1840-1849 Timeline of Allen County, Indiana

1840 - 1841- 1842 - 1843 - 1844 - 1845 - 1846 - 1847 - 1848 - 1849


A tour through Indiana in 1840; the diary of John Parsons of Petersburg, Virginia by Rabb, Kate Milner, 1866-1937 Publication date 1920 on Archive.org

Indiana population was 685,866.

1840 Samuel Bigger is elected 7th Governor of Indiana. He died September 9, 1845 and was buried in Broadway Cemetery, now McColloch Park in Fort Wayne. His is one of only two bodies still buried there as all the other bodies were removed to Lindenwood Cemetery.

Millennium milestones in Fort Wayne from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper says: The village of Fort Wayne is incorporated as a city. The first mayor is George W. Wood.

1840, February 24 -  Indiana lawmakers approved “An Act to prohibit the amalgamation of whites and blacks.” Although an anti-miscegenation law from 1818 existed, the 1840 statute proscribed harsh penalties for interracial couples and those who married them. An 1881 law decreased some of the penalties, but a law against white and black marriages in Indiana remained in effect until it was repealed in 1965, two years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia that such laws were unconstitutional. Read about one couple's experience with interracial marriage in Indiana at Before It Was Legal: a black-white marriage, 1945-1987 by Nancy Poling posted January 17, 2018 by the Indiana Historical Bureau. Posted February 24, 2018 by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook.

1840, May 28 - William Henry Harrison launched his presidential campaign at a large Whig rally at the Tippecanoe Battlefield.

1840, August 22

August 22, 2023 post by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook:

#OTD in 1840, the Indiana Horticultural Society held its first meeting in Indianapolis at the new statehouse. According to a “Moment of Indiana History” program, attendees came from across the state with samples of fruit they had grown, such as the Bartlett pear, which was rare for the time.

Participants learned about fruit varieties being grown in other states. W.H. Ragan recalled his parents' departure to the first meeting, stating, "In August, 1840, I saw my father and mother, each well mounted, he with saddlebags filled to their uttermost capacity, and she with a good-sized bag swinging from the horn of her saddle, vanish from view into the wilderness that well nigh surrounded our cabin home, and for a period of almost or quite a week they were gone from us. On their return they had much to tell us about their visit to the great city and of the many things they saw and heard while gone."

The 1906 image of the Bartlett pear below is courtesy of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University.

The First Indiana Horticultural Society [pages 71-79, 9 page pdf] published June 1, 1908 in   Indiana Magazine of History journal in the archives at Indiana University Scholarworks.

1840, August 29 - a copy of The Fort Wayne Times newspaper is available on the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana website. It has an index of names including the obituary of Revolutionary War soldier Michael Crants who died in Fort Wayne, age about 90 years, a native of Orange County, New York on page 3 column 1.

1840, December - Fort Wayne's First Christmas Tree by John Beatty published November 23, 2011 on the History Center Notes & Queries blog.

1840, December 2 - former Indiana Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison (1773-1841)on Indiana Historical Bureau. He was elected President of the United States, defeating incumbent Martin Van Buren. He served the shortest term of any president when he died April 4, 1841. Read William Henry Harrison's Presidency Explore the highs and lows of ninth U.S. President William Henry Harrison's administration, from his lengthy inaugural address to his death in office on History.com. See William Harrison (1773 – 1841) on Miller Center University of Virginia.


 Chief Richardville, a participant in the victories and final defeat that led to the loss of Native American control of the area, dies and is buried in downtown Fort Wayne. A monument marks his resting place.

1841, April 7 - a funeral service was held for President William Henry Harrison in the East Room at the White House. Harrison was the Indiana's first Territorial Governor and the ninth president of the United States. Copied from the April 7, 2017 post by Indiana Bicentennial Commission on Facebookon Facebook.


Millennium milestones in Fort Waynefrom the archives of The News-Sentinel newspapersays: Commissioners authorize construction of the county's second courthouse, a brick structure.

1842, February 20 - the first medical school in Indiana opens as a department of LaPorte University. A graduate of the school is William Worrall Mayo, who establishes the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in 1889. From Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook.


1843, July - The Wabash and Erie Canal officially opened in Northeast Indiana. The festivities began on the 4th of July with the firing of the Perry Cannon. During the celebrations General Lewis Cass gave a speech praising the canal: We have come here to rejoice together. Memorable deeds make memorable days. There is a power of association given to man, which binds together the past and the present, and connects both with the future. Great events hallow the sites where they pass. Their returning anniversaries, so long as these were remembered, are kept with sorrow or joy as they are prosperous or adverse. Today a new work is born, a work of peace, not of war. We are celebrating a triumph of art and not of arms. Centuries hence, we may hope the river you have made will flow both east and west, bearing upon its bosom the riches of a prosperous people, and that our descendants will come to keep the day which we have come to mark; and that as it returns they will remember the exertions of their ancestors while they gather the harvest. The Perry Cannon came from a British ship engaged at the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. Following the war it was brought to Fort Wayne. The cannon eventually became a hitching post in front of the Franklin Randall home at the northeast corner of Lafayette and Berry streets, as evidenced by an image in the 1880 Allen County Atlas. In 1916 the cannon was given to the City of Fort Wayne, who donated it to the Historical Society in 1960. Today it guards the front entrance to the History Center. Copied from the July 4, 2018 post with photos by the The History Centeron Facebook.


1844, May 24 - inventor Samuel Morse surrounded by an audience of Congressmen, inventor Samuel Morse sent the first official telegraph from the Supreme Court Chamber (then located in the Capitol) to his partner, Alfred Vail, in Baltimore. He tapped the message, “What hath God wrought!” copied from Historical Highlights The Capitol's First Official Telegraph on the History, Art & Archives United States House of Representatives blog.

May 24, 2023 post by The Library of Congress on Facebook:

Today in History: Samuel F.B. Morse dispatches first message by telegraph, 1844 #WhatHathGodWrought #otd #tih What Hath God Wrought?

1844, June 27 - Mormon leader Joseph Smith is killed by a mob. Mormon sun stone from that year on Smithsonian National Museum of American History blog.Sunstone Capital


1845, March 18 - John Johnny Appleseed Chapman death notice on March 22, 1845, saying that he died on March 18, 1845 in the Johnny Appleseed article inCityscapes - People & Places series of articles from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1845 - Congress decides all national elections to be held on 1st Tuesday after 1st Monday in November. Election Day falls on the first Tuesday following the first Monday of November. November was chosen because it followed the harvest season, but preceded the onset of winter and Tuesday was chosen to allow time for those in rural areas to travel to polling locations without necessitating travel on Sunday and since Wednesday was often the day farmers would sell produce at markets. Polling locations are commonly located in municipal and public buildings, including community centers, churches, fire stations, public schools, public libraries, city halls, and county buildings, many of which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Copied from a November 8, 2022 post by Indiana Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeologyon Facebook.

1845, December 29 - Texas, the "Lone Star State," became the 28th state to joined the United States.


Map of Allen County, Indiana, 1846
Map of Allen County, Indiana, 1846, is zoomable at Indiana State Library Map Collection
This map is a hand-drawn map showing Allen County, Indiana in 1846. The map shows townships, some settlements and tribal reservations

Millennium milestones in Fort Wayne from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper says:

  1. The Miami tribe, which is scattered across Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, is forcibly divided into two groups. About 600 are shipped by boat to a reservation in Kansas, and eventually on to Oklahoma. The other group is allowed to remain in north-central Indiana.
  2. Fort Wayne Female College is founded with the support of the Methodists. In 1852 a separate school was added for young men. Today the two have become Taylor University, headquartered in Upland, Indiana. 
  3. A Lutheran academy for men is established; then moved to St. Louis in 1860, and Concordia College is transferred from St. Louis to Fort Wayne.
  4. The state of Indiana goes bankrupt over the canal. It was abandoned by 1874 and its right of way sold to the Nickel Plate Railroad in 1881.

1846, May 13 - the U.S. declares war against Mexico.

1846, May 22 - Governor James Whitcomb called for Indiana men to join the Mexican War. Five regiments were sent from the Hoosier State. From May 22, 2013 post by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook.

1846, August 10 - the Smithsonian Institution was established through legislation signed by President James Polk. From a August 10, 2022 Facebook post with newspaper image and FOUNDING OF THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION with newspaper articles by Newspapers.com and an August 10, 2022 post by Heritage Documentation Programs, NPS on Facebook.

1846, September 10 - Elias Howe was granted a patent for his Sewing Machine. Howe claimed that his machine could sew 250 stitches a minute. Invention of the sewing machine revolutionized the textile and garment industries. Died October 3, 1867, read his obituary in the October 17, 1867 "The Morning Post" on the British Newspaper Archive.

1846, September 30 - ether is used as an anesthetic for the first time at a Boston dentist office.

1846, October 6 - On this date the forced removal of the Miami Tribe began in Peru, IN. Follow and read Aacimotaatiiyankwi the Myaamia Community Blog to learn more about this forced removal and its ongoing impact on Myaamia people read October 6, 1846 Peru, Indiana.

1846, December 7 - Caleb Mills authored the first of his anonymous letters to the Indiana General Assembly calling for the establishment of a public school system. He cited that only one in seven Hoosier adults could read. He also wrote that only 37% of Indiana children attended school and, of those, most attended only a few weeks a year. Mills would author six anonymous addresses to the General Assembly between 1846 and 1851, each spurring the body to take action for public education. Learn more about Caleb Mills' involvement with public schools here: Caleb Mills and the Indiana Free School Law in the Indiana Magazine of History journal in the archives at Indiana University Scholarworksposted December 7, 2018 by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook.

1846, December 28 - Iowa, the Hawkeye State, is the 29th state to join the union. The abbreviation IA, sometimes used for Indiana along with Ind. was often confused in early census records.

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In 1847, the Indiana General Assembly approved a law "for the protection of the property of married women." As scholar Virginia Dill McCarty noted, the law "removed from a husband's control any real property acquired by a woman before marriage and exempt[ed] its rents and profits from being counted against his debts." It is one of the earliest laws in the state of Indiana that entitled relatively equal legal protections for women. Copied March 24, 2019 from Indiana Archives and Records Administration at IN.govon Facebook.


This copy is 24 pages longer Notes on the early settlement of the North-western Territory

1848, January 24 - gold discovered at Sutter's Mill, California.

1848, February - the Indiana legislature passed a property tax law. Read more in Friday Fact October 3, 2014 Facebook post by Indiana Genealogical Society.

1848, March 10 - The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is ratified ending the United States' war with Mexico. 

1848, March 29 - Niagara Falls stops flowing for one day due to an ice jam


1849, May 16 - three black businessmen, Willis W. Elliot, Henry H. Canada and George W. Fisher, purchased at the public land auction a lot on the south side of Jefferson Street, between Francis and Hanna streets. In order to ensure that the property was removed from the tax rolls so that the congregation could build a church there, the three men sold the land to Reverend George Nelson Black, a thirty-four-year-old blacksmith who served as minister to the congregation, and then had the deed registered in the name of the “Trustees of the African Methodist Episcopal Church of Fort Wayne, Indiana.” Read the rest of the story in Fort Wayne’s early African-American settlers blazed a trial that burns bright today by Tom Castaldi published March 28, 2013 in the History Center Notes & Queries blog.

1849 July to October - Fort Wayne's had a cholera epidemic, then again in 1852 and 1854. More than 600 people die when the epidemics were over. Read more in It Could Be Worse! a blog post by Carmen Doyle February 6, 2013 in The History CenterNotes & Queries Your Stories from Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana blog.

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