United States and American History: 1857

About the history of the United States in 1857, German immigration continues, first baseball convention held, a financial panic, and the Mormon Mountain Meadows Massacre.


--The 1st patent was granted for a postmarking and stamp-canceling machine.

--German immigration for 1857 was 119,000.

--First baseball convention was held, which set a 9-inning game and established a rule that an interrupted game called after 5 innings was legal.

Aug. 24 A financial panic erupted, which was blamed on the failure of the New York City branch of the Ohio Life Insurance Co., a collapse which was in turn blamed on over-speculation in railroads and real estate. Banks crashed and almost 5,000 businesses failed. The Panic of 1857 brought unemployment to the cities. Rural areas went back to using the barter system for the exchange of goods.

Sept. 8-11 Captain Fancher, en route to California from Arkansas with 30 wagons filled with 137 emigrants, reached Utah. A small minority of his party were rowdies who taunted and threatened the countryside Mormons. While camping in an 8-mi.-long valley known as Mountain Meadows, the Fancher party was attacked by 54 whites and 300 Indians. The whites, conferring under a flag of truce with the Fancher group, persuaded them to lay down their arms, assuring them of safe passage back to Cedar City. The offer was accepted--and all the adult emigrants were ruthlessly slaughtered. The attackers spared 17 children. One Mormon leader was briefly excommunicated for his role in the massacre, and another, John D. Lee, was tried and executed, but not until 1877, some 20 years later.

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