1840-1849 A.D. - Mark Twain, Neptune's Discovery & The First Bush Goes to Yale







Martin Van Buren is president – Victoria is queen of England – Nicholas I is on the Russian throne – Frederick William III is on the Prussian throne until June 7 when Frederick William IV ascends the throne

Queen Victoria marries Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, they are first cousins, Victoria (Victoria’s mother) and Ferdinand (Albert’s father) were brother and sister

February 7, Charles Dickens turns 28

February 12, Abraham Lincoln turns 32

April 21, Charlotte Brontë turns 24, and John Muir (Scottish-born American naturalist) turns 2

May 24, Queen Victoria turns 22

July 8, John D. Rockefeller turns 1

Niagara Falls is first photographed by Hugh Lee Pattinson, a British photographer (who lived from 1796-1904!!) in April of this year (National Gallery of Art website, nga.gov.com)

Emily Dickinson and her sister Lavinia start school at Amherst Academy (now Amherst College) on September 7 (her paternal grandfather had founded the school, and it had just opened to girls two years before, Emily is 10 years old (she’d previously gone to a primary school on Pleasant Street), at about this same time, her father buys a large mansion like house on North Pleasant street which overlooks the Amherst burial ground which was described as treeless and foreboding” (Wikipedia)

Louis Agassiz, a Swiss geologist, publishes his first book proposing that at some geologically recent period Switzerland had been covered by one vast ice sheet; His final conclusion being that “great sheets of ice, resembling those now existing in Greenland, once covered all the countries in which unstratified gravel (boulder drift) is found.” (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Louis-Agassiz)  

Nathaniel/Nathan Rothschild, 1st Baron Rothschild is born to Lionel de Rothschild and Charlotte von Rothschild (cousins), he’s the great, great grandson of the original Mayer Amschel Rothschild > Nathan Mayer Rothschild > Lionel de Rothschild > Nathaniel/Nathan, 1st Baron Rothschild (d. 1915) he becomes head of the Rothschild bank branch in England after his father’s death in 1879

November 14, The painter Claude Monet is born in Paris, France (d. 1926)

Sir Francis Galton (1822 – 1911, knighted 1909) attends Trinity College, University of Cambridge (until 1844, see that year), he studies (at some point) eugenics, social Darwinism and scientific racism

November 23, Charles Booth is born in Liverpool, he later became a ship-owner and sociologist whose 17 volume work Life and Labor of the People of London, contributed to the knowledge of social problems and to the methodology of statistical measurement (Encyclopedia Britannica)

November 25, Andrew Carnegie turns 6

November 30, Mark Twain turns 5



William Henry Harrison becomes the 9th president of the United States on March 4 but dies 31 days later and John Tyler becomes the 10th president of the United States – Victoria is on the English throne – Nicholas I is on the Russian throne – Frederick William IV is on the Prussian throne

The weekly magazine Punch or the London Charivari is established in England, it is a magazine of humor and satire, and lasts until the year 2002

January 7, The East India Company steamship Nemesis destroys Chinese war “junks” during the Second Battle of Chuenpi 

February 7, Charles Dickens turns 29

February 12, Abraham Lincoln turns 33

April 21, Charlotte Brontë turns 25, and John Muir turns 3

May 24, Queen Victoria turns 23

July 8, John D. Rockefeller turns 2

James Smith Bush becomes the first member of the Bush family to attend Yale College (now Yale University) in New Haven, Conn.

November 25, Andrew Carnegie turns 7

November 30, Mark Twain turns 6



John Tyler is president – Victoria is on the English throne – Nicholas I is on the Russian throne – Fredrick William IV is on the Prussian throne

“On a cold February morning in 1842, Charlotte and Emily Brontë left Haworth with their father en route for Brussels, via London. They were accompanied by Mary Taylor and her brother Joe, old hands at the journey, whose experience helped the Brontës face some dizzying novelties: their first long-distance railway ride, their first journey by steamship, and not least (for the girls) their first sight of London. Patrick Brontë found them all accommodation at the Chapter Coffee House in Paternoster Row in the hear of the city, a tavern frequented by…literary hacks and booksellers.” (CBAFH 149-150)

February 7, Charles Dickens turns 30

February 12, Abraham Lincoln turns 34

April 21, Charlotte Brontë turns 26, and John Muir turns 4

May 24, Queen Victoria turns 24

July 8, John D. Rockefeller turns 3

Emily Dickinson is 12 years old

November 2, a letter arrives for Charlotte and Emily in Brussels that their Aunt Branwell is seriously ill, they return home quickly and arrive on October 8, five days after their aunt was buried in the graveyard just outside the front of the Brontë Parsonage

The class “Dinosauria” is first defined by sire Richard Owen of the Royal Society and Superintendant of the British Museum's Natural History Department 

November 25, Andrew Carnegie turns 8

November 30, Mark Twain turns 7



John Tyler is president – Queen Victoria is on the English throne – Nicholas I ison the Russian throne – Fredrick William IV is on the Prussian throne

February 7, Charles Dickens turns 31

February 12, Abraham Lincoln turns 35

April 21, Charlotte Brontë turns 27, and John Muir turns 5

May 24, Queen Victoria turns 25

July 8, John D. Rockefeller turns 4

The book A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (31 years old) is published

Construction on Big Ben begins

Giuseppe Verdi’s Nabucco opera premiers and its chorus “Va pensiero” and similar choruses in later operas were much in the spirit of the Italian unification movement, and the composer himself became esteemed as a representative of these ideals; The Italian Unification, or Risorgimento “resurgence” is a political and social movement to unite all the different states in the Italian Peninsula into a single state—the Kingdom of Italy (see the revolutions of 1848 and 1871)

Charlotte Brontë returns to Brussels as both teacher and student at the Pensionnat

November 25, Andrew Carnegie turns 9

November 30, Mark Twain turns 8



John Tyler is president – Queen Victoria is on the English throne – Nicholas I is on the Russian throne – Fredrick William IV is on the Prussian throne

January 2, “On the morning that the packet steamer brought Charlotte [Brontë] back across the Channel [from Brussels], 2 January 1844, the town she was coming home to was astir with excitement at the opening of a new day school in the Church Lane Building. It was a proud if anxious occasion for Patrick Brontë, his latest move to fight against the growing Dissenters in the parish.”

January 15-17, 1844 edition of the Evening Mail is printed (Photo: I found this at an antique store!)

February 7, Charles Dickens turns 32

February 12, Abraham Lincoln turns 36

April 21, Charlotte Brontë turns 28, and John Muir turns 6

May 24, Queen Victoria turns 26 

June 27, Joseph Smith (founder of Mormonism) is assassinated

July 8, John D. Rockefeller turns 4

Alexander Dumas completes The Count of Monte Cristo, which is then serialized from 1844-1846

Sir Francis Galton (1822 – 1911, knighted in 1909) becomes a freemason at the Scientific lodge, held at the Red Lion Inn in Cambridge, England; He quickly progresses from Apprentice to Master Mason between March and May; He is studying eugenics, Social Darwinism and scientific racism among other things 

Trafalgar Square is opened, it has the lions, the fountains, and Nelson’s column (Nelson died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805) 

King William Frederick of Prussia writes in a letter: “The memories of the year 1819 are exceedingly dear to me and like a pleasant dream, it was especially the sunset we watched from one of the Castle bastions,…now this adolescent dream turned into a wish to make the Hohenzollern Castle habitable again…” (next see 1850) 

November 25, Andrew Carnegie turns 10

November 30, Mark Twain turns 9



KINGS & PRESIDENTS: John Tyler is president until March 4, when

James K. Polk becomes the 11th president of the United States – Victoria is queen of England – Nicholas I is tsar of Russia – Fredrick William IV is the king of Prussia

February 7, Charles Dickens turns 33

February 12, Abraham Lincoln turns 37

April 21, Charlotte Brontë turns 29, and John Muir turns 7

May 24, Queen Victoria turns 26 

July 4, Dr. Thomas John Barnardo is born in Dublin, Ireland (he later becomes a great British philanthropist)

July 8, John D. Rockefeller turns 5

“By the mid-1840s London had become known as the greatest city on the earth, the capital of the empire, the center of international trade and finance, a vast world market into which the world poured. At the beginning of the twentieth century the sanitary historian, Henry Jephson, considered this megalopolis in other terms. ‘Of that period,’ he wrote, ‘it is to be said that there is none in the history of London in which less regard was shown for the conditions of the great mass of the inhabitants of the metropolis.’ Charles Dickens, Henry Mayhew and Friedrich Engles are three of the Victorian city-dwellers who cried ‘havoc’ over the exhaustive and exhausting city.” (London the Biography Pg. 562)

November 25, Andrew Carnegie turns 11

November 30, Mark Twain turns 10



PRESIDENTS, PRIME MINISTERS & KINGS: James K. Polk is president of the USA – Victoria is queen of England – Nicholas I is tsar of Russia – Fredrick William IV is king of Prussia

February 7, Charles Dickens turns 34

February 12, Abraham Lincoln turns 38

April 21, Charlotte Brontë turns 30, and John Muir turns 8

May 24, Queen Victoria turns 27 

July 8, John D. Rockefeller turns 6

The planet Neptune is discovered by the Berlin Observatory

Louis Agassiz, a Swiss geologist, comes to America for the purpose of studying natural history and geology, as well as give lectures at the Lowell Institute in Boston; The lectures are followed by another series given in Charleston, and later by both popular and technical lectures in various cities

In London, “there were still strolling peddlers hawking penny dreadfuls, and ballad-singers with the latest ‘air’; there were cheap theaters and print-shops displaying in their windows caricatures which could always catch a crowd; there were pleasure gardens and caves of harmony, mug-halls and free-and-easies and dancing saloons. It was a more eccentric city…it had not yet been standardized or come under the mid-Victorian agencies of uniformity and propriety.” (London the Biography 563-564)   

The Smithsonian is established in Washington D.C., it is named for the British scientist James Smithson (1765-1829)

November 25, Andrew Carnegie turns 12

November 30, Mark Twain turns 11

December, A photo is taken of Emily Dickinson (or possibly in early 1847)



James K. Polk is president – Victoria is on the English throne – Nicholas I is on the Russian throne – Fredrick William IV is on the Prussian throne

February 7, Charles Dickens turns 35

February 11, Thomas Edison is born in Milan, Ohio

February 12, Abraham Lincoln turns 39

April 21, Charlotte Brontë turns 31, and John Muir turns 9

May 24, Queen Victoria turns 28 

The book Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte is published

July 8, John D. Rockefeller turns 7 years old and is living in Richford, New York

Adolph von Menzel, a prominent German painter, completes his piece Living-Room with the Artist’s Sister (VA 685)

Frederic Chopin composes his most famous waltz, the Minute Waltz in D-flat major and the C-sharp minor waltz

Meyer Guggenheim (who developed worldwide mining interests) emigrates to the United States (see 1880)

Louis Agassiz, a Swiss geologist, takes a professorship of zoology at Harvard University; He is the one who first to conclude there may have been a glaciation period in earth’s recent geological history by publishing his book in 1840 (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Louis-Agassiz)

November 25, Andrew Carnegie turns 13

November 30, Mark Twain turns 12



James K. Polk is president – Victoria is on the English throne – Nicholas I is on the Russian throne – Fredrick William IV is on the Prussian throne – Franz Joseph I becomes the Emperor of Austria (no Austria-Hungary Empire yet, but he does become king of Hungary later in 1867)

January 31, Congress authorizes the Washington National Monument Society to build their monument to Washington on public grounds or a reservation within Washington D.C.

February 7, Charles Dickens turns 36

February 11, Thomas Edison turns 1

February 12, Abraham Lincoln turns 40

April 11, the cornerstone of the Washington Monument is laid with great fanfare by the Washington National Monument Society (not the Federal Government), they are only going to build the obelisk, as there isn’t enough money for the rotunda yet, the monument will not be completed until 1884, and open to the public in 1888

April 21, Charlotte Brontë turns 32, and John Muir (American naturalist) turns 10

May 24, Queen Victoria turns 29 years old

Gold is found at Sutter’s Mill in California and the Gold Rush begins

July 8, John D. Rockefeller turns 8

Revolutions spread throughout Europe due to economic crises, the wave of revolutions is called either “The Revolutions of 1848,” “Springtime of the Peoples” or the “Springtime of Nations,” and it remains the most widespread revolutionary wave in European history, the revolutions spread across Europe after it began in France in February, 50 countries were affected, though there was no significant coordination or cooperation among their respective revolutionaries, one of the factors that caused the revolution was the European Potato Failure, which was a food crisis caused by potato blight that struck Northern Europe in the mid-forties, this era is known as “The Hungry Forties,” while the crisis caused excess mortality and suffering across affected areas, the worst hit were Scotland and especially Ireland, where it caused one million deaths, up to two million refugees and spurring a century-long population decline, about 40,000-50,000 people are estimated to have died in Belgium, 42,000 in Prussia, and 10,000 in France,

Karl Marx writes his pamphlet The Communist Manifesto (Karl Marx is ethnically, but now religiously Jewish, he was born in the ancient city of Trier, then part of the Kingdom of Prussia’s province of the Lower Rhine, Marx’s maternal grandfather was a Dutch rabbi, while his paternal line had supplied Trier’s rabbis since 1723) 

The first version of the FDA is created as the Agricultural Division in the US Patent Office and they start using chemical analysis to monitor the safety of agricultural products

September, Andrew Carnegie is 13 years old and arrives with his family in Allegheny, New York from Scotland where he grew up, his first job is in a cotton mill as a bobbin boy, changing spools of thread for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week

November 25, Andrew Carnegie turns 14

November 30, Mark Twain turns 13

December 10, Emily Dickinson turns 18

December 19, Emily Brontë dies, aged 30, in Haworth, Yorkshire, England (b. 1818)



James K. Polk is president until March 4 when Zachary Taylor becomes the 12th president of the United States – Victoria is on the English throne – Nicholas I is on the Russian throne – Fredrick William IV is on the Prussian throne

February 7, Charles Dickens turns 37

February 11, Thomas Edison turns 2

February 12, Abraham Lincoln turns 41

Construction finishes on Babelsberg Palace in Potsdam, near Berlin, Germany (Photo: The palace in 2019, Credit: Raimond Spekking)

Karl Marx arrives in London after the European revolutions of 1848

March 4, Zachary Taylor becomes the 12th president of the United States, succeeding James K. Polk (he dies suddenly next year)

April 21, Charlotte Brontë turns 33, and John Muir (American naturalist) turns 11

May 24, Queen Victoria turns 30 years old

May 28, Anne Brontë dies, aged 29, in Scarborough, North Riding, Yorkshire, she is buried in St. Mary’s Churchyard in Scarborough

July 8, John D. Rockefeller turns 9

The Gold Rush in California is in full swing

October 7, The author Edgar Allen Poe dies, aged 40, in Baltimore, Maryland (b. 1809) (Photo: Poe in 1849, just before his death)

October 17, the Polish composer, Frederic Chopin, dies, aged only 39, he was for the most part always in poor health (b. 1815), his funeral was held at the Church of the Madeleine in Paris on October 30, (a death mask was made of him) and over 3,000 people arrived there without invitations from as far as London, Berlin, and Vienna and had to be excluded (Photo: Chopin in 1849, just before his death)

November 25, Andrew Carnegie turns 15 years old, he begins working as a telegraph messenger boy in the Pittsburg office of the Ohio Telegraph Company

November 30, Mark Twain turns 14

December 10, Emily Dickinson turns 19

December 13, Charlotte Brontë is invited to be one of the guests at a dinner party given by her friends’, the Smiths, home in London, also as guests were critics from The Times, Athenaum, Examiner, Spectator and Atlas, apparently none of them liked Charlottë’s latest book, Shirley, she arrived home to Haworth on the 15th, and on December 19, she writes to her friend Ellen Nussey, “Dear Ellen, Here I am at Haworth once more. I feel as if I had come out of an exciting whirl—Not that the hurry or stimulus would have seemed much to one accustomed to society and change—but to me they were very marked. My strength and spirits too often proved quite insufficient for the demand on their exertions…I felt sufficiently at my ease with all except Thackeray—and with him I was painfully stupid. Now dear Nell—when can you come to Haworth? –Settle and let me know as soon as you can.” (CBSL 152)

December 20, Peter Hardeman Burnett becomes the first governor of California

Charles Henry Harrod (as in Harrods department store in London) moves his little store from Stepney to Brompton Road in Knightsbridge in order to escape the vice of the inner city and to capitalize on trade to the Great Exhibition (which will open in 1851) beginning as a single room employing two assistants and a messenger boy (in 1881, his son Charles Digby Harrod will take over and expand it into a thriving retail operation selling medicines, perfumes, stationary, fruits and vegetables) (Photo: Harrods in Knightsbridge, London in the year 2009, Credit: Henry Lawford) 

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