John L. Schoolcraft

John Lawrence Schoolcraft
John L. Schoolcraft.jpg
John L. Schoolcraft, Congressman from New York
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 13th district
In office
March 4, 1849 – March 3, 1853
Preceded byJohn I. Slingerland
Succeeded byRussell Sage
Personal details
Born(1806-09-22)September 22, 1806
Guilderland, New York, U.S.
DiedJune 7, 1860(1860-06-07) (aged 53)
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Resting placeAlbany Rural Cemetery, Menands, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Other political

John Lawrence Schoolcraft (September 22, 1806 – June 7, 1860) was a U.S. Representative from New York.


John L. Schoolcraft was born in Guilderland, New York on September 22, 1806. His father died when he was three months old, and Schoolcraft's mother remarried and moved to Michigan. He remained in Guilderland, where he was raised by his grandparents.[1]

The Schoolcrafts owned a large farm in Guilderland (over 1,000 acres), and ran a tavern and hotel on the Great Western Turnpike (now Western Avenue).[2]

Schoolcraft was educated in the schools of Guilderland. At age 18 Schoolcraft's application to the United States Military Academy was rejected. As a result, he moved to Albany and began a business and banking career. He operated a wholesale grocery business and was active in the Albany and Cohoes and New York Central Railroads, and several other enterprises.[3][4][5]

In the 1830s Schoolcraft became active in the Whig Party. He was a member of the New York Whig Central Committee, and was a delegate to several local and state party conventions.[6] As a result of these activities, Schoolcraft became a close confidant of William H. Seward and Thurlow Weed.[7][8]

Schoolcraft was elected as a Whig to the Thirty-first Congress, succeeding John I. Slingerland by defeating candidates of the Democratic and Free Soil parties. He was reelected to the Thirty-second Congress, defeating Democrat Erastus Corning. He represented New York's 13th congressional district from March 4, 1849 to March 3, 1853, and was not a candidate for renomination in 1852. He was succeeded by Russell Sage.[9][10][11][12]

In 1853 Schoolcraft married Caroline Cornelia Canfield (1834-1922), the niece of William H. Seward. Weed served as a witness.[1][13][14]

Active in banking as an incorporator of the Albany City Bank and an officer of the Commercial Bank of Albany, New York (now Key Bank), he was named President of the Commercial Bank in 1854 and served until his death.[15]

He became a Republican when the party was founded in the mid-1850s, and was a delegate to the 1860 Republican National Convention.[16]

Death and burial[edit]

Schoolcraft became ill and died in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, on June 7, 1860, while returning from the Republican convention in Chicago.[17][18][19]

He was interred in Albany Rural Cemetery.[20]


His home in Guilderland, the John Schoolcraft House, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.[21]


  1. ^ a b Melissa Hale-Spencer, Altamont Enterprise, Begley Chronicles the Whig Congressman from Guilderland, October 10, 2013
  2. ^ Begley Chronicles the Whig Congressman from Guilderland
  3. ^ Alice Begley, Altamont Enterprise, Viewing a Grave, Reviewing a Life, August 28, 1997
  4. ^ New York State Railroad Commission, Annual Report, 1857, page 62
  5. ^ American Railroad Journal, Albany and Cohoes Railroad, Volume 22, 1849, page 279
  6. ^ William Henry Seward, Frederick William Seward, Autobiography of William H. Seward, 1801 to 1834, 1877, pages 501, 662
  7. ^ Thurlow Weed, Life of Thurlow Weed, 1884, page 102
  8. ^ The National Commercial Bank of Albany, page 29
  9. ^ George Rogers Howell, Bi-centennial History of County of Albany, 1609-1886, Volume 2, 1886, page 441
  10. ^ Stephen C. Hutchins, Civil List and Constitutional History of the Colony and State of New York, 1880, page 443
  11. ^ Charles W. McCurdy, Anti-Rent Era in New York Law and Politics, 1839-1865, 2001, page 286
  12. ^ Thurlow Weed, Life of Thurlow Weed, 1884, page 189
  13. ^ Frederick A. Canfield, A History of Thomas Canfield and of Matthew Camfield, With a Genealogy of Their Descendants, 1897, pages 35, 185
  14. ^ New-York Historical Society, Journal of the Society, Volumes 9-11, 1982, page 166
  15. ^ Herbert F. Prescott, The National Commercial Bank of Albany: A Brief History of Three-quarters of a century, 1901, page 7, 27-28, 35
  16. ^ Charles M. Harvey, Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, New York in Republican National Conventions, January 2, 1908
  17. ^ New York Times, From Albany: Serious Illness of John L. Schoolcraft, June 8, 1860
  18. ^ The National Commercial Bank of Albany, page 20
  19. ^ New York Times, Death of John L. Schoolcraft, June 9, 1860
  20. ^ Edward Fitzgerald, A Hand Book for the Albany Rural Cemetery, 1871, page 22
  21. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
John I. Slingerland
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 13th congressional district

March 4, 1849 – March 3, 1853
Succeeded by
Russell Sage