Napoleon Sarony / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL
1 – Oscar Wilde
16 Oct 1854 – 30 Nov 1900 (Aged 46)
Born in Dublin, Ireland. Died in Paris, France.
Wilde was a renowned Irish author, mainly for his novel ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’. He became one of the most popular playwrights in London in the early 1890s.
Then, while The Importance of Being Earnest was still enjoying stage success in London, Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry prosecuted for criminal libel.
The Marquess was the father of Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. The libel trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial.
In the end, he was convicted and sentenced to two years’ hard labour, for gross indecency with men. He was jailed from 1895 to 1897.
On his release, he left immediately for France, never to return to Ireland or Britain. Following his stint in jail, he was broke, emotionally and physically, before dying from meningitis 3 years later.
2 – Gottlieb Daimler
17 March 1834 – 6 March 1900 (Aged 65)
Born in Schorndorf, Württemberg. Died in Cannstatt, the German Empire.
Daimler was a German inventor who patented one of the first successful internal-combustion engines.
In 1890, Daimler, with business partner William Maybach, converted their partnership into a stock company Daimler Motors Corporation, selling their first automobile in 1892.
The company he founded produced the first Mercedes car in 1901, after his death. Daimler was accepted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1978.
3 – Friedrich Nietzsche
15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900 (Aged 55)
Born in Röcken, Saxony, Prussia. Died in Weimar, Saxony, German Empire.
Nietzsche became one of the most influential of all modern thinkers with his writings on a variety of subjects.
In 1869, he became the youngest person to ever hold the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel at the age of 24.
Nietzsche resigned in 1879 due to life-long health problems, before completing much of his writing in the following decade.
In 1889, he suffered a collapse at age 44 and, subsequently, a complete loss of his mental faculties.
Nietzsche lived in the care of his mother until her death in 1897 and then with his sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche until his death in 1900, at the age of 55.
His work has influenced many of the worlds’ foremost thinkers and writers.
4 – Casey Jones
(American Folk Hero)
14 March 1863 – 30 April 1900 (Aged 37)
From Jackson, Tennessee. Died in Vaughan, Mississippi.
Jones was a railroad engineer, known for his speed and having his trains arrive on schedule. His name is synonymous with America’s great steam engine era.
On the day of his death, Jones volunteered to work a double shift to cover for an ill fellow engineer. The train set out on a foggy, wet night more than an hour and a half behind time.
However, Jones ran the train at speeds nearing 100 miles per hour in an effort to arrive as scheduled.
Then, only two minutes behind schedule, while coming into Vaughan, Mississippi, the fireman on board warned Jones there was another train parked on the tracks ahead of them.
Jones quickly grabbed the brake with one hand and pulled the whistle with the other to warn his passengers and those ahead of the train, then shouted at the fireman to jump to safety.
In the resulting collision, the freight cars blocking the line were smashed, while Jones’s engine overturned. He had reduced his speed by over half, from about 75 miles per hour to about 35 miles per hour.
All passengers on Jones’s train survived and avoided serious injury as a result of his bravery. His body was found under the cab, with his skull crushed and right arm torn from its socket.
Stories of Jones’ bravery spread following the crash, while the release of ‘The Ballad of Casey Jones’ immortalized him as an American folk hero.