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Samson Occom's Journal, 1761 September 15-October 22

ms-number: 761515.1

abstract: Occom details his travels over the course of September and October of 1761.

handwriting: The legibility of Occom’s usually clear handwriting is heavily mitigated by the poor condition of the paper.

paper: Small sheets folded into a booklet and sewn together with thread/twine are in poor condition, with heavy staining, yellowing, fading and wear. There is a hole in the bottom of one recto/verso.

ink: Brown ink is heavily faded.

noteworthy: There are several uncrossed t's and crossed l's that have been corrected by the transcriber. An editor, likely 19th-century, has overwritten Occom’s hand in black ink; these edits have not been transcribed. On one recto, in the second line, the word beginning "Conn…" likely refers to an Oneida or Onondaga town. The town could possibly be: 1) Gannentaha, the site of a Jesuit mission among the Onondagas; 2) Kaunehsuntahkeh, a Tuscarora village east of Oneida creek; 3) Canasaraga, in the Onondaga territory near present-day Syracuse; or 4) Kauhanauka, a Tuscarora town. In several instances, it is uncertain as to whether a name refers to a person or place; these names have been left untagged. It is possible, however, that these uncertain names refer to inns or taverns and the names of their owners. Starting on the bottom of five verso and finishing on one verso, the phrase "Samson Occom of Mohegan" is written upside-down in large letters, indicating that Occom was reusing paper for the pages of this journal.

events: Occom's First Mission to the Oneidas


Sepr ye 15

I Sot out from
Conn[illegible]oo[illegible]ah by way
of Tuſcarora and took
my Leave of them a bout
10 O'C Several of the Indians
went with me to onoyda
got there about 1 in the
after-Noon — was kndly
Receivd by the onoydas

Sabbath Sepr ye 20

Preachd
at onoyda a great Num
ber of the Indians Came to
gether from all of the Caſtle
to hear the word of god. I
Baptizd 3 Perſons —
at Night Several made
a Publick Confeſ[illegible][guess: te]on
three of the [gap: tear]Heads of ye
3 Caſtles [gap: tear][guess: ma]de a PC
and returnd thanks by a
Belt of Wampum &c —

Monday Sepr ye 21

I Left onoyda and
Several a Companyd
me to fort Herkermer.
my mare got away
from me at Night,
and did not find me
her till Fryday Juſt
Night,

Saturday Sepr
ye 26

we Sot away from
Fort Herkummers — got
about 4 miles below
Sir William Jahnſons

Sabath Sepr ye 27

Sot
out very Early, and
got to Schenectady a
bout 10. went Meeting
with the People
[bottom]om of Mohegan
heard mr Vroman Preach,
but I Cou'd not underſt[illegible][guess: d]
went to See the Preaſt
in the Evening and the
Next morning, he treatded
very Kindly gave me
a Moha[illegible: [guess: q]]ue Book —
Sot ut out about 9 got
to Albany at 12
and Several Inſiſted upon my
Saying at Albany the week
out, and to Preach on the
Sabbath, and I at Length
I Complyd with their Diſire

Sabath octor ye 4

I Preachd
in the morning in the City
Hall
, to Prebyterian Con‐
gregation, and in the af
ter Noon I Preachd in
the Engliſh Church—
Monday. Married a
Cupple in Albany, had
3 Dolars Marrying. —
and the Pe
Sot out in the after
Noon towards Home, got
So far as Quemuns. —

Tueſday. Octr ye 6

Sot
out very Early in the
Morning, and Reachd
to Kings Bridge at Night

october ye 7

we Sot out
from the Kings Bridge very
Early in the Morning, and
about the Midle of the after
Noon my mare was about
Sli[illegible][guess: nk]ing her fold and we
were obliged to Put up
at [gap: omitted]
Sot out very early in the
Morning for ward and [illegible]
Stop at Poughkeepſie to [illegible]
Preach in the Evening.
and about Candle Light
we began our Exerciſe in
the State Houſe and there
was a great Number of
People to attend, and at
tended very Seriouſly —
and they gatherd [illegible]
£1: 7: 0. for me —; and they
were very Soliſcitous to
have me Stay the Sabbath
over but I Cou'd not to be
my Duty to Comply —

Fryday Octr ye 9

we Sot
out from Poughkeepſie
Towards York. and got
So far as Rogers at Nig
and so far as Roger's
at Night, and there turn'd
in.

Saturday Octr ye 10

we Sot out very Early in
the Morning on our Jour‐
ney, and got So far as
Browns by Dobs's ferry, and
there turnd in, but met
with very Diſagreeable
Company,—

Sabbath Octr ye 11

about
2 o'C in the after we Sot
out for N. York and by
way of White Sone Ferry and
Lodgd by the Ferry —

Monday Octr ye 12

about
9 we got over upon Long
Islangd
, and from there Sot
away for N York and
got into the City about
Sot [illegible] went to M wells
and were very Kindly
Receiv'd, found them all
well & — Next Day went
to viſiting my Friends was
kindly Receivd by all —

Fryday October ye 16

to‐
wards Night we went over
to Long Island [gap: faded] and to
Jamaca at Night, and

Saturday Octr ye 17

Sot
Early in the Morning, and
got to Huntington at Nig[gap: stain]
and [illegible] kept Sabbath there

Monday Ocr ye 18

we Sot away homward
Got So far as Mulfords
at Night T

Tueſday Ocr 19

Sot out
very Early in the Morning.
and got Shenecock at
Night found the Indians
well. they were very glad
to See me once more, —

Wedneſday Ocr 20

we went
off very Early in the Morng
got to Bridgehampton be‐
fore Night Lodg'd at Mr
Brown
s, my Friends were
Exceeding glad to See me

Thirdſday Ocr 21

we
went on our Journey, got
to Mr Buell's at Eaſtham–
Some Time in the after
Noon, we were very
Kindly receiv'd by all
my Friends,

Fryday Ocr 22

went
on towards home, viſited
my Friends and Neighbours
all the way, got were
Extreamly well receivd by
them all, got home at
Night found my Poor
Family well except our
youngeſt Child. it had
been very Sick but it
was geting well, —
Thanks be to Almighty
god for goodneſs to us.
Blank page.
Samson Occ
Page not transcribed.
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.

Johnson, William

Sir William Johnson was a powerful British colonial official who amassed wealth and influence by integrating into the Mohawk tribe. For a brief window of time (1761-1768), he provided support for Wheelock’s missionary efforts among the Six Nations. He also helped the Brothertown Nation of Indians procure land from the Oneidas. Johnson was born in Ireland in 1715. His family had been part of the Catholic elite, but after William of Orange’s 1690 victory at the Battle of the Boyne, they at least nominally converted to the Episcopalian Church. In 1738, Johnson emigrated to America to manage his uncle Peter Warren’s estate in Mohawk territory. Over the next decade, Johnson became wealthy in his own right through trade and land sales, acquiring a vast estate crowned by his manor house, Johnson Hall, which became the central location for British and Indian treaty making. In 1745, Johnson began collecting official British titles and positions. He played an important military role in the French and Indian War and was named Superintendent of Indian Affairs in 1756 and first baronet of New York in 1757. Much of Johnson’s success was due to his influence among the Mohawks, which he obtained by learning their language and customs and integrating himself into their society. He participated in Mohawk rituals and entered into a common-law marriage with a powerful Mohawk woman, Molly Brant (also called Mary Brant). Because Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) society is matrilineal, this marriage was an essential element of his participation in Indian affairs. Wheelock desperately wanted to wield missionary influence among the Six Nations, and sought to obtain Johnson as an ally in his endeavors. At first, the two found grounds for cooperation. Wheelock sent Occom as a missionary to the Oneidas in 1761 and again in 1762, and sent a substantially larger group of missionaries and schoolmasters in 1765, 1766, and 1767. Johnson, meanwhile, encouraged Haudenosaunee children, including his brother-in-law Joseph Brant, to attend Moor’s. Johnson’s support proved indispensible to missionaries in the field; he helped with supplies, language skills, and relations with the Mohawks and Oneidas. Wheelock also valued Johnson for his influence in Britain, and drew on him for recommendations and public statements of support numerous times. From 1763 on, however, Johnson found himself decidedly uncomfortable with Wheelock’s missionary efforts, and by 1769, their relationship had dissolved completely. In 1766, Johnson was invited to join the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG), the largest and most influential Anglican missionary society in the 18th-century British-Atlantic world. He began working to place Anglican missionaries, rather than Congregationalist and Presbyterian ones, among the Six Nations, which alarmed Wheelock. Johnson was generally supportive of Native American tribes’ efforts to maintain their land and sovereignty. As the historian Linford Fisher has noted, “virtually every major Native group in southeastern New England successfully petitioned Johnson to act on their behalf during the late 1760s and early 1770s.” Among these groups was the Brothertown Nation, a Christian composite tribe formed by Southern New England Algonquian Moor’s alumni. Johnson helped them negotiate with the Oneidas, which proved essential to their successful land purchase and relocation to central New York.

Brown, James
Buell, Samuel

Buell was a popular Presbyterian minister during the second half of the 18th century in Long Island, as well as a close friend of Samson Occom. He was ordained in November 1743, and was a popular itinerant minister before settling at Easthampton. He preached at Occom's ordination, published the sermon in 1761 to raise funds for Occom (he also wrote the letter addressed to Bostwick prefacing his publication), and stayed in close contact with Occom even after Occom's public break from Wheelock. Occom's diary is full of references to visiting Buell and to their close friendship. During the Revolution, Buell was the only minister on Long Island for 40 miles, and was very active in assisting the American cause. He also founded Clinton Academy on Long Island in 1785, which was the first private school chartered by the New York Board of Regents. This academy was also remarkable in that it admitted women. Multiple historical sources have misconstrued Samuel Buell as Sol or Solomon Buell, likely because Buell sometimes signed his name Sa.l, a creative abbreviation of Samuel. However, there was no Reverend Solomon Buell in Easthampton, or, it seems, Long Island, in the second half of the 18th century: Samuel had no brothers, and were there to be two Reverend S. Buell's within 10 miles of one another during the same period, related or not, doubtlessly someone would have commented on it. In addition, the handwriting in letters ascribed to "Sol" and those assigned to Samuel is identical. Lastly, the only source besides collection manuscript 765530.3 describing a "Solomon Buell" is an anthology of letters from the Revolution, which contain letters from a Rev. Sol. Buell, or S. Buell, about aiding the American cause. These letters correspond well with descriptions of Samuel's life in an 1809 biography of his life, and, as he was the only Reverend but one for 40 miles during the Revolution, it is likely that these letters belong to him.

Occom's First Mission to the Oneidas
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