- The Arkadelphia Post Office was established.
- The Alabama Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church appointed a committee to select a site for a proposed college and to procure funds for its establishment and maintenance.
- The Oblong rocksnail (Leptoxis compacta) was first described.
- February 14: The Alabama Legislature established a system of free schools.
- The original Shelby Furnace was damaged by fire.
- Samuel Cooner became Walker County Sheriff.
- Michael Tuomey resigned his professorship at the University of Alabama to devote his full time to a survey of Alabama's mineral resources.
- June 30: A. D. Smith, Howard College president
- August 13: J. Q. A. Wilhite, pastor
- November 2: Thomas McDonald, police chief
- November 4: Samuel Peck, Poet Laureate of Alabama
- December: Jean Galatoire, chef and restaurateur
- December 11: Rube Burrow, outlaw
- William Cahalan, attorney
- John Flowers, police officer
In 1854, the Taiping Rebellion and Crimean War continued. The Republican Party was founded. The first class of the United States Naval Academy graduated. An epidemic of cholera in London kills about 10,000 people. Henry David Thoreau published Walden.
Notable births in 1854 industrialist Friedrich Alfred Krupp, roll film inventor George Eastman, composer Engelbert Humperdinck, writer Oscar Wilde, cereal manufacturer C. W. Post, composer John Philip Sousa, and Pope Benedict XV. Notable deaths included painter John Martin, physicist Georg Ohm, Lakota chief Conquering Bear, and King Kamehameha III of Hawaii.
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