On This Day

What Happened in March 1881

Historical Events

  • Mar 4 California becomes 1st state to pass plant quarantine legislation
  • Mar 4 Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson begin their 1st case together in "A Study in Scarlet"

President Inaugurated

Mar 4 James A. Garfield inaugurated as the 20th President of the United States of America

Historic Event

Mar 4 South African politician Paul Kruger accepts ceasefire during First Boer War

  • Mar 7 Southern University opens in New Orleans
  • Mar 12 Andrew Watson makes his Scotland debut as the world's first black international football player and captain


Mar 13 Alexander II of Russia is assassinated by members of far-left terror group 'People's Will' who throw a bomb at him in the city of St. Petersburg

Historic Event

Mar 18 Barnum & Bailey Circus, traveling as "The Greatest Show on Earth", debuts at Madison Square Garden in New York City following the merger of two existing circus groups [1]

  • Mar 23 Boers & Britain sign peace accord; end 1st Boer war
  • Mar 23 Gas lamp sets fire to Théâtre Municipal” opera house in Nice, France; 70 die, and building completely destroyed
  • Mar 25 43rd Grand National: Irish jockey Tommy Beasley wins his second consecutive GN aboard 11/2 co-favourite Woodbrook
  • Mar 26 Thessaly is freed and becomes part of Greece again
  • Mar 27 Rioting takes place in Basingstoke, Hampshire in England, to protest against the Salvation Army's daily vociferous promotion of rigid Temperance
  • Mar 28 "Greatest Show On Earth" formed by P. T. Barnum and James Anthony Bailey

Famous Birthdays

  • Mar 4 Todor Aleksandrov, 19th century Bulgarian revolutionary (d. 1924)
  • Mar 4 Thomas Sigismund Stribling, American writer (Pulitzer Prize 1933), born in Clifton, Tennessee (d. 1965)
  • Mar 4 Richard C. Tolman, American mathematical physicist (d. 1948)
  • Mar 9 Ernest Bevin, British Minister of Labour (1940-45) and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1945-51), born in Winsford, Sommerset (d. 1951)
  • Mar 10 Thomas Quinlan, British opera impresario, born in Bury, England (d. 1951)
  • Mar 12 Daniel Webster Hoan, Wisc (Mayor-Socialist-Milwaukee)
  • Mar 12 Gunnar Nordström, Finnish physicist (d. 1923)
  • Mar 13 Balthazar Huibrecht Verhagen, Dutch dramatist and writer, born in Amsterdam (d. 1950)
  • Mar 17 Kristian Elster, Norwegian author (Less bror Harris)
  • Mar 17 Walter Rudolf Hess, Swiss physiologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1973)
  • Mar 18 Oliver Seibert, Canadian hall of fame hockey player (elected 1963), born in Berlin, Ontario (d. 1944)
  • Mar 18 Paul Le Flem, French composer and music critic, born in Radon, France (d. 1984)
  • Mar 20 Eugène Schueller, French chemist, founder of L'Oréal, born in Paris, France (d. 1957)
  • Mar 21 Hermann Sandby, composer
  • Mar 23 Hermann Staudinger, German chemist/plastics researcher (Nobel '53)
  • Mar 23 Roger Martin du Guard, French novelist (Les Thibault-Nobel 1937)
  • Mar 23 Egon Petri, Dutch classical pianist, born in Hanover, Germany (d. 1962)

Béla Bartok

Mar 25 Béla Bartók, Hungarian composer and pianist (Concerto for Orchestra), born in Nagyszentmiklós, Kingdom of Hungary, Austria-Hungary (d. 1945)

  • Mar 25 Louis Dosfel, Flemish lawyer and writer (Assault!)
  • Mar 25 Mary Webb, English writer (Gone to Earth) born in Leighton, England (d. 1927)
  • Mar 26 Guccio Gucci, Italian founder of Gucci fashion house, born in Florence, Italy (d. 1953)

Famous Deaths

  • Mar 6 Horatia Nelson, the illegitimate daughter of Emma Hamilton and Horatio Nelson (b. 1801)

AssassinationAlexander II

Mar 13 Alexander II, Tsar of Russia (1855-81), assassinated by members of far-left terror group 'People's Will' at 62

  • Mar 15 Emory Upton, Bvt Major General (Union Army), commits suicide at 41
  • Mar 21 Samuel Courtauld, American-born textile magnate (b. 1793)
  • Mar 23 Nikolay Rubinstein, Russian pianist, conductor, and composer, dies at 45
  • Mar 24 Friedrich Hecker, German revolutionary republican politician, dies at 69
  • Mar 24 Joseph Delesse, French geologist (b. 1817)
  • Mar 26 Roman Sanguszko, Polish aristocrat and general, dies at 80
  • Mar 28 Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Russian composer (Boris Godunov), dies at 42 [OS=Mar 16]
  • Mar 31 Gaetano Gaspari, composer, dies at 73