Moor’s Indian Charity School

Variant name:

Wheelock's School; Indian Charity School

Address:

North Lebanon, CT (Lebanon Crank), 1754-1769, Hanover, NH, 1769-1850

Description:

Moor’s Indian Charity School was a grammar school for Native Americans that Eleazar Wheelock opened in North Lebanon, Connecticut in 1754. The school was named for Colonel Joshua Moor, also spelled More, who donated the land and school building. Moor’s was essentially an expansion of the grammar school that Wheelock opened in 1743 to support himself during the fallout from the First Great Awakening, when Wheelock, who'd participated in itinerant ministry during the Awakening, had his salary confiscated by the colony of Connecticut. In December of that year, Samson Occom asked Wheelock to teach him as well. Wheelock's work with Occom was so successful that Wheelock decided to replicate the experiment with other Native American boys. He accepted his first Indian students in 1754, and in 1761 began taking female students as well. Wheelock believed that in time, his school would become just one part of a larger missionary enterprise. He planned to send his Anglo American and Native American students to various tribes as missionaries and schoolmasters, with explicit instructions to pick out the best students and send them back to Moor’s to continue the cycle. His ultimate goal was to turn his school into a model Christian Indian town that would include farms, a college, and vocational training. However, Wheelock’s grand design did not survive the decade. Wheelock lost the vast majority of his Native American students; he fought with many of the best, including Samson Occom, Joseph Johnson, David Fowler, and Hezekiah Calvin, and other former and current students accused him of subjecting Native Americans to disproportionate amounts of manual labor. In 1769, perhaps due to concerns about corporal punishment, the Oneida withdrew all their children from Moor’s. When Wheelock relocated to Hanover in 1769, only two Native American students came with him, and it became clear that Wheelock’s focus was on Dartmouth and that Dartmouth was for white students. After Wheelock’s death in 1779, Moor’s Indian Charity School receded further into the background as John Wheelock, his father’s reluctant successor, stopped taking Indian students. Some Native American students were enrolled in Moor’s until 1850, when the school unofficially closed.

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Sources:

Calloway, Colin. The Indian History of an American Institution: Native Americans at Dartmouth. Hanover: Dartmouth College Press 2010. Chase, Frederick. A History of Dartmouth College and the Town of Hanover, New Hampshire. Brattleboro: Vermont Printing Co 1891. Flood, Elizabeth A. An Experiment in Indian Education Undertaken by Eleazar Wheelock, 1754-1770. Paper written at the University of Toronto 1968. Photocopy in Rauner Library. McCallum, James, ed. The Letters of Eleazar Wheelock’s Indians. Hanover: Dartmouth College Press 1932. Murray, Laura. “‘Pray Sir, Consider a Little’”: Rituals of Subordination and Strategies of Resistance in the Letters of Hezekiah Calvin and David Fowler to Eleazar Wheelock, 1764-1768.” Studies in American Indian Literatures Vol. 4 No. 2/3 (Summer/Fall 1992) pp. 48-74. Accessed via JSTOR. Szasz, Margaret Connell. Indian Education in the American Colonies, 1607-1783. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 1988. Vance, Emma. Before the Alba Mater: Classics, Civilization, and Race at Moor's Indian Charity School. Dartmouth College Honors Thesis 2013. Wheelock, Eleazar. A plain and faithful narrative of the original design, rise, progress and present state of the Indian charity-school at Lebanon, in Connecticut. Boston 1763. Wheelock, Eleazar. A Continuation of the Narrative of the Indian Charity School, in Lebanon, in Connecticut. 1771 (no location).