On This Day

What Happened in December 1859

Historical Events


MurderMurder of Interest

Dec 2 Abolitionist John Brown hanged for murder, treason and conspiring slaves to revolt at Charles Town, Virginia

Abolitionist John Brown
Abolitionist
John Brown
  • Dec 5 Dion Boucicault's play "Octaroon" premieres in NYC
  • Dec 15 GR Kirchoff describes chemical composition of the Sun
  • Dec 19 Grading started for Market Street RR in San Francisco
  • Dec 31 Dutch colony in Dutch Indies counts 4,800 slaves

Famous Birthdays


Person of interestGeorges Seurat

Dec 2 Georges Seurat, French post-impressionist painter (A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grande Jatte), born in Paris, France (d. 1891)

Post-Impressionist Painter Georges Seurat
Post-Impressionist Painter
Georges Seurat

Person of interestJohn Jellicoe

Dec 5 John Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe, British Admiral of the Fleet in World War I (Battle of Jutland), born in Southampton, England (d. 1935)

British Admiral of the Fleet John Jellicoe
British Admiral of the Fleet
John Jellicoe
  • Dec 9 Algernon Ashton, British composer, born in Durham, England (d. 1937)
  • Dec 12 Edward R. Bradley, American businessman and horse owner (1st to own 4 Kentucky Derby winners), born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania (d. 1946)
  • Dec 12 Maurice Donnay, French playwright (Lovers), born in Paris (d. 1945)
  • Dec 15 L. L. Zamenhof, Polish physician and linguist (Esperanto), born in Białystok, Poland, Russian Empire (d. 1917)
  • Dec 17 Paul César Helleu, French artist (d. 1927)
  • Dec 20 Antonius Derkinderen, Dutch painter & artist, born in 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands (d. 1925)
  • Dec 21 Gustave Kahn, French symbolist poet & art critic, born in Metz, France (d. 1936)
  • Dec 24 Roman Statkowski, Polish composer, born in Szczypiorno, Poland (d. 1925)
  • Dec 25 Raoul Gunsbourg, Romanian born French composer, born in Bucharest, Romania (d. 1955)
  • Dec 26 Johan F van Bemmelen, Dutch zoologist
  • Dec 26 William Stephens, U.S. political figure (d. 1944)
  • Dec 27 William Henry Hadow, British educational reformer and musicologist (Oxford History of Music, Studies in Modern Music), born in Ebrington, Gloucestshire (d. 1937)
  • Dec 28 Gerard Brucken Fock, Dutch composer and painter, born in Koudekerke, Netherlands (d. 1935)
  • Dec 28 John W Fortescue, British military historian and archivist at Windsor Castle, born in Madeira (d. 1933)
  • Dec 29 Venustiano Carranza, Mexican revolutionary and President of Mexico (1915-20), born in Cuatro Ciénegas, Coahuila, Mexico (d. 1920)
  • Dec 29 Jack Simpson, Scottish golfer (British Open 1884), born in Earlsferry, Fife (d. 1895)
  • Dec 30 Josef Bohuslav Foerster, Czech composer, born in Prague, Bohemia, Austro-Hungarian Empire (d. 1951)
  • Dec 31 Max Fiedler, German conductor and composer, born in Zittau, Saxony, (d. 1939)

Famous Deaths


BattleJohn Brown

Dec 2 John Brown, American abolitionist and revolutionary (Harpers Ferry), hanged at 59

Abolitionist John Brown
Abolitionist
John Brown
  • Dec 5 Louis Poinsot, French mathematician and instrument maker, dies at 82
  • Dec 8 Thomas De Quincey, English writer (Confessions of English Opium Eater), dies at 74

Person of interestWilhelm Grimm

Dec 16 Wilhelm Grimm, German writer (Grimm's Fairy Tales), dies at 73

  • Dec 21 Nicolaas Christiaan Kist, Dutch Reformed theologian and church historian, dies at 66
  • Dec 28 Thomas Babington Macaulay, English poet and historian (Ivry, Naaseby), dies at 59
  • Dec 31 Luigi Ricci, Italian composer, dies at 54