Featherstonhaugh, George William, 1780-1866

Alternative names

Hide Profile

George William Featherstonhaugh was a geologist and traveler, and was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1809.

From the description of Papers, 1771-1856. (American Philosophical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 122464837

From the guide to the George William Featherstonhaugh papers, 1771-1856, 1771-1856, (American Philosophical Society)

Epithet: diplomatist

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000981.0x000177

English traveller and geologist in U.S.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Featherston Park, Duanesburgh, N.Y., to Monsieur Thouin, 1820 Apr. 7. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270519027

From the description of Autograph letter signed : [n.p.], to F.R. Hassler, 1819 Dec. 22. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270525616

George William Featherstonhaugh was a geologist and traveler.

From the description of Papers, 1809-1840. (American Philosophical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 122589320

Charles Babbage was a mathematician and inventor.

From the guide to the Charles Babbage selected correspondence, 1827-1871, 1827-1871, (American Philosophical Society)

George William Featherstonhaugh (1780–1866, APS 1809) was a British gentleman-farmer, geologist and diplomat. He promoted the application of scientific principles to farming, and he was instrumental in the construction of a railroad line in his home state of New York. In addition, Featherstonhaugh completed several geological surveys for the United States, including some in the area that was acquired through the Louisiana Purchase. In the late 1830s he served as boundary commissioner to settle the disputed Maine – New Brunswick border.

Featherstonhaugh was the son of George and Dorothy (Simpson) Featherstonhaugh. He was born in London but grew up in Scarborough, near the North Sea. As a boy, Featherstonhaugh showed a strong interest in natural history and mineralogy. However, his father died the year he was born and his mother’s income from her millinery shop did not suffice to pay for a university education. He was employed as an agent for British firms on the continent until 1804, and then worked for a London firm until 1806. In 1807 he moved to the United States. He settled near Schenectady, New York, where his wife Sarah Duane (1775-1828) had inherited a large estate.

Featherstonhaugh promoted agricultural and commercial development by applying scientific principles to farming, stressing proper drainage, and drawing attention to soil composition. He served as secretary for the New York board of agriculture, and promoted the construction of a railway from Schenectady to Albany. In 1826, he received a charter for the Mohawk and Hudson Rail Road Company. That same year, his interest in railroads took him to England.

His stay in England turned out to be less useful for developing Featherstonhaugh’s expertise in railroads than his interest in geology. In England and also during a visit to France, he turned his attention to the study of that science. He worked with several eminent geologists, including William Smith (1769-1839) and Roderick Murchison (1792-1871). In 1827 he returned to the United States with 8,000 fossils and minerals with the intention to make the study of geology his main occupation.

In 1829, after the death of his wife and the destruction of his house by fire, Featherstonhaugh abandoned agricultural pursuits and his position of railway director for good. In 1831 he moved first to New York City and then to Philadelphia. He remarried, published several literary works, and founded the Monthly American Journal of Geology and Natural History . The journal lasted only until 1832, partly because his tendency to attack and disparage the work of leading American scientists alienated him from the scientific community. However, his work helped establish his reputation as a geologist, and in 1834, he became the United States government's first geologist to survey the structure and mineral resources of Arkansas and adjacent territories. His 1844 book Excursion Through the Slave States, which focuses on Arkansas, is remarkable not only for its geological descriptions but also for the observations of the local inhabitants. Much of their dialogue, for example, is rendered in their dialects. Over the next few years, he surveyed and published official and popular reports on that region as well as parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina and several neighboring states.

In 1839 Featherstonhaugh served as boundary commissioner to survey the area disputed between the United States and Britain on the Maine – New Brunswick border. His conclusion that Britain had a rightful claim to the territory earned him much criticism as a traitor to his adopted country. The Webster-Ashburton treaty of 1842 largely ignored his findings, but Britain did not. In 1844 he was appointed the British consul at Le Havre, a position that he held until his death in 1866.

Recognition for his accomplishments as a geologist includes his election to the American Philosophical Society in 1809, and to the Geological Society of London in 1827.

Featherstonhaugh had four children with his first wife Sarah Duane. In 1831, after the death of Sarah, he married Charlotte Williams Carter. They had three children.

From the guide to the George William Featherstonhaugh papers, 1809-1840, 1809-1840, (American Philosophical Society)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Puckett, James Manuel, Jr. Puckett, James Manuel, Jr. Experience of a frontier traveler, 1837, 1837. University of Georgia, University of Georgia, Main Library
creatorOf Featherstonhaugh, George William, 1780-1866. Autograph letter signed : [n.p.], to F.R. Hassler, 1819 Dec. 22. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Peale-Sellers Family Collection, 1686-1963, 1686-1963 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Featherstonhaugh, George William, 1780-1866. Papers, 1771-1856. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Vol. CCCXXXIX (ff. 366). 16-30 Nov. 1842.includes:ff. 1-11 Robert Montgomerie Hamilton, Baron Hamilton; 8th Lord Belhaven and Stenton: Letters to Sir R. Peel: 1842.ff. 12, 14 Armar Lowry-Corry, 3rd Earl Belmore: Correspondence with Sir R. Peel: 1... British Library
creatorOf Carey, Lea & Blanchard. Correspondence, 1823-1849. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Cimarosa, Domenico, 1749-1801. Orazi e Curiazi : musica del sig[no]re Domenico Cimarosa : Atto primo : manuscript, [18--] Harvard University, Houghton Library
referencedIn Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871. Correspondence, 1830-1867. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Sir Roderick Impey Murchison correspondence, 1829-1871, 1829-1871 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Eaton, Lewis, b. 1789. Lewis Eaton correspondence and newspaper, 1824-1825. Library of Congress
referencedIn Duane, James, 1733-1797. Duane and Featherstonhaugh family papers, 1666-1900 (bulk 1756-1900). Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Vol. II (ff. 231). 1831-1846.includes:f. 1 John Murray, publisher; d.1843: Letter to J. W. Croker: [circ. 1825].f. 69 George William Featherstonhaugh, diplomatist: Letter to J. Murray: 1843.f. 83 John Gibson Lockhart, Editor of the 'Quarterly R..., 1831-1846 British Library
referencedIn American Philosophical Society Archives. Record Group IIb, 1807-1825 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Lyon, Lucius, 1800-1851. Prospectus and map, 1836. Newberry Library
creatorOf George William Featherstonhaugh papers, 1809-1840, 1809-1840 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Pamphlets relating to geology in Minnesota, 1897- Minnesota Historical Society Library
creatorOf Bolling, Robert B., fl. 1843,. Cabell family papers [manuscript, 1796-1867. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Smith, Geo. B. (George B.), surveyor. Map of twenty acres of land belonging to the estate of James Duane, shewing the division theoreof into five equal parts, according to his will / taken from the original survey and map, made by Uzal W. Freeman ; George B. Smith. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
creatorOf Featherstonhaugh, George William, 1780-1866. Letter, 1832. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
creatorOf Brotherton and Stockbridge Indian papers [microform], 1839-1945. University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, Cofrin Library
referencedIn Du Ponceau, Peter Stephen, 1760-1844. Papers, 1663-1844 (inclusive), 1781-1844 (bulk). Historical Society of Pennsylvania
creatorOf Featherstonhaugh, George William, 1780-1866. George William Featherstonhaugh family papers, 1771-1856. Library of Congress
referencedIn New Harmony Manuscripts, 1812-1871 Working Men's Institute of New Harmony, Indianahttp://www.workingmensinstitute.org/
referencedIn Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871. Letter : Slough, Buckinghamshire, England, to G.W. Featherstonhaugh, Philadelphia, 1832 Jan. 11. University of Chicago Library
referencedIn Morton, Samuel George, 1799-1851. Papers, 1819-1850. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Vol. CCI (ff. 364). Feb.-Sept.1842.includes:ff. 1, 186 Field-Marshal Sir Henry Hardinge, 1st Viscount Hardinge Governor-General of India: Correspondence with Lord Aberdeen: 1842-1854.ff. 3, 21, 31, 32, 83 Ferdinand II of Naples and Sicily; King ... British Library
creatorOf Featherstonhaugh, George William, 1780-1866. Geological reports. American Museum of Natural History
creatorOf Featherstonhaugh, George William, 1780-1866. Autograph letter signed : Featherston Park, Duanesburgh, N.Y., to Monsieur Thouin, 1820 Apr. 7. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Bingham, W. mss., 1752-1891 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly
referencedIn Vol. CCII (ff. 354). Oct. 1842-April 1843.includes:ff. 1, 253, 255 Sir Gore Ouseley, 1st Baronet: Correspondence with Lord Aberdeen: 1811-1844.ff. 3, 5 General Francis Rawdon Chesney: Correspondence with Lord Aberdeen: 1842-1843.f. 6 Commodore ... British Library
creatorOf Nicollet, J. N. (Joseph Nicolas), 1786-1843. Joseph N. Nicollet papers, 1822-1843. Minnesota Historical Society Library
referencedIn Sir Roderick Impey Murchison correspondence, 1830-1867, 1830-1867 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Washington Irving's Life of George Washington, Volume 13, Miscellany, 1771-1832. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Featherstonhaugh, George William, 1780-1866. Experiences of a frontier traveler, 1837. University of West Georgia, Irvine Sullivan Ingram Library
referencedIn Jared Sparks collection of American manuscripts, 1582-1843. Houghton Library.
creatorOf George William Featherstonhaugh papers, 1771-1856, 1771-1856 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Lee, Charles Carter, 1798-1871. Papers of Charles Carter Lee and the Lee family [manuscript], 1768-1931 (bulk 1780-1871). University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Smith, Geo. B. (George B.), surveyor. Map of Gramercy Seat Farm belonging to the heirs of James Duane Esqr. decd. situated in the Twelth [sic] Ward in the City of New York / George B. Smith ; a copy. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
referencedIn Vol. CCCXLIX (ff. 451). 15 May-9 June 1843.includes:ff. 1, 2 Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere; formerly Leveson-Gower: Correspondence with Sir R. Peel: 1828-1848.ff. 4, 8 Dudley Ryder, Viscount Sandon; 2nd Earl of Harrowby: Correspondence w... British Library
referencedIn John Vaughan papers, 1768 - Circa 1936, 1768 - Circa 1936 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Vol. CCIV (ff. 349). Dec. 1843-May 1844.includes:f. 1 Sir Richard Jenkins, formerly MP: Letter to Lord Aberdeen: 1843. ff. 3,4b Henry Lipscomb, solicitor: Correspondence with Lord Aberdeen: 1843. ff. 5, 6b William Lockhart, MP: Correspondence with ... British Library
creatorOf Featherstonhaugh, George William, 1780-1866. [Letter, 1832 Oct. 13, Buckland, Va., to William Buckland, Christ's Church, Oxford, England] [manuscript]. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
referencedIn Babbage, Charles, 1791-1871. Selected correspondence, 1827-1871. American Philosophical Society Library
creatorOf Featherstonhaugh, George William, 1780-1866. Papers, 1809-1840. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Vaughan, John, 1755-1841. Papers, 1768-1922 (inclusive). American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Vol. CCV (ff. 381). June-1844.includes:ff. 1-4 b, 26 Comte Ange de St Priest,; editor of 'Antiquités Mexicaines': Correspondence, etc., with Lord Aberdeen: 1843-1844.: Engl. and Fr.: Partly printed.ff. 1-4b City of Mexico: Papers rel. to propose... British Library
referencedIn Samuel George Morton Papers, 1819-1850 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Charles Babbage selected correspondence, 1827-1871, 1827-1871 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Clay, Henry, 1777-1852. Henry Clay letters [manuscript] 1839-1848. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Featherstonhaugh, George William, 1780-1866. Report. United States Military Academy, USMA Library
referencedIn Hays, Isaac, 1796-1879. Papers, ca. 1820s-1879. American Philosophical Society Library
creatorOf Clay, Henry, 1777-1852. Letters of Henry Clay [manuscript] 1813-1850. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Isaac and I. Minis Hays papers, Circa 1820-1925 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Vol. CCVII (ff. 367). Oct. 1845-March 1846.includes:ff. 1, 50, 68-70b Sir Augustus John Foster, 1st Baronet; diplomatist: Correspondence with Lord Aberdeen: 1828-1846.ff. 3, 21, 71-74, 109 John William Perry Farren, Consul at Manila: Corresponden... British Library
referencedIn G. Hubert Smith papers., 1900, 1930-1986. Minnesota Historical Society.
referencedIn Smith, G. Hubert, 1908-. G. Hubert Smith papers, 1900, 1930-1986. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
referencedIn Adam Sedgwick: Letters and Papers, 1818-1916 Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Alexander, J. H. (John Henry), 1812-1867 person
associatedWith American Philosophical Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Babbage, Charles, 1791-1871. person
associatedWith Bache, A. D., (Alexander Dallas), 1806-1867 person
associatedWith Biddle, Clement C., (Clement Cornell), 1784-1855 person
associatedWith Bingham, William person
associatedWith Bowditch, Henry I., (Henry Ingersoll), 1808-1892 person
associatedWith Bowditch, Nathaniel, 1773-1838 person
associatedWith Buckland, William, 1784-1856, person
associatedWith Carey, Lea & Blanchard. corporateBody
associatedWith Channing, William Ellery, 1780-1842 person
associatedWith Cimarosa, Domenico, 1749-1801. person
associatedWith Clay, Henry, 1777-1852. person
associatedWith Duane, James, 1733-1797. person
associatedWith Du Ponceau, Peter Stephen, 1760-1844. person
correspondedWith Eaton, Lewis, b. 1789. person
associatedWith Everett, Edward, 1794-1865 person
associatedWith Gould, Benjamin Apthorp, 1824-1896 person
associatedWith Gray, Asa, 1810-1888 person
associatedWith Hassler, F. R. (Ferdinand Rudolph), 1770-1843, person
associatedWith Hays, I. Minis, (Isaac Minis), 1847-1925 person
associatedWith Hays, Isaac, 1796-1879. person
associatedWith Henry, Joseph, 1797-1878 person
associatedWith Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871. person
associatedWith Howgate, Henry W. person
associatedWith Hughes, George W., (George Wurtz), 1806-1870 person
associatedWith Lee, Charles Carter, 1798-1871 person
associatedWith Loomis, Elias, 1811-1889 person
associatedWith Lyon, Lucius, 1800-1851. person
associatedWith Mardon, John, publisher. person
associatedWith Maury, Matthew Fontaine, 1806-1873 person
associatedWith Mease, James, 1771-1846. person
associatedWith Morton, Samuel George, 1799-1851. person
associatedWith Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871. person
correspondedWith New Harmony (Ind.) Working Men's Institute. corporateBody
associatedWith Nicollet, J. N. (Joseph Nicolas), 1786-1843. person
associatedWith Peale, Benjamin Franklin, 1795-1870. person
associatedWith Peale, Franklin, 1795-1870 person
associatedWith Peale-Sellers families. person
associatedWith Pickering, John, 1777-1846 person
associatedWith Post-1650 Manuscript Collection (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library) corporateBody
associatedWith Puckett, James Manuel, Jr. person
associatedWith Sedgwick, Adam person
associatedWith Sedgwick, Theodore, 1811-1859 person
associatedWith Silliman, Benjamin, Jr., 1816-1885 person
associatedWith Silliman, Benjamin, Sr., 1779-1864 person
associatedWith Smith, Geo. B. (George B.), surveyor. person
associatedWith Smith, G. Hubert, 1908-. person
associatedWith Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866 person
associatedWith Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874 person
associatedWith Thouin, André, 1747-1824, person
associatedWith United States Military Academy corporateBody
associatedWith Vaughan, Daniel, ca. 1821-1879 person
associatedWith Vaughan, John, 1756-1841. person
associatedWith Vaughan, William, 1752-1850 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
China, Asia
Mexico, Central America
Birmingham, Warwickshire
Virginia
Society Islands, South Pacific Ocean
India, Asia
Limerick, Ireland
Versailles, Seine-et-Oise
India, Asia
Ellon, Aberdeenshire
United States of America
Illinois--Urbana
Canada, North America
Ennis, Clare
Brazil, South America
Serbia, Europe
Society Islands, South Pacific Ocean
St. Andrews, Fifeshire
Texas, U.S.A.
Dublin, Ireland
Udny, Aberdeenshire
Ireland, Europe
Georgia
India, Asia
Tahiti, Pacific Ocean
Mexico, Central America
United States
Subject
Cherokee Indians
Agriculture
Science--Experiments
Military geology
Scientists--Great Britain
Geology--United States
Railroads--United States
Mineralogy
Geology Maps
Science and technology
Gold mines and mining
Indians of North America--Languages
Railroads
Geology
Calculators
Agriculture--United States
Science--Societies, etc
Manuscripts, American
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1780-04-09

Death 1866-09-28

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6z31x77

Ark ID: w6z31x77

SNAC ID: 14382072