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The Personal Memoirs Of A Residence Of Thirty Years With The Indian Tribes On The American Frontiers Paperback – September 10, 2010
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This book is a facsimile reprint and may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages.
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It was originally published in 1851. The first 5% of this tome is the extensively thorough preface, table of contents and his lengthy autobiography (although I found his second wife's native American lineage interesting as well as his genealogical connections to Albany NY, as I have connections there related to his). The parts about how genteel his wives were and his political appointments and scientific spats were NOT interesting at all to me. The autobiography really was pompous to me and perhaps turned me off to the contents of the rest of the book.
This IS a set of memoirs, so you have the typical entries about his necessary travels as well as "came down with a fever and stayed three days" items. However, I lacked enough connection or reason to read this tome, so it was pretty rough going for me. Add more stars if you are really interested in geology or have historic interest in any of the places mentioned. This guy did know a lot of influential people of the time and wow did he travel! Peppered with details about the native Americans, including etymology of their languages...see his bio in Wikipedia for more details about his extensive travels.
Following is a summary of the contents as taken from the table of contents: 1817: Ohio River fr Cincinnati to mouth, interview of Mr. Austin (of Texas), Ozark Mts to Potosi. Yellow Stone, St. Genevieve to New Orleans, Sources of the Mississippi, Niagara Falls to Detroit, strontium, copper mines of Lake Superior, Miami-of-the-Lakes, Wabash Valley, Illinois, Potomac River. Following year (?): establishing a military base (St Mary`s) at the foot of Lake Superior, Ojibwa, Chippewa language, Sault Ste, Marie, wild rice, fur trade 1823: maple sugaring, ornithology. 1824: Algonquin, murders at Lake Pepin, Ohio & Erie Canal (not sure how much later) travels, Mississippi Valley: Sioux, Winnebago, Chippewa, Sacs, Foxes, Iowas, Menomonies, Fox River, Green Bay, Marquette, Mackinac to Sault Ste. Marie......Fond du Lac through Lake Superior, statements on the "Indian Questions" (US treatment of Indians), various Indian treaties, Mohegan, Elmwood. (Next year): fox, owl, reindeer. 1826: lake tides, visit Niagara Falls, expedition to Lake Superior including its geology, otters 1831: travels in the upper Midwest, expedition to Itaska Lake, source of the Crow Wing river, botany, Sault Ste Marie, Mackinack Island, trip to Detroit, reasons why Chicago's prime position for an entreport, theological review, Michigan organizes a state government, picturesque trip to Lake Superior, embark for Washington and come down the lakes in the great tempest of 1835. Disputed Michigan/Ohio boundary, Indian treaties, Mohegan traditions, University of Michigan, plan of names for new towns, trip to Lake Superior and the Straits of St. Mary (1837?) horrible effects of drinking ardent spirits among the Indians, Mr. Gallatin, Mr. Van Buren, Leave to visit Europe, Mrs. Jameson's opinion on his Indian legends (not sure if this is Mary Jemison from Adams County PA who was captured by a party of Shawnee and French and later sold to the Seneca tribe where she stayed), ornamental and shade trees, Adubon's proposed work on American quadrupeds, visit to Europe.
Besides its obvious historical value, this book might be of use to those writing a book set in the early 1800's. Add a star or two if you have particular interest in the areas covered.
The author was really a famous man in his time period, as seen by his many namesakes (adapted from Wikipedia): The Schoolcraft River, a tributary of the Mississippi, Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Michigan, Schoolcraft County and the village of Schoolcraft, Michigan. Schoolcraft State Park in Minnesota. U.S. Route 65 in Springfield, Missouri is named the "Schoolcraft Freeway" for him. In addition, there are "Schoolcraft Road"s in Marquette and Wayne Counties, Michigan, and in Dakota County, Minnesota. He named many of Michigan's counties and locations within the former Michigan Territory. He named Leelanau County, Michigan after his wife's pen name of "Leelinau". He created some faux Indian names. In names such as Alcona, Allegan, Alpena, Arenac, Iosco, Kalkaska, Oscoda and Tuscola, for example, Schoolcraft combined words and syllables from Native American languages with words and syllables from Latin and Arabic. Lake Itasca, the source lake of the Mississippi River, is another example of his faux Indian names.
This book might benefit from an interactive table of contents, and then you could skip over all of the stuff you may not care about and go to where you have a particular interest. This free Kindle edition of February 1, 2004 no editing issues of note (Possibly "Teyon" rather than "Tryon" but I try not to split hairs on these volunteer-edited books...). Otherwise, this version had the line break that I have seen in just about every one of these public-domain books which is no big deal once you become accustomed to it.
His diary shed light on early American relations with the Indians and he himself marries a woman who is half Indian. It is not a easy or even very pleasant read. Parts are difficult to understand because he provides almost no context and mentions many current events that have no resonance with me.
The most thought provoking elements for me were:
1.) Schoolcraft settles in Sault Ste Marie in 1822( and later at Mackinac Island). The Indians of the area already had 200 years of relationships with French and British traders and governments
2.) In spite of a part Indian wife, a deep interest in the Indian languages and a religious impulse to save the souls of the Indians, he is an apologist for the US government and American settlers in even their worst actions
3.) settlement of the region is very rapid; Schoolcraft seems startled whenever he visits Detroit or other areas of lower Michigan at the rapid population growth; he is even involved in the founding of the Universityof Michigan
4) the steamship is introduced to the Great Lakes in the 1830s and, almost immediately there is a steady stream of missionaries, settlers and tourists (American and European)
A day-by-day account of a journey he made in the early 1800s, you'll feel that you've been there yourself after reading this book. After hearing about this man all my life, I finally had a chance to read a work in his own words. If you're from Arkansas or Missouri, you're going to love this book.
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