George Caleb Bingham
American Artist

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Chronology in Historical Context

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Bingham's Life
American History
20 March – George Caleb Bingham born near Weyer’s Cave in Augusta County, Virginia
7 November – William Henry Harrison defeats Native American coalition at Battle of Tippecanoe; 16 December – New Madrid earthquake
18 November – sister Elizabeth born
12 June -United States declares war on Britain
5 October – Native American leader Tecumseh is killed at Battle of the Thames in Canada
27 June 18 – brother Isaac Newton born
24 August – British burn Washington, DC
8 January – Andrew Jackson wins Battle of New Orleans
Second Bank of the United States chartered: Indiana enters union as the 19th state
11 January – brother Henry Vest, Jr. born
2 August – Steamboat Zebulon M. Pike arrives in St. Louis, beginning a new era of transportation to Missouri
4 November – sister Frances Louisa born
28 April – US and Canada agree on boundary at 49th parallel
Autumn – Bingham family moves to Franklin, Howard County, Missouri
Panic of 1819
Spring – Father Henry V. Bingham opens Square and Compass Tavern in Franklin
3 March – Missouri Compromise – Maine enters Union as a free state; Missouri, as a slave state
14 September – sister Amanda born; Henry Bingham serves as Justice of the Peace; opens a tobacco factory in Franklin with William Lamme
1 September – William Becknell leads a successful trading party to Santa Fe, which opens the Santa Fe Trail
Henry V. Bingham builds a tobacco storage warehouse in Franklin and serves as Howard County Court Judge; maternal grandfather Matthias Amend drowns while trying to cross the Missouri River; George Caleb Bingham observes artist Chester Harding at work
7 January – Americans found Liberia as a colony for freed slaves; 16 June – Denmark Vesey leads unsuccessful slave uprising in Charleston, South Carolina, which leads to more restrictive slave codes
26 December – Henry V. Bingham, Sr. dies at the age of 38
April – Stephen Austin leads 300 settlers to Texas
Mother, Mary Amend Bingham, opens a school for girls in Franklin, Missouri
11 March – US War Department creates the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bingham family struggles to survive
26 October – Erie Canal completed
John Bingham, Henry’s brother, donates land to help found the town of Arrow Rock in Saline County, Missouri
National Academy of Design founded
Masonic Lodge secures Bingham property in Arrow Rock and helps family move from Franklin; George Caleb Bingham (GCB) apprentices with Arrow Rock cabinetmaker, Reverend Jesse Green who later becomes a teaching missionary to the Shawnee
28 February – America’s first railroad, the Baltimore & Ohio, incorporated; Workingmen’s Party founded in Philadelphia
Apprentices with Boonville cabinetmaker Reverend Justinian Williams
22 May – “Tariff of Abominations” passes Congress, forcing a secession crisis
Apprentices with Boonville cabinetmaker Reverend Justinian Williams
6 April – Mexican government abolishes slavery and bans further American colonization of Texas
Apprentices with Boonville cabinetmaker Reverend Justinian Williams
26 May – Congress passes Indian Removal Act
Brother Isaac Newton Bingham, 17, drowns in the Missouri River; apprentices with Boonville cabinetmaker Reverend Justinian Williams;
21 August – Nat Turner leads slave rebellion in Southampton, Virginia.
Apprentices with Boonville cabinetmaker Reverend Justinian Williams
14 May – Black Hawk war begins; 2 August – Black Hawk War ends at Battle of Bad Axe
GCB begins career as portrait artist
1 October – Andrew Jackson ends the Second National Bank
As an itinerant portrait artist, GCB paints in Arrow Rock and Columbia, Missouri
4 April -Whig party founded by coalition opposed to Andrew Jackson; 1 August – Great Britain abolishes slavery
Paints in Columbia, Missouri; May – travels to Liberty, Missouri, but delayed two weeks en route by a form of small pox that caused him to his hair (he will wears a wig the rest of his life), Liberty, paints portraits; November – opens a studio in St. Louis
2 October – Texas revolts against Mexico, 29 October – New York City workingmen found the Loco-Foco party, a radical branch of the Democratic party; 28 December – Osceola leads Second Seminole War
In Saint Louis; 14 April – marries Sarah Elizabeth Hutchison in Boonville, Missouri; November – returns to St. Louis; winters in Natchez, Mississippi
6 February – Congress passes a gag rule on anti-slavery petitions; 3-6 March – Battle of the Alamo; 4 December – Whig party holds first national convention
In Natchez, Mississippi, 26 March – son Isaac Newton born; 27 May – in Columbia, painting portraits; 27 July – purchases lot in Arrow Rock where GCB eventually builds a home and studio for himself and his family
10 May – Panic of 1837 begins; 5 June – Houston, Texas incorporated; 7 November – a pro-slavery mob kills the publisher of an Illinois abolitionist newspaper, Elijah Lovejoy
In Columbia through February; March and early June, studies in Philadelphia and probably visits New York City and introduces himself at the Apollo Gallery; July, August – in Missouri; September – exhibits Western Boatmen Ashore at the Apollo Gallery in New York City; November, December – paints portraits in Missouri
James Herring opens Apollo Gallery in New York City; 26 May – 15,000 Cherokee forcibly removed south on 800-mile “Trail of Tears”; Underground Railroad founded
Paints in central Missouri; Mid-March – returns to St. Louis where he spends most of the year; 5 December – fire in St. Louis studio destroys paintings
22 June – Louis Daguerre patents the camera; 814 people subscribe to the Apollo Association in order to receive prints by American artists; 27 October – Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs signs “Extermination Order” to force Mormons from the state
January – in St. Louis; mid-February – in Fayette, Missouri – painting portraits; May – in Arrow Rock – paints political banner for the Saline County delegation to the state Whig convention; Mid-June – attends state Whig convention in Rocheport, Missouri; Autumn – after Whig victory of William Henry Harrison, moves family to Washington DC
Apollo Association renamed as the American Art-Union whose goal is to encourage American art by supporting artists through painting purchases and by widening audiences through regular print distribution and an annual lottery of original works; 7 May – Great Natchez tornado kills 317
13 March – son Newton dies; 15 March – son Horace born; April – August – paints portraits in Petersburg, Virginia; September – visits family home in Virginia; October – returns to Washington, DC
9 March – Supreme Court frees Amistad mutineers; 16 August – President John Tyler vetoes re-establishment of Second US Bank — Whigs riot outside capitol
Throughout year – GCB paints portraits in Washington, DC.; November – Elizabeth and Horace travel to Boonville, Missouri
March – Massachusetts declares labor unions legal; 19 May – Dorr Rebellion for universal white male suffrage squelched in Rhode Island
January – May – paints portraits in Washington, DC; Elizabeth and Horace return in March; June – visits Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts exhibition; July – December – paints portraits in Washington, DC
January – Dorothea Dix presents research on mental institutions and poor houses conditions that lead to reforms; 22 May – first wagon train to the Northwest territories; 1 June – Quakers buy freedom for Sojourner Truth for $25
January – May – in Washington, DC; September – Bingham family resides in Boonville, Missouri; October – GCB attends state Whig convention in Boonville; November & December – in Jefferson City painting political portraits
12 April – Texas becomes a US Territory; 1 May – Whig Convention nominates Henry Clay for president; 24 May – Samuel F. B. Morse successfully sends telegraph message; 27 June – Joseph Smith killed by mob in Nauvoo, Illinois
January – paints in St. Louis and in central Missouri; 14 March – daughter Clara born; 4 June – exhibits paintings in St. Louis; sells home in Arrow Rock, convinced that though he loves the region, he cannot support his family there; returns to St. Louis
Irish potato famine bringsIrish immigrants to America; 28 March – Mexican government breaks diplomatic ties with the United States; 4 July – Native American party holds national convention in Philadelphia with anti-immigrant platform
June – nominated by Whig party as candidate for state legislator from Saline County; August 14 – wins popular vote by three ballots defeated; 20 November – electoral opponent Erasmus Sappington contests vote in the legislature; 12 December – through Democratic party chicanery, seat given to Sappington
25 April – War with Mexico begins; 15 June – Oregon treaty signed with Great Britain with border at 49th parallel; 28 December – Iowa joins Union as 29th state
Works in Arrow Rock and St. Louis, Missouri
American Art-Union creates a subsidiary, the Western Art Union, in Cincinnati; 29 March General Winfield Scott takes Mexico City
April – son Joseph Hutchison born; 14 April – GCB participates in Whig convention in Boonville; July – accepts nomination to run for state legislature; 11 August – wins election to state legislature; 24 November – wife Elizabeth dies of consumption; GCB considers resigning seat, but J.S. Rollins convinces him serving will take his mind off his grief; December – son Joseph dies; late December; Legislature appoints GCB to Committee on Federal Relations
24 January – Gold discovered at Sutter’s Mill, California; 2 February – Mexico cedes most of what is now the American Southwest, ending the war, but renewing debate on expanding slavery; 19 July – Seneca Falls Convention for women’s rights; 1 November – Boston Female Academy opens as the first medical school for women in the United States
January/ February in Jefferson City; Spring – opens a studio at the Western Art Union in Cincinnati; July – August – paints in New York City and travels to Philadelphia; October 5, in Liberty, Missouri; 2 December 1849 – marries Elizabeth Keller Thomas in Columbia, Missouri
3 March – President Taylor creates the Home Department with Offices of Census, Indian Affairs, Land, and Pensions; 3 May – Mississippi River floods New Orleans; 17 May – a steamboat fire in St. Louis Fire nearly burns down the city; December – American Art-Union boasts 18,960 subscribing members
January – November – works in Columbia and St. Louis; November – travels to New York to submit paintings to the American Art-Union
9 September – California admitted to the Union as a free state based on Compromise of 1850; 18 September – Fugitive Slave Law enacted
January – April – paints in New York; Early May – returns to Arrow Rock; May – mother, Mary Bingham, dies in Arrow Rock; June – November – GCB paints at a studio in Columbia, Missouri, and then travels to St. Louis
4 March – Indiana Constitution prohibits any further African-Americans in state; 1 August – Virginia enacts universal white male suffrage; 17 September – Fort Laramie Treaty – brings peaceful settlement of the West for several years
January – April – paints in St. Louis, Columbia, and Jefferson City, Missouri; 19 April – attends state Whig convention in St. Louis; May – in Boonville and Columbia, Missouri; 3 June – serves as delegate to the Whig national convention in Baltimore; travels to Philadelphia and New York; 27 June – arrives in Philadelphia to make arrangements for John Sartain to engrave The County Election; 28 October – returns to Columbia; November and December – in Glasgow and St. Louis
New York State Supreme Court declares the American Art-Union’s yearly lottery illegal, effectively ending the organization. Artists turn to personal print sales to help support themselves; 20 March – Harriett Beecher Stowe publishes Uncle Tom’s Cabin; 1 July – Henry Clay lies in state in the United States Capitol rotunda, which initiates a tradition; 23 December – first train travel west of the Mississippi from St. Louis to Cheltenham, Missouri
January and February – in St. Louis; 10 March – travels to New Orleans and Kentucky to exhibit and to sell subscriptions for prints of The County Election; 15 September – travels to New York and then Philadelphia to direct John Sartain’s engraving of The County Election; 30 September, travels to New York, views the Crystal Palace exhibit; then travels to Philadelphia where he stays through the winter to work with Sartain.
3 March – Congress approves $150,000 in funds for the transcontinental railroad survey; 14 July – US Naval Commodore Matthew Perry sets foot in Japan; 22 December – a railroad route from Chicago to the east coast is completed; 30 December – The Gadsden Purchase of Mexican lands strengthens talk of a transcontinental railroad
January – August – GCB in Philadelphia; September – December – in Missouri
28 February – Republican Party founded in Ripon, Wisconsin; 30 May – Congress passes Kansas-Nebraska Act, which will begin escalating violence at the Missouri-Kansas border
Late January – GCB returns to Philadelphia; late in June – returns to Missouri; paints portraits in the Independence/ Liberty /Kansas City region; Mid-September – works in Columbia, Missouri; 14 November – in Jefferson City painting and involved with Whig politics; 1 December – speaks before the Missouri legislature
27 January – Panama Railroad connects the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean; 12 February – Michigan opens first land grant college; 30 March – in the elections to choose whether Kansas will be a free or slave territory, Missourians cross the border and vote pro-slavery. Northern newspapers name the ballot stuffers, Border Ruffians; November 21 – pro-slavery proponent Franklin Coleman kills Charles Dow, a free-stater, which begins Kansas’ Wakarusa War
January – May – in Columbia; 6 May – arrives in St. Louis; 2 June – in Louisville, Kentucky; Summer – GCB in Boston and Philadelphia preparing historic portraits for Missouri capitol; 14 August – travels with family to France; 1 November – arrives in Düsseldorf
18 February – the American, or Know-Nothing, Party nominates Millard Fillmore for president; May 22 – Senator Charles Sumner delivers “Crimes Against Kansas” speech. Sen. Preston Brooks canes him into unconsciousness; May 26 – John Brown leads massacre of five pro-slavery settlers at Pottawatomie Creek, Kansas; 30 August – Battle of Osawatomie – John W. Reid of Independence, Missouri, leads pro-slavery to defeat free-soilers. Among the dead were Frederick Brown, a son of John Brown; Four more wars occur between pro-slavery and free-state supporters in Kansas and Missouri by the end of the year: Black Jack, Franklin, Fort Titus, Osawatomie, and Hickory Point. More casualties on each side
GCB paints in Dusseldorf
6 March – Dred Scott Decision; 28 May, Utah Mormon War begins; 24 August – Panic of 1857 begins
GCB paints in Dusseldorf
19 May – Missourians kill five Kansas free state men at the “Marais des Cygnes Massacre”; 5 August – Cyrus Field completes trans-Atlantic cable; 21 August-15 October – Lincoln-Douglas Debates; 20 December – Battle of the Spurs in Holton, Kansas between 45 pro-slavery men and John Brown and 20 men
12-14 January – attends the National Art Association meeting in Washington, DC; late January – delivers completed Washington and Jefferson portraits to Jefferson City. During acceptance ceremony, gives speech in support of Union; February – April – travels to St. Louis, Columbia, Jefferson City, Kansas City, St, Joseph, Brunswick, and St. Louis, Missouri; Early June – sails for Europe; 12 June 1859 – Father-in-law Robert Stewart Thomas dies in Kansas City; by September – Bingham family has returned to the United States; December – Baptist Female College (later Stephens College) in Columbia appoints Eliza Bingham chair of the music department
14 February – Oregon admitted to Union as 33rd state; 27 August – oil first drilled in United States in Titusville, Pennsylvania; 4 October – Kansas voters ratify a free state constitution; 16 October – John Brown leads Raid on Harper’s Ferry; November – December – Abraham Lincoln visits Kansas; 2 December – John Brown hanged in Charleston, Virginia.
12-13 January, attends National Art Association meeting in Washington, D.C.; early March – returns to Columbia, Missouri; late April – St. Louis; mid-September – in Lexington, Kansas City, and Independence, Missouri
3 April – Pony Express begins; 20 April – Free-stater John Ritchie kills U.S. Marshall Leonard Arms as he hunts for slaves in Topeka, Kansas; 6 November – Lincoln elected president; 20 December – South Carolina secedes from Union
7 January – in Jefferson City to set up portraits of Clay and Jackson in the House of Representatives; 12 January – older brother Matthias Amend Bingham dies near Houston, Texas; 6 March – GCB travels to Harris County, Texas, to settle Matthias’s estate; Mid-May – returns to Kansas City; 29 June – GCB volunteers with the U.S. Volunteer Reserve Corps, Van Horn’s Battalion and is given rank of captain; 21 September – son James Rollins Bingham born
29 January – Kansas admitted to the Union as a Free State; 21 April – South Carolina’s secessionist troops fire on Fort Sumter; Civil War begins; 26 July – First Battle of Bull Run; 5 August – Congress passes nation’s first income tax; 24 October – Western Union connects first transcontinental telegraph
4 January – Governor Hamilton Gamble appoints Bingham state treasurer; family moves to Jefferson City
6-15 February – Battles for Fort Henry and Donelson in Tennessee; 6-8 March – Union Army forces secessionist troops out of Missouri at Battle of Pea Ridge; 7 April – Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee; 25 April – Union forces led by Daniel Farragut capture New Orleans, Louisiana; 4 June – Confederate troops led by Nathan Bedford Forrest massacre black troops at Fort Pillow, Tennessee; 8 June – Battle of Cross Keys, Virginia; 26 June – Battle of Mechanicsville, Virginia; 17 August – Lakota Sioux uprising in Minnesota; 28 August – Second Battle of Bull Run; 17 September – Battle of Antietam; 13 December – Battle at Fredericksburg, Virginia; 26 December – Confederates defeat Union troops in first battle of Vicksburg Campaign; Congress passes legislation establishing land grant colleges, the Department of Agriculture, the Homestead, Pacific Railroad and Morrill Acts
GCB works as State Treasurer of Missouri
1 January – Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclamation; 1 – 4 May – Battle of Chancellorsville; 1-3 July – Battle of Gettysburg; 4 July – Battle of Vicksburg; 13 – 16 July – Anti-draft riots in New York; 13 August – the Bingham townhouse in Kansas City, which was confiscated by General Thomas Ewing and used as a prison for wives and sisters of Confederate irregulars, collapses, killing five women and maiming two; 21 August – William Quantrill leads a band of Missouri vigilantes, some relatives of women killed or injured in the prison collapse, to Lawrence, Kansas and kills all men and boys (~200) and burns town; 25 August – General Thomas Ewing issues Order No. 11 to depopulate western Missouri counties; 19 – 20 September – Battle of Chickamauga; 19 November – Lincoln delivers Gettysburg Address
10 June – daughter Clara marries Thomas Benton King; August – GCB purchases home in Independence, Missouri
3 June – Battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia; 4 November – Forrest wins Battle of Johnsonville; 15 November – Sherman begins March to the Sea
GCB completes term of office as state treasurer; moves to Independence, Missouri
3 March – Freedmen’s Bureau created; 9 April – Robert E. Lee surrenders; 14 April – John Wilkes Booth assassinates Abraham Lincoln; 29 May – President Andrew Johnson issues Proclamation of Reconstruction and Amnesty; 4 December – Congress refuses to seat southern congressman from states reconstructed through Andrew Johnson’s plan; 18 December – Congress passes 13th Amendment, which abolishes slavery
1 June – GCB announces candidacy for Congress from Sixth District; 6 October – loses congressional bid at nominating convention
13 February -James Gang robs bank in Liberty, Missouri; April 9 – Congress passes Civil Rights Act of 1866 over Johnson’s veto
GCB in Independence; completes equestrian portrait of General Lyon in late March
2 March – Congress passes Reconstruction Act
28 May – GCB serves as elector at Democratic state convention
24 February – President Johnson impeached
March – in Columbia; October 1 – Independence voters elect GCB as school board director; Son Horace leaves for California and is never seen again
10 May – Transcontinental Railroad completed Near Ogden, Utah; 15 May – Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton found the National Woman’s Suffrage Association; 24 September – Fisk-Gould Scandal causes Panic of 1869.
April – GCB sells home in Independence, Missouri; 6 May – moves to Kansas City and opens studio over Shannon Dry Goods Store at 3rd and Main
3 February – Congress passes 15th Amendment, granting civil rights to all people regardless of color; 31 May – Congress passes first of four Force Acts which help control vigilantism in South
January – February – Jefferson City; March – August – in Kansas City; September – November – Columbia; November – Kansas City; Late December – Philadelphia with John Sartain about the engraving of Order No. 11
20 April – U.S. Grant signs the Civil Rights Act of 1871; Summer – William Henry Jackson photographs Yellowstone; 8 October – Chicago Fire; 27 October – Boss Tweed arrested in New York for embezzling $40 million
Late January – GCB in Philadelphia supervising John Sartain as he engraves Order No. 11; 10 May – in Kansas City selling prints of Order No. 11; July – in Baltimore; August – October – vacationing in Colorado with wife Eliza; 20 November – in Kansas City and surrounding towns painting portraits
20 February – Metropolitan Museum of Art opens in New York City; 1 March – Congress creates Yellowstone National Park; July – Freedmen’s Bureau terminated; 11 September -Credit Mobilier scandal exposed and extends to Grant’s cabinet; 5 November – Susan B. Anthony votes and is arrested two weeks later
April – GCB in Houston and Austin, Texas, completing settlement of brother Matthias’ estate; May – Kansas City; July -Marshall and Arrow Rock, Missouri; August – in Kansas City; 3 September in Columbia, Missouri; September – in Louisville, Kentucky – exhibits Order No. 11 and Washington Crossing the Delaware at Louisville Industrial Exposition; October – in Kansas City painting portraits, with so much work that he cancels a planned trip to New York
3 March – Congress passed Timber Culture Act intended to increase numbers of trees in Great Plains; 21 July – James-Younger gang rob the Rock Island Express of $3,000 at Adair, Iowa; 18 September – stock market crashes causing Panic of 1873; 15 December – Women’s Christian Temperance Union founded
11 May – state authorities appoint GCB president of the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners; 31 July – accepts Democratic candidacy for Congress from 8th District; 24 August – withdraws name from congressional race; September – attends Democratic convention in Kansas City; December – in St. Louis exhibiting The Puzzled Witness
31 January – James Gang robs a train for the first time; 29 June – Freedman’s Saving Bank terminated; 1 July – first public zoo opens in Philadelphia; 4 August – the Chautauqua movement begins in New York state; 25 November – Greenback Party founded
January – Governor Charles H. Hardin appoints GCB Adjutant-General of Missouri; 19 January – GCB in Jefferson City; February – in Clay County, Missouri – investigating the Pinkerton attack in on the Samuels family: mother, stepfather, and half-brother of Frank and Jesse James; March – April – in Stone County, Missouri enforcing judicial order in an area overtaken by the Ku Klux Klan. After his visit, vigilantism ends
1 March – Congress passes Civil Rights Act of 1875; 11 May – Whiskey Ring exposes further corruption in the Grant administration; 1 September – the Molly Maguires, an Irish Labor Organization in the Pennsylvania coal mines, comes to an end; 30 October – American Theosophical Society founded
23 February – April – in Washington, DC to present war claims for state; May and June – in Jefferson City; October 24 – resigns position of Adjutant-General due to ill health; 3 November – Eliza Thomas Bingham dies at Fulton State Mental Hospital
7 March – Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone; 10 May – United States celebrates Centennial in Philadelphia with national fair; 25 June – Battle of Little Big Horn; 7 November – contested Presidential Election between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel J. Tilden eventually places Republican Hayes in power in exchange for permanent pull-out of federal troops in the South, effectively ending Reconstruction
19 January – University of Missouri board of curators appoints GCB professor of art; March – state legislature authorizes GCB to paint historical picture of Jackson before Civil Court of Louisiana; June – GCB appointed professor of art of University of Missouri’s newly established School of Art; July – September – GCB in Boonville and Columbia painting portraits; November – in Kansas City
6 May – Chief Crazy Horse surrenders to federal troops; 16 July – Great Railroad Strike extends from Baltimore to St. Louis; 9 August – Nez Perce War begins in Montana; Late August – Great Railroad Strike ends; 29 November – Thomas Edison demonstrates the phonograph
January – St. Louis and Kansas City; February and March – in Washington, D.C.; May – visits daughter Clara (Mrs. Thomas Benton King) and her family in Stephensville, Texas; 18 June – Kansas City – marries Mrs. Martha Livingston Lykins; Summer – honeymoons in Colorado; November 8 – Kansas City – Robert E. Lee Monument Association appoints GCB a commissioner; 21 November – GCB arrives in Richmond, Virginia for Lee Monument meeting; 6 December – in Columbia and Kansas City
14 January – U.S. Supreme Court rules race separation on trains unconstitutional; 28 February – Congress authorizes large-size silver certificate; 9 April – First Lady Lucy Hayes inaugurates egg rolling on the White House lawn; 10 April – California Cable Cars begin operation; 12 July – in New Orleans a fever epidemic begins that will kill 4,500; 21 August – American Bar Association formed; 15 October – Edison Electric Light Company organized; 26 December – Philadelphia stores install electric light bulbs
28 February – ill with pneumonia and unable to give promised lecture on art at University of Missouri; 1 March – J. S. Rollins reads speech; 7 July – George Caleb Bingham dies of cholera morbus in Kansas City
22 February – Frank Woolworth opens five and dime store in Utica, New York; 25 February – Congress passes Timberland Protection Act