Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Botanist François André Michaux (1770-1855) went to the USA in 1785 with his famous father André Michaux

François André Michaux (1770-1855) was a French botanist, who went to the USA in 1785 with his father, the botanist André Michaux (1746-1802), where he was to gather plants for the royal botanical garden. The father founded a tree school in Hackensack, New Jersey, for export to France. From 1787, Francois Andre Michaux directed a branch of the tree nursery school in Charleston, South Carolina. He traveled for research in the Tennessee Valley, the Allegheny Mountains, Florida, and the Bahamas where he was temporarily interned by the British when they were carrying his ship. 
Botanist François André Michaux (1770-1855) 

In 1790 Michaux returned to France to study medicine. He then took part in the French Revolution. His father returned in 1796, where his son helped him to cultivate the trees he had brought but reportedly died in 1802, on an expedition in Madagascar. 

In the same year the son went back to the USA at the request of the French government to dissolve the nursery school. He traveled from Charleston, where his ship arrived in October 1801, to New Jersey, whose forests he roamed with David Hosack, and on this occasion visited Hosack's new Elgin Botanic Garden in New York; visited Philadelphia (where he visited the arboretum of William Hamilton In Woodlands); Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Tennessee; returning to France at the end of 1803. He was back in the US in 1806, exploring the east coast from Maine to Georgia and the Great Lakes in 1809, then sailed back to France. Michaux was the author of the most important book on trees of North America in the 19C, which appeared in Paris from 1810 to 1813. The illustrators included Pierre-Joseph Redouté, Henri Redouté, Pancrace Bess and Thomas Nuttall (curator of the botanical garden of Harvard University).

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