Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Schoolcraft, Lawrence
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SCHOOLCRAFT, Lawrence, soldier, b. in Albany county, N. Y., in 1760; d. in Verona, Oneida co., N. Y., 7 June, 1840. His grandfather, James, came from England in the reign of Queen Anne, settled in Albany county as a surveyor, and in later life was a teacher, and adopted the name of “Schoolcraft” in the place of his original family name of Calcraft. The grandson served during the Revolutionary war, and as a colonel in the second war with Great Britain. He was the superintendent of a large glass-factory ten miles west of Albany. —
His son, Henry Rowe, ethnologist, b. in Albany county, N. Y., 28 March, 1793; d. in Washington, D. C., 10 Dec., 1804, was educated at Middlebury college, Vt., and at Union, where he pursued the studies of chemistry and mineralogy, learned the art of glass-making, and began a treatise on the subject entitled “Vitreology,” the first part of which was published (Utica, 1817). In 1817-'18 he travelled in Missouri and Arkansas, and returned with a large collection of geological and mineralogical specimens. In 1820 he was appointed geologist to Gen. Lewis Cass's exploring expedition to Lake Superior and the head-waters of Mississippi river. He was secretary of a commission to treat with the Indians at Chicago, and, after a journey through Illinois and along Wabash and Miami rivers, was in 1822 appointed Indian agent for the tribes of the lake region, establishing himself at Sault Sainte Marie, and afterward at Mackinaw, where, in 1823, he married Jane Johnston, granddaughter of Waboojeeg, a noted Ojibway chief, who had received her education in Europe. In 1828 he founded the Michigan historical society, and in 1831 the Algic society. From 1828 till 1832 he was a member of the territorial legislature of Michigan. In 1832 he led a government expedition, which followed the Mississippi river up to its source in Itasca lake. In 1836 he negotiated a treaty with the Indians on the upper lakes for the cession to the United States of 16,000,000 acres of their lands. He was then appointed acting superintendent of Indian affairs, and in 1839 chief disbursing agent for the northern department. On his return from Europe in 1842 he made a tour through western Virginia, Ohio, and Canada. He was appointed by the New York legislature in 1845 a commissioner to take the census of the Indians in the state, and collect information concerning the Six Nations. After the performance of this task, congress authorized him, on 3 March, 1847, to obtain through the Indian bureau reports relating to all the Indian tribes of the country, and to collate and edit the information. In this work he spent the remaining years of his life. Through his influence many laws were enacted for the protection and benefit of the Indians. Numerous scientific societies in the United States and Europe elected him to membership, and the University of Geneva gave him the degree of LL. D. in 1846. He was the author of numerous poems, lectures, and reports on Indian subjects, besides thirty-one larger works. Two of his lectures before the Algic society at Detroit on the “Grammatical Construction of the Indian Languages” were translated into French by Peter S. Duponceau, and gained for their author a gold medal from the French institute. His publications include “A View of the Lead-Mines of Missouri, including Observations on the Minerology and Geology of Missouri and Arkansas” (New York, 1819); a poem called “Transallegania, or the Groans of Missouri” (1820); “Journal of a Tour in the Interior of Missouri and Arkansas” (1820); “Travels from Detroit to the Sources of the Mississippi with an Expedition under Lewis Cass” (Albany, 1821); “Travels in the Central Portions of Mississippi Valley” (New York, 1825); “The Rise of the West, or a Prospect of the Mississippi Valley,” a poem (Detroit, 1827); “Indian Melodies,” a poem (1830); “The Man of Bronze” (1834); “Narrative of an Expedition through the Upper Mississippi to Itasca Lake” (New York, 1834); “Iosco, or the Vale of Norma” (Detroit, 1834); “Algic Researches,” a book of Indian allegories and legends (New York, 1839); “ Cyclopædia indianensis,” of which only a single number was issued (1842); “Alhalla, or the Land of Talladega,” a poem published under the pen-name “Henry Rowe Colcraft” (1843); “Oneota, or Characteristics of the Red Race of America” (1844-'5), which was republished under the title of “The Indian and his Wigwam” (1848); “Report on Aboriginal Names and the Geographical Terminology of New York” (1845); “Plan for Investigating
American Ethnology” (1846); “Notes on the Iroquois,” containing his report on the Six Nations (Albany, 1846; enlarged editions, New York, 1847 and 1848); “The Red Race of America” (1847): “Notices of Antique Earthen Vessels from Florida” (1847); “ Address on Early American History” (New York, 1847); “Outlines of the Life and Character of Gen. Lewis Cass” (Albany, 1848); “Bibliographical Catalogue of Books, Translations of the Scriptures, and other Publications in the Indian Tongues of the United States” (Washington, 1849); “American Indians, their History, Condition, and Prospects” (Auburn, 1850); “Personal Memoirs of a Residence of Thirty Years with the Indian Tribes on the American Frontiers, 1812 to 1842” (Philadelphia, 1851); “Historical and Statistical Information respecting the History, Condition, and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States,” with illustrations by Capt. Seth Eastman, published by authority of congress, which appropriated nearly $30,000 a volume for the purpose (5 vols., 1851-'5); “Scenes and Adventures in the Semi-Alpine Region of the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and Arkansas,” a revised edition of his first book of travel (1853); “Summary Narrative of an Exploratory Expedition to the Sources of the Mississippi River in 1820, resumed and completed by the Discovery of its Origin in Itasca Lake in 1832” (1854); “Helderbergia, or the Apotheosis of the Heroes of the Anti-Rent War,” an anonymous poem (Albany, 1835); and “The Myth of Hiawatha, and other Oral Legends” (1856). “The Indian Fairy-Book, from Original Legends” (New York, 1855), was compiled from notes that he furnished to the editor, Cornelius Mathews. To the five volumes of Indian researches compiled under the direction of the war department he added a sixth, containing the post-Columbian history of the Indians and of their relations with Europeans (Philadelphia, 1857). He had collected material for two additional volumes, but the government suddenly suspended the publication of the work. — His wife, Mary Howard, b. in Beaufort, S. C., was his assistant in the preparation of his later works, when he was confined to his chair by paralysis and unable to use his hands. They were married in 1847, five years after the death of his first wife. Mrs. Schoolcraft was the author of “The Black Gauntlet, a Tale of Plantation Life in South Carolina” (Philadelphia, 1860).