André Michaux traveled widely; this is a list of his major
known North American journeys.
Michaux arrived by ship from France at the port of New York
in November 1785.
His base in the New York area was the garden he established in New Jersey
early in 1786.
- In the early months he collected extensively in the region near his
New Jersey garden, but evidence for most of the specific collection
sites and the duration of each trip is lacking.
- June 1786, he made a journey overland from the New Jersey
garden into Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. He traveled
as far south as Fredericksburg, Virginia representing the French government,
making official visits to important Americans in Philadelphia and George
Washington at Mount Vernon, Virginia.
- Sept. 1786, he made a journey overland from the New Jersey
garden to Philadelphia to visit William Bartram and William Hamilton.
- Sept. 1786, he made a journey by sea from New York to Charleston,
South Carolina. He established a new garden in the Charleston area that
would served as his southern base.
This stone marker was placed at the Charleston Airport,
near the site of Michaux's garden by the Garden Club of Charleston
Photo by Becky Beaman.
- April-July 1787, he made a journey overland from Charleston
following some of William Bartram’s routes. He first traveled along
the South Carolina coast into Georgia passing through Savannah. Then
he rode up the Savannah River route through Augusta, Georgia reaching
the river’s headwaters in the wilderness near Highlands, North Carolina.
Scottish botanist John Fraser accompanied him on a portion of this journey.
- July-Sept 1787, he made a journey by sea From Charleston to
Philadelphia, then overland to New York and returned the same way. He
visited with William Bartram, with French officials, and checked on
the operations of his New Jersey garden.
- Feb.-June 1788, he made a journey by sea from Charleston to
St. Augustine Florida. He then explored along the intercoastal lagoons
and rivers of Florida by canoe and on foot reaching areas near Cape
Canaveral before returning to St. Augustine. He then traveled by canoe
up the St. John’s River deep into the wilderness of central Florida
before returning to St. Augustine. On the return trip to Charleston
he traveled along the coast both on horseback and by boat to Savannah,
then rode a ship from Savannah to Charleston.
- Nov.-Dec. 1788, he made a journey from Charleston overland
by way of Augusta, Georgia to the wilderness at the source of the Savannah
River near Highlands, North Carolina and returned.
- Feb.-April 1789, he made a journey from Charleston by sea
to New Providence, Bahamas (Nassau) and returned.
- June-Sept. 1789, journey from Charleston overland along the
Wateree-Catawba route through Camden, South Carolina and Charlotte and
Morganton, North Carolina into the high mountains of North Carolina.
He crossed the mountains into east Tennessee, rode north through Virginia
in the Shenandoah Valley, crossed the Potomac River at Harper’s Ferry,
then continued on to Philadelphia and New York. He returned along a
more coastal route from Baltimore through Alexandria and Richmond, Virginia
to Wilmington, North Carolina then on to Charleston.
- Nov.-Dec. 1789, he made an overland journey from Charleston
along the Wateree-Catawba route through Charlotte, North Carolina to
the high mountains of North Carolina beyond Morganton that he had visited
in June and returned.
- April-May 1791, he traveled by water from Charleston to Cumberland
Island, Georgia. He explored and collected plants along the sea islands
and coastal plain of Georgia.
- April- June 1792, he made a journey by sea from Charleston
to Philadelphia, then overland to New York, with a side trip to New
Haven, Connecticut checking on the New Jersey garden and planning, researching
and making other preparations for an exploration into northern Canada.
- June-Dec. 1792, he made a journey from New York, principally
by water routes, to Lake Mistassini at 51 degrees North Latitude in
the Canadian province of Quebec near Hudson Bay. His route led through
Albany, New York, then north on Lake Champlain and included a collecting
foray near Burlington, Vermont. He then continued on to Montreal, followed
the St. Lawrence River to the city of Quebec. Continuing downstream
he entered the Saguenay River at Tadoussac and paddled upriver into
the interior by birchbark canoe. He retraced the same route on the return
- July-Dec. 1793, he made a journey from Philadelphia, overland
to Pittsburgh, then floated down the Ohio River by boat to Kentucky.
He traveled extensively in Kentucky. He returned overland through Cumberland
Gap into eastern Tennessee, rode north up the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
and on to Philadelphia. Michaux carried confidential messages to French
sympathizers in Kentucky from Edmund Charles Genet, Minister of France
concerning the projected attack on the Spanish in New Orleans.
- Feb.-March 1794, he made a return journey from Philadelphia
overland to Charleston. He followed the same route as in 1789, first
passing through Baltimore, then on to Alexandria and Richmond, Virginia,
then Halifax and Wilmington, North Carolina.
- July-Oct. 1794, he made a journey up the Wateree-Catawba route
through Charlotte to the high mountains of North Carolina west of Morganton.
He climbed several high mountains including Grandfather Mountain and
returned by way of Salisbury and Fayetteville, North Carolina. He then
rode south to Charleston through the inner coastal plain counties of
- April 1795-April 1796, he made a journey overland to the vicinity
of St. Louis, Missouri. He followed the Wateree-Catawba route to Morganton,
North Carolina, crossed the high mountains into Tennessee, passed through
present Johnson City, Knoxville and Nashville, then rode across Kentucky
to Louisville where he crossed the Ohio River into Indiana. Leaving
Vincennes, Indiana, he crossed the plains of southern Illinois to the
Mississippi. He explored extensively in southern Illinois and western
Kentucky. He returned to Nashville by boat and horseback, then made
a side trip on horseback to Louisville and returned to Nashville. From
Nashville to Charleston he returned along basically the same route he
had followed west in 1795.
Complied by Charlie Williams 8/6 /2000
Sources: Michaux’s Journal and Expense Account
Download Michaux's North American Journeys
in Microsoft Word Format