TIMELINE 19th CENTURY




Return to Timeline Table of Contents
The West: State by State Chronologies, individually, of each of the 22 Western States
Return to Ultimate Westerns Table of Contents

AMERICAN WEST TIMELINE: 19th CENTURY


Copyright 1996,1997,1998,1999,2000,2001 by Magic Dragon Multimedia.
All rights reserved Worldwide. May not be reproduced without permission.
May be posted electronically provided that it is transmitted unaltered, in its entirety, and without charge.
Over 126 Kilobytes of text; may load slowly. Most recently updated: 24 March 2001
There are 7 hotlinks here to authors, magazines, films, or television items elsewhere in the Ultimate Westerns Web Guide or beyond.
Click here or scroll down... Executive Summary of the Century The Victorian Era Jules Verne Major Books and Events of the Decade 1800-1810 Major Books and Events of the Decade 1810-1820 Major Books and Events of the Decade 1820-1830 Major Books and Events of the Decade 1830-1840 Major Books and Events of the Decade 1840-1850 Major Books and Events of the Decade 1850-1860 Major Books and Events of the Decade 1860-1870 Major Books and Events of the Decade 1870-1880 Major Books and Events of the Decade 1880-1890 Major Books and Events of the Decade 1890-1900 Major Films of this Century Other Key Dates and Stories of this Century Major Writers Born this Century {to be done} Major Writers Died this Century Hotlinks to other Timeline pages of SF Chronology Where to Go for More: 51 Useful Reference Books Executive Summary of the Century The saga of the American West begins with exploration, transitions through exploitation, and ends in fiction. This web page puts the fiction in context of History. The notion of Progress was central, as the fruits of the Industrial Revolution spread worldwide. This was epitomized in the expansive fiction of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. Yet technology brought a dark side as well, as seen by writers as various as Mary Shelley ("Frankenstein"), Edgar Allan Poe, Sir George Chesney ("The Battle of Dorking"), Robert Louis Stevenson ("Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"), and Karl Marx. The "Western" cannot be separated from these other genres and visions. A charismatic leader came out of nowhere and nearly conquered the world. Napoleon rises from First Consul of France in 1800 to Emperor in 1804, and essentially controlled the European continent before his defeat at Waterloo in 1815. This conquering hero/monster affected futuristic fiction forever, as did the European revolutions of 1848 and the American Civil War (1861-1865). The maximum expansion and consolidation of the American West takes place, the golden age explored forever after in Westerns fiction. The rise of railroads proved to be a transportation revolution that integrated America into a national economy. Railroads were the most significant contribution to transportation of distances. They were fast, reliable, cheaper than canals to construct, and not frozen in winter. Railroads were able to go almost anywhere: they defied terrain and weather. The first important railroad line was begun by the Baltimore and Ohio Co. (B&O Railroad) in 1828. But the boom came in this new era. By 1860, America had 30,000 of railroad track laid; 3/4 in the industrialized North. Railroads were opposed by canal backers, turnpike investors, tavern keepers, and horse-and-hay-selling farmers. All of these were adversely affected by railroads. Railroad technology matured. Eventually, gauges became standardized, safety devices were adopted, and solid iron rails laid Horse-drawn railroads were also used for mass-transit in major cities. The technology of the telegraph also killed the WestÕs emblematic Pony Express. The Pony Express was established in 1860 to carry mail speedily the 2,000 miles from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California. Lightweight riders riding in between stations spaced approximately 10 miles apart could make the trip in 10 days. Pony Express missed only one trip, although the enterprise lasted only 18 months. Morse code, in 1861, obviated the need for the Pony Express. Another techno-industrial breakthrough in this season was the invention of the telegraph. Although earlier inventors had worked with similar devices, including the great German mathematician Gauss, Samuel F. B. Morse is the pivotal figure. In 1844, Morse strung a wire 40 miles from Washington to Baltimore and clicked the historic message: "What hath God wrought?" The government declined to control the telegraph since it felt ithat the telegraph would not pay. Yet, the invention was significant, by providing instant communication from great distances. This greatly advanced business in following decades. The decade ending in 1860 saw 28,000 patents, compared to 306 in the decade ending in 1800. The science-driven future also changed the way the past was viewed, with Sir Walter Scott's invention of the Historic Novel as the keystone. The invention of photography (Daguerre, 1840s) and cinema (Lumiere brothers, 1895) was immediately seen as changing the nature of Art, though the invention of the computer (Babbage, 1822) was only understood a century later. Konstantin Tsiolkovski publishes fiction and nonfiction for the first time detailing how rockets can be used to conquer outer space. Charles Darwin changed our view of human beings, as merely an evolved form of animal, and authors from Jules Verne, Konstantin Tsiolkovski, and Camille Flammarion changed our conception of the human place in the cosmos. Americans declared it their Manifest Destiny to expand throughout the content, and implicitly the cosmos... Economically, there is the following cycle: * 1838-43 Depression * 1844-56 Recovery and business expansion * 1857-60 Panic of 1857 and recovery * 1861-65 Wartime prosperity and inflation * 1866-67 Postwar recession * 1868-73 Railroad boom * 1873-78 Depression and deflation * 1879-93 Business expansion * 1893-94 Widespread bankruptcies and depression * 1895-1906 Return of prosperity [A History of American Agriculture 1776-1990] Return to Top of 19th century Timeline Page The Victorian Era The amazing reign of Queen Victoria, starting in 1837, saw tremendous changes in the English-speaking world -- but we see Science Fiction as really getting underway across the English Channel... with Jules Verne. The same conflict between the Past and the imagined Future led to the inventiuon of the "Western" -- as the American West went through a cycle of creation, independence, and interdependence affected by but distinct from European History. The fashion for beaver fur hats in Europe drove the fur trade of John Jacob Astor, and the infrastructure that led to the settlement of the American West. The Native Americans helped, then hindered, and then were run over by that expansion. Then the fashions in Europe changed, but the American West had a tradition and identity all its own. Return to Top of 19th century Timeline Page Major Books and Events of the Decade 1800-1810 1800: The Treaty of San Ildefonso secretly transfers the Louisiana Territory from Spain back to France, so long as that France never gives it to an English-speaking government. [see: 1803, Louisiana Purchase] 1801: A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean and Round the World by George Vancouver 1801: Atala, by Francois Rene' de Chateaubriand, early example of romantic primitivism 1801: Thomas Jefferson, as President-elect, invites Meriwether Lewis Captain, First United States Infantry) to be his private secretary. Lewis had previously had volunteered for a transcontinental expedition that Jefferson failed to organize in 1792. Jefferson now sees a chance to launch this expedition, with Lewis qualified could lead it. During the next two years, Jefferson guides Lewis towards the scientific knowledge, technical capabilities, and specialized equipment needed for the epic journey. 1802: Spain closes New Orleans' port to U.S.A. cargo, in violation of the Treaty of San Lorenzo (1795). American rights are restored in under six months, but Spain still fears young America's intent for expansion. 1803: "The Temple of Nature" by Charles Darwin began to change how nature was perceived in fiction and nonfiction alike 1803: Thomas Jefferson asks Congress for money to send an expedition up the Missouri River and West to the Pacific. He hopes to discover whether or not a Northwest Passage (water route across the North America) exists. He also plans to later extend America's fur trade into the West. Not any of this territory is part of the United States at the time that Jefferson makes his appropriation request (January), yet he is already (via James Monroe) negotiating secretly to purchase the entire huge territory from France. April 1803: Napoleon has now agreed to sell the Louisiana Territory to the U.S.A. for $15,000,000, regardless of the fact that this transfer will violate the terms by which France had received the territory from Spain [see 1800: Treaty of San Ildefonso]. Congress approves the plan in October. Jefferson correctly planned that this proposed expedition will secure America's grip on its latest possession, simultaneously strengthening American claims within the Pacific Northwest region. 1803: Captain Meriwether Lewis departs Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on a unique keelboat (the Discovery), on his first leg of the transcontinental expedition. At Louisville, Kentucky, Captain William Clark joins him. Clark is a veteran frontier soldier, and youngest brother of William Rogers Clark (Western hero of the Revolutionary War). Lewis and Clark go up the Mississippi to Wood River, Illinois, across the Missouri's mouth, where they set up the winter camp where they complete preparations, and train their recruits for the next leg of the expedition. 14 May 1804: Under order of President Thomas Jefferson, the Lewis and Clark Expedition departs from St.Louis, Missouri, to chart a course to the Pacific Ocean. May 1804: Lewis and Clark stop along the Missouri River to visit Daniel Boone at his home near St. Charles. October 1804: Lewis and Clark reach the villages of the Mandan, where North Dakota is today. There, they establish winter quarters. In these months at "Fort Mandan", they get crucial data from the Indians about the Missouri river and the surrounding countryside. Fort Mandan they also add three new recruits to what was then 30 in the "Corp of Discovery": Toussaint Charbonneau (French trader/ interpreter), Charbonneau's wife, Sacagawea (Shonone woman previously kidnapped and raised by the Hidatsa tribe), and baby Charbonneau, whom Clark refers to as "Pompey." April 1805: Lewis and Clark continue by canoe, returning the Discovery down the Missouri, filled with scientific specimens. Soon they encounter the Yellowstone River. May 1805: Lewis and Clark first glimpse the Rocky Mountains. June 1805: Lewis and Clark portage around the Great Falls of the Missouri. July 1805: Lewis and Clark reach the upper forks of the Missouri. mid-August 1805: Lewis and Clark reach the navigable limits of the river. On foot, they leave the water, intending to cross the continental divide. Here they find the Shoshone. The tribe's chief, by an amazing coincidence, turns out to be Sacagawea' brother. No event in a fictional Western ever seems less likely, yet is true. September 1805: Sacagawea helps Lewis and Clark buy 30 horses from the Shoshone. Men, woman, and horses start the arduous path through the Bitterroot Mountains, where they battle snow and hunger. Coming down from the mountains, they are discovered by the Nez Perce tribe, who let them to chop down and hollow-out trees for five dugout canoes. The Nez Perce point them down the Clearwater River. 7 November1805: Having navigated the Clearwater to the Snake River, and the Snake River to the Columbia River, Lewis and Clark at last see the Pacific ocean, a major objective of the expedition. Now they establish Fort Clatsop, their winter quarters, named after a local Indian tribe. March 1806: Lewis and Clark leave the Pacific shoreline. April-July 1905: retracing their path, Lewis and Clark trek across the Bitterroots in July. July 1805: Lewis and Clark's Corp of Discovery splits: half (under Lewis) go cross-country to the Great Falls of the Missouri (with a side-trip north up the Marias River). Half (under Clark) travel the Yellowstone River. August 1805: Lewis and Clark's two parties merge near the Yellowstone River's mouth. 23 September 1805: Lewis and Clark's expedition arrive back in St. Louis to a hero's welcome -- most people assumed they'd all died along the way. With them is Big White (the Mandan chief) and Yellow Corn (the chief's wife). Both accompany Lewis,eventually meeting a delighted President Jefferson in Washington, D.C. 1806: Spanish officials in the Presidio (San Francisco), against prior plans, now offer to provision Russian colonists. Why? Because Russia's representative is engaged to marry the daughter of the Presidio's commander. 1806: Frontiersman Thomas Freeman and Captain Richard Sparks are appointed by President Jefferson to travel and map the Red River area where the United States borders on Tejas (the future Texas). 1806: Zebulon Pike's expedition leaves, hoping to brokert peace among the Pawnee tribes in Nebraska. The expedition also hopes to explore the headwaters of the Arkansas River. Zebulon Pike reaches Colorado, where on Thanksgiving Day his team tries and fails to climb what we know now as Pike's Peak (not successfully scaled until 1820). [see 1810: Pike's accounts published]. 1807: Zebulon Pike crosses the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, finds the Rio Grande, and icorrectly assumes that it's the Red River. Here he establishes an outpost, a Spanish patrol comes across him, and the Spanish accompany him to Santa Fe, then crosses into Mexico, and then takes him to the Tejas border near Natchitoches, Louisiana. There Zebulon Pike returns to the United States in June. He offically debriefs authorities about Southwest Spanish settlements and military forces. [see: 1810: Pike's account published] 1807: Lewis and Clark expedition had a team member John Colter who stayed in the West, trading furs. John Colter explores the Wyoming country and a region he calls "Colter's Hell," which we believe to be the geyser and hot springs country of present-day Yellowstone Park (the park being established in 1872). 1807: Fort Raymond, at the mouth of the Bighorn River, is founded by Manuel Lisa (fur trader). This is the first trading post in what today is the State of Montana. 1808: Cherokee Indians who had attacked Tennessee settlers are deported across the Mississippi into Arkansas by the U.S. government. 1808: John Jacob Astor, to compete with the North West Company of Canada, forms the American Fur Company in the northern Plains. 1809: The appointed governor of the Louisiana Territory, Meriwether Lewis, of the famous Lewis and Clark expedition, dies under mysterious and violently circumstances in a Natchez tavern while returning to Washington D.C., where he was scheduled to respond to charges of mismanagement. 1809: There are now 25 Russian American colonies up and down the northern Pacific coastline as far south as northern California. Return to Top of 19th century Timeline Page Major Books and Events of the Decade 1810-1820 1810: An Account of Expeditions to the Sources of the Mississippi and Through the Western Parts, by Zebulon M. Pike. [see 1806, 1807: Pike's expedition]. This account of Pike's expedition catapults him into national celebrity. 1810: The Pacific Fur Company is established by John Jacob Astor who desires to extend his trading empire to the Pacific. [see 1811: Astoria] 1810: King Kamehameha ("the Great") brings all of Hawaii under common rule, with the help of ex-British sailors who teach Kamehameha's troops how to sail heavy Euopean-design naval vessels, and how to use cannon and gunpowder in war. 1811: Fort Ross founded by Russian settlers just north of San Francisco, at Bodega Bay. 1811: John Jacob Astor's Pacific Fur Company establishes Fort Astoria at the Columbia River's mouth. There are shortly a profusion of rival traders' outposts, leading to the loss of Astoria in 1813. 1812: Great Britain and the United States battle in the War of 1812. 1812: Astoria, the Pacific Northwest outpost of John Jacob Astor, is bought by Canada's North West Company shortly before Astoria is militarily captured by a British warship (in the War of 1812). The former Astorians cross the continental divide south of the Wind River Range, and discover the South Pass. This is later part of the Oregon Trail. [see 1824: Brigades]. 1814: The History of the Expedition of Captains Lewis and Clark, edited by Nicholas Biddle and Paul Allen, with preface by Thomas Jefferson, becomes the first publication of the celebrated expedition's journals. 1814: The United States and Great Britain sign a treaty which ends the War of 1812. 1815: Hawaii's King Kamehameha banishes Russian fur traders from Hawaii after they try to establish a fort on his land. The very next year, Dr. Polidori published the short novel "The Vampyre: a Tale" as a result of the same 15-17 June 1816 conversation between Byron, Polidori, and the Shelleys that gave rise to "Frankenstein." In between, Byron published the related "A Fragment" (1817). That intense June period is portrayed in the 1986 Ken Russell film "Gothic" {film hotlink to be done}. 1817: founding of the popular "Blackwood's Magazine", probably the first periodical primarily filled with fiction Brian Aldiss today receives considerable support in claiming that Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein: or The Modern Prometheus" [London: Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor & Jones, 1818] was the first genuine science fiction novel. 1818: The border between the United States and Canada, from Lake of the Woods west to the Rocky Mountains, is agreed to be the 49th parallel. Oregon Territory shall be jointly occupied. 1819: The United States renounces all claims to Tejas in a treaty with Spain (which lasts 2 years), also bringing Florida under America's grip. 1820: Corps of Engineers' Major Stephen Long heads an expedition across Kansas to the Rocky Mountains. Dr. Edwin James, a member of Long's party, is the first human to scale Pikes Peak [see: 1806: Zebulon Pike]. On the map charting his travels, published in 1823, Major Stephen Long labels the area east of the Rockies "The Great American Desert," -- a designation that keeps settlers away from the area for decades. [see: 1822: publication about this expedition] Return to Top of 19th century Timeline Page Major Books of the Decade 1820-1830 1820: The States of Missouri and Maine join the union through the Missouri Compromise, which unfortunately spreads slavery to the American West. 1820: Over 20,000 Indians live in de facto slavery, after well-intentioned settlement of them on the California missions. 1821: American Moses Austin receives a land grant from Mexico to settle 300 families in Tejas. Mexican officials intend that decent Americans in the province will drive out American squatters flooding across the Louisiana border. Stephen Austin, son of Moses, in 1823, accomplishes a different objective. 1821: Russian Czar Alexander closes Alaskan waters to all foreign ships, thus extending the territory of the Russian American Company to the 51st parallel, penetrating a region area claimed by both the United States and Great Britain. Tensions rise. 1821: Mexico rebels against Spain; achieves independence. 1821: Starting at Franklin, Missouri, William Becknell leads a trading expedition to the southern Rockies, encountering there a Mexican patrol who tells them that Mexico is now an independent republic, free from Spain. Since restrictions against foreign traders have been relaxed, Becknell leads his group southwards to Santa Fe. There, they find eager buyers for their goods. He retraces the trip repeatedly for several years, thus blazing a new pathway beside the Cimmaron and Canadian Rivers. This becomes incorporated into the Santa Fe Trail. 1822: Account of an Expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains, by Edwin James, chronicles the Stephen H. Long expedition of 1822. 1822: Missouri business partners William Henry Ashley and Andrew Henry advertise for "enterprising young men" to join a fur trading expedition to the upper Missouri. Legendary riverman Mike Fink and the youthful Jedediah Smith are two of the many recruits. They establish an outpost near the mouth of the Yellowstone River, Fort Henry (eventually renamed Fort Union). Then they come to strong disagreement with the indigenous Arikara tribe, who will not easily relinquish their profitable middlemen status in the Missouri river trade. 1823: The Pioneers, by James Fenimore Cooper, first of the five Leatherstocking Tales; introduced western hero to England and Europe 1823: The first American settlement in Tejas is established by Stephen Austin on land originally granted by Mexico to his father Moses, beside the San Antonio River. Under this grant, all 300 families in the new colony are to become Roman Catholic Mexican citizens. It doesn't end up that way... 1823: Major Stephen Long leads another expedition [see 1820] up the Red River of the North, then along the 49th parallel, marking a point north of Pembina, North Dakota, as the official border between the United States of America and Canada. 1823: The angel Moroni reveals to Joseph Smith, living near Manchester, New York, a golden-plated book. His reputed studies of this book lead to The Book of Mormon [1830]. 1823: President James Monroe promulgates his "Monroe Doctrine" to ward off European intervention in North, Central, and South America. 1824: To regulate and settle disputes arising from trade with Indian tribes, the War Department establishes within itself The Bureau of Indian Affairs. 1824: The U.S. Army, consistent with the new Bureau of Indian Affairs, establishes outposts in today's Oklahoma, at Fort Towson on the Red River, and similarly Fort Gibson on the Arkansas River. This is a step in the plan to deport the Cherokee and Choctaw tribes from the Southeast to what the U.S. government has newly designated as the Indian Territory. 1824: The Czar and officials of Russia agree to place Russia's southern border with America in the Pacific northwest at 54 degrees, 40 minutes ("54: 40 or fight!"), and to permit American vessels within the former 100-mile limit Russia had established around its Pacific territories. 1824: Business partners William Ashley and Andrew Henry, having failed to establish their trading post on the upper Missouri River, against Indian resistance, revolutionize the previously river-based fur trade by sending brigades (small bands of trappers) overland into the mountains on horseback. An early brigade, led by Jedediah Smith, rediscovers the South Pass in western Wyoming, that same pass where refugees from Astoria [see 1812] had crossed the Continental Divide a decade before. Beyond that, the brgades exploited the fur-rich Green River valley. Before 1825, Ashley himself leads a larger expedition to join Smith in the area. 1824: A young scout for the Ashley expedition, Jim Bridger, treks past the Green River valley, descends down into Utah, and is arguably first white to see Great Salt Lake. "Hell, we are on the shores of the Pacific," he purportedly declared, upon tasting the salty waters. 1825: William Ashley completes his upheaval of the fur trade by splitting his expedition into small groups. Each one independently traps and explores all Spring. Then, in late Summer, they meet up at Henry's Fork on the Green River. This re-meeting becomes the first "rendezvous" -- thus bringing trappers in Ashley's company and also free-trappers and Indians. Through 1840, the annual rendezvous replaces the trading post as the viable economic structure in the Rocky Mountain fur trade. The free-trappers, shortly calling themselves Mountain Men -- soon overcome the trading company agents as the business model for frontier commerce. 1825: The United States government starts exchanging Indian lands in the East for public land in the West. The stated policy is for the Native American tribes to live beyond state jurisdiction and organize their own forms of government. This is not what is done -- two centuries of neglect and impovershment and exploitation of these tribes by the malicious and indifferent government, breaking every treaty. 1826: Francis Berrian, by Timothy Flint, first novel in English set in the American Southwest. 1826: In search of new trapping grounds, Jedediah Smith leads the first overland party of Americans to California. Starting at the Great Salt Lake basin, Jedediah Smith's expedition parallels the Colorado River, crosses over the southern Rockies, trudges through the Mojave Desert to Mission San Gabriel (near where Your Humble Webmaster builds this web site), then north through the fertile San Joaquin valley. There Smith's party tries to cross back over the mountains along the American River. He leaves most of his group in California, then Smith and two companions search for and find a way through the Sierras, crossing the Great Basin (a desert) and reaching the rendezvous of 1827. 1827: Western Monthly Review (1827-1830), first magazine published west of the Allegheny Mountains; Timothy Flint begins publication 1827: Planning to sell lumber in California, Dr. John McLoughlin, director of the Hudson's Bay Company, establishes at at Fort Vancouver the first lumber mill in the Pacific northwest. 1828: The United States Senate ratifies a treaty that sets the Sabine River as the border between the United States and Mexico. 1828: Jedediah Smith, rejoining his expedition in California, leads northwards into Oregon. There only Smith and three others escape an Indian massacre on the Umpqua River. The four survivors flee to the Hudson's Bay Company outpost at Fort Vancouver. 1828: In Arkansas, the Cherokees agree to give up their land and, in exchange settle in the Indian Territory west of the Mississippi. What happens in 1830 as a result is horrible. 1829: Tokeah; or, The White Rose by Charles Sealsfield (Karl Postl) 1829: Mexico refuses an American offer to buy Tejas for $5 million. So America stole it, fair and square... Return to Top of 19th century Timeline Page Major Books and Events of the Decade 1830-1840 1830: The Pre-emption Act is approved by the U.S. Congress. This grants settlers the right to purchase, for $1.25 per acre, 160 acres of public land, if they have cultivated it for at least 12 months. This is supposed to offer "squatters" a measure of protection against speculators who purchase lands that they have already worked and improved. 1830: Partners Jedediah Smith and William Sublette in the successor to William Ashley's trading company, lead the first wagon train across the Rocky Mountains, through South Pass, to the Upper Wind River. This 500-mile journey through Indian country takes about six weeks. Now heavily loaded wagons and livestock can travel overland to the Pacific. Settlement of the American West is now possible. 1830: The Book of Mormon published by Joseph Smith, who founds the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). 1830: Passed with strong support from President Andrew Jackson, the Indian Removal Act, lets the U.S. government negotiate treaties with Eastern tribes of Native Americans, to exchange their lands for purportedly equivalent land in the West. All costs of migration and financial aid to assist Indian resettlement are "generously" provided by the government. Andy Jackson then rams through a treaty to remove and deport the Choctaw tribe from Mississippi within the year. 1830: Disturbed by the exploding number of Americans in the Mexican territory of Tejas, Mexico imposes strict bounds on further American immigration. Ironically, a century and a half later, Americans resent immigration across the same border by Mexicans... 1831: The Personal Narrative of James O. Pattie, by James Ohio Pattie, early travel narrative of California and the Southwest 1831: Suffering religious persecution in his native New York, Joseph Smith leads his followers to Kirtland, Ohio, where they intend build "a new Zion." 1831: The Nez Perce' send their delegation to St. Louis, Missouri, requesting white teachers for their people. This starts a Christian missionary movement to the Northwest. 1831: In the lawsuit Cherokee Nation v. State of Georgia, a dispute over Georgia's trying to extend its jurisdiction over Cherokee territory, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall denies Indians the right to court protection because they are not -- he rules -- subject to the laws of the U.S. Constitution. He describes Indian tribes as "domestic dependent nations," saying that each is "a distinct political entity...capable of managing its own affairs." 1832: "The Fall of Poland" by Albert Pike, in his Prose Sketches and Poems Written in the Western Country; first poem in English by a white and composed in the West 1832: The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Worcester v. State of Georgia, that the federal government, not the states, has jurisdiction over Indian territories. The case focuses on a missionary living among the Cherokees, Samuel A. Worcester, who was jailed for refusing to comply with a Georgia law that required all whites residing on Indian land to swear an oath of allegiance to the state. Chief Justice John Marshall, in ruling against Georgia's actions, writes that Indian tribes must be treated "as nations" by the U.S. federal government, and that state laws "can have no force" on their territories. In defyiance of the court, Georgia keeps Samuel A. Worcester in jail. President Andrew Jackson, asked to resolve the conflict, says, "The Chief Justice has made his ruling; now let him enforce it." 1832: George Catlin starts his travels up the Missouri River, going more than 2,000 miles with American Fur Company trappers to their Fort Union outpost, painting hundreds of portraits of Indians and Indian life along the way. [see 1841: North American Indians, by George Catlin] 1833:Edgar Allan Poe publishes "MS Found in a Bottle" 1833: American settlers led by Stephen Austin, at the San Felipe Convention (held in San Felipe de Austin) vote to make Tejas a Mexican state, instead of a dependent territory. They draft a state constitution based on that of the United States. Stephen Austin himself hand-carries the proposal to Mexico City, where Mexican President Santa Anna agrees to repeal the 1830 law that limited American immigration. Still, Santa Anna refuses to grant Tejas statehood. 1833: His revolver is perfected by Samuel Colt. It becomes an icon of Westerns in fiction, film, and television in the century to come. 1833: Prince Maximillian (noted German naturalist) and Karl Bodmer (Swiss painter), travel up the Missouri river in George Catlin's footsteps [see 1832], to observe and record, in words and pictures, Indian life. 1833: Under U.S. Army guard, the Choctaw complete their forced removal (deportation) to the West. 1834: The U.S. Congress restructures the War Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs into the new Department of Indian Affairs. Congress expands the agency's mandate to include both regulation of trade with the tribes, as before, plus administration of Indian lands of the West. This leads, in a year, to the Seminole War. 1834: William Sublette and Robert Campbell establish Fort Laramie on the North Platte River in Wyoming. This becomes the first permanent trading post in the area; soon to be an important stopping point for pioneers traveling along the Oregon Trail. 1835: A Tour on the Prairies, by Washington Irving 1835: Florida's Seminoles reject forced removal to the West. They start a seven-year war of resistance, led by Chief Osceola. 1835: James Fenimore Cooper: "The Monikins" (monkey society near the North Pole) 1835: The Cherokee finally sign a treaty of removal, giving up their lands in Georgia for territory in present-day Oklahoma. 1835: Santa Anna (Mexican President) proclaims himself dictator. He tries to disarm the Americans in Tejas, by sending troops to reclaim a cannon that Mexico gave to the settlers to protect them against against Indian attacks. When the Americans resist at an engagement near Gonzales on the Guadalupe River, this marks the start of the Texas War for Independence. 1835: At a Consultation held in San Felipe de Austin, members of Stephen Austin's American colony issue the Declaration of the People of Texas -- which proclaims their independence of Santa Anna's government on the grounds that Santa Anna violated the Mexican constitution in proclaiming himself dictator. 1836: Astoria, by Washington Irving 1836: Texans at Washington-on-the-Brazos, vote a Declaration of Independence, appoint an interim government and elect Sam Houston (former governor of Tennessee) to be commander-in-chief of the army. Sam Houston orders his troops to withdraw from the fortress-like Alamo in San Antonio and the fortified town of Goliad. He is convinced that he can defeat Santa Anna's superior numbers only by drawing his army into a chase. The headstrong defenders of the Alamo and Goliad ignore Houston's commands. 1836: "Remember the Alamo!" Santa Anna leads a force of 5,000 soldiers into San Antonio to quash the Texas rebellion. On 6 March 1836, in a violent show of force, the Mexicans overwhelm 187 Texans at the Alamo. Colonels William B. Travis, James Bowie (of the Bowie knife) and Davie Crockett perish in the bloody massacre, which costs as many as 1,600 Mexican lives. A few weeks later, to the south, some 300 Texans, commanded by James W. Fannin, are defeated and captured near Goliad. Continuing his tyrannical policies, Santa Anna orders them all executed. 1836: Santa Anna, setting out in pursuit of Sam Houston's army, crosses the Brazos in hopes of capturing the newly formed Texas government at Harrisburg. The government there had been urging Sam Houston to stand and fight. When the government eluded him, Santa Anna turned back to intercept Houston's men along the San Jacinto River. But Houston, aware of his enemy's movements, launches a surprise attack along the San Jacinto in which the Mexicans are routed and Santa Anna is taken captive. Negotiating from a field cot with a bullet- shattered leg, Sam Houston secures Santa Anna's agreement to withdraw all his forces from Texas and to recognize Texan independence. 1836: When he gets back to Mexico, Santa Anna is forced into retirement. His agreement to recognize Texan independence is denounced. For a decade, Mexican and Texan troops continue to war, through intermittent border clashes. Fall 1836: Sam Houston outpolls Stephen Austin 4-to-1, and so is elected the first President of the Republic of Texas. Texans vote to seek annexation by the United States. 1836: The Whitman party (Dr. Marcus Whitman, his wife Narcissa, Narcissa's former suitor -- Rev. H. H. Spalding -- and Spalding's wife, Eliza) responding to the 1831 Nez Perce request for teachers. The party travels what will soon be known as the Oregon Trail, arriving at the junction of the Columbia and Snake Rivers. There they establish a mission to bring Christianity to the Indians of the northwest. Narcissa and Eliza are the first white women to cross the Rocky Mountains; so their group is arguably the first party of settlers to travel overland to the West. 1837: The Adventures of Captain Bonneville, by Washington Irving 1837: Bowing to abolitionist opponents who call it a "slavocracy," Congress refuses to annex Texas. Then President Andrew Jackson officially recognizes the Republic of Texas on his last day in office. 1838: Joseph Smith, Mormon founder, leads his religiously persecuted followers to Missouri, to settle at a site he calls "the Garden of Eden." Local opponents again force the settlers to flee, this time into Illinois, where they establish Nauvoo. 1838: General Winfield Scott leads the forced removal (deportation) of the Cherokee tribe from Georgia to the Indian Territory of the West along the "Trail of Tears." 1839: Narrative of a Journey Across the Rocky Mountains and the Colorado River to the Sandwich Islands, by John K. Townsend Return to Top of 19th century Timeline Page Major Events and Books of the Decade 1840-1850 1840: Two Years Before the Mast, by Richard Henry Dana, travel account dealing in part with Spanish California 1840: The final rendezvous on the Green River marks the end of the mountain trapping era, as fashion changes in Europe, while and steady declines in the over-trapped beaver population make the fur trade barely profitable. 1840: Texas, in its continuing hostilities with Mexico, allies itself with Mexican rebels in the southern state of Yucatan, sending a small navy to blockade Mexican ports. Texans also lend support to anti-government forces in Mexico's northern states, providing a target for Mexican nationalists who hope to unify their strife-torn country by stirring up hatred of a common enemy. 1841: Das Kabtenbuch (The Cabin Book) by Charles Sealsfield (Karl Postl) 1841: John Sutter buys Fort Ross north of San Francisco, thus ending Russia's 30-year presencein California. Sutter dismantles the settlement and carries it to his newly established Fort Sutter at the junction of the Sacramento and American Rivers. 1841: North American Indians, by painter George Catlin [see 1832: George Catlin starts his travels] 1 May 1841: First emigrant wagon train leaves for California. Forty-seven people leave Independence, Missouri. John Bidwell organizes the Western Emigration Society and leads the first wagon train of pioneers across the Rockies, a party of 69 adults and children who divide into two groups after crossing South Pass. One group heads north into Oregon, while the other, led by Bidwell, continues west to California, suffering desperate hardship and near starvation before arriving in Sacramento, where Bidwell finds work with John Sutter. 4 November 1841: First emigrant wagon train reaches California. 1842: Settlement of Oregon begins via the Oregon Trail. 1842: Lieutenant John C. Fremont of the Army Topographical Corps leads a scientific expedition into the Rocky Mountains. They are guided by the mountain man Kit Carson. Crossing into mountains at South Pass, John C. Fremont explores the Wind River Mountain region, pausing to plant a specially prepared flag on a high peak which he names for himself. On his return, Fremont's account of the expedition and expert maps are ordered published by Congress. Once again, exploration leads to books, which lead to more exploration. The West depends on this interaction of life and literature. 1842: Gold! Francisco Lopez discovers gold dust in the roots of an onion he dug up for lunch, touching off a local gold rush to San Feliciano Canyon near Los Angeles, but news of the discovery is largely ignored elsewhere. [see 1848: Gold at Sutter's Mill] 1842: Mexican troops strike San Antonio, responding to years of harassment along the Texas border. They kill many of the town's defenders and carry off many others as prisoners. This action, called "Dawson's Massacre," leads to the removal of the Texas capital from Austin to Washington-on-the-Brazos, and to a retaliatory attack on Santa Fe. 1843: The Travels and Adventures of Monsieur R. Violet in California, Sonora, and Western Texas, by Frederick Marryat 1843: Veteran mountain men Jim Bridger and Louis Vasquez establish Fort Bridger on the Green River to re-supply migrants traveling the Oregon Trail. Theirs is perhaps the first mountain outpost not designed as a trading post for trappers. Pioneers have replaced the fur trade as the engine of change. 1843: Letters and Sketches, by Father Pierre De Smet 1843: "The Great Migration, a party of one thousand pioneers, heads west from Independence, Missouri, on the Oregon Trail, guided by Dr. Marcus Whitman, who is returning to his mission on the Columbia River. Forming a train of more than one hundred wagons, and trailing a herd of 5,000 cattle, the pioneers travel along the south bank of the Platte, then cross north to Fort Laramie in Wyoming. Here they follow the North Platte to the Sweetwater, which leads up into South Pass. Once through the pass, they cross the Green River Valley to newly established Fort Bridger, then turn north to Fort Hall on the Snake River, which leads them to Whitman's Mission. Once in Oregon, they strike out along the Columbia for the fertile lands of the Willamette Valley, the endpoint to a journey of 2,000 miles. After the mass exodus of 1843, the migration to Oregon becomes an annual event, with thousands more making the trek every year." 1843: Travels in the Great Western Prairies, by Thomas J. Farnham 1843: Joseph Smith writes down his revelation that plural marriage should be a practice of the Mormon church. 1843: Once again in power in Mexico, President Santa Anna warns that American annexation of Texas will be considered an act of war. 1843: John C. Fremont, again guided by Kit Carson, launches a more ambitious expedition into the West, traveling from the Great Salt Lake north into Oregon, then across the Sierra Nevada Mountains into California, and finally eastward across what Fremont calls the "Great Basin" and over the Wasatch Mountains to the Arkansas River in Colorado. Fremont's report, published in 1844, again by Congressional order, becomes a best-seller. His map of the West becomes a travel guide to pioneers on the Oregon Trail. [see 1846: Narrative of the Exploring Expedition] 1844: Narrative of the Texan-Santa Fe' Expedition, by George Wilkins Kendall 1844: An annexation treaty between Texas and the United States is negotiated by John C. Calhoun, but abolitionists block its ratification by the U.S. Senate. 1844: Commerce of the Prairies, by Josiah Gregg 1844: Mormon leader Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, are killed by a mob at Carthage, Illinois. Brigham Young becomes the new head of the church. 1844: With the slogan "54-40 or Fight", James K. Polk is elected President. This is a promise to set the disputed northern border of the Oregon Territory at 54 degrees, 40 minutes by diplomacy or war. It is also an implicit promise to expand American territories in every direction. 1845: Manifest Destiny: John L. Sullivan, editor of the United States Magazine and Democratic Review, criticizes American temerity toward Mexico and argues that it is "our Manifest Destiny...to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions." 1845: President John Tyler, about to finish his White House term, signs a congressional joint resolution to annex Texas and make it part of the Union. In response, Mexico (as warned) severs diplomatic relations with the United States. When Texas accepts annexation, newly-elected President James K. Polk sends a force under General Zachary Taylor to the Mexican border. 1845: "James K. Polk sends a representative to Mexico City to offer financial compensation for the loss of Texas, and to explore whether Mexico will sell the territories of California and New Mexico for a combined $40 million. Insulted, the Mexicans reject the American proposals and prepare for war. Texas enters the Union at year's end." 1846: Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains in the Year 1842, by John C. Fremont [see 1843: John C. Fremont, again guided by Kit Carson...] March 1846: "American troops under Zachary Taylor cross the Nueces River, which Mexico regards as the Texas border, and take up positions along the Rio Grande, which is the border Texans claim. In response to this provocation, a brigade of 1,600 Mexicans crosses the river in late April, they overwhelm an American cavalry patrol and then wait for the main body of the Mexican army to press the attack. When word of this encounter reaches Washington, President Polk takes the opportunity to declare war on Mexico." May 1846: "Nearly 4,000 Mexican soldiers have converged on Palo Alto, where they surprise Taylor's 3,000 troops on an open field. Bringing his light field artillery to the front, Taylor turns back the Mexican charge, forcing a retreat. The battle is an early example of the carnage to come when industrial age weaponry confronts traditional battlefield tactics. Over the next two years, more than 13,000 Americans die in the Mexican War, which prepares a generation of military leaders for the Civil War." 1846: "Britain and the United States reach a compromise in the Pacific Northwest, setting the Oregon Territory's northern border at the 49th parallel." 1846: "In March, John C. Fremont, on his third expedition through the West, raises the American flag over California at an improvised fort near Monterey, but he soon abandons his impetuous efforts and turns toward Oregon. On the way, however, he receives word of the impending Mexican War and returns to California to play a part in its conquest." 1846: "In June, Fremont joins forces with a group of Americans who capture Mariano Vallejo, the amicable commandante of the Sonora region, and proclaim California an independent republic. But their 'Bear Flag Revolt,' named for its distinctive banner, comes to an end in July, when American naval forces arrive in Monterey and take control of the port without firing a shot." 1846: "Over the following months, American troops under Commodore Robert F. Stockton, aided by Fremont's so-called California Battalion, capture San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles without bloodshed. In Los Angeles, however, the American occupation force stirs up violent resentment, and by October they are driven out by a guerrila force led by Anres Pico, brother of the departed California governor." 1846: "Stockton's first attempt to regain control of Los Angeles is repulsed, and while he regroups, an American force arrives from New Mexico, commanded by General Stephen Kearny. Attacked by Pico's insurgents at San Pascual, Kearny's troops suffer heavy losses, but with Stockton's aid they reach safety in San Diego. Early the next year, Stockton, Kearny and Fremont combine forces to recapture Los Angeles, with Fremont accepting the insurgents' surrender in the Capitulation of Cahuenga on January 13." 1846: Trapped by heavy snows when it attempts to follow the "Hastings Cutoff" through the Sierra Nevada Mountains into California, the Donner Party is driven to cannibalism as it attempts to survive the winter. 1847: The Lost Trappers, by David H. Coyner 1847: After violent clashes with settlers over polygamy, Mormons leave Nauvoo, Illinois, and head for the West under Brigham Young. They eventually settle at Salt Lake City, Utah. "Driven from Nauvoo by violent mobs, the Mormons head west under the leadership of Brigham Young, travelling with the organization of a military campaign. They establish Winter Quarters near present-day Omaha, Nebraska, but despite their preparations, suffer near starvation and a cholera epidemic that claims 600 lives. At Winter Quarters Brigham Young assembles a 'Mormon Battalion' of 500 volunteers to fight in the Mexican War, though by the time they reach California early in 1847, the conquest there is complete." 1847: Commodore Stockton appoints John C. Fremont governor of California, but he is soon arrested by General Kearny, who is under orders to act as governor of the province himself. Kearny ships Fremont back to Washington, where he is convicted of disobeying orders and dismissed from the Army. 1847: Brigham Young leads an advance party along the Mormon Trail into the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, where they arrive on July 23 to begin creating a secure refuge for their church. Before the day is over, these first settlers begin digging irrigation ditches and planting crops. And even before the thousands following behind them arrive, Brigham Young begins laying out the streets of Salt Lake City." 1847: "Cayuse warriors massacre Dr. Marcus Whitman, his wife, Narcissa, and twelve others at Waiilatpu, their mission on the Columbia River in reprisal for deaths caused by a measles epidemic among their tribe." 1848: Die Flusspiraten des Mississippi (River Pirates of the Mississippi) by Friedrich Gerstucker 24 January 1848: Gold discovered in California. James Marshall, a veteran of the Bear Flag Revolt, discovers gold on the American River at Coloma while building a lumber mill for John Sutter. A brief report of the discovery appears in a San Francisco newspaper in mid-March, where it goes mostly unnoticed. [see 1842: Gold! Francisco Lopez] February 1848: Mexico ceded claims to Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and portions of Colorado. USA pays Mexico $15 million. May 1848: "Sam Brannan, a Mormon elder who owns a store near Sutter's Fort, arrives in San Francisco with a bottle of gold dust and a plan to draw potential customers for his supplies. Walking through the streets with the gold dust in his hand, he shouts, "Gold! Gold from the American River!" Brannan's publicity stunt sets off a gold rush that will draw fortune-hunters from around the world." 1848: James Fenimore Cooper: "The Crater" (utopian culture on newly-risen islands) 1848: The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo ends the Mexican War, giving the United States Texas, California, New Mexico and other territories in the southwest. 1848: A huge flock of sea gulls arrives providentially in the Salt Lake Valley to devour a swarm of crickets that had threatened to destroy the Mormons' crops. 1848: In December, PresidentJames K. Polk confirms the discovery of gold in California, sparking a nationwide stampede to the West. 1849: first western humorist George Horatio Derby (John Phoenix) arrives in California 1849: "Forty-niners heading for California's gold fields expand the network of trails across the continent, as wagon trains stretch across the plains and struggle through the mountains as far as the eye can see. Forty-niners also come west by ship, sailing around Cape Horn or crossing by canoe and donkey train through the jungles of Panama." 1849: Forty-niners pioneer the boomtown life that will follow miners throughout the West, a life of desperately hard work hardened by gambling, drinking, violence and vigilante justice. "Pretty Juanita," convicted of murder after stabbing a man who had tried to rape her, becomes the first person hanged in the California mining camps. She gives a laugh and a salute as the rope pulls tight." 1849: 80,000 prospectors emigrate to California to follow the gold boom. "By year's end, more than 80,000 fortune-seekers have made their way to California from every corner of the world, nearly tripling the territory's population." 1849: The California and Oregon Trail, by Francis Parkman 1849: Alarmed at the sudden incursion of "Gentiles" drawn west in search of gold, Brigham Young organizes the Perpetual Emigrating Company to help Mormon converts in England and Europe make the trip to Utah and so increase the Mormon population there. 1849: Life in the Far West, by George Frederick Ruxton, Englishman's views of mountain men, Indians, and traders Return to Top of 19th century Timeline Page Major Books of the Decade 1850-1860 1850: Wah-To-Yah and the Taos Trail, by Lewis H. Garrard, classic account of trapper life by American teenager 1850: California becomes a State of the United States of America. 1850: El Dorado, by Bayard Taylor 1850: Tiloukaikt, tribal chief, and four other Cayuse Indians are hanged in Oregon City for the Whitman massacre. They'd then turned themselves in, so that the rest of the tribe would not be punished. On his way to the gallows, Tiloukaikt said: "Did not your missionaries teach us that Christ died to save his people? So we die to save our people." 1850: Miners, '49-ers, occupy and ecologically destroy so much land that many Native Americans in California lose their traditional food sources. Driven by hunger, they raid mining towns and other settlements of the whites. In reprisal, miners hunt Indians down and brutally attack and murder them. The California legislature responds with the "Indenture Act" -- establishing a type of legal slavery for the Indians, by letting whites declare them vagrant, and then auctioning off their services for up to four months. The shameful law also allows whites to indenture Indian children, with the permission of a parent or friend. The law provokes widespread kidnapping of Indian children, crassly sold as "apprentices." 1850: Miners from Australia, Canada, Mexico, South America, and elsewhere are taking gold that "belongs to the people of the United States", according to some American miners. The California legislature responds with a "Foreign Miners' Tax" requiring all miners who are not native or naturalized citizens of the United States to buy a license at the ruinous cost of $20 per month. Near the mines, foreign miners stage protest demonstrations, rapidly escalate to violence, and within a year the tax is repealed. It will be reinstituted in 1852 at the final rate of $4 per month. 1850: The real fortune was not in gold, but in the economy that grew around the miners. Levi Strauss, in 1850, starts manufacturing heavyweight trousers for gold miners, made of the twilled cotton cloth known as "genes" in France. Levi Strauss had originally planned to make tents, but finding no market, made his fortune in pants. 1851: The Scalp Hunters, by Mayne Reid 1851: The United States and representatives of the Lakota, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Crow, Arikara, Assiniboin, Mandan, Gros Ventre and other tribes sign the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851, intended to insure peace on the plains. The treaty comes as increasing numbers of whites -- gold seekers, settlers and traders -- make the trek westward, and as Native Americans react to this invasion by attacking wagon trains and, more often, warring against one another for territorial advantage. The treaty divides the plains into separate tracts assigned to each tribe, who agree to remain on their own land, to cease their attacks on each other and on white migrants and to recognize the right of the United States to establish roads and military outposts within their territories. In return, the United States pledges that each tribe will retain possession of its assigned lands forever, that they will be protected by U.S. troops from white intruders and that they will each receive $50,000 in supplies and provisions annually for the next fifty years. Both sides agree to settle any future disputes, whether between tribes or between Indians and whites, through restitution. Unfortunately, the chiefs who sign the Fort Laramie Treaty do not have the authority over their tribes that the United States negotiators assume, and the negotiators themselves cannot deliver the protections and fair treatment they promise. 1851: James Savage becomes the first white man to enter Yosemite Valley while pursuing a band of Indians who had raided several trading posts in the region. 1851: Federal commissioners attempting to halt the brutal treatment of Indians in California negotiate eighteen treaties with various tribes and village groups, promising them 8.5 million acres of reservation lands. California politicians succeed in having the treaties secretly rejected by Congress in 1852, leaving the native peoples of the state homeless within a hostile white society. 1851: John L. Soule, in an editorial in the Terre Haute Express, advises: "Go West, young man, go West." But New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley gets credit for the line. 1852: Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, stimulates public opinion against slavery, and in response and hardens the position of its defenders in the South. 1852: By year's end, more than 20,000 Chinese immigrants have come to America, all but 17 arriving at San Francisco to join in the search for gold. Most are part of a Cantonese emigrant labor pool that has worked throughout South Asia for generations, and they view California as but another place to practice their itinerant trade. In most cases, they arrive indebted to Chinese merchants who have paid for their passage, and this network of debt, reinforced by village and kinship loyalties, makes the immigrant Chinese community highly organized and, at the same time, keeps it insulated from mainstream American society. Thus, even in the remotest mining camp, the Chinese live within a system of obligations that links back to their home. [SEE: ANTI-CHINESE SENTIMENT IN SAN FRANCISCO 1853] 1853: Pen Knife Sketches; or, Chips of the Old Block, by Alonzo Delano 1853: Willamette University in Oregon becomes the first university west of the Rockies. 1853: Kong Chow Temple is established in San Francisco, the first Buddhist temple in the United States. 1853: "Domingo Ghirardelli begins selling rich chocolates to rich San Franciscans, establishing a confectionary that will become a landmark of the city's skyline." 1853: "California begins confining its remaining Indian population on harsh military reservations, but the combination of legal enslavement and near genocide has already made California the site of the worst slaughter of Native Americans in United States history. As many as 150,000 Indians lived in the state before 1849; by 1870, fewer than 30,000 will remain." 1853: "San Francisco's newspaper, the Alta California, criticizes the emergence of Chinatown, a concentration of about 25,000 Chinese immigrants along Dupont Street [now Grant Avenue] in the heart of the city: 'They seem to have driven out everything and everybody else.' In the gold fields, anti-Chinese prejudice leads to a ruling that Chinese miners can only work claims that white miners have abandoned as worthless. Still they manage, through persistence and organization, to recover enough gold to stir fresh resentment against them." [see: ANTI-CHINESE RIOTS IN WASHINGTON 1855] 1853: "Mexico agrees to the Gadsden Purchase, selling a strip of land running along Mexico's northern border between Texas and California for $10 million. Intended as the route for a railroad connecting the Mississippi to the Pacific, the territory goes undeveloped when the approach of the Civil War causes the project to be put aside." [see: PACIFIC RAILROAD ACT 1862] 1854: The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta, the Celebrated California Bandit, by John Rollin Ridge, first novel by a Native American 1854: The Grains, or Passages in the Life of Ruth Rover, by Margaret Jewett Bailey, first novel of the Northwest 1854: Across the Plains and Among the Diggings, by Alonzo Delano 1854: "British Baronet Sir George Gore organizes a 6,000-mile buffalo hunting expedition on the Great Plains, leaving Fort Leavenworth for a three-year adventure. By this time, the increasing presence of travelers on the plains has divided the buffalo into a northern and southern herd, where once they roamed freely from Kansas into the Dakotas. Gore's expedition represents a more direct threat to the herd, and to the Indian peoples for whom the buffalo defines a way of life." [see: SHERIDAN TARGETS BUFFALO IN PLAINS WAR 1866] 1854: "Conquering Bear, the Lakota chief who signed the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851, is killed when troops from Fort Laramie storm into his encampment to arrest a warrior who had shot a Mormon calf. Meeting resistance, the troops open fire. All but one of the troopers is killed in the Lakota counterattack, and in retaliation the army sends a force against the band which kills 86 and carries off 70 women and children. Though Conquering Bear had offered to make restitution for the calf, as the treaty required, the incident instead proves to the Lakota that Americans cannot be trusted to keep their word." [see: SAND CREEK MASSACRE 1864] 1854: "After much bitter debate, Congress approves the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which repeals the Missouri Compromise of 1820 by allowing these two territories to choose between slavery and free soil." [see: CONFRONTATION IN KANSAS 1855] 1854: "The Republican Party, born out of opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, declares its opposition to slavery and privilege, and its support for new railroads, free homesteads and the opening of Western lands by free labor. [see: FREMONT RUNS FOR PRESIDENT 1856] 1855: Female Life Among the Mormons, by Mrs. Maria Ward 1855: "A pro-slavery legislature is elected in Kansas when 6,300 ballots are cast in a region with only 3,000 voters. Intimidation and ballot-box stuffing by 'border ruffians' from neighboring Missouri account for the result. Later in the year, free-soil supporters hold a convention at Topeka, where they declare the pro-slavery legislature illegal and draft a constitution calling for the territory's admission to the union as a free state." [see next paragraph] 1855: "Abolitionists in New England and other parts of the North form Emigrant Aid Societies to send anti-slavery activists into Kansas, where they can vote to keep it free. In Georgia and Alabama similar societies send in settlers who will vote in defense of slavery." [see: BLEEDING KANSAS 1856] 1855: "The Puget Sound Anti-Chinese Congress, meeting in Seattle, votes to frighten Chinese into leaving the state. In Tacoma, a mob led by the mayor, sheriff and deputies rampages through the Chinese district throwing Chinese immigrants out of town. U.S. troops arrive to put down the riot and arrest those responsible." [see: CHINESE IMMIGRATION 1859] 1856: Phoenixiana, by George Horatio Derby 1856: The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth, as dictated to T. D. Bonner 1856: "Stirred by the impunity of the pro-slavery forces in Kansas, John Brown, a militant abolitionist, leads his sons in a night raid on pro-slavery settlers living along Pottawatomie Creek. Five men are dragged from their cabins and massacred. In reaction, pro-slavery forces rampage through Lawrence, Kansas, a free-soil stronghold, killing one man. Daniel Woodson, the territory's recently appointed pro-slavery governor, declares Kansas in a state of open insurrection, as a force of 300 pro-slavery men attacks Brown at Osawatomie, where he and forty supporters drive them off. Later in the year, Brown leaves Kansas to continue his war against slavery in the east. [see: LECOMPTON CONSTITUTION IN KANSAS 1857 ; JOHN BROWN EXECUTED 1859] By the way, John Brown's sons moved to Altadena, California, less than a mile from the home of Your Humble Webmaster 1856: "John C. Fremont becomes the first Republican candidate for the Presidency, pledging to eradicate the 'twin relics of barbarism,' polygamy and slavery. He wins 11 states in the election, but loses to James Buchanan." [see: LINCOLN WINS REPUBLICAN VICTORY 1860] 1857: The Northwest Coast, by James G. Swan 1857: A Live Woman in the Mines, by Alonzo Delano 1857: "Responding to complaints by federal officials in Utah and national outrage over the Mormon practice of plural marriage, President James Buchanan sends U. S. troops to impose federal law in Utah. To the Mormons, this appears the onset of another persecution, which Brigham Young is determined to resist. Rather than engage in battle, however, he attacks the federal troops' supply lines, burning Fort Bridger, destroying supply trains and setting fire to the plains to deprive the advancing army of forage for its horses. At the same time, he readies a plan to evacuate and destroy Salt Lake City, should the federal troops get through." [see: next paragraph] 1857: "In this atmosphere, a wagon train of non-Mormon settlers moving through southern Utah on their way to California falls victim to Mormon fears. Paiutes besiege the settlers at Mountain Meadows in southern Utah and call on local Mormons to help destroy them, or face attack from the Indians themselves. Perceiving the settlers as part of the general threat to their community, the Mormons, led by John D. Lee, lure them from their wagon train and, with Paiute help, murder all but a few of the children. Whether Brigham Young approved this Mountain Meadows Massacre is unclear, but once aware of it, he does nothing to help federal authorities find the murderers." [see: "MORMON WAR" ENDS 1858] 1857: "In Kansas, pro-slavery forces meeting at Lecompton draft a constitution making the territory a slave state. They submit to local voters only the question whether they approve a 'constitution with slavery.' Free-soil supporters boycott this election, and the 'constitution with slavery' is submitted to Congress. But the free-soilers convince the territory's acting governor to convene a special session of the legislature, which calls for a second vote on the Lecompton constitution itself. In this referendum, Kansans reject the pro-slavery constitution by an overwhelming margin." [see: LECOMPTON CONSTITUTION REJECTED AGAIN 1858] 1858: Personal Memoirs, by Juan Seguin 1858: Les Trappeurs de l'Arkansas (The Trappers of Arkansas), by Gustave Aimard 1858: "Political supporters secure a federal pardon for the Mormon's alleged violations of federal law, and two weeks later federal troops move through a nearly deserted Salt Lake City to establish an outpost forty miles away, bringing the 'Mormon War' to a close." [see: CONGRESS OUTLAWS MORMON PLURAL MARRIAGE 1862] 1858: "President Buchanan, under pressure from the South, urges Congress to admit Kansas to the union under the Lecompton constitution. Instead the House calls for yet another vote. Kansans again reject the pro-slavery constitution by nearly ten-to-one." [see: WYANDOTTE CONVENTION IN KANSAS 1859] 1858: "The first non-stop stage coach from St. Louis arrives in Los Angeles, completing the 2,600 mile trip across the Southwest in 20 days." [see: PONY EXPRESS ESTABLISHED 1860] 1859: "The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin 27 August 1859: First commercially productive oil well drilled near Titusville, Pennsylvania, by Edwin Drake; led to expansion of oil fields in the southwest territories. 1859: "Gold is discovered in Boulder Canyon, Colorado, sparking the Pikes Peak gold rush which brings an estimated 100,000 fortune-hunters to the Rockies under the banner 'Pikes Peak or Bust.'" [see: COLORADO TERRITORY ORGANIZED 1861] 1859: Oregon enters the union as a free state. 1859: "Silver is discovered at the Comstock Lode in Nevada, turning nearby Virginia City into a boom town." [see: NEVADA TERRITORY ORGANIZED 1861] 1859: "Free-soil and pro-slavery forces meet in convention at Wyandotte, Kansas, drafting a constituion that will make the territory a free state. Voters approve the new constitution, but Southerners in Congress delay its acceptance." [see: DROUGHT IN KANSAS 1860] 1859: "Juan Cortina, member of a prominent Mexican family living near Brownsville on the Rio Grande border, leads an uprising against the mistreatment of Mexicans by Texans. He and his supporters occupy Brownsville and proclaim the Republic of the Rio Grande with the shout, 'Death to the gringos!,' but they leave the city unharmed. Cortina defeats a force of Texas Rangers and local authorities, but when they are reinforced by army troops, he retreats into Mexico where he continues his guerilla war against Anglo injustice for another ten years." 1859: "John Brown is hanged for his attempt to incite a slave uprising at Harper's Ferry, Virginia." 1859: During this decade, a tidal wave of 2.5 million immigrants enter the United States, including 66,000 Chinese Return to Top of 19th century Timeline Page Major Books of the Decade 1860-1870 1860: Overland Journey, by Horace Greeley 1860: The Dial, edited by Moncure Daniel Conway, the first midwestem little magazine, Population boomed. By 1860, 13 original states had nearly tripled, to 33 states. Population was still doubling every 25 years, with the natural birthrate accounting for most of population increase, while immigration was adding hundreds of thousands more. America had become the 4th most populous western country behind Russia, France, and Austria. Much of the growth came from urbanization. By 1860, there were 43 American cities with above 20,000 population; in 1790, there had been only 2. This was a mixed blessing, the downside from over-rapid urbanization being: slums, dim streets, inadequate policing, impure water, raw sewage, rats, and improper garbage disposal. 24 October 1861: First transcontinental telegraph line completed. 1861: Der Halbindianer (The Half-Breed) by Balduin Millhausen 20 May 1862: Homestead Act was approved; grants free family farms to settlers. 1863: "Five Weeks in a Balloon", novel by Jules Verne 1864: Crusoe's Island, by J. Ross Browne 1864: The Canoe and the Saddle, by Theodore Winthrop 1865: "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", by Mark Twain 1865: Artemus Ward, His Travels, by Charles Farrar Browne 1865: Outcroppings: Being Selections of California Verse, edited by Bret Harte, first Far West poetry anthology 1866: Bret Harte and Mark Twain establish themselves in San Francisco 1866: The Vigilantes of Montana, or Popular Justice in the Rocky Mountains, by Thomas J. Dimsdale, early apology for extralegal justice in the West 1866: The Celebrated Jumping Frog, and Other Sketches, by Mark Twain 4 December 1867: The Grange was organized to protect farmers interests. 1868: The Overland Monthly is founded in San Francisco and publishes Bret Harte's "The Luck of Roaring Camp" 1868: Edward F. Ellis' "The Steam Man of the Praries" was the first "dime novel." Harry Enton was encouraged to write a series of very similar books, starting with "Frank Reade and the The Steam Man of the Praries" (1876), who eventually turned the series over to the incredibly prolific Luis P. Senarens (under his "Noname" pseudonym). 1869: The Innocents Abroad, by Mark Twain 1869: John Muir's first summer in the Sierra. 10 May 1869 - Transcontinental railroad completed; golden spike driven at Promontory, Utah, marking the junction of Central Pacific and Union Pacific railways. 1869: The Luck of Routing Camp and Other Sketches, Bret Harte's first story collection 1870: "Faust" by Estanislao del Campo. This witty poem, written in the gaucho vernacular, is a little gem, and for decades has retained its popularity throughout Latin America. An Argentine Cowboy goes to Buenos Aires, and on seeing a queue near the box office of the Teatro Colon, goes in and sees a performance of Gounoud's "Faust." He believes that everything that takes place on stage is literally happening. On his way home, he meets a friend and retells, in his superbly picaresque way, the story of "Faust." Return to Top of 19th century Timeline Page Major Books of the Decade 1870-1880 1870: "Plain Language from Truthful James", by Bret Harte. "Bret Harte publishes The Luck of Roaring Camp and Other Sketches, a collection of stories based on his years as a San Francisco journalist, which offers a sentimental and humorous view of 'uncouth' frontier characters, establishing a set of stereotypes that will remain an important part of the myth of the American West." 1870: "Buffalo hunters begin moving onto the plains, brought there by the expanding railroads and the growing market for hides and meat back east. In little more than a decade, they reduce the once numberless herd to an endangered species." Railroad companies begin massive advertising campaigns to attract settlers to their land grants in the West, sending agents to rural areas in the eastern states and throughout Europe to distribute handbills, posters and pamphlets that tout the rich soil and favorable climate of the region. But the higher costs of railroad land compared to public lands, and the fact that railroads pay no taxes on their lands, soon stirs charges of extortion, leading to state laws controlling railroad rates and land sale practices by the decade's end." 1870: "With Brigham Young's support, the Utah territorial legislature grants women the right to vote, providing the Mormons with an added margin of political power." 1870: A California court rules in White vs. Flood that a black child may not attend a white school, setting the legal precedent for school segregation. 1870: "The Union Pacific in Wyoming hires Chinese laborers for $32.50 a month rather than pay $52.00 a month to whites. From incidents like this one, white laborers across the West develop the opinion that Chinese immigrants are competing unfairly for jobs, a feeling that will lead to violent racial conflict and labor unrest in years to come." 1871: Songs of the Sierras, by Cincinnatus Hiner [Joaquin] Miller, published in England 1871: "More than 100 Apaches -- most of them women and children -- are murdered outside Camp Grant, Arizona, where they had been given asylum, when members of the Tucson Committee of Public Safety arrive with a force of Papago Indians, the Apaches' long-time enemies. The committee members claim they acted in retaliation for raids by various Apache bands at distant points across the region, but public opinion, particularly in the East, links the event to the recently investigated Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 as further evidence of Westerners' deep-seated hatred for Indians." 1871: "Congress approves the Indian Appropriations Act, which ends the practice of treating Indian tribes as sovereign nations by directing that all Indians be treated as individuals and legally designated 'wards' of the federal government. The act is justified as a way to avoid further misunderstandings in treaty negotiations, where whites have too often wrongly assumed that a tribal chief is also that tribe's chief of state. In effect, however, the act is another step toward dismantling the tribal structure of Native American life." 1871: "Federal judge James B. McKean, seeking to break the alliance between church and state in Utah, orders the arrest of Brigham Young and other Mormon leaders on charges of polygamy. Federal prosecutors also charge John D. Lee and others with murder for the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857." 1871: "A quarrel over a woman between two Chinese men in Los Angeles escalates into a city-wide anti-Chinese riot, ending in the murder of at least 23 of the city's 200 Chinese residents." 1871: "Cochise, the Apache chief who led a decade-long guerilla war against whites in Arizona, surrenders to General George Crook but escapes back to his mountain stronghold rather than let his people be sent to a New Mexico reservation. General Otis Howard finally makes peace with Cochise the next year, agreeing to establish an Apache reservation in Arizona." 1872: Roughing It, by Mark Twain "Mark Twain publishes Roughing It, a humorous account of his adventures as a budding journalist in the West, which adds a self-conscious depth to the entertaining Western myth pioneered by Twain's one-time mentor, Bret Harte. 1872: Mountaneering in the Sierra Nevada, by Clarence King 1872: "Arbor Day (April 10) is celebrated for the first time in near-treeless Nebraska." 1872: "The Yellowstone Act sets aside more than 2 million acres in northwest Wyoming as a public 'pleasuring-ground' for the 'preservation... of all timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosities or wonders... and their retention in their natural condition.' It marks the first time any national government has set aside public lands to preserve their natural beauties and sets a precedent later followed in countries around the world. Much of the impetus for establishing the park can be traced to William H. Jackson's photographs of its natural wonders, taken when he traveled there with the Hayden expedition of 1871." 1872: "'Buffalo Bill' Cody is awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service as a scout in General Philip Sheridan's four-year campaign against the Cheyenne. The same year Cody begins his theatrical career, appearing as 'Buffalo Bill' in Ned Buntline's The Scouts of the Plains." 1873: Cable cars are introduced in San Francisco. 1873: "Although federal authorities estimate that hunters are killing buffalo at a rate of three million per year, President Grant vetoes a law protecting the herd from extermination." 1874: George A. Custer, My Life on the Plains 1874: Alf Brage eller skolelaereren i Minnesota En original norsk-amerkansk fortelling (Alf Brage, or the Schoolteacher in Minnesota: An original Norwegian-American Story), by Nicolai Severin Hassel, first Norwegian- American novel 1874: Edward Page Mitchell's story "The Tachypomp", early tale of computerized boost to human intelligence 1874: "Mennonite immigrants from Russia arrive in Kansas with drought-resistant 'Turkey Red' wheat, which will help turn the one-time 'Great American Desert' into the nation's breadbasket." 1874: "Joseph Glidden receives a patent for barbed wire, an inexpensive, durable and effective fencing material which, with the destruction of the buffalo, will open the plains to more efficient agriculture and ranching." 1874: "George Armstrong Custer announces the discovery of gold in the Black Hills of Dakota, setting off a stampede of fortune-hunters into this most sacred part of Lakota territory. Although the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty requires the government to protect Lakota lands from white intruders, federal authorities work instead to protect the miners already crowding along the path Custer blazed for them, which they call 'Freedom's Trail' and the Lakota call 'Thieve's Road.'" 1874: "William H. Jackson discovers and photographs the centuries-old Anasazi cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde in Colorado." 1875: "The Mysterious Island", novel by Jules Verne 1875: The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Tributaries, by John Wesley Powell 1875: "Pinkerton agents fire-bomb the James family farm in Missouri in an unsuccessful attempt to kill the notorious outlaws. The incident stirs widespread sympathy for the James Gang, who are seen as populist enemies of the banks and railroads who 'rob' the common man." 1875: "Deadwood, soon to be one of the wildest towns in the West, springs into existence when Black Hills miners find gold on Deadwood Creek. Within a year, the legendary gunfighter 'Wild Bill' Hickock will be murdered here while holding aces and eights -- the dead man's hand -- in a game of poker." 1875: THE LAKOTA WAR "A Senate commission meeting with Red Cloud and other Lakota chiefs to negotiate legal access for the miners rushing to the Black Hills offers to buy the region for $6 million. But the Lakota refuse to alter the terms of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty, and declare they will protect their lands from intruders if the government won't." 1876: The Big Bonanza, by Dan de Quille (William Wright) 1876: "Federal authorities order the Lakota chiefs to report to their reservations by January 31. Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and others defiant of the American government refuse." 1876: "General Philip Sheridan orders General George Crook, General Alfred Terry and Colonel John Gibbon to drive Sitting Bull and the other chiefs onto the reservation through a combined assault. On June 17, Crazy Horse and 500 warriors surprise General Crook's troops on the Rosebud River, forcing them to retreat. On June 25, George Armstrong Custer, part of General Terry's force, discovers Sitting Bull's encampment on the Little Bighorn River. Terry had ordered Custer to drive the enemy down the Little Bighorn toward Gibbon's forces, who were waiting at its mouth, but when he charges the village Custer discovers that he is outnumbered four-to-one. Hundreds of Lakota warriors overwhelm his troops, killing them to the last man, in a battle later called Custer's Last Stand. News of the massacre shocks the nation, and Sheridan floods the region with troops who methodically hunt down the Lakota and force them to surrender. Sitting Bull, however, eludes capture by leading his band to safety in Canada." 1876: Colorado enters the Union. 1877: "Crazy Horse finally surrenders to General George Crook at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, having received assurances that he and his followers will be permitted to settle in the Powder River country of Montana. Defiant even in defeat, Crazy Horse arrives with a band of 800 warriors, all brandishing weapons and chanting songs of war. By late summer, there are rumors that Crazy Horse is planning a return to battle, and on September 5 he is arrested and brought back to Fort Robinson, where, when he resists being jailed, he is held by an Indian guard and killed by a bayonet thrust from a soldier.: 1877: "Congress votes to repeal the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty and take back the Black Hills, along with 40 million more acres of Lakota land." 1877: "With the threat of Indian attack removed, mining camps and boom towns -- French Creek, Whitewood Gulch, Black Tail Gulch -- crowd the Black Hills." 1877: "John D. Lee is brought to trial for the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857, but Mormon loyalty to one of their own leads to a hung jury. The national outcry at this result persuades Mormon leaders to withdraw their support for Lee, and in a second trial he is convicted by an all-Mormon jury. On March 23 he is executed by firing squad at the site of the massacre, after denouncing Brigham Young for abandoning him. His last words are for his executioners: 'Center my heart, boys. Don't mangle my body.'" 1877: "On August 29, Brigham Young, the Mormon leader who built a prosperous community and a vigorous church in a seeming wasteland, dies at age 76." 1877: "Chief Joseph, leader of the Nez Percé, surrenders to General Oliver Howard, bringing to an end his four-month-long circuitous retreat from the Wallowa Valley in eastern Oregon toward Sitting Bull’s encampment in Canada -- one of the most remarkable military feats of the Indian Wars. Eluding or defeating army troops at every turn, Joseph and a band of fewer than 200 warriors bring nearly 500 women and children over 1,500 miles of mountainous terrain to within forty miles of the border before they are finally stopped by a force of 500 troopers led by Colonel Nelson A. Miles. Reduced by this time to just 87 men, Joseph still holds out for five days in a pitiless snowstorm, and then surrenders only because his people have no food or blankets and will soon die of cold and starvation. 'I am tired of fighting,' he declares as he holds out his rifle to General Howard. 'I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.'" 1877: "John Wesley Hardin, a Texas gunfighter who claims to have killed more than 40 men, is sentenced to 25 years in the Texas State Prison for the murder of a deputy sheriff. 'I take no sass but sasparilla,' he once said, explaining his deadly disposition." 1877: "Congress passes the Desert Land Act, which permits settlers to purchase up to 640 acres of public land at 25¢ per acre in areas where the arid climate requires large-scale farming, provided they irrigate the land." 1877: "The last Federal troops withdraw from the South, bringing the Reconstruction era to an end." 1878: The Danites (First Families in the Sierras, 1875), by Joaquin Miller 1878: "With racial discrimination on the rise in the post-Reconstruction South, an estimated 40,000 African Americans begin to migrate from the former slave states into Kansas. Many of these so-called Exodusters answer the call of Benjamin 'Papi' Singleton, a land speculator with a vision of establishing independent black communities across the state." 1879: Live Boys; or Charley and Nasho in Texas, by Arthur Morecamp (Thomas Pilgrim), 1879: "The Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of anti-polygamy laws, denying Mormon arguments that plural marriage is protected under the First Amendent guarantee of religious freedom and giving federal authorities the weapon they have hoped for in their efforts to break the alliance between church and state in Utah." 1879: "At the urging of John Wesley Powell and others, Congress creates the United States Geological Survey to coordinate the many independent survey projects it has funded since army surveyors first charted potential routes for a transcontinental railroad in the 1850s. Under Powell's direction beginning in 1881, the USGS expands its focus beyond mineral resources and geological formations to include study of the potential for irrigating the West's arid lands and the selection of suitable sites for dams and reservoirs. This pioneering work eventually bears fruit with passage of the Newlands Reclamation Act in 1902." 1879: "To complete its consolidation of federally-funded scientific exploration in the West, Congress creates the United States Bureau of Ethnology to coordinate study of the region's native peoples and complete a record of their cultures before they vanish under the pressure of expanding white settlement. Directed by John Wesley Powell, the Bureau of Ethnology launches an ambitious program to document the culture and society of Native Americans, sending one of its first field teams to Zuni Pueblo, where ethnologist Frank Hamilton Cushing anticipates the methods of 20th century anthropology by becoming a member of the Zuni community." 1879: "The first students, a group of 84 Lakota children, arrive at the newly established United States Indian Training and Industrial School at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, a boarding school founded by former Indian-fighter Captain Richard Henry Pratt to remove young Indians from their native culture and refashion them as members of mainstream American society. Over the next two decades, twenty-four more schools on the Carlisle model will be established outside the reservations, along with 81 boarding schools and nearly 150 day schools on the Indians' own land." Return to Top of 19th century Timeline Page Major Books of the Decade 1880-1890 1880: "President Benjamin Hayes signs the Chinese Exclusion Treaty, which reverses the open-door policy set in 1868 and places strict limits both on the number of Chinese immigrants allowed to enter the United States and on the number allowed to become naturalized citizens." 1880: "Backed by the National Women's Christian Temperance Union, Kansas Governor John St. John forces through prohibition legislation, making Kansas -- the site of towns like Dodge City where the saloon has been almost a symbol of civic life -- the first state in the nation to 'go dry.'" 1881: Laramie Boomerang founded by Bill Nye (Edgar Wilson Nye), a newspaper outlet for Nye's comic sketches 1881: A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains, by Isabella L. Bird 1881: "Sitting Bull returns from Canada with a small band of followers to surrender to General Alfred Terry, the man who five years before had directed the campaign that ended in the Lakota Chief’s victory at Little Bighorn. After insulting his old adversary and the United States, Sitting Bull has his young son hand over his rifle, saying, 'I wish it to be remembered that I was the last man of my tribe to surrender my rifle. This boy has given it to you, and he now wants to know how he is going to make a living.'" 1881: "Helen Hunt Jackson publishes A Century of Dishonor, the first detailed examination of the federal government’s treatment of Native Americans in the West. Her findings shock the nation with proof that empty promises, broken treaties and brutality helped pave the way for white pioneers." 1881: "Late summer brings the last big cattle drive to Dodge City. With livestock plentiful on the plains, the long trek up the Western Trail is no longer profitable, and most states now prohibit driving out-of-state cattle across their borders. The increasing use of barbed wire to enclose farms and grazing land has ended the era of the open range. In the fifteen years since Texas cowboys first hit the trail, as many as two million longhorns have been driven to market in Dodge." 1881: "Legendary outlaw Billy the Kid, charged with more than 21 murders in a brief lifetime of crime, is finally brought to justice by Sheriff Pat Garrett, who trails The Kid for more than six months before killing him with a single shot at Fort Sumner, New Mexico." 1881: "Tombstone, Arizona, Deputy Marshall Wyatt Earp and his brothers gun down the Clantons in a showdown at the O.K. Corral." 1882: "Intensifying its anti-Chinese policies, Congress passes the Chinese Exclusion Act, which completely prohibits both immigration from China and the naturalization of Chinese immigrants already in the United States for a period of ten years. The bill comes amid increasing outbreaks of anti-Chinese violence, stirred up by the belief that low-paid Chinese workers are taking jobs away from Americans. Within the year, immigration from China drops from 40,000 in 1881 to just 23." 1882: "Congress passes the Edmunds Law, making polygamy a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison and denying convicted polygamists the right to vote, to hold office and to serve on juries. The law increases federal pressure on Mormons to renounce their practice of plural marriage and sends many Mormon leaders into hiding." 1882: "Jesse James, the notorious outlaw who was a veteran of Quantrill's Raiders during the Civil War, is shot in the back by Robert Ford, a kinsman who hoped to collect a $5,000 reward. James' death ends the career of an outlaw gang that terrorized the West for more than a decade." 1883: Life Among the Piutes, by Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins, first autobiography and tribal history by an Indian woman 1883: The Led-Horse Claim, by Mary Hallock Foote 1883: The Story of a Country Town, by E. W. Howe 1883: The Silverado Squatters, by Robert Louis Stevenson 1883: "Texas purchases The Alamo from the Catholic Church to preserve it as an historic shrine." 1883: "'Buffalo Bill' Cody stages his first Wild West Show at the Omaha fairgrounds, featuring a herd of buffalo and a troupe of cowboys, Indians and vaqueros who re-enact a cattle round-up, a stagecoach hold-up and other scenes drawn from Cody's own life on the frontier." 1883: "A delegation of U.S. Senators meets with bitter resistance from Sitting Bull when they propose opening part of the Lakota's reservation to white settlers. Despite the old chief's objections, the land transfer proceeds as planned." 1883: "The Northern Pacific Railroad, connecting the northwestern states to points east, is finally completed, after a 19-year struggle against treacherous terrain and intermitent financing. Along the line, crews blast a 3,850-foot tunnel through solid granite and construct a 1,800-foot trestle. As a result, the round trip to the Columbia River that took Lewis and Clark two-and-a-half years in 1803 now takes just nine days." 1883: "Buffalo hunters gather on the northern Plains for the last large buffalo kill, among them a Harvard-educated New York assemblyman named Theodore Roosevelt, who hopes to bag a trophy before the species disappears. Hunters have already destroyed the southern herd, and by 1884, except for small domestic herds kept by sentimental ranchers, there are only scattered remnants of the animal that more than any other symbolizes the American West." 1883: "A group of clergymen, government officials and social reformers calling itself 'The Friends of the Indian' meets in upstate New York to develop a strategy for bringing Native Americans into the mainstream of American life. Their decisions set the course for U.S. policy toward Native Americans over the next generation and result in the near destruction of Native American culture." 1884: Ramona, by Helen Hunt Jackson 1884: "When his wife and mother die within hours of one another in New York City, Theodore Roosevelt heads west to become a Dakota cattle rancher and escape his grief. He will emerge from the experience with an attachment to the Western landscape and a respect for Western society that help shape his conservation and land development policies as President." 1885: A Texas Cow Boy, or Fifteen Years on the Hurricane Deck of a Spanish Pony, by Charles A. Siringo, 1885: Boots and Saddles, or Life in Dakota with General Custer, by Elizabeth B. Custer 1885: Praeriens saga (Saga of the Prairies), by Kristofer Janson 1885: "President Grover Cleveland warns so-called 'Boomers' to stay off Indian Territory lands in present-day Oklahoma." 1885: "Federal troops are called in to restore order in Rock Springs, Wyoming, after British and Swedish miners go on a rampage against the Chinese, killing 28 and driving hundreds more out of town. This 'Rock Springs Massacre' follows a similar race riot in Tacoma, Washington, where whites force more than 700 Chinese immigrants to spend the night crowded onto open wagons, then ship them to Portland, Oregon, the next day." 1886: "Anti-Chinese mobs in Seattle kill five and destroy parts of the city before forcing 200 Chinese aboard ships bound for San Francisco. Leaders of the race riot vow to sweep the city clean of Chinese within the month." 1886: "Geronimo, described by one follower as 'the most intelligent and resourceful...most vigorous and farsighted' of the Apache leaders, surrenders to General Nelson A. Miles in Skeleton Canyon, Arizona, after more than a decade of guerilla warfare against American and Mexican settlers in the Southwest. The terms of surrender require Geronimo and his tribe to settle in Florida, where the Army hopes he can be contained." 1887: The Feud of Oakfield Creek, by Josiah Royce 1887: A Study in Scarlet, by Arthur Conan Doyle 1887: "Congress passes the Dawes Severalty Act, imposing a system of private land ownership on Native American tribes for whom communal land ownership has been a centuries-old tradition. Individual Indians become eligible to receive land allotments of up to 160 acres, together with full U.S. citizenship. Tribal lands remaining after all allotments have been made are to be declared surplus and sold. Proponents of the law believe that it will help speed the Indians' assimilation into mainstream society by giving them an incentive to live as farmers and ranchers, earning a profit from their own personal property and private initiative. Others see in the law an opportunity to buy up surplus tribal lands for white settlers. When the allotment system finally ends, Indian landholdings are reduced from 138 million acres in 1887 to only 48 million acres in 1934. And with their land many Native Americans lose a fundamental structuring principle of tribal life as well." 1887: "Increasing pressure on the Mormons, Congress passes the Edmunds-Tucker Act, which disincorporates the Mormon church, confiscates its real estate and other properties, and abolishes women's suffrage in Utah. The law effectively destroys the political, economic and social system by which the leaders of the Mormon church have guided and governed their society, imposing federal authority in its place." 1887: "A fare war between competing rail lines and the inducements of eager land speculators bring newcomers to Los Angeles by the trainload; 120,000 arrive in 1887, drawn by the promise of pure air, warm sunshine and prosperity. Within a few years, the city is transformed and the Californios who have lived there for more than a century are suddenly regarded as strangers in their own land." 1888: Juan and Juanita, by Frances Courtenay Baylor 1888: The American Commonwealth, by James Bryce, Englishman's view of America 1888: Edward Bellamy "Looking Backwards", a very influential utopian novel set in Boston in 2000 A.D. Utopia:other fictions about utopia. 1888: "A Strange MS Found in a Copper Cylinder", novel by James de Mille 1888: the "Jack the Ripper" series of murders occur in London, unsolved to this day, though not for want of fictional treatments. Possibly in response, based on a series of dreams, Robert Louis Stevenson publishes "Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde" 1888: "Deep snows and raging blizzards, following a dry summer, devastate the cattle herds of the northern Plains. When the snows finally melt, hundreds of thousands of carcasses litter the range, leading the ranchers who must gather them up to call the winter of '88 'The Great Die-Up.'" 1889: Mark Twain: "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" [Chatto and Windus]] establishes a tradition of Time Travel fiction well before H. G. Wells (see 1895). 1889: "Wovoka, a Paiute holy man, awakes from a three-day trance to teach his tribe the Ghost Dance, with which they can restore the earth to the way it was before the whites arrived in the West. His teachings will soon touch many tribes across the West, stirring a spiritual revival that whites nervously misinterpret as a return to hostilities." 1889: "President Benjamin Harrison authorizes opening unoccupied lands in the Indian Territory to white settlement, an order put into effect on April 22 at noon, when a gunshot gives settlers the signal to cross the border and stake their claims. Within nine hours, the Oklahoma Land Rush transforms almost two million acres of tribal land into thousands of individual land claims. Many of the most desirable plots are taken by 'Sooners,' so called because they crossed into the territory sooner than was permitted." 1889: "At the urging of the National Farmers' Alliance, Kansas adopts first-of-its-kind legislation regulating trusts, providing an early portent of the agrarian-based progressive movement preparing to sweep through the West." 1889: "Farm and labor representatives meet with prohibitionists in Salem, Oregon, to form a progressive Union Party." 1889: Washington, Montana and the Dakotas join the Union. 1890: "News from Nowhere", novel by William Morris Return to Top of 19th century Timeline Page Major Books of the Decade 1890-1900 1890: News from Nowhere by William Morris (backwards-looking utopia) 1890: The Delight Makers, by Adolph Bandelier 1890: "Congress establishes the Oklahoma Territory on unoccupied lands in the Indian Territory, breaking a 60-year-old pledge to preserve this area exclusively for Native Americans forced from their lands in the east." 1890: Wyoming enters the Union. 1890: "Sitting Bull is murdered in a confrontation at the Standing Rock Reservation when Lakota policemen attempt to arrest him as part of a federal crackdown on the Ghost Dance." 1890: "Federal troops massacre the Lakota Chief Big Foot and his 350 followers at Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge Reservation in a confrontation fueled by the government’s determination to stop the spread of the Ghost Dance among the tribes. The incident stands in U.S. military history as the last armed engagement of the Indian Wars." 1890: "Congress establishes Yosemite National Park at the urging of naturalist John Muir, who argues passionately for the preservation of its sequoia forests." 1890: "The U. S. Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the 1887 Edmunds-Tucker Act, denying that its assault on Mormon institutions constitutes a violation of Mormon religious freedom. At the same time, Congress debates the even more punitive Cullom-Strubble Bill, designed to deny all Mormons the right to vote. In response, Wilford Woodruff, leader of the Mormon Church, issues the "Manifesto," a revelation urging all members of the church to comply with the laws of the land regarding marriage." 1891: Main-Travelled Roads, by Hamlin Garland 1891: On the Border with Crook, by John Gregory Bourke 1891: Founding of "The Strand Magazine", perhaps the first cheaply-produced Linotype-set wood-pulp paper magazine. Aimed at a large middle class audience for both fiction and nonfiction, its success was assured when it contracted with Arthur Conan Doyle for a series of Sherlock Holmes stories. 1891: "The Idler" copies the formula of "The Strand Magazine" 1891: "Congress passes the Forest Reserve Act, which authorizes setting aside public forests in any state or territory to preserve a timber supply for the future. The law marks the first step in a process that will steadily place more and more Western land in the hands of the federal government while leaving less and less available for private purchase and use. As a result, federal priorities in the West gradually shift from selling public land to managing public resources, from land development to land conservation, and federal regulations become a permanent presence on the once wide open spaces." 1892: El hijo de la tempestad (Son of the Tempest) and Tras la tormenta la calma (Calm After the Storm) by Eusabio Chacon 1892: "Congress extends the Chinese Exclusion Act for an additional ten years, adding a requirement that all Chinese workers in the United States register or face deportation." 1892: "A strike by silver miners in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, erupts in violence, as miners are killed and a security guard barracks blown up. State and federal troops intervene to restore order by locking miners into an outdoor bullpen. The miners' defeat leads to the formation of the Western Federation of Miners in Butte, Montana, the next year, an organization representing mine workers across the West." 1892: "Under the Dawes Act, nearly two million acres of Crow tribal land is opened to white settlers in Montana." 1892: "John Muir founds the Sierra Club in Yosemite Valley, California, to 'protect the nation's scenic resources' and oppose the lumber industry's encroachments on public forests." 1893: The Land of Poco Tiempo, by Charles F. Lummis 1893: Winnetou, by Karl May 1893: "McClure's Magazine" launched, mostly with reprints from "The Idler" 1893: Ambrose Bierce horror collection "Can Such Things Be?" 1893: "Presidential amnesty is granted to Mormon polygamists, marking the federal government's first step toward closing the book on the 'Mormon problem.'" 1893: "Frederick Jackson Turner, a 31-year-old instructor at the University of Wisconsin, declares the closing of the Western frontier in his seminal lecture, The Significance of the Frontier in American History, delivered at a meeting of the American Historical Association held in conjunction with the Chicago Columbian Exposition." 1893: "Experts estimate that fewer that 2,000 buffalo remain of the more than 20 million that once roamed the Western plains." 1893: "More than 100,000 white settlers rush into Oklahoma's Cherokee Outlet to claim six million acres of former Cherokee land." 1894: The Mountains of California, by John Muir 1894: The Banditti of the Plains, by A. S. Mercer 1894: Crumbling Idols, by Hamlin Garland 1894: "Nebraska Congressman William Jennings Bryan -- 'The Great Commoner' -- gains national attention as the West's eloquent spokesman against the restrictive economic policies of east coast capitalists, emblemized by the gold standard." 1894: "The Carey Act grants one million acres of public land to arid states and territories on the condition they 'reclaim' the land by irrigation and sell it to settlers. This attempt to promote irrigation of arid Western lands proves unsuccessful when states find they cannot raise the funds to mount large-scale irrigation projects. Effective land reclamation in the West will require a massive federal investment." 1895: The Lark founded, little magazine in San Francisco 1895: The Land of Sunshine, edited by Charles F. Lummis (1895-1909) 1895: The Wave, literary magazine edited by James O'Hara Cosgrave 1895: Carl Hansen, Praeriens bern (Children of the Prairie) 1895: "The Black Cat" magazine launched, the first all-fiction periodical. 1895: Professor Percival Lowell publishes the influential non-fiction book "Mars" filled with his theories of Martian civilization that built the "canals" -- based on his observations from Flagstaff, Arizona 1896: "Pearson's Magazine" launched 1896: Frank A. Munsey changes a children's weekly into the grown-up magazine "The Argosy" at 192 pages (135,000 words).By now his flagship "Munsey's" had a circulation of 700,000 -- or almost 1% of the entire population of the United States of America! 1896: Utah enters the Union. 1896: "William Jennings Bryan's 'Cross of Gold' speech against the restrictive gold standard makes him the Presidential candidate of the Democratic and Populist parties, but his appeal to rural voters in the West and South does not carry him to the White House." 1896: "The discovery of gold at Bonanza Creek, a tributary of the Klondike River near Dawson City, Alaska, sparks the last great Western rush for riches." 1897: Wolfville, Alfred Henry Lewis 1898: Wild Animals I Have Known, by Ernest Thompson Seton 1898: Moran of the Lady Letty, by Frank Norris, his first novel 1898: Added Upon, by Nephi Anderson 1898: The Californians, by Gertrude Atherton 1898: Luis P. Senarens retires the popular Frank Reade dime-novel character, and starts what end up as hundreds of "Frank Reade Jr." publications with "Frank Reade Jr. and his Steam Wonder", itself an inspiration for the "Tom Swift" (1910) and later "Tom Swift, Jr." [see author page under "Victor Appleton" in Ultimate Science Fiction Web Guide] 1898: The United States annexes Hawaii. 1899: McTeague: A Story of San Francisco, by Frank Norris 1899: "The Man with the Hoe", by Edwin Markham 1899: "Robert Parker and his partner, Harry Longbaugh, better known as Butch Cassidy and 'The Sundance Kid,' lead their 'Wild Bunch' in a series of bank and train robberies across the West. When they eventually flee to South America in 1901, the era of the outlaw band comes to an end." 1900: The Son of the Wolf, by Jack London, his first book 1900: The Middle Five, by Francis LaFlesche, book-length autobiography by an Indian Return to Top of 19th century Timeline Page Major Films of this Century This was the century in which the motion picture was invented, with the date 1896 most frequently given, although several people are claimed as the very first filmmakers, including the Lumiere Brothers. The Lumiere Brothers are sometimes championed as the fathers of science fiction cinema, due to: 1895 The Mechanical Butcher (60-second short, live pig wrestled into box emerges at other end converted into ham, bacon, spare ribs, pork chops, and sausages -- IF we consider the box to be taken as a marvellous future-technology machine and not just a sight-gag) Noted science fiction critic/author/professor James Gunn, in a list of science fiction film milestones (first published in the Feb 1980 Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine) lists: 1898 An Astronomer's Dream 1899 She But we can extend this list as follows: 1897 The Laboratory of Mephistopheles (Georges Melies plays the loony inventor in a laboratory filled with trickery) 1897 The Clown and the Automaton (Georges Melies, first robot in movie history) 1898 An Astronomer's Dream (Georges Melies, the Moon comes down to Earth) 1898 Les Rayons Roentgen [A Novice at X-Rays] (Georges Melies) a skeleton leaves its body, which slumps to the floor, when a doctor [Melies himself] x-rays that patient. Note that X-rays were discovered by Roentgen only a year earlier. 1899 She 1899 Cleopatra (Georges Melies, inspired by "She", the female star passes through a magic flame and transforms from youth to old age rapidly) 1900 Coppelia (Georges Melies, film of the ballet, with a mechanical dancer filmed from a miniature model and set) Return to Top of 19th century Timeline Page Other Key Dates and Stories of this Century 1822: the invention of the computer by Charles Babbage 1835: "Hans Pfaal" is arguably Edgar Allan Poe's first true science fiction story 1840: the invention of photography by Louis Jacques Daguerre 1851: Jules Verne's first science fictioon story "Un voyage en ballon" ["A Voyage in a Balloon"] 1854-1862: various poems and stories by Fitz-James O'Brien 1882: Frank Reade, Jr., taks the helm of the Frank Reade Library from his father, and this early "bookazine" (a term popularized a century later by Samuel H. Post) is a great science fiction success, with the hero (also named Frank Reade) travelling through adventures everywhere with high-tech gizmos. Return to Top of 19th century Timeline Page Major Writers Born this Century {to be done} 1803 Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton 1809 Edgar Allan Poe 1828 Jules Verne 1859 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 1866 H. G. Wells (21 Sep 1866) 1875 Edgar Rice Burroughs (1 Sep 1875) 1875 Maurice Renard 1883 Franz Kafka 1883 Austin Wright (20 Aug 1883) 1884 Hugo Gernsback (16 Aug 1884) 1884 Yevgeny Zamyatin 1886 Olaf Stapledon 1887 Ray Cummings (30 Aug 1887) 1888 Miriam Allen de Ford (21 Aug 1888) 1890 Karel Capek 1890 H. P. Lovecraft (20 Aug 1890) 1890 E. E. Smith 1894 Aldous Huxley 1894 J. B. Priestley (13 Sep 1894) 1896 Stanton A. Coblentz (24 Aug 1896) 1896 William Fitzgerald Jenkins (Murray Leinster) 1897 Walter B. Gibson (12 Sep 1897) 1898 Arthur J. Banks (13 Sep 1898) 1900 James Hilton (9 Sep 1900) Return to Top of 19th century Timeline Page Major Writers Died this Century 1817 Jane Austin 1849 Edgar Allan Poe 1851 Mary Shelley 1873 Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton Hotlinks to other Timeline pages of SF Chronology |Introduction: Overview and Summary |Prehistory: Ancient Precursors |16th Century: Ariosto and Cyrano on the Moon |17th Century: Literary Dawn |18th Century: Literary Expansion |19th Century: Victorian Explosion (you are HERE) |1890-1910: Into Our Century |1910-1920: The Silver Age |1920-1930: The Golden Age |1930-1940: The Aluminum Age |1940-1950: The Plutonium Age |1950-1960: The Threshold of Space |1960-1970: The New Wave |1970-1980: The Seventies |1980-1990: The Eighties |1990-2000: End of Millennium |2000-2010: Future Prizewinners Return to Top of 19th century Timeline Page Where to Go for More: The West: State by State Chronologies, individually, of each of the 22 Western States Events in the West 1800-1820 (c) 1996 THE WEST FILM PROJECT and WETA; Developed by Lifetime Learning Systems; tied to the PBS television documentary series and Time-Life book publication. Magic Dragon Multimedia acknowledges extensive quotation from, paraphrasing of, and fact-checking against this highly recommended website. No intent to violate copyright is implied by this homage, which is augmented by the value-added weaving-in of literary references and hotlinks to make a distinct work. Useful Reference Books: Beyond the World Wide Web... there is the library of old-fashioned books printed on paper. I strongly recommend that you start or follow-up your explorations of this web site by consulting any or all of these outstanding sources: {to be done} Return to Top of 19th century Timeline Page
Return to Ultimate Westerns Table of Contents



Compiled by Magic Dragon Multimedia

Go to Ultimate Mystery/Detective Web Guide

Copyright 1996,1997,1998,1999,2000 by Magic Dragon Multimedia.
All rights reserved Worldwide. May not be reproduced without permission.
May be posted electronically provided that it is transmitted unaltered, in its entirety, and without charge.