

  • May 2 William Beckford, British writer (Epsiodes of Vathek), dies at 83
  • May 18 Richard McCarty, American politician, dies at 64
  • May 21 Guiseppi Baini, Italian composer and priest, dies at 68
  • May 24 William Crockford, clubman/gambler, dies