United States and American History: 1889

About the history of the United States in 1889, the first All-American football team, Oklahoma opened to whites, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Washington become states.


--The 1st All-American football team was picked by Walter Camp. It resembled an All-Ivy League team. The 11 who made it: Ends--Stagg (Yale) and Cumnock (Harvard); tackles--Gill (Yale) and Cowan (Princeton); guards--Heffelfinger (Yale) and Cranston (Harvard); center-George (Princeton); quarterback--Poe (Princeton); halfbacks--Channing (Princeton) and Lee (Harvard); fullback--Ames (Princeton). It was not until 10 years later that the Eastern monopoly on All-American teams was broken when Camp selected Herschberger of Chicago at fullback in 1898, and a year later broke the big-college hold on the All-American selections by admitting Seneca of Carlisle as halfback.

Mar. 16 A major conflict among U.S., British, and German war ships anchored off the Samoan Islands was averted when a hurricane destroyed all but one vessel. A tripartite agreement proclaimed the islands neutral territory, and this lasted until 1899.

Apr. 22 President Harrison opened a portion of Oklahoma to white settlement.

May 31 An abandoned reservoir broke, flooding the city of Johnstown, Pa., and killing about 3,000 people. Some said that the flood was caused by excessive lumbering which had denuded the surrounding hills and changed the natural drainage. (See also: Man-Made Disasters, Chap. 9.)

Aug. 3 The Sioux signed away 9 million acres to the U.S. Government for use by the railroad and for land speculators to sell to white immigrants. For years, the U.S. Government had wanted the land, but they had wanted to avoid breaking a treaty to get it. The agreement was finally achieved by holding a secret meeting with several Sioux leaders and not informing Sitting Bull.

Nov. 2--11 North and South Dakota, Montana, and Washington became States.

Nov. 14 The New York World started reporter Nellie Bly on a journey around the world to beat the record set by Jules Verne's fictional Phileas Fogg in Around the World in Eighty Days. Bly detoured only once, to confront Verne in Amiens, France. She told him she'd beat Fogg's record. Verne was politely doubtful. He was wrong. Nellie Bly completed her circuit of the earth in 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes, 14 seconds, lowering Fogg's record by 8 days. When she was 28, she married a 72-year-old millionaire named Robert L. Seaman, and upon his death inherited his manufacturing empire. Later, her companies went into bankruptcy. (See also: Bly in Footnote People in U.S. History, Chap. 3.)

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