United States and American History: 1830

About the history of the United States in 1830, its population, the famed leaper Sam Patch, the South is angered over nullification, the Indian Removal Act is signed, the first book on birth control.


--U.S. population--12,866,020. The 1st census to exceed 10 million, and the 1st to list the deaf, dumb, and blind separately.

--Sam Patch became the sensation of the country by making daring leaps from bridges and into waterfalls. His 1st success was a 90' jump from the Patterson, N.J., bridge into the Passaic River. Next he leaped into Niagara Falls from Goat Island, a distance more than half the height of the Falls. His last leap in New York State--which ended in his death--was into Genesee Falls.

--First covered wagons made it all the way to the foot of the Rockies, led by Jedediah Strong Smith and William Sublette. Smith was typical of the so-called Mountain Men who were at home in the wilderness passes of the high ranges. It was Smith who would discover famous South Pass through the Rockies, and who accumulated a distinguished number of 1sts: 1st American to discover the Great Basin, 1st to cross the high Sierras into California, and 1st to travel the entire Pacific Coast from Southern California to northern Oregon.

--First bars of soap of a standard weight and individually wrapped were processed by Jessie Oakley, Newburgh, N.Y. Before this, soap had been sent to grocers in large blocks, from which pieces were cut as they were sold.

--Forerunner of Rube Goldberg, John Nepomuk Maelzel returned from Europe with his exhibition of useless inventions. An automatic trumpeter, speaking dolls, tiny mechanical birds that flew out of boxes, an exhibit entitled "Conflagration of Moscow," and a mechanical chess player were just a few. Later, author Edgar Allan Poe played detective and exposed the chess player as a hoax. (See also: Maelzel in Footnote People in World History, Chap. 8.)--The only Cabinet meeting ever called to discuss a woman's virtue. When Peggy O'Neale Timberlake, an innkeeper's daughter of much beauty and boldness, married Secretary of War John Eaton, tongues wagged and other Washington wives would not entertain her because of her "reputation." President Jackson, still bitter about the gossip that had sent his wife Rachel to her grave, called a Cabinet session to discuss Mrs. Eaton's morals. After declaring her innocent, he angrily replaced his entire Cabinet.

Apr. 13 Defying Southern States' rights and South Carolina's bold nullification of Federal laws, President Andrew Jackson threw down the gauntlet at a Democratic banquet. Raising his glass and looking squarely at his Vice-President, John C. Calhoun, chief proponent of nullification attempts, Jackson proposed a toast in a commanding voice: "Our Union: It must be preserved!" While everyone stood and drank, Calhoun's hand was shaking so much that the golden wine ran down the sides of his glass. But then he took up the challenge and offered the next toast: "The Union, next to our liberty, most dear!"

May 28 President Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, requiring eastern Indians to be resettled west of the Mississippi. Historians coined the phrase "The Trail of Tears" to describe the forced treks in which thousands died. But Jackson felt differently: "Rightly considered, the policy of the general Government toward the red man is not only liberal but generous."

Sept. 15 The 1st national Negro convention was held at Bethel Church, Philadelphia, Pa., to better the condition of American blacks.

Sept. 18 Get-a-horse department: A racehorse finished 1st in a race with "Tom Thumb," the 1st locomotive built in America. Tom pulled 40 passengers along a 9-mi. track, but it just wasn't enough. His boiler sprung a leak and he couldn't stay the course.

Dec. First American book on birth control was published--Robert Dale Owen's Moral Physiology. Although "respectable" publications refused to advertise it, 25,000 copies were sold.

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