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Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to the Trust in England, 1767 October 8

ms-number: 767558.1

abstract: Wheelock copies an extract from his son Ralph’s journal describing a trip to Oneida Country, and relates the progress of the mission work there.

handwriting: Informal handwriting is small, crowded and frequently difficult to decipher. There are several deletions and additions, as well as uncrossed t’s and undotted i’s. Letter case frequently difficult to decipher

paper: Large sheet folded into four pages is in fair condition, with light-to-moderate staining, creasing and wear. There is evidence of old repair work on the central crease.

noteworthy: Persons whose identites are uncertain have been left untagged. This document is likely a draft.

layout: Addendum in left margin of one recto spills over onto two verso, indicating that the addendum was written with the paper laid flat, after the text on two verso was written.

To the R.t Honle the Earl of Dartmouth
and [illegible][illegible] Honle & worthy Gentlemen who have
accepted the Truſt of the [illegible][guess: Fund] for the Indian charity-
Dear M.r Keen.
My Noble Honle & worthy Sirs
In mine to YouMr Keen & M.r Whitaker of 2d & 3.d ult.o which I truſt y.o ha' ſeen I informd
You y.t I had Sent my Son into the Wilderneſs. he returnd from
his long & fatiguing Tour 25th ulto the Copy of Sir William Johnſon's
Letter [illegible]encloſed Sufficiently expreſses the Tenor of his Diſcourſe with my
Son — on which My Son thought proper not to attempt to collect
y.e Schools, or ingage Miſsionaries 'till ſir John Johnſon's Return, or
till we could hear further hear of the Affair of Miſsionaries from Home.
The following is an Abſtract of my Son's Journal from thence to Onoida
viz;; Sept.r 9th reachd Thompſon's y.e leſt Engliſh Inhabitant on this Side
M.r Kirtlands. Thurſday — here find Indians Settling the Bounds of Lands as I was inform'd which ,
ſir William had bought of them for ſir Henry Moore, & other Gentlemen
in N. York — many of them were Drunk, but on hearing my Name
they treated me with diſtinguiſhing ma[illegible]rks of Reſpect. — I hired an
Indian Ladd to conduct me 36. miles thro' the Woods to M.r Kirtlands
— a very wet Day and no House for refreſhment — reach M.r Kirtlands abo.t 6 o'Clock
in y.e Evening — was agreably Surprized to find his Situation amidſt Such a Number
of Hutts, and to See y.e Active Appearance of So many Souls — and though Wett & much
tired, could Scarce find Time to Shift my Cloths, or take Refreſhment, the Sound of
my Arival being Soon Spread thro' the Whole Caſtle. The Grey headed, middle
aged youth & Children flockd in Swarms to wellcome me their Father, the
fleſh of their GrandGreat Father (for ſo they termd it). And give me Gods Bleſsing
and pray for one to be given them by me, (for Such were the Terms they used) I was
complemented with friendly Salutations of all kinds, and Such as appeard hearty. —
this throng held 'till 9 O'Clock when M.r Kirtland told them I was weary & wanted
Reſt — that they muſt come tomorrow morning for God's News &c —
 I found M.r Kirtland in high Spirits, full of Zeal, his whole Heart & Soul engaged
in his work — He has made proviſion for a comfortable Subſiſtance thro' the
winter, for which he is none in Debt. his Proſpects of Succeſs Among them
are great & increaſing — many added to his Congregation — there are now
upwards of 80 families — there were five new Hutts then in building — & M.r
told me he expected 1210. or 1512. more this fall —
11th friday — I was rouſed from my Blankett this morning by the Indians who
wanted to know whether I was Sick or Well — and impatient to See me by the
Day light — after Brakefaſt I walked with M.r Kirtland thro' the Town, we calld
at every House that we might not give offence, and had all the Reſpect ſhewn
me in their Power.— M.r Kirtland had heard of my being on the Road
and leſt I Should not extend my Journey further than the Mohocks, had Sent
3 of their Boys & one Girl forward the Day before to meet me at Buttlers‐
. (one of these Boys was y.e Son of Gawke their Cheif who died the Spring
before laſt, & when he was dying left charge with his Queen to Send her Children
to be inſtructed at this School as Soon as they were old Enough) — the Queen
his mother Sat out with them under the Care of David Fowler (whom my father had
Sent for to take care of his Aged & Suffering Parents & teach a School at Muntauck)
at fort Stanwix they loſt one of their Horſes —#on which the Queen & two of the Boysher Son with y.e Girl went forward with David
returned her Son with the Girl went forward with David. She came direct ſhe hearing that I And Seem vaſtly pleaſed to ſee me. I aſked the Children if they would go
[left][illegible] [illegible] & come with y.e Boys direct to M.r Kirtlands with y.e Boys, tho' they were fatigued & [illegible][guess: wet to y.e ] Skin
[illegible] Seemd vaſtly pleaſd[illegible][guess: to] ſee me I aſkd the Children [illegible][guess: if] they
[illegible][guess: wo.d]
[left]#on which the Queen and two of the ye Boys returned her Son & the Girl went
forward with David. before the Queen came to town ſhe heard that I
was come, and tho' wetto the Skin & fatigued with her travil, She came
direct to M.r Kirtlands with the Boys, to ſee me
and Seemd vaſtly pleaſd y.t y.[illegible][guess: a] were come. I aſked
the Boys if they would go with me tomorro

with me tomorrow morning, they conſented to it with the greateſt Chirfulneſs
& Seeming eagerneſs to be on y.e way —
12. Saturday —. this morning hired a Boy to carry a letter after David to Stop him at
y.e Mohock Caſtle till I & y.e other Boys Shod come up with them— And another to [illegible][guess: looke ] the Horſe that was loſt — And another to carry
a Belt of Wampum to the Indian Cheif at Old Onoida (where they have never had an Engliſh
Miſsionary or School Maſter) deſiring Him to come & hear my Meſsage — the & 2d
of these Boys effected their Deſign — the 3d returned with a[illegible][guess: ye ] Belt [illegible][guess: Same] Belt of friendſhip
with this meſsage y.t he was then labouring under a fit of y.e Feaver & ague but wod
wait on me the next Day at 12 o'Clock. — I have not yet Spoke with
Jacob who went Home on a viſit laſt Spring, by my Fathers leave, but
through the Influence of his bad Aunts, has much out Stayed his Time — I
have Seen him Several Times but have treated him and his Family with
Slight — Spent the Day with M.r Kirtland in Settling the Affair of his
School — they ingaged to Send 28 Children at leaſt — many of whom have
made laudible Proficiency already under David Fowler.— at Evening I
attended their Singing Meeting and was Surprized at the Profeciency they
have made at which they Sang Several Sacred Hymns in their own Language
which M.r Kirtland has made & Set to muſick — and [illegible] as ſoon as he can have leiſure for it
he deſigns to tranſlate a Number of Pſalms & Sacred Hymns into Indian
metre (in addition to a few they already have, which was done many years
ago) and prepare them for the Preſs — I found that I could eaſily have bro.t away
— with me 9. 10ths of the Children of that Caſtle if I would.— Lords Day — at 10 o'Clock y.e Horn Sounded for meeting — on which I could
not refrain from weeping at the Sight of Such a Swarm of Tawney immortels in
their beggarly Habit flocking with ſuch appearance of Zeal and eagerneſs to
their Long House for divine worſhip — a more Solomn Aſsembly I ſcarſely
ever Saw in my Life — M.r Kirtland tho' I could not underſtand him, appeard
to act the Indian Orator to perfection — the Aſsembly heard with great
Attention — the Queen Sat near me both parts of ye Day, and wept at hearing
the word — all parts of y.e worſhip were performd with Great Decency—
 This morning a Cherockee Indian, who was [illegible]Sever.l years ago taken captive by
the Onoidas, and adopted into one of their families to Supply the Place of
one y.t was killd in ye War, came from [illegible][guess: uriſkne] to Viſit me, and appeard indeed
like a babe in Chriſt, M.r Kirtland Hopes he is really converted, he had
been Seeking a birth for himſelf, wife, & one Child, in this Town that
they might Enjoy M.r Kirtlands Miniſtry.
 In the Intermiſsion, on my return from Meeting I met the Cheif of old Onoida
according to his appointment accompanied [illegible]by one of his Council— he Saluted me kindly.
thanked me for Coming and hoped it would be for good to them —
I delivered him the Belt with my Speech, by the Same Title of Bretheren
which My Father had used in his Letter to them — and as it was the
3 d Time my Father had Sent to them (which acordg to indian Cuſtom is y.e Laſt) I was full plain &
severe with them — I told them my Father had Sent once More, an offer
of the Gospel to them, and it was the laſt Time they were to expect it from
Him, And if they would not accept it, his hands were clear of their Blood,
they muſt take the Conſequences & go to Hell in their own way.—
I immediately roſe up & went out as tho' I had done with them — They diſcourſd
togather about a quarter of an Hour, and after I was returned to ye Room they
Spake to me — thanked me for coming — hoped the Hearts of their Tribe wod come
togather — were very Sorry they had behaved So bad y.t I co.d not call them
Children — Said they had conſiderd my ſpeech — that they Should for themſelves
be glad if their Indians would accept the offer. they could Speak only for ymſelves
and promiſed to Send his Grandſon which was ye only one he could command —
Said they would call the [illegible]Tribe togather the Next Day to hear my Meſsage —
they thankd my Father that he had Sent to them twice before — & was very Sorry
they had behaved So Ill that their Great father could not give them the Title
of Children — I told them if they behaved well accepted of my Fathers Offer
— treated mr. Kirtland well — Sent y.r Children to School — & behaved well till

Next Spring they Should have the Title of Children.
About 9 o'Clock this Evening on of the Council came in to aſk forgiveneſs for
Jacobs Aunts for keeping him at Home — and to plead for him that he mig.t
return to School — they were afraid to come — I told him I had nothing to do
in that Matter but with them — they were able to come and Speak for ym[illegible][guess: ſls]
— And when they were Sorry enough they wod do it — and So Sent him
off —
[left]14 Monday — This morning gave orders advice to the Council of many things, viz
to remove their School House to a Dry Place — to be kind to their Father
— to keep their Promiſe with Regard to drink — to Send their Children to
School — attend the worſhip of God — &c &c all which they Promiſed
to mind — they bro.t 6 of their Boys to Me wh[illegible][illegible][guess: om] I underſtood to be of
the cheif famities in the place and urged me to take them — offerd to
give them to me — two of ye Boys cryed to comego with me, whom I paci‐
‐fied with bitts of Silver—
 Jacobs two Aunts came and in a humble manner, and one of them with
Tears aſked forgivneſs for detaining Jacob. they confeſsd their Ingratitude
— prayd me to take him & do as I pleaſed with him — I appeard careleſs About
his coming told them I did not want him I could get boys enough. If he
had a mind to turn Indian again he might &c — finally conſented he ſhould
come & accordingly bro.t him with me.
 abo.t 2 oClock took my leave of this Caſtle — and an Affecting parting it
was — Sat off with Rev.d M.r Kirtland, Jacob and my two little Boys —
reachd Old Onoida a little before Night— the Town, what of them were at
Home had been togather and had agreed to Supply a School with 14. Children
which they can command beſides the Children of those that were abroad.— two
famities yet remain as inveterate [illegible][guess: haters] of M.r Kirtland and his meaſures as ever.
this is a Surpizing change Since laſt Spring when there were but two or three of
their Hutts y.t M.r Kirtland tho't it Safe for him to go into. — they deſired me as my
Father's Repreſentative to order M.r Kirtland to preach to them half the time
 I told them they been So ungrateful, and behaved them Selves So baſely while their
Bretheren at Kanwarohare had received the Gospel, left of their old vices and behaved
So well, that they muſt now be content with M.r Kirtland every 3.d Sabath.—
they thanked me for that and promiſed they wod attend upon his preaching.
they promiſed to [illegible][guess: Send]keep their children [illegible][guess: to]at School, and I promiſed to Send
them a maſter in two months — The Enemies to this work on Every headſide
are very Numerous, their Friends very few, and their Temptations, and
the opposition to it every way greater than can be eaſily conceived.
 I Sent a Meſsage to the Onondages, and diſired M.r Kirtland to accom‐
‐pany it with a Belt, in my Fathers Name, that I was there on Such an Errand
and expected to come into those parts again Next Spring, and if they Deſired it I would make y.m a viſit & give them ye [illegible][guess: offer]
they might [illegible][illegible]to have a Miſsionary[illegible] & School Maſter Sent Among them.—
the old School The Mohocks [illegible]I underſtood by diſcourſing with individuals were
willing have a Miſsiony & School Maſter ſent among them, but as Sir
was Expecting Supplies from Europe I tho't beſt to do nothing

in [illegible] with [illegible]them for [illegible]the preſent. —
 I invited the Queen before mentioned to make a viſit here next Spring — & ſee for herſelf &
deſired M.r Kirtland to chuſe a meet perſon to accompany her. She was pleaſd
with the proposal. M.r Kirtland Eſteems her a virtuous woman, and hopes ſhe is
become a real Chriſtian. She is much Reſpected and her influence is great among
the Nations." thus far my Sons Acco.t
By the accot of my Son's and by ye Copy of M.r Kirtlands Letter of a few Days earlier
Date which I encloſe, you ſee, Much-Hond Sirs, how gloriouſly the Proſpect

opens in that Quarter and of what importance it is to lay
cloſe Seige to that part. that dear man of God M.r Kirtland, and
the School Maſters in those Towns muſt be Supported, so that they
may devote themſelves wholly to their work let the coſt be
what it will, and it muſt neceſsarily be great, and if it be £300
Sterling a year (and I don't expect it can be Done for much leſs till
he can raiſe his Proviſions there) there is no cauſe of grudging to regrett it
Since he is doing more for Chriſt than perhaps Some Scores of Clergy
men who live at Eaſe, and have their £100 Sterlg per An. —
I am now Sending M.r Phin.s Dodge a pious young man, & Joseph
a mohegan Indian who was an usher in that School Laſt Year, and
who has in a good Meaſure made himſelf maſter of that Language
to keep the School at Old Onoida according to my ſons appointment— I have also adviſed
M.r Kirtland to hire a faithful Labourer to get their Wood, take
care of their Horſes, fetch their Proviſions &c&c that their Time
might not be half, or more conſumd in Such Service—
 But I have not heardhad a word from a Line from London ſince yours of
March 23.d I have Sent many but know not whether they or my accots
have ever [illegible]arived you — I know not what acceptance My laſt Meaſures have
found with you— but have this to comfort me under the moſt gloomy
Imaginations that I have honeſtlyearneſtly deſired & honſtly Endeavoured to
Serve the cauſe Redeemers cauſe to the Utmoſt of my Power. and am
not only approved by my own Conſcience but I have the Univerſal Approbatn
of all the [illegible][guess: wiſe] and Good who are acquainted with my Conduct Plans & the meaſures
I have taken in Exerting them.
 I encloſe a Power of Attorney and Hope it will be acceptable to You.
and if You Repent Your Generoſity & Condeſention in accepting the Truſt, on
acco.t of any Real or Supposed Imprudence or Miſconduct on my part, I
determine, much Hond Sirs, when I meet You togather in Yonder World
of Glory to open to you all the trying Scenes which [illegible] have paſsd over me, in
this So Difficult & so arduous an undertaking, and tho' I Shall be aſhamed that
I have done no more nor better than I have for the Glorious Immanuel done yet I know you will not be
weary to hear how often the Lord has helped, & how much he has forgiven.
him who is with higheſt Eſteem, and all filial Duty. may it please y.r Lordſ[illegible][guess: ps]

Your Obliged and
Moſt Obedient and
moſt Humble Serv.t

Eleazar Wheelock
To the Trustees in England
Oct.r 1767

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.

Legge, William

William Legge, the second Earl of Dartmouth, was the reluctant namesake of Dartmouth College. Like many of his countrymen, Legge became involved in Eleazar Wheelock’s plans through George Whitefield, the famous evangelical who introduced Samson Occom and Nathaniel Whitaker to Legge shortly after the pair’s February 1766 arrival in London. Legge proved critical in promoting Occom’s tour among the nobility, and took on a logistical role by helping to collect and oversee donations. Although Legge and Whitefield both felt it would be best if Wheelock were in total control of the funds raised in England, Occom eventually collected so much money that a formal trust was necessary to preserve propriety. This trust was formed in late 1766, with Legge as its president, to guarantee that Wheelock used the money appropriately. It soon proved that the Trust and Wheelock had different ideas as to what was, in fact, appropriate, but they were largely able to cooperate until 1769, when Wheelock obtained a charter for his school without informing the trust. (The trust, feeling that a charter would obviate its control over the British funds, had vehemently opposed it.) Adding insult to injury, Wheelock named the resulting institution Dartmouth—again without consulting Legge, and perhaps more to reassure the multitudes who had donated money than to honor the Earl. Legge never wrote to Wheelock again. Outside of his involvement with Wheelock, Legge had a brief political career. Although he was generally more concerned with religious and philanthropic matters, his station and connections (he was the step-brother of Frederick North, who was prime minister from 1770 to 1782) led him to take his first political post in 1765 as a member of the Board of Trade. During his tenure (1765-1767), and again while he was Secretary of State for the Colonies (1772-1775), Legge’s search for cooperative solutions proved unsuccessful during the build-up to the Revolution. His later positions were primarily ceremonial.

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.

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.

Kirkland, Samuel

Samuel Kirkland (b. Kirtland) was Eleazar Wheelock’s most famous Anglo American student. He conducted a 40-year mission to the Oneidas and founded Hamilton College (established in 1793 as Hamilton Oneida Academy). Kirkland won acclaim as a missionary at a young age by conducting an adventurous and risky mission to the Senecas, the westernmost of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Six Nations. After his year and a half among them, which was well publicized by Wheelock, he was ordained and sent as a missionary to the Oneidas under the auspices of the Connecticut Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. He spent most of the rest of his life serving the Oneidas as a minister. Kirkland’s sincere devotion to serving as a missionary was excellent publicity for Wheelock’s program, but it also brought the two men into conflict. Wheelock became jealous of Kirkland when the school’s British benefactors began urging Wheelock to make Kirkland his heir, and Kirkland, meanwhile, was upset that Wheelock had failed to provide him with sufficient supplies on his mission — a complaint that he was unafraid to publicize (and that almost all of Wheelock’s other students shared). The breaking point came in 1770, when Kirkland split from Wheelock’s Connecticut Board and affiliated with the New England Company, a missionary society that had abruptly turned against Wheelock in 1765. Wheelock and Kirkland briefly made up in 1771, but their relationship quickly dissolved into further acrimony. Although Kirkland spent most of his life as a missionary to the Six Nations, he generally held disparaging views of Native Americans. He did not approve of Wheelock’s plan to educate Indians as missionaries, and was haughty towards the Moor’s alumni that worked with him (notably David Fowler, Joseph Johnson, and Joseph Woolley). Prior to the Revolution, Kirkland had been stringent in his refusals to take Oneida land, even when offered to him. The Revolution seems to have shifted his loyalties from the Oneidas to local Anglo Americans. Kirkland served as a chaplain in the American army and was instrumental in convincing the Oneidas to remain neutral (or, more accurately, to side with the Americans). At one point he was the chaplain with General Sullivan’s army, the force sent to ransack Seneca and Cayuga territory in 1779. It is unclear what emotions this aroused in Kirkland, who had served the Senecas less than 15 years earlier, yet after the war, Kirkland freely engaged in Oneida dispossession. Along with James Dean, another Wheelock alumnus with close ties to the Oneidas, Kirkland played a pivotal role in urging the Oneidas to sell land illegally to the state of New York. The land deals that resulted gave Kirkland the property, financial capital, and connections to establish Hamilton Oneida Academy. The last decades of Kirkland’s life were difficult. He found himself in a three-way battle with Samson Occom and John Sergeant Jr., who were also ministers in Oneida territory, for the hearts and minds of their congregations; he was fired as a missionary in 1797, although he continued to serve sans salary; one of his son’s business enterprises failed, leaving Kirkland nearly destitute; and two of his three sons died unexpectedly. Hamilton Oneida Academy, like Moor’s Indian Charity School, largely failed at its goal of educating Indians, and in 1812, four years after Kirkland’s death, it was re-purposed as Hamilton College, a largely Anglo-American institution. At some point in the mid-to-late 18th century, Kirkland changed his name from Kirtland, although the reasons for this are uncertain.

Johnson, William

Sir William Johnson was a powerful British colonial official who amassed wealth and influence by integrating into the Mohawk tribe. For a brief window of time (1761-1768), he provided support for Wheelock’s missionary efforts among the Six Nations. He also helped the Brothertown Nation of Indians procure land from the Oneidas. Johnson was born in Ireland in 1715. His family had been part of the Catholic elite, but after William of Orange’s 1690 victory at the Battle of the Boyne, they at least nominally converted to the Episcopalian Church. In 1738, Johnson emigrated to America to manage his uncle Peter Warren’s estate in Mohawk territory. Over the next decade, Johnson became wealthy in his own right through trade and land sales, acquiring a vast estate crowned by his manor house, Johnson Hall, which became the central location for British and Indian treaty making. In 1745, Johnson began collecting official British titles and positions. He played an important military role in the French and Indian War and was named Superintendent of Indian Affairs in 1756 and first baronet of New York in 1757. Much of Johnson’s success was due to his influence among the Mohawks, which he obtained by learning their language and customs and integrating himself into their society. He participated in Mohawk rituals and entered into a common-law marriage with a powerful Mohawk woman, Molly Brant (also called Mary Brant). Because Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) society is matrilineal, this marriage was an essential element of his participation in Indian affairs. Wheelock desperately wanted to wield missionary influence among the Six Nations, and sought to obtain Johnson as an ally in his endeavors. At first, the two found grounds for cooperation. Wheelock sent Occom as a missionary to the Oneidas in 1761 and again in 1762, and sent a substantially larger group of missionaries and schoolmasters in 1765, 1766, and 1767. Johnson, meanwhile, encouraged Haudenosaunee children, including his brother-in-law Joseph Brant, to attend Moor’s. Johnson’s support proved indispensible to missionaries in the field; he helped with supplies, language skills, and relations with the Mohawks and Oneidas. Wheelock also valued Johnson for his influence in Britain, and drew on him for recommendations and public statements of support numerous times. From 1763 on, however, Johnson found himself decidedly uncomfortable with Wheelock’s missionary efforts, and by 1769, their relationship had dissolved completely. In 1766, Johnson was invited to join the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG), the largest and most influential Anglican missionary society in the 18th-century British-Atlantic world. He began working to place Anglican missionaries, rather than Congregationalist and Presbyterian ones, among the Six Nations, which alarmed Wheelock. Johnson was generally supportive of Native American tribes’ efforts to maintain their land and sovereignty. As the historian Linford Fisher has noted, “virtually every major Native group in southeastern New England successfully petitioned Johnson to act on their behalf during the late 1760s and early 1770s.” Among these groups was the Brothertown Nation, a Christian composite tribe formed by Southern New England Algonquian Moor’s alumni. Johnson helped them negotiate with the Oneidas, which proved essential to their successful land purchase and relocation to central New York.

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.

Moore, Henry
Fowler, David

David Fowler was Jacob Fowler's older brother, Samson Occom's brother-in-law, and an important leader of the Brothertown Tribe. He came to Moor's in 1759, at age 24, and studied there until 1765. While at school, he accompanied Occom on a mission to the Six Nations in 1761. He was licensed as a school master in the 1765 mass graduation, and immediately went to the Six Nations to keep school, first at Oneida and then at Kanawalohale. Fowler saw himself as very close to Wheelock, but their relationship fragmented over the course of Fowler's mission, primarily because Wheelock wrote back to Kirkland, with whom Fowler clashed, but not to Fowler, and because Wheelock refused to reimburse Fowler for some expenses on his mission (767667.4 provides the details most clearly). Fowler went on to teach school at Montauk, and played a major role in negotiations with the Oneidas for the lands that became Brothertown. He was among the first wave of immigrants to that town, and held several important posts there until his death in 1807.


Jacob was an Oneida student who came to Moor's with Mundius on October 5, 1765. He went home to Oneida in the spring of 1767 and returned with Ralph Wheelock that same October. It is unclear how long Jacob stayed at the school; at the latest, he must have left with the rest of the Oneida children on January 20, 1769. Jacob had a female relative who was opposed to his studying at Moor's (Wheelock calls her Jacob's aunt).

Dodge, Phineas

Phineas Dodge was an Anglo-American charity scholar at Moor’s Indian Charity School who served Samuel Kirkland as a schoolmaster at Kanawalohale twice, in 1767/8 and again in 1771. Phineas was the youngest son of Amos Dodge, a carpenter in Windham, CT. As was the case for other charity scholars, Moor’s afforded Dodge with an education he likely could not have accessed otherwise. While many of Dodge’s classmates attended Yale, Dodge himself did not, though it is unclear why. Dodge was sent to Oneida in 1767 to replace David Fowler as schoolmaster at Kanawalohale, but returned that spring as both he and Samuel Kirkland, the missionary in charge, were ill. He did not work for Wheelock again. However, he stayed in close contact with Kirkland, and served as his schoolmaster in 1771. Again, his health cut his mission short, and he retired from missionary service to keep school in Windham, CT, until his death in 1773. Dodge seems to have been exceptionally religious: his letters to Kirkland are predominantly abstract and religious in nature, with local news thrown in and little personal information.

Johnson, Joseph

Joseph Johnson was a Mohegan who studied at Moor’s Indian Charity School and became one of the most important organizers of the Brothertown Movement (a composite tribe composed of Christian members of seven Southern New England Algonquian settlements). He was a prolific writer and his papers are relatively well-preserved. Johnson’s writing is especially noteworthy for his skillful use of Biblical allusion and his awareness of the contradiction that he, as an educated Native American, presented to white colonists. Johnson arrived at Moor’s in 1758, when he was seven years old, and studied there until 1766, when he became David Fowler’s usher at Kanawalohale. He continued teaching in Oneida territory until the end of 1768, when Samuel Kirkland sent him home in disgrace for drunkeness and bad behavior. After a stint teaching at Providence, Rhode Island, and working on a whaling ship, Johnson returned to Mohegan in 1771 and became a zealous Christian. He opened a school at Farmington, CT, in 1772, for which he seems to have received some minimal support from the New England Company. From his base at Farmington, he began organizing Southern New England Algonquians for the Brothertown project. The goal was to purchase land from the Oneidas, the most Christianized of the Six Nations, and form a Christian Indian town incorporating Algonquian and Anglo-American elements. Johnson spent the rest of his short life garnering necessary support and legal clearance for the Brothertown project. Johnson died sometime between June 10, 1776 and May 1777, at 25 or 26 years old, six or seven years before Brothertown was definitively established in 1783. He was married to Tabitha Occom, one of Samson Occom’s daughters. She lived at Mohegan with their children even after Brothertown’s founding, and none of their children settled at Brothertown permanently. Like most of Wheelock’s successful Native American students, Johnson found that he could not satisfy his teacher's contradictory standards for Native Americans. Although Johnson's 1768 dismissal created a hiatus in their relationship, Johnson reopened contact with Wheelock after his re-conversion to a degree that other former students, such as Samson Occom, David Fowler, and Hezekiah Calvin, never did.

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.

HomeEleazar Wheelock, letter, to the Trust in England, 1767 October 8
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