This Day In History
Sunday, December 16, 2018
On This Day

1847

Events

February 19, 1847

The first group of rescuers reaches the Donner Party. The Donner Party was an 87-member group of American pioneers who set out in a wagon train going westward, until getting bound in by snow in the Sierra Nevada. Casualties were extremely high and many of the survivors cannibalized members of the party who had already died. The wagons left Missouri for California in May of 1846. Encouraged to try a new, faster route across Utah and Nevada, they opted to take the Hastings Cutoff, proposed by Lansford Hastings who had never taken the journey with wagons. The Cutoff required the wagons to traverse Utah's Wasatch Mountains and the Great Salt Lake Desert, and slowed the party considerably, leading to the loss of wagons, horses, and cattle. It also forced them to engage in heavy labor by clearing the path ahead of them, and created deep divisions between members of the party. They had planned to be in California by September, but found themselves trapped in the Sierra Nevada by early November.
Donner Party, American pioneers

Births

February 11, 1847
Thomas Edison

Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor, scientist, and businessman who developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb.
March 3, 1847
Alexander Bell

Alexander Graham Bell was an eminent scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator who is credited with inventing the first practical telephone.
April 10, 1847
Joseph Pulitzer

Joseph Pulitzer, born Politzer József, was a Hungarian-American newspaper publisher of the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the New York World. Pulitzer introduced the techniques of "new journalism" to the newspapers he acquired in the 1880s and became a leading national figure in the Democratic party. He crusaded against big business and corruption. In the 1890s the fierce competition between his World and William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal introduced yellow journalism and opened the way to mass circulation newspapers that depended on advertising revenue and appealed to the reader with multiple forms of news, entertainment and advertising.

Deaths

November 4, 1847
Felix Mendelssohn

Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period.
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