Historical Timeline

Historical Timeline


–Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature is published and becomes a central teaching of the transcendental movement.


– Henry David Thoreau’s Walden is published and becomes a celebrated masterpiece on the natural world and personal reflection.


– Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species is published and becomes the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature and species evolution.


– U.S. Civil War begins.


– President Abraham Lincoln recites Emancipation Proclamation: declares black slaves free in seceded Confederate States and allows for the first-time in the history of the United States black men into the Union Army and Navy.


– The town of Bozeman, Montana, is founded.

– The Northern Pacific Railroad is chartered as the first transcontinental railroad in the United States and later aggressively seeks to establish Yellowstone as a national park. Contrary to what Miles and James had hoped, the Northern Pacific Railroad didn’t actually arrive in Bozeman until 1883. Nearly two-thirds (15,000 men) of the laborers who would lay the tracks for the Western Division of the Northern Pacific were Chinese.

– The U.S. federal government grants to the State of California Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove of the Giant Sequoias to be set-aside and protected forever. This idea was the spark that led to the creation of Yellowstone National Park. Yosemite itself eventually becomes a national park in 1890.


– U.S. Civil War ends.

– 13th Amendment to U.S. Constitution outlaws slavery in the United States.

– Lewis Carroll’s children’s book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is published. Yellowstone had many popular nicknames when the park was created, including “Wonderland,” which was based on the book.


– A German biologist invents the term “ecology,” which refers to the interaction of all living things with each other and their environment. The term literally means “study of the house.”


– Fort Ellis is established.

– John Muir begins 1,000 walk from Indiana to Florida to study and experience the wonders of the wilderness.

– William F. Cody assumes the nickname of “Buffalo Bill” upon allegedly killing over 4,000 bison in a short time period. In subsequent years, his Wild West show tours the country and becomes world famous.


– Frederick and Phillip Bottler establish a ranch known as “the Bottler Ranch” along the Yellowstone River, becoming the first settlement between Bozeman and what would become Yellowstone National Park.

– 14th Amendment to U.S. Constitution grants all people in the United States equal protection under the law.


– The first significant organized expedition known as the Folsom-Cook-Peterson Expedition begins to explore the Yellowstone area to document its wonders.

– Former Union General Ulysses S. Grant is elected President of the United States.

– Wyoming becomes first U.S. territory or state to grant women the right to vote.


– The second significant organized expedition known as the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition explores the Yellowstone area.

– Utah Territory grants women the right to vote.

– 15th Amendment to U.S. Constitution grants black men the right to vote.


– A government funded expedition known as the Hayden Expedition departs from Fort Ellis to explore the vast Yellowstone territory. Ferdinand Hayden leads the expedition along with artist Thomas Moran, photographer Henry Jackson and other scientists, whose efforts influence the public and politicians to establish Yellowstone as a national park.

– A letter from a Northern Pacific Railroad executive to Ferdinand Hayden encourages the creation of a national park for Yellowstone. This is the first known written historical evidence of someone suggesting that Yellowstone be established as a national park.

– The McCartney Hotel is built by Harry Horr and James McCartney.

– The so-called Sheepeater tribe is the only known Native American nation to have resided year-round within what became Yellowstone National Park; but, by 1871 the tribe relocated to the Shoshone Wind River Reservation.

– The Great Chicago Fire destroys large sections of Chicago killing over 300 people.

– The first Major League Baseball game is played.


– Susan B. Anthony is arrested in New York for trying to vote in the U.S. presidential election. Sojourner Truth, a black feminist, tries to vote in Michigan but is denied a ballot and told to leave.

– Victoria Woodhull becomes the first woman to run for U.S. President (which James overhead the men in Miles’ shop discussing).

– The first Arbor Day takes place in Nebraska and is subsequently declared a state holiday in all 50 U.S. states and by the federal government to encourage tree planting and increased awareness about the importance of trees.

– Yellowstone National Park is established by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Grant on March 1, 1872.