United States and American History: 1858

About the history of the United States in 1858, the gold rush in Colorado, Brigham Young and the Mormons, the first transatlantic telegraph line, post office troubles with Indians.


--In White County, Tenn., a slave owner sued the members of a mob who had lynched one of his slaves.

--Indians from the Dakota territories were induced to sell their land and move to a reservation.

--"Pike's Peak or Bust" became the cry of gold seekers heading for what today is Denver, Colo.

--U.S. marshals seized the "yacht" Wanderer. Its captain was arrested for bringing 300 naked Africans to Brunswick, Ga. Later reports indicated "270 of the wild Africans from the Wanderer were working on a South Carolina plantation."

--In New Orleans, where many immigrants chose to disembark because of less stringent observation by immigration officials, 3,414 cases of yellow fever were reported during the recent season. Of these, 2,643 were cured and 771 died. Reports of the day broke down the cases according to nationalities.

--Reports from Arizona gold mines indicated miners earned between $4 and $150 per day. Silver mine discoveries were contained in the same dispatch.

July 3 Brigham Young was interviewed by a New York Times reporter who described Young as not so much wise and profound as shrewd and cunning, and as a man who didn't like to have his word questioned. The Mormons, according to this same reporter, were kind, yet inhospitable to Gentiles; protective and fanatic about their religion, yet honest and truthful where religion was not concerned. Young scoffed at the idea that the Mormon practice of polygamy generated much of the ill will directed toward the Mormons, countering that Mormons treated their women like human beings, unlike Easterners who treated them like "w---s."

Aug. 22 Overland mail communications were interrupted by Indians.

Sept. 1 Success of the 1st transatlantic telegraph was celebrated in New York City with services, speeches, a fireworks display, and a torchlight parade of firemen.

Sept. 1 Disguised, armed parties gained admittance to a quarantine establishment at Staten Island. Patients were dragged from their beds, their mattresses piled up and burned. The New York Times criticized the governor, mayor, and superintendent of police for making merry while gangs of desperadoes were letting loose smallpox and yellow fever patients, and burning buildings. The newspaper asked why no arrests were made, no militia ordered out, and no rewards offered for the capture of these culprits.

Sept. 5 Catherine Gruk was admitted to a hospital in New York City with a case of yellow fever, her infection blamed on contact with garments that had been strewn about during the September 1 havoc. The Board of Health finally acted and arrests were made. The police superintendent was suspended.

Dec. The overland mail's assistant superintendent Davis informed a Dallas newspaper that the El Paso route was one of the worst owing to "depredations" by Comanches and Apaches.

Dec. 18 At an antislavery convention, Lucretia Mott proposed opening public schools to black children on equal terms, as was the practice in most New England towns.

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