News & Notes for 1863


Agriculture, Food & Drink:

>granola is introduced by James C Jackson;

>Ovaltine is introduced in Berne, Switzerland by George Wander;

>near Nimes, France, Perrier Water is first offered for commercial sale;

>in Boston, Massachusetts, Caleb Chase and James Sanborn begin selling coffee and tea;

>in Toronto, Canada, businessman and philanthropist Eugene O’Keefe, an Irish immigrant, age 39, founds a new brewery;

> increasing worried about feeding the army and the general population, President Jeff Davis urges farmers and planters to raise less cotton and tobacco and more beans, corn and peas



> Edouard Lartet and Henry Christy begin joint exploration of caves in the valley of the Vezere in southern France;

> Englishman John Turtle Wood, age 42, begins excavations at Ephesus;

> William Copeland Borlase, only 15 years old, supervises excavations of the re-discovered prehistoric settlement and fogou at Carn Euny in Cornwall, Great Britain [Borlase’s promising political career will be ruined in 1887 when his Portuguese mistress will expose his marital infidelity and high living] ;

> French diplomat and archeologist Charles Champoiseau, age 33, finds the Winged Victory of Samothrace [made c.190 B. C. E.];

> the Danish archeologist Conrad Engelhardt, age 38, finds Nydam Boat [made c. 320 C. E.] in Denmark


>new books published this year include:

> Mrs Lirriper’s Lodgings by Charles Dickens;

> Five Weeks in a Balloon by Jules Verne (his first novel);

>Romola by George Eliot;

>Tales of a Wayside Inn by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow;

>The Cossacks by Leo Tolstoy;

>Sylvia’s Lovers, a romance by the English writer Elizabeth Gaskell ;

>The Black Man: His Antecedents, His Genius and His Achievements by William Wells Brown;

>Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man by Charles Lyell (a British lawyer & geologist & friend of Charles Darwin);

>The Life of Jesus  by the French writer Ernest Renan who argues that the Jesus’ life ought to be written as the biography of any great thinker;

>Observations on the Language of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a treatise on the problems of creating an accurate and modern translation, by Francis James Child, professor of rhetoric at Harvard;

>”The Man Without a Country”, a patriotic short story by Edward Everett Hale;

>The Naturalist in the Amazon by English scientist H W Bates;

> volume 1 [of 8] of The Invasion of the Crimea by Alexander W Kinglake;

> Evidence as to Man’s Place in Nature by Thomas Henry Huxley;

> Meteographica or Methods of Mapping the Weather by Sir Francis Galton;

> The House by the Churchyard, an historical mystery novel by Ireland’s Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu;

> Hannah Thurston: a Story of American Life by Bayard Taylor;

> Horrors of the Virginian Slave Trade and of the Slave-rearing Plantations; the True Story of Dinah, an Escaped Virginian Slave, Now in London by John Hawkins Simpson;

> The Story of the Life of John Anderson, the Fugitive Slave by Harper Twelvetrees, an English industrialist with strong anti-slavery convictions;

> Ballads and Songs by Bessie Rayner Parkes, an English feminist;

Mark Twain, February 1871

Mark Twain, February 1871

>Samuel L Clemens begins writing under the pen name Mark Twain

Business, Industry & Commerce:

>Britain and France sign free trade treaties with Belgium;

>Isaac M Singer & Edward Clark incorporate the Singer Manufacturing Company. Their sewing machines are expensive but the company sells them on an installment plan.

>workers in Japan begin large scale production of textile goods;

>John D Rockefeller builds a petroleum refinery at Cleveland, Ohio;

>consumer prices in the United States have risen 39% since 1860;

>despite the war, the United States has a favorable balance of trade by $15,000,000;

>from July 1, 1862 to June 30, 1863 the Federal government spent $599,299,000 for the War Department, $63,222,00 for the Navy Department and $1,079,000 for veterans compensation and pensions;

>from July 1, 1862 to June 30, 1863 the Federal government operated at deficit of $602,043,000-a new record;

>in New York City the Great American Tea Company, founded in 1859, expands to six stores and begins to sell some grocery items in addition to tea and coffee;

> in Cincinnati, Ohio, Henry and Samuel Pogue open their dry goods store which will develop into a major department store;

> Jackson and Sharp Company, later to become part of American Car and Foundry, is founded in Wilmington, Delaware as the demand for railroad cars increases

Diplomacy & International Relations:

> by year’s end Ismail Pasha, the new khedive of Egypt, has run up substantial debt by attempted modernization, bribery of newspapers and purchasing expensive adornment for the women of his harem– European bankers will take advantage of his profligacy (which will eventually result in Britain’s control of the Suez Canal in 1875);

> a short-lived war erupts in West Africa between the Ashanti people and the British;

> there is periodic fighting between the British and the Maori people of New Zealand



>New colleges founded include:

– Boston College

– University of Massachusetts


> between August 8th and September 29th five hurricanes and four tropical storms occur along the Atlantic coast of North America, causing 90 fatalities and over $1,000,000 in damage [period US dollars]


Ethics, Philosophy & Political Theory:

> John Stuart Mill, age 57, publishes Utilitarianism


Fashion & Dress:

> Ebenezer Butterick and his wife Ellen Pollard Butterick revolutionize home sewing by introducing tissue paper patterns for making clothes in a variety of standard sizes

Butterick pattern dresses, late 19th century

Butterick pattern dresses, late 19th century

Immigration (U.S.):

> 176,282 immigrants enter the United States this year, despite the on-going war:

> 37.9% come from Great Britain;

> 31.7% come from Ireland;

> 18.8% come from Germany;

> 4.1% come from China;

> 2.0% come from Canada;

> 1.8% come from Northwest Europe (France, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland)

> 1.8% come from Scandinavia;

> the remaining 1.9% come from various other regions and countries.

> Sex and age:

> 39.9% are female;

> 60.1% are male;

> 71.1% are between the ages of 15 and 40;

> 18.7% are under age 15;

> 10.2% are over age 40

> Occupations by Major Groups:

> 49.6% have no occupation–this includes most women and children;

> 23.1% are general laborers;

> 12.1% are skilled craft workers;

> 6.2% are farmers;

> 4.6% are domestic workers;

> 3.8% are commercial workers– this includes bankers, sales clerks, merchants, hotel keepers & commercial agents;

> 0.6% are professional workers;


> the Daily Telegram begins publication at Fort Bridges, Wyoming, the first in the territory;

> because newspapers in France do not take advertising as American papers do, many receive financial support by providing favorable coverage to politicians or political parties who pay for positive coverage;

> Le Petite Presse begins publication [by 1910, it will have the largest circulation in France, claiming 1,500,000 subscribers]


Medicine & Health:

> an epidemic of scarlet fever in England kills 30,000 people;

> Austrian doctor Christian Albert Billroth, age 34, publishes General Surgical Pathology and Therapy (in German); Dr Billroth is considered the founding father of modern abdominal surgery;

> Ivan Sechenov, age 34, publishes Reflexes of the Brain (in Russian);

> William Banting, age 68 and formerly obese, publishes Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public in London, the first popular low-carbohydrate diet


> a civil war breaks out in Afghanistan;

> British officer Charles G Gordon, age 30, leads imperial Chinese forces to a series of victories over rebels, earning his nickname in England as “Chinese Gordon” and his army’s Chinese name as “Ever Victorious Army”;

Charles Gordon in Chinese uniform

Charles Gordon in Chinese uniform

> Union forces destroy Confederate salt works in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia while gaining control of those in Louisiana, thereby cutting off the South from most of its supply of salt; in the North works in western New York and near Saginaw Michigan keep the Union well-supplied;

> both the Union and the Confederate armies suffer a desertion rate of about 10%

Politics & National Development:

> Idaho Territory is formed out of sections of the Dakotas, Nebraska, Utah & Washington;

> Arizona Territory is created as a separate territory from New Mexico Territory


> from August of this year through May of the next year a strong religious revival flourishes among the soldiers of General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia;

> Reverend Henry Ward Beecher makes a speaking tour of England, speaking in support of the Lincoln Administration

Science & Technology:

> the Scottish chemist Thomas Graham, age 58, invents a process for separating various gases from one another;

> the English chemist Henry Clifton Sorby, age 37, discovers the microstructure of steel, thereby pioneering modern metallurgy;

> Friedrich Bayer founds the chemical manufacturing company of Bayer at Barmen, Germany;

> Teerfarbenfabrik Meister, Lucius & Co of Frankfurt; Germany, produce a green dye from coal tar;

> Max Schultze, a 38 year old German professor and scientist, advances cell theory with the observation that animal and vegetable protoplasm are identical

Social Movements:

> interest grows, particularly among railroad workers, in organizing labor unions, a trend which will increase in the next three decades;

> 75% of the white population in the Confederacy do not own slaves;


>the Cunrad Line, headquartered at Southampton, England and in its 24th year of operation, begins offering low rates for immigrant passengers on its fast new ships– with a new famine in Ireland many Irish book passage;

> Cornelius Vanderbilt gains control of the New York and Harlem Railroad, beginning what will be a vast railroad empire

Urban Living:

>as part of the plans by Baron Georges Eugene Haussman for the renovation of Paris, the centrally located and hygienic slaughterhouse La Villette opens;

> roller skating becomes fashionable and several cities, including New York, Chicago and San Francisco, establish roller rinks


New Year's Day 1864

New Year’s Day 1864








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