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Joseph Johnson, letter, to the Indians at Niantic, Mohegan, Groton, Stonington, Narragansett and Montauk, 1773 December 24

ms-number: 773674.1

abstract: On behalf of himself and six other Indian signatories, Johnson strongly urges each tribe to send a delegate to confer with the Oneidas and Sir William Johnson on the subject of lands.

handwriting: Johnson's hand is small and crowded, yet mostly formal and clear. He appears to use periods as commas. The trailer along the left edge of two verso appears to be in Occom's hand.

paper: Large sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good-to-fair condition, with light-to-moderate staining, creasing and wear.

ink: Dark-brown ink is faded in spots.

noteworthy: An editor, likely 19th-century, has added the note "Dec. 1773 from Farmington” after the trailer on two verso. This note has not been included in the transcription.

signature: The letter is signed by Johnson and six other Indians.



Our dear. & well beloved Brethren.
we wish you all well.
your good. as well as our own. lies near at heart and we wish
you and yours the same Proſperity. as ourſelves. —
But not to be tedious in our Introduction. we will let you
know our Deſign. & deſire. in Sending to you this once more.
Our dear brethren. seeing that the time is nigh at hand. that
those choſen men. or others in there room. should go forth.
into the Weſtern Country. according to the appointment of
his Honour Sr William Johnson. Baronet. and the deſire
of the Onoida Indians. We ſay that the time is almoſt Come.
seeing then it is so nigh. we thought proper. to send to you
our dear Brethren this once more. humbly, and earnestly
deſiring that ye would conſider of things. and by all means
Let one out of each Town. or Tribe go up to the Mohawk Coun‐
‐try
. what can we say more. we have uſed all proper means
yea we have been much concerned concerning you our
dear Brethren. and we are Sorry. to See. So much Cold‐
‐neſs. Luke warmneſs. and indifferency. amongſt you. as ye
have discovered. since last march. 1773. what shall we
[illegible] think of you. if ye do not send one out of Each Town. or Tribe.
Yea. what will General Johnson think of you. and what
will the Indians under his Special Inſpection think of you,
who hath, by the Great Influence of his Honor Sir William
given us great. and unexpected Encouragement. We pray
you to conſider of things Seriously.
True. it is. that we are under a great disadvantage by
such a great body of Snow. which is upon the face of the Earth.
which Will hinder us. from making a proper Obſervation
on the Land given to us. yet let not the preſent Snow Stop
you by no means. tho we cant See the Land as we wiſh
we could. yet we can converſe with our Weſtern Brethren
the Onoidas. about the Land. yea it is highly neceſsary
that we go. and talk with our diſtant friends. [illegible] and hear
for ourselves. and See how thoſe Indians are diſpoſed to ward
us. and recieve further orders or adviſe from our Great friend
the Honorable. Sir William Johnſon. Baronet. Yea we think
we could do much. by this Winters Journey. we could do ſo
much as that we need not go up again. untill we go to Set‐
‐tle the Land. Yea, we could have the Land Secured to us. or
rather. So much Land made over to us. and ours after us. as
the Indians will think proper. to grant us. be it more or
Leſs. Our friednds. if ye had not Agreed to Send one out of each

Each Tribe last Spring. we would not have Sent to you
So often. but we are hoping that ye will not be angry
with us. Seeing that we have acquainted General Johnſon,
Several times. what we agreed last Spring. at Mohegan.
and Sir William doth certainly expect you. or one out
of Each Tribe by all means at this time. he told us when
we were at his houſe. the Indians would think Strange if
only two or three come up to the Congreſs. when Six, or
Seven were expected. General Johnſon told us. that he
had Sent a word to them Indians telling them. that one
out of Each Tribe was Coming to Converſe with them. and
they Expect us. all. by the 10.th. Day of January next. So how
can ye help yourſelves. Can ye deny that ye promiſed
to Send one out of Each Tribe. must we let the World know
that we are Indians by Nature. & by Practice. but we
must End. beging.. intreating. and humbly beſeeching you
all Our dear Brethren to do thoſe things which are right.
which are praiſe Worthy. Do thoſe things which become
men. do thoſe things which become Chriſtians.
So fare you well. we wiſh you well. and We expect [illegible][guess: Ind]
Indians at least Some young men from Each town. by
the first day of January next. Which will be on Saturday.
So on the first Monday. of January we purpoſe to Set off.
but with what face. can we go alone again. O friends we
hardly dare to go alone again. Conſider us. Conſider yourſelves
conſider of General Johnſon. Conſider of the Mohawks. &c:

thus much at preſent from us your Brethren at
 at Farmington.
Joſeph Johnson.
Solomon Maſsuck}
Elijah Wimpy}
Daniel Maſsuck}
Andrew Co[illegible]Comp}
Solomon Adams}
David Robin.}
[right]To all Indians at Nihan
‐tuck
. Mohegan. Grotton.
Stonington. Narraganſet.
and Long Iſland. or at
Montauk.— — —


Blank page.

To the. Indians
Concerning Oneida
Lands —
To—
All, Who are truely
Engaged in the Mohawk
Affair.
Niantic Tribe
The Niantic tribe is an Algonquian-speaking Native American group that inhabited southern New England, specifically southeast Connecticut and Rhode Island. They used the Niantic River and the Long Island Sound as a fishing source and grew corn, squash, and beans. The invasion of the Pequots divided the Tribe into the Eastern Niantics living in southwest Rhode Island and the Western Niantics living in Niantic, Connecticut. They were further divided when the Pequot and Mohegan Tribes favored the Dutch and English, respectively; the Western Niantics allied with the Pequots, while the Eastern Niantics sided with the Mohegans and Narragansetts, but mostly remained neutral in the conflicts with the colonists. The Pequot War of 1636-39 devastated the Western Niantic population, which supported the Pequots during the war, and the surviving members of the Western Niantic Tribe were put under Mohegan control. After Metacom's War in 1675-76, the surviving Narragansetts fled to the Eastern Niantics in large numbers, mixing the tribes. Initially, English preachers had little success in assimilating and converting the Niantic people despite preachers and a schoolhouse in their village, but after 1741, preachers influenced by the Great Awakening began holding revival meetings in nearby Lyme. Around this time, the local Lyme minister, Reverend George Griswold, renewed his efforts to convert the Niantics and claimed that these revivals had lead to the conversion of twenty or more Indians by 1744. In the following years, the Niantics established their own unofficial church distinct from the local churches funded by the English government and private religious organizations. To further these independent Christian Indian congregations, Gideon Qequawcom built a meeting place for Christian Indians in the middle of Niantic village, and the Niantic Indian minister, Philip Occuish, served as a preacher to the Christian Niantics. As with many Christian Indians, many Niantic meetings occurred not in an official church or meeting house, but in wigwams and other Indian homes. After Occom's ordination, he served as an itinerant preacher to the Niantic Tribe. Several Niantic Indians attended Moor's Charity School, including Hannah Poquiantup and Hannah Nonsuch. In the 1770s, many Niantic Indians followed Occom and Joseph Johnson to upstate New York where they settled Brothertown. Connecticut declared the Tribe extinct in 1870 and sold its 300 acre reservation, the Black Point Peninsula of East Lyme. In 1886, its burial ground was also sold and desecrated. In 1998, 35 Connecticut families claiming Niantic heritage joined together to petition the government for tribal recognition, which, as of 2014, has not been granted.
Mohegan Tribe
The Mohegans are an Algonquian tribe located in New London County, Connecticut. The Mohegan Tribe spent most of the 18th century struggling to regain control over its territory from the colony of Connecticut in a protracted affair known as the Mason Land Case. The groundwork for the dispute was laid in 1659, when Uncas, the first Mohegan sachem after the tribe separated from the Pequot, entrusted the Tribe’s lands to John Mason, an Anglo-American who had been Uncas’ ally in the war against the Pequot. The following year, the colony of Connecticut persuaded Mason to transfer his stewardship of the Mohegan land to the colony. However, since Mason continued to act as trustee, it was unclear to what degree the colony was the tribe’s legal steward. Nonetheless, in the 1690s, Connecticut began selling off the land specifically set aside for Mohegan use. The Tribe brought its first legal challenges in 1704, and the case was tried multiple times in the colonies and England before it was decided in favor of the colony in 1773. The case split the Mohegan Tribe into two camps and led to serious interference in tribal self-government. When the sachem Caeser died in 1723 (when his son Mahomet was too young to lead), the Tribe split over whether the new sachem should be Caesar’s younger brother Ben Uncas, or John Uncas Jr., a more direct descendent of Uncas I. When Ben took the post, John gathered his supporters and moved half a mile down the road in protest. The Mohegans thus split into “Ben’s Town” and “John’s Town” (these designations correlated with the “sachem party” and the “Mason party,” respectively). When Ben Uncas II, Ben Uncas I’s son, became sachem in 1726, he maintained his family’s shaky hold on power by allying himself with the colony of Connecticut. In an unstated quid pro quo, Ben Uncas II and his son, Ben Uncas III, did not pursue the Mason Case, and in return, they received favors and political support from the colony, which proved critical on multiple occasions when the Mohegans elected alternate sachems. The colony, meanwhile, got to parade a supposedly legitimate sachem in front of Anglo-American and British authorities as proof that the Mason party was composed of rabble rousers. Ben Uncas II and Ben Uncas III, as part of their project of tying themselves to the colony, worshiped at the Anglo-American parish in New London under the ministry of David Jewett, a minister sponsored by the New England Company, a powerful missionary organization. As a form of resistance to Jewett and, by extension, the sachem party, many Mohegans elected to worship with indigenous leaders such as Samson Occom and Samuel Ashpo. Jewett was none too pleased, and the affair drew the New England Company in on the side of the sachem party and inspired its backlash against Samson Occom and his mentor, Eleazar Wheelock, throughout the 1760s. Something of a resolution came in 1769, when Ben Uncas III died. At his funeral, the pallbearers (Occom included) dropped his coffin in front of the representatives from the Connecticut Assembly — a clear indication of what they thought of the company the sachem kept. The Tribe dissolved the office of sachem rather than instituting Ben Uncas III’s son Isaiah (who died shortly afterwards, in 1770), but the damage had been done. The case was decided in favor of the colony in 1773. Samson Occom and Joseph Johnson, both Mohegan, were essential architects of the Brothertown movement, a coalition of Southern New England Algonquians that migrated to Oneida territory in 1775 and again in 1783. However, the majority of the Tribe did not emigrate, and today the Mohegan Tribe is federally recognized and still holds land in Connecticut.
Groton Pequots
The Groton Pequots, also called the Mushantuxet Pequots or Western Pequots, are an Algonquian tribe in Groton, CT. In the 1660s, after the Pequot War of the 1630s in which the English attempted to eradicate the Pequot tribe, two separate groups of survivors were allotted reservations, producing the Eastern (Stonington) and Western Pequot tribes. The Groton Pequots received sporadic evangelical attention from the New England Company before the Great Awakening, but it was not until James Davenport, the famous evangelical, visited in 1741 that they expressed much interest in Christianity. Although the New England Company paid Jacob Johnson, the local Anglo-American reverend, to preach to the Pequots, the Pequots expressed a continual preference for indigenous religious leaders and teachers. The local indigenous congregation played host to the likes of Samuel Niles, Samson Occom, and Philip Occuish, although it did not have its own minister. The Groton Pequots did allow the New England Company to sponsor a school at Groton from 1753 until 1775, which was staffed almost exclusively by Indian teachers, including Samuel Ashpo, Jacob Fowler, and Abraham Simon. Neither the Groton Pequots nor the Stonington Pequots were enthusiastic participants in the Brothertown movement (the Algonquian coalition led by Samson Occom and Joseph Johnson that immigrated to Oneida territory in 1775, and again in 1783). No Pequots participated in the initial 1775 migration attempt, but some members of each Pequot group participated in the 1783 migration. The Groton Pequots have been unusually successful in recent history at regaining tribal territory. In a scenario common to many Indian tribes, in the 19th century the Connecticut government assumed that the Groton Pequots had disappeared and illegally sold off protected land. In the 1970s, surviving descendants of the Groton Pequots reached a legal settlement with the land’s current owners, who agreed that the initial 19th century sale had been illegal. In the face of this combined pressure, the Connecticut state government and the federal government agreed to recognize the Groton Pequots and gave them legal avenues for regaining control of their reservation. Today, the Groton Pequots’ bingo operation has made them one of the wealthiest tribes in America.
Stonington Pequots
The Stonington Pequots (also called the Lantern Hill Pequots, Pawcatuck Pequots, or Eastern Pequots) are an Algonquian tribe in North Stonington, Connecticut. In the 1660s, after the Pequot War of the 1630s in which the English attempted to eradicate the Pequot tribe, two separate groups of survivors were allotted reservations, producing the Eastern and Western Pequot (Groton) tribes. The Stonington Pequots had limited engagement with Christianity until James Davenport, the charismatic evangelical, preached there in 1741. After his visit, large numbers of Stonington Pequots affiliated with local Anglo-American churches between 1741 and 1743. After 1743 their affiliation with formal Anglo-American churches declined, likely because Stonington Pequots elected to worship at Separate Anglo-American churches or in an indigenous congregation. Though said congregation appeared informal in Anglo-American eyes, it played host to indigenous ministers like Samuel Niles and Philip Occuish. The New England Company sponsored a school at Stonington, which was organized by Reverend Joseph Fish (an NEC affiliated minister) and staffed by Charlestown Narragansetts, including John Shattock Jr (1770) and Charles Daniels (1771-1773). Neither the Groton Pequots nor the Stonington Pequots were enthusiastic participants in the Brothertown movement (the Algonquian coalition led by Samson Occom and Joseph Johnson that immigrated to Oneida territory in 1775, and again in 1783). No Pequot participated in the initial 1775 migration attempt, but some members of each Pequot group participated in the 1783 migration. Although the Stonington Pequots have occupied their reservation continuously since the 17th century, they are currently embroiled in a lawsuit over federal recognition. They were federally recognized in 2002, but the federal government revoked their recognition in 2005, and the Stoningtons have struggled with internal disputes over legitimate membership. In 2012, they filed suit to be reinstated as a federally recognized tribe.
Narragansett Tribe
The Narragansetts are an Algonquian tribe based in Southern Rhode Island. Narragansett students (including the Simons, the Shattocks, and the Secutors) attended Eleazar Wheelock’s Moor’s Indian Charity School, and Charlestown, RI, was also one of the seven communities that participated in the Brothertown movement (the pan-Algonquian coalition organized by former Moor’s students). The Narragansetts were recognized in the 18th-century for their indigenous Christian Separatism, and a Separatist congregation under the leadership of Samuel Niles commanded much of the Tribe’s spiritual life from the 1740s onward. While Separatism is an imprecise word, it generally denotes congregations that formally separated from Congregationalist churches and were characterized by an increased emphasis on charismatic Christianity. Samuel Niles was an illiterate preacher who had himself been ordained by lay persons (thus breaking with the formal laying on of hands by an ordained person that created a theoretical chain from the Apostles to contemporary clergy). The congregation’s practices and theology diverged from the Anglo-American norm in meaningful ways, which shocked many Anglo-American observers but also gave the Narragansetts the autonomy needed to expel Rev. Joseph Fish, a New England Company (NEC) sponsored minister, and Edmund Deake, the schoolmaster who accompanied him, in 1776. Like other New England tribes, the Narragansetts struggled with land dispossession. In this case, the sachem and colony cooperated with one another to the Tribe’s disadvantage: the sachem family, the Ninigrets, had tied themselves closely to the colony of Rhode Island when they converted to the Anglican Church in 1727. They adopted a lavish English lifestyle and funded it by selling off tribal land. By the 1760s, land sales were a massive problem, and the anti-sachem party began trying to put a halt to them. Narragansetts with powerful connections, including former Moor’s students, appealed to Eleazar Wheelock and Sir William Johnson and, in 1767, secured a temporary halt to land sales through the intervention of NEC treasurer Andrew Oliver. The next year, Tobias and John Shattock traveled to London to appeal to the privy council for a permanent solution; however, Tobias died of smallpox, and John failed. Sachem Thomas Ninigret died in 1769, and the Tribe solved the land sales problem by abolishing the office of sachem in the 1770s. The Narragansetts continued to struggle with the state of Rhode Island after the Revolution. Rhode Island unilaterally (and illegally) dissolved the Narragansett’s tribal standing in 1880, but the Narragansetts maintained tribal structures and, as much as possible, residence on their territory. They were officially re-recognized in 1983.
Montaukett Tribe
The Montauks, or Montauketts, are an Algonquian tribe from Montauk on eastern Long Island. The Montauketts are closely related to other Algonquian tribes, including Mohegans, Pequots, and Shinnecocks, and the Mohegan and Montaukett languages are very similar. The Montauketts played an important role in Occom’s life and the history of the Brothertown tribe. Shortly after European arrival, the Montauketts found themselves in the unenviable positions of occupying a strategically important piece of land. English commanders made several treaties with the Montauketts in attempts to secure the eastern end of Long Island as a foothold against the Dutch. When the Dutch withdrew in the mid-17th century, the English found themselves unopposed in Long Island and renegotiated their relationship with the Montauketts. A series of land leases and purchases took place, the most significant of which was a 1703 “purchase” that is still debated in the tribe’s ongoing quest for recognition. Furthermore, because the Montauketts were producers of wampum, a functional currency in Native North America, the English found repeated excuses to fine the Montauketts and obtain wampum for their own diplomatic and economic pursuits. The Montauketts received attention from New Light preachers during and after the First Great Awakening, most notably James Davenport and Azariah Horton. In 1749, Occom took over Azariah Horton’s mission. He lived among the Montauketts from 1749 until 1761. During his time with the Montauketts, Occom wrote an account of their lifeways, which remains one of the best sources on the Montaukett tribe, and married a well-connected Montaukett woman, Mary Fowler. He also educated two of his brothers-in-law, David and Jacob Fowler, both of whom went on to attend Moor’s, serve as school masters among the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), and organize the Brothertown movement (the composite Algonquian tribe led by Moor’s alumni that migrated to Oneida territory after the Revolution). More than 30 Montauketts joined the Brothertown movement (David Fowler had considered the possibility of relocating the Montauketts to Oneida territory to escape encroaching colonists as early as 1765). Those who remained at Montauk continued to battle for legal control over their land. The next several centuries nearly amounted to a guerilla war between Long Island Americans and the Montauketts, as Long Islanders attempted to outlast the Montauketts and the Montauketts determinedly remained. In the first decade of the 20th century, a judge ruled that the tribe was “extinct” because they were no longer living as a unified tribal entity. That ruling has recently been overturned, and the tribe has hopes of state recognition in the near future.
Oneida Nation
The Oneidas are one of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Six Nations. During the 18th century, they were largely considered the most Christianized Haudenosaunee tribe. The Oneidas had a rich tradition of indigenous ministers, including Good Peter, Deacon Thomas, and Isaac Dakayenensere, and played host to several Moor’s missionaries, including Samson Occom, David Fowler, Samuel Ashpo, Joseph Johnson, Joseph Woolley, Titus Smith, and Samuel Kirkland (who went on to found Hamilton Oneida Academy, now Hamilton College). They were also the interpreter James Dean’s adoptive tribe. Notable Oneida towns included Onaquaga, Kanawalohale, and Old Oneida. Onaquaga was the central fire of the Six Nations. By the 18th century, it also had a sizeable contingent of Onondagas and Tuscaroras. Good Peter and Isaac Dakayenensere taught there, as did Joseph Woolley. Kanawalohale and Old Oneida were more predominantly Oneida. The Oneidas were involved in several crucial moments in the history of Moor's Indian Charity School. Onaquaga was the site of the 1765 confrontation between Wheelock and the New England Company, in which the New England Company disrupted Titus Smith's mission, first by sending their own missionary, and second by repossessing Elisha Gunn, the interpreter they had agreed to "loan" to Titus Smith. Left without an interpreter, Titus Smith was forced to abandon his mission (Wheelock repaid the favor a few years later by hiring James Dean away from the New England Company). A few years later, in 1769, Deacon Thomas led the Oneidas in withdrawing all their children from Moor's. The Oneidas' departure struck a devastating blow against Wheelock's Indian education plans, and provided more momentum for his shift to educating predominantly Anglo-Americans. The Oneidas sided with the colonists during the Revolution, but they were still affected by the general devastation in Six Nations territory, especially the Sullivan Expedition (1779). After the Revolution, the Oneidas granted tracts of their land to two Christian Indian organizations: the Brothertown tribe, a composite tribe of Moor’s alumni from New England, and the Stockbridge Indians. It was not long before the groups came into conflict with one another. Encroachment from the new State of New York put increasing pressure on Oneida land, and the Oneidas tried to renegotiate their treaties with the Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians to compensate. The Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians fought back, but by the 1820s all three groups had lost, and many of them relocated to Wisconsin.
Mohawk Nation
The Mohawk Nation is one of the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy. As the “eastern door” of the Confederacy, or easternmost Haudenosaunee nation, the Mohawks were perceived throughout the colonial period as a gateway to wider alliances, trade, and religious influence with the Six Nations as a whole. Thus, they received heavy missionary attention from Jesuits, Anglicans, and Congregationalists as early as the 17th century. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, the Mohawks and Six Nations more generally were a point of heated competition between Britain and France, as well as between Protestant Christian sects. Wheelock sent several missionaries and schoolmasters to the Mohawks between 1765 and 1767, including Theophilus Chamberlain (Anglo-American), Hezekiah Calvin (Delaware), Abraham Major and Minor (Mohawks), Peter (Mohawk), Moses (Mohawk), and Johannes (Mohawk). The two main towns or "castles" that the mission was based at were Canajoharie and Fort Hunter. Two of the most important figures in Mohawk history as it pertains to Moor’s Indian Charity School were Sir William Johnson and Joseph Brant. Sir William Johnson was the British Superintendent of Indian Affairs in the Northeast, one of the most powerful men in British North America. He married into the Mohawk Tribe and had substantial influence among the Six Nations. Initially he supported Wheelock’s missionary project, but by 1769 he was endorsing Anglican missionaries instead. Joseph Brant was Sir William Johnson’s brother-in-law. He was the first of 19 Mohawk students at Moor’s, where he studied from 1761-1763. Although his time at the school was short, Brant entertained a deep affection for it. He went on to be an influential Mohawk war chief and may have protected Dartmouth College from raids during the Revolution. The Revolution fractured the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, with some tribes siding with the colonists and others with the British. The Mohawks sided with the British, and many of them, Joseph Brant included, relocated to the Grand River Reserve in Canada after the war. There was also a substantial Mohawk settlement established by 1700 at Kahnawake in New France (Canada), which hosted Jesuit missionaries. The Kahnawake Mohawks were often called “Canadian Mohawks” and Wheelock recruited students from them after his move to Hanover.
Farmington

The Tunxis Indians first established a village on the east side of a river (now named the Farmington River) and called it Tunxis Sepus, meaning at the bend of the little river. English settlers renamed it Plantation at Tunxis in 1640, and in 1645, the Connecticut General Assembly incorporated the land, in central Connecticut, as the town of Farmington. Throughout the 18th century, the Tunxis Indians attended church and school with the settlers. In a letter to George Whitefield, Wheelock wrote of a 14-year-old Farmington Indian who demonstrated a gift for learning and knew how to read and write English, indicating that the young Indian might make a great addition to his school. At least six male students who were possibly from Farmington entered the Indian Charity School between 1761 and 1762. Also, Occom's son-in-law, Joseph Johnson, resided in and wrote a letter from Farmington prior to establishing the Brothertown settlement in upstate New York. According to Calloway, the possible Farmington students were Moses, Samuel Ashpo, Daniel Mossuck, and Jacob Fowler, Enoch Closs, Samuel Tallman. However, the letter does not indicate whether the student Wheelock mentions ever attended the school.

Mohawk Country

Mohawk Country refers to the territory occupied and controlled by the Mohawk Tribe. This territory extends to the north near Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, and to the south along the Mohawk River in New York state. The Mohawks were members of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy and were known as the “Keepers of the Eastern Door,” charged with protecting the Haudenosaunee Confederacy from threats to the east. After contact with the Europeans in the 17th century, Jesuit missionaries came to the territory and recruited Mohawks to go north into Canada to practice Catholicism, and in the 18th century, Wheelock’s missionaries travelled to Mohawk Country to recruit students and carry out missionary work. The Mohawks allied with the British during the American Revolution, and at the end of the war many fled to Canada, while others went to the Bay of Quinte, which became known as Tyendinaga.

Johnson Hall

Johnson Hall, which still stands today, refers to a Georgian house located in the present-day town of Johnstown, New York. It also denoted the small village surrounding the hall that became Johnstown. Its namesake is Sir William Johnson. Following the close of the French and Indian War in 1763, Johnson moved from what was known as Fort Johnson located in the present-day town of Amsterdam, New York to Johnson Hall, which became an important site in the history of Indian-white relations in the area. Johnson lived out the rest of his life there, dying in 1774 following a fraught conference regarding the mistreatment of the Shawnees by the British. Johnson wrote several letters to Wheelock from Johnson Hall with news of the Indians and council meetings with their representatives. David Fowler and Joseph Woolley, missionaries trained by Wheelock who went to work with the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), both called on Johnson, spending time at and writing letters from Johnson Hall about their work.

Mohegan

Mohegan is a village in southeastern Connecticut at the site of the present-day town of Montville, and is the location of the Mohegan Indian Reservation. The village gets its name from the Mohegan Tribe, or wolf people, who split from the Pequots in the early 17th century under the leadership of the sachem Uncas. In the 1720s, the Mohegans requested the colony of Connecticut provide them with an English educator. An English minister and schoolteacher named John Mason (no relation to Captain John Mason) moved to Mohegan in order to provide English-styled education to the Mohegans, convinced his sponsors, the New England Company, to build a schoolhouse at Mohegan, which eventually served as a boarding school for other Native American children from the surrounding area. During the 17th century, the Mohegan Tribe became embroiled in a complicated controversy over control of Mohegan land — known as the Mason Land Case or, more specifically, Mohegan Indians v. Connecticut — that included the village of Mohegan. The Tribe claimed that it never authorized a transfer of their lands, held in trust by the Mason family, to the colonial government. In 1662, the colony of Connecticut was incorporated by a royal charter, which included the disputed tribal land. The land controversy was revived in 1704 when descendants of John Mason, the original trustee, petitioned the Crown on behalf of the Mohegans, but the suit was finally decided against the Tribe in 1773. Born in Mohegan, Occom became involved in the Mason Land Case and vehemently argued for the rights of the Mohegan Indians to maintain their land, opposing Eleazar Wheelock and other ministers in the area. Although Occom left Mohegan for a 12-year mission with the Montauk Indians of Long Island, he returned at the end of 1763 with his large family to build a house in Mohegan, establishing it as his base of operations. Even after the creation of the Brothertown settlement in Oneida country, for which he served as minister, Occom continued to commute back and forth from Mohegan; he didn't sell his house in Mohegan and move his family to Brothertown until 1789. Many members of his family remained in Mohegan, including his sister Lucy Tantaquidgeon, who lived there until her death at 99 in 1830.

Niantic

Niantic is a village located in East Lyme, a seaside town in southeast Connecticut on the Long Island Sound. The land was occupied by the Niantic tribe when the Europeans arrived. The Dutch claimed the area in the 17th century, but when the British claimed this same land as part of their colonies, the Dutch forfeited it to the British in a 1627 trade agreement. The village housed both preachers and a schoolhouse, and missionaries came to the village for the purpose of converting and assimilating the tribe. This effort intensified in the 1740s with the influence of the First Great Awakening. Increasingly dispersed and dispossessed of land, many Niantic Indians followed Occom and Joseph Johnson to upstate New York in the 1770's where they settled Brothertown.

Groton

Groton is a town located in southeastern Connecticut between the Thames and Mystic Rivers. This land was originally settled by the Niantic tribe, who were forced out in the early 1600s by the Pequots. During the Pequot War in 1637, Captain John Mason’s soldiers and Indian allies attacked the Pequot’s Mystic fort, burning down the fort, killing mostly women and children, and largely displacing the Pequots. John Winthrop Jr. and his Puritan followers first settled Groton in 1646 as part of New London. In 1705, the General Court allowed the Groton inhabitants to incorporate as a separate town due to its increased population. The town was named Groton after Winthrop’s England estate. Farming, shipbuilding, and maritime trading sustained the Groton economy throughout the eighteenth century. Beginning in 1712, land disputes between the Connecticut government and the Pequot tribe in Groton ensued, and the Pequots sent many petitions and grievances to the Connecticut government. Legal battles concerning the colonists’ leasing of the 1,700 acres on which the Pequots lived continued throughout the 18th century, as missionaries came to the area to teach religion and establish schools. After the Revolutionary War, many Groton Pequots joined other Connecticut tribes and moved to the Brothertown settlement in upstate New York.

Stonington

Stonington is a town on the Long Island Sound by the Pawcatuck River in the southeastern corner of Connecticut. Before colonists arrived, the Algonquin-speaking Pequots who originally inhabited the area referred to it as “Mistack.” In 1649, however, Europeans opened a trading house near the Pawcatuck, and in 1666 they named the town Stonington. Relations between the Pequots and colonists were tense, especially because of the 1637 massacre of Pequot Indians at nearby Mystic, CT. Eventually, settlers set aside North Stonington for the Pequots, establishing one of the earliest Indian reservations that the Pequots have continually occupied since 1670. The town grew in the years leading up to the Revolution as a result of the shipbuilding and fishing industries. Occom visited Stonington to preach, often to crowds of Pequots in North Stonington, which became its own town in 1724. Its high Pequot population led some to call North Stonington “Stonington Indian Town.” Occom was acquainted with Joseph Fish, a Congregationalist minister, who in the 1760s opened a school for local Pequots and Narragansetts in Stonington. Moor’s alumni John Shattock Jr. and Jacob Fowler both spent time as schoolmasters there. During the Revolutionary War, Stonington was the site where patriots successfully deterred two British naval attacks. Following the war, many Stonington Pequots, along with other New England tribes, settled in Brothertown, in central New York.

Narragansett

Narragansett is a town in Washington County, Rhode Island, covering a narrow strip of land along the eastern bank of the Pettaquamscutt River to the Narragansett Bay in the southeastern part of the state. Today, it is known for its summer recreation and beaches. It is named for the most powerful Indian tribe in the area, the Narragansetts (meaning people of the small point), who are descendants of the aboriginal inhabitants of the area. Known as warriors, the Narragansetts customarily offered protection to the smaller tribes, the Nipmuck bands, the Niantics, Wampanoags and Manisseans, who paid tribute to them. Their sachem, Canonicus, met and befriended the English dissenter Roger Williams as he fled the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1636 and founded the settlement of Providence Plantation. The mutual respect they achieved disappeared in 1658 and 1659 as two groups of English investors hungry for land purchased two tracts of valuable land, which became known as "Narragansett Country," including what would become the town of Narragansett. This consisted of three peninsulas called "Boston Neck," "Little Neck," and "Point Judith Neck," which were used for grazing, farming and fishing. In 1675, the Narragansett allied themselves with the Wampanoag leader Metacom (aka King Philip), in his effort to regain tribal land in Massachusetts. A military force of English Puritans from Plymouth, Massaschusetts Bay and Connecticut massacred a group of Narragansetts, mostly women, children and the elderly living in their winter camp in the Great Swamp. The survivors retreated deep into the forest lands, which make up today's Reservation; others who refused to be subjected to the authority of the United Colonies were hunted down and killed, sold into slavery in the Caribbean, or migrated to Brothertown in upstate New York and Wisconsin. For the next 200 years, the population of the town expanded slowly, large plantations emerged, commerce evolved and the area became known for its cheese, sheep, horses, and grain. The Narragensett Pier was built in 1781 in the center of the village to accommodate shipping in Narragansett Bay.

Long Island

Long Island is an island located in southeast New York State. In 1824, historian Silas Wood claimed that 13 different tribes inhabited the island when the Dutch and English arrived in 1639: the Canarsie, the Rockaway, the Matinecock, the Merrick, the Massapequa, the Nissequoge, the Secatoag, the Seatuket, the Patchoag, the Corchaug, the Shinnecock, the Manhasset, and the Montaukett. This is the commonly accepted tribal history of Long Island, and Wood’s theory is taught in New York textbooks today. Yet, in 1992, historian John Strong challenged this dominant narrative, arguing that tribal systems did not develop on Long Island until after Europeans arrived. Based on Dutch and English colonists’ accounts, the Algonquian communities on western Long Island likely spoke the Delaware-Munsee dialect and those to the east spoke languages related to the southern New England Algonquian dialects. These indigenous peoples organized themselves by language and kinship, but beyond village systems and the occasional alliance, there existed no formal tribal structure. Rather, internal structures arose among the Montauks, the Shinnecocks, the Poospatucks, and the Matinnocks to cope with English settlers, and became integral to these peoples’ survival. Although new diseases and land negotiations severely encroached on the freedom of Long Island’s Native population, these groups that developed tribal structures retain a sense of community today. By the 18th century, much of the island had fallen into the hands of the English, who were the sole European power on Long Island once the Dutch relinquished their claims to the land after the second Anglo-Dutch War in 1664. During the Great Awakening of the 18th century, Occom spent 12 years serving as a missionary to the Montaukett Indians of Long Island, along with Presbyterian minister Azariah Horton. Today, the western half of the island is densely populated due to its proximity to Manhattan, and its eastern half is mainly devoted to resort towns. The Shinnecocks and the Poospatucks retain autonomous reservations on Long Island.

Montauk

Montauk is an unincorporated hamlet located on the eastern tip of Long Island in southeastern New York. The town was named after the Montaukett Indians who lived on much of eastern Long Island when Europeans first made contact in the 17th century. Archeological records show that Native Americans occupied eastern Long Island at least 3,000 years prior to European contact. The Montaukett Indians derived their name from the land they lived on, Montaukett meaning hilly country. The Montauketts made great use of Long Island’s abundant resources, and the nation subsisted by growing crops such as corn, squash, and beans as well as gathering berries, herbs, and roots. In addition to game such as deer and fish, the Montauketts also hunted whales and used every part of the whale, including its oil, which they burned in large clamshells. Living on an island at first isolated the Montaukett people, but they soon became a strong economic force in the region thanks to the production of the American Indian currency wampum. Wampum was constructed out of polished sea shells, which were found in abundance along Long Island’s beaches. The Montauketts' rich resources, however, led to wars with surrounding Indian nations, including the Pequots and Narragansetts to the north. The Pequots eventually forced the Montauketts to forfeit wampum as tribute. By the early 17th century, the Montauketts were faced with wars against surrounding Native Americans and an onslaught of European diseases, and in order to preserve his nation’s territorial integrity, the Montaukett sachem, Wyandanch, established an alliance with English settlers in Connecticut in 1637. Over time, however, the Montauketts' began selling off land to the English settlers, and disease further decimated their numbers. A 1650 smallpox epidemic killed around two-thirds of the Montaukett people. In 1665, Wyandanch granted the English permission to pasture livestock on Montaukett lands. In 1686 a group of East Hampton settlers known as the Proprietors bought the territory of Montauk from the Montauketts, and would continue to hold on to the land in a joint trust for the next 200 years. Despite attempts over the years, the town has never been incorporated as a village. Many years later, the Montauketts attempted to reassert their land rights on Long Island by petitioning New York State Judge Abel Blackmar in 1909. Blackmar refused to recognize the Montauketts as an Indian tribe, which has to this day left them without a reservation on the land that still bears their name.

Oneida

Oneida is a city in Madison County located at the geographical center of New York state. Before European settlement of the area, the Oneida Tribe, one of the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, inhabited a large territory adjacent to nearby Oneida Lake. Around 1533, they built their first village on the south shore of the lake, at or near the mouth of Oneida Creek. At the end of the 17th century, this area began suffering raids by parties from the French colony of Quebec, in a battle to control the fur trade. In 1696, Oneida village was burned by the French. As a result, the Oneidas moved their chief village east of the original site, called Old Oneida, to a new site called Kanawalohale, also known as Oneida Castle, which was fortified by tall palisades and a moat. This is the site of the present-day village of Oneida Castle, a small hamlet west of the city of Oneida in the northwest corner of the town of Vernon. When used in Occom Circle documents, the place name "Oneida" usually refers to the territory inhabited by the Tribe east of Oneida Lake, but can also refer specifically to Oneida Castle. Although the Oneidas sided with the patriots during the Revolutionary War, much of their territory was sold or appropriated by the state of New York. In 1790, the first European settlers moved into the area of Old Oneida village, and the district began to expand. In the 1830s, the state built a feeder from Oneida Creek through the present city site to provide water for the new canal system, which enabled canal boats to ship freight into the town. Eventually, the railroad came through the town and helped with its expansion. This led to the incorporation of the Village of Oneida in 1848 and the establishment of the Town of Oneida in 1896. The town was chartered as the City of Oneida in 1901, and with two more railroad lines transecting the area, it became a thriving manufacturing center for the first half of the 20th century.

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.

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.

Massuck, Solomon

Solomon Massuck was a Farmington Tuxnis who was a prominent community member and converted Christian. His son, Daniel Massuck, attended Moor’s for a brief time in 1762. Solomon often played host to Joseph Johnson during the latter's time at Farmington. Both Samuel and Daniel were very involved in the early push to found Brothertown (a composite tribe of Algonquian Indians from the Long Island Sound region, organized and populated largely by former members of Moor’s Indian Charity School): both appear frequently as signatories on letters on the topic, and it was Solomon Massuck who asked for a Connecticut law book to produce the new settlement’s laws. However, neither Samuel nor Daniel actually emigrated to Brothertown (although Luke Massuck, either Solomon’s son or his grandson, did, for a brief time). Perhaps because they had been brought into the movement by Joseph Johnson, after Joseph Johnson’s death (sometime during the Revolution years) they were no longer invested.

Wympy, Elijah

Elijah Wympy was a prominent Farmington Indian who was instrumental in establishing Brothertown, yet he subsequently led a group that disregarded the primary vision of the community. In his early years he was a student at the school in Farmington, CT, and in 1757 he served in the Seven Years’ War. During negotiations around 1773 between the Oneida and New England Indians concerning a tract of land, Wympy acted as a delegate for Farmington and asked other tribes to send envoys too. The Oneidas granted the territory the following year, and in 1775 Wympy was among the first to move to what became Brothertown. He was chosen as a trustee of the town in 1785, but around this time the Oneidas attempted to reclaim the land. Accordingly, Wympy participated in the effort to maintain the territory. Fortunately, when the state of New York gained Oneida territory in 1788, it acknowledged the Christian Indians’ right to the tract as it had originally been granted; the state passed an act in 1789 that recognized the Indians’ property and instituted a 10-year limit on leases for lots. Wympy and his followers, comprised mainly of outsiders, thus leased numerous parcels, including invaluable ones, to white settlers. Occom strongly opposed this and petitioned the Assembly, which passed an act in 1791 restricting the power to lease lands to the council. While Occom and Wympy had previously been friends -- Wympy had even partaken in the movement to establish Occom as the local minister -- their disagreement on the issue of leasing Brothertown lands to whites opened a strong divide between them. Wympy apparently regretted his actions, for in 1794 he was among the signers of an address to the governor seeking to remove the whites. He remained in Brothertown until his death around 1802.

Massuck, Daniel

Daniel Massuck was a Farmington Tuxnis who attended Moor’s for a few months in 1762 and fought in the Revolution. His father, Samuel Massuck, had converted to Christianity, and Daniel Massuck was raised as a Christian. The family was prominent in Farmington affairs, and played host to Joseph Johnson on numerous occasions. Both Samuel and Daniel were very involved in the early push to found Brothertown (a composite tribe of Algonquian Indians from the Long Island Sound region, organized and populated largely by former members of Moor’s Indian Charity School): both appear frequently as signatories on letters on the topic, and it was Samuel Massuck who asked for a Connecticut law book to produce the new settlement’s laws. However, neither Samuel nor Daniel actually emigrated to Brothertown (although Luke Massuck, Daniel Massuck’s son or brother, did, for a brief time). Perhaps because they had been brought into the movement by Joseph Johnson, after Joseph Johnson’s death (sometime during the Revolution years) they were no longer invested.

Cocomp, Andrew
Adams, Solomon
Robin, David
HomeJoseph Johnson, letter, to the Indians at Niantic, Mohegan, Groton, Stonington, Narragansett and Montauk, 1773 December 24
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