The Year Was 1829

The year was 1829, and in Scotland, there was a catastrophic flood.  According to a paper online at the website of Fettes College, Edinburgh, Scotland, the Muckle Spate (large flood) of 1829, began on August 3, 1829 in northeast Scotland and was “the most severe catastrophic flood in modern UK history.” It extended across a large area of Scotland, from Inverness to Montrose, and devastated homes and agriculture in the affected areas. The Edinburgh Advertiser from August 11, 1829 provides detailed coverage of some of the affected areas, including the excerpt below:

The Dee was first observed to increase about four o’clock on Monday afternoon, and it continued to rise until aboutEdinburgh Advertiser, 11 August 1829, page 5 (part 1) eleven o’clock on Tuesday forenoon, when it remained stationary for a few hours; after which, it began to recede with considerable rapidity. In some places, it attained an elevation of eleven feet above its ordinary level. . . The low grounds in the vicinity of the river were completely inundated, and so great, in some parts of its course, was the space over which it extended, that it presented the appearance rather of a lake than a river. . . Vast quantities of hay, straw, timber, &c. have been swept away; and so great was the force of the torrent, that many fields were stript of their soil, and covered with sand and stones. A good many cattle and sheep may have been drowned; but as it is customary, in the upper parts of the country to leave numerous flocks Edinburgh Advertiser, 11 August 1829, page 5 (part 2)scattered over the hills, it will be impossible, for some time to ascertain with accuracy the numbers that have perished. Fortunately, notwithstanding the imminent to which many people were exposed from the suddenness of the inundation, no loss of human life has arisen from the overflowing of the Dee. Several cottages have, at Ballaster and other places, been carried away; and so completely were others surrounded with water, that a stranger could scarce have told on which side of the river they stood. A good many people were rescued, by means of boats, from being drowned in their own houses, and were obliged to resign their furniture, &c. to destruction. With the exception of the bridge near Aberdeen, and that at Potarch, all the bridges over the Dee have either been swept away, or sustained more or less injury. . . .

(Click on the two newspaper images to read more from page 5 of the newspaper. Further details are on pages 4-6 of that issue.)

In the U.S., Andrew Jackson became the seventh president of the United States. A hero of the War of 1812, he had also been a senator and representative for Tennessee, and Justice of the Tennessee Superior Court. Nicknamed “Old Hickory”, he appealed to the common man and held a public reception at his inauguration at the White House.

The U.S. had banned the importation of slaves in 1808, but unfortunately, it didn’t stop the trade. In 1829, a boat assigned to patrol the African Coast looking for slavers, intercepted the “Feloz” and a group from the interceptor boarded the ship. A first-hand account of the horrific conditions from one of the group, Rev. Robert Walsh, can be found online at EyeWitness to

That year, Eng and Chang Bunker, the original Siamese twins arrived in America where they traveled around in exhibitions. They went on to tour through England and other countries in Europe for the next ten years and later settled in a small town in North Carolina, where they married two sisters.

In the world of technology, William Austin Burt invented and received the first American patent for the “typographer”–an early version of the typewriter. Burt also held patents for a number of other inventions and did extensive surveying in the areas that are now Michigan and Wisconsin.

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2 thoughts on “The Year Was 1829

  1. I would like to know where you get the information for these Day in History articles. I would like to include this kind of information in my family tree for each of my family names for their birth days.Can you point me to any web sites?

  2. Dear Dee,

    I research each year myself, using a combination of online sources and books I have. I typically start with a Google search for the year. Wikipedia and other timeline sites have lists of events by year and are good starting points, but I have found quite a few inaccuracies, so each item has to be verified independently. (A lesson we’ve learned in our family history research!) 😉

    I search on each event that I find and go from there trying to eke out lesser known events using keywords. If you have a particular year or years that you are interested in, feel free to pass it on. I typically pick the years at random and would be happy to include one of interest to you.

    With best wishes,

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