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Joseph Johnson, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1774 May 2

ms-number: 774302

abstract: Johnson writes of his doubt regarding his true Christian spirit, his work as a preacher and schoolmaster, the developments regarding settling in Oneida country, and his poverty.

handwriting: Handwriting is not Johnson's. It is formal and clear, though letter case is frequently difficult to discern.

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

signature: The letter is signed twice — once in full, once in intials after the postscript — but neither signature is in Johnson's hand.

noteworthy: As is noted in the trailer on two verso, the document is a copy.



To the Rev.d Mr Eleazer Weelock. D.D.
My kind, and Honored Benefactor, with love and gratitude in my heart,
and much humility would I once more attempt to write to your worthy
Person. O! the Wounds that I have given to that pious Soul of thine,
oft of late have I shed tears, when I consdered of my past Ingratitude
and misconduct. Oft have I thought of your unweared labours of love
to unworthy me. — And O' that thy love, this very time might truly
cause me to praise God, who not only ruleth in the Armies of heaven,
but also doeth his will, and pleasure among the Inhabitants of this
lower world. Ah' what sorrow ought to flow from this once Savage
Heart of mine that I have not only grieved you, but that I have in
times past crucified as it were, the Lord of Glory, even the Son of God,
afresh and put him to an open shame, Great Wonder! even marve‐
‐lous in my Eyes, or rather the admiration of my soul that I, a hell
deserving cursed Creature has been suffered to live in this world so long
Sinning, offending, and provoking the God of holineſs, and the God
of justice, and the God of vengance, and what is the joy of my Soul the
God of love, and the God of mercy, through his dearly beloved and only
begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is admired by all them that
believe, and in whom I humbly hope, I have been enabled by the
Spirit of the living God, to put my whole trust & Confidence, for time
and for Eternity. O! that I might see more and more of my own wret‐
‐chedneſs, and insufficiency, that Jesus Christ might be more and more
precious to my Soul, oh' I am nothing, should I have the boldneſs
to tell you, that I am hopefully converted, I should tell a news that I am
not certain of. For since I first thought so myself, I have often doub
‐ted. I percieve Sin to be lurking within, sometimes, I greatly fear that
I am altogether in my Sins, even under the power and Dominion of
of Sin, if so I am wretched wretched poor miserable creature sill, not‐
‐withstanding the world calls me bleſsed, notwithstanding I paſs
for a true Christian among all setts, and Denominations, as it were —
I have but very poor Opinion of myself, and I walk in fear always
having these words, ever dwelling upon my mind. Strive to enter in
at the strait Gate; for many I say unto you will seek to enter in. &
shall not be able. But amidst all my doubts & Fears this verse is
my consolation. All that the Fa[illegible]ther giveth me shall come to
me, and him that cometh to me. I will in no wise cast out. Then
are the words of Jesus, whom I love, and whom I adore, and whom
I hope purpose to serve as I shall be enabled, by that holy spirit
by which I humbly hope I have been quickned, and enlivened
through the Sufferings and Death of this Jesus Christ, who
was once Crucified, and slain, and buried, also, who arose from the
Grave and aſscended up into Glory, and who is now interceding for
all his chosen in that upper world of Glory, I say through Jesus
Christ alone, I humbly hope for pardon, for all my Great, many,
and exceedingly aggrivated Sins, which are past. Which I have
already committed, And for the sake of this Jesus Christ alone,
who

who came to save his peculiar people from their Sins, I humbly hope
for Grace sufficient for me. that I may hence forward withsand all the
Temptations that I have to encounter throughout my whole Life, which
may arise either from the world, flesh or from the D[illegible][guess: ie]vil. — O! my kind
and worthy Benefactor, I percieve that I am in a large Field, and see as
it were, Enemies Malicious and powerfull, in a terrible array. Shall Sa‐
‐tan be conqured? ah methinks, that he is already but a conqured King.
shall sin be subdued, and shall vile affections and cursed Lusts be mor‐
‐tified, ah my Soul wait patiently, and you shall see the great salvation
of God. I percieve, that since I have listed under the Banner of Jesus Christ, that
I must not be idle, but go out and fight as it were the Battles of the
Lord, and O! that I could ever fight with true Love in my heart, and O! that
I maight ever be inspired with Wisdom from [illegible]on high, even from the glorious
Captain of our Salvation that I might wisely undermine the Kingdom
of Satan. This is my hearts desire that Satan's Kingdom might be destroyed,
& that the Kingdom of the dear Redeemer be built upon the ruins thereof
And it is the full purpose of my heart, O! my Benevolent Benefactor, to
devote all the faculties of my Soul & Body to the Service of King Jesus.
I have served Satan long enough, I have been striving to build his cursed
Kingdom, devoted to ruin long enough I have done good service to that
Prince of Darkneſs. And since I have seen his treachery, his cursed de‐
‐signs I must leave him. I flee away from him and he is welcome to
all my Wages, let him recieve the wrath of God, since no Saviour was
ever found for him. But as for me I'll chearfully speak of a once crucified,
once bleeding, once dying once buried, but now risen, living and exalted Redeemer.
Him I will serve if he gives me grace while I live, faithfully. here on
Earth I hope to glorify God Honor Jesus Christ by the aſsistance of
the holy Ghost and hearafter enjoy Father, Son & holy Ghost which
will compleat my happineſs, and the happineſs of all true Chil‐
‐dren — But my kind benefactor, having already wrote more than
I expected when I first sat down, wilt though be pleas'd to wait with patience
a little Longer, while I write, or make known [illegible] to you, or while
I speak of other things — Rev.d Sir I heartily thank you for your
kind letter, dated Feb.y 4 AD 1774 and I also hope, that Satan will at Last be
fully disappointed, and may the Lord's will be done concerning me.
If God sees fit to make me a Veſsel for the Master's service Amen.
If only a veſsel of mercy Glory be given to God, and I heartily rejoice
that the Lord has prospred you, in your laudable Undertaking in
that part of the World, And Rev.d Sir methinks, that it is not for
the want of Gratitude, or love, that I have not visited you, my kind
Benefactor. but to speak the truth it is Poverty. I alway; have been
poor, as all my Brethren are likewise, yet I have lived somehow
hitherto. And Rev.d Sir perhaps I can give good reason for my Poverty,
I would tell you in the first place that I have kept School, here, at
Farmington since Nov.r 15.th 1772. first ten weeks, I had six pounds
this ten weeks I was as it were upon trial. afterwards I went to Boston
being well recommended by the Rev.d M.r Pitkin, who is my kind
and

wise Overſeer, and when I was at Boston the Gentlem[illegible]en, was
pleas'd to give or offer £20 ⅌ Annum for my Encouragement. I
thought it too little wages. but I concluded, saying, I would go
to Farmington and see what more the Indians would give,
and if they give me proper Encouragement, I would continue
keeping the School. the Indians after I saw them offered four
pounds more which made 24 £ ⅌ Annum So I have kept and
so keep still, well I believe I could Live very comfortably with
£24 ⅌ Annum if I spent my Money only for my self. but now I am
going to the you the Reason of my Poverty. I have been seeking
the good of my poor Indian Brethren, for this some time, for
the good of the Indians in particular that Live in these seven
Towns — Farmington, Nihantauck, Mohegan, Pequt or [illegible][guess: Gretton]
Stonington, Narraganset & Montauck and notwithstanding I
am Master of a School yet I have traveled much in the run of
one year I have ever hired another Master in my room whilst
I was absent I have been the foremost all along even to this
Day. I have been to the Hon.e Sir wm Johnson twice. once in Oct.r
1773
and again in Jan.y 1774 at that time I went, even to the Onoida
[illegible]Village
where the Rev.d Mr Kirtland preaches — And I have
the pleasure to tell you that his Honor Sir wm is well pleas'd
with the grand design which I have in my view, and his Ho‐
‐nor Sir w.m has favor'd us New England Indians very high‐
‐ly and he has done us much good, we have as much Land
as we shall want, given to us New England Indians by the Onoidas
and we have had invitations from Nations 600 Miles back of S.r W.m
it is strange to me that we meet with such good succeſs I humbly
hope there is Providence in this, and O! what a pleasing
prospect, sometimes opens to my View, who knows what is
in the Womb of Providence. but what I am after to tell you,
that in all my travels up and down the Country, I have
be[illegible]en at my own Expense, which is owing to the great po‐
‐verty of the Indians, I have Rec.d only 3 Dollars from the Indians since I
have been in this service. But I blame them not, for Indians
are truly poor, I have been at great Expence sometimes, espe‐
‐cially last winter I was gone six Weeks hired a Master
all the Time, and when I came down from Onoida, after I had
tarried there Eight days there was several of the great men,
Lords, & warriors came down to Sir William's with me, in order
to confirm their words at Sr W.ms for said they there is the only
place to have all things done well, strong & sure. there was [illegible]
twelve that came down with me, and I bore all their Expences
even to Sir William's or till we got to Sir William's and I believe it
is about 100 Miles. So have I spent my Money and this is it what
makes me now so poor, that I have not one penny Clear. no, I am
now in debt, for provision and little Cloaths, and I can't come up
to you very soon, or at least till I can get money to pay my debts,
and bear my expences to your Residence. I want to see you very
much

much once more. I must go up to Sir William's again in September
the first part I dont know how I shall go through all what is
before me, unleſs kind Providence doth provide for my neceſsities un‐
expectedly, I know not where to go for help if you my kind Benefator was
nigh I veryly believe you would relieve me greatly & even Encourage me
but I end leaning upon the Lord
I am your well wisher & Pupil Joseph Johnson
P.S. I began this Letter I believe it was about ten o'Clock this evening,
and I am in such a great hurry that I can't write over again I am pre‐
‐paring a little peice of poor Stonny Ground for to plant little Corn
for me & mine to eat, if we live. I work upon this piece between Schools
I try to turn every way to get a living, and when I have done my utter‐
‐most I hardly live. Rev.d Sir if things so work or rather if it be the
will of God, I purpose to try to come and see you by the latter end of
August next and wait to get Licence then if shall be thought proper
for I never had any other Licence than the earneſ[illegible]t desire of People
and a willingneſs in my heart to speak I pray you to write to me &
let me know whether it will be proper for me to come in August
or before or after I am Jos[illegible][guess: h]
I have not seen Jacob nor David since I rec.d your kind Letter
From Joſeph Johnſon
May 2,d 1774
true Copy —
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.
Brothertown Tribe
The Brothertown Nation of Indians was a composite tribe of Southern New England Algonquians that was organized largely by alumni of Moor’s Indian Charity School. Four of the most important organizers were Samson Occom, Joseph Johnson, David Fowler, and Jacob Fowler. The Brothertown Indians lived on land purchased from the Oneidas beginning 1783 until 1831, when the Brothertown Indians moved on to Green Bay, Wisconsin. Brothertown, NY, should not be confused with Brotherton, NJ (sometimes spelled Brothertown), a Christian Indian settlement that John Brainerd established in 1758. The idea of relocating to central New York became increasingly popular in 18th-century New England as Indian tribes saw colonists take more and more of their land. Joseph Johnson began taking definitive steps to organize a migration in the 1770s. Despite reluctance from New England Indians and colonial authorities, Johnson was able to secure a tract of land from the Oneidas -- largely believed to be the most Christian of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Six Nations -- and organize a composite tribe from members of seven New England Indian settlements: Niantic, Montauk, Mohegan, Charlestown (Narragansett), Groton (Pequot), Stonington (Pequot), and Farmington (Tuxnis). The first migrants moved to Oneida territory in 1775, just in time to be displaced by the Revolution. Joseph Johnson died in 1776 or 1777 at the age of 25. Nevertheless, the Brothertown tribe made a second attempt after the war, this time with considerably more government support. In 1783, the first 50 settlers arrived in Brothertown. A hundred more followed in 1784, along with the Stockbridge Indians of Massachusetts, a Mahican group. It is important to remember that the Brothertown movement was by no means a mass migration: most New England Algonquians elected to remain. Brothertown’s leaders drew on Algonquian and Anglo-American influences to regulate their town, including policies based on a Connecticut law book and a community ethic emphasizing a communal decision-making process and care for the elderly. However, Brothertown was not a politically tranquil place. In addition to internecine struggles, the Brothertown Indians faced pressure from the Oneidas, who in 1786 tried to renegotiate their treaties with the Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians to alleviate demands on land driven by Anglo-Americans in the area. While the Brothertown Indians were able to defend their claim to the land in court, the fact of the matter was that land was becoming scarce. As early as 1791, the Stockbridge Indians began exploring the possibility of moving to the Midwest, and the Brothertown Indians followed suit in 1809. After a series of failed land deals, in 1831 the Brothertown Indians, Stockbridge Indians, and Munsee Indians (a subtribe of the Delaware) were awarded a tract of land in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Brothertown Nation is still based in Wisconsin and is currently struggling to obtain federal recognition.
The Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America
The Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America was a missionary society active in America from 1649 until 1786. It was first called the "New England Company" in 1770. Most secondary literature uses that name for convenience and to distinguish it from other missionary societies. The company was first chartered in 1649 as the "President and Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England," largely in response to John Eliot's missionary efforts. After the Restoration (1660), it was rechartered as the "Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America." The New England Company was very powerful and influential, in large part because it was a coalition between Anglicans and Dissenters. It supported a range of missionaries from the Mayhews to the Sergeants to Moor's alumnus Samuel Kirkland. After the Revolution, the New England Company refocused its attentions on New Brunswick and Canadian Indians. Wheelock had a very rocky relationship with the New England Company. Initially, it supported Wheelock's efforts. The Company funded Occom's education at Moor's and paid him a small salary during his time among the Montauketts. However, from 1765 onwards, its relationship with Wheelock rapidly deteriorated. The Company opposed the fundraising tour of Great Britain and went so far as to interfere with it by sending a widely circulated letter to England questioning Occom's background. The New England Company also interferred with Titus Smith's mission to Onaquaga by sending a rival missionary, Mr. Moseley, and stealing Titus' interpreter, Elisha Gunn. In 1767 it formally withdrew its financial support from Wheelock on the grounds that the fundraising tour had raised sufficient money. It is unclear what led the New England Company to suddenly change its stance towards Wheelock. Perhaps it wanted exclusive power over missionary distribution in New England, or perhaps it was thought that focusing on education over numbers in the field was counterproductive. Most secondary sources have conflated the New England Company's Boston Board and the Society in Scotland for Promoting Christian Knowledge's Boston Board, an easy mistake to make since both are sometimes referred to as the Boston Board and both vigorously opposed Wheelock. Any secondary source's statement about either should be carefully researched.
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.

Boston

The first English immigrant to settle on a peninsula in a harbor on the northeastern coast of North America the local Algonquin Indians called "Shawmet" was William Blackstone in 1629. A year later, John Winthrop arrived with a group of English Puritans and other settlers and named the area Boston after his hometown in Lincolnshire, England. The colony quickly developed representative political institutions that would help shape a democratic nation. Over the next few centuries, Boston emerged as an intellectual and educational center, and, because of its excellent harbor, became a leading commercial hub and a primary port for North America. It is the capital and largest city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the largest city in New England. Boston was the home for the Boards of Commissioners of several overseas religious societies who sent missionaries throughout the colonies in the 18th century, and was the site of many important events of the American Revolution.

Kanawalohale

Kanawalohale was a village located in the present-day town of Vernon in central New York state. In the 18th century, it was an Oneida village located about 60 miles west of the Mohawk village Canajoharie. Because the village’s name was similar to the Mohawk village of Canajoharie, many sources conflate the two. Founded in the mid-18th century, Kanawalohale was made up of a cluster of about 40 homes along the Oneida Creek, south of Oneida Lake. The name means head on a post in reference to an enemy soldier's skull displayed in the village. In 1765, David Fowler established an Indian school in Kanawalohale, where Wheelock’s son, Ralph, worked. Between the years of 1765 and 1767, Kanawalohale hosted many of Wheelock's missionaries including Samuel Kirkland, Joseph Johnson, David Avery, and Aaron Kinne. The Indians of Kanawalohale used their relationship with missionaries such as Kirkland to gain prestige over the formerly central Oneida village, Old Oneida. Kirkland often wrote in his journal about the dialogues he had with the Indians at Kanawalohale, who refused to receive his teachings silently. The Christian Indian population grew throughout the 1760s with at least 200 Indians attending church in the village. In 1780, Joseph Brant, a Mohawk allied with the British, led a war party against the revolting colonists, with whom the Oneidas had allied, that destroyed the Oneida village of Kanawalohale. This area is known today as Oneida Castle.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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, 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.

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.

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.

Fowler, Jacob

Jacob Fowler was a Montauk Indian whose life was dramatically shaped by Samson Occom, his brother-in-law. Occom taught Jacob when he was a child, and in 1762, Jacob followed his older brother David Fowler to Moor's. After three years he was approved as an usher in the 1765 examination, and in 1766 he went to assist Samuel Johnson at Canajoharie. He taught among the Six Nations until at least mid-1767. In early 1770, Occom procured him a job teaching at Mushantuxet through the Boston Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. Jacob taught and preached among the Pequots at Mushantuxet and Stonington until 1774, when Wheelock hired him to teach at Moor's, which had relocated to Hanover, NH as a complement to Dartmouth College. During this time, Jacob also assisted Joseph Johnson with efforts to rally the New England Christian tribes for a move to Oneida territory (the Brothertown Movement). By 1776, there were no Indians enrolled in Moor's and Jacob moved on to serve Governor John Trumbull of CT as a messenger to the Six Nations during the Revolution. After the Revolution, he continued organizing the Brothertown Movement and was among those who initially emigrated in 1784. He was elected clerk at Brothertown, and died sometime in the spring of 1787.

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.

Pitkin, Timothy
HomeJoseph Johnson, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1774 May 2
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