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1838

Maryland’s Jesuits sold 272 slaves to pay off debts for Georgetown Univ. located in Washington DC. In 2016 the school introduced a set of measures that included an initiative offering preferential admission status to descendants of those held in slavery by the university.

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1839 Feb 11
Missouri slave owner James Rollins (1812-1888) helped establish the state’s first public university. He served in the US House of Representatives from 1861-1865. The Univ. of Missouri admitted its first black students in 1950.
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1839 Jun 12
Baseball was said to have been invented. According to legend Abner Doubleday chased cows out of Elihu Phiney’s pasture and invented the game of baseball at Cooperstown, New York, later home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the Cooperstown Bat Company. In 1939 on the 100th anniversary of the day Abner Doubleday supposedly invented the sport, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum was dedicated in Cooperstown, N.Y. Americans began playing baseball in the 1840s. It was derived from the British game called rounders.
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1839 Jun 27
The Spanish coasting vessel La Amistad (The Friendship) set sail from Cuba to Porta Prince with a load of African slaves. Cinque (b.~1815-1879), originally Senghbe, and over 50 other Africans had been kidnapped in Sierra Leone and sold into slavery in Cuba. They were carried on a Spanish ship, the Tecora, to Cuba. Cinque and 49 other slaves and 4 children were placed on the ship La Amistad destined for Haiti. They revolted, killed the captain, and ordered the crew back to Africa but the ship sailed north and ran aground. It was captured by the US Navy on August 26. A legal battle ensued in New London, Conn., that went to the Supreme court where former Pres. John Quincy Adams argued for their freedom and won. An 1855 novella by Herman Melville, "Benito Cereno" looked at the rebellion through the eyes of an American interloper. Barbara Chase-Ribaud later wrote "Echo of Lions," a novel based on the Amistad. In 1996 Steven Spielberg announced plans to direct a film based on the incident titled "Amistad." The film was to be released in 1997. A 1997 opera production, "Amistad," by Anthony Davis premiered in Chicago.
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1839 Jul 2
African slaves, led by Joseph Cinque, killed Ramon Ferrer, and took possession of his ship, La Amistad. Cinque ordered the navigator to take them back to Africa but after 63 days at sea the ship was intercepted by Lieutenant Gedney, of the United States brig Washington, half a mile from the shore of Long Island.
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1839 Aug 26
The slave ship La Amistad was captured off Long Island. The USS Washington, an American Navy brig, seized the Amistad, and escorted it to New London, Connecticut.
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1839 Dec 4
The Whig Party opened a national convention in Harrisburg, Pa., where delegates nominated William Henry Harrison for president. Soon after the Whigs constructed a 10-foot ball of twine, wood and tin, covered with Whig slogans, and rolled it from Cleveland to Columbus, Ohio, and across the country. This was later deemed the first modern presidential and led to the expression "Keep the ball rolling."
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1839
The original printing of John James Audubon’s “Birds of America” was completed in Europe. Fewer than 200 subscribers ordered the complete set of 400 prints.
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1839
The Bernal Heights area of SF, Ca., began to be developed as part of a Mexican land grant belonging to Don Jose Cornelio Bernal.
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1839
Charles Goodyear (1800-1860) found the right formula for making rubber impervious to temperature, a combination of chemicals and heat that became know as vulcanization.
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1839
William Knabe opened his own piano company in Baltimore. It later became part of Samick Musical Instruments.
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1839
Iowa’s Supreme Court ruled against slavery.
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1839
A law banning the carrying of concealed weapons was passed in Alabama.
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1840 Apr 2
The Association of American Geologists held its first meeting in Philadelphia.
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1840 May 7
A tornado struck Natchez, Miss., killing 317 people and causing over a million dollars in damage.
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1840 Jul
The Dial, an American magazine began publishing in Massachusetts and continued intermittently to 1929. It served as the chief publication of the Transcendentalists. From 1920 to 1929 it was an influential outlet for modernist literature in English.
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1840
The US state of Georgia by this time had over 280,000 slaves with many working as field hands. By the start of Civil War slaves made up over 40% of the state’s population.
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1840
The 6th US Census was the first to include statistics on agriculture.
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1840
The US census categorized the population as "Free White persons, free Colored persons, and slaves."
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1840
A US no-bail-out policy forced some state into default. Several US states had loaded up on unsustainable debt following an extended period of easy credit. These states consequently found payments on their existing bonds increasingly unaffordable. Between 1841 and 1843 Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and one territory – a proto-state called Florida – defaulted.
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1840
Alexis de Tocqueville authored Volume II of his “Democracy in America.” In Book Four, Chapter VIII he says: “as the past has ceased to throw its light upon the future, the mind of man wanders in obscurity.”
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1840
The Univ. of Missouri opened. Its first female students were admitted in 1867. It began accepting blacks in 1950.
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1840
Etienne Cabet (1788-1856), Ivory Coast-born French philosopher and utopian socialist, authored "Travel and Adventures of Lord William Carisdall in Icaria". In 1848 he led his followers to the United States of America.
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1840
The Ballantine beer company was founded in New Jersey and modelled after the breweries of Burton, England.
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1841 Mar 1
John Quincy Adams (74), former US president, concluded his defense of "the Mendi people," a group of Africans who had rebelled and killed the crew of the slave ship Amistad, while enroute from Cuba to Haiti. They faced mutiny charges upon landing on Long Island, but Adams won their acquittal before the Supreme Court. In thanks they bestowed to him an 1838 English Bible. In 1996 the Bible was stolen from the Adams National Historic Site in Quincy, Mass.
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1841 Mar 9
The rebel slaves who seized a Spanish slave ship, the Amistad, two years earlier were freed by the US Supreme Court despite Spanish demands for extradition.
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1841 Apr 4
President William Henry Harrison (68), 9th President of the US, succumbed to pneumonia one month after his inaugural, becoming the first U.S. chief executive to die in office. VP. Tyler assumed office.
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1841
1921
Of the 11 U.S. presidents serving between 1841 and 1921, seven of them were born in Ohio.The presidents and their places of birth were: Ulysses S. Grant, Point Pleasant; Rutherford B. Hayes, Delaware; James A. Garfield, Orange; Benjamin Harrison, North Bend; William McKinley, Niles; William H. Taft, Cincinnati; Warren G. Harding, Morrow County. These were the only Ohio-born presidents. Three of them, Garfield, McKinley and Harding died in office. Four of the seven presidents hailing from Ohio died while in office. They were William Henry Harrison, the 9th president, who died one month after his inauguration in 1841; the 20th president, James Garfield, who was assassinated in 1881; William McKinley, the 25th president, who was assassinated in 1901; and Warren G. Harding, who died suddenly in 1923.
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1841
The state of Arkansas, facing financial difficulties, stopped paying interest on a $500,000 investment that was dedicated to finance the Smithsonian Institute. Under pressure from congressman J.Q. Adams, Congress repealed the bill that authorized the Smithson bequest in state bonds and ordered the US Treasury to take over interest payments. The principal was lost, but the interest was enough to endow the institute. From 1841-1842 8 states and the territory of Florida defaulted. This led states to set up strong constitutional barriers to debt accumulation.
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1841
In Indiana Mother Theodore Guerin (1798-1856), a French nun, established St. Mary-of-the-Woods College for women. In 2006 Pope Benedict XVI named her a saint.
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1841
William A. Leidesdorff, originally from the Virgin Islands, arrived in San Francisco. He became a prominent businessman, built the city’s first hotel, became a member of the first SF City Council and served as the city’s first treasurer.
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1841
1846
Capt. Robert E. Lee, Army engineer, worked on strengthening the defenses of New York Harbor and Fort Hamilton.
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1841
Joseph Smith Jr. and some of the Latter Day Saints settled as tenants of Mark Aldrich (1802-1873), a former Illinois state senator, in what would be called Warren, Illinois. Smith and Aldrich later had a falling out and in 1844 Aldrich was accused of ordering his men to kill Smith.
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1841
The Bartleson-Bidwell Party made the trek to California. John Bidwell was on the 1st wagon train over the Sierra Nevada and later founded Chico. Also in the group was Paul Geddes, who had robbed a bank in Philadelphia, and renamed himself Talbot Green. His true ID was exposed in 1851 as he was about to run for mayor of SF.
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1841
Dentist Joseph Wilson authored “Sketches of the Higher Classes of Coloured Society in Philadelphia.”
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1842 Mar 30
Crawford Williamson Long (1815-1878) of Jefferson, Ga., utilized ether the first time to remove a tumor from the neck of his patient, Mr. James M. Venable.
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1842
1843
John James Audubon made his last mammal-painting expedition up the Missouri River. He made sketches and collected specimens for his book: "The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America." The work was later completed by his 2 sons and Rev. John Bachman.
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1842
The Wadsworth Athenium of Art was established in Hartford, Conn. It was America’s 1st public art museum.
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1842
Hugh Hardman established the Hardman Piano Co. in NYC. Leopold Peck joined the company in 1880. The company’s name changed to Hardman, Peck & Co. when Peck became a partner in 1890.
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1842
Nantucket Capt. Gorham Nye sailed into Yerba Buena, later known as San Francisco, and sold several goats to traders. A local character named Jack Fuller proposed to businessman Nathan Spear to buy some of the goats and raise them on Yerba Buena Island, which became known as Goat Island.
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1843 Apr 15
Henry James (d.1916), US novelist, writer and critic, was born in England. His older brother was William James, the psychologist and philosopher. Henry James Sr. in the 1850s dragged his 4 sons and daughter across Europe in search a “sensual education.” Henry’s first 40 years are documented by Sheldon M. Novick in "Henry James: The Young Master." There is also a 5-vol. biography by William Edel. His novels included "The Princess Casamassima," a work about the folly of radical politics. "It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature." In 2008 Paul Fisher authored “House of Wits: An Intimate Portrait of the James Family.”
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1843
William Hickling Prescott (1796-1859), American Historian, authored "History of the Conquest of Mexico."
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1843
Norbert Rillieux (1806-1894) received US patent # 3,237 for a double-effect evaporator, while overseeing the building of the device for plantation owner Theodore Packwood.
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1843
Alonzo Blanchard of Albany, NY, patented a stove design called “Washington.” It featured a cast-iron statue of George Washington on top.
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1843
Margaret Fuller (1810-1850), journalist and writer, authored a feminist tract titled: “Women in the Nineteenth Century.”
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1844 May 1
Samuel Morse (1791-1872) sent the 1st telegraphic message as a demonstration between Washington, DC, and Baltimore [see Jan 6, 1838]. The line officially opened on May 24, 1844.
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1844 May 24
Samuel F.B. Morse, before a crowd of dignitaries in the chambers of the Supreme Court, tapped out the message, "What hath God wrought?" to his partner in Baltimore, Alfred Vail. Congress had appropriated $30,000 for the experimental line built by Ezra Cornell between Washington and Baltimore. American portrait artist Samuel F.B. Morse developed the technology for electrical telegraphy in the 1830s, the first instantaneous form of communication. Using a key to hold open an electrical circuit for longer or shorter periods, an operator would tap out a message in a code composed of dots and dashes. Public demonstrations of the equipment were made in February 1838, but it was necessary for Morse to secure financial backing to build the first telegraph line to carry the signal over distance. In 1843, Congress appropriated the funds for a 37-mile line between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. After underground telegraph wires proved unsuccessful, Morse switched to pole wires.
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1844 Jun 15
Charles Goodyear (1800-1860) received patent #3633 for the vulcanization of rubber, his process to strengthen rubber. He had perfected the process in 1839 and never took out a European patent.
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1844 Sep 25
1844 Sep 27
The first int’l. cricket match was played between the USA and Canada at the St George's Cricket Club, Bloomingdale Park, NY. Canada won by 23 runs.
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1844
Edward Miller opened a business in Meriden, Conn., to make lamp burners. In 1866 it became Edward Miller & Co. and soon expanded to produce gas lighting fixtures and stoves.
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1844
John Fremont discovered Pyramid Lake in Nevada. For a number of reasons the lake’s native trout went extinct in the 1940s. Federal officials in 2006 began restocking the lake with the native Lahontan cutthroat found near Pilot Peak and the trout fluorished.
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1844
William Hinckley, alcalde of Yerba Buena (later San Francisco), erected a wooden footbridge over a creek that fed the Laguna Salada. This enabled residents to walk to the anchorage at Clark’s Point (near the intersection of Broadway and Battery). At this time Yerba Buena had under 50 inhabitants and and only a dozen buildings.
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1845 Feb 18
John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, died in Allen County, Indiana. In 1954 Robert Price authored Johnny Appleseed: Man and Myth.”
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1845 May 8
1845 May 12
The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) was founded. The SBC became a separate denomination in Augusta, Georgia, following a regional split with northern Baptists over the issues of slavery.
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1845 May 10
During a celebrated round-the-world tour in 1844-46, the USS Constitution dropped anchor in the bay outside of Tourane, Cochin China (later part of Vietnam). While there, Bishop Dominique Lefevre, an imprisoned French missionary, requested the assistance of the ship's captain, "Mad Jack" Percival. The Americans attempted to negotiate with the Cochin Chinese, to no avail. Frustrated, they set sail from Cochin and continued on their course on May 26 without further word about or from the missionary, who was eventually retrieved by his own countrymen.
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1845 Jun 8
Andrew Jackson, 7th president of the US, died in Nashville, Tenn. His health had deteriorated over the last 30 years and in 1999 scientists cited lead poisoning from an 1813 wound as the primary cause of his health problems. In 1945 Arthur Schlesinger Jr. authored “The Age of Jackson,” for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. Dr. Robert Remini later authored a 3-volume biography. In 2005 H.W. Brands authored “Andrew Jackson: A Life and Times.” In 2008 Jon Meacham authored “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the white House.”
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1845 Aug 28
The first issue of Scientific American magazine was published as a 4-page weekly newspaper by inventor Rufus M. Porter (1792-1844).
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1845 Sep 10
Joseph Story (b.1779), US Supreme Court Justice, died after serving over 33 years.
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1845 Dec 29
Texas (comprised of the present State of Texas and part of New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming) was admitted as the 28th state, with the provision that the area (389, 166 square miles) should be divided into no more than five states "of convenient size." Sam Houston insisted on maintaining control of offshore waters as a condition of joining the union.
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1845
John C. Fremont led his 3rd surveying expedition through the central Great Basin of Nevada. He was accompanied by Thomas E. Breckenridge, a Missouri fur trapper.
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