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  • Baltimore County, Province of Maryland, British America (Now U.S.)
    Friday Nov 09, 1731

    Birth

    Baltimore County, Province of Maryland, British America (Now U.S.)
    Friday Nov 09, 1731

    Benjamin Banneker was born on November 9, 1731, in Baltimore County, Maryland to Mary Banneky, a free black, and Robert, a freed slave from Guinea.




  • Baltimore County, Province of Maryland
    1737

    100-acre farm

    Baltimore County, Province of Maryland
    1737

    In 1737, Banneker was named at the age of 6 on the deed of his family's 100-acre (0.40 km2) farm in the Patapsco Valley in rural Baltimore County.




  • Baltimore County, Province of Maryland
    1753

    Wooden Clock

    Baltimore County, Province of Maryland
    1753

    Around 1753 at about the age of 21, Banneker reportedly completed a wooden clock that struck on the hour. He appears to have modeled his clock from a borrowed pocket watch by carving each piece to scale. The clock purportedly continued to work until his death.




  • Baltimore County, Province of Maryland
    1759

    Father's Death

    Baltimore County, Province of Maryland
    1759

    After his father died in 1759, Banneker lived with his mother and sisters.




  • Baltimore County, Province of Maryland
    1768

    Baltimore County petition to move the county seat from Joppa to Baltimore

    Baltimore County, Province of Maryland
    1768

    In 1768, he signed a Baltimore County petition to move the county seat from Joppa to Baltimore. An entry for his property in a 1773 Baltimore County tax list identified Banneker as the only adult member of his household.




  • Bucks County, Pennsylvania
    1772

    Ellicott brothers

    Bucks County, Pennsylvania
    1772

    In 1772, brothers Andrew Ellicott, John Ellicott and Joseph Ellicott moved from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and bought land along the Patapsco Falls near Banneker's farm on which to construct gristmills, around which the village of Ellicott's Mills (now Ellicott City) subsequently developed. The Ellicotts were Quakers and shared the same views on racial equality as did many of their faith. Banneker studied the mills and became acquainted with their proprietors.




  • U.S.
    1788

    George Ellicott loaned Banneker books and equipment to begin a more formal study of astronomy

    U.S.
    1788

    In 1788, George Ellicott, the son of Andrew Ellicott, loaned Banneker books and equipment to begin a more formal study of astronomy. During the following year, Banneker sent George his work calculating a solar eclipse.


  • U.S.
    1790

    Banneker prepared an ephemeris

    U.S.
    1790

    In 1790, Banneker prepared an ephemeris for 1791, which he hoped would be placed within a published almanac. However, he was unable to find a printer that was willing to publish and distribute the work.


  • New York, U.S.
    Feb, 1791

    Surveying team in western New York

    New York, U.S.
    Feb, 1791

    In February 1791, surveyor Major Andrew Ellicott (the son of Joseph Ellicott and cousin of George Ellicott), having left at the request of U.S. Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson a surveying team in western New York that he had been leading, hired Banneker as a replacement to assist in the initial survey of the boundaries of a new federal district. Formed from land along the Potomac River that the states of Maryland and Virginia ceded to the federal government of the United States in accordance with the 1790 federal Residence Act and later legislation, the territory that became the original District of Columbia was a square measuring 10 miles (16 km) on each side, totaling 100 square miles (260 km2). Ellicott's team placed boundary marker stones at or near every mile point along the borders of the new capital territory.


  • U.S.
    Apr, 1791

    Banneker left the boundary survey

    U.S.
    Apr, 1791

    Banneker left the boundary survey in April 1791 within three months of its initiation because of concerns about his health and the difficulties in completing the survey at age 59. In addition, Andrew Ellicott's younger brothers, Benjamin and Joseph Ellicott, who usually assisted Andrew, were able to join the survey at that time. Banneker therefore returned to his home near Ellicott's Mills. The Ellicotts and other members of the surveying team then laid the remaining Virginia marker stones later in 1791. The team laid the Maryland stones and completed the boundary survey in 1792.


  • U.S.
    Thursday Apr 21, 1791

    News report of the April 15 dedication ceremony for the first boundary stone (the south cornerstone) stated that it was Andrew Ellicott

    U.S.
    Thursday Apr 21, 1791

    An April 21, 1791, news report of the April 15 dedication ceremony for the first boundary stone (the south cornerstone) stated that it was Andrew Ellicott who "ascertained the precise point from which the first line of the district was to proceed". The news report did not mention Banneker's name.


  • U.S.
    Friday Aug 19, 1791

    Banneker wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson

    U.S.
    Friday Aug 19, 1791

    On August 19, 1791, after departing the federal capital area, Banneker wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson, who in 1776 had drafted the United States Declaration of Independence and in 1791 was serving as the United States Secretary of State.


  • U.S.
    1792

    On Negro Slavery, and the Slave Trade

    U.S.
    1792

    Banneker's 1792 almanac contained an extract from an anonymous essay entitled "On Negro Slavery, and the Slave Trade" that the Columbian Magazine had published in 1790.


  • U.S.
    Apr, 1800

    Banneker's journals

    U.S.
    Apr, 1800

    Banneker kept a series of journals that contained his notebooks for astronomical observations, his diary and accounts of his dreams. The journals, only one of which escaped a fire on the day of his funeral, additionally contained a number of mathematical calculations and puzzles. The surviving journal described in April 1800 Banneker's recollections of the 1749, 1766 and 1783 emergencies of Brood X of the seventeen-year periodical cicada, Magicicada septendecim, and stated, "... they may be expected again in they year 1800 which is Seventeen Since their third appearance to me." The journal also recorded Banneker's observations on the hives and behavior of honey bees.


  • Oella, Baltimore County, Maryland, U.S.
    Sunday Oct 19, 1806

    Death

    Oella, Baltimore County, Maryland, U.S.
    Sunday Oct 19, 1806

    Banneker never married. Because of declining sales, his 1797 almanacs were the last that printers published. After selling much of his homesite to the Ellicotts and others, he probably died in his log cabin nine years later on October 19, 1806, aged 74.


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