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Nathaniel Whitaker, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1767 February 12

ms-number: 767162.1

abstract: Whitaker writes regarding several matters, including the slanders of the New England Company, General Lyman's progress in obtaining land, the necessity of formalizing the Charity School accounts, and the disbursement of a shipment of books. He notes that Whitefield suggests sending Indian baskets to the wives of donors, and that Occom proposes Long Island as a suitable new location for an Indian school.

handwriting: Handwriting is small and crowded, yet mostly clear and legible. On two verso, the date of receipt is in Wheelock's hand; the other trailer is in an unknown hand.

paper: Large sheet folded in half to make four pages is in fair condition, with moderate staining, creasing and wear. A tear on the outer edge of two recto/verso results in some loss of text.

noteworthy: In the last paragraph of one recto, the identity of "Young Johnson" is uncertain, and so he has been left untagged. However, he is likely John Johnson. If Whitaker's intention regarding a word or abbreviation is uncertain, the word or abbreviation has been left unmodified in the modernized transcription. The postscript is written on the crease between one verso and two recto.

signature: The letter is signed twice, both times abbreviated.

events: Mason Land Case, Fundraising Tour of Great Britain



Revd & dear Brother
Yours of the [illegible] I rec.d laſt
night; & rejoice to finde that there are Such proſpects of
succeſs among the heathen — Bleſſed be God who still reigns
& doth all things well: & who brings good out of evil, & call‐
eth the things that are not as tho they were. What availeth the
rage of the enemies of our reigning, almighty Jeſus! it will only
work for the accompliſhment of his own moſt glorious purpoſes.
Why then should we be ever caſt down, or be filled with anxious
fear, since we know the will of him, whoſe will is ours, if we are as
we ſho’d be, will be done — even so Amen, & Amen —
Come my B.r hold out a little longer — Jeſus is coming, leap‐
in on the mountains & skiping on the hills, & will, I doubt
not, make the wilderneſs to echo with his praiſes. O that God
may give the Amen; & make you the father of many nations
that your crown of Glory may be great in yonder happy world;
& may I hope to come in for a humble share thro’ the merit of
our glorious Emanuel! — I am really glad you purpoſe in‐
ſiſting on a coppy of Olivers letter to Mauduit: You will then see
how near themy memory retained the Ideas convaid in it, which I
verily believe are according to the true intent of the letter, & as
near their own words as I can remember. I wrote you a long
heap of stuff a few days paſt, & some things of moment — I saw
G. Lyman this day; he told me that he hoped to be able in a few days
to say that something is his own — but say nothing leaſt the fail; for,
tho I verily believe he will gain his point if the preſent miniſtry
stand, yet there seems Such a wavouring in the miniſtry, & even now
talk of a change so that he will have his affair to begin anew, as it were,
if this should be — He is strongly inclined to have the school with him.
Young Johnſon is come — but I need not court his friendſhip, as
the cauſe is become so Strong by the formation of the truſt. Mr Keen
tells me he has wrote you a coppy of the truſt, & deſired you to
draw a form well guarded, & confining it as much as poſſible to the
preſent plan, & to prevent any future corruptions, & git it executed in a legal manner, & to send it over for their acceptance. I am
glad he hath done this — This day Dear mr Brewer of Stepny
told me he had wrote, & got a friend alſo to write [illegible]
[illegible] — & — & hopes he shall obtain. Does mr P–n say that there
was nothing in that letter to mr Occoms diſadvantage? What will he
say to that expreſſion — “And he (mr Occom) might still have continued
in our service had he been diſpoſed, & continued faithful in the exerciſe
of the duties of his function”? Aſk him if he ever was unfaithful. and,
couples like caſes, moods & tenſes — I suppoſe they are Gramarians.
Alaſs! that thoſe gentlemen should uſe such a scandalous method
to do what? why, to hurt a good cauſe without any advantage to them‐
selves. I am perſwaded, God is greatly diſpleaſed with their conduct, &
will humble them, & make them weep bitterly for it, if ever he deſigns
to honour them as inſtruments of his glory in the World, & to bring
them to heaven at laſt — Why do not the Miniſters to the eaſtward
write, their silence will be conſtrued into an aſſent to yt letter, [illegible]by
& by if they do not. MrOcc: tells me that there is a large tract of
Land on Long Iſland on ye north sid not far weſt of South hold, wch was
formerly offered to the Montauk Indians for Montauks, & which he
thinks may be procured for a small sum which is handy for fiſh
oyſters Clams, &c so that much of the youths living might be ob‐
tained therefrom — salt hay eno’ for a large stock, & all the Barons
of the iſland for their range in Summer — If nothing shall turn
up soon, & there should be any tho’t of fixing the School near
your parts, will it not be worth while to look after that land, &
send the advantages of it, if they are great, or worthy conſidering.
you know the good temper of Long Iſland fo[illegible]lks — Your Acc.t of dear
mr Kirtland grieves me — May God preſerve his life & reſtore his health.
Bleſſed be God, your endeavours are so succeeded — you don’t tell me
one word whether my family is alive or dead — When I shall return
I cant gueſs. O pray for me that I may be kept from all evil, but
eſpecially from sin — & that he would go before me in this work —
Mr Occom is will, & gives Duty to you & all yous — pleaſe to preſent
kindeſt Love to dear Madam, Rodolphus, Daughters, sons, scholars, people, &c.
and accept the Same from
your unworthy Brother
& fellow serv.t in the bleſſe Goſpel
Nathl Whitaker
The propoſals for printing a new Tranſlation of the new T. which accom‐
panies this; will doubtleſs afford you some speculation. This work (which is
said to be now in the preſs) is performed by the Revd mr Harwood of
Briſtol, son in law to the late venerable Dr. Sam.l Chandler of London. This
Gentleman is very friendly to the Indian cauſe!!! The propoſats were
turned into verſe by one mr Brown a Ch. miniſter in Briſtol, & a very
pious good man & pGoſpel preacher. In them you see what a state reli‐
gion is in thro’ the greateſt part of England — Yet there are a few names
in Sardis — May God revive his own work. Dr Gibbons is a friend
indeed. He thinks it is beſt for you to write over to aſſure your friends here
that you have, & will leave behind you when you shall die, a will by
which all the monies which may happen then to be in your hands
unexpended shall be devoted to the uſe of the school, & miſſions. This he
deſires as a friend that he & others may have wherewith to anſwer objec‐
tors — You had as good write to him on this head, & take no notice of my
writing to you about it. I think it will be beſt to send him a coppy of the
paragraft of the will wherein this is selled.
The beſt computation gueſs I can make of the number supported by
this Charity at preſent, both in your school & in the Wilderne[gap: tear][guess: ſs]
tween 40 & 50 & when I am aſked how many, I anſwer that [gap: tear]
know exactly, but suppoſe between 40. & 50. I therefore beg the fa[gap: tear][guess: vour]
you to send me an acc.t of your numbers, how many Indians, & [gap: tear]
many Engliſh — & how they are imployed, & alſo send the Truſt an acc.[gap: tear][guess: t]
what you have rec.d from here, & in America, & what money is in your
hands, & under what improvem.t — I send 60 of Mathew Meeds almoſt
Chriſtian, & a few other Books to mrs Whitaker, the 60 coſt me 3 g.s When
you have taken what you chuſe of them you may diſpoſe of the reſt to mr
Breed
but not under 16 ster per book, or to any one elſe you pleaſe, so that
you leave 2 or 3 for me; the other books are the gift of the Book society.
I hope you will not draw for any more money if you can poſſibly do
with out it yet a while, & wn you do pleaſe to give the truſt an acc.t of
the diſpoſal of all you have rec.d mr Keen is secretary.
Mr Whitefield says, you should have all your accounts Audited &
certified under some publick seal.
It will not be long before we go into the Country toward Scolland — The spirit of
giving seems somewhat over here, the thing has become old & stale; but God will do
all his pleaſure — I have juſt reviſed a 2d time the appendix to the narra‐
tive which I send you — You may, God enabling me, depend on my ut moſt en‐
deavours to promote this Cauſe — mr Occom does not medle in Maſons affair
I am your Brother Nathl Whitaker
NB. I sent you the firſt of theſe Bills the other Day — Mr Whitefield says you should
send over a number of Indian rarities. you, & no body elſe, muſt send them. Git the Indians to make
a number of neat Baſkets for the ladies — Lady Dartmouth & others would be glad of such preſents
& may prcure many Gunies, I wiſh you would think of any of their works which will
shew their genius, & will be pleaſing to the people here, as any such things will be.
Received Ap.r 20
1767.
To
The Revd Mr Eleazar Wheelock
in Lebanon
Connecticut.
From the Rev.d M.r Whitaker
Feby 12.th 1767
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.

Johnson, John

Sir John Johnson was Sir William Johnson's son by Catherine Weissenberg, his Dutch common-law wife. He followed closely in his father's footsteps and participated in war and diplomacy from an early age. He was knighted between 1765 and 1767 while on a trip to Great Britain. John Johnson was a staunch loyalist. In 1776, he fled to Canada to fight on the British side, bringing many Mohawk allies with him. After the Revolution, he advocated for Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) interests in Canada and played a prominent role in Canadian politics. Wheelock awaited John Johnson's return from Britain in 1767 to find out whether there was an opportunity to supply Reformed Protestant missionaries to the Six Nations, or whether missionary organizations in England intended to send Anglican missionaries, for whom Sir William Johnson had expressed a preference.

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.

Oliver, Andrew

Andrew Oliver was an influential Boston merchant and politician, who was a member of several societies that funded Eleazar Wheelock, including the Boston Board of the New England Company (treasurer) and Massachusetts General Assembly (secretary). Oliver played an important political role in pre-Revolutionary Massachusetts and, as a firm advocate of Indian missions, attended multiple conferences with Indian tribes. He believed that Anglican and Dissenter missionaries and societies could cooperate, and after Oliver and Wheelock were introduced in 1756, Oliver helped Wheelock access funding from the New England Company, the Massachusetts Assembly, and the Boston Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. Their relationship deteriorated, however, when the London Board of the New England Company turned against Wheelock late in 1765. Wheelock became aware of the London Board’s change of heart through the “Oliver letter,” a letter purportedly written by Oliver (actually written by Ebenezer Pemberton) that was “injurious” to the characters of Wheelock, Whitaker, and Occom. In 1765, Wheelock also lost his funding from the Massachusetts Assembly. It is unclear what role Oliver played in these events. On the one hand, the breach between Wheelock and the New England Company coincided with the collapse of Oliver’s political career over his attempts to enforce the Stamp Act. Oliver may have been too preoccupied to be involved in the London Board’s change of heart; after all, Boston mobs were burning him in effigy. On the other hand, if Oliver was not involved, it is more difficult to explain why his correspondence with Wheelock ended abruptly in 1767 or why Wheelock lost funding from the Assembly and the London Board at the same time. Oliver would be the obvious link; but of course, Wheelock had many detractors in Boston and another explanation is certainly possible.

Mauduit, Jasper

Jasper Mauduit was born in London, England, and served as Agent in London for the Province of Massachusetts Bay from 1762 to 1765. Englishmen appointed as agents in the 18th century were often merchants with trading interests in America. In this capacity, Mauduit represented the interests of the colony to the British government and was the complement of the colony's royal governor. Agents also solicited royal approval of enactments passed by colonial legislatures, were a source of information, and represented colonial interests in British courts. Mauduit then served as Governor of the Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America (New England Company), a powerful missionary society active in the colonies from 1649-1786 that supported a range of efforts, including the missionary work of Wheelock's alumnus Samuel Kirkland, as well as Occom's education at Moor's and his salary during his time with the Montauks on Long Island. In his capacity as governor, Mauduit received a controversial letter on October 2, 1765 from the Boston Commissioners of the Company, signed by Andrew Oliver, that downplayed Wheelock’s role in Occom’s conversion and education. Wheelock pushed back against these claims, writing to many correspondents about the situation, though we do not have a record of Mauduit's position. In response to this controversy, Occom wrote his short Narrative to verify the facts of his life and conversion.

Keen, Robert

Robert Keen was a London wool merchant and an ardent supporter of George Whitefield, the eminent evangelical. Although it is unclear when Keen and Whitefield first came into contact, by the 1760s Whitefield was writing to Keen frequently. In 1763, Keen, along with Daniel West, was given the task of managing Whitefield’s religious enterprises in London (specifically, his Tottenham Court Chapel and the Tabernacle, another London church), which they continued to do after Whitefield’s death. Keen was also one of the four executors of Whitefield’s affairs in England (along with West and Charles Hardy). As a result of his relationship with Whitefield, Keen was introduced to Occom and Whitaker upon their arrival in February 1766. He was a member of the informal committee that collected donations before October 1766 and provided Occom and Whitaker with advice on their route and strategies. Keen also became a member of the English Trust, the formal organization formed in October 1766 to safeguard donations. As secretary and deputy treasurer of the Trust, Keen played an important role in transmitting accounts and correspondence between the Trust and Wheelock during the tour and the long process of Wheelock’s relocation to New Hampshire. Along with fellow Trust members Samuel Savage and John Thornton, Keen continued to provide financial support to Wheelock after the Trust had been exhausted.

Pemberton, Ebenezer Jr.

Ebenezer Pemberton was a New Light minister who wrote the infamous "Oliver letter" to try to discredit Samson Occom during the latter's 1765 fundraising tour. He also opposed Wheelock's efforts to obtain funding from the Massachusetts Assembly. After graduating from Harvard in 1721, Pemberton served a five-year stint as chaplain at Boston's Castle William (Fort Independence). In 1726, First Presbyterian Church in New York hired him, although they allowed him to be ordained Congregationalist in Boston. Pemberton served First Presbyterian until 1753, when battles within the Presbyterian Church drove him out. He is noteworthy as the only minister in New York who welcomed George Whitefield, transatlantic superstar of the First Great Awakening, into his pulpit. While in New York, Pemberton was a member of the New Jersey Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. This board hired several missionaries, including David Brainerd, John Brainerd, and Azariah Horton, and established the College of New Jersey (which awarded Pemberton an honorary D.D. in 1770). Pemberton also preached at the ordination of John Brainerd, a Presbyterian minister with whom Wheelock worked closely. After the fissure in his congregation, Pemberton returned to the comforts of Congregationalism in Boston at the Old North Church (also known as the New Brick Church, and not the same Old North Church connected to the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere). Pemberton joined the New England Company once he reached Boston. Along with other New England Company board members, he discouraged Occom's fundraising tour. He was also the author of the 1765 letter attempting to discredit Occom and Wheelock. Pemberton opposed Wheelock's efforts to secure money from the Massachusetts Assembly on at least two occasions, once in 1762 and once in 1766. After Andrew Oliver retired from the New England Company around 1770, Pemberton took over as de facto secretary. The Revolution forced Pemberton to give up his pulpit. He was a Tory, and Governor Hutchinson of Massachusetts was a loyal member of his Boston congregation. The rest of the congregation was not pleased by Pemberton's politics. From February 1774 on, Pemberton was more or less in early retirement, and he died a few years later. Pemberton should not be confused with 1) his father, Ebenezer Pemberton Sr., who was minister at the Boston Old South Church, or 2) Israel Pemberton, a wealthy Philadelphia businessman who gave money to Moor's.

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.

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.

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.

Chandler, Samuel
Legge, Frances Catherine (née Nicholl)
Mead, Matthew
Lyman, Phineas

General Phineas Lyman was a longtime friend of Eleazar Wheelock’s and a supporter of his school. He was born in Durham, CT in 1715 and studied law at Yale. After graduating in 1738, Lyman became a tutor then successful lawyer, and he managed a law school in Suffield, MA. When Suffield was incorporated into Connecticut, Lyman became involved with the Connecticut General Assembly. He served in the French and Indian War, commanding 5,000 Connecticut troops, and was integral in the battle of Lake George in 1755 although General Johnson was credited with the victory. After the war, General Lyman went to England in search of acknowledgment for his war endeavors, and to secure land on the Mississippi or Ohio River for himself and fellow officers. Lyman assured Wheelock he would endeavor to incorporate his school into the territory. However, in April of 1769, Lord Dartmouth wrote to Wheelock indicating that General Lyman had excluded the school from his plea; Sir William Johnson had denounced Wheelock for supposedly deterring Indians from ceding their property. In 1774, after 11 years of negotiations, General Lyman finally obtained the grant for the Mississippi and Yazoo lands; nonetheless, Wheelock had already established his school in New Hampshire. In 1775, General Lyman died en route to the newly acquired territory in West Florida.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Mason Land Case
Fundraising Tour of Great Britain
HomeNathaniel Whitaker, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1767 February 12
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