On This Day

1850 in History

Events in History

  • Jan 5 California Exchange opens
  • Jan 18 British blockade Piraeus, Greece, to enforce mercantile claims

DiscoveryHistoric Expedition

Jan 20 HMS Investigator headed by Robert McClure leaves England, 1st expedition to make a Northwest passage (though some over ice)

Explorer Robert McClure
Explorer
Robert McClure
  • Jan 22 Alta California becomes a daily paper, 1st such in Calif
  • Jan 26 1st German language daily newspaper in US published, NYC

Agreement of InterestCompromise of 1850

Jan 29 Senator Henry Clay drafts the Compromise of 1850 to defuse tensions between slave states and free states over territories won during the Mexican-American War
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Henry Clay's handwritten draft of one of the bills that formed the Compromise of 1850
Henry Clay's handwritten draft of one of the bills that formed the Compromise of 1850
  • Feb 5 Adding machine employing depressible keys patented, New Paltz, NY
  • Feb 12 Original Washington's Farewell Address manuscript sells for $2,300
  • Feb 18 California Legislature creates nine Bay Area counties
  • Feb 28 The University of Utah opens in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Mar 5 The Britannia Bridge across the Menai Strait between the Isle of Anglesey and the mainland of Wales is opened

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Mar 7 Daniel Webster endorses Compromise of 1850

American Statesman Daniel Webster
American Statesman
Daniel Webster
  • Mar 11 Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania opens, 2nd female medical school in the US
  • Mar 12 1st US $20 gold piece issued

Book releaseHistoric Publication

Mar 16 Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" published by Ticknor, Reed and Fields in Boston

  • Mar 18 Henry Wells & William Fargo form American Express in Buffalo

  • Mar 29 SS Royal Adelaide sinks in storm; 200 die
  • Mar 31 US population hits 23,191,876 (Black population: 3,638,808 (15.7%))
  • Apr 1 San Francisco County government established
  • Apr 4 City of Los Angeles incorporated
  • Apr 15 City of San Francisco incorporated
  • Apr 25 Paul Julius Reuter sets up carrier-pigeon service, using 40 pigeons to carry stock market prices between Aachen and Brussels
  • May 1 John Geary becomes 1st mayor of San Francisco
  • May 11 Work starts on 1st brick building in San Francisco
  • May 27 Mormon Temple in Nauvoo, Illinois, destroyed by tornado
  • Jun 4 Empire Engine Company No 1 organized
  • Jun 4 Self-deodorizing fertilizer patented in England
  • Jun 14 Third great fire of early San Francisco, starts in a bakery chimney
  • Jun 17 Paddle-wheeler "G P Griffith" burns off Mentor Ohio (206 die)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jun 29 British ex-Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel falls off his horse; dies three days later

British Prime Minister Robert Peel
British Prime Minister
Robert Peel
  • Jun 29 Autocephaly Officially Granted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople to The Church of Greece.
  • Jul 1 At least 626 ships lie at anchor around San Francisco Bay
  • Jul 2 Benjamin Lane patents gas mask with a breathing apparatus
  • Jul 7 Scottish explorer Edward Eyre reaches Albany, Western Australia

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jul 10 Millard Fillmore sworn in as President of US (replacing Taylor)

13th US President Millard Fillmore
13th US President
Millard Fillmore
  • Jul 12 Dutch 2nd Chamber accepts establishment of Provincial States

  • Jul 14 1st public demonstration of ice made by refrigeration by Florida physician John Gorrie
  • Jul 15 John Wisden bowls all 10 South batsmen, North v South at Lord's
  • Jul 17 Harvard Observatory takes 1st photograph of a star (Vega)
  • Jul 19 Airship Elizabeth leaves in storm for Fire Island, crashes (42 die)
  • Jul 23 17th Postmaster General: Nathan K Hall of NY takes office
  • Jul 25 Gold discovered in Oregon (Rogue River)
  • Aug 23 1st US National Women's Rights Convention convenes in Worcester, Massachusetts
  • Aug 30 Honolulu, Hawaii, becomes a city
  • Aug 31 California pioneers organized at Montgomery & Clay Streets
  • Sep 9 Territories of New Mexico & Utah created
  • Sep 9 California is admitted as the thirty-first state of the Union
  • Sep 11 "Swedish Nightingale" Jenny Lind gives 1st US concert
  • Sep 13 The main-belt asteroid "12 Victoria" is discovered by J R Hind
  • Sep 17 Fourth great fire in San Francisco
  • Sep 18 Congress passes Fugitive Slave Law as part of Compromise of 1850
  • Sep 20 Slave trade abolished in DC, but slavery allowed to continue
  • Sep 24 Papal Bull issued, establishes Roman Catholic hierarchy in England
  • Sep 28 US Navy abolishes flogging as punishment
  • Oct 17 Knickerbocker Engine Co Number 5 organized
  • Oct 26 Robert McClure sights the fabled Northwest Passage for the first time (from Banks Island towards Melville Island)
  • Nov 6 1st Hawaiian fire engine
  • Nov 6 Yerba Buena & Angel Islands (San Francisco Bay) reserved for military use

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Nov 19 Alfred Tennyson becomes British Poet Laureate, succeeding William Wordsworth

  • Nov 29 The treaty, Punctation of Olmütz, signed in Olomouc means diplomatic capitulation of Prussia to Austrian Empire, taking over the leadership of German Confederation
  • Dec 16 Ships the Charlotte-Jane and the Randolph bring the first of the Canterbury Pilgrims to Lyttelton, New Zealand
  • Dec 20 Hawaiian post office established
  • Dec 27 Hawaiian Fire Department established
  • Dec 28 Rangoon, Burma, destroyed by fire

Birthdays in History

  • Jan 5 Theodoor Verstraete, Flemish painter & etcher, born in Ghent, Belgium
  • Jan 6 Eduard "Ede" Bernstein, German Marxist (New Era)
  • Jan 10 John Wellborn Root, American architect, born in Lumpkin, Georgia (d. 1891)
  • Jan 11 J C Arthur, botanist (studied rusts), born in Lowville, New York
  • Jan 11 Philipp la Renotiere von Ferrary, famous philatelist
  • Jan 14 Pierre Loti, French naval officer & novelist, born in Rochefort, France (d. 1923)
  • Jan 15 Mihail Eminesco [Eminovici], Romanian poet (Samanul Dionis), born in Botoșani, Romania (d. 1889)
  • Jan 15 Sofia Kovalevskaya, Russian mathematician, born in Moscow, Russia (d. 1891)
  • Jan 18 Seth Low, American politician (d. 1916)

Person of interestSamuel Gompers

Jan 27 Samuel Gompers, American labor union leader (American Federation of Labor), born in London, England (d. 1924)

Founder of the American Federation of Labor Samuel Gompers
Founder of the American Federation of Labor
Samuel Gompers

Person of interestEdward Smith

Jan 27 Edward Smith, English naval captain of the RMS Titanic, born in Hanley, Staffordshire (d. 1912)

Captain of the Titanic Edward Smith
Captain of the Titanic
Edward Smith
  • Jan 29 Ebenezer Howard, pioneer of garden cities, born in London, England
  • Jan 29 Lawrence Hargrave, inventor (box kite)
  • Feb 2 Carel V Gerritsen, Dutch free thinker
  • Feb 12 Amaat Vyncke, Flemish missionary (Flemish Flag)
  • Feb 16 Octave Mirbeau, French writer (Journal of a Lady's Maid)
  • Feb 20 Nérée Beauchemin, Canadian physician and poet (d. 1931)
  • Feb 22 Isaac L Rice, German (namesake of Columbia Univ's Rice stadium)
  • Feb 23 César Ritz, Swiss hotelier (d. 1918)
  • Feb 27 Henry Edwards Huntington, American railroad exec
  • Feb 28 Hermann Schell, German theologist/philosopher (Gott und Geist)

Person of interestTomáš Garrigue Masaryk

Mar 7 Tomáš Masaryk, Czech philosopher and 1st President of Czechoslovakia (1918-35), born in Hodonín, Austrian Empire (d. 1937)

Father of Czechoslovakia Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk
Father of Czechoslovakia
Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk
  • Mar 7 Champ Clark, American politician (d. 1921)
  • Mar 10 Mary Mills Patrick, American author and 1st President of Istanbul Woman's College, born in Canterbury, New Hampshire (d. 1940)
  • Mar 24 Silas Hocking, British novelist and preacher (d. 1935)
  • Mar 26 Edward Bellamy, American author (Looking Backward) and socialist, born in Chicopee, Massachusetts (d. 1898)
  • Apr 8 William H. Welch, American pathologist who founded John Hopkins Hospital, born in Norfolk, Connecticut (d. 1934)
  • Apr 13 Arthur Matthew Weld Downing, British mathematician and astronomer, born in County Carlow, Ireland (d. 1917)
  • Apr 15 John Munro Longyear, American capitalist and developer of timber and mineral lands, born in Lansing, Michigan (d. 1922)
  • Apr 16 Herbert Baxter Adams, American historian (American Historical Association), born in Shutesbury, Massachusetts (d. 1901)
  • Apr 19 Edward John Gregory, British painter and engraver, born in Southampton, England (d. 1909)
  • Apr 20 Daniel Chester French, American sculptor (Minute Man), born in Exeter, New Hampshire (d. 1931)
  • Apr 27 Hans Hartwig von Beseler, German Colonel General, born in Greifswald, Prussia (d. 1921)
  • May 1 Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, Governor General of Canada (1911-16), born in Buckingham Palace, London (d. 1942)
  • May 12 Henry Cabot Lodge, U.S. statesman, born in Beverly, Massachusetts (d. 1924)
  • May 18 Oliver Heaviside, physicist (predicted ionosphere), born in London, England
  • May 21 Giuseppe Mercalli, Italian volcanologist (d. 1914)
  • May 24 Ernest Albert Waterlow, English water-color painter, born in London (d. 1919)
  • May 27 Thomas Neill Cream, Scottish-Canadian serial killer (Lambeth poisoner), born in Glasgow, Scotland (d. 1892)
  • Jun 5 Pat Garrett, American Western lawman, born in Chambers County, Alabama (d. 1908)
  • Jun 6 Karl Ferdinand Braun, German inventor, co-developed wireless telegraphy (Nobel 1909), born in Fulda, Electorate of Hessen, Germany (d. 1918)
  • Jun 19 David Jayne Hill, American diplomat and author, born in Plainfield, New Jersey (d. 1932)

Person of interestHoratio Kitchener

Jun 24 Horatio Kitchener, British General who commanded British forces during the Battle of Omdurman (Sudan) and the Second Boer War who became British Secretary of State for War during WWI (1914-16), born in Ballylongford, County Kerry, Ireland (d. 1916)

General and Secretary of War Horatio Kitchener
General and Secretary of War
Horatio Kitchener
  • Jun 27 Ivan Vazov, Bulgarian poet, novelist and playwright (Under the Yoke), born in Sopot, Bulgaria (d. 1921)
  • Jun 27 Lafcadio Hearn, American author (Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan), born in Leucas, Greece (d. 1904)
  • Jun 27 Jørgen Pedersen Gram, Danish mathematician (Gram–Schmidt process), born in Duchy of Schleswig, Denmark (d. 1919)
  • Jul 11 Annie Armstrong, American missionary leader, born in Baltimore, Maryland (d. 1938)
  • Jul 12 Otto Schoetensack, German anthropologist, born in Stendal, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany (d. 1912)
  • Jul 15 Francesca Xavier Cabrini, [Mother Cabrini], 1st US saint
  • Jul 18 Rose Hartwick Thorpe, American poet (Curfew Must Not Ring) and writer, born in Mishawaka, Indiana, Kansas (d. 1939)
  • Aug 3 Paulus Adrianus Daum, Dutch writer, founder and editor (Batavian Newspaper), born in The Hague, Netherlands (d. 1898)
  • Aug 3 Reginald Heber Roe, 1st Vice-Chancellor of the University of Queensland and 2nd Headmaster of Brisbane Grammar School, born in Blandford, Dorset, England (d. 1926)
  • Aug 5 Guy de Maupassant, French author (Boule de Suif), born in Château de Miromesnil, France (d. 1893)
  • Aug 26 Charles Richet, French physiologist (anaphylaxis-Nobel 1913)
  • Sep 2 Eugene Field, author/journalist (Little Boy Blue)
  • Sep 2 Woldemar Voigt, German physicist (d. 1919)
  • Sep 4 Luigi Cadorna, Italian fieldmarshal (WW I-Caporetto), born in Verbania, Kingdom of Sardinia (d. 1928)
  • Sep 6 Louis Apol, Dutch painter, etcher and literary, born in The Hague, Netherlands (d. 1936)
  • Sep 9 Harishchandra, Indian poet, dramatist and commonly referred as "father of modern Hindi", born in Vārānasi, India (d. 1885)
  • Oct 4 John McGraw, 2nd Governor of Washington (1893-97), born in Penobscot County, Maine (d. 1910)
  • Oct 5 Sergey Muromtsev, Russian lawyer, politician and President of the First Imperial Duma, born in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire (d. 1910)
  • Oct 8 Henri Louis le Chatelier, French chemist, born in Paris (d. 1936)
  • Oct 19 Annie S Peck, mountain climber/explorer/diplomat
  • Nov 5 Ella Wheeler Wilcox, American author and poet (Poems of Passion), born in Johnstown, Wisconsin (d. 1919)
  • Nov 9 Lewis Lewin, German toxicologist (father of psychopharmacologist), born in Tuchel, West Prussia (d. 1929)

Person of interestRobert Louis Stevenson

Nov 13 Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish author (Treasure Island), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1894)

  • Nov 26 Henricus van de Wetering, Archbishop of Utrecht (1895-1929), born in Hoogland, Netherlands (d. 1929)
  • Dec 22 Constantin Fahlberg, Russian chemist who discovered Saccharin (artificial sweetener), born in Tambov, Russia (d. 1910)
  • Dec 30 John Milne, British geologist (developed the first modern seismograph), born in Liverpool, England (d. 1913)

Weddings in History

  • Mar 14 French writer and playwright Honoré de Balzac marries Ewelina Hańska in Berdyczów, Ukraine

LoveWedding of Interest

May 1 Soldier William Tecumseh Sherman (30) weds Eleanor Boyle Ewing in Washington, D.C.

LoveWedding of Interest

Jun 13 Poet Alfred Tennyson (40) weds Emily Sellwood (36)

  • Jun 19 Swedish/Norwegian crown prince Charles weds Dutch princess Wilhelmina

Deaths in History

  • Jan 14 Anthony van Hoboken, Dutch merchant and ship owner, dies at 93
  • Jan 20 Adam Oehlenschläger, Danish poet (b. 1779)
  • Jan 22 Vincenzo Pallotti, Italian saint (founder of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate), dies at 54
  • Jan 26 Francis Jeffrey, Baron Jeffrey, judge/literary critic, dies
  • Jan 27 J Gottfried Schadow, German sculptor/cartoonist/writer, dies at 85
  • Feb 1 Edward Baker Lincoln, son of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, dies at 3
  • Feb 25 Daoguang, 8th Emperor of Qing Dynasty, dies at 67
  • Mar 3 Oliver Cowdery, American religious leader (Later Day Saint apostle), dies at 43
  • Mar 21 Miguel Pedrorena, American settler
  • Mar 26 Samuel Turell Armstrong, American politician and acting Governor of Massachusetts (1833- 36), dies at 65
  • Mar 27 Wilhelm Bear, German banker/astronomer (Moon Map), dies at 53
  • Mar 28 Gerard C. Brandon, American politician (b. 1788)

Person of interestJohn C. Calhoun

Mar 31 John C. Calhoun, American politician, dies of tuberculosis at 68

US Vice President John C. Calhoun
US Vice President
John C. Calhoun
  • Apr 7 William Lisle Bowles, English poet (14 Sonnets), dies at 87
  • Apr 9 William Prout, physician/chemist, dies
  • Apr 12 Adoniram Judson, American Baptist missionary (b. 1788)

Person of interestMadame Tussaud

Apr 16 Marie Tussaud, French founder of Madame Tussaud's wax museum, dies at 88

Wax Museum Creator Madame Tussaud
Wax Museum Creator
Madame Tussaud

Person of interestWilliam Wordsworth

Apr 23 William Wordsworth, English Romantic poet (The Prelude), dies at 80

  • May 9 Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac, French physicist & chemist, dies at 71
  • May 24 Jane Porter, novelist (Scottish Chiefs), dies at 74
  • Jun 4 Willem F Mauritius HK, prince of Orange, dies at 74
  • Jun 12 Jean Victor de Constant Rebecque, Swiss-Dutch army leader, dies at 77
  • Jun 16 William Lawson explorer of New South Wales, Australia (b. 1774)

Person of interestRobert Peel

Jul 2 Robert "Bobbie" Peel, British PM/founder London Police, dies at 62

British Prime Minister Robert Peel
British Prime Minister
Robert Peel
  • Jul 4 William Kirby, English entomologist and original member of the Linnean Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society, dies at 90
  • Jul 8 Prince Adolphus, 1st Duke of Cambridge (b. 1774)
  • Jul 9 Sajjid Ali Mohammed Bab, Persian founder of Babism

Person of interestZachary Taylor

Jul 9 Zachary Taylor, 12th US President (1849-50), dies in the White House at 65

12th US President Zachary Taylor
12th US President
Zachary Taylor
  • Jul 12 Robert Stevenson, Scottish civil engineer (Bell Rock Lighthouse, Scotland), dies at 78
  • Jul 14 August Neander, German theologian (b. 1789)
  • Jul 19 Giovanni Ossoli, Italian marquis/revolutionary, drowned
  • Jul 19 Margaret Fuller [Ossoli], American feminist, activist and journalist (Women in the Nineteenth Century), dies in a shipwreck at 40
  • Aug 6 Edward Walsh, Irish poet (b. 1805)

Person of interestJosé de San Martín

Aug 17 Jose de San Martin, South American revolutionary hero and general, dies at 72

Revolutionary Leader José de San Martín
Revolutionary Leader
José de San Martín
  • Aug 18 Honoré de Balzac, French novelist (La Comédie Humaine), dies at 51
  • Aug 22 Nikolaus Lenau, Hungarian-German poet (Faust, Die Albigenser), dies at 48
  • Aug 26 Louis-Philippe, King of France (1830-48), dies at 76
  • Sep 23 José Gervasio Artigas, Uruguayan revolutionary leader and national hero who is regarded as the father of Uruguayan independence, dies at 86
  • Oct 2 Sarah Biffin/Beffin, limbless miniature painter, dies
  • Oct 11 Louisa Maria, Queen of Belgium (1832-50), Wife of Leopold I, dies at 38
  • Nov 4 Gustav Schwab, German writer, dies at 58
  • Nov 5 Ferdinand Karl Joseph, Archduke of Austria-Este, dies at 69
  • Nov 19 Richard Mentor Johnson, American politician (b. 1780)
  • Dec 8 Georg Sverdrup, Norwegian statesman, dies at 80
  • Dec 10 François Sulpice Beudant, French mineralogist and geologist, dies at 63