1880-1889 Timeline of Allen County, Indiana

Fort Wayne city directories start in 1858 with business and city resident addresses. Public domain copies before 1923 are listed on the City Directories page and embeded within the Timeline pages.


1880 - Manual of practical housekeeping (1880) - [Kimball, Laura A.], [from old catalog] comp Archive.org ebook.

1880 - George Eastman started commerially manufacturing glass plates for photographs. Kodak film cameras were introduced in 1888. From Kodak About Kodak. Antique cameras from 1890s to 1910s can be seen on Antique Kodak cameras from the collection of Kodaksefke.

1880, June 2 - Geo. H. Johnston, the census enumerator, started recording the 10th U.S. Federal Census in Eel River Township.

1880, June 3 - Alexander Graham Bell makes first wireless phone message via his "photophone" - see Bell’s Photophone from Today in History - June 3 at The Library of Congress posted June 3, 2017 on Facebook.

1880, September - Wabash, Indiana became the world's first electrically lighted city.


No separate 1881 city directory, is a combined 1880-1881 city directory.

1881: Fort Wayne Electric Light Company is founded at 100 W. Superior St. James A. Jenney and his son, Charles, lead the new company, which becomes known as Jenney Electric. He provides a public demonstration of electric lights. Copied from 1000 TO 1900 Millennium milestones in Fort Wayne in the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1881 - Article XIII of the 1851 Indiana Constitution was formally removed from the constitution. It prohibited blacks from migrating to Indiana, despite the fact that 11,262 blacks were Hoosier citizens as of the 1850 census. It was nullified by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting blacks citizenship rights and equal protection of the laws. Copied from 1851 constitution kept Indiana debt-free by Andrea Neal published in the November 3, 2014 Indiana Policy Review and also published November 5, 2014 in The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1881, March 15 - Marion County Representative John W. Furnas introduced a resolution to the House that would amend the Indiana Constitution to give women the right to vote. The House passed the resolution, and the Senate voted in favor of it the next day. However, proposed Constitutional amendments are required to pass two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly before it goes before voters to decide. Despite an extensive campaign by women for the passage of the suffrage amendment, it failed to gain support in 1883 due to the links between prohibition and the suffrage movement. It would be another three decades before Hoosier women gained the right to vote in 1920. Copied from a March 15, 2019 post by the Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook.

1881, April - FRIDAY FACT: Part of the criminal code the Indiana legislature approved in April 1881 said that marriages between a white person and a person deemed to have more than 1/8 negro blood were illegal, and those couples who did marry would be fined up to $1,000 and sent to state prison between 1 and 10 years. Anyone who assisted in these illegal marriages would be fined up to $1,000. Source: Laws of the State of Indiana, passed at the special session of the General Assembly begun on the 8th day of March, A.D. 1881 (Indianapolis: Carlon & Hollenbeck, 1881). Copied from October 11, 2013 Indiana Genenealogical Society on Facebook.

1881, May 21 - Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross after her experience with the International Red Cross: The National ArchivesToday's Document .

1881, July 2 - President James A. Garfield is shot. President for just four months, Garfield was shot by Charles Guiteau as he was about to board a train at the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad Station in Washington, D.C. Severely wounded, Garfield lingered until September 19. The nation is shocked, enraged, and captivated. Read the rest of Life and Death in the White House on Smithsonian National Museum of American History blog.

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1882 - Congress passed the first laws that would bar entrance for (among other things) mental deficiencies, physical disease, people likely to become public charges, criminal background, and unaccompanied minors. Immigrants who were denied entry could appeal to a “special board of inquiry” to have their cases reviewed. From Ancestry.com Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Immigration Records, Special Boards of Inquiry, 1893-1909.

1882, April 3 -outlaw Jesse James, aged 34, was gunned down by Bob Ford at his home in St Joseph, Missouri. See his Find A Grave page.

1882, April 19 - Charles Darwin, author of the 1859 publication The Origin of Species, died.

1882, April 27 - Ralph Waldo Emerson, essayist, poet and leader of the Transcendentalist Movement, died.

1882, May 6 - The Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) was the first significant law restricting immigration into the United States on OurDocuments.gov.

1882 - government directs states to record births, marriages, and deaths at the county level. It took most states several years well into the 20th century before these records became standard at the county level. Most people are surprised to learn their ancestors often have no birth, marriage or death records, unless recorded in individual church records, until well into the middle 1900's. These records became important for collecting various government benefits such as veteran compensation, insurance, and today social security.

1882, September 4 - Thomas Edison flipped the switch that would start up America's first power plant in New York city. See Electrifying Manhattan video posted January 27, 2015 on American Experience | PBS .


1883, June 2 - first lighted baseball game in Fort Wayne and possibly the world, although others claim the title 2 years earlier. Charles Jenney, owner of the Jenney Electric Company provided 17 arch lamps to illuminate League Park. Read the story General Electric Plant News: There’s a Baseball Story Here! in the July 11, 2008 Baseball In Fort Wayne blog by Chad Gramling. Fort Wayne Sports History: City hosts one of first attempts at night baseball Around 2,000 fans witness experiment by Jenney Electric Light Co. by Blake Sebring published July 29, 2013 in The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1883, October 9 - Sam McDonald was the last person to hang in Fort Wayne just north of the jail flats in what is now Phase IV of Headwaters Park from article Sam Swings on the front page with photograph engraving of the October 9, 1883 Fort Wayne Daily Sentinel newspaper. He was acused of killing Louis Laurent and was hanged before a crowd of 250 ticket holders. Read the story A necktie party by Kevin Leininger in CITYSCAPES from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper. The story was detailed in the next days The Journal Gazette newspaper. The story was also published in the October 10, 1883 The New York Times and is available in a pdf. There is a Johannah wife of James McDonald died December 7, 1884 buried at Saint Patrick Catholic Cemetery near Arcola in Lake Township where Sam MacDonald's body was taken according to the New York Times story. Read Allen County’s Jail Flats by Tom Castaldi published July 3, 2014 in the History Center Notes & Queries blog. The History Center has photos of a piece of rope, cloth and a ticket to his hanging posted May 26, 2020 on Facebook.

1883, November 18 - also called "The Day of Two Noons" when American and Canadian railroads instituted five standard continental time zones for North America and ended the confusion of thousands of local times. See ZoomIt map from Accessible Archives on Facebook. Wired magazine reports The Chicago Tribune showed 23 local times in Indiana when we changed to “railroad time.” The Library of Congress American Memory November 18 page calls it "Standard Railroad Time." In 1918 federal government introduced daylight savings time.

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No separate city directory, combined with 1884-1885.

1884 in South Dakota - is the oldest known photograph of a tornado from the NOAA Historical Photo Collection.

1884 - Jenney Electric Company arc lights used at World’s Fair in New Orleans. From GE’s history in Fort Wayne published February 9, 2014 in The Journal Gazette newspaper.

1884, April 11 - the first Arbor Day in Indiana was observed. Between 1884 and 1912, Arbor Day was observed on various dates at the discretion of the governor. The most common date was the last Friday of October. It is not known why a fall date was chosen over a spring day. On March 10, 1913, the Indiana legislature passed a bill setting the third Friday of April as Arbor Day. In 1929, an amendment was passed in the legislature changing the date to the second Friday in April. Due to frequent conflicts with school spring vacations and the fact that Arbor Day occasionally fell on Good Friday, the date was again changed in 1991 to the last Friday of April, corresponding to the official date of the National Arbor Day. Copied from Learn more about Indiana Arbor Day on the Indiana DNR - Indiana Department of Natural Resourcesweb site.

1884, August 5 - cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty is laid on Bedloe's Island in NY Harbor.


Business Directory

1885, February 18 - Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn was published.

1885, March 26 - Eastman Kodak produced the first commercial motion picture film in Rochester, New York.

1885, June 16 - the Statue of Liberty arrives in New York Harbor aboard the French frigate "Isere," a gift from France to the United States to commemorate the centennial and the friendship between the two countries that began during the American Revolution. The statue arrived in 350 individual pieces and would not be erected for another four months. From the Writer's Almanac on the June 17, 2013 History Center Notes & Queries blog. See a leather postcardfrom 1906 on Smithsonian National Museum of American History blog. See a Twitter photo in Paris before it was dissembled and crated for the voyage to New York. See This Day in History: Statue of Liberty by published June 19, 2017 on The Library of Congress blog.

1885, June - the Statue of Liberty is lighted with Fort Wayne Jenney Electric arc lamps from GE’s history in Fort Wayne published February 9, 2014 in The Journal Gazette newspaper. Josyln stainless steel was also used in the statue from a comment posted January 22, 2019 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Closed group on Facebook.

1885, September 5 - Sylvanus Bowser introduces the first gas pump. His name became synonymous with the term gas pump. ... As a result, in New Zealand and Australia, fuel dispensers are still referred to as 'Bowsers.' From Fort Files - On this day in history published September 5, 2014 on Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly.

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No separate city directory, combined with 1885-1886 city directory.

1886 Stellhorn Hardware opened its doors on Fairfield Avenue and was Fort Wayne’s oldest hardware store until it closed in 2016.

1886, September 4 - after 30 years battling to save his homeland, Apache chief Geronimo surrenders to U.S. government troops near Fort Bowie along the Arizona-New Mexico border. He was the last Indian warrior to formally give in to U.S. forces and signal the end of the Indian Wars in the Southwest. See 1886 Geronimo surrenders on History.com.

1886, October 28 - the Statue of Liberty is dedicated in New York Harbor by Presiden Grover Cleveland.


The burgeoning interest in local history in Fort Wayne 1887-1894 - Potterf, Rex M, "
Reprinted with the special permission of the Allen County - Fort Wayne Historical Society." Archive.org ebook

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1888: The town of South Wayne is incorporated, to head off annexation of the area by Fort Wayne. By 1894, the city agreed to annex the area and assume the young town's debts. Copied from 1000 TO 1900 Millennium milestones in Fort Wayne in the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1888, June 25 - republicans at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago nomiate Benjamin Harrison as their presidental candidate in the 1889 election. See photo on June 25, 2018 post by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook.

1888, August - Thomson-Houston bought the Fort Wayne Jenny Company. October 15, 1878 Thomas Edison formed the Edison General Electric Light Company. April 1892 GE merged with Thomson-Houston. From GE’s history in Fort Wayne published February 9, 2014 in The Journal Gazette newspaper.

1888, September 4 - George Eastman patented the Kodak roll-film camera, an invention that would forever change photography allowing widespread photography of everyday living from The Invention of the “Snapshot” Changed the Way We Viewed the World by Clive Thompson published in September 2014 on Smithsonian.com. See also Original Kodak Camera, Serial No. 540 in the The National Museum of American History.


1889 - Essentials of the principles and practice of equine and bovine medicine and surgery ..(1889) - Langtry, Walter. [from old catalog] Archive.org ebook.

1889 - The philosophy of judging: a manual upon the scoring of exhibition fowls, intended to meet the wants of the general breeder and the exhibitor, as well as the professional judge (1889) - Felch, I. K. (Isaac Kimbal), 1834-, printed in Fort Wayne, Indiana Archive.org ebook.

Photos of homes and businesses in Photo-gravures of Fort Wayne! : its artistic residences, business streets, parks and beautiful suburbs ; together with its largely diversified business and manufacturing industries (1889) Archive.org ebook.

Valley of the upper Maumee River, with historical account of Allen County and the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana (1889) Volume 1, history of this area, including the Indian wars, and early settlement. The township histories give an excellent accounting of their early settlers with emphasis on specific biographies. Archive.org ebook

Valley of the upper Maumee River, with historical account of Allen County and the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana (1889) (Volume 2) Archive.org ebook

1889, April 22 - the Oklahoma Land Rush started at noon. An estimated 50,000 people lined up for their piece of the available two million acres including all or part of modern day Canadian, Cleveland, Kingfisher, Logan, Oklahoma, and Payne counties. From April 22, 2013 Accessible Archives on Facebook.

1889, May 31 - the Johnstown Flood kills over 2,200 people in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the result of the catastrophic failure of the South Fork Dam. It was the first major disaster relief effort handled by the new American Red Cross, led by Clara Barton. After the flood, victims suffered a series of legal defeats in their attempt to recover damages from the dam's owners. Public indignation prompted a major development in American law—state courts' move from a fault-based regime to strict liability. From Wikipedia.

1889, August 12 - Zerna Sharp was born in Clinton County, Indiana. She wrote the Dick and Jane school books that helped teach millions of children how to read. From August 12, 2013 post Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook.

1889, October 6 - Thomas Edison shows his first moving picture.

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