1817 – He was born David Henry Thoreau on the 12th day of July this year in Concord, Massachusetts.
1833 – Between this year and year 1837, he studied at Harvard University. He lived in Hollis Hall and took courses in rhetoric, classics, philosophy, mathematics and science.
1835 – During a leave of absence from Harvard in this year, he taught school in Canton, Massachusetts.
1837 – After graduating this year, he joined the faculty of Concord Academy, but he refused to administer corporal punishment and the school board soon dismissed him.
1838 – He and his brother John then opened a grammar school in Concord.
1841 – The school ended when his brother John became fatally ill from tetanus.
1842 – His first essay published there was Natural History of Massachusetts; half book review, half natural history essay, it appeared in this year.
1843 – He moved to the home of William Emerson on Staten Island, tutoring the family sons while writing for New York periodicals, aided in part by his future literary representative Horace Greeley.
1844 – He and his friend Edward Hoar accidentally set a fire that consumed 300 acres of Walden Woods.
1846 – He ran into the local tax collector, Sam Staples, who asked him to pay six years of delinquent poll taxes. He refused because of his opposition to the Mexican-American War and slavery, and he spent a night in jail because of this refusal.
1848 – He delivered lectures “on The Rights and Duties of the Individual in relation to Government.”
1851 – He became increasingly fascinated with natural history and travel/expedition narratives. He read avidly on botany and often wrote observations on this topic into his Journal.
1859 – Following a late night excursion to count the rings of tree stumps during a rainstorm, he became ill with bronchitis. His health declined over three years with brief periods of remission, until he eventually became bedridden.
1862 – He died on May 6 of this year, at the age of 44. Originally buried in the Dunbar family plot, he and members of his immediate family were eventually moved to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts.