Personal Memoirs Of A Residence Of Thirty Years With The Indian Tribes On The American Frontiers
Henry Rowe Schoolcraft

Part 1 out of 15

Produced by Charlie Kirschner and the Online Distributed Proofreading

[Illustration: Engraved by A.B. Walter Philad.]









A.D. 1812 TO A.D. 1842.






My dear sir:--I feel impelled to place your name before these sheets,
from a natural impulse. It is many years since I accompanied you to the
Genesee country, which was, at that time, a favorite theatre of
enterprise, and called the "Garden of the West." This step, eventually,
led me to make deeper and more adventurous inroads into the American

If I am not mistaken, you will peruse these brief memoranda of my
exploratory journeys and residence in the wide area of the west, and
among barbarous tribes, in a spirit of appreciation, and with a lively
sense of that providential care, in human affairs, that equally shields
the traveler amidst the vicissitudes of the forest, and the citizen at
his fireside.

Very sincerely yours,



Ten years ago I returned from the area of the Mississippi Valley to New
York, my native State, after many years' residence and exploratory
travels of that quarter of the Union. Having become extensively known,
personally, and as an author, and my name having been associated with
several distinguished actors in our western history, the wish has often
been expressed to see some record of the events as they occurred. In
yielding to this wish, it must not be supposed that the writer is about
to submit an autobiography of himself; nor yet a methodical record of
his times--tasks which, were he ever so well qualified for, he does not
at all aspire to, and which, indeed, he has not now the leisure, if he
had the desire, to undertake.

Still, his position on the frontiers, and especially in connection with
the management of the Indian tribes, is believed to have been one of
marked interest, and to have involved him in events and passages often
of thrilling and general moment. And the recital of these, in the simple
and unimposing forms of a diary, even in the instances where they may be
thought to fail in awakening deep sympathy, or creating high excitement,
will be found, he thinks, to possess a living moral _undertone_. In the
perpetual conflict between civilized and barbaric life, during the
settlement of the West, the recital will often recall incidents of toil
and peril, and frequently show the open or concealed murderer, with his
uplifted knife, or deadly gun. As a record of opinion, it will not be
too much to say, that the author's approvals are ever on the side of
virtue, honor, and right; that misconception is sometimes prevented by
it, and truth always vindicated. If he has sometimes met bad men; if he
has experienced detraction, or injustice; if even persons of good
general repute have sometimes persecuted him, it is only surprising, on
general grounds, that the evils of this kind have not been greater or
more frequent; but it is conceived that the record of such injustice
would neither render mankind wiser nor the author happier. The "crooked"
cannot be made "straight," and he who attempts it will often find that
his inordinate toils only vex his own soul. He who does the ill in
society is alone responsible for it, and if he chances not to be rebuked
for it on this imperfect theatre of human action, yet he cannot flatter
himself at all that he shall pass through a future state "scot free."
The author views man ever as an accountable being, who lives, in a
providential sense, that he may have an opportunity to bear record to
the principles of truth, wherever he is, and this, it is perceived, can
be as effectually done, so far as there are causes of action or
reflection, in the recesses of the forest, as in the area of the
drawing-room, or the purlieus of a court. It is believed that, in the
present case, the printing of the diary could be more appropriately
done, while most of those with whom the author has acted and
corresponded, thought and felt, were still on the stage of life. The
motives that, in a higher sphere, restrained a Wraxall and a Walpole in
withholding their remarks on passing events, do not operate here; for if
there be nothing intestimonial or faulty uttered, the power of a stern,
high-willed government cannot be brought to bear, to crush independence
of thought, or enslave the labors of intellect: for if there be a
species of freedom in America more valuable than another, it is that of
being pen-free.

It is Sismondi, I think, who says that "time prepares for a long flight,
by relieving himself of every superfluous load, and by casting away
everything that he possibly can." The author certainly would not ask him
to carry an onerous weight. But, in the history of the settlement of
such a country and such a population as this, there must be little, as
well as great labors, before the result to be sent forward to posterity
can be prepared by the dignified pen of polished history; and the writer
seeks nothing more than to furnish some illustrative memoranda for that
ultimate task, whoever may perform it.

He originally went to the west for the purpose of science. His
mineralogical rambles soon carried him into wide and untrodden fields;
and the share he was called on to take in the exploration of the
country, its geography, geology, and natural features, have thrown him
in positions of excitement and peril, which furnish, it is supposed, an
appropriate apology, if apology be necessary, for the publication of
these memoirs.

But whatever degree of interest and originality may have been connected
with his early observations and discoveries in science, geography, or
antiquities, the circumstances which directed his attention to the
Indian tribes--their history, manners and customs, languages, and
general ethnology, have been deemed to lay his strongest claim to public
respect. The long period during which these observations have been
continued to be made, his intimate relations with the tribes, the
favorable circumstances of his position and studies, and the ardor and
assiduity with which he has availed himself of them, have created
expectations in his case which few persons, it is believed, in our
history, have excited.

It is under these circumstances that the following selections from his
running journal are submitted. They form, as it were, a thread
connecting acts through a long period, and are essential to their true
understanding and development. A word may be said respecting the manner
of the record which is thus exhibited:--

The time is fixed by quoting exactly the dates, and the names of persons
are invariably given wherever they could, with propriety, be employed;
often, indeed, in connection with what may be deemed trivial
occurrences; but these were thought essential to the proper relief and
understanding of more important matters. Indeed, a large part of the
journal consists of extracts from the letters of the individuals
referred to; and in this way it is conceived that a good deal of the
necessarily offensive character of the egotism of journalism is got rid
of. No one will object to see his name in print while it is used to
express a kind, just, or noble sentiment, or to advance the cause of
truth; and, if private names are ever employed for a contrary purpose, I
have failed in a designed cautiousness in this particular. Much that
required disapprobation has been omitted, which a ripening judgment and
more enlarged Christian and philosophic view has passed over; and much
more that invited condemnation was never committed to paper. Should
circumstances favor it, the passages which are omitted, but approved, to
keep the work in a compact shape, will be hereafter added, with some
pictorial illustrations of the scenery.

The period referred to, is one of considerable interest. It is the
thirty years that succeeded the declaration of war by the United
States, in 1812, against Great Britain, and embraces a large and
important part of the time of the settlement of the Mississippi Valley,
and the great lake basins. During this period ten States have been added
to the Union. Many actors who now slumber in their graves are called up
to bear witness. Some of the number were distinguished men; others the
reverse. Red and white men alike express their opinions. Anecdotes and
incidents succeed each other without any attempt at method. The story
these incidentally tell, is the story of a people's settling the
wilderness. It is the Anglo-Saxon race occupying the sites of the Indian
wigwams. It is a field in which plumed sachems, farmers, legislators,
statesmen, speculators, professional and scientific men, and
missionaries of the gospel, figure in their respective capacities.
Nobody seems to have set down to compose an elaborate letter, and yet
the result of the whole, viewed by the philosophic eye, is a broad field
of elaboration.

PHILADELPHIA, _Sept. 12th, 1851_.



Brief reminiscences of scenes from 1809 to 1817--Events preliminary to a
knowledge of western life--Embarkation on the source of the Alleghany
River--Descent to Pittsburgh--Valley of the Monongahela; its coal and
iron--Descent of the Ohio in an ark--Scenes and incidents by the
way--Cincinnati--Some personal incidents which happened there.


Descent of the Ohio River from Cincinnati to its mouth--Ascent of the
Mississippi, from the junction to Herculaneum--Its rapid and turbid
character, and the difficulties of stemming its current by barges--Some
incidents by the way.


Reception at Herculaneum, and introduction to the founder of the first
American colony in Texas, Mr. Austin--His character--Continuation of the
journey on foot to St. Louis--Incidents by the way--Trip to the
mines--Survey of the mine country--Expedition from Potosi into the Ozark
Mountains, and return, after a winter's absence, to Potosi.


Sit down to write an account of the mines--Medical properties of the
Mississippi water--Expedition to the Yellow Stone--Resolve to visit
Washington with a plan of managing the mines--Descend the river from St.
Genevieve to New Orleans--Incidents of the trip--Take passage in a ship
for New York--Reception with my collection there--Publish my memoir on
the mines, and proceed with it to Washington--Result of my
plan--Appointed geologist and mineralogist on an expedition to the
sources of the Mississippi.


Set out on the expedition to the north-west--Remain a few
weeks at New York--Visit Niagara Falls, and reach Detroit
in the first steamer--Preparations for a new style of
traveling--Correspondents--General sketch of the route pursued by the
expedition, and its results--Return to Albany, and publish my
narrative--Journal of it--Preparation for a scientific account of the


Reception by the country on my return--Reasons for publishing my
narrative without my reports for a digested scientific account of the
expedition--Delays interposed to this--Correspondents--Locality of
strontian--Letter from Dr. Mitchell--Report on the copper mines of Lake
Superior--Theoretical geology--Indian symbols--Scientific
subjects--Complete the publication of my work--Its reception by the
press and the public--Effects on my mind--Receive the appointment of
Secretary to the Indian Commission at Chicago--Result of the expedition,
as shown by a letter of Dr. Mitchell to General Cass.


Trip through the Miami of the lakes, and the Wabash Valley--Cross the
grand prairie of Illinois--Revisit the mines--Ascend the
Illinois--Fever--Return through the great lakes--Notice of the
"Trio"--Letter from Professor Silliman--Prospect of an appointment under
government--Loss of the "Walk-in-the-Water"--Geology of Detroit--Murder
of Dr. Madison by a Winnebago Indian.


New-Yearing--A prospect opened--Poem of Ontwa--Indian biography--Fossil
tree--Letters from various persons--Notice of Ontwa--Professor
Silliman--Gov. Clinton--Hon. J. Meigs--Colonel Benton--Mr.
Dickenson--Professor Hall--Views of Ex-presidents Madison, Jefferson,
and Adams on geology--Geological notices--Plan of a gazetteer--Opinions
of my _Narrative Journal_ by scientific gentlemen--The impostor John
Dunn Hunter--Trip up the Potomac--Mosaical chronology--Visit to
Mount Vernon.


Appointed an agent of Indian affairs for the United States at Saint
Mary's--Reasons for the acceptance of the office--Journey to
Detroit--Illness at that point--Arrival of a steamer with a battalion of
infantry to establish a new military post at the foot of Lake
Superior--Incidents of the voyage to that point--Reach our destination,
and reception by the residents and Indians--A European and man of honor
fled to the wilderness.


Incidents of the summer during the establishment of the now post at St.
Mary's--Life in a nut-shell--Scarcity of room--High prices of
everything--State of the Indians--Their rich and picturesque
costume--Council and its incidents--Fort site selected and occupied--The
evil of ardent spirits amongst the Indians--Note from Governor
De Witt Clinton--Mountain ash--Curious superstitions of the
Odjibwas--Language--Manito poles--Copper--Superstitious regard for
Venus--Fine harbor in Lake Superior--Star family--A locality of
necromancers--Ancient Chippewa capital--Eating of animals.


Murder of Soan-ga-ge-zhick, a Chippewa, at the head of the falls--Indian
mode of interment--Indian prophetess--Topic of interpreters and
interpretation--Mode of studying the Indian language--The Johnston
family--Visits--Katewabeda, chief of Sandy Lake--Indian mythology, and
oral tales and legends--Literary opinion--Political opinion--Visit of
the chief Little Pine--Visit of Wabishkepenais--A despairing


A pic-nic party at the foot of Lake Superior--Canoe--Scenery--Descent of
St. Mary's Falls--Etymology of the Indian names of Sault Ste. Marie, and
Lake Superior--The wild rice plant--Indian trade--American Fur
Company--Distribution of presents--Death of Sassaba--Epitaph--Indian
capacity to count--Oral literature--Research--Self-reliance.


My first winter at the foot of Lake Superior--Copper mines--White
fish--A poetic name for a fish--Indian tale--Polygamy--A
reminiscence--Taking of Fort Niagara--Mythological and allegorical tales
among the aborigines--Chippewa language--Indian vowels--A polite and a
vulgar way of speaking the language--Public worship--Seclusion from
the world.


Amusements during the winter months, when the temperature is at the
lowest point--Etymology of the word Chippewa--A meteor--The Indian
"fireproof"--Temperature and weather--Chippewa interchangeables--Indian
names for the seasons--An incident in conjugating
verbs--Visiting--Gossip--The fur trade--Todd, McGillvray, Sir Alexander
Mackenzie--Wide dissimilarity of the English and Odjibwa syntax--Close
of the year.


New Year's day among the descendants of the Norman French--Anti-philosophic
speculations of Brydone--Schlegel on language--A peculiar native
expression evincing delicacy--Graywacke in the basin of Lake
Superior--Temperature--Snow shoes--Translation of Gen. i.3--Historical
reminiscences--Morals of visiting--Odjibwa numerals--Harmon's
travels--Mackenzie's vocabularies--Criticism--Mungo Park.


Novel reading--Greenough's "Geology"--The cariboo--Spiteful
plunder of private property on a large scale--Marshall's
Washington--St. Clair's "Narrative of his Campaign"--Etymology
of the word _totem_--A trait of transpositive languages--Polynesian
languages--A meteoric explosion at the maximum height of the winter's
temperature--Spafford's "Gazetteer"--Holmes on the Prophecies--Foreign
politics--Mythology--Gnomes--The Odjibwa based on monosyllables--No
auxiliary verbs--Pronouns declined for tense---Esprella's
letters--Valerius--Gospel of St. Luke--Chippewayan group of
languages--Home politics--Prospect of being appointed superintendent of
the lead mines of Missouri.


Close of the winter solstice, and introduction of a northern
spring--News from the world--The Indian languages--Narrative
Journal--Semi-civilization of the ancient Aztec tribes--Their arts and
languages--Hill's ironical review of the "Transactions of the Royal
Society"--A test of modern civilization--Sugar making--Trip to one of
the camps--Geology of Manhattan Island--Ontwa, an Indian poem--Northern
ornithology--Dreams--The Indian apowa--Printed queries of General
Cass--Prospect of the mineral agency--Exploration of the St.
Peter's--Information on that head.


Rapid advance of spring--Troops commence a stockade--Principles of the
Chippewa tongue--Idea of a new language containing the native principles
of syntax, with a monosyllabic method--Indian standard of
value--Archaeological evidences in growing trees--Mount Vernon--Signs of
spring in the appearance of birds--Expedition to St. Peter's--Lake
Superior open--A peculiarity in the orthography of Jefferson--True
sounds of the consonants--Philology--Advent of the arrival of a
vessel--Editors and editorials--Arrival from Fort William--A hope
fled--Sudden completion of the spring, and ushering in of
summer--Odjibwa language, and transmission of Inquiries.


Outlines of the incidents of the summer of 1823--Glance at the geography
of the lake country--Concretion of aluminous earth--General Wayne's body
naturally embalmed by this property of the soil of Erie--Free and easy
manners--Boundary Survey--An old friend--Western commerce--The Austins
of Texas memory--Collision of civil and military power--Advantages of a
visit to Europe.


Incidents of the year 1824--Indian researches--Diverse idioms of the
Ottawa and Chippewa--Conflict of opinion between the civil and military
authorities of the place--A winter of seclusion well spent--St. Paul's
idea of languages--Examples in the Chippewa--The Chippewa a pure form of
the Algonquin--Religion in the wilderness--Incidents--Congressional
excitements--Commercial view of the copper mine question--Trip to
Tackwymenon Falls, in Lake Superior.


Oral tales and legends of the Chippewas--First assemblage of a
legislative council in Michigan--Mineralogy and geology--Disasters of
the War of 1812--Character of the new legislature--Laconic
note--Narrative of a war party, and the disastrous murders committed at
Lake Pepin in July 1824--Speech of a friendly Indian chief from Lake
Superior on the subject--Notices of mineralogy and geology in the
west--Ohio and Erie Canal--Morals--Lafayette's progress--Hooking
minerals--A philosophical work on the Indians--Indian biography by
Samuel S. Conant--Want of books on American archaeology--Douglass's
proposed work on the expedition of 1820.


Parallelism of customs--Home scenes--Visit to Washington--Indian work
respecting the Western Tribes--Indian biography--Professor
Carter--Professor Silliman--Spiteful prosecution--Publication of Travels
in the Mississippi Valley--A northern Pocahontas--Return to the Lakes--A
new enterprise suggested--Impressions of turkeys' feet in
rock--Surrender of the Chippewa war party, who committed the murders in
1824, at Lake Pepin--Their examination, and the commitment of the actual


Trip to Prairie du Chien on the Mississippi--Large assemblage of
tribes--Their appearance and character--Sioux, Winnebagoes, Chippewas,
&c.--Striking and extraordinary appearance of the Sacs and Foxes, and of
the Iowas--Keokuk--Mongazid's speech--Treaty of limits--Whisky
question--A literary impostor--Journey through the valleys of the Fox
and Wisconsin rivers--Incidents--Menomonies--A big nose--Wisconsin


Descent of Fox River--Blackbirds--Menomonies--Rice fields--Starving
Indians--Thunder storm--Dream--An Indian struck dead with
lightning--Green Bay--Death of Colonel Haines--Incidents of the journey
from Green Bay to Michilimackinack--Reminiscences of my early life and
travels--Choiswa--Further reminiscences of my early life--Ruins of the
first mission of Father Marquette--Reach Michilimackinack.


Journey from Mackinack to the Sault Ste. Marie--Outard Point--Head
winds--Lake Huron in a rage--Desperate embarkation--St. Vital--Double
the Detour--Return to St. Mary's--Letters--"Indian girl"--New volume of
travels--Guess' Cherokee alphabet--New views of the Indian languages and
their principles of construction--Georgia question--Post-office
difficulties--Glimpses from the civilized world.


General aspects of the Indian cause--Public criticism on the state of
Indian researches, and literary storm raised by the new views--Political
rumor--Death of R. Pettibone, Esq.--Delegate election--Copper mines of
Lake Superior--Instructions for a treaty in the North--Death of Mr.
Pettit--Denial of post-office facilities--Arrival of commissioners to
hold the Fond du Lac treaty--Trip to Fond du Lac through Lake
Superior--Treaty--Return--Deaths of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.


Epidemical condition of the atmosphere at Detroit--Death of Henry J.
Hunt and A.G. Whitney, Esqrs.--Diary of the visits of Indians at St.
Mary's Agency--Indian affairs on the frontier under the supervision of
Col. McKenney--Criticisms on the state of Indian questions--Topic of
Indian eloquence--State of American researches in natural science--Dr.
Saml. L. Mitchell.


Mineralogy--Territorial affairs--Vindication of the American policy by
its treatment of the Indians--New York spirit of improvement--Taste for
cabinets of natural history--Fatalism in an Indian--Death of a first
born son--Flight from the house--Territorial matters--A literary
topic--Preparations for another treaty--Consolations--Boundary in the
North-west under the treaty of Ghent--Natural history--Trip to Green
Bay--Treaty of Butte des Morts--Winnebago outbreak--Intrepid conduct of
General Cass--Indian stabbing--Investment of the petticoat--Mohegan


Treaty of Butte des Morts--Rencontre of an Indian with grizzly
bears--Agency site at Elmwood--Its picturesque and sylvan
character--Legislative council of the Territory--Character of its
parties, as hang-backs and toe-the-marks--Critical Reviews--Christmas.


Retrospect--United States Exploring Expedition to the South
Sea--Humanity of an Indian--Trip to Detroit from the Icy
Straits--Incidental action of the Massachusetts and Rhode Island
Historical Societies, and of the Montreal Natural History
Society--United States Exploring Expedition--Climatology--Lake vessels
ill found--Poetic view of the Indian--United States Exploring
Expedition--Theory of the interior world--Natural History--United States
Exploring Expedition--History of early legislation in Michigan--Return
to St. Mary's--Death of Governor De Witt Clinton.


Official journal of the Indian intercourse--Question of freedmen, or
persons not bonded for--Indian chiefs, Chacopee, Neenaby, Mukwakwut,
_Tems Couvert_, Shingabowossin, Guelle Plat, Grosse Guelle--Further
notice of Wampum-hair--Red Devil--Biographical notice of Guelle Plat, or
Flat Mouth--_Brechet_--Meeshug, a widow--Iauwind--Mongazid, chief of
Fond du Lac--Chianokwut--White Bird--Annamikens, the hero of a bear
fight, &c. &c.


Natural history of the north-west--Northern
zoology--Fox--Owl--Reindeer--A dastardly attempt at murder by a
soldier--Lawless spread of the population of northern Illinois over the
Winnebago land--New York Lyceum of Natural History--U.S. Ex. Ex.--Fiscal
embarrassments in the Department--Medical cause of Indian
depopulation--Remarks of Dr. Pitcher--Erroneous impressions of the
Indian character--Reviews--Death of John Johnston, Esq.


Treaty of St. Joseph--Tanner--Visits of the Indians in distress--Letters
from the civilized world--Indian code projected--Cause of Indian
suffering--The Indian cause--Estimation of the character of the late Mr.
Johnston--Autobiography--Historical Society of Michigan--Fiscal
embarrassments of the Indian Department.


Political horizon--Ahmo Society--Incoming of Gen. Jackson's
administration--Amusements of the winter--Peace policy among the
Indians--Revival at Mackinack--Money crisis--Idea of Lake tides--New
Indian code--Anti-masonry--Missions among the Indians--Copper mines--The
policy respecting them settled--Whisky among the Indians--Fur
trade--Legislative council--Mackinack mission--Officers of Wayne's
war--Historical Society of Michigan--Improved diurnal press.


The new administration--Intellectual contest in the Senate--Sharp
contest for mayoralty of Detroit--Things shaping at Washington--Perilous
trip on the ice--Medical effects of this exposure--Legislative
Council--Visit to Niagara Falls--A visitor of note--History---Character
of the Chippewas--Ish-ko-da-wau-bo--Rotary sails--Hostilities between
the Chippewas and Sioux--Friendship and badinage--Social
intercourse--Sanillac--Gossip--Expedition to Lake Superior--Winter
Session of the Council--Historical disclosure--Historical Society of
Rhode Island--Domestic--French Revolution.


Lecture before the Lyceum--Temperature in the North--Rum and taxes--A
mild winter adverse to Indians--Death of a friend--Christian
atonement--Threats of a Caliban, or an Indianized white man--Indian
emporium--Bringing up children--Youth gone astray--Mount Hope
Institution--Expedition into the Indian country--Natural History of the
United States--A reminiscence--Voyage inland.


Lake Superior--Its shores and character--Geology--Brigade of boats--Dog
and porcupine--Burrowing birds--Otter--Keweena Point--Unfledged
ducks--Minerals--Canadian resource in a tempest of rain--Tramp in search
of the picturesque--Search for native copper--Isle Royal
descried--Indian precaution--Their ingenuity--Lake action--Nebungunowin
River--Eagles--Indian tomb--Kaug Wudju.


Lake shores--Sub-Indian agency--Indian transactions--Old fort, site of a
tragedy--Maskigo River; its rapids and character--Great Wunnegum
Portage--Botany--Length of the Mauvais--Indian carriers--Lake
Kagenogumaug--Portage lakes--Namakagun River, its character, rapids,
pine lands, &c.--Pukwaewa village--A new species of native
fruit--Incidents on the Namakagun; its birds, plants, &c.


Council with the Indians at Yellow Lake--Policy of the Treaty of Prairie
du Chien of 1825--Speech of Shaiwunegunaibee--Mounds of Yellow
River--Indian manners and customs--Pictography--Natural history--Nude
Indians--Geology--Portage to Lac Courtorielle--Lake of the Isles--Ottawa
Lake--Council--War party--Mozojeed's speech--Tecumseh--Mozojeed's
lodge--Indian movements--Trip to the Red Cedar Fork--Ca Ta--Lake
Chetac--Indian manners.


Betula Lake--Larch Lake--A war party surprised--Indian manners--Rice
Lake--Indian council--Red Cedar Lake--Speeches of Wabezhais and
Neenaba--Equal division of goods--Orifice for treading out rice--A live
beaver--Notices of natural history--Value of the Follavoine Valley--A
medal of the third President--War dance--Ornithology--A prairie country,
fertile and abounding in game--Saw mills--Chippewa River--Snake--La
Garde Mountain--Descent of the Mississippi--Sioux village--General
impression of the Mississippi--Arrival at Prairie du Chien.


Death of Mr. Monroe--Affair of the massacre of the Menomonies by the
Foxes--Descent to Galena--Trip in the lead mine country to Fort
Winnebago--Gratiot's Grove--Sac and Fox disturbances--Black Hawk--Irish
Diggings--Willow Springs--Vanmater's lead--An escape from falling into
a pit--Mineral Point--Ansley's copper mine--Gen. Dodge's--Mr.
Brigham's--Sugar Creek--Four Lakes--Seven Mile Prairie--A night in the
woods--Reach Port Winnebago--Return to the Sault--Political changes in
the cabinet--Gov. Cass called to Washington--Religious changes--G.B.
Porter appointed Governor--Natural history--Character of the new
governor--Arrival of the Rev. Jeremiah Porter--Organization of a church.


Revival of St. Mary's--Rejection of Mr. Van Buren as Minister to
England--Botany and Natural History of the North-west--Project of a new
expedition to find the Sources of the Mississippi--Algic
Society--Consolidation of the Agencies of St. Mary's and
Michilimackinack--Good effects of the American Home Missionary
Society--Organization of a new inland exploring expedition committed to
me--Its objects and composition of the corps of observers.


Expedition to, and discovery of, Itasca Lake, the source of the
Mississippi River--Brief notice of the journey to the point of former
geographical discovery in the basin of Upper Red Cedar, or Cass
Lake--Ascent and portage to Queen Anne's Lake--Lake Pemetascodiac--The
Ten, or Metoswa Rapids--Pemidgegomag, or Cross-water Lake--Lake
Irving--Lake Marquette--Lake La Salle--Lake Plantagenet--Ascent of the
Plantagenian Pork--Naiwa, or Copper-snake River--Agate Rapids and
portage--Assawa Lake--Portage over the Hauteur des Terres--Itasca
Lake--Its picturesque character--Geographical and astronomical
position--Historical data.


Descent of the Mississippi River, from Itasca Lake to Cass Lake--Traits
of its bank--Kabika Falls--Upsetting of a canoe--River descends by
steps, and through narrow rocky passes--Portage to the source of the
Crow-Wing River--Moss Lake--Shiba Lake--Leech Lake--Warpool Lake--Long
Lake Mountain portage--Kaginogomanug--Vermilion Lake--Ossawa Lake--Shell
River--Leaf River--Long Prairie River--Kioskk, or Gull River--Arrival at
its mouth--Descent to the Falls of St. Anthony, and St. Peter's--Return
to St. Mary's.


Letter from a mother--Cholera--Indian war--Royal Geographical
Society--Determine to leave the Sault--Death of Miss Cass--Death of Rev.
Mr. Richard--Notice of the establishment of a Methodist Mission at the
Sault--The Sault a religions place--Botany and Natural History--New
York University organized--Algic Society--Canadian boat song--Chaplains
in the army--Letter from a missionary--Affairs at Mackinack--Hazards of
lake commerce--Question of the temperance reform--Dr. D. Houghton--South
Carolina resists--Gen. Jackson re-elected President.


An Indian woman builds a church--Conchology--South Carolina prepares to
resist the revenue laws--Moral affairs--Geography--Botany--Chippewas and
Sioux--A native evangelist in John Sunday--His letter in English; its
philological value--The plural pronoun _we_--An Indian battle--Political
affairs--South Carolina affairs--Tariff compromise of Mr. Clay--Algic
Society; it employs native evangelists--Plan of visiting
Europe--President's tour--History of Detroit--Fresh-water shells--Lake


Earliest point of French occupancy in the area of the Upper
Lakes--Removal of my residence from the Sault St. Marie to the island of
Michilimackinack--Trip to New York--Its objects--American Philosophical
Society--Michilimackinack; its etymology--The rage for investment in
western lands begins--Traditions of Saganosh--Of Porlier--Of
Perrault--Of Captain Thorn--Of the chief, Old Wing--Of Mudjekewis, of
Thunder Bay--Character of Indian tradition respecting the massacre at
old Fort Mackinack in 1763.


Anniversary of the Algic Society--Traditions of Chusco and Mukudapenais
respecting Gen. Wayne's treaty--Saliferous column in American
geology--Fact in lake commerce--Traditions of Mrs. Dousman and Mr.
Abbott respecting the first occupation of the Island of
Michilimackinack--Question of the substantive verb in the Chippewa
language--Meteoric phenomena during the month of December--Historical
fact--Minor incidents.


Population of Michilimackinack--Notices of the weather--Indian name of
the Wolverine--Harbor closed--Intensity of temperature which can be
borne--Domestic incidents--State of the weather--Fort Mackinack
unsuccessfully attacked in 1814--Ossiganoc--Death of an Indian
woman--Death of my sister--Harbor open--Indian name of the Sabbath
day--Horticultural amusement--Tradition of the old church door--Turpid
conduct of Thomas Shepard, and his fate--Wind, tempests, sleet, snow--A
vessel beached in the harbor--Attempt of the American Fur Company to
force ardent spirits into the country, against the authority of
the agent.


Visit to Isle Bond--Site of an ancient Indian village--Ossarie--Indian
prophet--Traditions of Chusco and Yon respecting the ancient village and
bone deposit--Indian speech--Tradition of Mrs. La Fromboise respecting
Chicago--Etymology of the name--Origin of the Bonga family among the
Chippewas--Traditions of Viancour--Of Nolan--Of the chief
Aishquagonaibe, and of Sagitondowa--Evidences of antique cultivation on
the Island of Mackinack--View of affairs at Washington--The Senate an
area of intellectual excitement--A road directed to be cut through the
wilderness from Saginaw--Traditions of Ossaganac and of Little Bear Skin
respecting the Lake Tribes.


Trip to Detroit--American Fur Company; its history and
organization--American Lyceum; its objects--Desire to write books on
Indian subjects by persons not having the information to render them
valuable--Reappearance of cholera--Mission of Mackinack; its history and
condition--Visit of a Russian officer of the Imperial Guards--Chicago;
its prime position for a great _entrepot_--Area and destiny of the
Mississippi Valley.


Philology--Structure of the Indian languages--Letter from Mr.
Duponceau--Question of the philosophy of the Chippewa syntax--Letter
from a Russian officer on his travels in the West--Queries on the
physical history of the North--Leslie Duncan, a maniac--Arwin on the
force of dissipation--Missionary life on the sources of the
Mississippi--Letter from Mr. Boutwell--Theological Review--The Territory
of Michigan, tired of a long delay, determines to organize a State


Indications of a moral revolution in the place--Political movements at
Detroit--Review of the state of society at Michilimackinack, arising
from its being the great central power of the north-west fur trade--A
letter from Dr. Greene--Prerequisites of the missionary
function--Discouragements--The state of the Mackinack Mission--Problem
of employing native teachers and evangelists--Letter of Mr.
Duponceau--Ethnological gossip--Translation of the Bible into
Algonquin--Don M. Najera--Premium offered by the French
Institute--Persistent Satanic influence among the Indian
tribes--Boundary dispute with Ohio--Character of the State Convention.


Requirements of a missionary laborer--Otwin--American
quadrupeds--Geological question--Taste of an Indian chief for
horticulture--Swiss missionaries to the Indians--Secretary of War visits
the island--Frivolous literary, diurnal, and periodical press--Letter of
Dr. Ives on this topic--Lost boxes of minerals and fresh-water
shells--Geological visit of Mr. Featherstonehaugh and Lieut. Mather--Mr.
Hastings--A theological graduate.


Rage for investment in western lands---Habits of the common
deer--Question of the punishment of Indian murders committed in the
Indian country--A chief calls to have his authority recognized on the
death of a predecessor--Dr. Julius, of Prussia--Gen. Robert
Patterson--Pressure of emigration--Otwin--Dr. Gilman and Mr.
Hoffman--Picturesque trip to Lake Superior--Indians desire to cede
territory--G.W. Featherstonehaugh--Sketch of his geological
reconnoissance of the St. Peter's River--Dr. Thomas H. Webb--Question of
inscriptions on American rocks--Antiquities--Embark for Washington, and
come down the lakes in the great tempest of 1835.


Florida war--Startling news of the Massacre of Dade--Peoria on the
Illinois--Abanaki language--Oregon--Things shaping for a territorial
claim--Responsibility of claim in an enemy's country--A true
soldier--Southern Literary Messenger--Missionary cause--Resources of
Missouri--Indian portfolio of Lewis--Literary gossip--Sir Francis
Head--The Crane and Addik totem--Treaty of March 28th, 1836, with the
Ottawas and Chippewas--Treaty with the Saginaws of May 20th--Treaty with
the Swan Creek and Black River Chippewas of May 9th--Return to
Michilimackinack--Death of Charlotte, the daughter of Songageezhig.


Home matters--Massachusetts Historical Society--Question of the U.S.
Senate's action on certain treaties of the Lake Indians--Hugh L.
White--Dr. Morton's Crania Americana--Letter from Mozojeed--State of the
pillagers--Visit of Dr. Follen and Miss Martineau--Treaty
movements--Young Lord Selkirk--Character and value of Upper
Michigan--Hon. John Norvell's letter--Literary items--Execution of the
treaty of March 28th--Amount of money paid--Effects of the
treaty--Baron de Behr-Ornithology.


Value of the equivalent territory granted to Michigan, by
Congress, for the disputed Ohio boundary--Rapid improvement of
Michigan--Allegan--Indian legend--Baptism and death of Kagcosh, a very
aged chief at St. Mary's--New system of writing Indian, proposed by Mr.
Nash--Indian names for new towns--A Bishop's notion of the reason for
applying to Government for education funds under Indian treaties--Mr.
Gallatin's paper on the Indians--The temperance movement.


Difficulties resulting from a false impression of the Indian
character--Treaty with the Saginaws--Ottawas of Grand River
establish themselves in a colony in Barry County--Payments
to the Ottawas of Maumee, Ohio--Temperance--Assassination of
young Aitkin by an Indian at Leech Lake--Mackinack mission
abandoned--Wyandots complain of a trespass from a mill-dam--Mohegans
of Green Bay apply for aid on their way to visit Stockbridge,
Mass.--Mohegan traditions--Historical Society--Programme of a tour in
the East--Parental disobedience--Indian treaties--Dr. Warren's
Collection of Crania--Hebrew language--Geology--"Goods offer"--Mrs.
Jameson--Mastodon's tooth in Michigan--Captain Marryatt--The Icelandic
language--Munsees--Speech of Little Bear Skin chief, or Mukonsewyan.


Notions of foreigners about America--Mrs. Jameson--Appraisements of
Indian property--Le Jeune's early publication on the Iroquois--Troops
for Florida--A question of Indian genealogy--Annuity payments--Indians
present a claim of salvage--Death of the Prophet Chusco--Indian
sufferings--Gen. Dodge's treaty--Additional debt claims--Gazetteer of
Michigan--Stone's Life of Brant--University of Michigan--Christian
Keepsake--Indian etymology--Small-pox breaks out on the
Missouri--Missionary operations in the north-west--Treaty of Flint River
with the Saginaws.


Tradition of Pontiac's conspiracy and death--Patriot war--Expedition of
a body of 250 men to Boisblanc--Question of schools and missions among
the Indians--Indian affairs--Storm at Michilimackinack--Life of
Brant--Interpreterships and Indian language--A Mohegan--Affair of the
"Caroline"--Makons--Plan of names for new towns--Indian legends--Florida
war--Patriot war--Arrival of Gen. Scott on the frontiers--Resume of the
difficulties of the Florida war--Natural history and climate of
Florida--Death of Dr. Lutner.


Indians tampered with at Grand River--Small-pox in the Missouri
Valley--Living history at home--Sunday schools--Agriculture--Indian
names--Murder of the Glass family--Dr. Morton's inquiries respecting
Indian crania--Necessity of one's writing his name plain--Michigan
Gazetteer in preparation--Attempt to make the Indian a political
pack-horse--Return to the Agency of Michilimackinack--Indian skulls
phrenologically examined--J. Toulmin Smith--Cherokee question--Trip to
Grand River--Treaty and annuity payments--The department accused of
injustice to the Indians.


Missions--Hard times, consequent on over-speculation--Question
of the rise of the lakes--Scientific theory--Trip to Washington--Trip
to Lake Superior and the Straits of St. Mary--John Tanner--Indian
improvements north of Michilimackinack--Great cave--Isle
Nabiquon--Superstitious ideas of the Indians connected with
females--Scotch royals--McKenzie--Climate of the United States--Foreign
coins and natural history--Antique fort in Adams County, Ohio--Royal
Society of Northern Antiquaries--Statistics of lands purchased from
the Indians--Sun's eclipse--Government payments.


Descendant of one spared at the massacre of St. Bartholomew's--Death of
Gen. Clarke--Massacre of Peurifoy's family in Florida--Gen. Harrison's
historical discourse--Death of an emigrant on board a steamboat--Murder
of an Indian--History of Mackinack--Incidents of the treaty of 29th
July, 1837--Mr. Fleming's account of the missionaries leaving
Georgia, and of the improvements of the Indians west--Death
of Black Hawk--Incidents of his life and character--Dreadful
cruelty of the Pawnees in burning a female captive--Cherokee
emigration--Phrenology--Return to Detroit--University--Indian
affairs--Cherokee removal--Indians shot at Fort Snelling.


Embark for New York--A glimpse of Texan affairs--Toltecan
monuments--Indian population of Texas--Horrible effects of drinking
ardent spirits among the Indians--Mr. Gallatin--His opinions
on various subjects of philosophy and history--Visit to the
South--Philadelphia--Washington--Indian affairs--Debt claim--Leave to
visit Europe--Question of neutrality--Mr. Van Buren--American
imaginative literature--Knickerbocker--Resume of the Indian question of


Sentiments of loyalty--Northern Antiquarian Society--Indian statistics--
Rhode Island Historical Society--Gen. Macomb--Lines in the Odjibwa
language by a mother on placing her children at school--Mehemet
Ali--Mrs. Jameson's opinion on publishers and publishing--Her opinion of
my Indian legends--False report of a new Indian language--Indian
compound words--Delafield's Antiquities--American Fur Company--State of
Indian disturbances in Texas and Florida--Causes of the failure of the
war in Florida, by an officer--Death of an Indian chief--Mr. Bancroft's
opinion on the Dighton Rook inscription--Skroellings not in New
England--Mr. Gallatin's opinion on points of Esquimaux language,
connected with our knowledge of our archaeology.


Workings of unshackled mind--Comity of the American Addison--Lake
periodical fluctuations--American antiquities--Indian doings in Florida
and Texas--Wood's New England's Prospect--Philological and historical
comments--Death of Ningwegon--Creeks--Brothertons made citizens--Charles
Fenno Hoffman--Indian names for places on the Hudson--Christians
Indians--Etymology--Theodoric--Appraisements of Indian property--Algic
researches--Plan and object.


American antiquities--Michilimackinack a summer resort--Death
of Ogimau Keegido--Brothertons--An Indian election--Cherokee
murders--Board of Regents of the Michigan University--Archaeological
facts and rumors--Woman of the Green Valley--A new variety of
fish--Visits of the Austrian and Sardinian Ministers to the
U.S.--Mr. Gallup--Sioux murders--A remarkable display of aurora
borealis--Ottawas of Maumee--Extent of auroral phenomena--Potawattomie
cruelty--Mineralogy--Death of Ondiaka--Chippewa tradition--Fruit
trees--Stone's preparation of the Life and Times of Sir William
Johnson--Dialectic difference between the language of the Ottawas
and the Chippewas--Philological remarks on the Indian languages--Mr.
T. Hulbert.


Popular error respecting the Indian character and history--Remarkable
superstition--Theodoric--A missionary choosing a wild flower--Piety
and money--A fiscal collapse in Michigan--Mission of Grand
Traverse--Simplicity of the school-girl's hopes--Singular theory of the
Indians respecting story-telling--Oldest allegory on record--Political
aspects--Seneca treaty--Mineralogy--Farming and mission station on
Lake Michigan.


Death of Col. Lawrence Schoolcraft--Perils of the revolutionary
era--Otwin--Mr. Bancroft's history in the feature of its Indian
relations--A tradition of a noted chief on Lake Michigan--The collection
of information for a historical volume--Opinions of Mr. Paulding, Dr.
Webster, Mr. Duer, John Quincy Adams--Holyon and Alholyon--Family
monument--Mr. Stevenson, American Minister at London--Joanna


Philology of the Indian tongues--Its difficulties--Belles
lettres and money--Michigan and Georgia--Number of species
in natural history--Etymology--Nebahquam's dream--Trait in Indian
legends--Pictography--Numeration of the races of Polynesia and the Upper
Lakes--Love of one's native tongue--Death of Gen. Harrison--Rush for
office on his inauguration--Ornamental and shade trees--Historical
collections--Mission of "Old Wing".


Popular common school education--Iroquois name for Mackinack--Its
scenic beauties poetically considered--Phenomenon of two currents
of adverse wind meeting--Audubon's proposed work on American
quadrupeds--Adario--Geographical range of the mocking-bird--Removal from
the West to the city of New York--An era accomplished--Visit to Europe.




* * * * *

The early period at which Mr. Schoolcraft entered the field of
observation in the United States as a naturalist; the enterprise he has
from the outset manifested in exploring the geography and geology of the
Great West; and his subsequent researches as an ethnologist, in
investigating the Indian languages and history, are well known to the
public, and may be appropriately referred to as the grounds of the
present design, in furnishing some brief and connected sketches of his
life, family, studies, and literary labors. He is an example of what
early and continued zeal, talent, and diligence, united with energy of
character and consistent moral habits, may accomplish in the cause of
letters and science, by the force of solitary application, without the
advantage of hereditary wealth, the impulse of patronage, or the
_prestige_ of early academic honors. Ardent in the pursuit of whatever
engaged his attention, quick in the observation of natural phenomena,
and assiduous in the accumulation of facts; with an ever present sense
of their practical and useful bearing--few men, in our modern history,
have accomplished so much, in the lines of research he has chosen, to
render science popular and letters honorable. To him we are indebted for
our first accounts of the geological constitution, and the mineral
wealth and resources of the great valley beyond the Alleghanies, and he
is the discoverer of the actual source of the Mississippi River in
Itasca Lake. For many years, beginning with 1817, he stirred up a zeal
for natural history from one end of the land to the other, and, after
his settlement in the West, he was a point of approach for
correspondents, as his personal memoirs denote, not only on these
topics, but for all that relates to the Indian tribes, in consequence of
which he has been emphatically pronounced "The Red Man's FRIEND."

Mr. Schoolcraft is a native of New York, and is the descendant in the
third generation, by the paternal line, of an Englishman. James Calcraft
had served with reputation in the armies of the Duke of Marlborough
during the reign of Queen Anne, and was present in that general's
celebrated triumphs on the continent, in one of which he lost an eye,
from the premature explosion of the priming of a cannon. Owing to these
military services he enjoyed and cherished a high reputation for bravery
and loyalty.

He was a descendant of a family of that name, who came to England with
William the Conqueror--and settled under grants from the crown in
Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire--three separate branches of the family
having received the honor of knighthood for their military services.

In the reign of George the Second, consequently after 1727, he embarked
at Liverpool in a detachment of veteran troops, intended to act against
Canada. He was present in the operations connected with the building of
Forts Anne and Edwards, on the North River, and Fort William Henry on
Lake George.

At the conclusion of these campaigns he settled in Albany county, N.Y.,
which has continued to be the residence of the family for more than a
century. Being a man of education, he at first devoted himself to the
business of a land surveyor, in which capacity he was employed by Col.
Vroman, to survey the boundaries of his tract of land in the then
frontier settlement of Schoharie. At the latter place he married the
only daughter and child of Christian Camerer, one of the Palatines--a
body of determined Saxons who had emigrated from the Upper Rhine in
1712, under the assurance or expectation of a patent from Queen Anne.[1]
this marriage he had eight children--namely, James, Christian, John,
Margaret, Elizabeth, Lawrence, William, and Helen.

[Footnote 1: Simms' Schoharie.]

For many years during his old age, he conducted a large school in this
settlement, being the first English school that was taught in that then
frontier part of the country. This appears to be the only tenable
reason that has been assigned for the change of the family name from
Calcraft to Schoolcraft.

When far advanced in life, he went to live with his son William, on the
New York grants on Otter Creek, in the rich agricultural region south of
Lake Champlain--which is now included in Vermont. Here he died at the
great age of one hundred and two, having been universally esteemed for
his loyalty to his king, his personal courage and energy, and the
uprightness of his character.

After the death of his father, when the revolutionary troubles
commenced, William, his youngest son, removed into Lower Canada. The
other children all remained in Albany County, except Christian, who,
when the jangling land disputes and conflicts of titles arose in
Schoharie, followed Conrad Wiser, Esq. (a near relative), to the banks
of the Susquehanna. He appears eventually to have pushed his way to
Buchanan River, one of the sources of the Monongahela, in Lewis County,
Virginia, where some of his descendants must still reside. It appears
that they became deeply involved in the Indian wars which the Shawnees
kept up on the frontiers of Virginia. In this struggle they took an
active part, and were visited with the severest retribution by the
marauding Indians. It is stated by Withers that, between 1770 and 1779,
not less than fifteen of this family, men, women, and children, were
killed or taken prisoners, and carried into captivity.[2]

[Footnote 2: _Chronicles of the Border Warfare in North-western
Virginia_. By Alex Withers, Clarksbury, Virginia, 1831. 1 vol. 12mo.
page 319.]

Of the other children of the original progenitor, James, the eldest son,
died a bachelor. Lawrence was the ancestor of the persons of this name
in Schoharie County. Elizabeth and Helen married, in that county, in the
families of Rose and Haines, and, Margaret, the eldest daughter, married
Col. Green Brush, of the British army, at the house of Gen. Bradstreet,
Albany. Her daughter, Miss Francis Brush, married the celebrated Col.
Ethan Allen, after his return from the Tower of London.

JOHN, the third son, settled in Watervleit, in the valley of the
Norman's Kill--or, as the Indians called it, Towasentha--Albany County.
He served in a winter's campaign against Oswego, in 1757, and took part
also in the successful siege and storming of Fort Niagara, under Gen.
Prideaux [3] and Sir William Johnson, in the summer of 1759. He married
a Miss Anna Barbara Boss, by whom he had three children, namely, Anne,
Lawrence, and John. He had the local reputation of great intrepidity,
strong muscular power, and unyielding decision of character. He died at
the age of 64. LAWRENCE, his eldest son, had entered his seventeenth
year when the American Revolution broke out. He embraced the patriotic
sentiments of that era with great ardor, and was in the first
revolutionary procession that marched through and canvassed the
settlement with martial music, and the Committee of Safety at its head,
to determine who was Whig or Tory.

[Footnote 3: This officer was shot in the trenches, which devolved the
command on Sir William.]

The military element had always commanded great respect in the family,
and he did not wait to be older, but enrolled himself among the
defenders of his country.

He was present, in 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was read
to the troops drawn up in hollow square at Ticonderoga. He marched under
Gen. Schuyler to the relief of Montgomery, at Quebec, and continued to
be an indomitable actor in various positions, civil and military, in the
great drama of the Revolution during its entire continuance.

In 1777, the darkest and most hopeless period of our revolutionary
contest, he led a reinforcement from Albany to Fort Stanwix, up the
Mohawk Valley, then alive with hostile Indians and Tories, and escaped
them all, and he was in this fort, under Col. Ganzevoort, during its
long and close siege by Col. St. Leger and his infuriated Indian allies.
The whole embodied militia of the Mohawk Valley marched to its relief,
under the bold and patriotic Gen. Herkimer. They were met by the
Mohawks, Onondagas, and Senecas, and British loyalists, lying in ambush
on the banks of the Oriskany, eight miles from the fort. A dreadful
battle ensued. Gen. Herkimer was soon wounded in the thigh, his leg
broken, and his horse shot under him. With the coolness of a Blucher, he
then directed his saddle to be placed on a small knoll, and, drawing out
his tobacco-box, lit his pipe and calmly smoked while his brave and
unconquerable men fought around him.

This was one of the most stoutly contested battles of the Revolution.
Campbell says: "This battle made orphans of half the inhabitants of the
Mohawk Valley." [4] It was a desperate struggle between neighbors, who
were ranged on opposite sides as Whig and Tory, and it was a triumph,
Herkimer remaining master of the field. During the hottest of the
battle, Col. Willett stepped on to the esplanade of the fort, where the
troops were paraded, and requested all who were willing to fight for
liberty and join a party for the relief of Herkimer, to step forward one
pace. Schoolcraft was the first to advance. Two hundred and fifty men
followed him. An immediate sally was made. They carried the camp of Sir
John Johnson; took all his baggage, military-chest, and papers; drove
him through the Mohawk River; and then turned upon the howling Mohawks
and swept and fired their camp. The results of this battle were
brilliant. The plunder was immense. The lines of the besiegers, which
had been thinned by the forces sent to Oriskany, were carried, and the
noise of firing and rumors of a reinforcement, animated the hearts of
the indomitable men of that day.

[Footnote 4: Annals of Teyon County.]

After the victory, Herkimer was carried by his men, in a litter, thirty
or forty miles to his own house, below the present town of Herkimer,
where he died, from an unskillful amputation, having just concluded
reading to his family the 38th Psalm.

But the most dangerous enemy to the cause of freedom was not to be found
in the field, but among neighbors who were lurking at midnight around
the scenes of home. The districts of Albany and Schoharie was infested
by Tories, and young Schoolcraft was ever on the _qui vive_ to ferret
out this most insidious and cruel of the enemy's power. On one occasion
he detected a Tory, who had returned from Canada with a lieutenant's
commission in his pocket. He immediately clapped spurs to his horse, and
reported him to Gov. George Clinton, the Chairman of the Committee of
Safety at Albany. Within three days the lieutenant was seized, tried,
condemned and hanged. Indeed, a volume of anecdotes might be written of
Lawrence Schoolcraft's revolutionary life; suffice it to say, that he
was a devoted, enthusiastic, enterprizing soldier and patriot, and came
out of the contest with an adjutant's commission and a high reputation
for bravery.

About the close of the Revolutionary war, he married Miss Margaret Anne
Barbara Rowe, a native of Fishkill, Duchess County, New York, by whom he
had thirteen children.

His disciplinary knowledge and tact in the government of men, united to
amenity of manners, led to his selection in 1802, by the Hon. Jeremiah
Van Rensselaer, as director of his extensive glass works at Hamilton,
near Albany, which he conducted with high reputation so many years,
during which time he bore several important civil and military trusts in
the county. The importance of this manufacture to the new settlements at
that early day, was deeply felt, and his ability and skill in the
management of these extensive works were widely known and appreciated.

When the war of 1812 appeared inevitable, Gen. Ganzevoort, his old
commanding officer at Fort Stanwix, who was now at the head of the U.S.
army, placed him in command of the first regiment of uniformed
volunteers, who were mustered into service for that conflict. His
celebrity in the manufacture of glass, led capitalists in Western New
York to offer him large inducements to remove there, where he first
introduced this manufacture during the settlement of that new and
attractive part of the State, in which a mania for manufactories was
then rife. In this new field the sphere of his activity and skill were
greatly enlarged, and he enjoyed the consideration and respect of his
townsmen for many years. He died at Vernon, Oneida County, in 1840, at
the age of eighty-four, having lived long to enjoy the success of that
independence for which he had ardently thirsted and fought. A handsome
monument on the banks of the Skenando bears the inscription

"A patriot, a Christian, and an honest man."

A man who was never governed by expediency but by right, and in all his
expressions of opinion, original and fearless of consequences. These
details of the life and character of Col. Lawrence Schoolcraft, appeared
proper in proceeding to speak of one of his sons, who has for so
considerable a period occupied the public attention as an actor in other
fields, requiring not less energy, decision, enterprise and perseverance
of character.

Henry Rowe Schoolcraft was born in Albany County, on the 28th of March,
1793, during the second presidential term of Washington. His childhood
and youth were spent in the village of Hamilton, a place once renowned
for its prosperous manufactories, but which has long since verified the
predictions of the bard--

"That trade's proud empire hastes to swift decay,
As ocean sweeps the labored mole away."

Its location is on one of the beautiful and sparkling affluents of the
Towasentha or Norman's Kill, popularly called the Hongerkill, which he
has in one of his occasional publications called the Iosco, from an
aboriginal term. That picturesque and lofty arm of the Catskills, which
is called the Helderberg, bounds the landscape on the west and south,
while the Pine Plains occupy the form of a crescent, between the Mohawk
and the Hudson, bearing the cities of Albany and Schenectady
respectively on its opposite edges. Across this crescent-like Plain of
Pines, by a line of sixteen miles, was the ancient Iroquois war and
trading path. The Towasentha lies on the south borders of this plain,
and was, on the first settlement of the country, the seat of an Indian
population. Here, during the official term of Gen. Hamilton, whose name
the village bears, the capitalists of Albany planted a manufacturing
village. The position is one where the arable forest and farming lands
are bounded by the half arabic waste of the pine plains of the
Honicroisa, whose deep gorges are still infested by the wolf and smaller
animals. The whole valley of the Norman's Kill abounds in lovely and
rural scenes, and quiet retreats and waterfalls, which are suited to
nourish poetic tastes. In these he indulged from his thirteenth year,
periodically writing, and as judgment ripened, destroying volumes of
manuscripts, while at the same time he evinced uncommon diligence at his
books and studies. The poetic talent was, indeed, strongly developed.
His power of versification was early and well formed, and the pieces
which were published anonymously at a maturer period, as "Geehale," and
"The Iroquois," &c., have long been embodied without a name in our
poetic literature. But this faculty, of which we have been permitted to
see the manuscript of some elaborate and vigorous trains of thought, did
not impede a decided intellectual progress in sterner studies in the
sciences and arts. His mind was early imbued with a thirst of knowledge,
and he made such proficiency as to attract the notice of persons of
education and taste. There was developed, too, in him, an early bias
for the philosophy of language. Mr. Van Kleeck, a townsman, in a recent
letter to Dr. R.W. Griswold, says:--

"I revert with great pleasure to the scenes of my residence, in the part
of Albany County which was also the residence of Henry R. Schoolcraft. I
went to reside at the village of Hamilton, in the town of Guilderland,
in 1803. Col. Lawrence Schoolcraft, the father of Henry, had then the
direction of the large manufactories of glass, for which that place was
long noted. The standing of young Henry, I remember, at his school, for
scholarship, was then very noted, and his reputation in the village most
prominent. He was spoken of as a lad of great promise, and a very
learned boy at twelve. Mr. Robert Buchanan, a Scotchman, and a man of
learning, took much pride in his advances, and finally came to his
father and told him that he had taught him all he knew. In Latin, I
think he was taught by Cleanthus Felt. He was at this age very arduous
and assiduous in the pursuit of knowledge. He discovered great
mechanical ingenuity. He drew and painted in water colors, and attracted
the notice of the Hon. Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, Lt. Governor of the
State, who became so much interested in his advancement, that he took
the initial steps to have him placed with a master. At an early age he
manifested a taste for mineralogy and natural science, which was then (I
speak of about 1808) almost unknown in the country. He was generally to
be found at home, at his studies, when other boys of his age were
attending horseraces, cock-fights, and other vicious amusements for
which the village was famous.

"At this time he organized with persevering effort, a literary society,
in which discussions took place by the intelligent inhabitants on
subjects of popular and learned interests. At an early age, I think
sixteen, he went to the west, and the first that was afterwards heard of
him was his bringing to New York a splendid collection of the mineralogy
and natural history of the west." [5]

[Footnote 5: Letter of L.L. Van Kleeck, Esq., to Dr. R.W. Griswold, June
4th, 1851.]

In a part of the country where books were scarce, it was not easy to
supply this want. He purchased several editions of English classics at
the sale of the valuable library of Dirck Ten Broeck, Esq., of Albany,
and his room in a short time showed the elements of a library and a
cabinet of minerals, and drawings, which were arranged with the greatest
care and neatness. Having finished his primary studies, with high
reputation, he prepared, under an improved instructor, to enter Union
College. It was at the age of fifteen that he set on foot, as Mr. Van
Kleeck mentions, an association for mental improvement. These meetings
drew together persons of literary tastes and acquirements in the
vicinity. The late John V. Veeder, Wm. McKown, and L.L. Van Kleeck,
Esqs., Mr. Robert Alsop, the late John Schoolcraft, Esq., G. Batterman,
John Sloan, and other well-known gentlemen of the town, all of whom were
his seniors in age, attended these meetings.

Mineralogy was at that time an almost unknown science in the United
States. At first the heavy drift stratum of Albany County, as seen in
the bed of Norman's Kill; and its deep cuttings in the slate and other
rocks, were his field of mineralogical inquiries. Afterwards, while
living at Lake Dunmore, in Addison County, Vermont, he revised and
systematized the study under the teaching of Professor Hall, of
Middlebury College, to which he added chemistry, natural philosophy and
medicine. Having now the means, he erected a chemical furnace, and
ordered books, apparatus, and tests from the city of New York. By these
means he perfected the arts which were under his direction in the large
way; and he made investigations of the phenomena of the fusion of
various bodies, which he prepared for the press under the name of
Vitriology, an elaborate work of research. Amongst the facts brought to
light, it is apprehended, were revealed the essential principles of an
art which is said to have been discovered and lost in the days of
Tiberius Caesar.

He taught himself the Hebrew and German, with the aid only of grammars
and lexicons; and, with the assistance of instructors, the reading of
French. His assiduity, his love of method, the great value he attached
to time, and his perseverance in whatever study or research he
undertook, were indeed indomitable, and serve to prove how far they will
carry the mind, and how much surer tests they are of ultimate usefulness
and attainment, than the most dazzling genius without these moral props.
Self-dependent, self-acting, and self-taught, it is apprehended that few
men, with so little means and few advantages, have been in so peculiar a
sense the architect of their own fortunes.

He commenced writing for the newspapers and periodicals in 1808, in
which year he also published a poetic tribute to a friend, which excited
local notice, and was attributed to a person of literary celebrity. For,
notwithstanding the gravity of his studies and researches, he had
indulged an early poetic taste for a series of years, by compositions of
an imaginative character, and might, it should seem, have attained
distinction in that way. His remarks in the "_Literary and Philosophical
Repertory_," on the evolvement of hydrogen gas from the strata of
Western New York, under the name of Burning Springs, evinced an early
aptitude for philosophical discussion. In a notice of some
archaeological discoveries made in Hamburgh, Erie County, which were
published at Utica in 1817, he first denoted the necessity of
discriminating between the antique French and European, and the
aboriginal period in our antiquities; for the want of which
discrimination, casual observers and discoverers of articles in our
tumuli are perpetually over-estimating the state of ancient art.

About 1816 he issued proposals, and made arrangements to publish his
elaborated work on vitreology, which, so far as published, was
favorably received.

In 1817 he was attracted to go to the Valley of the Mississippi. A new
world appeared to be opening for American enterprise there. Its extent
and resources seemed to point it out as the future residence of
millions; and he determined to share in the exploration of its
geography, geology, mineralogy and general ethnology, for in this latter
respect also it offered, by its curious mounds and antiquities and
existing Indian tribes, a field of peculiar and undeveloped interest.

He approached this field of observation by descending the Alleghany
River from Western New York to the Ohio. He made Pittsburgh, Cincinnati,
and Louisville centres of observation. At the latter place he published
in the papers an account of the discovery of a body of the black oxide
of manganese, on the banks of the Great Sandy River of Kentucky, and
watched the return papers from the old Atlantic States, to see whether
notices of this kind would be copied and approved. Finding this test
favorable, he felt encouraged in his mineralogical researches. Having
descended the Ohio to its mouth one thousand miles, by its involutions
below Pittsburgh, and entered the _Mississippi_, he urged his way up
the strong and turbid channel of the latter, in barges, by slow stages
of five or six miles a day, to St. Louis. This slowness of travel gave
him an opportunity of exploring on foot the whole of the Missouri shore,
so noted, from early Spanish and French days, for its mines. After
visiting the mounds of Illinois, he recrossed the Mississippi into the
mineral district of Missouri. Making Potosi the centre of his survey and
the deposit of his collections, he executed a thorough examination of
that district, where he found some seventy mines scattered over a large
surface of the public domain, which yielded, at the utmost, by a very
desultory process, about three millions of pounds of lead annually.
Having explored this region very minutely, he wished to ascertain its
geological connection with the Ozark and other highland ranges, which
spread at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, and he planned an exploratory
expedition into that region. This bold and hazardous journey he
organized and commenced at Potosi early in the month of November, 1818,
and prosecuted it under many disadvantages during that fall and the
succeeding winter. Several expert and practiced woodsmen were to have
been of this party, but when the time for setting out came all but two
failed, under various excuses. One of these was finally obliged to turn
back from _Mine au Breton_ with a continued attack of fever and ague.
Ardent in the plan, and with a strong desire to extend the dominions of
science, he determined to push on with a single companion, and a single
pack-horse, which bore the necessary camp conveniences, and was led
alternately by each from day to day. A pocket compass guided their march
by day, and they often slept in vast caverns in limestone cliffs at
night. Gigantic springs of the purest crystaline water frequently gushed
up from the soil or rocks. This track laid across highlands, which
divide the confluent waters of the Missouri from those of the
Mississippi. Indians, wild beasts, starvation, thirst, were the dangers
of the way. This journey, which led into the vast and desolate parts of
Arkansas, was replete with incidents and adventures of the
highest interest.

While in Missouri, and after his return from this adventurous journey,
he drew up a description of the mines, geology, and mineralogy of the
country. Conceiving a plan for the better management of the lead mines
as a part of the public domain, he determined to visit Washington, to
submit it to the government. Packing up his collections of mineralogy
and geology, he ordered them to the nearest point of embarkation on the
Mississippi, and, getting on board a steamer at St. Genevieve, proceeded
to New Orleans. Thence he took shipping for New York, passing through
the Straits of Florida, and reached his destination during the
prevalence of the yellow fever in that city. He improved the time of his
quarantine at Staten Island by exploring its mineralogy and geology,
where he experienced a kind and appreciating reception from the health
officer, Dr. De Witt.

His reception also from scientific men at New York was most favorable,
and produced a strong sensation. Being the first person who had brought
a collection of its scientific resources from the Mississippi Valley,
its exhibition and diffusion in private cabinets gave an impulse to
these studies in the country.

Men of science and gentlemen of enlarged minds welcomed him. Drs.
Mitchell and Hosack, who were then at the summit of their influence, and
many other leading and professional characters extended a hand of
cordial encouragement and appreciation. Gov. De Witt Clinton was one of
his earliest and most constant friends. The Lyceum of Natural History
and the New York Historical Society admitted him to membership.

Late in the autumn of 1819, he published his work on the mines and
mineral resources of Missouri, and with this publication as an exponent
of his views, he proceeded to Washington, where he was favorably
received by President Monroe, and by Mr. Calhoun and Mr. Crawford,
members of his cabinet. At the request of the latter he drew up a memoir
on the reorganization of the western mines, which was well received.
Some legislation appeared necessary. Meantime Mr. Calhoun, who was
struck by the earnestness of his views and scientific enterprise,
offered him the situation of geologist and mineralogist to an exploring
expedition, which the war department was about dispatching from Detroit
to the sources of the Mississippi under the orders of Gen. Cass.

This he immediately accepted, and, after spending a few weeks at the
capital, returned in Feb., 1820, to New York, to await the opening of
the interior navigation. As soon as the lakes opened he proceeded to
Detroit, and in the course of two or three weeks embarked on this
celebrated tour of exploration. The great lake basins were visited and
explored, the reported copper mines on Lake Superior examined, and the
Upper Mississippi entered at Sandy Lake, and, after tracing it in its
remote mazes to the highest practical point, he descended its channel by
St. Anthony's Falls to Prairie du Chien and the Du Buque lead mines. The
original outward track north-westward was then regained, through the
valleys of the Wisconsin and Fox Rivers, and the extended shores of Lake
Michigan and Huron elaborately traced. In this he was accompanied by the
late Professor David B. Douglass, who collected the materials for a
correct map of the great lakes and the sources of the Mississippi.

It was late in the autumn when Mr. Schoolcraft returned to his residence
at New York, when he was solicited to publish his "narrative journal."
This he completed early in the spring of 1821. This work, which evinces
accurate and original powers of observation, established his reputation
as a scientific and judicious traveler. Copies of it found their way to
England, where it was praised by Sir Humphrey Davy and the veteran
geographer, Major Rennel. His report to the Secretary of War on the
copper mines of Lake Superior, was published in advance by the American
Journal of Science, and by order of the Senate of the United States, and
gives the earliest scientific account of the mineral affluence of the
basin of that lake. His geological report to the same department made
subsequently, traces the formations of that part of the continent, which
gives origin to the Mississippi River, and denotes the latitudes where
it is crossed by the primitive and volcanic rocks. The ardor and
enthusiasm which he evinced in the cause of science, and his personal
enterprise in traversing vast regions, awakened a corresponding spirit;
and the publication of his narratives had the effect to popularize the
subject of mineralogy and geology throughout the country.

In 1821, he executed a very extensive journey through the Miami of the
Lakes and the River Wabash, tracing those streams minutely to the
entrance of the latter into the Ohio River. He then proceeded to explore
the Oshawanoe Mountains, near Cave-in-Rock, with their deposits of the
fluate of lime, galena, and other mineral treasures. From this range he
crossed over the grand prairies of the Illinois to St. Louis, revisited
the mineral district of Potosi, and ascended the Illinois River and its
north-west fork, the _Des Plaines_, to Chicago, where a large body of
Indians were congregated to confer on the cession of their lands. At
these important conferences, he occupied the position of secretary. He
published an account of the incidents of this exploratory journey, under
the title of _Travels in the Central Portions of the Mississippi
Valley_. He found, in passing up the river _Des Plaines_, a remarkably
well characterized specimen of a fossil tree, completely converted to
stone, of which he prepared a descriptive memoir, which had the effect
further to direct the public mind to geological phenomena.

We are not prepared to pursue minutely these first steps of his
energetic course in the early investigation of our natural history and
geography. In 1822, while the lead-mine problem was under advisement at
Washington, he was appointed by Mr. Monroe to the semi-diplomatic
position of Agent for Indian Affairs on the North-west Frontiers. This
opened a new field of inquiry, and, while it opposed no bar to the
pursuits of natural science, it presented a broad area of historical and
ethnological research. On this he entered with great ardor, and an event
of generally controlling influence on human pursuits occurred to enlarge
these studies, in his marriage to Miss Jane Johnston, a highly
cultivated young lady, who was equally well versed in the English and
Algonquin languages, being a descendant, by the mother's side, of
Wabojeeg, a celebrated war sachem, and ruling cacique of his nation. Her
father, Mr. John Johnston, was a gentleman of the highest connections,
fortune, and standing, from the north of Ireland, who had emigrated to
America during the presidency of Washington. He possessed great
enthusiasm and romance of character, united with poetic tastes, and
became deeply enamored of the beautiful daughter of Wabojeeg, married
her, and had eight children. His eldest daughter, Jane, was sent, at
nine years of age, to Europe to be thoroughly educated under the care of
his relatives there, and, when she returned to America, was placed at
the head of her father's household, where her refined dignified manners
and accomplishments attracted the notice and admiration of numerous
visitors to that seat of noble hospitality. Mr. Schoolcraft was among
the first suitors for her hand, and married her in October, 1823.

Mr. Johnston was a fine _belles lettres_ scholar, and entered readily
into the discussions arising from the principles of the Indian
languages, and plans for their improvement.

Mr. Schoolcraft's marriage into an aboriginal family gave no small
stimulus to these inquiries, which were pursued under such singularly
excellent advantages, and with untiring ardor in the seclusion of
Elmwood and Michilimackinack, for a period of nearly twenty years, and,
until his wife's lamented death, which happened during a visit to her
sister, at Dundas, Canada West, in the year 1842, and while he himself
was absent on a visit to England. Mr. Schoolcraft has not, at any period
of his life, sought advancement in political life, but executed with
energy and interest various civic offices, which were freely offered to
him. From 1828 to 1832, he was an efficient member of the Territorial
Legislature, where he introduced a system of township and county names,
formed on the basis of the aboriginal vocabulary, and also procured the
incorporation of a historical society, and, besides managing the
finances, as chairman of an appropriate committee, he introduced and
secured the passage of several laws respecting the treatment of the
native tribes.

In 1828, the Navy Department offered him a prominent situation in the
scientific corps of the United States Exploring Expedition to the South
Seas. This was urged in several letters written to him at St. Mary's, by
Mr. Reynolds, with the approbation of Mr. Southard, then Secretary of
the Navy. However flattering such an offer was to his ambition, his
domestic relations did not permit his acceptance of the place. He
appeared to occupy his advanced position on the frontier solely to
further the interests of natural history, American geography, and
growing questions of philosophic moment.

These particulars will enable the reader to appreciate the advantages
with which he commenced and pursued the study of the Indian languages,
and American ethnology. He made a complete lexicon of the Algonquin
language, and reduced its grammar to a philosophical system. "It is
really surprising," says Gen. Cass, in a letter, in 1824, in view of
these researches, "that so little valuable information has been given to
the world on these subjects."

Mr. Duponceau, President of the American Philosophical Society,
translated two of Mr. Schoolcraft's lectures before the Algic Society,
on the grammatical structure of the Indian language, into French, for
the National Institute of France, where the prize for the best essay on
Algonquin language was awarded to him. He writes to Dr. James, in 1834,
in reference to these lectures: "His description of the composition of
words in the Chippewa language, is the most elegant I have yet seen. He
is an able and most perspicuous writer, and treats his subject

Approbation from these high sources had only the effect to lead him to
renewed diligence and deeper exertions to further the interests of
natural science, geography, and ethnology; and, while engaged in the
active duties of an important government office, he maintained an
extensive correspondence with men of science, learning, and enterprise
throughout the Union.

The American Philosophical, Geological, and Antiquarian Societies, with
numerous state and local institutions, admitted him to membership. The
Royal Geographical Society of London, the Royal Society of Northern
Antiquaries at Copenhagen, and the Ethnological Society of Paris,
inscribed his name among their foreign members. In 1846, the College of
Geneva conferred on him the degree of LL.D.

While the interests of learning and science thus occupied his private
hours, the state of Indian affairs on the western frontiers called for
continued exertions, and journeys, and expeditions through remote
regions. The introduction of a fast accumulating population into the
Mississippi Valley, and the great lake basins, continually subjected the
Indian tribes to causes of uneasiness, and to a species of reflection,
of which they had had no examples in the long centuries of their
hunter state.

In 1825, 1826, and 1827, he attended convocations of the tribes at very
remote points, which imposed the necessity of passing through forests,
wildernesses, and wild portages, where none but the healthy, the robust,
the fearless, and the enterprising can go.

In 1831, circumstances inclined the tribes on the Upper Mississippi to
hostilities and extensive combinations. He was directed by the
Government to conduct an expedition through the country lying south and
west of Lake Superior, reaching from its banks, which have from the
earliest dates been the fastnesses of numerous warlike tribes. This he
accomplished satisfactorily, visiting the leading chiefs, and counseling
them to the policy of peace.

In 1832, the Sauks and Foxes resolved to re-occupy lands which they had
previously relinquished in the Rock River Valley. This brought them into
collision with the citizens and militia of Illinois. The result was a
general conflict, which, from its prominent Indian leader, has been
called the Black Hawk war. From accounts of the previous year, its
combinations embraced _nine_ of the leading tribes. It was uncertain how
far they extended. Mr. Schoolcraft was selected by the Indian and War
Department, to conduct a second expedition into the region embracing the
entire Upper Mississippi, north and west of St. Anthony's Falls. He
pursued this stream to the points to which it had been explored in 1806,
by Lieut. Pike, and in 1820, by Gen. Cass; and finding the state of the
water favorable for ascending, traced the river up to its ultimate
forks, and to its actual source in Itasca Lake. This point he reached on
the 23d July, 1832; but a fraction under 300 years after the discovery
of its lower portions by De Soto. This was Mr. Schoolcraft's crowning
geographical discovery, of which he published an account, with maps, in
1833. He is believed to be the only man in America who has seen the
Mississippi from its source in Itasca Lake to its mouth in the Gulf
of Mexico.

In 1839, he published his collection of oral legends from the Indian
wigwams, under the general cognomen of _Algic Researches_. In these
volumes is revealed an amount of the Indian idiosyncrasies, of what may
be called their philosophy and mode of reasoning on life, death, and
immortality, and their singular modes of reasoning and action, which
makes this work one of the most unique and original contributions to
American literature. His love of investigation has always been a
characteristic trait.

The writer of this sketch, who is thoroughly acquainted with Mr.
Schoolcraft's character, habits, and feelings, has long regarded him the
complete embodiment of industry and temperance in all things. He rises
early and retires early, eats moderately of simple food, never uses a
drop of stimulant, and does not even smoke a cigar. In temperament he is
among the happiest of human beings, always looks at the bright side of
circumstances--loves to hear of the prosperity of his neighbors, and
hopes for favorable turns of character, even in the most depraved. The
exaltation of his intellectual pursuits, and his sincere piety, have
enabled him to rise above all the petty disquietudes of everyday life,
and he seems utterly incapable of envy or detraction, or the indulgence
of any ignoble or unmanly passions. Indeed, one of his most intimate
friends remarked "that he was the _beau-ideal_ of dignified manliness
and truthfulness of character." His manners possess all that
unostentatious frankness, and self-possessed urbanity and quietude, that
is indicative of refined feelings. That such a shining mark has not
escaped envy, detraction, and persecution, will surprise no one who is
well acquainted with the materials of which human nature is composed.
"Envy is the toll that is always paid to greatness."

Mr. Schoolcraft has had enemies, bitter unrelenting enemies, from the
wiles of whom he has lost several fortunes, but they have not succeeded,
in spite of all their efforts, in depriving him of an honored name, that
will live as the friend of the red man and an aboriginal historian, for
countless ages.

Some twenty years ago he became a professor of religion, and the
ennobling influences of Bible truth have mellowed, and devoted to the
most unselfish and exalted aims his natural determination and enthusiasm
of character. God has promised to his people "that their righteousness
shall shine as the light, and their just dealing as the noonday."
Protected in such an impregnable tower of defence from the strife of
tongues, Mr. Schoolcraft has been enabled freely to forgive, and even
befriend, those narrow-minded calumniators who have aimed so many
poisoned arrows at his fame, his character, and his success in life.
These are they who hate all excellence that they themselves can never
hope to reach.

Mr. Schoolcraft's persevering industry is so indomitable, that he has
been known to write from sun to sun almost every day for many
consecutive years, taking no recreation, and yet these sedentary habits
of untiring application being regulated by system, have not impaired the
digestive functions of his usually robust health. One of his family
remarks, "that she believed that if his meals were weighed every day in
the year they would average the same amount every twenty-four hours." He
has, however, been partly lame for the last two years, from the effects,
it is thought, of early exposure in his explorations in the west, where
he used frequently to lie down in the swamps to sleep, with no pillow
save clumps of bog, and no covering but a traveling Indian blanket,
which sometimes when he awoke was cased in snow. This local impediment,
however, being entirely without neuralgic or rheumatic symptoms, has had
no effect whatever upon his mental activity, as every moment of his time
is still consecrated to literary pursuits.

In 1841 he removed his residence from Michilimackinack to the city of
New York, where he was instrumental, with Mr. John R. Bartlett, Mr. H.
C. Murphy, Mr. Folsom and other ethnologists, in forming the American
Ethnological Society--which, under the auspices of the late Mr. Albert
Gallatin, has produced efficient labors. In 1842 he visited England and
the Continent. He attended the twelfth meeting of the British
Association for the Advancement of Science at Manchester. He then
visited France, Germany, Prussia, Belgium, and Holland. On returning to
New York he took an active interest in the deliberations of the New York
Historical Society, made an antiquarian tour to Western Virginia, Ohio,
and the Canadas, and published in numbers the first volume of an Indian
miscellany under the title of "Oneota, or the Indian in his Wigwam."

In 1845 the Legislature of New York authorized him to take a census, and
collect the statistics of the Iroquois, or Six Nations, which were
published, together with materials illustrating their history and
character, in a volume entitled, NOTES ON THE IROQUOIS.

This work was highly approved by the Legislature, and copies eagerly
sought by persons taking an interest in the fortunes of this celebrated
tribe. Contrary to expectation, their numbers were found to be
considerable, and their advance in agriculture and civilization of a
highly encouraging character; and the State has since made liberal
appropriations for their education.

In 1846 he brought the subject of the American aborigines to the notice
of the members of Congress, expressing the opinion, and enforcing it by
facts drawn from many years' experience and residence on the frontiers,
that it was misunderstood, that the authentic published materials from
which the Indians were to be judged were fragmentary and scanty, and
that the public policy respecting them, and the mode of applying their
funds, and dealing with them, was in many things false and unjust. These
new views produced conviction in enlightened minds, and, during the
following session, in the winter of 1847, an appropriation was made,
authorizing the Secretary of War to collect the statistics of all the
tribes within the Union; together with materials to illustrate their
history, condition, and prospects. Mr. Schoolcraft was selected by the
government to conduct the inquiry, in connection with the Indian Bureau.
And he immediately prepared and issued blank forms, calling on the
officers of the department for the necessary statistical facts. At the
same time a comprehensive system of interrogatories was distributed,
intended to bring out the true state and condition of the Indian tribes
from gentlemen of experience, in all parts of the Union.

These interrogatories are founded on a series of some thirty years'
personal observations on Indian society and manners, which were made
while living in their midst on the frontiers, and on the data preserved
in his well-filled portfolios and journals; and the comprehensive
character of the queries, consequently, evince a complete mastery of his
subject, such as no one could have been at all prepared to furnish, who
had had less full and favorable advantages. In these queries he views
the Indian race, not only as tribes having every claim on our sympathy
and humanity, but as one of the races of the human family, scattered by
an inscrutable Providence, whose origin and destiny is one of the most
interesting problems of American history, philosophy, and Christianity.

The first part of this work, in an elaborate quarto volume, was
published in the autumn of 1850, with illustrations from the pencil of
Capt. Eastman, a gentleman of the army of the United States, and has
been received by Congress and the diurnal and periodical press with
decided approbation. It is a work which is national in its conception
and manner of execution; and, if carried out according to the plan
exhibited, will do ample justice, at once to the Indian tribes, their
history, condition, and destiny, and to the character of the government
as connected with them. We have been reproached by foreign pens for our
treatment of these tribes, and our policy, motives, and justice
impugned. If we are not mistaken, the materials here collected will show
how gratuitous such imputations have been. It is believed that no stock
of the aborigines found by civilized nations on the globe, have received
the same amount of considerate and benevolent and humane treatment, as
denoted by its laws, its treaties, and general administration of Indian
affairs, from the establishment of the Constitution, and this too, in
the face of the most hostile, wrongheaded, and capricious conduct on
their part, that ever signalized the history of a barbarous people.

In January, 1847, he married Miss Mary Howard, of Beaufort District,
South Carolina, a lady of majestic stature, high toned moral sentiment,
dignified polished manners, gifted conversational powers and literary
tastes. This marriage has proved a peculiarly fortunate and happy one,
as they both highly appreciate and respect each other, and she warmly
sympathizes in his literary plans. She also relieves him of all domestic
care by her judicious management of his household affairs. Most of her
time, however, is spent with him in his study, where she revises and
copies his writings for the press. She is the descendant of a family who
emigrated to South Carolina from England, in the reign of George the
Second, from whom they received a large grant of land, situated near the
Broad River. Upon this original grant the family have from generation to
generation continued to reside. It is now a flourishing cotton and rice
growing plantation, and is at present owned by her brother, Gen. John
Howard. Her sister married a grandnephew of Gen. William Moultrie, who
was so distinguished in the revolutionary war, and her brother a
granddaughter of Judge Thomas Heyward, who was a ripe scholar and one of
the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Although one of her
brothers was in the battle of San Jacinto, she is herself the first
permanent emigrant of her family from South Carolina to the North,
having accompanied her husband to Washington, D.C., where he has ever
since been engaged in conducting the national work on the history of the
Indians. To this work, of which the second part is now in the press,
every power of his extensive observation and ripe experience is devoted,
and with results which justify the highest anticipations which have been
formed of it. Meantime it is understood that the present memoirs is the
first volume of a revised series of his complete works, including his
travels, reviews, papers on natural history, Indian tales, and

To this rapid sketch of a man rising to distinction without the
adventitious aids of hereditary patrimony, wealth, or early friends, it
requires little to be added to show the value of self-dependence. Such
examples must encourage all whose ambitions are sustained by assiduity,
temperance, self-reliance, and a consistent perseverance in well
weighed ends.



Brief reminiscences of scenes from 1809 to 1817--Events preliminary to a
knowledge of western life--Embarkation on the source of the Alleghany
River--Descent to Pittsburgh--Valley of the Monongahela; its coal and
iron--Descent of the Ohio in an ark--Scenes and incidents by the way--
Cincinnati--Some personal incidents which happened there.

Late in the autumn of 1809, being then in my seventeenth year, I quitted
the village of Hamilton, Albany County (a county in which my family had
lived from an early part of the reign of George II.), and, after a
pleasant drive of half a day through the PINE PLAINS, accompanied by
some friends, reached the city of Schenectady, and from thence took the
western stage line, up the Valley of the Mohawk, to the village of
Utica, where we arrived, I think, on the third day, the roads being
heavy. The next day I proceeded to Vernon, the site of a busy and
thriving village, where my father had recently engaged in the
superintendency of extensive manufacturing operations. I was here within
a few miles of Oneida Castle, then the residence of the ancient Oneida
tribe of Iroquois. There was, also, in this town, a remnant of the old
Mohigans, who, under the name of Stockbridges, had, soon after the
Revolutionary War, removed from the Valley of the Housatonic, in
Massachusetts, to Oneida. Throngs of both tribes were daily in the
village, and I was thus first brought to notice their manners and
customs; not dreaming, however, that it was to be my lot to pass so many
of the subsequent years of my life as an observer of the Indian race.

Early in the spring of 1810, I accompanied Mr. Alexander Bryan Johnson,
of Utica, a gentleman of wealth, intelligence, and enterprise, to the
area of the Genesee country, for the purpose of superintending a
manufactory for a company incorporated by the State Legislature. After
visiting Sodus Bay, on Lake Ontario, it was finally resolved to locate
this company's works near Geneva, on the banks of Seneca Lake.

During my residence here, the War of 1812 broke out; the events of which
fell with severity on this frontier, particularly on the lines included
between the Niagara and Lake Champlain, where contending armies and
navies operated. While these scenes of alarm and turmoil were enacting,
and our trade with Great Britain was cut off, an intense interest arose
for manufactures of first necessity, needed by the country, particularly
for that indispensable article of new settlements, window glass. In
directing the foreign artisans employed in the making of this product of
skill, my father, Col. Lawrence Schoolcraft, had, from an early period
after the American Revolution, acquired celebrity, by the general
superintendency of the noted works of this kind near Albany, and
afterwards in Oneida County.

Under his auspices, I directed the erection of similar works in Western
New York and in the States of Vermont and New Hampshire.

While in Vermont, I received a salary of eighteen hundred dollars per
annum, which enabled me to pursue my studies, _ex academia_, at
Middlebury College. In conversation with President Davis, I learned that
this was the highest salary paid in the State, he himself receiving
eleven hundred, and the Governor of the State but eight hundred.

The extensive and interesting journeys connected with the manufacturing
impulse of these engagements, reaching over a varied surface of several
hundred miles, opened up scenes of life and adventure which gave me a
foretaste of, and preparedness for, the deeper experiences of the
western wilderness; and the war with England was no sooner closed than I
made ready to share in the exploration of the FAR WEST. The wonderful
accounts brought from the Mississippi valley--its fertility, extent, and
resources--inspired a wish to see it for myself, and to this end I made
some preliminary explorations in Western New York, in 1816 and 1817. I
reached Olean, on the source of the Alleghany River, early in 1818,
while the snow was yet upon the ground, and had to wait several weeks
for the opening of that stream. I was surprised to see the crowd of
persons, from various quarters, who had pressed to this point, waiting
the opening of the navigation.

It was a period of general migration from the East to the West. Commerce
had been checked for several years by the war with Great Britain.
Agriculture had been hindered by the raising of armies, and a harassing
warfare both on the seaboard and the frontiers; and manufactures had
been stimulated to an unnatural growth, only to be crushed by the peace.
Speculation had also been rife in some places, and hurried many
gentlemen of property into ruin. Banks exploded, and paper money flooded
the country.

The fiscal crisis was indeed very striking. The very elements seemed
leagued against the interests of agriculture in the Atlantic States,
where a series of early and late frosts, in 1816 and 1817, had created
quite a panic, which helped to settle the West.

I mingled in this crowd, and, while listening to the anticipations
indulged in, it seemed to me that the war had not, in reality, been
fought for "free trade and sailors' rights" where it commenced, but to
gain a knowledge of the world beyond the Alleghanies.

Many came with their household stuff, which was to be embarked in arks
and flat boats. The children of Israel could scarcely have presented a
more motley array of men and women, with their "kneading troughs" on
their backs, and their "little ones," than were there assembled, on
their way to the new land of promise.

To judge by the tone of general conversation, they meant, in their
generation, to plough the Mississippi Valley from its head to its foot.
There was not an idea short of it. What a world of golden dreams
was there!

I took passage in the first ark that attempted the descent for the
season. This ark was built of stout planks, with the lower seams
caulked, forming a perfectly flat basis on the water. It was about
thirty feet wide and sixty long, with gunwales of some eighteen inches.
Upon this was raised a structure of posts and boards about eight feet
high, divided into rooms for cooking and sleeping, leaving a few feet
space in front and rear, to row and steer. The whole was covered by a
flat roof, which formed a promenade, and near the front part of this
deck were two long "sweeps," a species of gigantic oars, which were
occasionally resorted to in order to keep the unwieldy vessel from
running against islands or dangerous shores.

We went on swimmingly, passing through the Seneca reservation, where the
picturesque costume of the Indians seen on shore served to give
additional interest to scenes of the deepest and wildest character.
Every night we tied our ark to a tree, and built a fire on shore.
Sometimes we narrowly escaped going over falls, and once encountered a
world of labor and trouble by getting into a wrong channel. I made
myself as useful and agreeable as possible to all. I had learned to row
a skiff with dexterity during my residence on Lake Dunmore, and turned
this art to account by taking the ladies ashore, as we floated on with
our ark, and picked up specimens while they culled shrubs and flowers.
In this way, and by lending a ready hand at the "sweeps" and at the oars
whenever there was a pinch, I made myself agreeable. The worst thing we
encountered was rain, against which our rude carpentry was but a poor
defence. We landed at everything like a town, and bought milk, and eggs,
and butter. Sometimes the Seneca Indians were passed, coming up stream


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