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Sarah Simon, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1769 April 4

ms-number: 769254.1

abstract: Simon asks for permission to go home and visit her sick mother.

handwriting: Handwriting is somewhat uneven, yet mostly formal and clear. The trailer is written in an unknown hand.

paper: Small single sheet is in good condition, with light staining and wear, and moderate creasing.

ink: Brown-black.

 Revend and Hon.rd ſir
as I have Receved many kind favours
I deſire to bag one homble requaſt and that is whether the
Doctor would be willing to let me go to my home if I would
not be gone nolonger than if I only want to Mohegin.
for I wont very much to ſee my Mother I understand
ſhe has mate with trouble latly and ſhe [illegible]wants ſee me
and ſ[illegible][guess: e]he is not able to come to ſee me. and tharfore
I think it my gret Duty to go and ſee hir. —
for I donot think that Iſhe is long for this world I have
no Reſon to think ſo. for ſhe is very weekly and always
ſick. my Parengt is very neare and Dear to me; and
being I donot deſire to Ever to go home and live
with hir again; I Deſire to bag that favour to go
and ſee hir as ofen as Ithe Doctor is willing I —
ſhould for I dont wond to ofand the Doc:tr in
the leaſt. but I feel willing doto do any thing
ſir that you think is baſt for me. —
Oh how I [illegible][guess: orto] Bleaſe and adore that grat and
kind God that put it in the hearts ſome of his Pepple
to take ſo much Care of the poor indions [illegible][guess: me] [illegible]above
all the raſt. it ſeems to me I could go any where
or do any thing if it would do any dgood to my poor
Pariſhang Brethen.
ſo I deſire to ſubcrib my ſilfe your
Evr Dutyfull ſarvent
Sarah Simon
Sarah Simons
Aprel 4.—1769 —.
Revendthe Revend M:r Eleazer Whee[below]lock DD
Simon, Sarah

Miss Sarah Simon was a member of the Narragansett Simon family: Mrs. Sarah Simon, Miss Sarah Simon, James Simon, Abraham Simon, Daniel Simon, and Emmanual Simon. All five children (there was at least one other) were educated at Moor's, to some degree. The Simon family spells their name Simon, but Wheelock and others vary it. Miss Sarah was one of Wheelock's female students, and wrote a spiritually troubled letter to him before departing (769900.1).

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.

Simon, Sarah

Mrs. Sarah Simon is the matriarch of the Narragansett Simon family, which included herself, Miss Sarah Simon, James Simon, Abraham Simon, Daniel Simon, and Emmanual Simon. All five children (there was at least one other) were educated at Moor's, to some degree. The Simon family spells their name Simon, but Wheelock and others vary it. She sent five children to Wheelock. Although Miss Sarah wrote that Mrs. Sarah was ill in 1769, missionary records indicate that Mrs. Sarah survived until at least 1773.

HomeSarah Simon, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1769 April 4
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