Pastor William Sharts, conducting services in the third church building, which, like the second one, was known as the "Church on the Rocks," because it sat on a rocky ledge overlooking the Sawkill (about ¾ mile east of our present location--that is, north of present-day Route 212, across from the country club).
Above is a map of the Woodstock village, published just a few years later, showing the Church on the Rocks on the east side of town, just north of current Route 212 (known then as simply Saugerties Road) and north of the Sawkill. It is identified simply as "LUTH. CH." (To enlarge the view, click it.)
During this year, the congregation completely renovated the church--"inside and out," according to Pastor Sharts--constructing a vestibule, installing a new ceiling, new seats, and new pulpit. The chimney in the back (north end) was torn down and a new one was installed in each corner of the south end. Two new large coal stoves were put in. Pastor Sharts remarked that it was "now as beautiful and comfortable a church as can be found in the country anywhere." (To enlarge the picture, just click it.)
Church historian Mark Anderson offered this description:
The old pictures of that church show it to be a typical country church of the nineteenth century--clapboard siding, small bell tower, and rectangular windows of clear glass. The front door faced south, the chancel would have been in the north end of the church. The ancient tradition of orienting a church building with the chancel at the east end of the building was not frequently observed in these country churches.(1)
Quoted in Anderson, Mark J., For All the Saints: Christ's Lutheran Church, Woodstock, New York, 1806-2006 [Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006], p. 166. (Close)
The congregation also began work to enlarge (for an additional $600 [$9,418 in 2006 dollars]) the parsonage (pictured here; to enlarge the picture and see other views, just click it), which they had purchased two years earlier for $500 ($7,848). The enlargement was a 16-foot-by-28-foot addition.
Pastor Sharts was absent for several weeks during the summer on a trip to Morrisburg, Ontario (Upper Canada), to lay a cornerstone for the new Lutheran Church there. Christ's Church in Woodstock was probably closed in his absence, and for the time it took to repair the church (and, of course, to enlarge his home, the parsonage). The first service in the renovated church building took place in September, when it was announced that there would be a festival in the church grove in a few days.
According to historian Mark Anderson, there was probably little to distinguish our services from the typical services of other Protestant sects in America. The basic pattern was: scripture reading, hymn, prayer, Gospel reading, hymn, prayer, sermon, prayer, hymn, and benediction. Four times each year there would be a communion service; the service the week before would be a service of preparation for the communion.
It was about this time that Dr. and Mrs. Harriet Heath donated a small melodeon to accompany the singing of hymns. Eudora R. Sharts, wife of the pastor, as well as Lydia A. Cramer (later the aunt of church organist Lydia Russell) played the instrument. It was also about this time that the Bible School became a vital part in the church life, under the tutelage of Eveyln Cramer.
Eudora Genevieve ("Dora") Sharts, daughter of the pastor, was the church librarian.
Regional historian Alf Evers cited the recollections about local Woodstock life at this time of Byron "Bide" Snyder, whose father had a store in town, including a telegraph office, operating the line running from the West Hurley railroad station through Woodstock up to the Overlook Mountain House(2):
Excerpted from Evers, Alf, Woodstock: History of an American Town, Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1987, p. 269, citing Snyder, Byron, recollections in the Woodstock Weekly, 1924. (Close)
The stores carried… everyday articles, such as shoe pegs [wooden pegs used in making shoes], hoop skirts, boot jacks, bed cords [these ropes, criss-crossed, took the place of bed springs], and many other things that are now forgotten. In the fall they would stock up with heavy, stiff, shapeless cowhide boots. Nearly every man and boy wore them. You could not get them off without a boot jack. The women's shoes were just about as heavy and shapeless but not quite so stiff.… When women first wore rubbers [galoshes] they were a sight. They looked as though they had two rubber bags tied around their feet. Snuff was another best seller and came in big stone jars. A storekeeper might let the stock of tea or coffee run low but woe betide him if he got out of snuff. The women would get after him.
Prospectors were exploring the Woodstock area for coal, oil, and gas.
The 9-year-old New York, Kingston & Syracuse Railroad (the N.Y.,K.&S.) stretched from Kingston, up through the Esopus Valley, over the Pine Hill, and into Delaware County as far as Stamford, with its putative objective as Syracuse. After a year and a half, it emerged from receivership with a more modest objective and a new name: The Ulster & Delaware Railroad (the U&D), with no plans to extend any further. Its president was once again Thomas Cornell, who had been ousted in the midst of scandal 3 years earlier. Cornell was also the president of the Wallkill Valley Railroad and was becoming a big shot in the region; he was called by some the Jay Gould of the U&D.
Trains on the railroad went from Kingston up the Catskills and then down to Stamford, or they went from Stamford up the Catskills and down to Kingston. Many people called the U&D line the Up & Down.
Woodstock's 4-year-old Overlook Mountain House had been losing money. In April, its manager, John E. Lasher, tried to raise enough money in Kingston to enable him to keep it going for one more season. In his absence a minor chimney fire spread and consumed the entire hotel, burning it to its foundation.
Former New Paltz and Hurley slave Isabella Bomefree Van Wagenen, now an abolitionist itinerant preacher residing in Michigan and known as Sojourner Truth, 78, pictured here, addressed white audiences in Northern states on religion, on Negro and women's rights, and on temperence. During this year, her grandson (and companion) fell ill, so Sojourner retired.
Ulysses S. Grant, 53 (Republican), was President. The newly elected 44th Congress was in session, with Democrats in control of the House of Representatives and Republicans in control of the Senate. A dollar in that year would be worth $16.63 in 2006 for most consumable products.
Debtors now began to look for relief to another precious metal: the "sacred white metal" silver, whose coinage Congress had formally dropped 2 years earlier with the Fourth Coinage Act, which debtor groups labeled the "Crime of '73." New silver discoveries in Nevada and other areas of the West was shooting silver production up and forcing silver prices down.
Northern blacks continued to assist former slaves to form a network of political clubs to teach civic duties, to campaign for Republican candidates, to represent black grievances before employers and government bureaucracies, and to recruit militias to protect black communities from white retaliation. Black men and women organized parades and rallies, and they assembled mass meetings in the newly constructed black churches.
The Tennessee State Legislature passed a "Jim Crow" law prejudicial to blacks. White-supremacist groups in other former Confederate states were finding ways to undo the enfranchisement of blacks. Still, a few blacks were holding political office in some places in the South, including in the U.S. House of Representatives. Black plantation owner Blanche K. Bruce from Bolivar County in Mississippi was even elected to the U.S. Senate, where he served a full term--the second (and last) black to do so from that state.
Northerners, called "carpetbaggers," and Southerners, called "scalawags," had joined the Republican Party to carry out the congressional Reconstruction program in the South, sometimes meddling in the region's political affairs for their own benefit. Dangerously defiant white Southerners cursed the "damnyankees" and referred to the federal government as "your government." Persisting in their conviction that their view of secession was the correct one and that the "lost cause" was a just war, they admitted of no crime in their rebellion. These unreconstructed Southern whites were particularly incensed at the idea of former slaves holding political office.
When elections for the Mississippi state legislature were coming up, Adelbert Ames, 40, the Republican Governor, agreed with Democratic leaders (led by Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar, 50) to disband the black militia which was alleged to have been inciters of election riots--in return for a promise that white violence would be restrained, a promise that was never intended to be kept. Meetings of black voters were systematically set upon by armed whites. Governor Ames appealed to President Grant for federal troops, but Attorney General Edward Pierrepont, 58, replied:
The whole public are tired of these annual autumnal outbreaks in the South.(3)Most Republicans were intimidated from voting (only 4 Republican votes were cast in one county where the blacks had a majority), and the Democrats won a majority in both houses and threatened to impeach the Governor, who resigned and was replaced by the president of the newly elected state senate. A committee of the U.S. Senate investigated the election and reported that it was "one of the darkest chapters in American history." But nothing was done about it.
Quoted in Morison, Samuel Eliot, The Oxford History of the American People, New York: Oxford University Press, 1965, p. 724. (Close)
With muffled horse hooves, the besheeted night riders of the 10-year-old "Invisible Empire" of the white-supremacist Ku Klux Klan continued to break up black prayer meetings and invade black homes at night. The group was formally dedicated to resist Reconstruction and all activities of the Republican Party. Determined to force blacks to "keep in their place," they terrorized, flogged, mutilated, and murdered "upstart" ex-slaves and carpetbaggers. Here were some verses from one of their terrifying broadsides, including the carpetbagger Union League in its list of enemies:
Niggers and Leaguers, get out of the way.Any scoundrel could don a sheet; the Klan was a refuge for several bloodthirsty bandits and cutthroats.
We're born of the night and we vanish by day.
No rations have we but the flesh of man--
And love niggers best--the Ku Klux Klan:
We catch 'em alive and roast 'em whole,
Then hand 'em around with a sharpened pole.
Whole Leagues have been eaten, not leaving a man,
And went away hungry--the Ku Klux Klan.
In contrast to (but essentially in league with) the poor-white-dominated Klan, a number of "respectable" racist movements such as the "Mississippi Plan" were now spreading through the South. Terrorists donned red shirts and organized into military companies, parading openly in broad daylight and seizing blacks they deemed militant and whipping them publicly. When blacks dared to fight back, killings were frequent in their resulting rout. Blacks learned to stay at home on election day, and "Conservative" Democratic parties took over local, county, and state governments.
Tennessee and Virginia had installed a white-supremacist "Redeemer," or "Home Rule," Democratic regime 6 years earlier, North Carolina 5 years earlier, Georgia 4 years earlier; Arkansas, Alabama, and Texas during the preceding year; and Mississippi during this year. South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana remained under Republican control. Some Republicans in Congress, the few remaining radicals, still favored federal intervention in the former Confederate states in order to protect the basic civil rights of black Americans and their white Republican compatriots; however, the Northern Republican commitment to Reconstruction and black civil rights was waning. At the same time, Democrats were vehemently opposing federal intervention, were voting against Reconstruction legislation, and were calling for the withdrawal of federal troops from political duty in the South.
The few remaining Republican regimes in the former Confederacy were still introducing some badly needed reforms: streamlining tax systems, launching public works, guaranteeing property rights for women, and establishing adequate public schools. Some of these governments were ridden with graft, however--especially in Louisiana and South Carolina, where unscrupulous promoters used naïve blacks as pawns. Notably, this sort of corruption was by no means confined to the South; it was happening in all levels of government all over the country during this "Era of Good Stealing."
Without capital, most blacks had little to offer but their labor, and thousands of them, along with thousands of landless poor whites, had become "sharecropper" farmers--essentially serfs, slaves to the soil and to their creditors. In this system, a planter divided his estate into small plots, establishing a black family on each one. Ostensibly, the black farmer was provided housing, agricultural implements, and other supplies in exchange for his and his family's labor. The sharecropper farmer and the planter owner divided the resulting crop, supposedly 50-50. Unfortunately, in the "crop-lien" arrangement, the sharecropper was forced to borrow against the fall harvest to pay for the spring seed. To protect his investment, the lender insisted that the sharecropper concentrate on readily marketable crops--tobacco, sugar, and especially cotton--and the result was overproduction and soil exhaustion. Small-time merchants established crossroad stores, selling goods to the sharecropper family on credit, further burdening the sharecropper with debt. Even those who owned land had a hard time keeping up with debts to store owners for their supplies, and many lost their land and became sharecroppers themselves.
The Southern Argus of Montgomery, AL, defined sharecropping in this cynical way(4):
From "Transwiki: American History Primary Sources Reconstruction and the New South," Wikiquote (part of Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.), at http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Transwiki:American_History _Primary_Sources_Reconstruction _and_the_New_South, accessed 7 April 2007. (Close)
[Sharecropping is] an unwilling concession to the freedmen's desire to become a proprietor.Here is from John F. Armstrong, a white one-time sharecropper who left sharecropping(5):
I just got tired of working for the other fellow. I worked and toiled from year to year and all the fruits of my labor went to the man who never struck a lick... I never made anything.
Immigrants from the British Isles and western Europe (especially Great Britain, Ireland, and Germany)--the so-called "Old Immigrants," most of them boasting a comparatively high level of literacy and accustomed to some level of representative government, who were either Protestant (most of them) or Catholic, were arriving during this decade at an average annual rate of 159,300. The "New Immigrants," those from southern and eastern Europe (especially Italy, Austria-Hungary, and Russia), largely illiterate and impoverished, who tended to be either Catholic, Orthodox, or Jewish and who had little experience with representative government, were arriving at an annual rate of 18,100--11% of the Old Immigrants' rate. The New Immigrants huddled together in large cities, such as New York City and Chicago.
American cities were now growing rapidly, most of the growth resulting from immigration from abroad (augmented by considerable immigration from domestic farms). American government at all levels was not well suited to urban swelling and did little or nothing to ease the assimilation of immigrants into society, and municipal governments especially were totally inadequate to the task. It was left to the urban political machines, run by "bosses," to minister to the needs of the new arrivals. Jobs on the city payroll, housing, food, clothing, medical care, and legal help were cynically distributed in exchange for votes and other forms of political loyalty.
In the unfamiliar era of big money and expanding government following the Civil War, corruption flourished. Waste, extravagance, speculation, graft, and fraud at all levels in the United States created such a fetid, contaminated atmosphere during this "Era of Good Stealing" that it was said the Man in the Moon had to hold his nose when passing over America. According to historians Bailey, Kennedy, and Cohen:
Unscrupulous stock-market manipulators were a cinder in the public eye. Too many judges and legislators put their power up for hire. Cynics defined an honest politician as one who, when bought, would stay bought.(6)The cabinet of President Grant was essentially a nest of incompetents and grafters. Favor seekers plied Grant with wines, cigars, and horses. Several dozen of his in-laws in the Dent family assumed highly paid do-nothing jobs for the administration.
From Bailey, Thomas A., Kennedy, David M., and Cohen, Lizabeth, The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998, p. 514.(Close)
Treasury Secretary Benjamin Helm Bristow, 43, investigated the conspiracy of distillers and public officials in St. Louis, MO, known as the Whiskey Ring, which was defrauding the federal government of millions of dollars in liquor excise tax revenues. The scheme involved an extensive network of bribes involving tax collectors, storekeepers, and others. President Grant insisted:
Let no guilty man escape!President Grant appointed General John B. Henderson, a former U.S. Senator from Missouri, to serve as special prosecutor in charge of the indictments and trials. But when Grant's private secretary, General Orville Elias Babcock, 40, was indicted, the President personally pleaded with the jury through a written statement, pardoned Babcock, and otherwise interfered in the prosecutions, eventually firing Henderson. In spite of the interference, more than $3 million ($49.9 million in 2006 dollars) in taxes were ultimately recovered, 238 people were indicted, and 110 of them were convicted.
The "Tweed" Courthouse in New York City was completed north of City Hall at a cost of $13 million ($216 million in 2006 dollars), more than 50 times the original estimate. The cronies of William Marcy "Boss" Tweed, 52, now 2 years into his 12-year prison sentence, had run up huge bills including $179,729 ($2,988,893) for three tables and 40 chairs, nearly $361,000 ($6 million) for just a month's work by a single, solitary carpenter. Tweed was released from prison but was rearrested in a civil action brought by New York State to recover the ill-gotten loot. Tweed then escaped from jail in December and fled to Cuba, and from there proceeded to Spain disguised as a sailor. He was recognized from a Harper's Weekly cartoon by Thomas Nast, 35, and was apprehended and returned to New York City and prison.
Yale professor of political science William Graham Sumner summed up the general attitude of Social Darwinism in business with the following exchange(7):
Quoted in Garraty, John A., The American Nation: A History of the United States, New York: Harper and Row, 1966, p. 475. (Close)
"Professor," one student asked Sumner, "don't you believe in any government aid to industries?"Preacher Henry Ward Beecher, 62, who had been pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church in Brooklyn, NY, for the preceding 29 years, gave such Social Darwinism a religious stamp(8):
"No!" Professor Sumner replied, "it's root, hog, or die."
The student persisted: "Suppose some professor of political science came along and took your job away from you. Wouldn't you be sore?"
"Any other professor is welcome to try," Sumner answered. "If he gets my job, it is my fault. My business is to teach the subject so well that no one can take the job away from me."
[No] man in this land suffers from poverty, unless it be more than his fault--unless it be his sin. There is enough and to spare thrice over; and if men have not enough, it is owing to the want of provident care, and foresight, and industry, and frugality, and wise saving. That is the general truth.
There was now more than 74,000 miles of railroad in the United States, a 42% increase over the mileage of only 5 years earlier and a more than twofold increase over a decade earlier.
The burly, ruthless Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt, 81, continued to consolidate his Hudson River Railroad and his New York Central Railroad, thereby gaining a monopoly in rail transport between New York and Buffalo, and, through his leasing of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad, between New York City and Chicago. During this year, he integrated the Michigan Central into his empire. He was amassing a gigantic fortune by offering superior railway service at rates lower than those charged by his unfortunate competitors. Vanderbilt was popularizing the tougher steel rail, safer and more economical than the conventional iron, because it could bear a heavier load; with the establishment of the Carnegie steel works, he no longer had to import the steel from England. His consolidation efforts also helped to standardize the track gauge, eliminating the inconvenience and expense of repeated changes from one line to another.
After 3 years of excavation, the tracks of the Vanderbilt's New York Central Railroad were lowered into a giant ditch down Fourth Avenue (Park Avenue) in New York City.
As with the 6-year-old Union Pacific and Central Pacific transcontinental railroad, the nation's first, government subsidies in land grants continued to act as an inducement to railroad construction (the private railroad companies might not otherwise hazard huge sums needed to lay tracks across hundreds of miles of rugged, empty country, tracks whose traffic would not yield profits for years). Congress was awarding millions of acres of public land, and the states themselves were contributing million of acres more. For transcontinental routes in particular, the land was typically granted in broad belts along the proposed routes, within which the companies were allowed to choose the best location for the tracks; until they chose--and even long after--all the land within the belts was unavailable for settlement (and, for land adjacent to transcontinental routes, would be unavailable for another 12 years). The builders of the railroad projects were authorized to take the timber, stone, and other material needed from the public-land right of way it had been granted.
Historian John Garraty has summarized what was happening(9):
From Garraty, op. cit., p. 489.(Close)
Here was a clear conflict between equal opportunity and rapid economic growth, between the idea of the West as a national heritage to be disposed of to deserving citizens and the concept of the region as a boundless prize to be gobbled up in giant chunks by those interests powerful and determined enough to take it. When it came to a choice between giving a particular tract to railroads or to homesteaders, the homesteaders nearly always lost out. To serve a necessary national purpose, the linking of the sections by rail, the land of the West was dispensed wholesale as a substitute for cash subsidies.
Railroad promoters let out all the stops to reap the land grants. They were able to pocket millions of dollars from selling off granted land (at an average price of $3 per acre [$49.89 per acre in 2006 dollars]), investing a pittance of that to bribe Congressmen with cash contributions and lucrative stock. For example, the directors of the Central Pacific were dispersing $500,000 annually ($8.3 million) for "legal expenses," which were actually thinly disguised bribes to stave off government investigations into corruption.
A frontier village could become a flourishing city if it could host a new railroad; whatever settlement bypassed by the railroad typically became a "ghost town." Communities contended with one another to get the rails, offering monetary and other attractions to promoters, who sometimes blackmailed the communities to get even more generous handouts.
Railroads--especially the new transcontinental line---created an enormous integrated domestic market, a huge commercial empire, for manufactured goods as well as raw materials, and they attracted both domestic and foreign investors. The new lines stimulated both agriculture and mining, especially in the West, taking farmers and miners to their remote holdings, bringing manufactured necessities to them, and hauling to market the product of their labors. The iron horse stimulated immigration; the railroad companies advertised in Europe to seduce settlers to buy land from the grants. Now the entire Midwest--Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas--was becoming farmland, and the high-plain prairies of Dakota and Montana Territories was becoming cattle ranges; the white pines of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota was being cut for lumber, rushed by rail for construction of houses and fences in the treeless prairies.
Railroad construction itself generated a gigantic backlog for the young steel industry.
Some railroad promoters were grossly overoptimistic (or simply unscrupulous), however, cashing in construction bonds to penetrate areas that lacked even a potential population that could support a line, laying rails that led "from nowhere to nothing"; when the promoters declared bankruptcy, their trusting investors would be left with only "two streaks of rust and a right of way" (making rails out of steel rather than iron would solve the rust problem). The St. Paul & Pacific Railroad had been facing bankruptcy since the beginning of the Panic of 1873.
Railroad construction and operation was making a new millionaire aristocracy and stimulated Wall Street speculation for amassing colossal wealth. The bedazzled public was not detecting, or was disregarding, the corrupt financial maneuvers and rapacious skullduggery. Railroad stock promoters were adept at "stock watering": exaggerating the assets and profitability of whatever line they were hawking, selling its stock and bonds at prices far surpassing their true value. Then, in order to redeem the oversold financial obligations, the line's managers were forced to charge extortionate rates and to wage ruthless competitive wars.
Railroad barons gradually eschewed the crude bloodletting of cutthroat competition, however, and began to cooperate with one another, entering into defensive alliances to protect their gigantic profits with little concern for the paying public. They formed "pools," agreements to divide the business in a given region and then share the profits. They might also grant kickbacks and rebates to large shippers. They made up the difference on discounts by gouging customers on noncompeting lines, frequently resulting in larger freight charges for shorter hauls.
Meanwhile, railroad barons recruited lobbyists, anointed their own "creatures" into high political office, and bribed journalists, legislators, and judges with cash or free travel. They could exercise more direct control over the lives and welfare of people than could the President of the United States.
Industrial expansion was now assuming mammoth proportions. The natural resources of the nation were being exploited more and more. Massive immigration made unskilled labor plentiful and cheap. Industrialists were perfecting techniques of mass production. Tens of thousands of patents were being issued every year, facilitating business operations.
One homespun commentator remarked that the new technology was enough
to run anybody's idees up into majestic heights and run 'em round and round into lofty circles and spears of thought they hadn't never thought of runnin' into before.(10)
Quoted in ibid., p. 545.(Close)
Liquid capital had become abundant. John Pierpont Morgan, 38, of the 4-year-old banking house Drexel, Morgan & Co., with offices in both New York City and Philadelphia, was known as the "banker's banker." He was deeply involved in financing railroads, raising large sums in Europe. Rather than merely handing over the funds, however, he persuaded railroads to reorganize in order to achieve greater efficiencies toward the vision of an integrated transportation system.
Steel making, notably for railroad rails (railroad baron Vanderbilt was now a principal customer of the steelmakers), demonstrated the new dominance of "heavy industry" for making "capital goods" (machinery for making consumer goods). Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, 39, built the first factory in the Pittsburgh area--the J. Edgar Thomson Steel Works (named for the former president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, his best customer)--to use the Bessemer steel-making process (actually invented by American William Kelly, which involved the blowing of cold air on red-hot iron, thereby igniting the carbon in the white-hot metal and eliminating impurities). A successful iron and steel business using this process required a large-scale operation: heavy and expensive equipment, financial reserves to withstand the buffeting of the endemic rapid fluctuations of demand, and a large labor force. The massive immigration during this last part of the century was making unskilled labor plentiful and cheap, and the new immigrants from eastern and southern Europe, working in two 12-hour shifts for 7 days a week, built up the strength of the steel industry. Blessed by this abundant labor supply as well as a ready abundance of coal for fuel and rich iron ore for smelting, the U.S. was beginning to become a major steel supplier for the world. And Carnegie's share of this market was increasing steadily.
The 16-year-old petroleum "black gold" industry was booming, especially now with the derivative kerosene, which on a cotton wick in a glass chimney lamp burned so much brighter than the ever-more-expensive sperm oil from whales. Already kerosene was the the fourth most valuable U.S. export.
Kerosene was no longer the only valuable petroleum product, however. By now refiners were learning how to "crack" petroleum
by applying high temperatures to the crude in order to break up and rearrange its molecular structure, thus increasing the percentage of kerosene yielded. By-products such as naphtha, gasoline (used in vaporized form as an illuminating gas), rhigolene (a local anesthetic), cymogene (a coolant for refrigerating machines), and many lubricants and waxes began to appear on the market.(11)By now the great increase in crude oil had driven prices down, a factor that put a premium on refining efficiency--larger plants utilizing expensive machinery and employing skilled technicians.
Quoted from ibid., p. 506. (Close)
The 5-year-old Standard Oil Company of Ohio, now the Standard Oil Trust, directed by abstemious, parsimonious John Davison Rockefeller, 35, was refining tens of thousands barrels of crude per day and was the largest operation of its kind in the world. Through the Trust the merciless Rockefeller, operating "just to the windward of the law," had perfected a technique for allying with competitors to monopolize the petroleum market and controlling bothersome rivals; stockholders of several small oil companies would assign their stock to the Standard Oil board of directors, and all operations of formerly competing firms would be consolidated and aligned. Rockefeller ruthlessly wielded vast power. Weak competitors not part of the trust were plowed under. Rockefeller's unwritten motto was
Let us prey.His local agents received the following hard-boiled order:
Sell all the oil that is sold in your district.In addition to the rebates it received from the railroads, the Trust received drawbacks--fixed rates that the railroads paid for every barrel of oil they carried for a Standard Oil competitor--and competitors paid five times the freight rates enjoyed by Standard Oil.
Industrialists, almost all of them identified with the Republican Party and enjoying the tariffs that that party had secured, paused in their building of new factories (waiting for the economic slump to end). These businessmen constituted a new class of gaudy, brassy, noisy, extravagant millionaires, plutocrats who defended their unbridled capitalism and their heartless contempt of the poor by adapting the theory of Charles Darwin: survival of the fittest.
More and more Americans, formerly self-employed farmers or artisans, were becoming wage earners toiling in the new factories, continually fearing unemployment from swings in the business cycle or simply from arbitrary whims of the businessmen. (And with the Panic of 1873, many of them were indeed unemployed.) The sweat of these laborers was lubricating the robust new industrial machine, but the laborers themselves shared very little of the benefits enjoyed by the plutocrats. Like the Roman galley slave, the worker was merely an unskilled and easily replaced lever puller for a depersonalized, soulless, conscienceless corporation.
Workers had been struggling to organize themselves into unions. In spite of the hard times from the depression, workers in the 6-year-old Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor continued to meet in Philadelphia as a secret society with passwords, handshakes, and a private ritual. Such secrecy forestalled possible reprisals from employers. With its slogan
An injury to one is the concern of allthe Knights campaigned to include all workers--the skilled--into "one big union." Blacks, Chinese, and "nonproducers" (lawyers, bankers, stockbrokers, professional gamblers, and liquor dealers) were excluded, however. The Knights advocated such social and economic reform as safety and health codes, an 8-hour workday, the abolition of child labor, equal pay for equal work, arbitration rather than strikes, producers' cooperatives, and currency reform based on the principles of the Greenback-Labor Party. They insisted that
Labor is the only creator of values and capital.Here is a stanza from one of their favorite songs:
Hurrah, hurrah, for labor,and here is another stanza:
it is mustering all its powers,
And shall march along to victory
with the banner of eight hours.
Storm the fort, ye Knights of Labor,
Battle for your cause;
Equal rights for every neighbor,
Down with tyrant laws!
Larvae of the gypsy moth (Porthetria dispar) continued to spread from Medford, MA, where French naturalist Leopold Trouvelot had brought the insect from Europe 6 years earlier with hopes to start a silk industry in New England. The moth population was exploding and defoliating American woodlands.
Men in the fishing fleet of Burnham & Morrill Company in Portland, ME, began producing B&M Baked Beans.
Scots recent immigrant inventor Alexander Graham Bell, 28, a teacher of speech to the deaf, who had the previous year conceived the idea of "electric speech" while visiting his parents in Brantford, Ontario, now tried to perfect a method for carrying more than two messages simultaneously over a single telegraph line. In early June, he heard the sound of a plucked spring along 60 feet of wire in the attic electrical workshop of Charles Williams in Boston; the spring had been plucked by Thomas A. Watson, Bell's young assistant, who was trying to reactivate a harmonic telegraph transmitter, one of several whose reeds or springs were each tuned to a different signal frequency. The contact screw had been screwed down so far that a circuit had been broken that should have been broken only intermittently; a current was being transmitted that corresponded to a reed in Bell's room.
German immigrant lithographer Louis Prang, 51, produced the first American-made Christmas cards in Boston, at first for the British trade but in an attempt to develop an American market.
German immigrant conductor Bernhard Listemann, 34, founded the Boston Philharmonic Club (later the Boston Symphony).
Boston lawyer Henry Durant opened the college he had founded 5 years earlier, Wellesley College for Women on a lavishly landscaped park around Lake Waban in Wellesley, MA.
Smith College, established 4 years earlier in Northampton, MA, opened for classes.
Harvard played Yale in New Haven, CT, under "concessionary rules" that permitted running with the ball and tackling.
A state agricultural experiment station was established at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT.
Helena Petrovna Hahn (Helena Blavatsky), 34, founded the Theosophical Society in New York City.
The 18-year-old New York Infirmary for Women and Children, run entirely by women, in New York City, moved to a new location at 321 East 15th Street.
German banker Jacob Henry Schiff, 27, was admitted into the 8-year-old Kuhn, Loeb & Company investment banking house in New York City. Within a few months, Schiff married Therese Loeb, the eldest daughter of founder Solomon Loeb.
The New York Condensed Milk Company began selling fluid milk in addition to its condensed milk.
The United States Hotel opened in Saratoga Springs, NY; with nearly a thousand rooms, it called itself the world's largest hotel.
The second Chautauqua Assembly, organized the year before by Methodist Bishop John Heyl Vincent and Akron, OH, farm machinery manufacturer Lewis Miller, on Lake Chautauqua, NY, ostensibly to train church workers and Sunday School teachers during summer months, but now developing into a traveling tent show of lecturers to bring culture to small towns in America, hosted President Grant's appearance, an event that lent prestige to the movement.
Maine insurance agent John Fairfield Dryden, 36, with backing from local investors, founded the insurance firm Prudential Friendly Society in Newark, NJ.
The 7-year-old Philadelphia advertising firm N. W. Ayer & Son, directed by Wayland Ayer, 27, offered advertisers "open contracts" that gave them access to the true rates charged by newspapers and religious journals, rather than the rates set up by advertising agents who charged whatever the traffic would bear.
Philadelphia pharmacist Charles Elmer Hires, 24, discovered a recipe for an herb tea made from 16 different wild roots and berries, including juniper, pipsissewa, spikenard, sarsaparilla, wintergreen, and hops; he began experimenting with an improved formula.
Henry John Heinz, 30, was able to save the 6-year-old horseradish-processing Heinz & Noble Co. in Sharpsburg, PA, from bankruptcy by paying off the creditors after the firm had contracted to buy some crops that had come in more abundantly than expected.
Ferdinand Schumacher, 52, the "Oatmeal King," director of the 19-year-old German Mills American Oatmeal Factory in Akron, OH, introduced Steel Cut Oats, processed by a new machine invented by employee Asmus J. Ehrrichsen that employed a series of horizontal knife blades to cut the hulled oats (groats) into a meal that cooked into a breakfast not so lumpy and glutenous.
Rabbi Isaac Meyer Wise, an advocate of Reform Judaism, founded Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati.
Lewis Ginter and John F. Allen went into partnership in Richmond, VA, to produce low-priced cigarettes from domestic bright tobacco.
Tobacco peddler Richard Joshua Reynolds, 25, who had amassed $7,500 ($125,000 in 2006 dollars) in capital working in partnership with his father, used $2,400 ($40,000) to build a 36-by-60-foot frame tobacco factory in Winston, NC, equipping it with a few crude pieces of machinery, and with the rest of the money began buying leaf tobacco and producing pipe tobacco from burley leaf.
The first Kentucky Derby, promoted by M. Lewis Clark, was held at Churchill Downs in Louisville. The winner was the small chestnut colt Aristide for a purse of $2,850 ($47,396 in 2006 dollars).
The Chicago Daily News, edited by Melville Elijah Stone, 27, with Percy H. Meggy and William E. Doughy, began publication as the city's first penny newspapers (in contrast to most other papers, which cost a nickel).
Potter Palmer built a magnificent new Palmer House hotel in Chicago to replace the hotel he had lost in the Great Chicago Fire 4 years before. The new hotel had a mammoth barbershop with silver dollars embedded in its floor and a lavish dining room with dishes that included broiled buffalo, antelope, bear, mountain sheep, boned quail in plumage, blackbirds, partridge, and other "ornamental dishes."
The 13-year-old Homestead Act, designed to stimulate the family farm and to encourage a rapid population growth in the West, authorized any U.S. citizen, or any alien intending to become a citizen, to take 160 acres of Western land (a quarter section) for just a $10 registration fee ($166.30 in 2006 dollars), provided that he make certain improvements and that he live on the tract for 5 years. Alternatively, the settler might acquire land after only 6 months of residence for a nominal price of $1.25 per acre ($20.79 per acre in 2006 dollars). Either way, the land acquired was to be exempt from attachment for debt.
Of course, the act augmented immigration. Tens of thousands of settlers applied for homesteads each year, a third of them actually receiving land. During this year, about 2 million acres of public lands were legally transferred to private ownership.
Unfortunately, most landless Americans were too poor to become independent farmers; the expense of moving a family from the East to the ever-receding frontier was prohibitive, and the subsequent costs of equipment, fencing, and housing was formidable for most. Industrial workers were ill-suited to transform themselves into farmers; most of the homesteaders were already farmers and were situated close to the frontier anyway.
Also, the standard quarter section was typically inadequate for raising livestock or for the kind of commercial agriculture that was suitable on the dry Great Plains; approximately two-thirds of the homesteaders eventually surrendered in their struggle against draught. Cynics joked that the government had put up the 160 acres against the $10 registration fee in a cruel bet that the settlers would not last the requisite 5 years. Notably, about five times as many families purchased their land from the states, the land companies, or the railroads.
Congress had attempted to address the problem with its 2-year-old Timber Culture Act, which permitting individuals to claim an additional 160 acres if they agreed to plant a quarter of it in trees within 10 years. This law was helpful to farmers in Kansas, Nebraska, and Dakota Territory, but raising seedling trees on the plains was difficult; fewer than 25% of those who took land under this law ever obtained final title.
The Homestead Act and similar laws spawned considerable fraud: Settlers often swore that they had "improved" their claim by erecting a "twelve-by-fourteen" dwelling, which actually measured 12 by 14 inches. Wealthy speculators used the law to obtain large tracts. Unscrupulous corporations bribed aliens with beer or a little cash to become a "dummy" homesteader so that they could snatch properties containing oil, minerals, and timber. And, as stated earlier, the railroad barons always had the upper hand over the homesteaders.
The Grange cooperative bought up patents for cultivators, seeders, mowers, reapers, and other farm equipment and began to manufacture them. Unfortunately, patent suits, insufficient capital, and a lack of cooperation among rural individualistic farmers caused the effort to fail.
Nebraska agriculturalist J. Sterling Morton, 43, influenced Midwestern state legislatures to proclaim April 22 as Arbor Day, encouraging Americans to plant trees on the open prairie.
Some combines came into use on farms in the Midwest.
Drought continued on a good part of the cattle range in the West.
Buffalo hunters on the plains south of the Platte River, brought there by the expanding railroads and the growing market back east for hides (buffalo robes were considered very fashionable, and the demand for them was insatiable) and meat (sometimes just for tongues and a few other choice cuts), killed hundreds of thousands of buffalo--sometimes at the rate of 100 animals per hour. There was also a brisk, faddish demand for mounted buffalo heads. (Of course, there was another important motive: to ruin the way of life of the Plains Indians.) The Santa Fe Railroad in the 4-year-old dance-hall-rich and saloon-rich village of Dodge City, KS, enabled hunters to ship hundreds of thousands of buffalo hides, buffalo tongues, and buffalo hindquarters to market. Many of the "hunters" considered themselves "sportsmen," and as they leaned out of the lurching railroad trains, they blazed away at the animals with repeating rifles. Most of the buffalo carcasses, and certainly the parts not deemed worthy to market, were left to rot in the sun, to be picked by the vultures.
President Grant vetoed a bill of the 44th Congress that would have protected the buffalo from extinction. Meanwhile, a bill came before the Texas legislature that would have protected the buffalo, but General Philip Henry Sheridan, 44, busy in the campaigns against the Comanche and Kiowa, made an impassioned, racist speech against the plan:
[Buffalo hunters] are destroying the Indians' commissary, and it is a well-known fact that an army losing its base of supplies is placed at a great disadvantage. Send them powder and lead, if you will, but for the sake of a lasting peace, let them kill, skin, and sell until the buffaloes are exterminated. Then your prairies can be covered in speckled cattle, and the festive cowboy, who follows the hunter as a second forerunner of advanced civilization.
Replacing the buffalo was the Texas longhorn cattle, brought in by cattlemen who had discovered how well the hardy stock survived the winters on the plains foraging on the seemingly limitless forage. They were improving the stock (tenderizing the meat without diminishing the resistance to harsh conditions) by breeding them with pedigreed Hereford bulls. Provided that the cattleman rancher could get access to limited water, he could fatten thousands of steers on public land (in other words, without buying title to a private ranch) and then sell the result for beefsteak and leather at a bonanza profit.
Cattle drives on the 700-mile-long Chisholm Trail from San Antonio, TX, to Abilene or Ellsworth, KS (two "cow towns" on the Kansas Pacific Railway, where cattle could be transported to Kansas City or Chicago to supply "beef baron" Philip Danforth Armour, 42), continued on a large scale, hundreds of thousands of bawling Texas long-horned steers (with horn spreads reaching 8 feet) driven north on the "Long Drive," moving at an average 12 miles per day through open (unfenced), unsettled country.
Historian John Garraty has described what it was like in the "cow towns" (and "buffalo towns"?)(12):
From ibid., pp. 494-95.(Close)
"Cow towns" like Abilene, Ellsworth, and Dodge City were… riotous and… venal.… "I have seen many fast towns," one tough westerner declared, "but Abilene beat them all." A local merchant characterized that town as a "seething, roaring, flaming hell"; its saloons bearing names like Alamo, Applejack, Longhorn, and Old Fruit, were packed during the season with crowds of rambunctious, gun-toting pleasure seekers. Gambling houses and brothels abounded. When Ellsworth, Kansas, had a population of only a thousand, it had 75 resident professional gamblers. At dance halls like Rowdy Joe's, the customers were expected to buy drinks for themselves and their partners after each dance. Little wonder that [Chicago livestock dealer and Abilene Mayor Joseph Geating] McCoy wrote in his Historic Sketches of the Cattle Trade (1874):Few more wild, reckless scenes of abandoned debauchery can be seen on the civilized earth than a dance hall in full blast in one of these frontier towns.
Refrigerator cars supported by such beef barons as were regularly shipping meat from such Midwest stockyards as Kansas City and Chicago to the Eastern Seaboard.
Because of the preceding year's announcement of Colonel George Armstrong Custer, 36, the "Boy General" (as he had been known during the Civil War), that there was gold in the Black Hills of western Dakota Territory, part of the treaty-guaranteed Great Sioux Reservation, which was viewed as sacred ground by the Lakota and Oglala Sioux. General Sheridan attempted to hold back the horde of greedy gold seekers, but in the spring they broke through and founded the town of Deadwood, which rapidly grew to a population of 5,000. The Sioux, led by Tatanka Iyotake ("Sitting Bull"), 44, were taking to the warpath.
Illinois promoter John Warne "Bet-you-a-million" Gates, 20, demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of barbed wire in San Antonio, TX, by turning the main plaza of the town into a giant corral holding longhorn cattle.
Brigham Young University was founded in Salt Lake City in Utah Territory.
The Palace Hotel opened in San Francisco, supplied with water from four artesian wells and providing 755 20-by-20-foot rooms, 437 baths, five elevators, seven iron stairways, and a crystal roof over its inner court.
The 6-year-old square-rigger sailing ship The Glory of the Seas--240 feet long, 2,000 tons burthen--completed the record voyage from San Francisco to Sydney, Australia, in 35 days.
Thousands of Chinese immigrants were fleeing the disintegrating Chinese Empire and coming to the United States, at an annual rate during this decade of 12,320. Most were men (the ratio was 21 males for each female). Some came with money pooled by their families back home, but most were desperately poor and in debt to Chinese middlemen, which they would need to repay in cruel conditions of indenture for years. The indenture business was known ignominiously as "pig selling." Chinatowns were springing up in railroad towns, farming villages, and cities, where the immigrants could speak their own language and seek safety from prejudice and violence. Many organized themselves into tongs (secret societies).
Horticulturist Luther Burbank, 26, established a nursery at Santa Rosa, CA, to develop food and ornamental plant life by selection and cross-fertilization.
Jonathan and Eliza C. Tibbetts produced the seedless, winter-ripening navel oranges (called "Washington oranges") in Riverside, CA.
There were now only 17,000 Indians living in California, an 83% decline from two and a half decades earlier.
Virginia City, NV, at the peak of its prosperity, had 25 saloons and huge, ornate, tasteless houses where successful operators swilled champagne as though it were water and dined on fine china.
Prospector and Union Army veteran Michael Hickey found what appeared to be silver in the ghost town of Butte in Montana Territory and staked a claim. After finding an old newspaper left behind by gold miners in the Civil War days, with the headline "Grant's Armies Are Encircling Lee's Forces Like an Anaconda," he named his mine the Anaconda.
Historian John Garraty has summarized the miners' point of view(13):
Quoted in ibid., p. 485. (Close)
The miners enthusiastically adopted the get-rich-quick philosophy, willingly enduring privations and laboring hard, but always with the object of striking it rich. Anything that stood in the way of their ambitions they struck down. They trespassed on Indian lands without the slightest qualm and "claimed" public land with no thought of paying for it. The idea of reserving any part of the West for future generations never entered their heads. The sudden prosperity of the mining towns attracted every kind of shady character, all bent on extracting wealth from the pockets of the miners rather than from the unyielding earth. Gambling houses, dance halls, saloons, and brothels mushroomed wherever precious metal was found [or was rumored to have been found]. Around these tawdry palaces of pleasure and forgetfulness gathered thieves, confidence men, degenerates, and desperados. Crime and violence were commonplace, law enforcement was a constant problem.Eventually the "better element" in these boom towns formed "vigilante committees," which drove the outlaws out of town after a few summary hangings. Meanwhile, storekeepers in the towns charged outrageous prices, and claim holders were "salting" their worthless properties with nuggets in order to swindle gullible investors.
President Grant opened to white settlers the territory in Oregon that had been reserved by an 1855 treaty to the Nez Perce Indians.
Chinese orchardmen in Oregon developed the Bing cherry.
Apples were grown for the first time in the Yakima Valley of Washington Territory.
Here is the stagecoach etiquette:
The best seat inside a stagecoach is the one next to the driver. You will have to ride with back to the horses, which with some people, produces an illness not unlike sea sickness, but in a long journey this will wear off, and you will get more rest, with less than half the bumps and jars than on any other seat. [When anyone]… who traveled thousands of miles on coaches offers, through sympathy, to exchange his back or middle seat with you, don't do it.… Bathe your feet before starting in cold weather, and wear loose overshoes and gloves two or three sizes too large. When the driver asks you to get off and walk, do it without grumbling. He will not request it unless absolutely necessary. If a team runs away, sit still and take your chances; if you jump, nine times out of ten you will be hurt. In very cold weather abstain entirely from liquor while on the road; a man will freeze twice as quick while under its influence. Don't growl at food at stations; stage companies generally provide the best they can get. Don't keep the stage waiting; many a virtuous man has lost his character by so doing. Don't smoke a strong pipe inside especially early in the morning; spit on the leeward side of the coach. If you have anything to take in a bottle, pass it around; a man who drinks by himself in such a case is lost to all human feeling. Provide stimulants before starting; ranch whiskey is not always nectar. Be sure to take two heavy blankets with you; you will need them. Don't swear, nor lop over on your neighbor when sleeping. Don't ask how far it is to the next station until you get there. Take small change to pay expenses. Never attempt to fire a gun or pistol while on the road; it may frighten the team and the careless handling and cocking of the weapon makes nervous people nervous. Don't discuss politics or religion, nor point out places on the road where horrible murders have been committed, if delicate women are among the passengers. Don't linger too long at the pewter wash basin at the station. Don't grease your hair before starting or dust will stick there in sufficient quantities to make a respectable "tater" patch. Tie a silk handkerchief around your neck to keep out dust and prevent sunburns.… Don't imagine for a moment you are going on a picnic; expect annoyance, discomfort and some hardships. If you are disappointed, thank heaven.(14)
Quoted in McCutcheon, Marc, Everyday Life in the 1800s: A Guide for Writers, Students & Historians, Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books, 1993, p. 69, citing the Omaha Herald in 1877. (Close)
New England brides whose marriages were announced in the newspaper invariably received circulars on contraceptive "instrumentalities." Many, however, relied on coitus interruptus, although physicians warned that "withdrawal" was detrimental to men's health. About one in six births were aborted in America, a result of the greater availability and acceptance of abortifacients--aloes, iron, various cathartic powders--sold through newspaper ads, circulars, and pharmacies, advertised euphemistically as "infallible French female pills" or "a cure for interrupted menstruation." Abortion performed in the early months of pregnancy was accepted, but it was nonetheless a source of great shame.(15)
Quoted in ibid., pp. 157-58, 162. (Close)
The U.S. Fish Commission planted Atlantic salmon in inland lakes.
Typewriters ("literary pianos") were gradually becoming commonplace in offices.
Dentists routinely gave nitrous oxide to their patients.
Pencils with erasers were now available.
Blue jeans (Levi's) were now available.
People were using safety pins.
German immigrant photographer David Bachrach, Jr., 30, and Edward Levy, 29, patented a photoengraving process.
English immigrant Robert Augustus Chesebrough, 38, introduced Vaseline petroleum jelly.
Kalimazoo, MI, inventor George F. Green patented an electric dental drill he called an "electro-magnetic dental tool" for sawing, filing, dressing, and polishing teeth, and he assigned the patent to Samuel S. White of Philadelphia, who began manufacturing it.
Samuel F. O'Reilly invented an electric tattooing machine; James Sargent and Halbert Greenleaf patented a time lock for use in bank vaults; scientist Edward Weston opened a New Jersey factory to turn out dynamoelectric machinery; engineer Elihu Thomson operated the world's first radio; printer Richard M. Hoe, 63, invented a high-speed newspaper folding apparatus; and New Jersey inventor Thomas Alva Edison, 28, who had been experimenting with paraffin paper for possible use as telegraph tape, perfected the first duplicating process to employ a wax stencil.
Kirksville, MO, physician Andrew Taylor Still, 47, who had 11 years earlier lost three children to spinal meningitis, insisted that all diseases were caused by abnormalities in or near bodily joints and thus established the science of osteopathy.
In the year 1866, I discovered the Christ Science or divine laws of Life, Truth, and Love, and named my discovery Christian Science.For those in the nerve-wracked urbanized civilization of late nineteenth-century America, Eddy offered relief from disease through prayer.
We classify disease as error, which nothing but Truth or Mind can heal, and this Mind must be divine, not human.Her book sold a thousand copies in its first edition, and eventually sold 400,000 copies and became the basic text of Christian Science.
Bearded and rotund Chicago preacher Dwight Lyman Moody, 38, weighing nearly 300 pounds, a former shoe salesman who adapted old-time religion to the facts of city life, could hold huge audiences spellbound. With the help of gospel singer Ira A. Sankey, Moody operated the North Side Tabernacle. During this year Moody and Sankey were converting thousands in the British Isles. They returned in August for huge city crusades in the U.S. In Brooklyn, NY, at the Clermont Avenue Rink, special trolley tracks had to be laid to carry the crowds who wanted to hear him, but thousands had to be turned away. Thousands were converted there and then in Philadelphia.
Some people were Communists.
Harlan E. Halsey was making a fortune dashing off hundreds of dime novels each year, read by goggle-eyed youths behind the broad covers of serious but boring books.
Popular periodicals included the Lippincott's Magazine, Farmer's Home Journal, Harper's Bazaar, Sporting Times, Niles' Weekly Register, the American Journal of Science, American Farmer, Christian Watchman, Saturday Evening Post, Good Health, Godey's Lady's Book, Ladies' Repository, Peterson's Ladies' National Magazine, Home Journal, Home Monthly, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, Frank Leslie's Boys of America, Harper's Weekly, Yale Literary Magazine, Carriage Monthly, Phunny Fellow, National Police Gazette, Illustrated Police News, and Scientific American.
Popular songs included "Home on the Range," "Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me," "Sweet By and By," "Silver Threads among the Gold," "Little Brown Jug," "The Flying Trapeze," "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen," "Battle Hymn of the Republic," "Listen to the Mockingbird," "Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair," "Camptown Races," "Turkey in the Straw," and "Amazing Grace."
The 12-year-old worldwide cholera epidemic finally ended.
The first organized Canadian ice hockey match was played at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal.
An earthquake in Venezuela and Colombia killed some 16,000 people.
The British Army numbered 113,000.
The British Parliament passed the Trade Marks Act to register product trademarks.
The British Parliament passed the Sale of Food and Drugs Law, tightening restrictions against adulteration, making any adulteration injurious to health punishable with a heavy fine (on the first offense) and with imprisonment (for the second offense).
British annual sugar consumption was 60 pounds per capita, a 30-percent rise in only 3 years.
The British Parliament passed the Public Health Act.
Liverpool Street Station in London was completed for the Great Eastern Railway.
Irish patriot Charles Stewart Parnell was elected to the British Parliament and began the movement in that body for Irish independence.
The London Medical School for Women was founded.
The main sewerage system for London was completed.
American preacher Dwight Lyman Moody, 38, with his helper Ira A. Sankey continued their converting of thousands in the British Isles. After huge rallies in Sheffield and Birmingham, there was a huge 4-month London Crusade to climax the tour, with millions in attendance.
A roller-skating rink opened in Belgravia in London, the world's first.
London clerk Arthur Lasenby Liberty, 31, who had been working the previous 13 years for a Regent Street merchant of oriental goods, opened his Liberty's of London at 218A Regent Street, selling prints and home furnishings.
Captain Matthew Webb, 27, swam the English Channel from Dover to Cap Griz Nez (Calais) in 21 hours 45 minutes--the first person to accomplish the feat.
France adopted a republican constitution.
The French Army numbered 412,000.
Architect Jean Louis Charles Garnier, 50, completed the 50-million-franc Paris Opéra, with the largest stage of its kind in the world and more than twice that much space devoted to foyers, galleries, and staircases to provide settings for tête-à-têtes.
Businessmen of Vevey, Switzerland, founded the Societé Anonymé Lactée Henri Nestlé, outbidding Geneva bankers to acquire the operations of chemist businessman Henri Nestlé, 59, who was selling hundreds of thousands of tins of baby food every year; their bid was more than a million francs and a coach and two horses for Nestlé's wife. The Nestlé shopman collaborated with the foreman of Daniel Peter's chocolate factory to produce the first milk chocolate.
As part of his 4-year-old Kulturkampf effort to control the Roman Catholic Church, German First Chancellor Count Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck, 60, pictured here, ensured that religious orders were outlawed in Prussia.
The Socialist Workingmen's Party was organized in Gotha in eastern Germany.
The German Army numbered 2.8 million.
The 56-foot-tall statue Hermanns Denkmal in the Teutoberger Forest of Lower Saxony was dedicated to celebrate the triumph of the Germanic chieftain Arminus over the Roman legions of Varus in A.D. 9.
The new Opera House opened in Vienna.
Uprisings broke out in Bosnia and Herzogovina against Ottoman rule. Sultan Abdul Aziz, 45, met the demands of the insurgents and promised reforms.
The Russian Army numbered 3.36 million.
Through the efforts of British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, 71, the government of the United Kingdom was able to obtain a £4-million loan from the merchant banking house of Rothschild, with the government itself offered as security, to buy up 176,752 shares in the Universal Suez Company from the profligate and deeply indebted Khedive of Egypt Ismail Pasha, 45, thereby securing British control of the 6-year-old strategic Suez Canal--much to the consternation of other countries.
Egypt and Ethiopia went to war.
New York Herald correspondent Henry Morton Stanley, 34, traced the Congo River from its source all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.
Edward, Prince of Wales, 34, visited India.
The T'ung Chih Manchu Emperor of China, Mu Tsung, died at the age of 19 and was succeeded by his cousin, the Kuang Hsü Emperor, Tsai T'ien, 4.
Chinese General Tso Tsung-t'ang, 60, brought his forces to suppress the Tungans of the Northern T'ien Shan, who had been in revolt for the preceding 13 years.
The coffee rust (Hamileia vastatrix), which had appeared in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) 6 years earlier, was spreading throughout the Orient and the Pacific, wiping out coffee plantations and causing coffee prices to soar.
English naturalist Charles Robert Darwin, 66, published Climbing Plants and Insectivorous Plants.
French physician Charles Laveran published a study of military hygiene; French chemist Paul Émile (François) Lecoq de Boisbaudran, 37, discovered the element gallium; German chemist Ferdinand Tiemann, 27, produced synthetic vanillin; and German botanist and microscopist Ferdinand Cohn discovered the bacterioal endosphere.
German embryologist Oscar Hertwig, 26, after working with sea urchins (Arbacia punctulata) whose female produces roughly a million eggs per season was able to conclude that the fertilization of a female egg is accomplished by a single male cell.
Russian composer Petr Ilich Tchaikovsky, 34, produced Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra at the Music Hall in Boston, with Hans von Bülow as soloist, and Symphony No. 3 in D major in Moscow; Czech composer Bedrich Smetana, 51, produced the symphonic poem The Moldau (Vltava) in Prague; Hungarian composer Karl (Károly) Goldmark, 45, produced the opera Die Königin von Saba ("The Queen of Spades") in Vienna; and Austrian composer Ignaz Brüll, 29, produced the opera Das goldene Kreuz in Berlin.
French composer Édouard Lalo, 52, produced Symphonie espagnole for Violin and Orchestra in Paris; French composer Charles Camille Saint-Saëns, 39, produced the symphonic poem Danse Macabre and Concerto No. 4 in C minor in Paris; and French composer Georges (Alexander César Leopold) Bizet, 36, produced in March the opera Carmen at the Opéra-Comique in Paris and then died in June of a throat ailment.
Russian novelist Count Leo (Lev Nikolaevich) Tolstoy, 47, published the pessimistic Anna Karenina; and actress Gabrielle Réjane, 18, made her debut at the Théâtre Vaudeville in Paris. German Romantic poet Éduard Friedrich Mörike died at the age of 71, and Danish author Hans Christian Andersen died at the age of 70.