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John Brainerd, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1766 September 16

ms-number: 766516.1

abstract: Brainerd writes about the apprehension of the murderers of two Indian women, includes letters from Francis Alison and John Ewing recommending John G. Kals as a teacher and missionary, and gives his own recommendation of Kals, with reservations.

handwriting: Handwriting is bold, stylized and occasionally difficult to decipher.

paper: Large sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good-to-fair condition, with some yellowing and moderate-to-heavy creasing that leads to a minor loss of text. There is older preservation work on one verso and two recto. The outer edges appear to have been trimmed.

ink: Dark brown.

noteworthy: The text is dimmed somewhat by preservation work. An editor, likely 19th-century, had added the note "Ind Mis" to two verso; this note has not been included in the transcription.

events: Fundraising Tour of Great Britain


Revd & Dear Sir,
I wrote you Some Time ago, and left it
at Egg harbour to go by the firſt Connecticut Veſsel;
what its fate will be I know not. I now write
again, not knowing of any direct Opportunity,
but determining to imbrace the firſt & beſt that offers.
I inform'd you of the Murder of two Indian Women
in this Pr[gap: tear][guess: o]vince, by a Couple of Stragling Stran=
gers, — of thier Apprehenſion, and Exeution at Bur=
lington
, the firſt of Aug. ult. This I did that
it might communicated to the remote Indi=
ans, who will doubtleſs hear of the Murder, and
ought to be enformd of the Murderers being
brought to Justice. You will doubtleſs, thro'
S.r William Johnſon, or otherwiſe have Oppor=
tunity to do it.
Since my laſt I receiv'd a Letter from the
Revd D.r Aliſon, the Contents of which I ſhall
give you, and they are as follows.
"Revd & Dr S.r
"I take this Opportunity to introduce to your
"Acquaintance the Rev.d Mr John G. Kals, a Minis=
"ter of the Dutch reform'd Churches. He is a Gentle=
"man of Piety & Learning, & zealous to promote the
"Kingdom of Chriſt, & well qualified many Ways to
 Serve
[bottom]Letter from M.r Jn.o Brainerd
[bottom]Sep.t 16. 1766,—abo.t
[bottom]M.r Kalls

"Serve God, & to do Service in the Church if a Door
"of uſefulneſs were opened. He underſtands Hebrew,
"Chaldaic &c beyond any that I know on the Continent,
"and might be of great Service to teach Candi=
"dates for the Ministry to read the Bible in Hebrew.
"I lament that we are ſo careleſs how we teach Divi=
"nity, and particularly to make our Students migh=
"ty in the Scriptures, & I am amazed that in the
"Coleges of Princeton & Philad.a this is neglected or ra=
"ther deſpiſed for this Gentleman c[gap: tear][guess: an] teach it to
"great Perfection, and is willing to teach it on any
"terms, ſo as he can have but food & Raiment &
"our neglect of what is in our Power will be chargd
"to our Account. He has heard of Mr Wheelock's
"unwearied Endeavours to convert the Indians, &
"would think himſelf greatly honour'd could he
"be any Way uſeful in this great Work. I ad=
"viſed him firſt to viſit & converſe with you, & to
"Stay Some Days & viſit the Indians in their Houſes,
"to See them attend Worſhip, and how the Children
"learn: & poſsibly from thence he might form a bet=
"ter Judgement how he is qualified to do any thing
"in this great Work. he is poor, but very frugal;
"what regard you ſhow to him I ſhall account as
"a favour done to
 Revd Sir,
 your &c" — —
At the Same Time I receiv'd the following from
the Revd M.r Ewing.
"As Mr Kalls Showed me the in=
cloſd
" Letter from Dr Aliſon before the Sealing of it,
"I can say from my own Knowledge that what he relates
"of that Gentleman I can heartily Subſcribe. I would only
"add that Such was his Zeal to Spread the Gospel a=
"mong the benighted Heathen that he voluntarily under=
"took a Voyage to Surinam with proper Teſtimontials
"from the Synod of Holland & Claſsis of Amſterdam. But left
"it, when he found that there was no effectual Door open'd for
"him in that Place. His heart is [illegible][guess: So much] Set upon this
"Work that he has wrote a large Quarto Vol. upon the Sub=
"ject in Low Dutch as a Teſtimony to the World of his
"Deſire to contribute to So good a Cauſe, in hopes that Some
"might be excited thereby to engage in the arduous & Selfde=
"nying Work. If you have need of Such Aſsiſtance as he can
"give, I doubt not but he would be very glad of an
"Opportunity of being employd in any Way that you may
"think will have the beſt Tendancy to promote your truly
"benevolent Deſigns both to the Indians & white People
"in your wide, extended Dioſecſe.
 Revd Sir,
 your &c" —
M.r Kals accordingly tarrid here near a Week,
preachd twice attended the School ſome & viſitd at
ſome of the Indian Houſes.. He is a Man of about
65 Years of Age, a great Linguiſt [gap: worn_edge][guess: and] a [gap: worn_edge][guess: c]lose Student.
He tells me he can make uſe of 16 Languages viz
Latin, Greek Hebrew, Chaldea, Syriac, Arabic Ethiopi[gap: worn_edge]
Parſie, German, Low Dutch, French, Spaniſh, Italian
Turkiſh, Ruſsian & Engliſh. The laſt of theſe he Seems
to be well acquainted with, but does not Speak
plain, which renders it Somwhat laborious to con=
verſe with him. This I apperehend to be the great=
 eſt
eſt Difficulty in his Way of Inſtructing, eſpe=
cially in ſuch a School as yours. I have
a good deal of Reaſon to think him well
capable of Inſtructing in other Branches of
Learning beſides the Languages, [illegible]eſpecially Di=
vinity, & that he would be very acurate there=
in, but his want of Speaking the Engliſh
well is a great Difficulty. I thought it my
Duty to write, as I know him to be in many Re=
ſpect[gap: worn_edge][guess: s] Qualified to do Service in the teaching
Way; yet I am not without Some Secret Fears
he wont Suit you, as it is ſomewhat Difficult
to underſtand him, and muſt be much more
So for thoſe that have not [illegible]the Engliſh Tongue
perfectly. But that his Talents might not
be buried, and that your School (if it may be)
may receive Help & Benefit I have written:
And now commit the Matter to the Diſpoſal of Pro=
vidence. This Gentleman at preſent reſides in
Philadelphia.
I See by the laſt Paper that our Friends M.r
Whitaker & M[gap: worn_edge][guess: r] Occum collected upward of 133 £ at
the Rev.d Mr Brewers Chh in Stepney. May Heaven
ſend them Prosperity every where, and make your
School
a Bleſsing to the [illegible] Posterty. I long
to hear from you.
My beſt Regards to M.rs Wheelock (in which my
Wife very heartily Joins tho' unknown).
and accept the Same from,

Rev.d Hon.d Sir; your most affectionate John Brainerd
[left]P'S If you Should entertain any thoughts of employing this Gentleman it might be well to enquire further
I had no Acquaitance with him till t'other Day. Mr William Tennent might be a proper Perſon. — —

Dutch Reformed Church
The Dutch Reformed Church developed during the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century as part of the Netherlands' bid for freedom from Spanish Catholic control. It followed the teachings of John Calvin, a Swiss Protestant theologian, and adopted a presbyterian form of church governance. Dutch settlers to New Amsterdam brought the Church over in 1628, and when the colony passed into English hands in 1664, 11 Dutch Reformed Churches existed. This increased to 34 Churches at the beginning of the 18th century, under the jurisdiction of the Classis of Amsterdam. In 1738, the American Dutch Reformed Churches wrote a petition for independence from Amsterdam, which was granted in 1755. Practitioners and Churches spread throughout New York and New England, and in the 19th century to the mid-West. In 1766 the missionary John Brainerd passed on to Wheelock a recommendation for John Kals, a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church, as a potential missionary and teacher of sacred languages. Occom recorded in his journal for 1787 that he preached several times in Dutch Reformed Churches and meeting houses in upstate New York to large and enthusiastic audiences.
Princeton University
Princeton University is a College and Graduate School of liberal arts and sciences located in the town of Princeton, New Jersey. A member of the Ivy League, it enrolls about 8,000 students. When it was chartered in 1749, it was known as the College of New Jersey. It was founded by New Light Presbyterians as the educational arm of Scotch-Irish religion, and is the fourth institution of higher education established in British North America. For its first 50 years, the College was housed in Nassau Hall, one of the largest buildings in colonial America, set on land donated by Nathaniel Fitz Randolph. When expansion earned the College university status in 1896, it was officially renamed Princeton University, after the town. After the untimely deaths of its first five presidents, including Aaron Burr, Sr., and the noted Protestant theologian Jonathan Edwards, a prominent evangelical Presbyterian minister from Scotland named John Witherspoon took the helm in 1768. Witherspoon trained a generation of men who would lead the American Revolution, including James Madison, Aaron Burr, Philip Freneau and John Breckenridge. As a New Light minister, Wheelock was part of the same evangelical movement, and the College of New Jersey played a significant role in his educational experiment. Jacob Woolley, one of the first students at Moor's Indian Charity School, went on to enter the College of New Jersey in 1759, leaving in his senior year under a cloud of scandal. Several of Wheelock's Anglo-American students who studied at his Latin School and at the Indian Charity School graduated from "Nassau Hall" and became missionaries or schoolmasters in his "great design."
University of Pennsylvania
The College of Philadelphia, also called The Academy and College of Philadelphia, was founded in 1749 by Benjamin Franklin, and in 1791 joined the University of Pennsylvania. It was formed on Franklin's educational philosophy that schools should be taught in English, not Greek or Latin, and that the curriculum should include useful subjects like natural history, geology, geography, and modern languages. He envisioned the Academy for younger students with the College preparing them for university, as well as for public office and as school teachers. The Academy opened in 1751 and the College opened in 1757, graduating its first class in May 1757. Many future leaders of the US graduated from the College. Although Franklin's innovative vision was tempered by Provost William Smith's dedication to classical languages and the conservativism of Anglican Trustees in the 1760s and 1770s, his concept of higher education became the definition of a liberal education.
Synod of Holland
The synod of Holland was an ecclesiastical assembly of the Reformed Church that gathered periodically to discuss matters of faith and discipline, and to certify the status of its members. The most famous assembly of this kind was the Synod of Dort held in 1618-1619 in Dordrecht, Netherlands, which was attended by delegates from all over Europe to settle the controversy over Arminianism, a rival interpretation of predestination.
Classis of Amsterdam
A "classis" is a church governing body made up of delegates, usually ministers, elders, or occasionally deacons, from a group of churches within a geographical area. It has authority to make binding decisions on issues that concern its churches. The classis of Amersterdam governed the Dutch Reformed Churches that sprang up in the colony of New Netherlands in the 17th century. When that colony came under English control and became New York, the English allowed the Dutch Reformed Churches to continue under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the classis of Amersterdam. In 1679, the classis of Amersterdam allowed the formation of a colonial classis with restricted power to govern these far-flung churches.
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.
Edgepillock (Brotherton)

Edgepillock (also spelled Agepelack) was an Indian Town created in south-central New Jersey under the Easton Treaty of 1758, the result of negotiations between the colonial governments of Pennsylvania and New Jersey and 13 Indian nations that took place during the French and Indian War. The treaty forced the Lenape peoples to cede all of their land to the Colony of New Jersey in return for a 3,000-acre reservation in Burlington County, known as the first reservation in the colonies. The town of Edgepillock sprung up on these lands after the Unamis and Munsees, both Lenape-speaking tribes, moved to the area and took over existing grist- and sawmills. John Brainerd, a Protestant minister, served as a missionary to the Indians at Edgepillock, which he optimistically referred to as Brotherton, not to be confused with Brothertown, NY. The reservation was subsequently known as both Edgepillock and Brotherton. Brainerd, who corresponded with Wheelock and sent him Moor’s first Native students, lived among the Indians of Edgepillock until 1777. By the time Occom preached at Edgepillock in 1788, the reservation was no longer self-sustaining. By 1796, word of its deteriorating conditions reached the Indians of New Stockbridge, who invited the residents of Edgepillock to join them, and by 1802 almost the entire population of Edgepillock moved to New Stockbridge. The reservation was then sold, with proceeds going to the Lenapes of Edgepillock. In the same year of this migration, the Indian church at which Occom likely preached in Edgepillock was burned down. The lands that were once Edgepillock Indian Town are now a part of the modern-day township of Shamong.

Egg Harbor
Connecticut

Connecticut is a state in southern New England that borders Massachusetts to the north and the Long Island Sound to the south. Its name is derived from the Algonquian "Quonehtacut," meaning "long river," referring to the Connecticut, which runs from the border with Canada into the Long Island Sound. The area was originally inhabited by Algonquian-speaking Pequots, Mohegans, and Quinnipiacs. European settlers took advantage of tribal divisions to establish dominance in the region. Dutch explorer Adrian Block sailed up the Connecticut River in 1614, establishing an active Dutch trading post at what is now Hartford. English claims to Connecticut began in 1630, but settlement truly began when Thomas Hooker, a Congregationalist minister now known as "The Father of Connecticut," left Boston to found Hartford in 1636. Hartford became the center of the Colony of Connecticut, which did not receive its charter until 1662 when Governor John Winthrop, Jr. secured it from Charles II. In 1665, the Colony of New Haven, established in 1638 by the Puritan minister John Davenport, joined the Colony of Connecticut under this charter. Early settler relations with local Indians were tense, and encouraged the New England colonies of Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven to unify as the "United Colonies" or "New England Confederation" and fight together, with Indian allies, in the Pequot War and again in King Philip's (Metacom's) War. These wars helped establish a specifically Connecticut and specifically American identity; the latter drove the colony to join the rebellion against Britain in 1776. Occom, born into a Mohegan household in Connecticut, was closely associated with the Colony and retained strong ties to the region throughout his life. He converted to Christianity in 1743 when the Great Awakening spread through Connecticut, and inspired Wheelock's Indian Charity School, which was founded in Lebanon, CT in 1754. He also became involved in the Mason Land Case, a long-standing dispute over the ownership of reserve Mohegan lands in Connecticut. Wheelock also had strong ties to Connecticut, moving his Indian Charity School only when the colony would not grant it a charter.

New Jersey

New Jersey is a state located on the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. For at least 10,000 years before the arrival of Europeans, the area of New Jersey was occupied by the Delaware Indians whose territory extended from what is now the state of Delaware to eastern Pennsylvania. Established as a colony in 1664 and named in honor of the English Channel’s Isle of Jersey, New Jersey shared a royal governor with the nearby colony of New York until 1738. During the Revolutionary War, New Jersey fought for independence from Britain and was the site of over a hundred different battles. In the later 1730s, the Society in Scotland for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge and the New England Company showed particular interest in missionizing in the Native communities along the Delaware River in New Jersey. At the same time, the First Great Awakening erupted along the eastern seaboard, and one of its most influential figures was Gilbert Tennent from New Brunswick, New Jersey, who, like other New Light ministers, courted and attracted Native converts. In the first years of Wheelock's Indian Charity School, he was less interested in recruiting Native students from local tribes and looked towards the powerful Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) tribes of New York and the Delawares of New Jersey. In 1754, at Wheelock’s behest, John Brainerd, a SSPCK missionary in New Jersey, sent two Delaware boys, John Pumshire and Jacob Woolley, who were the first official Native students at the School. In 1788, Occom, David Fowler and Peter Pohquonnappeet attempted fundraising in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for Brothertown and New Stockbridge.

Burlington
Philadelphia
Stepney

Stepney is a district between the Thames River and Mile End Road in the East End of London that developed out of Stibenhede, a medieval village surrounding St. Dunstan’s Church. Because of its docks and Mile End Road, a busy thoroughfare running east from London, Stepney expanded in the 16th century, and in the 17th century, it became a locus for Protestant dissenters, independents, and separatists who were forced to meet outside London. In 1644, a congregation of dissenters began to meet in the area and created the Stepney Meeting in 1674, also known as the Broad Street Church, which became the largest dissenting congregation in London. From 1746 until 1796, Reverend Samuel Brewer, a close associate of George Whitefield and a popular figure in London religious circles, preached at Stepney Meeting. In 1765, Brewer was one of the eminent clergymen who welcomed Occom and Whitaker to London during their fundraising tour, using Stepney Meeting as a base to connect Occom to other area churches. While in London, Occom preached at Stepney Meeting several times to crowded audiences and raised a significant amount of money for Wheelock’s school. Today, Stepney is a working-class, immigrant neighborhood home to many post-war tower blocks and housing estates.

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.

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.

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.

Alison, Francis

Francis Alison was an "Old Side" or more conservative Presbyterian minister and eminent classical scholar important as an educator who brought Scots-Irish Englightenment thought to colonial America. He was born the son of a weaver in 1705 in Ulster County, Ireland, and educated at the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. In 1737 he emigrated to Pennsylvania where he opened a classical school for young men in New London, PA, with a curriculum based on the moral philosophy of Francis Hutcheson. He later brought this curriculum to the Newark Academy (which would become the University of Delaware) and the College of Philadelphia (which would become the University of Pennsylvania), educating a generation of men who would help create the new nation. He was part of a vigorous network of Presbyterian ministers in the Philadelphia area who supported Wheelock's missionary work and hosted Occom on several tours, collecting funds from their congregations for the Brothertown cause.

Kals, John G.
Ewing, John

John Ewing was an influential Presbyterian minister in Philadelphia, a professor, and a noted mathematician. He and a twin brother, James, were born on June 22, 1732 in Nottingham, Maryland to Nathaniel and Rachel (Porter), who had emigrated from Ireland. He received his early education with Francis Alison, a noted Presbyterian clergyman, and remained at Alison's academy for three years as a tutor in Latin, Greek and mathematics, in which he excelled; he graduated the year he matriculated at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton) in 1754. He served as tutor at the College for two years and was licensed to preach. In 1759, he was called to pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, where he served as a popular and eloquent preacher until his death in 1802. He also joined the faculty of the College of Philadelphia as Professor of Ethics from 1758 to 1762 and Professor of Natural Philosophy from 1762 to 1778. Joining the American Philosophical Society in 1768, he contributed to several noted scientific experiments (charting the transit of Venus) and public works (surveying the boundary with Delaware). In 1773, he was commissioned to travel to Great Britain to solicit funds for the Academy of Newark, in Delaware, where he received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from University of Edinburgh and met with promiment figures (including Lord North, the prime minister, and Samuel Johnson) to advance the cause of American independence. When the College of Philadelphia was reorganized as the University of Pennsylvania, Ewing became its first provost in 1780. Occom preached and collected funds in Ewing's Church on his tour of Philadelphia in 1771. While in London, Ewing likely met members of the Trust for Wheelock's Indian School, because Occom reports to John Thornton in 1777 that he learned about the exhaustion of the Trust from Ewing (manuscript 761290), one of the influential ministers who collected money for Occom and Brothertown in 1771.

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.

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.

Brewer, Samuel

Samuel Brewer was a minister who served for 50 years at the Broad Street Church, also called the Stepney Meeting, the largest of the dissenting congregations (Congregational or Presbyterian) of London. Starting in the late 17th century, many dissenters, separatists, and independents congregated in Stepney, now a working-class and immigrant neigborhood in London's east end, but originally a village developed around the Church of St. Dunstan's on the outskirts of the city. Brewer took over the ministry at Stepney in 1746, when the congregation had dwindled, and increased attendance over the years, leaving a very successful church at his death in 1796. Though an independent, he was friendly with clergy from the Church of England, and was part of the group of eminent clergymen clustered around the evangelical preacher George Whitefield, his particular friend, who welcomed Occom and Whitaker when they arrived in London in 1765. Occom calls Brewer "a warm Servant of Jesus Christ," and records preaching at Mr. Brewer's meeting several times to crowded audiences who made generous collections for the Indian Charity School. Robert Keen mentioned Brewer as part of a group that met weekly to advise Occom and Nathaniel Whitaker on their activities and send letters of introduction and recommendation to the leading men of surrounding churches. Whitaker urged Wheelock to write to Brewer, among other energetic supporters, but there is no evidence that he did so.

Wheelock, Mary (née Brinsmead)

Mary Wheelock was born Mary Brinsmead on July 26, 1714 in Milford, Connecticut. In the year following the death of his first wife, Eleazar began to court Mary Brinsmead, and the two married on November 21, 1747. Mary and Eleazar had five children together, including John, who would succeed his father as President of Dartmouth College. Little appears in the historical record about Mary, but many of the people who wrote to Wheelock, especially his Native correspondents who often lived with the family, referred to her warmly. In September 1770, Mary dismantled her longtime home in Connecticut, and travelled with her children to the Wheelocks' new home in the wilderness of New Hampshire. They rode in a coach sent over from England by John Thornton, accompanied by 30 Charity School students on foot. Eleazar, who had gone ahead to build housing for everyone, wrote a letter to Mary with many instructions about the move; the disposition of domestic animals, people, supplies; and the acquisition of money that suggests she was an able and trustworthy manager (manuscript 770510.1; this manuscript is not included in Occom Circle documents). She died in 1784 in Hanover, New Hampshire, where she is buried in the Dartmouth College Cemetery.

Tennent, William
Brainerd, Elizabeth
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.
HomeJohn Brainerd, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1766 September 16
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