Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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DUERINK, John Baptist, missionary, born in St. Giles, near Lermonde, Belgium, in 1809; died in Kansas in 1857. He was educated in the Episcopal seminary of Ghent, and, having long desired to devote himself to the conversion of the savages of North America, he embarked for the United States in 1833. He entered the Society of Jesus in Missouri, beginning his novitiate at St. Stanislaus, near Florissant, in 1834, afterward teaching for several years, and serving as treasurer of the Colleges of Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Bardstown. He was an accomplished botanist, and traversed a great portion of Illinois and Ohio in search of rare plants and flowers, discovering several new varieties, one of which is known as the prunus Duerinkiana. In 1849 he was sent among the Indians. The mission of the Pottawattamies, which he conducted, owed its great success to him. These savages had already been converted, but he civilized them, and induced them to prefer agriculture to the chase. He established schools for the youth of the tribe, and succeeded in interesting the national government in his work. Many of his letters to the authorities were published in the documents that accompany the annual message of the president (1852'7). Father Duerink was drowned while descending the Missouri River in a small boat.
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