Thomas L. McKenney & James Hall

Thomas L. McKenney was born on March 21, 1785 in Hopewell, Maryland, and attended school in Chestertown, Maryland (Fiske, 2001). McKenney served as head of Indian dealings with America from 1816 to 1823. As a Quaker, he believed in peace among all men and conveyed this message in his official dealings (Spring, 2001). McKenney next took a position as leader of the Office of Indian Affairs. He supported the education of Native Americans and was a firm believer that success could not be achieved without knowledge. McKenney served in this new position for six years beginning in 1824 (Spring, 2001).

The importance of McKenney’s ideas was recognized in 1819, when his views on schooling became legislature with the Congress in Civilization Act. McKenney’s drive also led in 1819 to the Civilization Fund Act, which assisted in providing education costs for Native Americans. Thomas L. McKenney’s goal in the 1820’s was to protect the interests and culture of the Indians (Spring, 2001). McKenney published a number of books between 1827 and 1846 including Essays on the Spirit of Jacksonianism as Exemplified in its Deadly Hostility to the Bank of the United States, etc. in 1835, and Memoirs, Official and Personal in 1846. McKenney passed away on February 19, 1859 in New York City.

James Hall was born on August 19, 1793 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1812, Hall enlisted in the army and fought in the war with Great Britain. In 1818, he left the armed forces and returned to Pennsylvania, settling in Pittsburgh to learn more about the judicial system. In 1820 Hall moved to Shawneetown, Illinois to practice law. By 1824, he had been “appointed public prosecutor of the circuit, and in 1824 state circuit judge” (James, 2004, p.1). Hall was also selected as the treasurer for the state of Illinois, serving from 1827 until 1831 (James, 2004). To fulfill this position, he moved to Vandalia, Illinois, taking his family with him (Jansen, 2000). While serving as treasurer, Hall continued to practice the law.

Like McKenney, Hall was also an author. He published a book about travel, Letters from the West, in 1828, and a novel titled The Harpe’s Head in 1833. However, Hall is remembered primarily for his short stories, which appeared in book format in Legends of the West (1832) and Tales of the Border (1835) (James, 2005). While living in Illinois, Hall also became an editor for two newspapers, the Illinois Gazette and the Illinois Intelligencer (James, 2004). He also served as editor for three other periodicals, the Western Souvenir, the Illinois Monthly Magazine, and the Western Monthly Magazine (James, 2005). On July 5, 1868, James Hall passed away in a town outside of Cincinnati, Ohio (James, 2004).

McKenney and James Hall collaborated on the publication of A History of the Indian Tribes, which contained illustrations of over one hundred Native Americans (Fiske, 2001). This book discussed the history of the Indians and was illustrated with prints based on paintings of famous Native Americans. The portraits were initially created for the War Department and were included along with sketches, information about different regions, and the life and culture of the Native Americans (Burt, 2004).

The lithographs shown below – “Tishcohan, or He Who Never Blackens Himself” and “Lappawinsa, or Gathering Provisions” – were originally painted by the Swedish-born artist Gustavus Hesselius (Gustavus, n.d.). Hesselius is discussed on this website under the category of “Painting – 19th Century.”

(Jennifer Anderson)


Tishcohan, or He Who Never Blackens Himself, c.1837-1844, hand-colored lithograph. Photograph courtesy of The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. (see link below).

Lappawinsee, or Gathering Provisions, c.1837-1844, hand-colored lithograph. Photograph courtesy of The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. (see link below).

The images shown above, “Tishcohan, or He Who Never Blackens Himself” and “Lappawinsa, or Gathering Provisions,” were originally painted by the artist Gustavus Hesselius. They were made into lithographic prints by James Hall and Thomas L. McKenney (Gustavus, n.d.). The term lithography refers to “a process in which the image to be printed is rendered on a flat surface, as on [a stone] or a sheet of zinc or aluminum, and treated to retain ink while the non-image areas are treated to repel ink” (Lithography, 2000, p.1).

Tischcohan and Lappawinsa were two Lenape chiefs (Miller & Pencak, n.d.) of the Lenape-Delaware tribe (Walking, 2005). Shortly after their likenesses had been painted, Tischcohan and Lappawinsa went to a meeting that would lead to the takeover of their land (Lockridge, 2004). These chiefs were two of the Native American leaders who signed a treaty leaving a large amount of the Lehigh Valley to the sons of William Penn (Miller & Pencak, n.d.). The treaty became known as the Walking Purchase.

By this time William Penn had already died (The Walking, n.d.). His sons sold the land to eliminate their debt, and tricked the Delaware tribe into signing over their territory. The Penn boys told the Lenape Indians that years ago their relatives had awarded ownership of the land to the Penn family, providing false information to sway their decision (The Walking, n.d.). The Indians believed their story and the agreement was authorized on August 25, 1737 (Miller & Pencak, n.d.). The Penns were told that they could acquire the amount of land that “could be covered in a day-and-a-half’s walk” (The Walking, n.d.). Runners were hired by the Penn boys to ensure that they would gain as much land as possible. After the walk took place they gained ownership of over one thousand square miles in Pennsylvania (Lockridge, 2004).

Following this accord, the Delaware tribesman were viewed as fools by other tribes and were ridiculed by many, including the Iroquois tribe. The Iroquois sold what was left of the Delaware tribe’s territory to the Penn Family, and kept all of the monetary compensation they received (Lockridge, 2004).


Burt, D.S. (2004) Works by James Hall. In The Chronology of American Literature. Retrieved December 14, 2005, from

Fielding, M. (1974). Gustavus Hesselius. In The Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers. Green Farms, CT: Modern Books and Crafts, Inc.

Fiske, J., Klos, S.L., & J.G. Wilson. (2001). Thomas Lorraine McKenney. In Appleton’s Encyclopedia of American Biography. Retrieved December 14, 2005, from

Groce, G.C. & Wallace, D. H. (1957) Gustavus Hesselius. In New York Historical Society’s Dictionary of Artists in America 1564-1860. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

James Hall. (2005). In The Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved December 14, 2005, from

James Hall. (2004). In the Lovetoknow 1911 Encyclopedia. Retrieved December 14, 2005, from

Jansen, A. (2000). James Hall. Illinois History (December 7, 2000). Retrieved December 14, 2005, from Lagasse, Paul. (2005). Lithography. In The Columbia Encyclopedia (6th ed.). New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Retrieved December 14, 2005, from

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Lithography. (2000). In The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.). New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company. Retrieved December 14, 2005, from

Lockridge, K. A. (2004, January). Overcoming Nausea: The Brothers Hesselius and the American Mystery. In The Interactive Journal of Early American Life (Vol. 4). Retrieved December 14, 2005, from

Miller, R.M., & Pencak, W. Tishcohan and Lapowinsa. In Pennsylvania: A History of the Commonwealth. Retrieved December 14, 2005, from

Rugoff, M. (1973). Printmaking, Modern. In The britannica Encyclopedia of American Art. (pp.457-459). Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Educational Corporation.

Spring, J. (2001). Deculturalization and the Struggle for Equality: A Brief History of the Education of Dominated Cultures. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Company.

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