History of Michaux Forest

The chapter, "The Michauxs and Forestry in America" in the book ANDRE AND FRANCOIS ANDRE MICHAUX by Henry Savage, Jr, U of VA Press, 1986 has the full story of the Michaux family, but the book is hard to find.

Following are the highlights:

PA was a favorite place of Andre Michaux. He remarked that Philadelphia was the equal of European cities. He visited his friend William Bartram there many times and became acquainted with the American Philosophical Society and its members. It was under the auspices of the APS that Jefferson sought to send him to the Pacific in 1793.

After Andre Michaux's death, his son Francois-Andre carried on his father's work with North American trees, publishing the matured research of both men as the NORTH AMERICAN SYLVA. The earliest English language edition appeared about 1819. It became the standard reference book on the trees of North America in the 19th century. Updated in the 1840's by Nuttall to include western rees, it was reprinted into the 1870's. The book's introduction contained a call for forest conservation. Both Francois and his father recognized the need for protection of American forests from their experience in Europe.

Francois visited North America three times. He worked closely with the American Philosophical Society and was elected to membership in the APS. He donated his father's American journals to the APS, and, at his own death in the 1850's, Francois willed the APS a substantial sum of money.

The money became the Michaux Fund and in the 1870's it began to provide financial support for Joseph Rothrock, a professor of botany at the U of PA. Rothrock championed forest conservation, gave public lectures, garnered support, began the PA Forestry Assn., and, became the founding director of the PA Dept of Forestry. The first forest lands purchased by the new agency were in the Chambersburg-Gettysburg area and the forest there was named for the Michauxs.

It is certainly a beautiful area now. Andre Michaux visited the area himself; he was in Shippensburg 18 July 1793. Francois Andre actually departed from the George Washington Inn in Shippensburg on 29 June 1802.