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 - 1881 - 1882 - 1883 - 1884 - 1885 - 1886 - 1887 - 1888 - 1889


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

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, March 31 - Wabash, Indiana became the first electrically lighted city in the WORLD!

June 4, 2014 post by Wabash County Museum on Facebook:

Don't Know Much About Wabash County History?

When Wabash, Indiana became the first electrically lighted city in the WORLD, it was not with a traditional incandescent bulb. Four arc lamps (which produce light by an arc between metal electrodes) were mounted to the Wabash County courthouse and provided light for the entire town. Each lamp carried the power of 3,000 candles, while early incandescent lamps burned with the power of 16 candles. Pictured here are a model of the arc lamp and two articles describing the lighting. 

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 Congressposted 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 - 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

March 15, 2019 post by the Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook:

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.

Learn more about the fight for Women’s suffrage in Indiana here: http://images.indianahistory.org/…/col…/p16797coll39/id/4519

The image below, showing a Votes for Women pennant, courtesy of the Indianapolis Public Library.

1881, May 21

May 21, 2023 post by Heritage Documentation Programs, NPS  on Facebook:

Today is the 142nd anniversary of the founding of the American Red Cross by Clara Barton. Her house, the Clara Barton National Historic Site (U.S. National Park Service) is preserved as a National Park Service unit in Glen Echo, Maryland.

Learn more about the 1892-1893 wood frame, three story structure built originally as a warehouse and headquarters for the American Red Cross by viewing the HABS documentation at http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/md0218/

For #teachers and parents, the Heritage Education Services program of the NPS has created a "Teaching with Historic Places" lesson plan for the Clara Barton House which is available at https://go.usa.gov/xus3V


Clara Barton 1850

Earliest known photograph of Clara Barton. Probably taken in Clinton, New York in 1850 or 1851 while she was a student at the Clinton Liberal Institute. She is about 29 years old. 

May 21, 2023 post by on Fold3 Facebook:

On May 21, 1881, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross. During the Civil War, she was known as the "Angel of the Battlefield," caring for the wounded and helping to identify the dead. Barton headed the Red Cross into her 80s. She died in 1912: http://fnote.it/6xw8

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 an October 11, 2013 post by Indiana Genenealogical Society on Facebook.

1881, May 21 - Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross after her experience with the International Red Cross from Today's Document at The National Archives.

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.

1881, November 1 - On this day in 1881, Ranald T. McDonald organized the Fort Wayne Jenney Electric Light Company, a manufacturing and selling concern, with $100,000 in capital — almost $3M in today's dollars. He established the company with the following officers: H. G. Olds, president; Perry A. Randall, vice-president; Oscar A. Simons, secretary, and R. T. McDonald, treasurer and general manager. Copied from November 1, 2022 post by Electric Works on Facebook. See our Electric Works section. 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.

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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.comPhiladelphia, 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 Gravepage.

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. The Vital Records page at IN.govstates: The State of Indiana did not require births or deaths to be recorded until 1882, and they were not recorded by the state until 1907. For birth and death records between 1882 and 1906, researchers should contact the County Health Office where the birth occurred.

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 online Baseball In Fort Wayne blog on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine 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. Another night game was not played again until 1932 from a newspaper article posted October 17, 2022 on True Fort Wayne Indiana History on Facebook.

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 Centerhas photos of a piece of rope, cloth and a ticket to his hanging posted May 26, 2020 on Facebook. See Allen County Jail.

1883 The True Northerner newspaper
The True Northerner 1883 newspaper

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.

A November 18, 2022 post by Newspapers.com on Facebook states: Did you know the U.S. used to have "fifty-three kinds of time"? The headache that local time zones caused for railroads led to the adoption of five standard time zones in the U.S. and Canada on November 18, 1883. The map shown here was printed in newspapers around the United States as part of an article explaining how the new time zones worked. The zones would be officially adopted by Congress in 1918. See this clipping in the True Northerner on our site: U.S. goes from 53 time zones to 5 after railroads adopt standard time zones (1883).

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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 Congressblog.

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... Archived group only visible to existing members 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. On September 14, 2022 Fort Wayne was a clue on the television show Jeopardy asking: The first fuel pump in the U.S.was installed in Fort Wayne in 1885; it supplied this oil used mainly for lamps.

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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

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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.

1888, November - A devastating fire forced the entire Fort Wayne Jenney Electric Light Company to be rebuilt, and operations were resumed on July 1, 1889. From a July 1, 2022 post by Electric Works on Facebook.


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

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.

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.

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

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

1889, March 19

March 19, 2023 post by the Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook:

#OTD in 1889, Indiana Hospital for the Insane Superintendent Thomas Galbraith fired Dr. Sarah Stockton, the lead physician in the Women’s Department, for testifying about dismal hospital conditions. One trustee lamented her dismissal and charged that "Dr. Stockton was the only really capable physician out there. . . . the discharged physician knew more in a minute about the hospital and how its affairs should be conducted than Dr. Galbraith would learn in a year." Around 1900, Dr. Stockton returned to her former hospital, renamed Central Indiana Hospital for the Insane. The Indianapolis Star hailed her a pioneer, noting “Not longer than thirty years ago there was only one woman physician in Indianapolis-Dr. Sarah Stockton. Now there are fifty.”

Read more about Stockton at Hoosier State Chronicles: Indianapolis Journal,Indianapolis, Marion County, 29 March 1889 









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, July 1 - After a devastating fire in November 1888, the entire Fort Wayne Jenney Electric Light Company was rebuilt, and operations were resumed on this day. From a July 1, 2022 post by Electric Works on Facebook.

1889, July 20 - new factories of the Fort Wayne Jenney Electric Light company formally opened the latter part of July where Mr. Marmaduke M. M. Slattery gave the guests an opportunity to test his electric tricycle.

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, August 13 - the Worlds First Pay Telephone invented by William Gray was installed in a bank in Hartford, Connecticut. See photo and copy of patent in The Pay Phone’s Journey From Patent to Urban Relic The history of the device that is well on its way to becoming, well, history by Jimmy Stamp September 18, 2014 in Smithsonianmag.com.

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

1889, September 22 - On September 22, 1889, the Chicago Tribune reported that construction was underway on the Standard Oil Refinery in Whiting. The paper noted that "Out on the sand dunes along the lake shore just beyond South Chicago and the Indiana state line, there are 800 men hammering rivets through great plates of boiler iron." The men were building fifty foot tanks for John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Co. Indiana-based subsidiary. According to the Encyclopedia of Chicago, by the mid-1890s the Whiting plant was the U.S.'s largest refinery, "handling 36,000 barrels of oil per day and accounting for nearly 20 percent of the total U.S. refining capacity." In 1955, an explosion destroyed the Whiting refinery, leaving 800 homeless, taking the lives of two, and costing ten million dollars in damages. Standard Oil bought 140 of the 180 damaged homes and eventually rebuilt its Whiting plant. Copied from a September 22, 2022 post by the Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook. This refinery continues to be important for gasoline refinery in the Midwest as shown by this line: The Whiting refinery is the sixth-largest in the United States and BP's largest in North America. copied from the recent news story BP bringing Whiting, Indiana, refinery back to normal operation -company by Erwin Seba posted September 2, 2022 on Reuters.com.

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