- Alexander II is assassinated near his St. Petersburg palace by a bomb, falsely blamed on Russian Jews. He is succeeded by his son, Alexander III. The ornate, Medieval-Russia styled Church of the Savior on Blood was built on the spot where the Tsar was mortally wounded.
- James Garfield is wounded by an assassin four months after his inauguration, but due to unsanitary medical practices, died 11 after weeks. Chester Arthur becomes president of the United States. He made significant reforms in government practices, but, due to ill health retired at the end of his term.
- Kansas becomes the first state to prohibit all alcohol beverages.
- Clara Barton, pioneering nurse of the Civil War, establishes the American Red Cross.
- Tuskegee Institute and Spellman College, both for African-American students, are founded.
- Gunfight at the O.K. Corral occurs in Tombstone, Arizona.
- New American Books: Portrait of a Lady, Henry James and Uncle Remus, Joel Chandler Harris.
When you visit
After the Willson house was moved to the Willamette campus, H. B. Theilsen and his wife Jennie purchased the property on Court Street where her house had stood. They built a home where they lived with their three children. In the 1930s, after possibly forty years, the house was demolished, although the family continued to own the land. For approximately seventy-five years, an automobile service station has occupied this historic location at the northeast corner of Capitol and Court Street.
- W. Crawford is elected mayor this year.
|Thomas Cronise photograph of Sung Lung Chinese Laundry at 105 Court Street, 1889|
- Chinese came to the Salem area in the 1870s and early 1880s with the Chinese population at its peak at 300. The First Baptist Church in Salem opened a Chinese mission school in Salem in 1877 and enrolled up to 40 at various times. Jeung Gwoon Jeu was made city missionary. The mission school was continued through this summer of 1881, but Reverend C. H. Mattoon, editor of the Baptist Annals of Oregon, sorrowfully notes: "Doubtless the only object of the pupils was to learn the language for personal and pecuniary benefits". The school may have closed when the pastor’s wife began conducting evening classes for the Chinese community. Forty pupils were learning about Christianity and to read and write English for a monthly tuition of one dollar.
- Lucyanna Lee Grubbs, the only child of Jason Lee, died this year at the age of 39. Lucyanna was the daughter of Lee's second wife, Lucy Thompson Lee, who sailed to Oregon in 1839 on the Lausanne with the reinforcement of missionaries. Lucyanna was three weeks old when her mother died, and three years old when her lost her father. Adopted by Lydia and Gustavus Hines, she graduated from Willamette University in 1863, becoming a teacher, and then became Governess of Women when Chloe Willson resigned. Lucyanna married a classmate, Francis H. Grubbs, who also became a teacher. Lucyanne's students described her as being tall, with a slender, and stately appearance, her hair braided and wound around her head. A woman of superior knowledge, she was reserved and dignified, and a most devout Christian. A gifted teacher in many disciplines, her students recalled how they sat around a fire on winter days, eating their lunch while Mrs. Grubbs read aloud her favorite poem, "Evangeline." Exacting in her instruction and her expectations of her students, they also recalled she could be amusing, even slightly sarcastic at times, when calling a student’s attention back to the lesson.
Professor Grubbs raised their daughter Ethel after her mother's death. Professor Grubbs taught at Willamette University for six years and then in several other schools in the Pacific Northwest until poor health forced him out of his profession. Grubbs took part in various enterprises, finally going into a printing business in Portland. He died in 1911 when Ethel was in her thirties. Since Ethel did not marry, the Jason Lee family line did not survive into another generation.
- Funds had been allocated for the Oregon State Insane Asylum the year before; the site selected was north of the state prison on a slight rise just east of Salem, its present location. Groundbreaking takes place in May of this year with much of the labor force and brick building material coming from the penitentiary. The Kirkbride Building, later known as the "J" Building because of its configuration, was completed two years after.