The Year Was 1835

The year was 1835 and historical accounts from Missouri tell of a cold beginning to the year. An online version of History of Greene County, Missouri, 1883 relates that,

The winter of 1834-5, was intensely cold. “The cold Friday and Saturday” were long remembered. Cattle had their horns frozen, many old settlers assert, and in some instances, had their legs frozen off up to the knees. Pigs and fowls perished in great numbers, and there was much damage done to peach and other fruit trees. [171]

The snow was unusually deep and drifted to extraordinary depths, laying on from December to March. The people were thereby subjected to many inconveniences, not to say privations. It was impossible, in many cases, to go to mill or to a store, owing to the distance and the impassable condition of the roads, and so the hominy block was called into requisition to supply breadstuff, and the “store goods” were dispensed with.

In Tennessee, “February 5, 1835, was called ‘Cold Friday’ because so many cattle and hogs froze to death that day.”  Another natural phenomenon that occurred in 1835 was the appearance of Halley’s Comet. It was the second predicted appearance of the comet. Perhaps it was Halley’s Comet that inspired the Great Moon Hoax of 1835.  In August of that year, the New York Sun ran an article on the “Great Astronomical Discoveries Lately Made by Sir John Herschel, L.L.D. F.R.S. &c.” The article said that Herschel had, through a new high-powered telescope, viewed fantastic features of the moon that included bison, a tribe of bi-ped beavers, and a race of winged humans. The Wikipedia entry on the hoax includes links to transcriptions of the articles that appeared.

One of the most disastrous events of that year occurred in New York with the Great Fire of 1835. On a frigid December evening, a fire began in a warehouse and spread quickly. The firefighters were hampered by a shortage of water due to frozen hydrants. Eventually the decision was made to blow up buildings in the path of the fire to deprive it of fuel and this was how the fire was eventually extinguished. By then it had destroyed over 700 buildings and damage was estimated at $20 million. A map of the affected area and more information can be found on the Virtual New York website.  

1835 also marked the start of the Texas Revolution when on October 2, American colonists successfully held off Mexican forces at Gonzales, Texas. The colonists would go on to win their independence in April of 1836.

Transportation in Europe was becoming easier with the first railway in continental Europe connecting Brussels and Mechelen, Belgium.  Another rail first came in December when the first German train ran between Nurnberg and Furth.  Click here for a printer-friendly version of this newsletter.

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5 thoughts on “The Year Was 1835

  1. I really enjoy these “the year was…” reports.
    Helps to understand what living was like when events were happening in my family and region.

  2. “The Year Was” would be a great feature if accessable year by year for addition to family narratives.

  3. These columns are great. The provide an understanding of the environmental event that may have influenced ancestor’s behavior.

    What was happening in North Carolina and Georgia in 1835?

    Thanks for the good information

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