A little (more) history, if you will. Part II
Date: Mon, 08 Sep 1997 23:29:37 -0700
6:50 Gasconade Hills RV Park; Hazelgreen, Missouri ::
07 SEP 97
1800-1819 . 1820-1839
. 1840-1859 . 1860-1879 . 1880-1900
Finding historical documents with the '§' character.]
(118K): Territorial Growth 1840.
The ten hour day is established by executive order for all federal
employees engaged in public works.
Joel Walker travels overland to Oregon with his family and three
other missionary couples.
Catholic mission in Oregon is established by Father Pierre Jean DeSmet.
The US census reports that approximately 40,000 Indians from
Civilized Nations" of the East have been resettled in the Trans-Mississippi
US population - 17,069,453
Henry Harrison is inaugurated§ as the ninth President
of the United States; Harrison dies one month later.
Tyler is inaugurated as the tenth President of the United States.
Tyler is the first Vice President to succeed to the office by the death
of the President.
The Pre-emption Act of 1841 gives "squatters" the right to purchase
federal land upon which they have settled and specifies that the land
should be acquired at a minimum price.
migration to California begins when John Bidwell, a New York schoolteacher,
Bartleson, a land speculator and wagon master, lead a party through
South Pass in the Rocky Mountains and across Nevada to settle near Stockton,
George Catlin, an American ethnologist and artist, publishes
Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs and Condition of the North
C. Fremont of the US
Corps of Topographical Engineers explores the route to Oregon from
the Mississippi River to South Pass in Wyoming.
The US and Great Britain establish the Canadian boundary from
Maine to Lake-of-the-Woods, Minnesota in the Webster-Ashburton Treaty.
The migration of white settlers to the Oregon Country, primarily
from the Ohio Valley region and Missouri begins. The main route is the
which begins at Independence,
Missouri, and terminates at Oregon City and the
C. Fremont of the US Corps of Topographical Engineers surveys
the emigrant route to Oregon, explores the geography of California,
and discovers the geographical nature of the Great Basin.
settlers, at a meeting
at Chompoeg, adopt a Constitution
for a provisional government to serve until the US extends its jurisdiction
over Oregon. In May, over one thousand settlers bound for Oregon leave
Jim Bridger builds a fort
at Black's Fork of the Green River to serve emigrants on the Oregon
Joseph Smith, leader of the Mormon Church, announces that a
divine revelation has sanctioned the practice of polygamy.
John James Audobon travels up the Missouri River to Fort Union
to sketch wild animals.
The Oregon boundary question results in serious Anglo-American
K. Polk, campaigning for the Presidency, advocates that America should
press its territorial claims to the 54°
A Texas Annexation Treaty§
providing for the admission of Texas as a territory is signed by the US
and Texas. The US Senate votes against the annexation treaty.
Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, and his brother,
Hyrum Smith, are murdered by a mob in Carthage, Illinois.
long-distance telegraph message, "What
hath God wrought?"§
is sent from the US Supreme Court room in Washington DC to Baltimore,
Maryland by Samuel
K. Polk is inaugurated§
as the eleventh President of the United States.
The Republic of Texas is annexed by joint resolution of Congress§.
The area thus acquired is arguably
foreign territory, since Mexico has refused to recognize Texan independence.
off diplomatic relations with the US and begins military preparations
to prevent the annexation of Texas.
Taylor, US military commander of the Southwest, is ordered to place
himself "on or near the Rio
Grande" with an "army of observation" of 3,500 men, or about half
of the US Army.
President Polk, in his first Annual Message, outlines
the "Polk Doctrine," claiming the exclusive right of the people "on this
continent" to "decide
their own destiny."
The phrase "manifest
destiny" is used for the first time by the widely-read editor John
L. O'Sullivan in the Democratic Review§.
Florida is admitted as the twenty-seventh state in the Union.
Texas is admitted as the twenty-eigth state in the Union.
Col. Stephen Watts Kearny and five companies of dragoons make
their great circular patrol through Fort Laramie, South Pass, Bent's Fort
and back along the Santa Fe Trail to St. Louis. The trip tests the capacity
of the cavalry for sustained operations far from forts and bases of supply.
are attacked by the Mexican Army in disputed Texas Territory, and
the US declares war on Mexico§.
The US and Great Britain sign the Oregon Treaty§,
which establishes the boundary between the US and the British Northwest
Territory at the forty-ninth parallel. The future states of Idaho,
Oregon, Washington and parts of Montana and Wyoming comprise the US acquisition.
The Bear Flag Revolt begins in California with a proclamation
by a group of American settlers of the Republic of California. Commodore
Stockton issues a proclamation declaring annexation of California by the
US and establishes himself as Governor.
Brigham Young, successor of the murdered Mormon founder and
leader Joseph Smith, organizes the westward migration of the Mormons.
The exodus is precipitated by anti-Mormon terror in Nauvoo, Illinois.
A severe potato
famine in Ireland precipitates large-scale emigration
to the US.
Iowa is admitted as the twenty-ninth state in the Union.
After a campaign of several months, General Winfield Scott enters
Mexico City, and the Mexican-American
War is brought to an end. A battalion of US Marines begins guarding
Brigham Young, with an advanced party of 148, reaches the Valley
of the Great Salt Lake.
The Oregon Bill provides for territorial government of Oregon.
Impassable terrain along a new trail to California, "the Hastings
Cut-Off," catches the Donner party in an early snowfall in the Sierras.
Beyond the reach of assistance throughout the winter, the group resort
to cannibalism to survive. Nearly half the 87 members of the party perish.
Cyrus McCormick begins manufacture of his reaper
in Chicago, a farm implement which will revolutionize US and European
agriculture in the years to follow.
Peace negotiations with Mexico begin through the auspices of
British Minister Charles Bankhead.
is discovered at Sutter's Mill near Sacramento, California.
The US and Mexico sign the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo§ which
ends the war. An area encompassing the future states of California, Nevada,
Utah, western Colorado, New Mexico, and most of Arizona, together with
Texas, is relinquished to the US by Mexico for the sum of $15 million.
The southwest Texas border is fixed at the Rio Grande. Opposition to the
treaty comes from expansionists who want the annexation of all of Mexico.
A women's rights convention is held at Seneca Falls, New York
and inaugurates the feminist movement, with a resolution on women's rights§ prepared under
the leadership of Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton§.
The main body of Mormon emigrants reach the Great Salt Lake
and begin building Salt Lake City. The Mormons proclaim the "State of
The failure of a revolution in Europe results in the emigration
of political refugees to America, particularly from the German states.
Hart Benton convinces three St. Louis businessmen to finance the exploration
of a central, 38th parallel railroad route west from St. Louis to San
Francisco. John C. Fremont leads the party, which is caught high in the
Colorado mountains in December. Ten men die on the unsuccessful
Wisconsin is admitted as the thirtieth state in the Union.
Taylor is inaugurated§ as the twelfth President
of the United States.
The discovery of gold by James
Marshall at Sutter's
Mill in California in 1848 is confirmed by President Polk's Annual
Message in January.
The Department of the Interior is created as the sixth Cabinet
position; the Bureau of Indian Affairs is transferred to Interior from
the War Department.
The Pacific Railroad Company is charted and constructs the first
railroad west of the Mississippi River, from St. Louis to Kansas City.
The Minnesota Territory is formed.
The Oregon Trail, by Francis Parkman, is published.
Civil Disobedience, by Henry David Thoreau, is published.
Col. John Abert, of the Topographical Engineers, urges a 32nd
parallel, southern transcontinental railroad route, along the Gila River.
Abert dispatches Capt. Randolph Marcy to explore this route.
(888K): Exploration and settlement 1850-1890.
(126K): Territorial Growth 1850.
President Zachary Taylor dies suddenly of an acute intestinal
Fillmore is inaugurated as the thirteenth President of the United
The Compromise of 1850, calling for a declaration that Congress
has no right to interfere with slave trading among slave states, is enacted
Included in the legislation are a new Fugitive Slave Act§, which sets up
strict procedures under federal control for the capture and return of
escaped slaves; the abolition of the slave trade in the District of Columbia;
and the admission of California as a "free" state.
Fifty-five thousand emigrants move west along the Oregon
Trail, most bound for the gold
fields of California.
Col. Joseph E. Johnston leads a special task force across Texas
to locate and map military and emigrant roads as well as future railroad
John E. Heath invents the first agricultural binder in the US.
Levi Strauss creates the first pair of "bibless" Overalls in
California is admitted as the thirty-first state in the Union.
US population - 23,191,867
Increased northern abolitionist sentiment resulting from attempts
to enforce the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 is reflected in the rescue by
a Boston mob of an escaped slave named Shadrach from the authorities.
The Illinois Central Railroad, which will link Chicago, Galena,
and Cairo, Illinois is chartered. This railroad receives a grant of more
than 2.5 million acres from the US government.
Dakota (Sioux) Indian people turn over all their land in Iowa
and most of their territory in Minnesota to the US.
The treaty of Fort Laramie§
is signed between the US Government and the tribes of the northern plains,
providing tribal borders and annual allotments of food and gifts to compensate
for white incursions on Indian hunting grounds.
A fire in San Francisco causes twelve million dollars in estimated
property damage; 2,500 buildings are destroyed.
Isaac M. Singer develops a practical domestic sewing machine,
building on the invention of Elias Howe.
The notorious adventuress, Lola Montez, a self-styled Spanish
dancer (she is Irish) opens a two year American tour with a performance
of "Betty the Tyrolean" in New York.
The Caroline Fry Marriage Association advertises: "Cheap wives
for poor and deserving young men...particular attention paid to the proper
matching of temperaments.
Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, is published,
which condemns the slave system in the US.
Pierce is inaugurated§
as the fourteenth President of the United States.]
Congress authorizes the War-Department to conduct a transcontinental
railroad survey to determine the most practical railroad route across
the country. These explorations constitute the first attempt at a comprehensive
and systematic geographical examination of the West by the Federal Government.
The US and Mexico negotiate the Gadsden Purchase for $10 million,
through which the US acquires Southern Arizona and New Mexico Territories,
land needed for a practical southern route for a transcontinental railroad.
The Gadsden Purchase completes the permanent continental boundaries of
the United States.
US-Japanese trade relations result from Commodore Matthew C.
Perry's armed entry into Edo (Tokyo/Yokohama) Bay in Japan.
Concern with steadily growing immigration precipitates the formation
of the Know-Nothing Party. The party urges the repeal of naturalization
laws and the exclusion of all foreign-born persons from federal, state,
or municipal offices.
Concern with steadily growing immigration precipitates the formation
of the Know Nothing Party§.
The party urges the repeal of naturalization laws and the exclusion of
all foreign-born persons from federal, state or municipal offices.
Chicago is connected for the first time by track to the East
with the completion of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
Washington Territory is formed.
Congress passes the Kansas-Nebraska Act§,
establishing a doctrine of congressional non-interference in the territories
and repealing the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which had excluded slavery
from the 36 degree 30' latitude and which had been implicitly accepted
by the Compromise of 1850. The new territories of Kansas and Nebraska
liquidate the northern portion of Indian Territory.
The term "Beecher's Bible" is used to characterize the Sharps
rifles being shipped to settlers in Kansas after the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
Rev. Henry Ward Beecher designated the weapons, being rushed to settlers
determined to keep Kansas Territory "free," as moral agencies greater
than the Bible.
Eli Thayer founds the Massachusetts Immigration Aid Society
to encourage anti-slavery emigration to Kansas.
The assassination of James King, Editor of the San Francisco
Bulletin, marks the height of desperado activity in California. A vigilance
committee utilizing a quasi-legal process is established to restore order.
In Wyoming, the Grattan affair marks the beginning of hostilities
between the Indian tribes of the northern plains and the US government.
Lt. Grattan and his small force of US regulars deliberately provoke a
confrontation over a stolen emigrant cow with a band of Brule Sioux; Grattan
and his entire command are killed.
Five thousand armed "border ruffians" cross into Kansas Territory
from Missouri, securing the election of a pro-slavery legislature. Meanwhile,
a Free-State Party organized by anti-slavery forces drafts a Free-State
constitution which is adopted by popular vote. Kansas Territory now has
a dual government.
Andrew Reeder, the first territorial Governor of Kansas, allows
the pro-slavery legislature's election to stand.
The New York State Immigration Commission leases Castle Garden
at the top of Manhattan Island as a reception center for immigrants. The
number of immigrants exceeds the 400,000 who landed in 1854.
President Pierce signs an act creating the first US Court of
Claims. Previously, citizens could remedy claims against the federal government
only through petitions to Congress.
The Yakima War in Washington and the Rogue River War in Oregon
represent Indian resistance to ever-increasing white migration and settlement.
Walt Whitman publishes the first version of Leaves of Grass.
John C. Fremont of California is nominated for the Presidency
of the United States by the first national convention of the Republican
Party, meeting in Philadelphia.
"Border ruffians" and pro-slavery Kansas men sack Lawrence,
Kansas. In retaliation, the abolitionist John Brown, with four sons and
three companions, massacres five pro-slavery men along Pottawatomie Creek.
The US House of Representatives refuses to seat either the pro-slavery
or the free state territorial delegates from Kansas. Raids continue between
the two factions, and an estimated two hundred people are killed in "Bleeding
Henry Bessemer perfects a technique for converting pig iron
into steel by directing air blasts upon molten metal.
The first Mormon "handcart company," composed of emigrants anxious
to reach Utah but unable to afford wagons and teams for the journey, leaves
Iowa on foot.
Lt. Gouverneur Kemble Warren and Ferdinand V. Hayden explore
the great plains of Nebraska Warren's map is the first sophisticated depiction
of the Trans-Mississippi west.
Buchanan is inaugurated§
as the fifteenth President of the United States. Buchanan's inaugural
condemns slavery agitation, supports a policy of non-interference with
slavery in the states, and "popular sovereignty" in the territories.
In the case of Dred Scott v. Sandford§,
the US Supreme court rules that an African-American is not a citizen of
the US and therefore cannot sue in the courts. Further, Chief Justice
Roger B. Taney states that restrictions cannot be placed upon where a
master takes his or her "slave property."
One hundred and twenty California-bound immigrants are massacred
at Mountain Meadows, Utah, by American Indians incited by a Mormon fanatic,
John D. Lee. Lee claims that he is retaliating for President Buchanan's
order removing Brigham Young as Governor of Utah.
US troops are sent to Utah Territory; virtually bloodless, the
"Mormon War," precipitated by a conflict of authority, ends in compromise.
Joseph C. Ives of the US Topographical Engineers tries to ascend
the Colorado River from the Gulf of Mexico. An overland expedition is
able to explore the floor of the Grand Canyon in its lower reaches.
President Buchanan supports Kansas' Lecompton (pro-slavery)
Constitution and recommends that Kansas be admitted as a slave state.
Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas engage in a series of
debates as part of their campaign for a US Senate seat from Illinois.
Gold is discovered at Pike's Peak in Colorado.
The Butterfield Overland Mail, the first to serve both the Pacific
Coast and the East, reaches St. Louis, where mail is transferred to a
train for the remainder of the journey to the East Coast.
The first telegraph message is sent across the Atlantic Ocean
via the Atlantic Cable.
Minnesota is admitted as the thirty-second state in the Union.
John Brown seizes the arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, in
an attempt to start a nationwide slave insurrection. Two days later he
surrenders to federal troops under Col. Robert E. Lee. John Brown is tried,
and executed on December 2.
The first major silver strike in the US, the Comstock Lode,
is discovered in Nevada.
Iowa and Missouri are the first Trans-Mississippi states to
be ranked in the top seven producers of corn in the US.
Edwin L. Drake drills the world's first oil well in Titusville,
Charles Darwin publishes The Origin of the Species.
John M. Macomb finds ancient Indian ruins in the Mesa Verde
area of Colorado. Macomb's expeditions fill in a major blank area on maps
of the period.
Oregon is admitted as the thirty-third state in the Union.
1820-1839 . 1840-1859 . 1860-1879
~~~ Responses Sought ~~~
What a different flavour one gets out of travelling
if the purpose is the road itself rather than getting somewhere.
|| A reflection on this journey,
offered by a dear friend.