1881 in the United States
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|1881 in the United States|
|Years:||1878 1879 1880 – 1881 – 1882 1883 1884|
38 stars (1877–1890)
Events from the year 1881 in the United States.
- Vice President:
- Chief Justice: Morrison Waite
- Speaker of the House of Representatives: Samuel J. Randall (D-Pennsylvania) (until March 4), J. Warren Keifer (R-Ohio) (starting December 5)
- Congress: 46th (until March 4), 47th (starting March 4)
- January 25 – Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell form the Oriental Telephone Company.
- February 2 – The Parkfield Earthquake occurs.
- February 5 – Phoenix, Arizona, is incorporated.
- February 19 – Kansas becomes the first U.S. state to prohibit all alcoholic beverages.
- March 4 – Inauguration of James A. Garfield as President of the United States.
- April 11 – Spelman College is established.
- April 14 – The Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight erupts in El Paso, Texas.
- April 21 – The University of Connecticut is founded as the Storrs Agricultural School.
- April 28 – Billy the Kid escapes from his 2 jailers at the Lincoln County Jail in Mesilla, New Mexico, killing James Bell and Robert Ollinger before stealing a horse and riding out of town.
- May 21 – The American Red Cross is established by Clara Barton.
- May 21 – The United States Tennis Association is established by a small group of tennis club members.
- June 12 – The USS Jeannette is crushed in an Arctic Ocean ice pack.
- July 2 – James Garfield, President of the United States, is shot by lawyer Charles Julius Guiteau. He survives the shooting but suffers from infection of his wound, dying on September 19.
- July 4 – In Alabama, the Tuskegee Institute opens.
- July 14 – Billy the Kid is shot and killed by Pat Garrett outside Fort Sumner.
- July 20 – Indian Wars: Sioux chief Sitting Bull leads the last of his fugitive people in surrender to United States troops at Fort Buford in Montana.
- August 27 – The fifth hurricane of the Atlantic season hits Florida and the Carolinas, killing about 700.
- September 5 – The Thumb Fire in the U.S. state of Michigan destroys over a million acres (4,000 km²) and kills 282 people.
- September 12 – Francis Howell High School (Howell Institute) in St. Charles, Missouri, and Stephen F. Austin High School in Austin, Texas open on the same day, putting them in a tie for the title of the oldest public high school west of the Mississippi River.
- September 19 – U.S. President James A. Garfield dies eleven weeks after being shot. Vice President Chester A. Arthur becomes the 21st President of the United States.
- October 5 to December 31 – International Cotton Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia
- October 26 – The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral occurs in Tombstone, Cochise County, Arizona, USA.
- October 29 – Judge (U.S. magazine) is first published.
- December 28 – Virgil Earp is ambushed in Tombstone and loses the use of his left arm.
- New York City's oldest independent school for girls, the Convent of the Sacred Heart New York (91st Street), is founded.
- The United States National Lawn Tennis Association (USNLTA) is founded, and the first U.S. Tennis Championships are played.
- Abilene, Texas is founded.
- Minto, North Dakota is founded.
- Gilded Age (1869–c. 1896)
- January 8 – Henrik Shipstead, United States Senator from Minnesota from 1923 till 1947. (died 1960)
- March 12 – Arthur Raymond Robinson, United States Senator from Indiana from 1925 to 1935. (died 1961)
- August 12 – Cecil B. DeMille, American film director (died 1959)
- October 10 – David Baird, Jr., United States Senator from New Jersey from 1929 till 1930. (died 1955)
- December 16 – Daniel F. Steck, United States Senator from Iowa from 1926 till 1931. (died 1950)
- June 18 – Henry Smith Lane, United States Senator from Indiana from 1836 to 1837 and from 1854 till 1858. (born 1811)
- August 10 – Orville Hickman Browning, United States Senator from Illinois from 1866 till 1869. (born 1806)
- September 15 – Susan May Williams, railroad heiress who married a nephew of Emperor Napoleon I (born 1812)
- September 19 – James Abram Garfield, 20th President of the United States (born 1831)
- October 8 – Joseph Carter Abbott United States Senator from North Carolina from 1868 till 1871. (born 1825)
- November 23 – Abijah Gilbert, United States Senator from Florida from 1869 till 1875. (born 1806)
- Media related to 1881 in the United States at Wikimedia Commons