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Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to George Whitefield, 1761 July 4

ms-number: 761404

abstract: Wheelock writes to Whitefield about first Occom's mission to the Oneidas, and about the difficulties of teaching Indian students. He mentions the idea of appealing to the Earl of Dartmouth for charity.

handwriting: Handwriting is small and cramped, with several deletions and additions.

paper: Paper appears to have minimal creasing, staining and wear, yet overall condition is difficult to assess due to the paper being completely encased in protective covering.

ink: Dark brown

noteworthy: The letter is noted as a copy. Some contents are similar to those of 761515. The abbreviation "proc." at the bottom of one verso is an abbreviation for "proclamation money," a term that described colonial currency the value of which was set at the currently imposed rate determined by a royal proclamation issued by Queen Anne in 1704, passed into law by parliament in 1707.

events: Occom's First Mission to the Oneidas



Rev.d & dear Sir.

I hope you have recd mine from Boſton laſt
May, incloſing a letter of Thanks to the noble Marqueſs of Lothain
for £50 Sterling which I rec.d of M.r Smith. It came at
a Time when it was much needed and I dont know how to
expreſs my Gratitude ſuitably either to God or man. I preſume
his good Lordſhip wants nothing in return more than I can readily give
that is, the fulleſt aſsurance that it was received thankfully,
and ſhall be improved in the beſt manner I am able for the
furtherance of the great Deſign of ſpreading the Gospel
among the poor Indians.
M.r Occom the Indian Miniſter went from hence on a Miſ­
ſion to the Oneida Indians, at the Motion & Direction of a
number of Gentlemen in New York Government, on the 10th
of Laſt month. David Fowler one of my Indian Schollars
accompanied him in order to obtain if he could, and bring
hither to this School ſix Boys of the Six Nations to be
:fitted as ſoon as poſsible for Interpreters or Miſsionaries.
Three of the Six are at the Expence of the Scotiſh Com̅iſs.n in
Boſton ; the other Three I take in addition to the Six Boys
now with me, at my own Riſque. The Journey which David
is upon if he goes to the Seenecas is about 500. miles.
1200 Miles he will ride in our Wilderneſs if he accompliſhes
what he purposed when he ſet out. The Lord mercifully pre­
ſerve him and make his way proſperous. I have heard nothing
from them ſince they left me. But I heard a few Day ago that
one of the Oneida Indians had killd a Dutchman, and that
the whole Tribe were moving off under Apprehenſion that the
Engliſh will riſe and cut them off.
There is among ſeveral Tribes near Seſquaanna River. a very
great concern, and Deſire to be taught the way of Salvation by
Chriſt. and ſuch a Door open to preach the Gospel among
them as never was before, if we could find any way to com̅u­
-nicate it to them. The London Com̅iſsrs in Boſton have ap­
pointed M.r Amos Thompſon Miſsionary, & M.r Eliſha Gunn
Interpreter to the Tribe at Onohoquagke, on S.d River, and
beſides him I know not of one ſuitable for the Buſineſs of Inter­
preter, nor is he a thorough Maſter of their Language.
There is a vaſt deal to be done, and at preſent it ſeems
it muſt be done by perticular Perſons. Our Government
have done nothing yet, nor do I hear of any Proposals of
a publick Nature in Favour of the Indians. The Diſpoſition
of a great number ſeems to be rather to riſe and cut them all
off, than to do any thing to ſave their Souls. nothing can be done
without money, and our people complain much of the weight of
[left]our charges of late years.
My School is in a growing State; though but one of the Girls
which
which I have been ſo long expecting is yet come. nor have
I heard a word from M.r Brainerd ſince laſt Fall, when he
informed me that the Girls were detained by Sickneſs, but
might be expected early this Spring.
I have taken a pious youth Son to the Rev. M.r Kirtland
of Norwich into this School as a Charity Schollar; who
is fitting as faſt as he can to accompany my Indian Boys
on a Miſsion to diſtant Tribes as ſoon as they are fit for
it. he and they deſign to learn the Languages of the ſix
nations
, of the Boys which David is gone for if they ſhall
come.
None know, nor can any, without Experience, well conceive
of, the Difficulty of Educating an Indian. They would ſoon
kill themſelves with Eating and Sloth, if conſtant care weres
not exerciſed for them at leaſt the firſt year — they are
used to ſet upon the Ground, and it is as natural for them as
a ſeat to our children — they are not wont to have any Cloaths
but what they wear, nor will they without much Pains be bro.t
to take Care of any. — They are used to a Sordid Manner of
Dreſs, and love it as well as our Children to be clean. —
They are not used to any Regular Government, the ſad Con­
ſequences of Which You may a little gueſs at — they are
used to live from Hand to Mouth (as we Speak) and have
no care for Futurity — they have never been used to the
Furniture of an Engliſh House, and dont know but that
a wine glaſs is as Strong as an Hand Iron — our Language
[gap: tear][guess: when] they Seem to have got it is not their Mother Tongue
and they cannot receive nor communicate in that as in
their Own. — It is a long time before they will learn the pro­
per Place & use of the Particles. A, an, the &c. and they are
as unpoliſhed & uncultivated within as without. however
Experience has taught us that it may be done. and they
be as open to Conviction of the Truth of their State, when
proper matter of Conviction is com̅unicated to them as any,
and there is as much Ground to hope for their Converſion.
and I am ſtill of Opinion that the Time of Gods Mercy
to them is now near at Hand.
May'n't I, my Dear Sir, look upon the generous Grant of the
Marqueſs of Lothain as an Earniſt of further and greater Benefits
to the great Deſign. You will eaſily beleive he weight of Change
is heavy upon me. It is now almost Seven years ſince I began
with two, and above four years I have had four and the moſt
of the Time five & Six, and now Eight upon my Hands as con­
ſtantly devoted to School as their Health will allow. and if
all come which I now expect, I ſhall have Eighteen, male, &
feemale who will live only on the Charities of Such as Deſire
the enlargement of the Redeemers Kingdom.
The Honle London Com̅iſsrs have made ſeveral Grants for
my Help. and laſt fall they settled £20. proc. p.r annum upon
this School; which with the private Donations I have had
have enabled me to Scrabble along hitherto.
The Scotiſh Com̅iſsrs have but little to do with at preſent;
[illegible]The firſt Laying out of that new formed Com̅iſsion is for the
Support of the Three Boys before mentioned. I hope they will ſoon
be enabled to do ſomething greater.
nor was that received from the
Society
but y.e contribu.n of M.r W.m Hyſlop one of y.r membrs. they hope ſoon to be enabled
by y.e Society to do something greater.
I hear
I hear that a large number of Captives whom the Indians have
taken at one time & place & another are lately brought into Al­
bany
; among which there are 29. who have forgotan their Names
and the Place they were taken from, and it cant as yet be known what
Family they are of. I have a mind, if it may be, to chuſe out
a number of them for an Education for our Purpose
in this School.
There is a religious youth of about 14 Years old of
The Tribe at Farmington, who has learnt to read & can
ſpeak Engliſh, who has a great Thirſt for Learning, and
appears to be very Sprightly: his Mother brought him
hither while I was at Boston laſt may, with Hopes y.t
I would take him into this School. what ſhall I do for him?
If I knew how to addreſs the Earl of Dartmouth (whoſe
Name among the Religious Part of our Country is like pre­
cious Oyntment) I would pray his Lordſhip to conſider,
among the many objects of his Charity, the vaſt Swarms
in this Land who are periſhing for Lack of knowledge and
that the Expence of getting the Gospel among them muſt
needs be very great, their Different Languages being almoſ[gap: worn_edge][guess: t]
as numerous as their Tribes. and no Books to aſsiſt in
learning them — and few or none ſkillful enough to be
their Interpreters, eſpecially in matters of Religion. nor any
except ſome low lived ignorant, & commonly vitious Persons
who have been their Captives — I would also urge upon his
Lordſhip
, that divine Providence has now opened the Door
wide for that purpose. and great numbers, by the [illegible] Ru­
­mours they have heard, are now perſwaded there is ſomething to
be known which nearly concerns them and are very deſirious
to be taught — I would also urge w.t his Ldſhp has ſo often tho't of that the Heart of the
# great Redeemer is infinitely Set upon it, and [illegible] conſequently an offer
­ing to this Purpose muſt needs be acceptable to him. and methinks I
ſhould feal quite bold in the Cauſe, for it is none of my
own, more than his. and I know if his Lordſhip believes
these things, he muſt have a Heart very Different from his
Character if it be not disposed to moved with Compaſsion towards them
[illegible]. yea I am not afraid to rely upon his Lordſhips
Candour if you ſhall think fit to ſhew him what I have wrote.
as to an Incorporation for this Purpose when I went to Bos
­ton
I had in view ſomething Relative thereto. but found there that a
number of the Principle men in Boſton viz. The Leiu.t Gov.r a number
of his Majeſty's Councel, all the aſsociated Miniſters & Others, had
been upon the like Deſign, but were then ſtoped by Reaſson of ſome
differing Sentiments &c when they came to underſtand my Deſign Buſineſs
Several who were principle movers in the affair earneſtly deſired
we would not proceed without them. and you will likely hear
more about it before long.
We had an acco.t of your Death in the publick Prints. I ſupposed you
had ſeen the End of your Faith. and had arived to full viſion of thoſe
Glories of the Mediator, which all your Eloquence had but imperfectly
repreſented to your attentive admirers, and that you were now
ſwollowed up in and feaſted to ye full with, that Goodneſs which Eye hath
not ſeen nor Ear heard &c. and y.t I muſt think no more of an Interview
with you 'till I come to the world of Spirits. but now my dear Sir I will hope a little
to
to ſee you again in New England.
M.r Pomeroy was well the laſt time I heard from him but from
Home and full of Buſineſs. Indeed Sir, I do love to pray for
you. and truſt I have, and ſhall feal the Benefit of Your Prayers for, My Dear Sir,
Yours in the Deareſt Bonds
Eleazar Wheelock

P.S. July. 9. my letter wait.g for opportunity for conveyance gives me
opportunity to add. y.t the night before laſt I received yours of Feby [illegible].
and yesterday I received one from M.r Occom Dated New York
June 24. wherein he informs me yt y.e Sabath Evening before there
was a Collection at M.r Boſtwicks meeting House for him of £60:15:7.
and the Evening following at the Baptiſt meeting House of
£13. & that he and David deſind to purſue [illegible] their Journey
to Oneida the next morning: & by another Hand I am informd
that previous antecedent to ſd Collection he Mr Occom preachd to the moſt numerous
aſsembly that was ever known in those parts:
and this [illegible] day I have received a Letter from M.r Brainerd which
Informed me that one of the Girls who were to come
hither laſt fall was ſtill ſick and not like to recover. but
that he ſhould ſend me two by the firſt veſsel. ſo that
now I expect my number very ſoon.
and illegible by another at the Same Time from dear M.r Amos
Thompſon
I'm informedng me that he was on his way from the
Jerſies to Boſton to [gap: tear][guess: conclude] on the Buſineſs of his
Miſsion & was taken ſick, his Physican ſays going into
a Conſumption ſo that there is no hope of his ſerving
in that Capacity. Gods Judgments are a great Deepe
Rev.d M.r Finley is chosen Preſid.t of y.e College of New Jerſie
in the Room of the much lamented M.r Davies.
# and would not his Lordſhip think whether, or no, an offering
for this Purpose at leaſt of ſome Small part of that which the Lord
of all Lords has honourd him to be the ſteward of in this
Life, would not be acceptable to him, whoſe Heart is ſo
much ſet upon the ſucceſs & Progreſs of this work.
 yours &
 Eleazar Wheelock
Joseph Woolley complains that diſuſe of their pen thro' ſo cloſe
an application to the[illegible] Languages
and: Hez. Calvin. will now read
Tulley, Virgil & the Greek Teſtament very Handſomly.
David Fowler who is gone into the Mohawke Country is
a very Promiſing youth indeed.
 Isaiah Uncas is Eldeſt ſon and Heir apparent to the
Sachem of Mohegan. he but little more than knew his
Litters when he came to me laſt fall. aged about 10 years.
he begins to read in the Bible.
Copy of Letter to M.r
Whitefield.

July 1761
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.

Whitefield, George

George Whitefield, the English itinerant preacher who helped spark the Great Awakening, was an essential supporter of Eleazar Wheelock’s project. Whitefield studied at Pembroke College, Oxford, where he met the pioneers of Methodism, John and Charles Wesley. He was ordained in 1736, and he made the first of his seven trips to America two years later. While abroad in 1740, Whitefield founded an orphanage in Georgia, and went on a preaching tour during which he met Wheelock and spread ideals that prompted the Great Awakening. Although Whitefield was ordained in the Church of England, his enthusiastic preaching style and charismatic personality made him a controversial figure, and traditional clergyman on both sides of the Atlantic censured him. Nonetheless, he continued to be an important contact and friend of Wheelock’s, and his dedication to Wheelock’s vision was evident. He contributed money to the cause, secured various other funders, and donated an eighty-pound prayer bell to the school. More importantly, Whitefield not only suggested to Wheelock the idea of a fundraising tour in Great Britain, he hosted Occom and Whitaker shortly after they arrived in England, provided a house for them to reside in for the remainder of their tour, and introduced the pair to influential figures such as William Legge, the Earl of Dartmouth. Whitefield tabernacle’s was the setting of Occom’s first sermon in England on February 16, 1766, and many believe that Whitefield wrote the introduction to a pamphlet printed in London during the campaign (although he was not credited). Whitefield continued to be involved in Wheelock’s work until he died in Newburyport, MA in September of 1770.

Kerr, William
Smith, John

John Smith was an affluent Boston merchant who supported Wheelock’s school throughout the 1760s. It is likely that Smith and Wheelock were introduced by George Whitefield or someone similarly involved in evangelical and missionary efforts in the British Atlantic world: John Smith made somewhat regular trips to London for business, and had been in contact with Whitefield since the 1740s. Like the other Boston merchants who supported Moor’s Indian Charity School (including Moses Peck, William Hyslop, and Nathaniel Eells), Smith traded with Wheelock and kept him up to date on political developments in Boston, especially as they concerned attitudes towards Moor’s Indian Charity School. However, Smith was better educated (and likely more affluent) than the other merchants that Wheelock worked with, and, correspondingly, played a more important role than his brethren in Wheelock’s efforts. Smith publicized the school independently (his letter to an unnamed friend, catalogued as 764318.2, is one of the most cited letters on the organization of Moor’s) and assisted Wheelock in publishing the Narratives. John Smith’s greatest contribution to Wheelock’s design was his support during Samson Occom and Nathaniel Whitaker’s fundraising tour of Great Britain (1765-1768). Smith set out for Britain in July 1765 to improve his health, and while there, acted as a vanguard for Occom and Whitaker. He managed their correspondence, suggested destinations, and served on an ad hoc advisory council that included George Whitefield, Samuel Savage, Robert Keen, and several other influential men. The pace of the journey caught up with John Smith, however, and he died in 1768 while in Britain.

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.

Fowler, David

David Fowler was Jacob Fowler's older brother, Samson Occom's brother-in-law, and an important leader of the Brothertown Tribe. He came to Moor's in 1759, at age 24, and studied there until 1765. While at school, he accompanied Occom on a mission to the Six Nations in 1761. He was licensed as a school master in the 1765 mass graduation, and immediately went to the Six Nations to keep school, first at Oneida and then at Kanawalohale. Fowler saw himself as very close to Wheelock, but their relationship fragmented over the course of Fowler's mission, primarily because Wheelock wrote back to Kirkland, with whom Fowler clashed, but not to Fowler, and because Wheelock refused to reimburse Fowler for some expenses on his mission (767667.4 provides the details most clearly). Fowler went on to teach school at Montauk, and played a major role in negotiations with the Oneidas for the lands that became Brothertown. He was among the first wave of immigrants to that town, and held several important posts there until his death in 1807.

Gunn, Elisha

Elisha Gunn was a gunsmith who resided in Onaquaga for a number of years and served as an interpreter for several different missionary societies. Although he was a well-known interpreter in missionary circles, there is little information about him. He is identified as a resident of Montague, MA, where his three children were born, but he and his family seem to have spent much of the 1760s living in Onaquaga. It is unclear where Gunn learned Haunenosaunee (Iroquois) languages, but his services were certainly in high demand: he was the interpreter over whom the Connecticut Board of the SSPCK and the Boston Board of the New England Company clashed in 1765. One of Wheelock's main goals was to train missionaries who could serve as their own interpreters, because he believed that existing interpreters were too scarce, too expensive, and too untrained in theology. What little we know of Gunn certainly supports Wheelock's arguments. He seems to have been one of the few available interpreters (if not the only one), his services cost the New England Company £50 sterling a year (more than three times Occom's salary at the same time), and his surviving letters show a reliance on extremely phonetic spelling and suggest a lack of formal education. NB: One genealogical website puts Gunn's birth year at 1723, a decade earlier. It would be easy for a researcher to mix 1723 and 1733, especially if the record is poorly written, and neither year is unreasonable.

Kirkland, Samuel

Samuel Kirkland (b. Kirtland) was Eleazar Wheelock’s most famous Anglo American student. He conducted a 40-year mission to the Oneidas and founded Hamilton College (established in 1793 as Hamilton Oneida Academy). Kirkland won acclaim as a missionary at a young age by conducting an adventurous and risky mission to the Senecas, the westernmost of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Six Nations. After his year and a half among them, which was well publicized by Wheelock, he was ordained and sent as a missionary to the Oneidas under the auspices of the Connecticut Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. He spent most of the rest of his life serving the Oneidas as a minister. Kirkland’s sincere devotion to serving as a missionary was excellent publicity for Wheelock’s program, but it also brought the two men into conflict. Wheelock became jealous of Kirkland when the school’s British benefactors began urging Wheelock to make Kirkland his heir, and Kirkland, meanwhile, was upset that Wheelock had failed to provide him with sufficient supplies on his mission — a complaint that he was unafraid to publicize (and that almost all of Wheelock’s other students shared). The breaking point came in 1770, when Kirkland split from Wheelock’s Connecticut Board and affiliated with the New England Company, a missionary society that had abruptly turned against Wheelock in 1765. Wheelock and Kirkland briefly made up in 1771, but their relationship quickly dissolved into further acrimony. Although Kirkland spent most of his life as a missionary to the Six Nations, he generally held disparaging views of Native Americans. He did not approve of Wheelock’s plan to educate Indians as missionaries, and was haughty towards the Moor’s alumni that worked with him (notably David Fowler, Joseph Johnson, and Joseph Woolley). Prior to the Revolution, Kirkland had been stringent in his refusals to take Oneida land, even when offered to him. The Revolution seems to have shifted his loyalties from the Oneidas to local Anglo Americans. Kirkland served as a chaplain in the American army and was instrumental in convincing the Oneidas to remain neutral (or, more accurately, to side with the Americans). At one point he was the chaplain with General Sullivan’s army, the force sent to ransack Seneca and Cayuga territory in 1779. It is unclear what emotions this aroused in Kirkland, who had served the Senecas less than 15 years earlier, yet after the war, Kirkland freely engaged in Oneida dispossession. Along with James Dean, another Wheelock alumnus with close ties to the Oneidas, Kirkland played a pivotal role in urging the Oneidas to sell land illegally to the state of New York. The land deals that resulted gave Kirkland the property, financial capital, and connections to establish Hamilton Oneida Academy. The last decades of Kirkland’s life were difficult. He found himself in a three-way battle with Samson Occom and John Sergeant Jr., who were also ministers in Oneida territory, for the hearts and minds of their congregations; he was fired as a missionary in 1797, although he continued to serve sans salary; one of his son’s business enterprises failed, leaving Kirkland nearly destitute; and two of his three sons died unexpectedly. Hamilton Oneida Academy, like Moor’s Indian Charity School, largely failed at its goal of educating Indians, and in 1812, four years after Kirkland’s death, it was re-purposed as Hamilton College, a largely Anglo-American institution. At some point in the mid-to-late 18th century, Kirkland changed his name from Kirtland, although the reasons for this are uncertain.

Kirtland, Daniel
Brainerd, John

John Brainerd was an ardent missionary with an important role in Wheelock's design. He was the younger brother of the famous missionary David Brainerd, who died as a young man after being expelled from Yale and serving as a missionary to New Jersey tribes. John completed his Yale degree and was immediately commissioned to replace David. Even in his own time, he was seen as a man as pious as, but less talented than, his brother, though Brainerd missioned to Indians during a more volatile period, and saw his congregation forcibly removed from their lands in 1755 and relocated at Brothertown in 1758 (this Brothertown should not be confused with the one founded in New York after the Revolution by many Moor's alumni). Brainerd was extremely devoted to the Indian cause. He often had the opportunity to serve wealthy English congregations, but preferred to remain an Indian missionary. He invested signficant sums of his own money into his missions, for which he was never reimbursed. Brainerd was a very prominent Presbyterian figure, active in the Presbytery and Synod of New York, holding several elected positions, and in the Presbtery and Synod of New York and Philadelphia once the two reunified in 1758. He was a Trustee of the College of New Jersey from 1754 until his death, and a member of the New York Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. Occom had planned to work with Brainerd in 1750, but political upheaval prevented it. Brainerd was one of several men nominated to accompany Occom to England, but the New York Board refused to let him go. While Brainerd and Wheelock were not close personal friends, the two had a similar interests and a long-lasting correspondence. John Brainerd sent Wheelock his first Indian boys, and also recruited female students in the 1760s. Throughout their lives, Brainerd and Wheelock updated one another on Indian missions, and Brainerd seems to have been one of Wheelock's "point people" in the Presbyterian Church.

Hyslop, William

William Hyslop was a Boston merchant and a member of the Boston Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge (SSPCK). His business was importing goods from Scotland, especially Bibles. He was very involved in the Brattle Street Church, and had close ties to the Chauncy family (an Old Light family, one of whom, Charles Chauncy, was chair of the Boston SSPCK). In 1760, Hyslop began assisting Wheelock with the process of obtaining funds from the Boston SSPCK, and he also put Wheelock in touch with other Boston merchants who had their own charitable organization (Moses Peck and William Whitwell’s “private society”). As Wheelock’s relationship with the Boston SSPCK soured in the first half of the 1760s, culminating in Wheelock’s decision to open the Connecticut Board of the SSPCK in 1764, Wheelock’s and Hyslop’s personal and trade relationship also ceased.

Massuck, Daniel

Daniel Massuck was a Farmington Tuxnis who attended Moor’s for a few months in 1762 and fought in the Revolution. His father, Samuel Massuck, had converted to Christianity, and Daniel Massuck was raised as a Christian. The family was prominent in Farmington affairs, and played host to Joseph Johnson on numerous occasions. Both Samuel and Daniel were very involved in the early push to found Brothertown (a composite tribe of Algonquian Indians from the Long Island Sound region, organized and populated largely by former members of Moor’s Indian Charity School): both appear frequently as signatories on letters on the topic, and it was Samuel Massuck who asked for a Connecticut law book to produce the new settlement’s laws. However, neither Samuel nor Daniel actually emigrated to Brothertown (although Luke Massuck, Daniel Massuck’s son or brother, did, for a brief time). Perhaps because they had been brought into the movement by Joseph Johnson, after Joseph Johnson’s death (sometime during the Revolution years) they were no longer invested.

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.

Bostwick, David

David Bostwick was a popular Presbyterian minister in New York—so popular, in fact, that two congregations fought over him and the New York Synod had to intervene. He was the president of the New York Board of Commissioners for the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowlege. Bostwick encouraged Occom's mission to the Oneidas; took up a collection at his church for Occom, which reached over 60 pounds; and lent his name to a recommendation for Occom to Sir William Johnson. When Samuel Buell published his sermon from Occom's ordination, it was prefixed with a letter addressed to David Bostwick outlining Occom's character.

Thompson, Amos
Frederick, George William

George William Frederick (King George III) became heir to the throne of England in 1751 upon the death of his father Frederick, Prince of Wales. He became King George III of England in the fall of 1760 at age 22, following the death of his grandfather King George II. George III passed many important edicts during his reign including that of the Royal Marriage Act of 1772; the Treaty of Paris in 1762, which ended the Seven Years War; the Stamp Act of 1765; and the Townshend Duties of 1767. However, he is most well-known for being the reigning monarch during the Revolutionary War. After the surrender of British forces to the Americans in 1782, George III considered abdicating the throne, but chose not to do so because he felt it would be too detrimental to Britain. The last 30 years of George's life were plagued with illness. In 1788 he had the first of many attacks of insanity, now believed to have been caused by an inherited disease known as porphyria. With George III unfit to rule, it was decided that his son George would become regent, an arrangement which was made permanent in 1810. King George III died on January 29, 1820 at the age of 81 after a reign of nearly 60 years (the third longest in British history). He was succeeded by his son George IV.

Finley, Samuel

Samuel Finley was a Scottish colonist in Ireland who came to North America with his parents at the age of 19. He is best known for his work as a Presbyterian minister and as the fifth president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). Finley spent his early life as a Presbyterian minister in Pennsylvania preaching in the vigorous style of the Great Awakening. While there, he also headed an academy which gained respect among the academic community. In recognition for this work, Finley was given an honorary degree by the University of Glasgow. This interest in academia led Finley to become one of the original trustees of the College of New Jersey, of which he was named president in 1761. Finley died five years later at the age of 51.

Woolley, Joseph

Joseph Woolley was a Delaware who died of consumption while keeping school at Onaquaga. He came to Wheelock in 1757 as a replacement for John Pumshire, and although Wheelock labeled him as "fit for college" in late 1761, he never attended. In the fall of 1764, Joseph went to the Six Nations with Kirkland to learn the Mohawk language and keep school, and in March 1765, he was officially approved as a schoolmaster and returned to Onaquaga to teach. He was very popular there, but died unexpectedly in late November 1765. Joseph was engaged to Hannah Garrett, who later married David Fowler, but a letter from David (765302.2) suggests that Joseph may also have pursued Amy (David's object of interest before Hannah).

Uncas, Isaiah

Isaiah Uncas was the son and heir apparent of the Mohegan sachem Ben Uncas III. He was at Moor’s Indian Charity School from 1760 until at least 1767. Unlike most other Moor’s students, Isaiah was not in training to be a missionary; rather, Wheelock’s purpose in admitting him was likely to strengthen his ties to the Mohegan ruling family. However, Isaiah proved to be such a poor student that he only received two years of education before being transferred to farm work. Isaiah died in 1770, and the Mohegan tribe elected to install a tribal council rather than selecting another sachem, in large part because ties between the Uncas family and the government of Connecticut had resulted in vast land losses for the Mohegans (these land losses were the cause of the Mason Case).

Calvin, Hezekiah

Hezekiah Calvin was one of Eleazar Wheelock's first Native American students. Like Wheelock’s other early Delaware students, he was sent by the minister John Brainerd. Calvin was certified as a schoolteacher on March 12, 1765, and was sent to the Mohawks at Fort Hunter in June 1765. The Mohawks threw him out at the end of September 1766, and he returned to Moor's. Samuel Johnson, an Anglo-American Yale student who replaced Calvin at Fort Hunter, reported that the residents unanimously accused Calvin of being abusive and rude. Calvin, in turn, maintained that the Fort Hunter Mohawks had mistreated him. Calvin’s second stint at Moor’s did not go well. He wrote several confessions for drunkenness and bad behavior, and frequently spoke ill of Wheelock. He left the school in the spring of 1768, and took up residence with the Secutor family (Narragansett) at Charlestown, Rhode Island. Calvin left the Narragansetts sometime late in 1768, presumably after the dissolution of his relationship with Mary Secutor. Wheelock heard reports early in 1769 that Calvin had been imprisoned at Little Ease, NJ, for forging a pass for a Black man (Calvin does not appear in the county records, so either he was never indicted or Wheelock had his information wrong). By 1777, Calvin was in a position of prominence at Brotherton, NJ (a town of Christian Delawares founded under John Brainerd’s ministry). At some point after 1788, Calvin moved west with the Delawares: he may have moved directly to join the Delawares in Ohio territory, or he may have relocated to Stockbridge in 1802 and then moved west.

Legge, William

William Legge, the second Earl of Dartmouth, was the reluctant namesake of Dartmouth College. Like many of his countrymen, Legge became involved in Eleazar Wheelock’s plans through George Whitefield, the famous evangelical who introduced Samson Occom and Nathaniel Whitaker to Legge shortly after the pair’s February 1766 arrival in London. Legge proved critical in promoting Occom’s tour among the nobility, and took on a logistical role by helping to collect and oversee donations. Although Legge and Whitefield both felt it would be best if Wheelock were in total control of the funds raised in England, Occom eventually collected so much money that a formal trust was necessary to preserve propriety. This trust was formed in late 1766, with Legge as its president, to guarantee that Wheelock used the money appropriately. It soon proved that the Trust and Wheelock had different ideas as to what was, in fact, appropriate, but they were largely able to cooperate until 1769, when Wheelock obtained a charter for his school without informing the trust. (The trust, feeling that a charter would obviate its control over the British funds, had vehemently opposed it.) Adding insult to injury, Wheelock named the resulting institution Dartmouth—again without consulting Legge, and perhaps more to reassure the multitudes who had donated money than to honor the Earl. Legge never wrote to Wheelock again. Outside of his involvement with Wheelock, Legge had a brief political career. Although he was generally more concerned with religious and philanthropic matters, his station and connections (he was the step-brother of Frederick North, who was prime minister from 1770 to 1782) led him to take his first political post in 1765 as a member of the Board of Trade. During his tenure (1765-1767), and again while he was Secretary of State for the Colonies (1772-1775), Legge’s search for cooperative solutions proved unsuccessful during the build-up to the Revolution. His later positions were primarily ceremonial.

Uncas, Ben III

Ben Uncas III was the Mohegan sachem from 1749 until his death in 1769. He was heir to Sachem Ben I (elected 1721) and Sachem Ben Uncas II (elected 1723). The Ben Uncas dynasty was characterized by an informal quid pro quo with the colony of Connecticut, in which the sachems won the colony’s backing in exchange for tacitly accepting the Colony’s control of tribal land. Because Ben II was a proponent of Anglo-American style education, Ben Uncas III received quite a bit of training as a boy in hopes that he might become a missionary. He did not, but he did keep school at Mohegan from 1739 until his election in 1749. His sachemship, like that of his father and grandfather before him, was characterized by his involvement (or lack thereof) in the Mason Case, a 70-year-long (1704-1773) legal battle between the Mohegan Tribe and the Colony of Connecticut over who controlled the Mohegan tribe’s lands. The Colony maintained that it controlled the land, and since the Ben Uncas line did not question that claim, the Colony supported their sachemships over others (John Uncas II and Mahomet II, specifically) who would have opposed the colony more vehemently. This support proved critical, as Ben Uncas II and III both faced significant opposition from within their tribe. The colony also benefited: because the supposed sachem did not oppose its claim, it could more easily portray the anti-sachem, pro-Mason party as illegitimate rabble rousers. The argument over who ought to be sachem expanded beyond politics to accommodation of the English. Thus, the sachem party was characterized by its approbation of Robert Clelland, the schoolmaster appointed by the New England Company (NEC), and David Jewett, the NEC-backed minister at nearby New London. (It is ironic, in this light, that Clelland wrote so frequently to complain about Ben Uncas III’s drunkenness and opposition to Jewett. Perhaps Clelland thought Mohegan politics so irrelevant that he failed to realize that he and Uncas were yoked together). Ben Uncas III died in 1769, and the Mohegan tribe blocked the colony of Connecticut from establishing his son, Isaiah Uncas, as sachem in his stead. At Ben Uncas III’s funeral, the pallbearers (Samson Occom among them) dropped his coffin unceremoniously in front of the delegation of Connecticut officials.

Hutchinson, Thomas
Occom's First Mission to the Oneidas
HomeEleazar Wheelock, letter, to George Whitefield, 1761 July 4
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