Andrť Michaux

North American Journeys



Andrť 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 in 1954.
    Photo by Becky Beaman.
  • April-July 1787, he made a journey overland from Charleston following some of William Bartramís 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 riverís 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. Johnís 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 Harperís 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 journey.
  • 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 South Carolina.
  • 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: Michauxís Journal and Expense Account

Download Michaux's North American Journeys in Microsoft Word Format


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