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Joseph Fish, letter, to Nathaniel Whitaker, 1766 July 30

ms-number: 766430

abstract: Fish writes to Whitaker about his mission to the Narragansetts, and about the visit he and his wife made to Mrs. Whitaker.

handwriting: Handwriting is formal and clear, yet it has been dimmed by preservation work. The trailer appears to be in Whitaker's hand.

paper: Large sheet folded in half to make four pages has been heavily reinforced, which makes it difficult to gauge the condition of the paper. It appears to be in poor condition, with heavy staining, creasing and wear that results in some loss of text.

ink: Brown ink is faded, and dimmed by the reinforcement.

noteworthy: An unknown editor has written the letter X in spots on the document. These edits have not been included in the transcription.

signature: Fish signs the document three times: once in full, twice with initials.

events: Fundraising Tour of Great Britain


Revd & Dear
 Sir,
It was my Unhappineſs that I could not find a
Lieſure hour or two, for free Converſation [gap: hole][guess: wh] you, before you Em
‐barked for England. your Departure & important Deſign, lay wi[gap: tear][guess: th]
Weight upon my Mind, as it has done ever Since. And it was m[gap: tear][guess: y]
fixed purpoſe to let you know my special Regard & Concern
for you & Cauſe, by earlier writing: but have been so p[gap: worn_edge][guess: er]
‐petually crowded with Buſineſs, chiefly of a public nature;
that I cant say I have [illegible][guess: had] been at Liberty to write you,
when Oppty preſented, till now I snatch a few minutes
for that purpoſe.
 The Situation of the Indn Charity School, Doings of .y.e
Board, Miſsions &c: I leave to the hands that are employd
in thoſe public affairs; which, conclude, you will here‐
with, have full Acc.t of.— Only Obſerve, That the day of
the Dear & excillent Mr Kirtlands Ordination, appeard
to me very glorious, promiſing great & good events. — Can[gap: tear][guess: t]
but hope the Iſsue will be, The Advancement of the Re‐
deemers Kingdom. —
 While Such important Steps are taken, to carry the
Gospel among the Savages, of far distant Tribes, it may,
perhaps afford you & Friends; some additional Pleaſure,
to hear that Learning & Religion are hopefully, reviving, a‐
mong some of y.e Indians near at hand
 Beſides the Indian School & Lectures, among y.e Indns
of my own Pariſh, which I've had ye Care of for Many years,
At the earnest Request of the Honle Commiſrs Boston,
I have for nine months Past, been much engagd for y.e
Indians of King Ninnegretts Tribe, in Charlestown Rhode‐
‐Island
; where there are above Seventy Indian Families &
more than Three hundred Souls, pretty much in a Body
together.— Authorizd as above, I appointed them an
Engliſh Schoolmaster, of good Capacity & well dispoſd, for
the Buſineſs, (to be Supported by the Commiſs.rs,)— Set them
up a Commod.s Schoolhouſe, in which, (tho' unfiniſhd,)
the Master lives & the School is Steadily kept. He had, laſt
winter, (in a private houſe,) above Fourſcore Indn Schollars
in a day, and about 120 that came to y.ethe School, at times,
and their Proficiency at Reading & Writing was very conſi
‐derable. That Laſt being chiefly calld off to Buſineſs, this
Summer, he has, of a Smaler Claſs, about Thirty that
generally attend his School & y.e number is increaſing.
 I Viſit & Preach to them about once a month —
Have a Conſiderable Aſsembly of Serious, Attentive In‐
dian Hearers, who profeſs Satisfaction, beyound my Thought.
For they have had Religion Among them theſe Twenty
years, & an Indn Ordaind Minister, for a number of years:
but they are all of the Seperate Stamp,— Very Ignorant:
scarce any of them able to read a word,— unhappily leaven'd with,
yea full of Falſe Religion, — tenacious of their wild Imaginations
& Viſionary things, (which they cannot bear to hear touchd,
though they'll readily hear y.e Opoſite Truths,) And, till now,
Set against, at leaſt, mortally afraid of y.e Standing Ministers.—
So that I must think my self highly Favourd, by y.e Respect
they Shew to my Perſon & Regard for my Labours among ym.
Am in hopes they will, by little & little, come off from their
wild notions, and have a reliſh for nothing but Truth.
 Oh that I may have no other View but their best good,
and the Redeemers Intrest. —
 I have been much in Journeying, Since you left us.
Laſt Week, returning, with my Wife, from Viſiting our Childn
New Haven, we Spent an hour at your Houſe, Chelſea. And
had the Pleaſure of Dining & Converſing with your Dear
Wife: It afforded us real Satisfaction, to See Mrs Whitaker,
with her Little ones all about her, [illegible] not only in ⅌fect
Health, but more especially, to find her Chearfull, Sociable
& entertaining, (as uſual,) — Evidence that She has happily
overcome the late Severe Trials of parting with her beſt Friend.
She Seems really to enjoy her Self as well as your Abſence can
admit, — your very deſirable Children appear with that
Decorum y.t be[illegible][guess: comes] a well orderd Family. Tis rare to See So
fine, So lovely a Child, as that of yours, wh you never Saw.
Mr Woodward, (till now unknown to me,) appears to be Sui‐
tably attentive to y.e good of the Family. — I thought him
quite an agreable, Obliging young Gentn. — On y.e Whole,
was well pleaſd with the Oeconomy of your Houſe.—
May you, in due Seaſon, return Succeſsfull, and happ[gap: tear][guess: ily]
find your Tabernacle in peace. —
 My Time is Out— Have only to wish you much [gap: tear][guess: of]
the Divine Preſence, The Smils of Heaven on your Im‐
portant undertaking,— The Hearts & Hands of all Brittain
Britain for newfull Supplys.— That you may, in all res‐
pects, conduct with y.e utmost prudence & Fidelity, — Be
kept unſpotted from y.e Vanities of y.e World, And return
to us richly laden with the Vertues, the Rarities of our
mother Country, And am, Dr Sir, [illegible]with high Esteem,

your very Sincere Friend & unworthy Brother,
Joseph Fiſh
P.S. My hearty Regards to the Revd
Mr Occum — am really glad
to hear y.t he Stands firm, — be‐
haves so well, & meets with so
much Respect. — The Lord keep
him from Pride, Self-Exaltation,
and the Vices of y.e Place & Times.—
yrs & his J. F.
I know not of any Other Man, that I am acquainted with in Londn
or Europe, except the Revd Mr Whitefield: Am very glad & thank‐
full that he takes proper Notice of you, & So much befriends the
Cauſe. Let my k[gap: tear] Love & Service be acceptable to him. J. F.
Revd N[gap: tear][guess: athanl Whitakar]
From Revd mr Joſeph
Fiſh
Stonington
July 30 1766

Fish
To
The Revd Mr Nathaniel Whitakar
In
London
To be left at the New England Coffee Houſe
Moor’s Indian Charity School
Moor’s Indian Charity School was a grammar school for Native Americans that Eleazar Wheelock opened in North Lebanon, Connecticut in 1754. The school was named for Colonel Joshua Moor, also spelled More, who donated the land and school building. Moor’s was essentially an expansion of the grammar school that Wheelock opened in 1743 to support himself during the fallout from the First Great Awakening, when Wheelock, who'd participated in itinerant ministry during the Awakening, had his salary confiscated by the colony of Connecticut. In December of that year, Samson Occom asked Wheelock to teach him as well. Wheelock's work with Occom was so successful that Wheelock decided to replicate the experiment with other Native American boys. He accepted his first Indian students in 1754, and in 1761 began taking female students as well. Wheelock believed that in time, his school would become just one part of a larger missionary enterprise. He planned to send his Anglo American and Native American students to various tribes as missionaries and schoolmasters, with explicit instructions to pick out the best students and send them back to Moor’s to continue the cycle. His ultimate goal was to turn his school into a model Christian Indian town that would include farms, a college, and vocational training. However, Wheelock’s grand design did not survive the decade. Wheelock lost the vast majority of his Native American students; he fought with many of the best, including Samson Occom, Joseph Johnson, David Fowler, and Hezekiah Calvin, and other former and current students accused him of subjecting Native Americans to disproportionate amounts of manual labor. In 1769, perhaps due to concerns about corporal punishment, the Oneida withdrew all their children from Moor’s. When Wheelock relocated to Hanover in 1769, only two Native American students came with him, and it became clear that Wheelock’s focus was on Dartmouth and that Dartmouth was for white students. After Wheelock’s death in 1779, Moor’s Indian Charity School receded further into the background as John Wheelock, his father’s reluctant successor, stopped taking Indian students. Some Native American students were enrolled in Moor’s until 1850, when the school unofficially closed.
Stonington Pequots
The Stonington Pequots (also called the Lantern Hill Pequots, Pawcatuck Pequots, or Eastern Pequots) are an Algonquian tribe in North Stonington, Connecticut. In the 1660s, after the Pequot War of the 1630s in which the English attempted to eradicate the Pequot tribe, two separate groups of survivors were allotted reservations, producing the Eastern and Western Pequot (Groton) tribes. The Stonington Pequots had limited engagement with Christianity until James Davenport, the charismatic evangelical, preached there in 1741. After his visit, large numbers of Stonington Pequots affiliated with local Anglo-American churches between 1741 and 1743. After 1743 their affiliation with formal Anglo-American churches declined, likely because Stonington Pequots elected to worship at Separate Anglo-American churches or in an indigenous congregation. Though said congregation appeared informal in Anglo-American eyes, it played host to indigenous ministers like Samuel Niles and Philip Occuish. The New England Company sponsored a school at Stonington, which was organized by Reverend Joseph Fish (an NEC affiliated minister) and staffed by Charlestown Narragansetts, including John Shattock Jr (1770) and Charles Daniels (1771-1773). Neither the Groton Pequots nor the Stonington Pequots were enthusiastic participants in the Brothertown movement (the Algonquian coalition led by Samson Occom and Joseph Johnson that immigrated to Oneida territory in 1775, and again in 1783). No Pequot participated in the initial 1775 migration attempt, but some members of each Pequot group participated in the 1783 migration. Although the Stonington Pequots have occupied their reservation continuously since the 17th century, they are currently embroiled in a lawsuit over federal recognition. They were federally recognized in 2002, but the federal government revoked their recognition in 2005, and the Stoningtons have struggled with internal disputes over legitimate membership. In 2012, they filed suit to be reinstated as a federally recognized tribe.
The Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America
The Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America was a missionary society active in America from 1649 until 1786. It was first called the "New England Company" in 1770. Most secondary literature uses that name for convenience and to distinguish it from other missionary societies. The company was first chartered in 1649 as the "President and Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England," largely in response to John Eliot's missionary efforts. After the Restoration (1660), it was rechartered as the "Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America." The New England Company was very powerful and influential, in large part because it was a coalition between Anglicans and Dissenters. It supported a range of missionaries from the Mayhews to the Sergeants to Moor's alumnus Samuel Kirkland. After the Revolution, the New England Company refocused its attentions on New Brunswick and Canadian Indians. Wheelock had a very rocky relationship with the New England Company. Initially, it supported Wheelock's efforts. The Company funded Occom's education at Moor's and paid him a small salary during his time among the Montauketts. However, from 1765 onwards, its relationship with Wheelock rapidly deteriorated. The Company opposed the fundraising tour of Great Britain and went so far as to interfere with it by sending a widely circulated letter to England questioning Occom's background. The New England Company also interferred with Titus Smith's mission to Onaquaga by sending a rival missionary, Mr. Moseley, and stealing Titus' interpreter, Elisha Gunn. In 1767 it formally withdrew its financial support from Wheelock on the grounds that the fundraising tour had raised sufficient money. It is unclear what led the New England Company to suddenly change its stance towards Wheelock. Perhaps it wanted exclusive power over missionary distribution in New England, or perhaps it was thought that focusing on education over numbers in the field was counterproductive. Most secondary sources have conflated the New England Company's Boston Board and the Society in Scotland for Promoting Christian Knowledge's Boston Board, an easy mistake to make since both are sometimes referred to as the Boston Board and both vigorously opposed Wheelock. Any secondary source's statement about either should be carefully researched.
Connecticut Board of Correspondents of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge
The Connecticut Board of Correspondents of the SSPCK was founded in 1764 at Wheelock's request. He wanted a public board's support so that his school would seem more credible since it was a private organization with no charter. The Boston Board of the SSPCK would not do since they generally opposed Wheelock, so his solution was to petition the SSPCK for his own board. The SSPCK acquiesed, and the board met for the first time on July 4, 1764. While the board was nominally separate from Wheelock's school, in practice, he exercised considerable control over it. The members of the board were Wheelock's handpicked friends and supporters: Jonathan Huntington, Elisha Sheldon, Samuel Huntington, Solomon Williams, Joseph Fish, William Gaylord, Samuel Moseley, Benjamin Pomeroy, Richard Salter, Nathaniel Whitaker, David Jewett, and Wheelock himself. Wheelock used this board to send Occom and Whitaker to England, hold exams for Moor's Indian Charity School, and generally support his designs. When Wheelock moved to New Hampshire, he tried to establish a New Hampshire Board as well, but by that point the SSPCK was much more cautious when it came to Wheelock's plans and refused. The Connecticut Board dissolved in 1771 as Wheelock was its raison d'etre.
Stonington

Stonington is a town on the Long Island Sound by the Pawcatuck River in the southeastern corner of Connecticut. Before colonists arrived, the Algonquin-speaking Pequots who originally inhabited the area referred to it as “Mistack.” In 1649, however, Europeans opened a trading house near the Pawcatuck, and in 1666 they named the town Stonington. Relations between the Pequots and colonists were tense, especially because of the 1637 massacre of Pequot Indians at nearby Mystic, CT. Eventually, settlers set aside North Stonington for the Pequots, establishing one of the earliest Indian reservations that the Pequots have continually occupied since 1670. The town grew in the years leading up to the Revolution as a result of the shipbuilding and fishing industries. Occom visited Stonington to preach, often to crowds of Pequots in North Stonington, which became its own town in 1724. Its high Pequot population led some to call North Stonington “Stonington Indian Town.” Occom was acquainted with Joseph Fish, a Congregationalist minister, who in the 1760s opened a school for local Pequots and Narragansetts in Stonington. Moor’s alumni John Shattock Jr. and Jacob Fowler both spent time as schoolmasters there. During the Revolutionary War, Stonington was the site where patriots successfully deterred two British naval attacks. Following the war, many Stonington Pequots, along with other New England tribes, settled in Brothertown, in central New York.

Chelsea Landing

The neighborhood in the town of Norwich, CT, now called Chelsea Landing, began as a public landing built on the then-colony's Thames River in 1694 to accommodate the increasingly busy coastal shipping traffic and later industrial mills. In 18th-century newspaper advertisements, the landing was often referred to as "New Chelsy," and was frequented by Occom and other missionaries and associates who traveled to and from the area by boat.

Boston

The first English immigrant to settle on a peninsula in a harbor on the northeastern coast of North America the local Algonquin Indians called "Shawmet" was William Blackstone in 1629. A year later, John Winthrop arrived with a group of English Puritans and other settlers and named the area Boston after his hometown in Lincolnshire, England. The colony quickly developed representative political institutions that would help shape a democratic nation. Over the next few centuries, Boston emerged as an intellectual and educational center, and, because of its excellent harbor, became a leading commercial hub and a primary port for North America. It is the capital and largest city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the largest city in New England. Boston was the home for the Boards of Commissioners of several overseas religious societies who sent missionaries throughout the colonies in the 18th century, and was the site of many important events of the American Revolution.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island is a U.S. state located in southern New England along the Atlantic coast. What would become Rhode Island was originally inhabited by the Narragansett, Niantic, and Wampanoag peoples, who established semi-permanent villages of longhouses. They hunted deer, fished for tautog and striped bass, grew corn, beans, pumpkin, and squash, and gathered clams, oysters, and quahogs. From the quahog shell, the Narragansett Indians made the Native American currency wampum, which bolstered their wealth among other tribes in the region. In 1636, Roger Williams founded Providence following his expulsion from the Massachusetts Bay colony for what was perceived as his radical religious beliefs. Williams advocated dealing fairly with Native Americans and purchased the lands for Providence from the Narragansett sachems Canonicus and Miantonomi. In 1644, Williams received a charter from the British Parliament incorporating the towns of Providence, Portsmouth, and Newport as Providence Plantation and guaranteeing religious liberty. A 1663 charter issued by Charles II more firmly established the colony of Rhode Island, which tolerated different religions and maintained friendly relations with Native Americans until the outbreak of King Philip's War in 1675. This conflict resulted in the destruction of many colonial towns, including Providence. The Narragansett tribe was initially skeptical of missionaries, because of their experience of English land-grabbing, and because the church in Charlestown, RI had its own homegrown minister, a Narragansett separatist named Samuel Niles. Although the Narragansett tribal council approved the mission of Joseph Fish in 1765, which met with initial success, the tribe eventually asked Fish and Edward Deake, the schoolmaster he engaged, to leave Rhode Island in favor of Native ministers and teachers. Rhode Island residents actively protested British rule over the colonies and openly agitated for war. In 1772, a number of Rhode Islanders attacked and destroyed the British ship the Gaspee, and Rhode Island was the first state to openly declare independence from Great Britain prior to the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Between two and five percent of Rhode Island Native Americans migrated to Brothertown.

New Haven

New Haven is a city in south central Connecticut on New Haven Harbor and the Long Island Sound. The Quinnipiac Indians, specifically the Momauguin band of the Algonquin-speaking Tribe, were the area’s original inhabitants. The Quinnipiacs lived along the banks of Connecticut's many rivers; fittingly, Quinnipiac means long water country. After Dutch explorer Adrian Block first sailed up the Connecticut River in 1614, Quinnipiac lands and peoples began to dwindle, especially as English settlement expanded. In 1638, Reverend John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton, a London merchant, sailed into New Haven Harbor from Massachusetts Bay Colony and formally established New Haven as a Puritan settlement. Though he did not have a royal charter for his new colony, Davenport signed a treaty with Quinnipiac sachem Momauguin in 1738, which gave the English formal ownership over the land. Davenport had left Massachusetts in the midst of the Anne Hutchinson controversy, likely coming to Connecticut to found his own Puritan theocracy. New Haven existed as its own colony distinct from Connecticut until 1665, when Charles II united the two under the Colony of Connecticut. From then on, New Haven referred to the city specifically, which in 1701 became the co-capital of Connecticut along with Hartford. In 1716, the college that would become Yale, where Eleazar Wheelock received his degree in 1733, moved to its permanent home in New Haven. From its creation, Yale was committed to training Christian missionaries; several of Wheelock’s Anglo-American missionaries studied at Yale while many of his Anglo-American students from Moor’s went on to study there. Wheelock took Occom to New Haven in 1744 to see Yale's commencement exercises, but due to terrible eye strain, Occom never attended the College. Because New Haven was the co-capital of Connecticut, any of Occom's or Wheelock’s dealings with the Colony of Connecticut often involved New Haven. By the Revolutionary War, the city had a population of 3,500, almost none of whom were Quinnipiac Indians. New Haven remained co-capital of Connecticut until 1873, when it lost to Hartford in what is known as the "single capital contest."

Great Britain
London

The capital and largest city of the United Kingdom, London is located in the southeastern region of England along the Thames River. The outpost that would become London originated as a military storage post for the Romans when they invaded Britain in the year 43. It soon developed as a trading center and financial hub for Roman Britain. During a revolt against the Romans in 61, London was burned to the ground; the rebuilt town appeared in Tacitus’s Annals as Londinium. With the decline of the Roman Empire in the 4th century, Londinium became a Saxon trading town. Following the Norman Conquest, London retained its central political and commercial importance. In the 14th century, under Edward II, Westminster became an administrative center and London became the capital of England. In the early 18th century, London was an important hub for evangelical Christianity and home to many influential people, like the charismatic Anglican minister, George Whitefield, who were sympathetic to Wheelock’s missionary endeavors. Occom arrived in London in February 1766 on his fundraising tour for Wheelock’s school and preached his first sermon at Whitefield’s Tabernacle. London would be Occom’s home base for the next two years, as he and Whitaker travelled throughout England and Scotland. Occom made many friends in London who would continue to support him after his break with Wheelock and the School. By the late 18th century, London had replaced Amsterdam as the center of world commerce, a role it would maintain until 1914.

Charlestown

Charlestown is located in Washington County in southwestern Rhode Island along the Block Island sound. For thousands of years before European settlement, the area was inhabited by Native Americans who lived by hunting, fishing and agriculture. When the English dissenter, Roger Williams, fled Massachusetts Bay in 1636 and stepped ashore in what would become the Plantation of Providence, he was welcomed by Canonicus, sachem of the Narragansett Indians. From Canonicus, Williams purchased a large tract of land that included the settlement of Misquamicut, which would become the site of an English settlement named Charlestown after King Charles II. It was incorporated in 1783. After the Great Swamp Fight in which the United Colonies massacred many Narragansetts — and hunted down and killed or enslaved those who escaped — 500 survivors (from a pre-war population of 5,000) signed a 1682 peace treaty and received permission to join with the Eastern Niantic tribe, which had remained neutral throughout the war and had a small reservation near Charlestown. Settlers continued to acquire land from the Naragansetts, and by 1880, the tribe ceased to exist as a legal entity. A portion of tribal lands were returned to Narragansett ownership in 1978 by the courts and state legislation, and the tribe was officially recognized in 1983. Charlestown is the present-day headquarters of the Narragansett Tribe and the location of their reservation.

New England Coffee House
Fish, Joseph

Joseph Fish was a moderate Congregationalist minister who held the pulpit at North Stonington, CT, from 1731 until his death in 1781. He is notable as 1) an ally of Wheelock and a member of the Connecticut Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, 2) a moderate in the throes of the Great Awakening, and 3) a missionary to the Pequots and Narragansetts. The first point requires no explanation; the second two are closely related. Fish graduated from Harvard in 1728 and took a temporary post at Stonington in 1731. He was so popular with the congregation that they offered him a permanent position. For the first 10 years of his ministry all was well, but the Great Awakening segmented his congregation. The problem was that Fish was not strongly opposed to or strongly in favour of the Awakening, which led his church to split into not two, but three factions. As Fish's congregation dwindled so did his salary; however, when other congregations offered him their pulpits, what was left of the North Stonington congregation interfered, jealously guarding Fish's services. In addition to his career as a minister, Fish acted as a missionary to Native Americans throughout his life. From the 1730s on, he delivered sermons to the nearby Pequots and employed a schoolmaster for them (his employees included Moor's alumni John Shattock Jr. and Jacob Fowler). In 1765, Fish also began preaching to the Charlestown Narragansetts. He secured financial support from the Boston Board of the New England Company to open a school there as well, and hired Edward Deake to fill the post. However, Fish did not get along well with the Narragansetts, who had an established indigenous ministry, led by Samuel Niles and based around separatist principles. For Bible-centric Fish, illiterate and popular Samuel Niles was a ministerial nightmare. Fish and Deake served the Narragansetts until the mid-1770s, when the tribe politely requested that they stop.

Whitaker, Nathaniel

Nathaniel Whitaker was an outspoken Presbyterian minister with a long and wide-ranging career. Between his ordination in 1755 and his death in 1795, Whitaker ministered to five different congregations. His longest tenure was at Chelsea, CT (near Norwich), from 1761-1769, during which he joined Occom on his two-and-a-half-year fundraising tour of Britain. While in Chelsea, Whitaker was very involved in Wheelock's project. The two engaged in frequent correspondence, and Whitaker served on Eleazar Wheelock's Board of Correspondents in Connecticut, as well as on the Board of Trustees of Moor's Indian Charity School. At one time, he was Wheelock's presumed successor, but Dartmouth's Trustees demanded that Wheelock appoint another. Wheelock, in part due to his strongly-held belief that Native Americans were childlike and rash, was convinced that Occom needed an Anglo-American supervisor on his fundraising tour. After several candidates turned down the job, Wheelock selected Whitaker. He proved to be a poor choice; he was, by many accounts, a difficult man to get along with, and many of Wheelock’s British allies, including George Whitefield and the English Trust (the organization that took control of the money Occom raised in England) preferred to deal with Occom, although Whitaker insisted on handling the tour’s logistics. Furthermore, in Britain, Occom was the obvious star of the tour, and it was unclear to many why Whitaker asserted himself so prominently. Whitaker’s poor decisions seriously alienated the English Trust and increased their suspicion of Wheelock’s later dealings and treatment of Occom. He gave the English Trust the impression that they would have control over money raised in Scotland (which was in fact lodged with the parent organization of the SSPCK), and he was the executor of the “Eells Affair,” a plan initiated by the CT Board of the SSPCK to bring the money that Occom and Whitaker raised back to the colonies by investing it in trade goods and selling them at a profit (Eells was one of the merchants who was to help with the resale of goods). The English Trust learned about the plan by reading letters that Whitaker had given them permission to open in his absence, and were immediately shocked. The wording of certain letters made it appear that only a percentage of the profit from the resale of the goods would go towards Moor’s Indian Charity School, but beyond that detail, the English Trust was scandalized at the thought of money raised for charity being invested in trade. The English Trust blamed Whitaker entirely for these affairs, and issued specific instructions for Occom to notarize all documents requiring Whitaker’s signature. In short, they wanted Occom to supervise Whitaker, when Wheelock had envisioned the opposite relationship (both Occom and Whitaker seem to have ignored their instructions, preferring to have as little contact with one another as possible). In 1769, a year after his return to Connecticut in 1768, Whitaker found himself dismissed by his Chelsea congregation (likely because he had spent two and a half years away from them). He went on to serve several more congregations before his death in 1795. Whitaker was an outspoken Whig, and during the Revolution he published several pamphlets on his political opinions.

Whitaker, Sarah (née Smith)

Sarah Whitaker (maiden name Smith) was the wife of the prominent Presbyterian minister Nathaniel Whitaker. They had seven or eight children, the first being born in 1756. She wrote to him and raised their children while Nathaniel was away on his fundraising tour with Samson Occom (1765-1768). She must have lived at least until the birth of their last child, Jonathan Whitaker (born December 10, 1771), but she does not appear in the historical record after that time.

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.

Ninigret, Thomas

Thomas Ninigret was the grandson of George Ninigret, the 17th-century Narragansett sachem made famous by his relationship with Roger Williams, the English minister who founded Rhode Island. In 1746, Thomas Ninigret became the Sachem of the Narragansett tribe, a position he would hold until his death. Like his predecessors, Ninigret sold large amounts of historically Niantic land (which the Narragansett sachems took possession of when the Niantics and the Narragansetts merged in 1680) to the colony of Rhode Island. Ninigret also accrued vast amounts of personal debt; his legendary spending is accredited to the time he spent in England receiving education, a period which many of his tribe believe made Ninigret a stranger to the Narragansett way of life. As a result, some Narragansetts attempted to convince the Rhode Island legislature to slow the land sales, and even petitioned for Ninigret's removal from the Sachemship. Wheelock took note of Ninigret's destructive behavior and wrote Governor Hopkins in 1767 to appeal for a moratorium on the sale of Niantic/Naragansett land. Ultimately, land sales did slow as the Narragansett people continued to petition the Rhode Island legislature, but only a small amount of Narragansetts remained living in Rhode Island by 1812. Ninigret, often sarcastically referred to as "King Tom," is remembered as the most costly ruler in the Ninigret line.

Deake, Edward

Edward Deake was an Anglo-American missionary and schoolmaster born in Rhode Island in 1732. After receiving reluctant approval from the Narragansett tribal council for the support of a schoolhouse and schoolmaster on Nov. 26 1765, Reverend Joseph Fish, who had been living among the Narragansetts, hired Edward Deake to serve as schoolmaster to the tribe in Charlestown, Rhode Island. Funded by the New England Company, Deake taught his students to read English, write, and cypher, following the pattern of other missionary schools for Native people in New England. Out of 151 school-aged Narragansetts, 53 students, boys and girls, attended Deake’s school. Deake regularly consulted a council of Indians for input on the best course of action for educating his students. In addition to his 24 pounds per year salary, Deake also received living quarters for himself and his family in the schoolhouse. After Tobias Shattock left for England in 1767, Deake became the main recruiter among the Narragansetts for Wheelock’s school, often corresponding with Wheelock to recommend students. But the Narragansetts, under the leadership of the charismatic Native preacher Samuel Niles, soon became disillusioned with Fish and Deake, distrusting the purpose and motivations of the school and fearing the colonial appropriation of their lands and right to self-government. In 1770, Narragansett leader John Shattock Sr. told Fish that the Narragansetts wanted Deake to leave, and attendance at Deake’s school evaporated in the next few years. Finally, on January 2, 1776, Deake requested relief from his position as schoolmaster and left soon after. There is some evidence he moved to New York state and worked as a minister. Deake died in 1794.

Niles, Samuel
Fish, Rebecca (née Pabodie)
Woodward, Bezaleel

Bezaleel Woodward was an integral figure at Dartmouth College and the greater Hanover community; and like that of Eleazar Wheelock, Woodward’s career consisted of a blend of education, religion, and local affairs. After attending Moor’s and graduating from Yale in 1764, he became a preacher. Upon his return to Lebanon in late 1766, he began to hold various positions at Moor’s and became the first tutor of college department in 1768. Woodward later was a professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at Dartmouth College, as well as a member and clerk of the Board of Trustees. In 1772, he solidified his connection to Wheelock even further by marrying Wheelock’s daughter, Mary. Woodward also held numerous titles outside of the school. He was an elder of the Presbytery and attained multiple appointments in the local court system. A natural leader, Woodward was an influential member and clerk of several committees, representing both Hanover and the Dresden college district. He was thus a leading figure in the Western Rebellion, promoting several towns’ secession from New Hampshire and union with Vermont. Although Woodward resigned from his professorship in 1778, supposedly disassociating himself from Dartmouth while he engaged in politics, it was merely a formality. Upon Wheelock’s death, Woodward acted as president of the college from April to October 1779. Woodward continued to perform many of the executive tasks even after Wheelock’s son and successor, John Wheelock, took over the position, and also held the late Wheelock’s post of treasurer. Claiming to be finished with politics, he officially returned to Dartmouth as tutor in 1782, and performed the president’s duties while Wheelock was abroad in 1782 and 1783. Nonetheless, Woodward continued to participate in local affairs — in 1783 he unsuccessfully attempted to have the New Hampshire General Assembly approve Dresden’s status as a separate town; and in 1786, he became the county treasurer and register of deeds. Woodward remained a prominent figure at Dartmouth and the surrounding area throughout his life. He was, for instance, involved in the construction of Dartmouth Hall in 1784, and was part of the committee formed in 1788 to regulate the contested use of the fund raised by Occom and Whitaker in Great Britain for Moor’s. Woodward died August 25, 1804, at the age of 59.

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.

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.

Fundraising Tour of Great Britain
After many months of planning and shifting personnel, Occom, accompanied by the minister Nathaniel Whitaker, sets sail in December 1765 for a two-and-a-half year tour of England and Scotland in order to solicit contributions to Wheelock’s Indian Charity School and missionary efforts. Introduced to aristocrats and prominent clergy by the minister George Whitefield, Occom preaches many sermons, travels widely, and collects a large sum of money.
HomeJoseph Fish, letter, to Nathaniel Whitaker, 1766 July 30
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