Boston, MA

Boston, Ms. Seaport and capital of the state. Situated at the W. extremity of Massachusetts Bay, into which empty Charles and Mystic Rivers. By age and commercial importance, Boston is the metropolis of New England. The population of Boston, in 1800, 24,937; in 1810, 33,250; in 1820, 43,298; in 1830, 61,391; in 1840, 93,470; and in 1850 136,884. Owing to the almost insular situation of Boston, and its limited extent, its population, as compared with that of other large cities of the Union, does not fairly represent its relative importance. (Gazetteer of the United States of America, 1854)

Place Unit Type
City or Town
Containing Unit
Date Type
- A huge winter storms blankets New England. Crime/Disasters
A storm dumps snow over wide areas of the East, from Washington, DC to Boston Crime/Disasters
Abolitionist meeting to commemorate John Brown broken up in Boston Campaigns/Elections
Abolitionists meet at Faneuil Hall, Boston to protest the arrest of Anthony Burns Legal/Political
- Adjutant-Generals of most "loyal states" are meeting at their Annual Convention in Boston, Massachusetts Battles/Soldiers
After thirty-five years of anti-slavery efforts under William Lloyd Garrison, the Liberator ceases publication Campaigns/Elections
- All twenty-four passengers aboard a Boston bound ship drown when she hits rocks outside the harbor Crime/Disasters
Anthony Burns is arrested in Boston as a fugitive slave Slavery/Abolition
Arriving in Boston, Stephen Douglas continues his political tour Campaigns/Elections
Banks in New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia suspend payment in gold and silver Business/Industry
Bodies of 6th Massachusetts soldiers killed in Baltimore return to Boston Battles/Soldiers
Boston elects its first ever Democratic Party mayor Campaigns/Elections
Boston Veterinary Institute founded Cultural
Boston-built steam yacht delivered to the Viceroy of Egypt Business/Industry
Celebrated historian William H. Prescott dies of a stroke at his home in Boston Education/Culture
Charles Dickens begins his live reading tour of the United States at the Steinway Hall in Boston. Education/Culture
Charles Dickens sails from Liverpool for his second visit to the United States. Education/Culture
Clear but very cold weather grips most of the north-eastern United States Science/Technology
Confederate privateer encounters the loaded Boston schooner "Enchantress" and takes her as a prize Battles/Soldiers
Constitutional Union Party begins its presidential campaign in Boston Campaigns/Elections
Dickens enthusiasts queue overnight for live reading tickets for his second series of Boston live readings. Education/Culture
Edward Payson Weston sets off to walk from Boston to Washington DC to pay off an election bet Education/Culture
Edward Payson Weston, having walked from Boston, arrives in Washington DC four hours late Education/Culture
Electric fire alarm is patented in Boston Science/Technology
English-style railroad coaches go into service in Massachusetts Business/Industry
Enoch Bartlett, grower of the Bartlett Pear, dies at his home Roxbury, Massachusetts Personal
Explorer Isaac Israel Hayes departs Boston on an fourteen month expedition to the Arctic Science/Technology
Famous former Chief Justice of Massachusetts Lemuel Shaw dies at his home in Boston Lawmaking/Litigating
Fanny Kemble gives her final stage reading in Boston Education/Culture
Federal troops arrest Baltimore's four Police Commissioners in pre-dawn raids on their homes Battles/Soldiers
First burglar alarm installed Business/Industry
- Fourth national convention of the National Quarantine and Sanitation Association held in Boston Crime/Disasters
Friends of imprisoned Brigadier General Charles Stone seek aid from the Massachusetts Legislature Lawmaking/Litigating
Future boxing champion John L. Sullivan born to Irish immigrant parents in Boston Personal
Gales and snowstorms ravage the north-eastern United States and Canada Crime/Disasters
General Ulysses S. Grant continues his victory tour of American cities, arriving in Boston, Massachusetts Battles/Soldiers
- Heavy snowstorm in New York City and across the north-eastern United States Crime/Disasters
Holiday celebrations get out of hand at a Boston hotel as young guests and employees brawl Crime/Disasters
- Huge, wind-swept fire devastates Boston's docks and kills two firefighters Crime/Disasters
In Boston, family members officially identify the bodies of the Massachusetts soldiers killed in Baltimore Battles/Soldiers
In Boston, Henry Longfellow begins to write his famous poem, "Paul Revere's Ride" Education/Culture
In Boston, Henry Longfellow completes his famous poem, "Paul Revere's Ride" Education/Culture
In Boston, Massachusetts unveils a statue of educational reformer Horace Mann at the State Capitol Education/Culture
In Boston, Rebecca Davis Lee graduates as the first female African-American medical doctor Education/Culture
In Boston, six men convicted of tarring and feathering a man for celebrating Lincoln's murder are pardoned Lawmaking/Litigating
- In Boston, the American Institute of Instruction holds its 31st annual meeting Education/Culture
In Boston, the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society rejects a proposal to disband since its work is done Campaigns/Elections
In Boston, the Massachusetts Legislature amends its Militia Act to allow troops to march out of state Lawmaking/Litigating
In Boston, the Massachusetts State House adjourns after a five month session. Lawmaking/Litigating
In London, Charles Dickens' literary friends hold a massive farewell banquet before his visit to America. Education/Culture
In Virginia, future founder of the Boston Symphony Orchestra left for dead on the battlefield Battles/Soldiers
International convention of the Y.M.C.A. held in Boston, Massachusetts Religion/Philosophy
John A. Andrew, War Governor of Massachusetts, dies suddenly at his home in Boston, aged forty-nine. Personal
John Brown speaks about Kansas before the Massachusetts legislature’s Committee on Federal Relations Legal/Political
Joseph Brown Smith, the first fully blind American college graduate, dies in Louisville, Kentucky Personal
Local officials foil U.S. Senate attempt to arrest Frank Sanborn for failure to appear to testify on Harpers Ferry Lawmaking/Litigating
Massachusetts votes to build its own ironclads to defend its coast against the Confederate Navy Lawmaking/Litigating
Massive fire in Boston destroys new six-story mechanical steam bakery Crime/Disasters
Mob frees fugitive Shadrach Minkins after his arrest in Boston Slavery/Abolition
Moncure Conway becomes co-editor of "The Commonwealth, " an anti-slavery journal Slavery/Abolition
Moncure Conway publishes "The Rejected Stone" arguing for emancipation Education/Culture
New 1400 ton steam sloop for the expanding Union Navy is launched at the Boston Navy Yard Business/Industry
New England Colored Citizens' Convention opens in Boston Legal/Political
New Galway Line steamship arrives in Boston to complete its maiden Atlantic crossing Business/Industry
New Galway Line steamship sinks on only its second Atlantic crossing Crime/Disasters
President Johnson visits Boston to help dedicate the new Masonic Temple in the city. Education/Culture
- Prince Albert visits Boston and meets the last living survivor of the Battle of Bunker Hill US/the World
Robert Bacon, future Secretary of State, born in Boston, Massachusetts Personal
Sir Frederick Bruce, British ambassador in Washington, dies suddenly in Boston, Massachusetts. Personal
Statue of Daniel Webster dedicated on the grounds of the state house in Boston, Massachusetts Education/Culture
Storm in Boston area kills two and damages the Great Elm on Boston Common Crime/Disasters
Street letter box patented in Philadelphia Commercial
Suffolk Bank announces its intention to end the Suffolk Banking System in force since 1824 Business/Industry
The 27th Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society is held in Boston Slavery/Abolition
The Boston Public Library moves into its new building in Boylston Street Education/Culture
The Cochituate Aqueduct that provides water to Boston gives way Science/Technology
The Massachusetts Republican Convention meets and has harsh words for President Johnson. Campaigns/Elections
The Prince of Wales visits Albany, New York US/the World
The two toll bridges between Boston and Cambridge in Massachusetts are made free from this date Business/Industry
The U.S. Navy seizes a Confederate raider, now a British civilian vessel, off the coast of Portugal Battles/Soldiers
The U.S.S. Niagara visits Dover on the English coast to drop off a captured British crew Battles/Soldiers
Thieves rob a New Haven Railway train express car as it rolls through the night to Boston Crime/Disasters
Thomas Bulfinch, the Boston banker who wrote "Bulfinch's Mythology" in his spare time, dies at his home in Massachusetts. Personal
Turkish admiral ends his visit to United States Legal/Political
- Two South Carolina slaves stow away aboard Boston bound steamer; one escapes, one does not Slavery/Abolition
U.S. Navy recaptures the Boston schooner "Enchantress" taken as a Confederate prize two weeks before Battles/Soldiers
Wendell Phillips speaks against mobs in Boston and almost causes a riot Campaigns/Elections
Whig Frederick Walker Lincoln, Jr. re-elected Mayor of Boston Campaigns/Elections
William Lloyd Garrison writes to a friend about the impact of John Brown's death. Slavery/Abolition
Young Men's Christian Association in America founded in Boston Religion/Philosophy
Residents in 1860
Name Type
Belknap Street Church, Boston, MA Location or Site
Bunker Hill, Boston, MA Location or Site
Faneuil Hall, Boston, MA Location or Site
Fort Warren, MA Location or Site
Date Title
Boston (MA) Liberator, "To The Public," January 1, 1831
Boston (MA) Herald, "Great Excitement Among the Colored People," October 25, 1850
Boston (MA) Liberator, "Slave-Hunters in Boston," November 1, 1850
New York Herald, “Important Decision on the Fugitive Slave Law,” September 4, 1851
Debate over the River and Harbor Bill, US Senate, August 18, 1852
John Henry Hill to William Still, December 29, 1853
John Henry Hill to William Still, March 8, 1854
New York Herald, "The Boston Fugitive Case," June 3, 1854
Richmond (VA) Dispatch, "The Virginia Springs," July 1, 1854
Sheridan Ford to William Still, February 15, 1855
Abigail Goodwin to William Still, August 1, 1855
Jacob Bigelow (William Penn) to William Still, September 9, 1855
Boston (MA) Herald, "The Fugitive Slave Case," October 10, 1855
Anthony Brown to William Still, June 26, 1856
New York Herald, "Our Boston Correspondance," July 26, 1856
Frances Watkins Harper to William Still, September 12, 1856
Rebecca Jones to William Still, October 18, 1856
New York Times, “The Tariff Bill,” January 16, 1857
New York Times, "Return of a Fugitive Slave," January 19, 1857
Thomas F. Page to William Still, February 25, 1857
New York Times, "The American Party," March 3, 1857
New York Times, “Massachusetts Legislature,” March 16, 1857
Charleston (SC) Mercury, "Southern Rights," May 27, 1857
Lewis Cobb to William Still, June 2, 1857
New York Times, "What the Dred Scott Case Decided," July 16, 1857
New York Times, “Another Failure,” September 11, 1857
New York Times, “The Financial Panic,” September 14, 1857
John M. Forbes to Edward Cunningham, September 28, 1857
Flarece P. Gault to William Still, March 22, 1858
Louisa F. Jones to William Still, May 15, 1858
Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Revolution in New Orleans,” June 6, 1858
Boston (MA) Liberator, "Anti-Slavery Celebration of Independence Day," June 25, 1858
St. Louis (MO) Republican, “Let the Jubilee be General,” August 29, 1858
Thomas F. Page to William Still, October 6, 1858
New York Herald, “The Suspected Slavers,” December 18, 1858
New York Times, “Sleeping Cars upon Railroads,” December 31, 1858
Recollection of Jesse W. Fell, Conversation with Abraham Lincoln in early 1859
Memphis (TN) Appeal, “The Plans of the Opposition for 1860,” January 9, 1859
Lowell (MA) Citizen & News, “Mortality in New York,” March 7, 1859
Chicago (IL) Press and Tribune, “Lincoln in New York,” April 21, 1859
Charleston (SC) Mercury, “A Fugitive Slave Returned to Florida,” May 18, 1859
Boston (MA) Liberator, “Letter from the Hon. J. R. Giddings,” May 27, 1859
San Francisco (CA) Evening Bulletin, “Stage-Coach Travel Forty Years Ago,” July 22, 1859
Lowell (MA) Citizen & News, “Convention of Colored Citizens,” August 2, 1859
Boston (MA) Liberator, “Meetings in Boston,” August 26, 1859
Ralph Waldo Emerson to William Emerson, October 23, 1859
New Orleans (LA) Picayune, "Untitled," November 25, 1859
Chicago (IL) Press and Tribune, "Opinions of the People," December 3, 1859
New York Herald, "The Slavery Agitation," December 10, 1859
New York Times, “Practical Secession,” December 21, 1859
Cleveland (OH) Herald, “Small Pox,” January 10, 1860
Fayetteville (NC) Observer, “Harper’s Ferry Items,” January 30, 1860
Boston (MA) Advertiser, “Mr. Hyatt’s Case,” February 29, 1860
New York Times, "The Massachusetts Strike," March 17, 1860
Boston (MA) Herald, “A Fugitive,” June 7, 1857
Milwaukee (WI) Sentinel, "Not Going to Dissolve the Union," August 21, 1860
New York Herald, “Massachusetts Thoroughly Abolitionized,” September 7, 1860
New York Herald, “American Sensations During 1860,” October 21, 1860
Charleston (SC) Mercury, "Harper's Ferry Anniversary Celebration," October 22, 1860
Cleveland (OH) Herald, “The Prince and the Boston Ladies,” October 23, 1860
Boston (MA) Advertiser, "Read Your Ballot," November 6, 1860
Charlestown (VA) Free Press, “John Brown Anniversary,” December 13, 1860
New York Herald, “Salutes in Honor of Major Anderson,” January 6, 1861
New York Times, “Rumored Invasion of the South,” January 25, 1861
Richmond (VA) Dispatch, “Massachusetts Personal Liberty Bill,” March 19, 1861
Cleveland (OH) Herald, “Beauties of the ‘Institution’,” April 2, 1861
George W. Brown to John A. Andrew, April 20, 1861
John A. Andrew to George W. Brown, April 21, 1861
Chicago (IL) Tribune, “We Don’t Believe It!,” April 23, 1861
New York Times, “How to End the War,” April 24, 1861
Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Help From England,” May 16, 1861
Charleston (SC) Mercury, “A War For Abolition,” June 18, 1861
New York Times, “Famine Among the Confederates,” June 20, 1861
Henry Bellows to William Seward, Report on Condition of Confederate prisoners in New York City, October 31, 1861
Proclamation of Governor John A. Andrew, March 1, 1862
Edward L. Pierce to John Albion Andrew, July 22, 1863
Charles Sumner to Abraham Lincoln, August 7, 1863
Abraham Lincoln, Speech at Great Central Sanitary Fair, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 16, 1864
John C. Frémont, Letter announcing his withdrawal from the Presidential Election, September 21, 1864
Edwin Booth to Henry C. Jarrett, Boston, Massachusetts, April 15, 1865
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