1870 was one year before the founding of the City of Birmingham and 51 years after Alabama first became a state.
- The Langston Station post office was established.
- Shandy Jones ended his term in the Alabama House of Representatives.
- December: Robert B. Lindsay succeeded William H. Smith as Governor of Alabama.
- The first railway through Jones Valley opened.
- Joseph Riley Smith retired from the medical profession and went into business.
- Goldsmith Hewitt II and William Walker Jr formed the law firm Hewitt & Walker.
- May 3: Alburto Martin purchased a tract of land from Martha Clift that would later become part of Birmingham.
- December 8: Josiah Morris purchased the 4,150 acres on which Birmingham would be laid out.
- William H. Morris settled in Jefferson County.
- February 13: Jere King, attorney and State Representative
- February 18: Leo Steiner, banker and developer
- March 13: Seale Harris, physician and medical researcher, in Cedartown, Georgia
- April 22: John Eagan, founder of ACIPCO, was born in Griffin, Georgia.
- May 7: A. H. Parker, principal of Industrial High School
- June 30: Roy McCardell, reporter, novelist and screenwriter, was born in Hagerstown, Maryland.
- November 19: Margaret O'Brien, poet and novelist, in Montgomery
- Nathaniel Barrett, President of the Birmingham City Commission, 1917-1921
- Henry Batterton, businessman
- James Bray, president of Miles College
- Edwin Stephenson, minister and murderer
- August 23: Attorney William Walker Jr married Virginia Mudd.
- James Bowron married Ada Barrett.
- Theophilus Jowers married Sarah Latham.
In 1870, John D. Rockefeller incorporated Standard Oil. A political cartoon for the first time symbolized the United States Democratic Party with a donkey. The final Confederate states, Virginia, Mississippi, Texas, and Georgia, were readmitted to the Union. The 15th Amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing African-Americans the right to vote, was passed. The U. S. Department of Justice was created. Pope Pius IX declared papal infallibility in matters of faith and morals. The Franco-Prussian War began. Old Faithful Geyser was observed and named. The U. S. Weather Bureau (later renamed the National Weather Service) made its first official meteorological forecast.
Notable books published in 1870 included The Vicar of Bullhampton by Anthony Trollope and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne.
Notable births in 1870 included psychologist Alfred Adler, Soviet Premiere Vladimir Lenin, serial killer Albert Fish, painter Maxfield Parrish, writer Hilaire Belloc, educator Maria Montessori, and writer Ivan Bunin. Notable deaths included winemaker Nathaniel de Rothschild, author Charles Dickens, explorer Fitz Hugh Ludlow, former Confederate general Robert E. Lee, and author Alexandre Dumas.
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