Simon, Abraham

Variant last names: Symon; Simons; Symons
Birth: 1750
Death: Before 1792
Affiliation:

Charlestown Narragansett; Moor's Indian Charity School; Brothertown

Education:

Moor's Indian Charity School 1768-1772

Faith:

Reformed Protestant

Nationality:

Narragansett

Occupation:

Schoolmaster, soldier, town leader

Residence:

Charleston, RI (from 1750)

Lebanon, CT ( to 1770)

Hanover, NH (from 1770 to 1772)

Mushantuxet, CT (from 1774-10 to 1775-04)

Brothertown, NY (from 1785)

Events:

1785: Elected to Brothertown's first town council.

Marital status:

Married twice. His first marriage was in 1786, to an unknown woman who died within the year. His second was to Sarah Adams, by Occom, on July 26 1787. He had a son with Sarah, named Reuben, in 1790.

Biography:

Abraham Simon was a Narragansett Moor’s student who played a prominent role in Brothertown’s early civic life. Abraham was born in 1750 into the prominent Simon family, a Charlestown Narragansett family that sent five children to Moor’s (James, Emmanuel, Sarah, Abraham, and Daniel). The minister at Groton, Jacob Johnson, recommended Abraham Simon to Wheelock during the Fort Stanwix Congress in 1768 (how Jacob Johnson knew Abraham and why he had brought him to Stanwix is unclear. His ministry was only 30 miles away from Charlestown, so that may have been the connection). Abraham studied at Moor’s from 1768 until 1772, and, with his brother Daniel, was one of the few Indian students to relocate with Wheelock from Connecticut to New Hampshire. In 1772, Abraham made a brief journey on Wheelock’s behalf to the Tuscaroras, who proved uninterested in missionaries or schoolmasters. The next written record of Abraham Simon dates to 1774, when he wrote to Wheelock to inform him that he was going to keep school among the Pequots, which he did for approximately six months. In 1775, he enlisted in the army and served as a medic at Roxbury for at least part of the Revolution. Abraham immigrated to Brothertown in 1783 and was elected to the town’s first council. His house was a center of communal life, and appears many times in Occom’s diary as the location of religious meetings. Abraham died in Brothertown sometime before 1795, when his land was recorded under his widow’s name. Some confusion exists regarding Abraham’s death and burial. In 1925, some Dartmouth students became aware of an Indian named Abraham Symons who had lived in East Haddam, Connecticut, from 1790 until 1812. They assumed that this Abraham Symons was the Narragansett Abraham Simon, and erected a tombstone for him in East Haddam. Had they consulted William DeLoss Love’s account of Brothertown, perhaps they would not have done so. The town of East Haddam remains convinced that Abraham Simon is Abraham Symons, despite the fact that their account of Abraham’s life and connection to East Haddam relies on conflating his life with his brother Daniel Simon’s.

Documents written: retrieve them
Documents received: retrieve them
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Sources:

Brooks, Joanna. The Collected Writings of Samson Occom, Mohegan: Leadership and Literacy in Eighteenth-Century Native America. Oxford 2006. Bross, Kristina, and Wyss, Hilary. Early Native Literacies in New England. UMass Press 2008. Calloway, Colin, The Indian History of an American Institution. Dartmouth College Press 2010. Clark, Marlene. “An Old Headstone Here, Rather Than At Dartmouth College.” 11/15/2006 Hartford Courant: http://articles.courant.com/2006-11-15/news/0611150486_1_native-americans-headstone-dartmouth-college. Johnson, Frederick C. Jacob Johnson, M.A. Pioneer Preacher of Wyoming Valley (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) 1772-1790., First Settled Pastor First Presbyterian Church. Wilkes-Barre: Wilkes-Barre Record Print, 1911. Accessed via Haithi Trust. Love, Deloss. Samson Occom and the Christian Indians of New England. Pilgrim Press 1899. McCallum, James. The Letters of Eleazar Wheelock’s Indians. Dartmouth College Press 1932. Warner, Elizabeth. “Abraham Symons, Notable Haddam Resident.” East Haddam-Haddam Patch 5/8/2011. http://easthaddam.patch.com/articles/abraham-symons-notable-haddam-resident.