Native American Nations
                   Your Source for Indian Research
                   Rolls ~ History ~ Treaties ~ Census ~ Books


Native American Nations | Thirty Years with the Indians

Jan. 29th. Mr. McNabb says: "I have just received a specimen of excellent pit-coal from Tioga county, Pennsylvania, near the head of the south branch of the Tioga River, and about twenty miles south from Painted Post, in Steuben County. The quantity is said to be inexhaustible, and what renders it of still greater importance is, that arks and rafts descend from within four or five miles of the mines."

New Gazetteer of New York.--Mr. Carter writes (Feb. 5th) inauspiciously of the course of affairs at Washington, as not favoring the spirit of exploration. He proposes, in the event of my not receiving the contemplated appointment, the plan of a Gazetteer of New York, on an enlarged and scientific basis. "I have often expressed to you my opinion of the Spafford Gazetteer of this State. It is wholly unworthy of public patronage, and would not stand in the way of a good work of the kind; and such a one, I have the vanity to believe, our joint efforts could produce. It would be a permanent work, with slight alterations, as the State might undergo changes. My plan would be for you to travel over the State, and make a complete mineralogical, and geological, and statistical survey of it, which would probably take you a year or more. In the mean time, I would devote all my leisure to the collection and arrangement of such other materials as we should need in the compilation of the work."

Feb. 18th. Professor Dewy writes, vindicating my views of the Huttonian doctrines, respecting the formation of secondary rocks, which he had doubted, on the first perusal of my memoir of the fossil tree of Illinois.

Feb. 20th. Caleb Atwater, Esq., of Circleville, Ohio, the author of the antiquarian papers in the first volume of Archaeologiae Americana, writes on the occasion of my geological memoir. He completely confounds the infiltrated specimen of an entire tree, in the external strata, and of a recent age, which is prominently described in my paper, with ordinary casts and impressions of organic remains in the elder secondary rock column.

Feb. 24th. Mr. McNabb communicates further facts and discoveries of the mineral wealth, resources, and prospects of Western New York and Pennsylvania.

* * * * *

Narrative Journal.--Professor Silliman (March 5th) communicates an extract of a letter to him from Daniel Wadsworth, Esq., of Hartford, to whom he had loaned my Narrative.

"I have been very much entertained with the tour to the western lakes. I think Mr. Schoolcraft writes in a most agreeable manner; there is such an entire absence of affectation in all he says, as well as his manner of saying it, that no one can help being exceedingly pleased, even if the book had not in any other respect a great deal of merit. The whole seems such real and such absolute matter of fact, that I feel as if I had performed the journey with the traveller.

"All I regret about it is that it was not consistent with his plans to tell us more of what might be considered the domestic part of the expedition, the character and conduct of those who were of the party, their health, difficulties, opinions, and treatment of each other, &c. &c. As his book was a sort of official work, I suppose he thought this would not do, and I wish he now would give his friends (and let us be amongst them) a manuscript of the particulars that are not for the public. Mrs. W. has also been as much pleased as myself."

Under the date of March 22d, Sir Humphrey Davy, in a private letter to Dr. Hosack, says:--

"Mr. Schoolcraft's narrative is admirable, both for the facts it develops and for the simplicity and clearness of the details; he has accomplished great things by such means, and offers a good model for a traveler in a new country. I lent his book to our veteran philosophical geographer, Major Rennel, who was highly pleased with it; copies of it would sell well in England."

Dr. Silliman apprises me that Professor Douglass expects my geological report as part of his work.

Having now finished my geological report, I determined to take it to Washington. On reaching New York, I took lodgings at the Franklin House, then a private boarding-house, where my friends, Mr. Carter and Colonel Haines, had rooms. While here, I was introduced one day to a man who subsequently attracted a good deal of notice as a literary impostor. This was a person named Hunter. He said that he derived this name from his origin in the Indian country. He had a soft, compliant, half quizzical look, and appeared to know nothing precisely, but dealt in vague accounts and innuendoes. Having gone to London, the booksellers thought him, it appears, a good subject for a book, and some hack was employed to prepare it. It had a very slender basis in any observations which this man was capable of furnishing; but abounded in misstatements and vituperation of the policy of this government respecting the Indians. This fellow is handled in the Oct. No. of the North American Review, for 1825, in a manner which gives very little encouragement to literary adventurers and cheats. The very man, John Dunn, of Missouri, after whom he affected to have been named, denies that he ever heard of him.

I had, thus far, seen but little of the Atlantic, except what could be observed in a trip from New Orleans to New York, and knew very little of its coasts by personal examination. I had never seen more of the Chesapeake than could be shown from the head of that noble bay, and wished to explore the Valley of the Potomac. For this purpose, I took passage in a coasting vessel at New York, and had a voyage of a novel and agreeable kind, which supplied me with the desired information. At Old Point Comfort, I remained at the hotel while the vessel tarried. In ascending the Potomac one night, while anchored, a negro song was wafted in the stillness of the atmosphere. I could distinctly hear the following words:--

            Gentlemen, he come from de Maryland shore,
            See how massa gray mare go.
                        Go, gray, go,
                        Go, gray, go;
            See how massa gray mare go.

I reached Washington late in March, and sent in my geological report on the 2d of April. Mr. Calhoun, who acknowledged it on the 6th, referred it to the Topographical Bureau. Some question, connected with the establishment of an agency in Florida, complicated my matter. Otherwise it appeared to be a mere question of time. The Secretary of War left me no room to doubt that his feelings were altogether friendly. Mr. Monroe was also friendly.

Additional Judicial District in Michigan.--J.D. Doty, Esq., wrote to me (April 8th) on this subject. So far as my judgment and observation went, they were favorable to this project. Besides, if I was to become an inhabitant of the district, as things now boded, it would be desirable to me to dwell in a country where the laws, in their higher aspects, were periodically administered. I had, therefore, every reason to favor it.

Skeptical Views of the Mosaical Chronology.--Baptiste Irvine, Esq., in referring to some criticism of his in relation to the discovery of fossils by a distinguished individual, brings this subject forward in a letter of April 19th. This individual had written to him, impugning his criticisms.

"I regret," he observes, "the cause, and shall endeavor to give publicity to his (my friend's) observations; though hardly necessary to him, they may yet awaken some ideas in the minds of the people on the wonders of physics I had almost said the slow miracles of creation. For if ever there was a time when matter existed not, it is pretty evident that millions of years were necessary to establish order on chaos, instead of six days. Let Cuvier, &c., temporize as they may. However, it is the humble allotment of the herd to believe or stare; it is the glory of intelligent men to acquire and admire." "For the memoir I am very thankful, and I perceive it alters the case."

April 22d. Mount Vernon.--In a pilgrimage to this spot, if political veneration may assume that name, I was accompanied by Honorable Albert H. Tracy, Mr. Ruggles, and Mr. Alfred Conkling of the House of Representatives, all of New York. We took a carriage, and reached the hallowed place in good season, and were politely admitted to all the apartments and grounds, which give interest to every tread. I brought some pebbles of common quartz and bits of brown oxide of iron, from the top of the rude tomb, and we all broke branches of the cedars growing there. We gazed into the tomb, through an aperture over the door, where bricks had been removed, and thought, at last, that we could distinguish the coffin.

Human Feet figured on Rock at St. Louis.--The Honorable Thomas H. Benton, in a letter of 29th April, expresses the opinion that these are antiquities, and not "prints," and that they are of the age of the mounds on the American bottom.

Mineralogy.--J.D. Doty, Esq., transmits (May 6th) from the vicinity of Martinsburg, New York, specimens of the geological structure of that neighborhood.

Austin's Colony.--"What you have said to me heretofore, concerning Mr. Austin's settlement in Texas, has rather turned my attention in that direction. Have you any means of communicating with your friend? What are your views of that country?"

This site includes some historical materials that may imply negative stereotypes reflecting the culture or language of a particular period or place. These items are presented as part of the historical record and should not be interpreted to mean that the WebMasters in any way endorse the stereotypes implied.

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

Previous | Thirty Years with the Indians


Copyright 2000- by and/or their author(s). The webpages may be linked to but shall not be reproduced on another site without written permission from NaNations or their author. Images may not be linked to in any manner or method. Anyone may use the information provided here freely for personal use only. If you plan on publishing your personal information to the web please give proper credit to our site for providing this information. Thanks!!!