United States and American History: 1795

About the history of the United States in 1795, Paine's Age of Reason published, first mass murderers, Daniel Boone's biography, the first circus.


-Two major books were published: 1. In Paris, part 2 of Thomas Paine's treatise The Age of Reason. As a result, Paine was called that "dirty little atheist," although actually he was a deist. 2. In the U. S., Philip Freneau's Poems Written Between the Years 1768 and 1794. Called "that rascal Freneau" by Washington for his pro-Jefferson leanings, Freneau was variously a seaman, postal employee, translator, editor, as well as the 1st competent poet in the Colonies.

-America's 1st mass murderers, Wiley and Micajah Harpe, began a 4-year spree in which they ranged across the present States of Tennessee, Kentucky, southern Illinois, and Mississippi, accompanied by their 3 wives (Micajah had 2), butchering between 30 and 40 people. According to tradition, when Micajah was captured for the last time in late summer of 1799, his head was severed by the husband of his final victim. Still breathing at the start of his own execution, Micajah looked his executioner in the eye and said, "You are a God Damned rough butcher, but cut on and be damned." Wiley was hung 5 years later when he was recognized while trying to collect a bounty for having killed a fellow outlaw.

-Daniel Boone, aided by "buffalo streets" and Indian trails, created the Wilderness Road. This famous route led the way westward for many future settlers. Boone was captured by the Indians several times but always managed to escape. Less fortunate was his oldest son whom the Indians tortured and killed. Boone's wife and daughter Jemima, were the 1st white women to see the part of Kentucky around Boonesborough. Settling down to a quiet, peaceful life did not appeal to Boone. "Too many people! Too crowded! I want more elbow room." He spent his last years in Missouri hunting and trapping. After a short illness, he died at age 86.

-The 1st circus arrived in the U. S. Rickett's Circus, an equestrian troupe from England, performed before delighted audiences in New York.

-Seven literary periodicals were launched in this one year. And another 50 or more sprang up before 1800. Of the total, 3 survived to celebrate a 2nd anniversary of their natal day.

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