Ernest Thompson Seton (August 14, 1860 – October 23, 1946) was a Scots-Canadian (and naturalized U.S. citizen) who became a noted author, wildlife artist, founder of the Woodcraft Indians, and one of the founding pioneers of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Seton also heavily influenced Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting. His notable books related to Scouting include The Birch Bark Roll and The Boy Scout Handbook. He is responsible for the strong influence of American Indian culture in the BSA.
Born Ernest Evan Thompson in South Shields, County Durham (now part of South Tyneside, Tyne and Wear), England of Scottish parents, Seton's family migrated to Canada in 1866. Most of his childhood was spent in Toronto. As a youth, he retreated to the woods to draw and study animals as a way of avoiding his abusive father. He won a scholarship in art to the Royal Academy in London, England.
He later rejected his father and changed his name to Ernest Thompson Seton. He believed that Seton had been an important name in his paternal line. He developed a fascination with wolves while working as a naturalist for Manitoba. He became successful as a writer, artist and naturalist, and moved to New York City to further his career. Seton later lived at Wyndygoul, an estate that he built in Cos Cob, a section of Greenwich, Connecticut. After experiencing vandalism by the local youth, Seton invited them to his estate for a weekend where he told stories of the American Indians and of nature.