Crèvecoeur, J. Hector St. John

Crèvecoeur, J. Hector St. John krĕvkörˈ [key], 1735–1813, American author and agriculturist, b. France as Michel Guillaume Jean de Crèvecoeur. It is believed that he served under Montcalm in Canada. After traveling in the Great Lakes region and in the Ohio valley and working as a surveyor in Pennsylvania, he settled (c.1769) on a farm in Orange co., N.Y., where he wrote Letters from an American Farmer (1782). Other letters, found in 1922, were published as Sketches of Eighteenth Century America (1925). The two books give outstanding descriptions of American rural life of the period. He wrote, over the signature Agricola, agricultural articles for American newspapers. He introduced the culture of European crops, notably alfalfa, into America and of the American potato into Normandy. As French consul in New York City (from 1783) he sought to improve commercial relations between France and the United States. He lived in France from 1790.

See biography by T. L. Philbrick (1970).

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