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Samson Occom, journal, 1743 December 6 to 1748 November 29

ms-number: 743656

abstract: Occom records his travels from 6 December 1743, to 29 November 1748.

handwriting: Occom's hand is clear and legible.

paper: Several small sheets folded into a booklet and bound with thread or twine are in good-to-fair condition, with light-to-moderate staining, creasing and wear.

ink: Dark-brown ink is faded in spots.

noteworthy: On one recto and 24 verso, there are doodles and scribbles, as well as what appear to be handwriting exercises. On one recto, an editor, likely 19th-century, adds the note: "Samson Occom's Journal from Dec.6.1743 to Nov. 29. 1748—." This note has not been included in the transcription. On four recto, the identity of Mr. B is uncertain, and so he has been left untagged. On four verso, the identity of Da– O– is uncertain, and so he has been left untagged. The latin sentence on five recto likely translates to: "My mother and her two children [or two of her children] came to remain at Mr. Wheelock’s for a time." On six recto, the identity of the "Queen" is uncertain, and so she has been left untagged. On six verso, it is uncertain as to whom "Deacon Wheelock" refers and so he has been left untagged. It is uncertain for what "D:Inst." is an abbreviation, and so it has been left unexpanded in the modernized transcription. Persons whose names are not legible have not been tagged.

Samſon Occom of
Mohegan [illegible] [illegible]
Eliſabeth E Eliſz

Blank page.
Blank page.Blank page.Blank page.

December the 6th 1743

I went to the Revd Mr Wheelocks
of Lebanon Crank to Learn Some
ting of the Latin tongue, and
was there about a week, and was
obliged to [illegible]Come away from
there again to Mohegan, and
Stayd a bout Fortnight at mohgs
and then I return'd up to Mr Whees
again. and Some time towards
Spring again I went home to
Mohegan, and Stayed Near
three weeks before I return'd
to Mr Wheelocks again. and
Auguſt the 7th A:D 1744 I went
a way from Lebanon to Mohegs
and I got So far as Mr Bs at
Norwitch that Night, &
In the Morning I Sot out from
thence, and I got home to
Mohegan Juſt before Noon

Auguſt the 13th

I went from
Mohegan to Nahantuck, and
viſited all the Indians, and I
Return'd Home again to Mohegs
in the 16th of D Inſtant, and So
imedeatly up to Mr Wheelocks
And September the 7th we So[illegible]t
out from Lebanon for New-
, and we got there in
the 10th of September, and there
we had the plan of Seing the Scholars
Comminſt, and we Return'd home
ward again in the 12th of Sepr.
and we Got home again in
the 20th of D:Inſtant

Novr the 7th AD: 174[illegible]4

Da– O–
was taken Si[illegible]ck and I went
Down to See him in the 12
of D:Inſtant
, and I Return'd
again in the 17th of D:Inſtant
to the Revd Mr weelock's —

Ja[illegible]nuary the 11th AD: 1744

Sot out from Lebanon
for Mohegan and I got there
about Sun-Set and the
next Day to Mothers at boz
— and in the 14th of D[illegible] Inſt
I return'd again to the Revd Mr

Febry the 23d 1744[below]/5

mater mea et Duo Libri Ejus
venierunt ad Dominum Wheelock
manere ibi Tempori,

March ye
20th 1745

I went from Leba
to Mohegan and I there yt
Ni[illegible]ght, and in the 4th of
April AD: 1745
Joſeph John‐
and I went over to Groton
and there we Saw Joſept wa[illegible][guess: u]
the firſt time that ever I Saw
him, and we Return'd home
a gain in the 6th of D:Inſtant
and in the 11th of April I red
home a gain up to Lebanon
and June 24th AD 1745 I went
Down to Mohegan and got
there [illegible]that Day and was sick there, and I retd
again in the 14th of July to Leb

Auguſt the 20th 1745

went away from Leb–
to Mohegan, and I return'd
to Lebn again in 23 of D

Auguſt the 26th
AD: 1745

I Sot out from
Lebn for Norwich and
from thence to Plainfield
and So next from there to
Canterbury and Wedſdy I
got to Windham, and third
ſday I got home to Lebn

Sepr the 7th AD: 1745

I Sot
out from Lebn for
Mohegan [illegible] and got there
Some time before Night
And in the 10th of Sepr we
we Sot out from Mohegan
for Nahantuck, and in
the 12th of D:Inſtant we 'turd
again to mohegan, and
in the 13th of Sepr
Many of us Sot out from
Mohegan for Long-Isla
and we got So far as New
that Night, &
in the Morning we Sot
Sail from there, and we
got t[illegible]o the Place of our
Deſire in the Evening, and
Some of us Lodg'd at Queens
Wigwaum that Night,
and there we were very
kindly Entertain'd by all
of 'em, we had Several
Meetings togather, and
there was Some Stir among
'em ,— And in the 18th Sepr
We all Return'd home
a gain to Mohegan, and
to Several Places where
we belong'd, and we didnt
get home till the 19th of S
Some tim in the
Evening, And I [illegible]went
to Lebn 23d of Sepr

Decer ye 16th 1745

we Sot
out from Lebanon Crank
for windham, and we got
there at night, and I Lodg'd
at Deacon Wheelock's yt
Night, and the Next day
at windham, and in ye
18th of Decer between 2 & 3 o'
Clock in the after Noon,
the Poor Girl was Executed,
and I went right home to
Lebanon that Day —

May the 2d AD 1746

I Sot
out from Crank for Mohegan
, and I arived there about
3 o' Clock in the after Noon
and I Return'd in 16th of may

Auguſht the [illegible]d AD: 1746

Sot out from Lebanon for Mohe–
and got there before Night —
and Return'd again in the 8th of

[illegible] Auguſt the 26th AD: 1746

I went from Lebanon to mohe–
and got there the Same day —
And I Return'd to L– again
the 27th of D Inſt — April ye
ye 6th 1747
went from [illegible]Leba–
to Mohegan and got at Night —

April the 25th AD: 1747

I retur
to Lebanon

June ye 7th AD: 1747

Sot out from Lebanon for
Mohegs and got about 1 'o C
in the after Noon —

June ye 25th

we Sot out from
Mohegs for Nahantuck,
and return'd from thence agan
to Mohegs the 28th of D:inſt
and I Return'd to Lebanon ye
30th of June

July ye 7th

went to Infield, and the next
Morning to L: Meadow and
from thence Right Back [below]to
to Infield and so Right thro[illegible]
to Windſor, and then to Hart‐
, and then from thence to —
L: Crank again —

July ye [illegible]

I went from L: to mohe.
and got there the Same Day —

Tueſday NAuguſt ye 26th

I Return'd to Lebanon
From Laſt Spring to this
Time I have Loſt 11 weeks

Novr ye 2d

went from L: to
Mohegan — and Return'd to
L: again, the 9th of Sd Inſt

Novr ye 10th

I Left Leba–C:
and went Down to Some
parts of New-London, and
kep School there at ye wind
ter —

March the 12 AD 1748

I went up to Lebanon C:, &
and got there about 3 'o C 9
in the after Noon —
and March the 14th Sir
and I Sot very Early
in the Morning from L:C:
for Hebron, and got there a
bout 8 'o C: — And March
the 16th
I Sot out from Hebron
for Mohegs and got there be -at
fore Night — and Came up
again to Hebron the 18th of Sd I–

May the 22d

I went from H:n
Down to Mohegan — and ret:
tto Hebron again in the [illegible] 2d of

June 17th

went from
Hebron to Mohegan — and
Return'd again in the 22d of
Sd Inſt

Auguſt the 6th

Samuel Lee and I went from
Hebron to Lyme

the 10th

I Sot out from Nahan
for Mohegan, and got there
 before Night
10 (10)
and in the 11th of Sd Int I return'd
Back to Hebron, and in the 13
Sd inſt
I was at Mr wheelocks —

September ye 9 AD: 1748

I went
Down to mohegan and got there
before Night —

Sept. ye 15th

we Sot out from mohegan for
[illegible]Nahantuck and we got there
Some time before Night —

Sept the 21d

I returnd Back
to Mohegan

Octr the 3d AD: 1748

I return'd to Hebron, oOctr
the 6th
I went Down to Norwich
and returnd back to Hebron the
Same Dady

Monday Novr ye 14th

I went to Mr Wheelocks — and
went to Hebron Same Day —

Novr the 17th 1748

I Sot out from
Mr Pomroy's to Lebanon, Intending
to Set out from thence to Boſton;
But I was Diſappointed, and So turn'd
my Courſe to Mr Wheelock's;
and Fryday Novemr ye 18 I Sot out
from Mr Wheelock's for Boſton, and
got So far Mr Bingham's [illegible]in
Windham, and Lodg'd there and was
Very kindly Entertain'd, and Saturd–
Novemr the 19th
Sot out from thence
on my Journey, and Stop't at Mr
's in ScotLand, about one
hour, and then went on and got So far
as Mr William's in Pomfret, and
there taried over the Sabbath, and
was Exceedingly Well Treated all
the while I Stay'd there —

Nover the 21 Monday Morning

I Sot out from Pomfret on my
Journey Still and got So far as
Hill's which is 30 Miles this
Side Boſton

Tueſday Nover
the 22d

as Soon as it was Day
we Sot out from thence onward,
and I Left my Company by ye
way, and I got to Rockſbury be-
2 & 3 O' C. in the after Noon So
Strait to Boſton; and Returnd
to Roxbury in the Evening and
Lodg'd at Capt Williamss & was
Entertain'd with all kindneſs &c —

Saturday Novr the 26th,

I Left
Roxbury, and Returnd Home‐
ward, and So far as Natick
at Night, and Lodg'd at
Decn Ephraims, and was kin
dly Receivd and Entertaind, &
Next Day I went to their
Publicl worſhip, and found
too much Levity as I thought
and Monday I to viſiting a[illegible]
amongſt them and [illegible] found
all very kind to a Stranger,

Tueſday Novr the 29th

I Sot
out from Natick, and Jacob
and Isaac Ephraim
acompani'd me 3 or 4 miles —
and So we parted —
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Occom, Samson

Samson Occom was a Mohegan leader and ordained Presbyterian minister. Occom began his public career in 1742, when he was chosen as a tribal counselor to Ben Uncas II. The following year, he sought out Eleazar Wheelock, a young Anglo-American minister in Lebanon, CT, in hopes of obtaining some education and becoming a teacher at Mohegan. Wheelock agreed to take on Occom as a student, and though Occom had anticipated staying for a few weeks or months, he remained with Wheelock for four years. Occom’s academic success inspired Wheelock to open Moor’s Indian Charity School in 1754, a project which gave him the financial and political capital to establish Dartmouth College in 1769. After his time with Wheelock, Occom embarked on a 12-year mission to the Montauk of Long Island (1749-1761). He married a Montauk woman, Mary Fowler, and served as both teacher and missionary to the Montauk and nearby Shinnecock, although he was grievously underpaid for his services. Occom conducted two brief missions to the Oneida in 1761 and 1762 before embarking on one of the defining journeys of his career: a fundraising tour of Great Britain that lasted from 1765 to 1768. During this journey, undertaken on behalf of Moor’s Indian Charity School, Occom raised £12,000 (an enormous and unanticpated amount that translates roughly to more than two-million dollars), and won wide acclaim for his preaching and comportment. Upon his return to Mohegan in 1768, Occom discovered that Wheelock had failed to adequately care for his family while he was gone. Additionally, despite the vast sums of money that he had raised, Occom found himself unemployed. Wheelock tried to find Occom a missionary position, but Occom was in poor health and disinclined to leave his family again after seeing the treatment with which they had met while he was in Britain. Occom and Wheelock’s relationship continued to sour as it became apparent to Occom that the money he had labored to raise would be going towards infrastructure at Dartmouth College, Wheelock’s new project, rather than the education of Native Americans. After the dissolution of his relationship with Wheelock, Occom became increasingly focused on the needs of the Mohegan community and increasingly vocal in criticizing Anglo-Americans’ un-Christian treatment of Native Americans. In September of 1772, he delivered his famous “Sermon on the Execution of Moses Paul,” which took Anglo-American spiritual hypocrisy as one of its major themes, and which went into four printings before the end of the year. In 1773, Occom became further disillusioned when the Mason Land Case was decided in favor of the Colony of Connecticut. The details of the Mason Case are complicated, but to summarize: the Colony of Connecticut had gained control of Mohegan land early in the 18th century under very suspect circumstances, and successfully fended off the Mohegan’s 70-year-long legal challenge. The conclusion of the case came as a blow to the Mohegans, and further convinced Occom of Anglo-American corruption. Along with David Fowler (Montauk Tribe), Occom's brother-in-law, and Joseph Johnson (Mohegan), Occom's son-in-law, Occom helped found Brothertown, an Indian tribe formed from the Christian Mohegans, Pequots, Narragansetts, Montauks, Tunxis, and Niantics. They eventually settled in Oneida country in upstate New York. Occom moved there with his family in 1789, spending the remaining years of his life serving as a minster to the Brothertown, Stockbridge, and Mohegan Indians. Harried by corrupt land agents, the Brothertown and Stockbridge groups relocated to the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago, though Occom died in 1792 before he could remove himself and his family there. Occom's writings and legacy have made him one of the best known and most eminent Native Americans of the 18th century and beyond.

Occom, Sarah

Sarah Occom was Samson Occom's mother. There is some evidence that she was a member of the Groton Pequots, a remnant of the once powerful Pequot Tribe that was decimated by the war with the Puritans in 1636-37. (The Pequots and Mohegans were once a unified people until the Mohegan chief Uncas and a band of followers split off after a dispute with Sassacus, who became sachem of the Pequots.) One genealogy gives Sarah's birthdate as 1694, her maiden name as Wauby Sampson, her father as Sabientouset II (known as General Samson) and her mother as Hannah Wequot Uncas, of the line of the Mohegan's first sachem. Sarah married Joshua Occom (or Tomockham), a Mohegan, and they may have had up to five children: Joshua Jr., Samson, Jonathan, Lucy, and Sarah. In Samson's "Short Narrative" of his life, he notes that his parents "led a wandering Life up and down in the Wilderness" around Uncas Hill. Sarah was an early convert to Christianity during the revivals that swept the area, and Occom recounts that when he told her he wanted education in order to serve his Tribe, she went to Wheelock in nearby Lebanon, CT, because she heard "he had a Number of English youth under his Tuition," to request he take in her son. By 1743, Sarah was a widow, and Samson continued to visit and stay at his mother's house in Mohegan through the 1760s, though one source gives her death as 1782.

Johnson, Joseph
Wheelock, Eleazar

Eleazar Wheelock was a New Light Congregationalist minister who founded Dartmouth College. He was born into a very typical Congregationalist family, and began studying at Yale in 1729, where he fell in with the emerging New Light clique. The evangelical network that he built in college propelled him to fame as an itinerant minister during the First Great Awakening and gave him many of the contacts that he later drew on to support his charity school for Native Americans. Wheelock’s time as an itinerant minister indirectly brought about his charity school. When the Colony of Connecticut retroactively punished itinerant preaching in 1743, Wheelock was among those who lost his salary. Thus, in 1743, he began operating a grammar school to support himself. He was joined that December by Samson Occom, a Mohegan Indian, who sought out an education in hopes of becoming a teacher among his people. Occom’s academic success inspired Wheelock to train Native Americans as missionaries. To that end, he opened Moor’s Indian Charity School in 1754 (where he continued to train Anglo-American students who paid their own way as well as students who functionally indentured themselves to Wheelock as missionaries in exchange for an education). Between 1754 and 1769, when he relocated to New Hampshire, Wheelock trained approximately 60 male and female Native American students from nearby Algonquian tribes and from the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) of central New York. At the same time, he navigated the complicated politics of missionary societies by setting up his own board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, although he continued to feud with the Boston Board of the SSPCK and the London Commissioners in Boston (more colloquially called the New England Company). By the late 1760s, Wheelock had become disillusioned with the idea of Native American education. He was increasingly convinced that educating Native Americans was futile (several of his students had failed to conform to his confusing and contradictory standards), and, in late 1768, he lost his connection to the Haudenosaunee. With his inclination and ability to sponsor Native American missionaries largely depleted, Wheelock sought instead to fulfill his ultimate ambition of obtaining a charter and opening a college, which he did in 1769. To fund this new enterprise, Wheelock drew on the £12,000 that Samson Occom had raised for Moor’s Indian Charity School during a two-and-a-half year tour of Great Britain (1765 to 1768). Much of this money went towards clearing land and erecting buildings in New Hampshire for the Charity School’s relocation — infrastructure that also happened to benefit Dartmouth. Many of Wheelock’s contemporaries were outraged by what they saw as misuse of the money, as it was clear that Dartmouth College was not intended for Indians and that Moor’s had become a side project. Although Wheelock tried to maintain at least some commitment to Native American education by recruiting students from Canadian communities, the move did a great deal of damage to his public image. The last decade of Wheelock’s life was not easy. In addition to the problems of trying to set up a college far away from any Anglo-American urban center, Wheelock experienced the loss of relationships with two of his most famous and successful students, Samson Occom and Samuel Kirkland (an Anglo-American protégé). He also went into debt for Dartmouth College, especially after the fund raised in Britain was exhausted.

Pomeroy, Benjamin

Benjamin Pomeroy was a school friend of Eleazar Wheelock and a lifelong supporter of his cause. Like Wheelock, he was a New Light evangelical and a staunch ally of James Davenport, a radical New Light preacher whose beliefs got him in trouble with the law. After graduating from Yale in 1733, Pomeroy received the ministry at Hebron, CT, in 1734, and assisted Wheelock in myriad ways until his own death in 1784. He kept Wheelock's school during 1746, when Wheelock's first wife, Sarah, was dying, and he tutored Occom (primarily in Hebrew) after Occom had completed his studies with Wheelock. Pomeroy also supported Wheelock as a trustee of Moor's, and, later, Dartmouth, and as a member of the Board of the Correspondents in Connecticut for the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. Pomeroy and Wheelock also had close family connections: Pomeroy was married to Wheelock’s sister, Abigail, and one of Pomeroy’s daughters, Hannah, married David McClure, one of Wheelock's most illustrious graduates. Outside of his liturgical career, Pomeroy served as an army chaplain in the French and Indian War and the Revolution.

Shaw, Elizabeth
Lee, Samuel
Ephraim, Isaac
Chalkcom, Jacob
HomeSamson Occom, journal, 1743 December 6 to 1748 November 29
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