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Aaron Kinne, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1766 December 1

ms-number: 766651.4

abstract: Kinne reports from his travels to scout new Indian students and locations for missions and schools.

handwriting: Handwriting is formal and clear.

paper: Large sheet folded in half to make four pages is in fair condition, with moderate-to-heavy staining, creasing and wear that renders the paper somewhat fragile.

ink: Black-brown.



Rev.d & Hon.d Sir
The Favours and Benefits
I have, in the Courſe of a wise Providence, received
from your Fatherly Care & Kindneſs, lay me under
inviolable Obligations, notwithanding the distance of
my Station, to exert myſelf, as far as is consiſtant with
my Character, for the Peace & Prosperity of yourſelf and
Family; and to make such Enquiry {agreeable to your
Desire} & use such means as are neceſsary for obtaining such
Knowledge as is requisite; for thate Promotion of that
glorious undertaking, in Prosecution of which you have
been so remarkably succeſsful.
Since I have been in theſe Parts, have gain'd what
Intelligence I conveniently could concerning the Matter
you propos'd, and find, as to the Indians, there are se
veral Tribes, as Norridgewalks not a large Tribe, about
Eighty Miles Northward from this Place.— Penobſcots
to the Eaſtward about 160 Miles, judg'd they can raiſe
about 200 fighting Men.— S.t John's Tribe Eastward
still, numerous. Canadians &c. But the Indians, thro'
Means of the Devil's Miniſter the Pope, his Servants
the Friars, & his Subjects the French are strongly at=
tach'd to the Papist's Religion.
As to Conveniences, 'tis tho't a small Township on
this River of about 5 or 6 Miles may be had for ask‐
ing for, of a Number of Men called, The Plymouth
Company
, where may be had convenient Places for Buil=
ding, excellent Land, & Choice Timber.

Water=Carriage from here almost over N. America.
Except a Carrying Place of about 30 Miles may go by
water to Quebec, and so in the River S.t Lawrence to
the Lakes, & scatter among all the Western Tribes, even
the Six Nations &c. And to the Penobſcots, S.t Johns,
and among the Numerous Indians at Nova Sotia.—
The Country & Climate very Healthy.
As to Inhabitants, they are a Religious, sober
well=dispos'd sort of People, Peculiar Friends to you
& your important Design, more so than any that
ever I saw, They speak of your Perſon with ardour
of affection, & your Design, with applause—
I have now given you what Intimations I could
obtain, I hope against the next opportunity to give
you a more particular Account —
Thro' Gods Goodneſs, had a proſperous Journey,
met with a kind Reception, & enjoy a comfortable
state of Health.
No more at present but remain
Rev.d Sir
your most obedient &
very humble Servant

Aaron Kinne
P.S. My dutiful Reſpects to Madam, sincere Regard
Sir Wheelock, Family, School &c. & please to forward
the Letter to My Parents to Lieu.t Breeds N. Landing &c
 Yours as before
 A. Kinne
To the Rev.d M.r Wheelock. —

Letter from M.r Aaron Kenne
at GeorgeTown. Dec.r 1:ſt 1766.
To the Reverend
M.r Eleazar Wheelock
In
Connecticut
Blank page.
Kinne, Aaron

Aaron Kinne was a Congregationalist minister and scholar who, like Titus Smith and Theophilus Chamberlain, worked as a missionary for Wheelock after graduating from Yale. After his 1765 graduation, he taught and studied at Moor's for a year before making two trips as a missionary in 1766: one to Maine to report on the local Indian tribes, and one to the Oneidas, the latter being cut short by poor health. He returned in the summer of 1768 to substitute for Samuel Kirkland. Kinne was ordained in 1770 and became the minister of the Congregationalist church at Groton, Connecticut, where he served until he was dismissed in 1798. He also became a prolific scholar, and during the Revolution, served as chaplain to American troops, including those massacred at the Battle of Fort Griswold. After dismissal from Groton, Kinne lived in a variety of locations in New England and was sporadically employed as a missionary. He died in Ohio while visiting one of daughters.

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.

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.

Wheelock, Rodulphus

Ralph Rodulphus Wheelock was Wheelock's oldest son and heir apparent. While Wheelock believed that Ralph showed great aptitude for the "Indian business," others saw Ralph as arrogant and abrasive. He also suffered from epilepsy, which seriously impeded his ability to work. He died in Hanover as an invalid under almost constant care and guardianship. Wheelock's struggle to accept his son's illness and his son's struggle to overcome it provide an undercurrent for some of the stranger events in the history of Moor's Indian Charity School and Dartmouth College. Ralph grew up surrounded by and dedicated to Indian education, but also with an inflated sense of Wheelock's, and his own, importance, which stayed with him for much of his life. Joseph Brant recounts a telling anecdote: Ralph once ordered William Major, Sir William Johnson's son, to saddle his horse on the grounds that he was the son of a gentleman and William Major was not. Ralph was unable to finish coursework at the College of New Jersey, which he attended from 1761-1763, although he graduated from Yale in 1765. He made three tours of the Six Nations (in 1766, 1767, and 1768), assisting ministers in bringing back children and negotiating with tribes. He taught at Moor's for two years, and was briefly considered as a companion for Occom on the Fundraising Tour. Wheelock formally named him as his heir in the 1768 draft of his will. However, Wheelock's reliance on Ralph brought disastrous consequences for the school. In the spring of 1768, Wheelock sent Ralph to the Onondagas and Oneidas to negotiate about schoolmasters and missionaries. Once there, Ralph managed to offend the assembled chiefs beyond repair. Ralph blamed his failure on Kirkland, and it was not until 1772 that Wheelock learned the truth of the matter. It is likely that Ralph's conduct influenced the Oneidas' decision to pull their children out of Moor's later in 1768: Wheelock himself implied as much in his 1771 Journal. By the early 1770s, Wheelock had realized that Ralph was never going to take over Dartmouth College. In a later will, Wheelock provided Ralph with £50 per annum for his care, to be paid out by the College, and stipulated that his other heirs should look after his oldest son. Because Ralph was unable to serve as Wheelock's heir, the presidency of the College passed to John Wheelock, a soldier who had no theological training or desire to run a college.

Breed, Gershom

Breed was a vendor who traded with Occom and Wheelock. His wares included food, building materials, alcohol, clothing, and finished metal goods. He was a staunch Wheelock supporter, and helped hold and deliver mail for Wheelock, as well as sending his (possibly first-born) son, John McLaren Breed, to Wheelock's school (J. Breed went on to graduate from Yale in 1768). While Occom was abroad, he was more lenient in supplying goods to Mary Occom than other local vendors, such as Captain Shaw, but eventually, he too refused to sell to her on credit.

Clement, XIII
HomeAaron Kinne, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1766 December 1
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