The timeline of North American telegraphy is a chronology of notable events in the history of the electric telegraphy in the United States and Canada, including the rapid spread of telegraphic communications starting from 1844 and completion of the first transcontinental telegraph line in 1861.
Electrical telegraphs were point-to-point text messaging systems, primarily used from the 1840s until the late 20th century. It was the first electrical telecommunications system and the most widely used of a number of early messaging systems called telegraphs, that were devised to communicate text messages quicker than physical transportation. Electrical telegraphy can be considered to be the first example of electrical engineering.
Samuel Finley Breese Morse was an American inventor and painter. After having established his reputation as a portrait painter, in his middle age Morse contributed to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs. He was a co-developer of Morse code in 1837 and helped to develop the commercial use of telegraphy.
The Great Northern Railway (GNR) was a British railway company incorporated in 1846 with the object of building a line from London to York. It quickly saw that seizing control of territory was key to development, and it acquired, or took leases of, many local railways, whether actually built or not. In so doing, it overextended itself financially.
Alfred Lewis Vail was an American machinist and inventor. Along with Samuel Morse, Vail was central in developing and commercializing American telegraphy between 1837 and 1844.
Heber Chase Kimball was a leader in the early Latter Day Saint movement. He served as one of the original twelve apostles in the early Church of the Latter Day Saints, and as first counselor to Brigham Young in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for more than two decades, from 1847 until his death.
The Lancaster and Carlisle Railway was a main line railway opened between those cities in 1846. With its Scottish counterpart, the Caledonian Railway, the Company launched the first continuous railway connection between the English railway network and the emerging network in central Scotland. The selection of its route was controversial, and strong arguments were put forward in favour of alternatives, in some cases avoiding the steep gradients, or connecting more population centres. Generating financial support for such a long railway was a challenge, and induced the engineer Joseph Locke to make a last-minute change to the route: in the interests of economy and speed of construction, he eliminated a summit tunnel at the expense of steeper gradients.
The Old Colony Railroad (OC) was a major railroad system, mainly covering southeastern Massachusetts and parts of Rhode Island, which operated from 1845 to 1893. Old Colony trains ran from Boston to points such as Plymouth, Fall River, New Bedford, Newport, Providence, Fitchburg, Lowell and Cape Cod. For many years the Old Colony Railroad Company also operated steamboat and ferry lines, including those of the Fall River Line with express train service from Boston to its wharf in Fall River where passengers boarded luxury liners to New York City. The company also briefly operated a railroad line on Martha's Vineyard, as well as the freight-only Union Freight Railroad in Boston. The OC was named after the "Old Colony", the nickname for the Plymouth Colony.
The Fitchburg Railroad is a former railroad company, which built a railroad line across northern Massachusetts, United States, leading to and through the Hoosac Tunnel. The Fitchburg was leased to the Boston and Maine Railroad in 1900. The main line from Boston to Fitchburg is now operated as the MBTA Fitchburg Line; Pan Am Railways runs freight service on some other portions.
The Pacific Telegraph Company was one of the organizations responsible for constructing the telegraph line which resulted in the first transcontinental telegraph network in the United States. The company built the section of line between Julesburg, Colorado Territory and Salt Lake City, Utah Territory.
The Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester Railway was an early British railway company which opened in stages between 1841 and 1845 between Sheffield and Manchester via Ashton-under-Lyne. The Peak District formed a formidable barrier, and the line's engineer constructed Woodhead Tunnel, over three miles (4.8 km) long. The company amalgamated with the Sheffield and Lincolnshire Junction Railway and Great Grimsby and Sheffield Junction Railway companies, together forming the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway in 1847.
The Columbus and Xenia Railroad was a railroad which connected the city of Columbus, with the town of Xenia in the state of Ohio in the United States. Construction began in October 1847, and the line opened in February 1850. Connecting with the Little Miami Railroad, it created the first rail route from Cincinnati to Columbus.
The Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad (CC&C) was a railroad that ran from Cleveland to Columbus in the U.S. state of Ohio in the United States. Chartered in 1836, it was moribund for the first 10 years of its existence. Its charter was revived and amended in 1845, and construction on the line began in November 1847. Construction was completed and the line opened for regular business in February 1851. The CC&C absorbed a small bankrupt railroad in 1861, and in May 1868 merged with the Bellefontaine Railway to form the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Indianapolis Railway.
The first transcontinental telegraph was a line that connected the existing telegraph network in the eastern United States to a small network in California, by means of a link between Omaha, Nebraska and Carson City, Nevada, via Salt Lake City. It was a milestone in electrical engineering and in the formation of the United States of America. It served as the only method of near-instantaneous communication between the east and west coasts during the 1860s. For comparison, in 1841, the news of the death of President William Henry Harrison had taken 110 days to reach Los Angeles.
The Eastern Railroad was a railroad connecting Boston, Massachusetts to Portland, Maine. Throughout its history, it competed with the Boston and Maine Railroad for service between the two cities, until the Boston & Maine put an end to the competition by leasing the Eastern in December 1884. Much of the railroad's main line in Massachusetts is used by the MBTA's Newburyport/Rockport commuter rail line, and some unused parts of its right-of-way have been converted to rail trails.
William Moseley Swain was an American newspaper owner, journalist, publisher, editor, and businessman.
The North Wales Mineral Railway was formed to carry coal and ironstone from the mineral-bearing area around Wrexham to the River Dee wharves. It was extended to run from Shrewsbury and formed part of a main line trunk route, under the title The Shrewsbury and Chester Railway. It opened in 1846 from Chester to Ruabon, and in 1848 from Ruabon to Shrewsbury. It later merged with the Great Western Railway.
The Northern Railroad was a U.S. railroad in central New Hampshire. Originally opened from Concord to West Lebanon in 1847, the Northern Railroad become part of the Boston and Maine system by 1890.
Women in telegraphy have been evident since the 1840s. The introduction of practical systems of telegraphy in the 1840s led to the creation of a new occupational category, the telegrapher, telegraphist or telegraph operator. Duties of the telegrapher included sending and receiving telegraphic messages, known as telegrams, using a variety of signaling systems, and routing of trains for the railroads. While telegraphy is often viewed as a males-only occupation, women were also employed as telegraph operators from its earliest days. Telegraphy was one of the first communications technology occupations open to women.
Orrin Squire Wood was one of early pioneers of the telegraph industry in the United States and Canada.
William Reading Montgomery was a career United States Army officer who served in the Second Seminole War and Mexican–American War. He was a brigadier general in the Union Army from May 17, 1861, to April 4, 1864, during the American Civil War.