Henry Schoolcraft was asked to join an expedition organized by Governor Cass of Michigan in 1819. Its purpose was to locate the source of the Mississippi River’ and explore the Great Lakes region. As an expert mineralogist, he was tasked with describing Michigan’s significant topographical features, natural history, and mineral wealth. The expedition took approximately 40 men in five long voyageur canoes commonly used in the fur trade on the Great Lakes. At 35 feet long and 6 feet wide, the canoe had an amazing capacity of four tons. They started the journey on May 24, 1820.