Special Interests - Groups & Societies > The American Plainsmen Society

1850's Notable events


Comanche Kid:
The United States census of 1850 counts 23,191,876 population, a 35.9% increase from a decade before.  Over three million people now live in its most populous state, New York.

February 16, 1852 - The Studebaker Brothers Wagon Company is established and would become the largest producer in the world of wagons.

April 22, 1853 - The Indian Frontier Post, Fort Scott, in Indian Territory (Kansas) is evacuated by the United States Army riflemen.

December 30, 1853 - The Gadsden Purchase is consummated, with the United States buying a 29,640 square mile tract of land in present-day Arizona and New Mexico (approximately from Yuma to Las Cruces) for $10 million from Mexico to allow railroad building in the southwest and settle continued border disputes after the Mexican-American War.  This act finalized the borders of the Continental United States.

May 30, 1854 - The Kansas-Nebraska act becomes law, allowing the issue of slavery to be decided by a vote of settlers.  This established the territories of Kansas and Nebraska and would breed much of the rancor that culminated in the actions of the next years of "Bleeding Kansas" .

March 3, 1855 - The United States Camel Corps in created with a $30,000 appropriation in Congress.

November 1856 - John C. Fremont, the first candidate for president under the banner of the Republican Party, loses his bid for the presidency to James C. Buchanan, despite support for Fremont from Abraham Lincoln.  Buchanan, the only bachelor to become president as well as the sole Pennsylvanian garnered 174 Electoral College votes to 114 for Fremont.  Millard Fillmore, running on the American Know-Nothing and Whig tickets was also defeated.

November 17, 1856 - Fort Buchanan is established by the U.S. Army on the Sonoita River in current southern Arizona to administrate the new land bought in the Gadsden Purchase.

August 11, 1857 - Colonel Isaac Neff Ebey, leader of the first permanent white settlers to Witbey Island, Washington Territory seven years earlier, is beheaded and shot by Indian raiders.

December 21, 1857 - Two companies of the 1st Cavalry under Captain Samuel Sturgis arrive at Fort Scott, Kansas to attempt to bring the disorder of "Bleeding Kansas," the slavery versus anti-slavery battle, in check.

August 5, 1858 - The first transatlantic cable is completed by Cyrus West Field and others.  It would fail its test due to weak current on September 1.

August 27, 1859 - The first productive oil well for commercial use is drilled by Edwin L. Drake in Titusville, Pennsylvania.

October 16, 1859 - The United States Armory at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers at Harper's Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia) is seized by twenty-one men under the leadership of abolitionist John Brown.  This act to cause an uprising of slaves in the surrounding territories fails when federal troops on October 18, under the command of Colonel Robert E. Lee, kill several of the raiders and capture John Brown.  The town of Harper's Ferry, now a spectacular National Park on the topic, remains one of the under recognized historic treasures in the United States.  

December 2, 1859 - John Brown is hanged for treason by the state of Virginia due to his leadership role in the raid on the Harper's Ferry armory and failed attempt to spur revolt among Virginia slaves.

Emmanuel Leutze is commissioned by Congress to paint the mural, "Westward Ho the Course of Empire Takes Its Way," for the U.S. Capitol.  The mural represents frontier settlement.

Ranch 13:
 Of particular interest to those on the plains;
 Discovery of gold by those on the way to California, in the South Platte river.
 The 1851 Fort Laramie treaty, giving permission to the whites for road building and travel.
 The Pikes Peak gold rush.

Jake MacReedy:
Here's a link to the discovery on the South Platte to which Ranch13 refers:
Interesting information!


Comanche Kid:
Hey Jake,
              Link is missing..But that is a fine Randall Knife...

Jake MacReedy:
You're right!  I fixed it now!  Have the correct link listed!

It's late over here for me, too!



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