1860 – He was born on the 19th day of March of this year in Salem, Illinois, USA.
1866 – The family moved to a 520-acre farm north of Salem, living in a ten-room house that was the envy of Marion County. Silas served as a sort of "gentleman farmer" and William Jennings Bryan grew up in this agricultural setting.
1872 – Silas left the bench to run for the House of Representatives, with the backing of the Democratic and Greenback parties, but lost to a Republican. He returned to his law practice.
1874 – At age 14, he attended a revival where he was baptized. He joined the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In later life, Bryan would refer to the day of his baptism as the most important day in his life, but being raised in a devout family, at the time it caused little change in his daily routine.
1881 – This year, following high school, he entered Illinois College and studied classics, graduating as valedictorian.
1883 – He practiced law in Jacksonville until 1887, then moved to the boom city of Lincoln, Nebraska.
1884 – He married Mary Baird in this year; she became a lawyer and collaborated with him on all his speeches and writings.
1890 – He was elected to Congress in the Democratic landslide of this year and reelected by 140 votes in 1892.
1894 – He ran for the Senate but was overwhelmed in the Republican landslide.
1896 – Bryan was one of the most energetic campaigners in American history, inventing the national stumping tour for presidential candidates. In his three failed presidential bids, he promoted Free Silver in this year, anti-imperialism in 1900, and trust busting in 1908.
1898 – Although Bryan never won an election after 1892, he continued to dominate the Democratic Party. He strongly supported going to war with Spain in this year, and volunteered for combat, arguing, "Universal peace cannot come until justice is enthroned throughout the world.
1913 – He became the United States Secretary of States on the 5th day of March this year, and served until June 9 of 1915. Bryan resigned in protest against what he viewed as Wilson’s provocative language in dealing with the Lusitania crisis in this year.
1920 – He was a strong supporter of Prohibition, but is probably best known today for his crusade against Darwinism, which culminated in the Scopes Trial in 1925. He died five days after the case was decided.
1925 – He died at age 65 on the 26th day of July of this year in Dayton, Tennessee, USA.