Thomas

Other namesDeacon
Death: May 1779 in Kahnawake (Mohawk territory south of Montreal)
Affiliation:

Oneida

Education:

Literate

Faith:

Christian

Nationality:

Oneida

Occupation:

Deacon

Residence:

Kanawalohale

Events:

January 20, 1769: Thomas withdrew the Oneida children from Moor's Indian Charity School.

Marital status:

Thomas was married and had at least two children, one son and one daughter. His daughter, Hannah, attended Moor's from 1767 until January 1769. Thomas suggested that he might send his son to Moor's, but he never did.

Biography:

Thomas was an essential figure in Oneida Christianity and an important ally for Samuel Kirkland. While it is unclear when he converted to Christianity, by the 1750s he was preaching and leading services at Kanawalohale. By all accounts, he was a compelling speaker and talented at rendering Christian theology in terms compatible with Oneida cosmology. Thomas was instrumental in supporting Kirkland's mission: he often protected the Anglo-American missionary and helped him translate his ideas more effectively. Thomas also played an important role in the history of Moor's. His daughter, Hannah, was a student there, and in July 1768 he visited her. He returned the following January to pull her out of school following her mother's death, and he took the remaining five Oneida children with him. Later statements by Oneida chiefs (reported to Kirkland and David Avery) made clear that a large part of the Oneidas' reason for withdrawing their children was Wheelock's harsh discipline. Thomas was also present for Ralph Wheelock's 1768 outburst at Onaquaga, and was Avery's 1772 source for what had taken place there. Despite his disagreements with Wheelock, Thomas continued to support Kirkland's mission. Thomas was killed by British troops in 1779 while on a diplomatic visit to the Mohawks at Kahnawake (a site across the St. Lawrence River from Montreal). His murder gave the Oneidas yet another reason to side with the colonists during the Revolution.

Documents written: retrieve them
Documents received: retrieve them
All related documents: retrieve them
Sources:

Andrews, Edward E. Native Apostles: Black and Indian Missionaries in the British Atlantic World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press 2013. Chase, Frederick. A history of Dartmouth College and the Town of Hanover, New Hampshire. 1891. Glatthaar, Joseph T. and Martin, James Kirby. Forgotten Allies: The Oneida Indians and the American Revolution. MacMillan 2007. Accessed via GoogleBooks. 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.