Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/246

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ing a skiff and set out for New Orleans in it. They soon were caught by a steamer going their way and they boarded her and abandoned their skiff. Upon arriving in New Orleans the talk about Texas decided him to go farther west^ and he arrived in Galveston in January, 1839. He stayed in Texas about a year and then returned to Illinois where he taught school for some time.

In the fall of 1841 he found an uninhabited island in the Missouri about three hundred miles above St. Louis, and he took up his solitary residence there. When the spring rise came it caused him to leave.

In 1844 he sailed for home, and while on this trip first learned that sets of dried plants might be sold. On his return to America and to St. Louis he began to collect and was aided by Dr. Engelmann in naming his specimens. He visited different parts of the country between Chicago and New Orleans for the purpose of collecting. Dr. Engelmann commended him to Dr. Asa Gray, and he was furnished with the authority to accompany some troops which were being sent to Santa Fé, so that he had free transportation for himself and luggage. He returned to St Louis in the fall of 1847. In the spring of 1849 he started on another collecting trip to the West. He was unsuccessful, having lost most of his stock of drying papers in a flood, and he was forced to return to St. Louis. Upon his arrival here he found that all of his large collections and notes and journals had been destroyed in the great fire which burned much of the business section of the city during his absence. In 1849 he embarked for Panama, and after four months again returned to Arkansas, and finally went to Memphis, where he went into business. In 1854 he went to Venezuela and collected for four years, during this time exploring alone mountain ranges which were scarcely known at that time. He made very large collections, which are of great value. He returned to Missouri in 1864 and bought a tract of land in the town of Allenton, about thirty miles west of St. Louis. This he began to clear and cultivate in company with his half-brother, who was half-witted, and who always was dependent upon him. Here he remained for seven years, with the exception of a month spent in the Gray Herbarium, assisting in its arrangement. During this time Mr. Letterman became acquainted with him, and from 1870 to 1871 they met two or three times a week and nearly every Sunday with green plants to be identified. He seems to have collected but little in the vicinity, but was very familiar with the plants of the general neighborhood. After clearing his land and putting up his house, mostly with his own hands, he spent most of his time writing a book. This is undoubtedly his "Mechanism of the Universe," which was unfortunately published at his own expense later. Failing health forced him to dispose of his farm and remove to another climate. In 1871 he sold the farm and left for Europe, intending to live there the rest of his days. He, however, returned and