Personal Memoirs of a Residence of 30 Years With The Indian Tribes (Extract)

Project Gutenberg extract – 1 – Memoirs H. R. Schoolcraft 1851

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Personal Memoirs Of A Residence Of Thirty Years With The Indian Tribes On The American Frontiers, by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at

Title: Personal Memoirs Of A Residence Of Thirty Years With The Indian Tribes On The American Frontiers

Author: Henry Rowe Schoolcraft

Project Gutenberg extract – 2 – Memoirs H. R. Schoolcraft 1851


A.D. 1812 TO A.D. 1842.



Project Gutenberg extract – 3 – Memoirs H. R. Schoolcraft 1851



Mr. Schoolcraft is a native of New York, and is the descendant in the third generation, by the paternal line, of an Englishman. James Calcraft had served with reputation in the armies of the Duke of Marlborough during the reign of Queen Anne, and was present in that general's celebrated triumphs on the continent, in one of which he lost an eye, from the premature explosion of the priming of a cannon. Owing to these military services he enjoyed and cherished a high reputation for bravery and loyalty.


His disciplinary knowledge and tact in the government of men, united to amenity of manners, led to his selection in 1802, by the Hon. Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, as director of his extensive glass works at Hamilton, near Albany, which he conducted with high reputation so many years, during which time he bore several important civil and military trusts in the county. The importance of this manufacture to the new settlements at that early day, was deeply felt, and his ability and skill in the management of these extensive works were widely known and appreciated.


When the war of 1812 appeared inevitable, Gen. Ganzevoort, his old commanding officer at Fort Stanwix, who was now at the head of the U.S. army, placed him in command of the first regiment of uniformed volunteers, who were mustered into service for that conflict. His celebrity in the manufacture of glass, led capitalists in Western New York to offer him large inducements to remove there, where he first introduced this manufacture during the settlement of that new and attractive part of the State, in which a mania for manufactories was then rife. In this new field the sphere of his activity and skill were greatly enlarged, and he enjoyed the consideration and respect of his townsmen for many years. He died at Vernon, Oneida County, in 1840...


There was developed, too, in him, an early bias for the philosophy of language. Mr. Van Kleeck, a townsman, in a recent letter to Dr. R.W. Griswold, says:--
"I revert with great pleasure to the scenes of my residence, in the part of Albany County which was also the residence of Henry R. Schoolcraft. I went to reside at the village of Hamilton, in the town of Guilderland, in 1803. Col. Lawrence Schoolcraft, the father of Henry, had then the direction of the large manufactories of glass, for which that place was long noted.


Project Gutenberg extract – 4 – Memoirs H. R. Schoolcraft 1851




Early in the spring of 1810, I accompanied Mr. Alexander Bryan Johnson, of Utica, a gentleman of wealth, intelligence, and enterprise, to the area of the Genesee country, for the purpose of superintending a manufactory for a company incorporated by the State Legislature. After visiting Sodus Bay, on Lake Ontario, it was finally resolved to locate this company's works near Geneva, on the banks of Seneca Lake.

During my residence here, the War of 1812 broke out; the events of which fell with severity on this frontier, particularly on the lines included between the Niagara and Lake Champlain, where contending armies and navies operated. While these scenes of alarm and turmoil were enacting, and our trade with Great Britain was cut off, an intense interest arose for manufactures of first necessity, needed by the country, particularly for that indispensable article of new settlements, window glass. In directing the foreign artisans employed in the making of this product of skill, my father, Col. Lawrence Schoolcraft, had, from an early period after the American Revolution, acquired celebrity, by the general superintendency of the noted works of this kind near Albany, and afterwards in Oneida County.

Under his auspices, I directed the erection of similar works in Western New York and in the States of Vermont and New Hampshire.



The New York Columbian says:--

"The author has before given the public a valuable work upon the Lead Mines of Missouri, and, if we mistake not, a book of instructions upon the manufacture of glass. He is advantageously known as a man of science and literary research, and well qualified to turn to beneficial account the mass of information he must have collected in his tour through that interesting part of the country, which has attracted universal attention, though our knowledge of it has hitherto been extremely limited.


In the year 1808, my father removed from Albany to Oneida County. I remained at the old homestead in Guilderland, in charge of his affairs, until the following year, when I also came to the west. The next spring I was offered handsome inducements to go to the Genesee country, by a manufacturing company, who contemplated the saving of a heavy land transportation from Albany on the article of window-glass, if the rude materials employed in it could be found in that area of country. I visited it with that view; found its native resources ample, and was still more delighted with the flourishing appearance of this part of the Western country than I had been with Utica and its environs. Auburn, Geneva, Canandaigua, and other incipient towns, seemed to me the germs of a land "flowing with milk and honey."