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Scholar in the Wilderness


Francis Adrian Van der Kemp was a writer, minister, and political leader of some prominence in his native Holland when he fled from religious and political persecution in 1788 to settle in Oneida County in upstate New York. He became one of the area’s prominent citizens during its formative period. His active, inquiring mind ranged far beyond his rural village of Oldenbarneveld. Politics, religion, history, government, scientific agriculture, geology, the Erie Canal, the conduct of the War of 1812, and any threat to political or religious freedom stimulated him to research and writing. Van der Kamp’s views were sought and respected not only by his friends and neighbors, but also by state and national leaders. His warm friendship with John and Abigail Adams endured until their deaths, and John Quincy Adams continued the relationship.

This is an absorbing biography of an active and influential citizen and resident of central New York State.

Harry F. Jackson was professor of social studies at Utica College of Syracuse University.


Open access edition funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Humanities Open Book Program.