1853 in the United States
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|1853 in the United States|
31 stars (1851–58)
|Timeline of United States history|
|History of the United States (1849–65)|
Events from the year 1853 in the United States.
- President: Millard Fillmore (W-New York) (until March 4), Franklin Pierce (D-New Hampshire) (starting March 4)
- Vice President:
- Chief Justice: Roger B. Taney (Maryland)
- Speaker of the House of Representatives: Linn Boyd (D-Kentucky)
- Congress: 32nd (until March 4), 33rd (starting March 4)
- January – Stephen Foster's "My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night", which is later adopted as the state song of Kentucky under the name "My Old Kentucky Home", is published by Firth, Pond, & Company.
- January 6 – President-elect Franklin Pierce and his family are involved in a train wreck near Andover, Massachusetts. Pierce's 11-year-old son Benjamin is killed in the crash.
- February 22 – Washington University in St. Louis is founded as Eliot Seminary.
- March – Levi Strauss & Co. is founded in San Francisco, California.
- March 2 – Washington Territory is created from Oregon Territory.
- March 4 – Franklin Pierce succeeds Millard Fillmore as the 14th President of the United States and affirms the oath of office.
- March 5 – Steinway & Sons, a piano maker, is founded in Manhattan by the German immigrant Henry E. Steinway (Heinrich E. Steinweg) and his family.
- April 4 – Regular operation of the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad begins between Montreal and Portland, Maine.
- April 18 – Vice President William R. King dies.
- May – An outbreak of yellow fever kills 7,790 in New Orleans.
- May 6 – Norwalk rail accident: A train drives off an open swing bridge into a river in Norwalk, Connecticut, killing 56.
- May 11 – Shimer College is founded in Mount Carroll, Illinois, with 11 students.
- May 23 – The first plat for Seattle, Washington, is laid out.
- July 1 – The Latting Observatory is opened for selected guests in New York City as part of the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations. It is the tallest structure in the city at the time.
- July 2 – Koszta Affair: American Captain Duncan Ingraham commanding the USS St. Louis threatens to open fire upon an Austrian ship holding Martin Koszta as a prisoner. Koszta, who was in the process of obtaining American citizenship, is later returned to the U.S.
- July 8 – U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry arrives in Edo Bay with a request for a trade treaty.
- July 14 – The Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations world's fair begins in New York City.
- July 25 – Outlaw and bandit Joaquin Murrieta is killed in California.
- August 24 – Potato chips are traditionally said to have been invented on this date by George Crum in Saratoga, New York.
- October 4 – The Great Republic, the largest wooden clipper ship ever constructed, is launched in Boston by Donald McKay.
- October 15 – William Walker sets out with 45 men to conquer the Mexican territories of Baja California and Sonora.
- November 11 – Voters in Massachusetts reject all eight proposals from the state's Constitutional Convention that was held from May 4 to August 2.
- December 7 – Erie Gauge War: Citizens of the Erie, Pennsylvania, area act to stop new track being laid to resolve rail gauge differences coming from neighboring Ohio and New York.
- December 25 – Cincinnati riot of 1853: Cardinal Gaetano Bedini's visit to Cincinnati, Ohio, sparks a Christmas Day protest that leads to the death of a protester in brawl with police.
- December 30 – Gadsden Purchase: U.S. Ambassador James Gadsden signs a treaty to buy approximately 29,600 sq mi (77,000 km2) of land south of the Gila River and west of the Rio Grande from Mexico to facilitate railroad building in the Southwest.
- East Florida Seminary is established. It is the oldest institution of what later became the University of Florida.
- The high school known as the Wheaton Academy is founded in West Chicago, Illinois.
- Yontoket Massacre: More than 450 Tolowa people are killed at Yontocket, California, by a citizen militia from Crescent City.
- California Gold Rush (1848–1855)
- January 1 – Harry A. Richardson, United States Senator from Delaware from 1907 till 1913. Died in 1928.
- January 6 – Woodbridge Nathan Ferris, 28th Governor of Michigan from 1913 till 1917 and United States Senator from Michigan from 1923 till 1928. (died 1928)
- January 19 – Stephen M. White, United States Senator from California from 1893 till 1899. Died in 1901.
- February 16 – Charles J. Hughes, Jr., United States Senator from Colorado from 1909 till 1911. Died in 1911.
- March 4 – Alexander S. Clay, United States Senator from Georgia from 1897 till 1910. Died in 1910.
- November 26 – Bat Masterson, lawman (died 1921)
- March 30 – Abigail Fillmore, wife of Millard Fillmore, First Lady of the United States, Second Lady of the United States (born 1798)
- April 18 – William R. King, 13th Vice President of the United States from March to April 1853. (born 1786)
- May 2 – Jesse B. Thomas, United States Senator from Illinois from 1818 till 1829. (born 1777)
- September 5 – George Poindexter, 2nd Governor of Mississippi from 1820 till 1822 and United States Senator from Mississippi from 1830 till 1835. (born 1779)
- November 15 – Charles G. Atherton, United States Senator from New Hampshire from 1843 to 1849 and in 1853. (born 1804)
- Downey, Lynn (2008). "Levi Strauss: A Short Biography" (PDF). Levi Strauss & Co.
- Kehl, Roy F.; Kirkland, David R. (2011). The Official Guide to Steinway Pianos. G. Schirmer Inc. p. xvii. ISBN 978-1-57467-198-8.
- Haine, Edgar A. (1993). Railroad Wrecks. pp. 33–34. ISBN 978-0-8453-4844-4.
- Henderson, Harold (1988-06-16). "Big Ideas: Tiny Shimer College has survived for 135 years on great books, high hopes, and very little money". Chicago Reader.
- "Wheaton Academy: Our History". Wheaton Academy.
- Media related to 1853 in the United States at Wikimedia Commons