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Death of Colonel Lawrence Schoolcraft

Native American Nations | Thirty Years with the Indians

24th. I left Washington for the north, taking my children along from their respective schools at Philadelphia and Brooklyn, for their summer vacation, and only halting long enough at Utica and Vernon, to direct a marble monument to be erected to the memory of my father. The site selected for this was the cemetery on the Scanado (usually spelled without regard however to the popular pronunciation Skenandoah), Vernon. It appeared expedient to make this a family monument, and I directed the several faces to be inscribed as follows:--

            In memory of A FATHER,
            A MOTHER AND A SISTER,
            By the surviving children.

* * * * *

            A soldier of the Revolution of 1776,
            (He being the second in descent from James,
            who came from England in the reign of Queen Anne,)
            Born Feb. 3d, 1757. Died June 7th, 1840,
            In his 84th year.
            He lived and died a patriot, a Christian, and an honest man.

* * * * *

            Consort of Col. Lawrence Schoolcraft,
            Died Feb. 16th, 1832, aged 72.
            "Her children rise up and call her blessed."--PROV.

* * * * *

            Daughter of Lawrence and Margaret Ann Barbara Schoolcraft,
            Born 18th June, 1806
            Died 12th April, 1829, in her 23d year.

I reached Detroit early in August. A letter from Mackinack, of the 13th of that month, says: "The children arrived at midnight past, safe and sound, and they seem quite delighted. Eveline seems to be the centre of attraction with them all. I have not a word new to say. A change has come over the spirit of our notables. Samuel, the day before your letter was received, expressed his opinion, that 'it would go hard with you.' A dog when he supposes himself unnoticed in the act of stealing, looks mean, but when he is discovered in the act, he looks meaner still. And I know of no better comparison than this clique, and that dog."

24th. Hon. Andrew Stevenson, American Minister in London, responds to my inquiries on certain historical points, respecting which he has kindly charged his agent to institute inquiries.

Sept. 5th. I reached the agency at Mackinack about the beginning of September. Facilis, a young man of equally ready and respectable talents, writes me, from Detroit, under this date, expressing a wish to be employed in the execution of some of the fiscal duties of the superintendency during the season. "I write to you," he adds, "as a friend. Times are hard, and every little that is directed to aid one in his efforts to stem the current of life, possesses an incalculable value." I yielded the more readily to this request from the chain of circumstances which, however favorable, had hitherto disappointed his most ardent aims and the just expectations of his friends.

11th. Joanna Baillie, the celebrated authoress, who has spent a long life in the most honorable and deeply characteristic literary labors, writes from her residence at Hampstead (Eng.), as if with undiminished vigor of hope, expressing her interest in the progress of historical letters in this (to her) remote part of the world. How much closer bonds these literary sympathies are in drawing two nations of a kindred blood together, than dry and formal diplomatics, in which it is the object, as Talleyrand says, of human language to conceal thought!

Oct. 16th. Wisconsin is slowly, but surely, filling up with a healthy population, and founding her moral, as well as political institutions, on a solid basis. Rev. Jer. Porter, my old friend during the interesting scenes at St. Mary's, in 1832 and 1833, writes me, that, after passing a few years in Illinois, he has settled at Green Bay, as the pastor of a healthful and increasing church. "I have recently," he writes, "made an excursion on horseback, in the interior of the territory. I traveled about 400 miles, being from home sixteen days. I went to meet a convention of ministers and delegates from Presbyterian and Congregational churches, to see if we could form a union of the two denominations in the territory, so that we might have a perfect co-operation in every good work. We had twelve ministers of these denominations present, all but four or five now in the territory, and were so happy as to form a basis of union, which will, I trust, prove permanent, and be a great blessing to our churches. This seems to us a very favorable beginning.

"I find the beautiful prairies of the interior rapidly settling with a very good population from the Eastern States, and the healthiness of the country gives it some advantages over Illinois. With the blessing of the Lord, I think this may yet be one of the best States in the Union."

20th. The Rev. Henry Kearney, of Kitternan Glebe, Dublin (Ireland), communicates notices of some of the inroads made by death on the rank of our friends and relatives in that land. "Since my last, the valued friend of the family, the Right Hon'ble Wm. Saurin (late Attorney-General) was removed from this world of changes to the world of durable realities. He was past eighty. The bishop (Dromore) is still alive, not more than a year younger than his brother. Old age--found in the ways of righteousness--how honorable!

"You will have learned, from the European newspapers, the agitated state of all the countries from China to Great Britain. Is the Lord about to bring to pass the predicted days of retribution on the nations for abused responsibility, and the restoration of the ancient nation of Israel, to be, once more, the depository of his judgment and truth for the recovery of all nations to the great principles of government and religion taught us in His holy word?"

Nov. 1st. Having concluded the Indian business in the Upper Lakes for the season, I returned with my family to Detroit, and employed my leisure in literary investigations.

Dec. 3d. Mr. Josiah Snow apprizes me that he is about, in a few weeks, to issue the first number of a newspaper devoted to agriculture, in which he solicits my aid.

15th. J. K. Tefft, Esq., of Savannah, informs me of my election, on the 9th Sept. last, as an honorary member of the Georgia Historical Society.

19th. I wrote the following lines in memory of my father:--

            The drum no more shall rouse his heart to beat with patriot fires,
            Nor to his kindling eye impart the flash of martial ires:
            Montgomery's fall, Burgoyne's advance, awake no transient fear;
            E'en joy be dumb that noble France grasped in our cause the spear.

            The cloud that, lowering northward spread, presaging woe and blight,
            In that wild host St. Leger led, no longer arm for fight;
            The bomb, the shell, the flash, the shot, the sortie, and the roar,
            No longer nerve for battle hot--the soldier is no more.

            But long shall memory speak his praise, and mark the grave that blest,
            When eighty years had crowned his days, he laid him down to rest;
            The stone that marks the sylvan spot, the line that tells his name,
            The stream, the shore; be ne'er forgot, and freedom's be his fame.

            'Twas liberty that fired him first, when kings and tyrants plan'd,
            And proud oppression's car accurst, drove madly o'er the land;
            And long he lived when that red car--the driver and the foe
            Unhorsed in fight, o'ermatched in war--laid impotent and low.

            He told his children oft the tale--how tyrants would have bound,
            And murderous yells filled all the vale, and blood begrimed the ground.
            They loved the story of the harms that patriot hands repelled,
            And glowed with ire of wars and arms, and fast the words they held.

            The right, the power, the wealth, the fame, for which the valiant fought,
            Have long been ours in deed and name--life, liberty, and thought;
            And while we hold these blessings, bought with valor, blood, and thrall,
            Embalmed in thought be those who fought and freely periled all.

23d. The Detroit Branch of the University of Michigan organized, and the Principal sends me a programme of its studies. Mr. Williams also sends me the programme of the Pontiac Branch.

31st. "We were in hopes," says James L. Schoolcraft, in a letter from Mackinack, "of seeing a steamboat up during the fine weather in the latter part of November. It is now, however, since 14th inst., cold. Theodoric has undertaken to conduct a weekly paper, the Pic Nic, which, thus far, goes off well. Lieut. Pemberton, in the fort, is engaged in getting up a private theatre. Thus, you see, we endeavor to ward off winter and solitude in various ways. The rats are playing the devil with your house. I have removed all the bedding. They have injured some of your books."

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Personal Memoirs of a Residence of Thirty Years with the Indian Tribes on the American Frontiers, 1851

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