United States and American History: 1853

About the history of the United States in 1853, California gold mines are big, the Crystal Palace is built, a survey for a transcontinental railroad begins.


--East Coast newspapers carried a lot of European news but often shrugged off the news coming from the West as unimportant.

--At least $65 million worth of gold was taken from California mines this year.

--Governor Lane of New Mexico seized a portion of Mexican territory on his own responsibility.

--New York police were required to wear a uniform consisting of a blue cap bearing the officer's number, and a blue, swallowtail coat with brass buttons, and gray trousers.

--First newspaper story on baseball was written by Sen. William Cauldwell, owner and publisher of the New York Mercury.

--The U.S. Review said that soon machinery would perform all work via direction of automata. The only tasks left for humans, it claimed, would be to make love, study, and be happy.

--The Crystal Palace was built in New York City to house the 1853 Exhibition.

--A number of universities were chartered across the country including Willamette University in Salem, Oreg., and Illinois Wesleyan in Bloomington, III. (both founded earlier under Methodist auspices). Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., was chartered as Eliot Seminary; Louisiana State University was chartered in Alexandria, La.; Ohio Wesleyan Female College (later combined with Ohio Wesleyan University) in Delaware, O.; and Loyola College in Baltimore, Md.

Jan. 27 A black man appeared at an antislavery rally in Boston. He said he was a fugitive and asked for funds to free his wife and 2 children. Parker Pillsbury of the convention told him antislavery people refused to buy slaves and referred the man to the editors of the New York Journal of Commerce. Spectators at the antislavery convention, however, contributed between $10 and $12 each.

Jan. 27 Mr. Venable presented an amendment in the House of Representatives for a $5,000 appropriation to finish the statue of General Jackson in Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C. One of the distinguishing features of the work is the way the horse's reared legs are placed dead center. It was done by Clark Mills whose later creations proved more anatomically convincing.

Mar. 3 Funds for the transcontinental railroad survey were authorized by Congress. The sum of $150,000 was appropriated and the survey was to be done by the War Dept.

Apr. Dispatch from the St. Louis Intelligencer indicated 900 passengers on 2 boats had passed through St. Louis in one day, carrying folks heading West. These 900 were soon followed by many more immigrants who had recently arrived at New York ports.

June 8 Steamer El Dorado arrived in New York from Aspinwall (now Colon, Panama) with mail and $1 million in gold dust.

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