Thomas Loraine McKenney

Birth: 1785


Thomas Lorraine McKenny (21 March 1785 - 19 February 1859) was an author born in Hopewell, Somerset county. Md., March 21, 1785. He attended school at Chestertown, Md., and engaged in mercantile business in Washington, D.C. He was appointed superintendent of the U.S. Indian trade by President Madison, April 2, 1816, as successor to Gren. John Macon. In 1819 an act of congress prevented the President from appointing officers for the trade department without the consent of the senate and he was re-appointed and confirmed.

On March 11, 1824, a bureau of Indian Affairs was organized in connection with the war department and he was appointed chief of the bureau. In 1822 charges of favoritism and a corrupt abuse of his trust were preferred against him. The case was tried before a committee of congress, where he was completely vindicated. He was a special commissioner with Gen. Lewis Cass in 1826 to negotiate an important treaty with the Chippewa Indians at Fond du Lac, Mich. Ty., and he also visited various tribes and induced them to remove their settlements west of the Mississippi River in 1827.

He was dismissed from office, Oct. 1, 1829, by President Jackson. It was generally believed that he was in default, but in 1833 all his accounts were settled in full. He is the author of: Sketches of a Tour to the Lakes, of the Character and Customs of the Chippeica Indians and of the Incidents Connected with the Treat II of Fond du Imc (1827); A History of the Indian Tribes (with James Hall, 3 vols.. 1838-44); Essays on the Spirit of Jacksonianism as Exemplified in its Deadly Hostility to the Bank of the United States (1835), and Memoirs. Official and Personal, with Sketches of Travels among the Northern and Southern Indians (1846). He died in New York city, Feb. 19, 1859.


The Biographical Dictionary of America, vol. 7 pg. 180

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