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Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to George Whitefield, 1761 November 25

ms-number: 761625.1

abstract: Wheelock writes on the progress of the school and various missions, describes some of his Indian students, notes the support of William Johnson, and touches on Occom’s recent mission to the Oneidas.

handwriting: Informal handwriting is small and crowded, with several deletions and additions that interfere with legibility. There are some uncrossed t’s that have been corrected by the transcriber.

paper: Large sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good-to-fair condition, with moderate creasing, staining and wear. The worn outside edge of one recto results in a minor loss of text.

ink: Dark-brown ink varies in intensity.

noteworthy: This document is likely a draft. The contents of this document are very similar to those of manuscript 761616. The identity of the "Farmington Boy" is uncertain, and so he had been left untagged. Wheelock makes reference to Occom’s journal from his mission to the Oneidas. Two journals in Rauner Special Collections at Dartmouth, and included in the Occom Circle, chronicle this mission: 761330.1, and 761515.1. An edtior, likely 19th-century, has added the note “Nov.r 1761," after the trailer on two verso. This note has not been included in the transcription.

signature: The letter is signed twice; both signatures are abbreviated.

events: Occom's first mission to the Oneidas



Rev.d and dear Sir
Laſt week, I was inform'd by a Letter
from Miſs. Smith of Boston that You have
rec.d of M.r Hardy, a Donation to this Indian School of £25. Sterling
for this Indian School. The Lord return a thouſand
fold into his generous Booſom, And reward this Liberality with his everlaſting Loving kindneſs. It comes
at a time when it is much wanted, and I truſt in anſ-
-wer to Prayer. I beleive there is Much Peace, and
Quietneſs, in Truſting in, and living upon God. but I
am ſo dull a Schollar, ſo heedleſs, forgetful and So open to a
Thouſand Allurements, that I [illegible][guess: make but poor Proficiency in the]
Art of living by Faith keep the Road but a little [illegible][illegible][guess: while] togathe[gap: worn_edge][guess: r]
and make but poor Proficiency in the Art of living by faith.
It is good for me to be often tried croſsed and diſopointed, and there by taug[gap: worn_edge][guess: ht]
to make but little acco.t of my own Plans, and Devices. and know yt The Council of
the Lord that Shall ſtand. 'Tis enough [illegible]that I ſee my way Step by Step,
and [illegible]know that Providence will Steers a better Courſe than I can deviſe, tho'
often quite out of My Sight till the End be accompliſhed. And when I
ſee the Courſe of Divine Providence from time to time in Many Inſtances in many Inſt
-ances In favour of the great Deſign I am purſuing and [illegible] notwithſtanding
all the Oppoſition of My unbelief, diſtruſt and carnal ſelf, I am [illegible][guess: cant]
[illegible][guess: be]Senſibly encouraged to think y.t it is really of God, and that he deſigns to
own and bleſs it.
when I came home from Boſton this Fall, I found one of my Mo-
-hawke Boys in a low State of Health, which I ſupposed was occaſiond
by his eating three Times a Day and too much at a Time, togather
with his Inactivity. The common Road in which, I ſuppose, Num
-bers have loſt their Lives ſoon after they have been devoted to
Learning. And it was peculiarly difficult to reſtrain him
by Reaſon of his Jealous Temper [illegible][guess: Make], and his Ignorance of our Language & our not being able to Under-
-ſtand a word of Engliſh when he came. [illegible] and [illegible][guess: we] could find
none any body who could diſcourſe him ſo freely as Enough to make him under
ſtand the Reaſons of [illegible][illegible][illegible] of ourany Conduct towards him if we had tried[below]which ſhould be at all out of ye usual courſe it was peculiarly Difficult
to reſtrain him. Doct.r Huntington adviſed me to ſend him
Home ſoon, while he was able to ride. & Accordingly I ſent
him away Oct.r 13. with another of My Mohawke Boys to ac-
-company him. And on the 3.d Inſtant I ſent Young Kirt-
-land
an Engliſh Charity Schollar, [illegible]of whom I wrote you in my laſt acco-
-mpanied by the other Mohawke Youth, with deſign that [illegible]when
these two have made their viſit to their Friends he Sh[illegible][guess: ould]all [illegible] accompany y.m back to this School with four
more of those Nations if Gen.l Johnſon, according to his
hope & Expectation had found Such as are likely and willing
to come. And I expect theymwill return asvery ſoon as those [illegible][guess: two] Boys who
went from hence have made their viſit to their Friends. I have also
ordered Kirtland to bring the Farmington Boy with him, when
he returns.
My black Son M.r Occom, has lately returnd from his Miſsion to
the Onoyadas [illegible][guess: there]

And the laſt week I had the Pleaſure to ſee him with one of
theat OnoyadasNation (who deſigns to winter with him and learn
the Engliſh TongueLanguage & teach M.r Occom Mohawke) and I
was agreably entertained with M.r Occom's Journal. only a few
things moſt material [illegible][guess: in which I] it I can only ſuggeſt to you a few things
moſt material in it. And to begin where I left off. in my Laſt
when we firſt came among them they ſeemd ſhy of him thro'
a Jealoſie that there was ſomething waſ deſigned by the Engliſh againſt
them. but when Gen.l Johnſon had read his Letters Recomenda-
-tory, they appeared well Satiſfied & much pleaſed. and as a
Teſtimony of it the Kings of the Onoydas, and Tuſcarar[illegible]as, &
many others of their Cheifs came a ſhook hands with him
and bid him wellcome among them. their Cheifs then held a
council to fix upon the beſt methods to accomodate him with
that which was neceſsary for his comforta[illegible]ble Subſiſtance among
them. and You would not wonder that their Cheifs held a councel
upon this Head if You knew how extreamly poor they are, having
Scarſe any thing that may be calld Bread or any thing else except-
-ing what they get by Hunting to ſubſiſt upon, they proposed
to M.r Occom to [illegible]Chuſe where to Live, and whether to live in a
houſe already Built. he choſe the Place and let them know y.t
he choſe to live with David (my Indian Schollar) and to live
by themſelves. they im̅ediately built him a Houſe the Structure
where of which could the Form, & workmanſhip thereof be truly
repreſented, might gratify not a little the Curioſity of a[illegible][guess: would doubtleſs by] [illegible][guess: Brittons], be eſteemed rare, & enter-
-taining, though there was nothing in it y.t reſembled the Temple
of old ſave this that there was not the Noiſe of Axes or Hammers
in the Building of it. The Materials were the ſimple Product
of Nature. the Remains of The Oakes & Cheſtnuts, fell many Years
ago by the violence of wind, comp[illegible][guess: act] togather without the Em-
-beliſhments of Art.
— many of them attended his Miniſtry
& appeared attentive Numbers from diſtant Nations came to hear him. And ſome
Seemd really deſirous to underſtand and know the truths which
moſt nearly concernd them. And when he was about to leave
them their Cheifs held another Council. The conſequence of which
was, that Old Connoquies (who had been King among the
onoydas but had now reſignd by Reaſon of Age) The King of the Tuscar-
-rars
and other Cheifs, preſented him a Belt of wampum to
be delivered to thoſe Gentlemen who ſent [illegible] him with
these Inſtructions which he received from Old Connoquies. viz.
1. we are glad from the inſide of our Hearts that You are come
hear to teach us the right way of God. we are also thankful to
those who ſent you. and above all to God.
2. We intend by the help of God to repent of all our ſins and all
our heatheniſh ways & Cuſtoms. we will put them all behind
our Backs, and will never look on them again but will look
ſtrait forward, and run after Chriſtianity.
3. if we ſhall try to ſet up a School we beg the Aſsiſtance of
the Engliſh, if they ſee fit.
4. we deſire that ſtrong Drink may be prohibited, that it may
not be brought Among us, for we find it kills our Bodies
and souls; and we will try to hinder ait here.
5. we deſire to be protected on our Lands, that none may mo-
-leſt, or incroach upon, us.
6 This Belt of Wampum ſhall bind us faſt togather in perpetual
Love, and Friendſhip.
M.r Occom delivered it to those Gentlemen to whom it
was directed, but obtaind their Leave to bring it hither.
to gratify my Curioſity, and a Curious Girdle it is M.r
occom
ſays it could not be made for leſs than £15. ſterlg

David has made good Proficiency in their Language which
is ſome compenſation for riding a thouſand miles, and
more among them. it is thot that under ſuch advan-
-tages he might become a Maſter of their Language in
one year more & I am more and more ſatiſfied of
the Expediency of fitting their youth, who live among
the Engliſh both for Interpreters & Miſsionaries.
M.r Occom is now [illegible][guess: Envyed] at home but not among
them
one of ye Girls which M.r Brainerd ſent was taken
ſick at E[illegible] Harbour, before ſhe went on board the
veſsel and returned. the other is come and is a pritty
little black Chriſtian I think ſhe walks in ye fear of
God and in the Comfort of the Holy Ghoſt. the Fruit
of dear Mr Brainerds Labour among them.
There is moſt certainly a very general and un-
-uſual concern among the Indians. and a great
deſire to be fully Informd of that which by the
Report of one and another they underſtand
concerns their future and Eternal ſtate. I long to
have my Boys fit for y.r Miſsion among them.
who knows my dear Sir, but God deſigns to honour
you to be a principle Inſtrument of Supporting &
carrying on this great Deſign. bleſsed be his
Name for the ſucceſs of your Endeavours already
used.
The Rev.d M.r Graves Epi[illegible]scopal Miſs y at New
London has Sent me word y.t if I will procure
him a likely Indian Boy he will Educate him at
his own Expence. and I have by Kirtland informed
Gen.l Johnſon of the generous proposal, and deſired
him to find and ſend ſuch a Boy to him.
A thouſand things more I would communicate
and you would Love to hear which muſt be omittd
my dear Sir,
pray for


Yours in ye Deareſt Bonds

Eleaz.r Wheelock

The Rev.d M.r Whitefield

P.S. Nov.r 26. laſt Evening My Kirtland Returned and informs me y.t
he left the Mohawke Youth who went up with with two
more Boys of y.e Six Nations at albany on their way
hither and that he left y.e other who accompanied him
y.t was Sick, at Mount Johnſon in order to accompany
four more as Soon as they return from their Hunting perhaps
within four or 5 weeks he Says that Gen.l Johnſon is [illegible]greatly pleaſed with the
Deſign and promiſes to use his Influence with a
Number of Gentlemen of his Acquaintance (I ſuppose
In Ireland) in favour of it & the genl writes me very Frendly indeed to y.e
Same purpoſe The Indians also ſeem well pleaſed & willing to let their Children come
Nov.r 27. The Three Mohawke Lads Boys are now come, and
you would laugh to ſee how pleaſed the poor little
Naked Creatures look they cant ſpeak a word of Engliſh
nor any way to communicate but by Joseph ye
Youth before mentioned. I [illegible]
the Farmington Boy will be here within a few Days.
by all accots he is a real Chriſtian, and a very promiſing
Youth indeed.
Gen.l Johnſon Deſigns to Send an Indian Boy to M.r Graves
I have wrote M.r DeBerdt y.t we much want a Bell y.t
may be well heard a Mile (not for Ornament for we are all
in the [illegible][guess: R]ough but for the Benefit of the School. and it wo.d
indeed be very useful, the Maſters complain y.t It is often difficult
to get ye Boys togather at their Proper Hours. And 'tis likely
it would make us more regular in all our Exerciſes. &c—
pleaſe to let our Good M.r Smith have the Sight of this if he
be yet in England. I am My Hon.d and Dear Sir,
yours moſt heartily
Eleaz.r Wheelock

[left]Letter to M.r Whitefield.
1761. M.r Hardy.s Donation
Bell. =


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.

Hardy, Charles

Charles Hardy was a prominent London lawyer, and one of four executors of the affairs in England of the evangelical minister, George Whitefield (along with Robert Keen and Daniel West). Through these connections, Hardy learned about Wheelock’s Indian Charity School, and as early as 1761, he donated £25 to Whitefield for the school. He probably met Occom and Whitaker when they arrived in London at the beginning of their fundraising tour. In 1766, Hardy was one of nine Englishmen who formed the Trust to manage the funds that Occom and Whitaker raised on their tour of Great Britain from 1765-1768. During the fundraising tour, Hardy personally donated £50 to the cause. He continued as member of the Trust until the funds ran out in 1775.

Huntington, Jonathan Sr.

Dr. Jonathan Huntington was the first practicing physician in Windham, CT. Eleazar Wheelock hired him regularly from 1737 to 1768 to attend to the students at Moor’s Indian Charity School. Even after Wheelock moved to New Hampshire in 1770, Dr. Huntington continued to take care of Ralph Wheelock, Wheelock’s epileptic son. Dr. Huntington’s nephew, Jonathan Huntington, was also a doctor and also took care of students at Moor’s; thus, the two are sometimes referred to as Dr. Jonathan Huntington Jr. and Sr., respectively, to avoid confusion. Dr. Huntington also had a brief political career: he was on the colony council from 1754 until 1758 and he served as a local judge from 1749 until 1757.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

Graves, Matthew

Matthew Graves was an Anglican minister and missionary in New London, CT, whose friendship with Occom led to a minor controversy. Graves was born on the Isle of Man, of Irish descent. Sometime in his mid-30s, when he was master of a Latin grammar school and rector of a church in Chester, England, he was inspired by the religious revivals led by the Wesleys in western England to volunteer for foreign mission service through the The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG). In 1745, the organization sent him to St. James Church in New London, CT, where the pulpit had been empty for some time. His brother John also volunteered and was sent to a church in Providence, RI. The parishoners in New London, however, proved unwelcoming, and Graves began attending dissenting church services and missionizing to slaves and Indian tribes in the area. Through these activities, he became acquainted with Wheelock's missionary work and with Occom, with whom he was on friendly terms. Graves wrote a glowing testimony of him for the fundraising tour of Great Britain. According to Love, Occom joked in Graves' presence that on the trip he would "turn Episcopalian," a hope Graves communicated to his Bishop, who did offer to ordain Occom, which he refused, causing some offense and a flutter in the newspapers. Sharply disappointed, in 1771, Graves turned against both Occom and Wheelock. He served in New London for 33 years but came to a bad end. In 1778, when he refused to change the traditional prayer for King George to a prayer for the new American Congress, he was summararily ejected from his church, and in 1779 he asked to be allowed to move to New York, behind enemy lines, with his sister Joanna. There he acted as a pastor to Loyalist refugess and died suddenly the following year.

Brant, Joseph

Joseph Brant studied briefly with Wheelock and went on to be a very influential Mohawk leader. He was born into a prominent Mohawk family, and his connections only improved when his sister, Molly, began a long-lasting relationship with Sir William Johnson. Brant came to study with Wheelock in 1761. He played the part of a model pupil, as he was already partially assimilated and took to his studies quickly. Wheelock had high hopes for him, but in 1763, Brant visited Mohawk country with CJ Smith and never returned. This was likely a result of Johnson's increasing desire to promote only Anglican missionary efforts, as Brant seems to have harbored no ill-will towards Wheelock: Calloway hypothesizes that Brant's influence protected Dartmouth during the Revolution, and in 1800 Brant sent two of his sons to Moor's Indian Charity School. After leaving Wheelock, Brant went on to accumulate influence both as a British civil servant and Mohawk leader (historians debate how much genuine power and influence he had among the Mohawks and Six Nations more generally). The British government employed him as an interpreter, and in 1775, he visited England to argue for Mohawk interests. During the Revolution, he remained loyal to the British and encouraged other tribes to do the same. After the Revolution, when the British abandoned Indian land interests, he battled militarily and politically for Native land rights. Culturally, Brant was very much a pro-assimilation Anglican. He translated the Gospel of Mark, as well as other religious documents, into Mohawk, and lived a generally anglicized lifestyle, although he criticized what he saw as severe moral failings in white society.

DeBerdt, Dennys

Dennys DeBerdt was a London merchant of Dutch descent, a dissenter who took an avid interest in American affairs and politics. Although he was not especially prominent in British eyes, many Americans, including Wheelock, venerated him as a valuable ally. DeBerdt tried to help Wheelock secure a charter for Moor's, but his efforts failed because the Connecticut Assembly was opposed. Otherwise, DeBerdt helped Wheelock in much the same way as other supporters did: he collected and forwarded donations and circulated information. He also hosted Occom, Whitaker, and J. Smith on their fundraising tour. In 1765, the Massachusetts Assembly elected DeBerdt as their agent in London, a post he held until his death in 1770. He also served as an agent for the Assemblies of Connecticut and Delaware. He frequently advocated for American interests in London, and was instrumental in the repeal of the Stamp Act. DeBerdt invested heavily in American trade, with poor results for his estate. Perhaps because he was a Dissenter and enjoyed limited opportunities in England, he thought American religious freedom was well worth defending. Virtually all correspondence between DeBerdt and Wheelock dates from between 1757 and 1763. DeBerdt's last letter to Wheelock was written in 1763, and Wheelock wrote to DeBerdt only sporadically after that (his last two letters are dated October 1765 and February 1767). It is not clear why the two men stopped corresponding.

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's first mission to the Oneidas
HomeEleazar Wheelock, letter, to George Whitefield, 1761 November 25
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