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Samson Occom, journal, 1743 December 6 to 1748 November 29

ms-number: 743656

abstract: Occom records his travels from 6 December 1743, to 29 November 1748.

handwriting: Occom's hand is clear and legible.

paper: Several small sheets folded into a booklet and bound with thread or twine are in good-to-fair condition, with light-to-moderate staining, creasing and wear.

ink: Dark-brown ink is faded in spots.

noteworthy: On one recto and 24 verso, there are doodles and scribbles, as well as what appear to be handwriting exercises. On one recto, an editor, likely 19th-century, adds the note: "Samson Occom's Journal from Dec.6.1743 to Nov. 29. 1748—." This note has not been included in the transcription. On four recto, the identity of Mr. B is uncertain, and so he has been left untagged. On four verso, the identity of Da– O– is uncertain, and so he has been left untagged. The latin sentence on five recto likely translates to: "My mother and her two children [or two of her children] came to remain at Mr. Wheelock’s for a time." On six recto, the identity of the "Queen" is uncertain, and so she has been left untagged. On six verso, it is uncertain as to whom "Deacon Wheelock" refers and so he has been left untagged. It is uncertain for what "D:Inst." is an abbreviation, and so it has been left unexpanded in the modernized transcription. Persons whose names are not legible have not been tagged.

Modernized Version -- deletions removed; additions added in; modern spelling and capitalization added; unfamiliar abbreviations expanded.

Samson Occom of
Mohegan [illegible] [illegible]
Elisabeth E Elisz

Blank page.
Blank page.Blank page.Blank page.

December the 6th 1743

I went to the Rev. Mr. Wheelocks
of Lebanon Crank to Learn some
thing of the Latin tongue, and
was there about a week, and was
obliged to Come away from
there again to Mohegan, and
stayed about Fortnight at Mohegan
and then I returned up to Mr. Wheelock's
again. and sometime towards
Spring again I went home to
Mohegan, and Stayed Near
three weeks before I returned
to Mr. Wheelocks again. and
August the 7th A:D 1744 I went
away from Lebanon to Mohegan
and I got So far as Mr. B's at
Norwich that Night, and
In the Morning I set out from
thence, and I got home to
Mohegan just before Noon

August the 13th

I went from
Mohegan to Niantic, and
visited all the Indians, and I
returned Home again to Mohegan
in the 16th of D Instant, and So
immediately up to Mr. Wheelocks
And September the 7th we set
out from Lebanon for New-
, and we got there in
the 10th of September, and there
we had the plan of seeing the scholar's
commencement, and we returned home
ward again in the 12th of September.
and we Got home again in
the 20th of D:Instant

November the 7th AD: 1744

Da– O–
was taken Sick and I went
Down to See him in the 12
of D:Instant
, and I returned
again in the 17th of D:instant
to the Rev. Mr. Wheelock's —

January the 11th AD: 1745

set out from Lebanon
for Mohegan and I got there
about sunset and the
next Day to Mothers at boz
— and in the 14th of D Instant
I returned again to the Rev. Mr.

February the 23rd 1745

mater mea et Duo Libri Ejus
venierunt ad Dominum Wheelock
manere ibi Tempori,

March the
20th 1745

I went from Lebanon
to Mohegan and I there that
Night, and in the 4th of
April AD: 1745
Joseph John‐
and I went over to Groton
and there we Saw Joseph wa[illegible][guess: u]
the first time that ever I Saw
him, and we returned home
again in the 6th of D:Instant
and in the 11th of April I returned
home again up to Lebanon
and June 24th AD 1745 I went
Down to Mohegan and got
there that Day and was sick there, and I returned
again in the 14th of July to Lebanon

August the 20th 1745

went away from Lebanon
to Mohegan, and I returned
to Lebanon again in 23 of D

August the 26th
AD: 1745

I set out from
Lebanon for Norwich and
from thence to Plainfield
and So next from there to
Canterbury and Wednesday I
got to Windham, and Thur
sday I got home to Lebanon

September the 7th AD: 1745

I set
out from Lebanon for
Mohegan and got there
Some time before Night
And in the 10th of September we
we set out from Mohegan
for Niantic, and in
the 12th of D:Instant we returned
again to mohegan, and
in the 13th of September
Many of us set out from
Mohegan for Long Island
and we got So far as New
that Night, and
in the Morning we set
Sail from there, and we
got to the Place of our
Desire in the Evening, and
Some of us lodged at queen's
wigwam that Night,
and there we were very
kindly entertained by all
of them, we had Several
Meetings together, and
there was Some Stir among
them — And in the 18th September
We all returned home
again to Mohegan, and
to Several Places where
we belonged, and we didnt
get home 'til the 19th of
sometime in the
Evening, And I went
to Lebanon 23rd of September

December the 16th 1745

we set
out from Lebanon Crank
for windham, and we got
there at night, and I lodged
at Deacon Wheelock's that
Night, and the Next day
at windham, and in the
18th of December between 2 and 3 o'
Clock in the afternoon,
the Poor Girl was Executed,
and I went right home to
Lebanon that Day —

May the 2nd AD 1746

I set
out from Crank for Mohegan
, and I arrived there about
3 o' Clock in the afternoon
and I returned in 16th of may

August the [illegible]d AD: 1746

set out from Lebanon for Mohegan
and got there before Night —
and returned again in the 8th of

August the 26th AD: 1746

I went from Lebanon to Mohegan
and got there the Same day —
And I returned to Lebanon again
the 27th of D instant April the
the 6th 1747
went from Lebanon
to Mohegan and got at Night —

April the 25th AD: 1747

I returned
to Lebanon

June the 7th AD: 1747

set out from Lebanon for
Mohegan and got about 1 o'clock
in the afternoon —

June the 25th

we set out from
Mohegan for Niantic,
and returned from thence again
to Mohegan the 28th of D:instant
and I returned to Lebanon the
30th of June

July the 7th

went to Enfield, and the next
Morning to Longmeadow and
from thence Right Back to
to Enfield and so Right through
to Windsor, and then to Hart‐
, and then from thence to —
Lebanon Crank again —

July the [illegible]

I went from Lebanon to Mohegan.
and got there the Same Day —

Tuesday August the 26th

I returned to Lebanon
From Last Spring to this
Time I have Lost 11 weeks

November the 2nd

went from Lebanon to
Mohegan — and returned to
Lebanon again, the 9th of said instant

November the 10th

I Left Lebanon Crank
and went Down to Some
parts of New-London, and
kept School there at the win‐
ter —

March the 12 AD 1748

I went up to Lebanon Crank, and
and got there about 3 o'clock 9
in the afternoon —
and March the 14th Sir
and I set very Early
in the Morning from Lebanon Crank
for Hebron, and got there a
bout 8 o'clock — And March
the 16th
I set out from Hebron
for Mohegan and got there at
Night — and Came up
again to Hebron the 18th of said instant

May the 22nd

I went from Hebron
Down to Mohegan — and returned
to Hebron again in the 2nd of

June 17th

went from
Hebron to Mohegan — and
returned again in the 22nd of
said instant

August the 6th

Samuel Lee and I went from
Hebron to Lyme

the 10th

I set out from Niantic
for Mohegan, and got there
 before Night
10 (10)
and in the 11th of said instant I returned
Back to Hebron, and in the 13
said instant
I was at Mr. wheelocks —

September the 9 AD: 1748

I went
Down to mohegan and got there
before Night —

September the 15th

we set out from mohegan for
Niantic and we got there
sometime before Night —

September the 21st

I returned Back
to Mohegan

October the 3rd AD: 1748

I returned to Hebron, October
the 6th
I went Down to Norwich
and returned back to Hebron the
Same Day

Monday November the 14th

I went to Mr. Wheelocks — and
went to Hebron Same Day —

November the 17th 1748

I set out from
Mr. Pomeroy's to Lebanon, Intending
to Set out from thence to Boston;
But I was Disappointed, and So turned
my course to Mr. Wheelock's;
and Friday November the 18 I set out
from Mr. Wheelock's for Boston, and
got So far Mr. Bingham's in
Windham, and lodged there and was
Very kindly entertained, and Saturday
November the 19th
set out from thence
on my Journey, and stopped at Mr.
's in ScotLand, about one
hour, and then went on and got So far
as Mr. William's in Pomfret, and
there tarried over the Sabbath, and
was Exceedingly Well Treated all
the while I stayed there —

November the 21 Monday Morning

I set out from Pomfret on my
Journey Still and got So far as
Hill's which is 30 Miles this
Side Boston

Tuesday November
the 22nd

as Soon as it was Day
we set out from thence onward,
and I Left my Company by the
way, and I got to Roxbury between
2 and 3 o'clock in the afternoon So
straight to Boston; and returned
to Roxbury in the Evening and
lodged at Capt. Williamss and was
entertained with all kindness etc. —

Saturday November the 26th,

I Left
Roxbury, and returned Home‐
ward, and So far as Natick
at Night, and lodged at
Deacon Ephraims, and was kin‐
dly received and entertained, and
Next Day I went to their
public worship, and found
too much Levity as I thought
and Monday I to visiting
amongst them and found
all very kind to a Stranger,

Tuesday November the 29th

I set
out from Natick, and Jacob
and Isaac Ephraim
accompanied me 3 or 4 miles —
and So we parted —
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Occom, Samson

Samson Occom was a Mohegan leader and ordained Presbyterian minister. Occom began his public career in 1742, when he was chosen as a tribal counselor to Ben Uncas II. The following year, he sought out Eleazar Wheelock, a young Anglo-American minister in Lebanon, CT, in hopes of obtaining some education and becoming a teacher at Mohegan. Wheelock agreed to take on Occom as a student, and though Occom had anticipated staying for a few weeks or months, he remained with Wheelock for four years. Occom’s academic success inspired Wheelock to open Moor’s Indian Charity School in 1754, a project which gave him the financial and political capital to establish Dartmouth College in 1769. After his time with Wheelock, Occom embarked on a 12-year mission to the Montauk of Long Island (1749-1761). He married a Montauk woman, Mary Fowler, and served as both teacher and missionary to the Montauk and nearby Shinnecock, although he was grievously underpaid for his services. Occom conducted two brief missions to the Oneida in 1761 and 1762 before embarking on one of the defining journeys of his career: a fundraising tour of Great Britain that lasted from 1765 to 1768. During this journey, undertaken on behalf of Moor’s Indian Charity School, Occom raised £12,000 (an enormous and unanticpated amount that translates roughly to more than two-million dollars), and won wide acclaim for his preaching and comportment. Upon his return to Mohegan in 1768, Occom discovered that Wheelock had failed to adequately care for his family while he was gone. Additionally, despite the vast sums of money that he had raised, Occom found himself unemployed. Wheelock tried to find Occom a missionary position, but Occom was in poor health and disinclined to leave his family again after seeing the treatment with which they had met while he was in Britain. Occom and Wheelock’s relationship continued to sour as it became apparent to Occom that the money he had labored to raise would be going towards infrastructure at Dartmouth College, Wheelock’s new project, rather than the education of Native Americans. After the dissolution of his relationship with Wheelock, Occom became increasingly focused on the needs of the Mohegan community and increasingly vocal in criticizing Anglo-Americans’ un-Christian treatment of Native Americans. In September of 1772, he delivered his famous “Sermon on the Execution of Moses Paul,” which took Anglo-American spiritual hypocrisy as one of its major themes, and which went into four printings before the end of the year. In 1773, Occom became further disillusioned when the Mason Land Case was decided in favor of the Colony of Connecticut. The details of the Mason Case are complicated, but to summarize: the Colony of Connecticut had gained control of Mohegan land early in the 18th century under very suspect circumstances, and successfully fended off the Mohegan’s 70-year-long legal challenge. The conclusion of the case came as a blow to the Mohegans, and further convinced Occom of Anglo-American corruption. Along with David Fowler (Montauk Tribe), Occom's brother-in-law, and Joseph Johnson (Mohegan), Occom's son-in-law, Occom helped found Brothertown, an Indian tribe formed from the Christian Mohegans, Pequots, Narragansetts, Montauks, Tunxis, and Niantics. They eventually settled in Oneida country in upstate New York. Occom moved there with his family in 1789, spending the remaining years of his life serving as a minster to the Brothertown, Stockbridge, and Mohegan Indians. Harried by corrupt land agents, the Brothertown and Stockbridge groups relocated to the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago, though Occom died in 1792 before he could remove himself and his family there. Occom's writings and legacy have made him one of the best known and most eminent Native Americans of the 18th century and beyond.

Occom, Sarah

Sarah Occom was Samson Occom's mother. There is some evidence that she was a member of the Groton Pequots, a remnant of the once powerful Pequot Tribe that was decimated by the war with the Puritans in 1636-37. (The Pequots and Mohegans were once a unified people until the Mohegan chief Uncas and a band of followers split off after a dispute with Sassacus, who became sachem of the Pequots.) One genealogy gives Sarah's birthdate as 1694, her maiden name as Wauby Sampson, her father as Sabientouset II (known as General Samson) and her mother as Hannah Wequot Uncas, of the line of the Mohegan's first sachem. Sarah married Joshua Occom (or Tomockham), a Mohegan, and they may have had up to five children: Joshua Jr., Samson, Jonathan, Lucy, and Sarah. In Samson's "Short Narrative" of his life, he notes that his parents "led a wandering Life up and down in the Wilderness" around Uncas Hill. Sarah was an early convert to Christianity during the revivals that swept the area, and Occom recounts that when he told her he wanted education in order to serve his Tribe, she went to Wheelock in nearby Lebanon, CT, because she heard "he had a Number of English youth under his Tuition," to request he take in her son. By 1743, Sarah was a widow, and Samson continued to visit and stay at his mother's house in Mohegan through the 1760s, though one source gives her death as 1782.

Johnson, Joseph
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.

Pomeroy, Benjamin

Benjamin Pomeroy was a school friend of Eleazar Wheelock and a lifelong supporter of his cause. Like Wheelock, he was a New Light evangelical and a staunch ally of James Davenport, a radical New Light preacher whose beliefs got him in trouble with the law. After graduating from Yale in 1733, Pomeroy received the ministry at Hebron, CT, in 1734, and assisted Wheelock in myriad ways until his own death in 1784. He kept Wheelock's school during 1746, when Wheelock's first wife, Sarah, was dying, and he tutored Occom (primarily in Hebrew) after Occom had completed his studies with Wheelock. Pomeroy also supported Wheelock as a trustee of Moor's, and, later, Dartmouth, and as a member of the Board of the Correspondents in Connecticut for the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. Pomeroy and Wheelock also had close family connections: Pomeroy was married to Wheelock’s sister, Abigail, and one of Pomeroy’s daughters, Hannah, married David McClure, one of Wheelock's most illustrious graduates. Outside of his liturgical career, Pomeroy served as an army chaplain in the French and Indian War and the Revolution.

Shaw, Elizabeth
Lee, Samuel
Ephraim, Isaac
Chalkcom, Jacob
HomeSamson Occom, journal, 1743 December 6 to 1748 November 29
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