Oliver, Andrew

honorificMr.; Esquire
Birth: March 28, 1706 in Boston, MA
Death: March 3, 1774 in Boston, MA
Affiliation:

Harvard College; New England Company; Massachusetts Assembly; Massachusetts Court

Education:

B.A. from Harvard (1724), M.A. From Harvard (1727)

Faith:

Congregationalist: member of Old South Church

Nationality:

Anglo-American

Occupation:

Merchant, politician

Residence:

Boston, MA (from 1706-03-28 to 1774-03-03)

Events:

October 2, 1765: A letter calling into question Occom's history and Wheelock's fundraising practices was circulated in London by the Boston Board of the New England Company. The letter was attributed to Oliver, although a Mr. Pemberton was the actual author.

Marital status:

Oliver married twice. He had at least 17 children, several of whom died in childhood.

Biography:

Andrew Oliver was an influential Boston merchant and politician, who was a member of several societies that funded Eleazar Wheelock, including the Boston Board of the New England Company (treasurer) and Massachusetts General Assembly (secretary). Oliver played an important political role in pre-Revolutionary Massachusetts and, as a firm advocate of Indian missions, attended multiple conferences with Indian tribes. He believed that Anglican and Dissenter missionaries and societies could cooperate, and after Oliver and Wheelock were introduced in 1756, Oliver helped Wheelock access funding from the New England Company, the Massachusetts Assembly, and the Boston Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. Their relationship deteriorated, however, when the London Board of the New England Company turned against Wheelock late in 1765. Wheelock became aware of the London Board’s change of heart through the “Oliver letter,” a letter purportedly written by Oliver (actually written by Ebenezer Pemberton) that was “injurious” to the characters of Wheelock, Whitaker, and Occom. In 1765, Wheelock also lost his funding from the Massachusetts Assembly. It is unclear what role Oliver played in these events. On the one hand, the breach between Wheelock and the New England Company coincided with the collapse of Oliver’s political career over his attempts to enforce the Stamp Act. Oliver may have been too preoccupied to be involved in the London Board’s change of heart; after all, Boston mobs were burning him in effigy. On the other hand, if Oliver was not involved, it is more difficult to explain why his correspondence with Wheelock ended abruptly in 1767 or why Wheelock lost funding from the Assembly and the London Board at the same time. Oliver would be the obvious link; but of course, Wheelock had many detractors in Boston and another explanation is certainly possible.

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Sources:

Calhoon, Robert M. “Oliver, Andrew.” American National Biography Online February 2000. Accessed 9/14/2013. Chase, Frederick. A history of Dartmouth College and the Town of Hanover, New Hampshire. 1891. McCallum, James. The Letters of Eleazar Wheelock’s Indians. Dartmouth College Press 1932. Richardson, Leon. An Indian Preacher in England. Hanover: Dartmouth College Press 1933. Vance, Emma. "Before the Alba Mater: Classics, Civilization, and Race at Moor's Indian Charity School." Senior Honors Thesis, Dartmouth College, 2013.