1818 - The Chickasaw Nation signs treaty ceding West Tennessee to the U.S.

1819 - John Overton, James Winchester, and Andrew Jackson found the city of Memphis on May 22. Shelby County formed.

1825 - Frances Wright organizes utopian community of Nashoba near present-day Germantown.

1826 - Memphis incorporated on December 19.

1827 - County seat moved from Memphis to Raleigh.

1840 - Memphis Appeal Newspaper is organized.

1845 - U.S. government establishes a navy yard in the city.

1850 - Memphis and South Memphis merge.

1857 - The Memphis & Charleston Railroad completed, linking the Atlantic Ocean and the Mississippi River.

1862 - On June 6, Union fleet defeats Confederate naval forces in the Battle of Memphis. Federal troops occupy the city. Memphis serves as temporary state capital.

1863 - Grant names Memphis as hospital and supply base to support the attack on Vicksburg.

1865 - The Memphis Freedmen's Bureau established to provide services such as banking and education.

1867 - Memphis regains the county seat from Raleigh.

1878 - City's most devastating yellow fever epidemic claims 5,000 lives and forces another 25,000 to flee to other cities.

1879 - Memphis declares bankruptcy, loses its charter, and becomes a Taxing District of the state. The city loses its charter because so few people remain to maintain the city.

1887 - Artesian well water becomes available for the first time.

1892 - Great Bridge at Memphis opened. Later named Frisco Bridge.

1893 - Cossitt Library opens - the first public library in Memphis. Memphis regains its city charter. Black millionaire Robert Reed Church, Sr. buys first city bond.

1895 - The ten-story Porter Building, the city's first skyscraper, opens.

1899 - Church's Park & Auditorium, the city's first park and entertainment center for African Americans, opens.

Portions of this History Timeline come courtesy of the Memphis Shelby County Public Library.

Copyright 2017 City of Memphis
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