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Samson Occom, journal, 1757 June 28 to 1761 March 31

ms-number: 757378

abstract: Occom details his travels throughout Long Island and New England, as well as his ordination and the events leading up to it. He takes his son Aaron to be raised by Wheelock.

handwriting: Handwriting is clear and legible. There are several uncrossed t’s and crossed l's, which the transcriber has corrected.

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

ink: Dark-brown.

noteworthy: When Occom mentions an “Indian Town,” or "Indian Place," he is likely referring to Indian villages associated with each place that he visits; specifics are uncertain and so these places have been left untagged. On five verso, the Latin exegesis translates to: "Whether a heathen/pagan who never hears the gospel, may obtain eternal salvation," or, in more colloquial Calvinist terms, "If a heathen never hears the gospel, can he be saved." An editor, likely 19th-century, has overwritten the journal in spots; these overwrites have not been transcribed.

events: Occom’s Ordination, Occom’s Mission to the Montauketts

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

Samson Occom
1757 - 1760 Blank page.

Tuesday June the 28 AD: 1757

I set out from Montauk for New
, in order to pass an Ex‐
amination there etc. — And Wed‐
Morning I set out from
East Hampton, with the Rev.
Mr. Pomeroy
and Woodbridge and
others, Down to northwest, and
about 12 o'clock we went aboard of
Mr. Dayton, and immediately
weighed Anchor, and Spread Sail
to the Winds, and away towards
New-England Shores, and we
got to the Mouth of Seabrook
about 9 at Night, and
for Fear of the Flats, we dropped
Anchor at a distance from Shore
and there tarried all Night,
and in the Morning of the 30 June
we arose, and weighed
Anchor, and put to Shore, and
Mr. Pomeroy and the two young
Women went ashore, and I
Shifted aboard of another Boat
whose owner was one Mr. Horton
who Came Down the River
from up Country, and was
removing With his Family
to Stonington — And he set
me ashore at Black-Point
and I went to Indian Town —
and found My Friends generally
well — and tarried at my Aunt
that Night —

Morning July the 1st —

I set out
from Nihantuk, for Mohegan
and got there at Night to
Mothers, and found all my
relatives in good Health etc. —
and there kept the Sabbath —
and Monday July the 4, I went
from Mohegan for Lebanon
and got to Mr. Wheelock's
just before sunset, and was
very kindly received, and found
them all in good Health — and
after a Little conversation,
Mr. Wheelock Concluded, and appointed
the 12th instant to be the Day of my
Examination, at his house —
and immediately Sent and gave
Notice, and desired the assistance
in the Examination, of 5 Neigh‐
bouring ministers, viz, Mr. Solomon
of Lebanon old Society
Mr. Benjamin Pomeroy of Hebron
Mr. Nathan Strong of New Coven‐
, Mr. Stephen White of
Windham, and Mr. Samuel Moseley
of Canada

Tuesday July the 12

Expected the Gentlemen to attend
the Examination, But we were
disappointed the Voice of one Crying, — there was none Come,
But the Rev. Mr. Pomeroy, —
we judged the Weather hindered
them, it being wet Day, — and
Mr. Wheelock and Mr. Pomeroy
considered the Matter, and Con‐
cluded to Send to the ministers
that Day — to Come together on
the next Day, which was the 13
of July
, at the house of the
the Rev. Mr. Williams, and
accordingly they Come together
about one o'clock PM — and
there I passed an Examination
Before the Rev. Messrs. Solomon
Eleazer Wheelock
Benjamin Pomeroy Nathan Strong
and Stephen White, — and they were
So far satisfied, as to Conclude to pro‐
ceed, to an ordination hereaf‐
ter etc. — And just before sun
set I went Down towards Mohe‐
, and got So far as Norwich
, and tarried at the house
of one Deacon Huntington, a —
Tavern keeper, —

Thursday July
the 14th

I went on my Journey and
got to Mohegan about 11. o'clock
AM, and found my relatives
well in General,

July the 15th

my Brother and I went Down to
New London in a canoe, — and I tarried
there that Night, —

July the 16th

I went aboard of one
Davise Williams of Stonington
and we got to Masons Island
sometime in the afternoon,
and there I stayed over the
Sabbath, —

Monday July the 18th

about 1 in the afternoon we
went aboard again, and set
Sail, for Fishers Island and got
there sometime after sunset,
and Tuesday July the 19th we set
Sail very Early for Long Island
and we tailed all the Day in
the Sound, and sometime in
the Night we got Near by Gardiner's
, and there we dropped An‐
chor, and tarried all Night —

Wednesday Morning July the 20th

weighed Anchor and hoisted Sail
and Steered towards Napeague
, and reached there about
10 in the Morning, there I went ashore and then
I went by Land to Montauk, and
I got home about 2 PM, and
found my Poor Family in Comfort
able circumstances, — Praise be
to god for his Tender Mercies to us
ward —

May the 7th AD: 1759 —

I set out from montauk for Eaſt‐
, In order to go over to New
, with Some Expectation of
Passing an ordination there, and
lodged at Mr. Hedges that Night —

Tuesday Morning May the 8

went Down to northwest, and I
tarried there at the House of one
Mr. Ebenezer Hedges that Night
and Wednesday May the 9 we
went aboard of Mr. Dayton, and
crossed the Sound, and got over a-
about 9 at Night, and we
lodged at my Aunt Justice's house —

Thursday May the 10th

set out very Early in the Morning
for Mohegan, and got there before
sunset, at my Mother's,

May the 11

I went from Mohegan
for Lebanon, got there sometime
before sunset, found Mr. Wheelock
Wheelocks Family very Poorly
with the measles especially our

May the 15

the Rev. Association
sat at Mr. Wheelocks house, and
consulted my case, and Concluded,
and to Refer my ordination to the
Rev. Presbytery on Long-Island
and Accordingly wrote, and re‐
ferred me to the Rev. Presbytery
on Long Island, —

Thursday May the 17th

to the Island, and stopped at
Mohegan and kept the Sabbath
there with Indians —

Monday May the 21

we went
Down to New-London, and tarri‐
ed there that Night —
and Tuesday May the 22 we
went aboard of Mr. Gardeners
Boat, of Isle of White, got to
to the Island after sunset, and
we tarried there Two Nights —

Thursday May the 24

we went
over to the Fire Place, got there
about 1 o'clock in the afternoon,
from thence I went to Town, got
there about 3 in the afternoon
and I Deliver Rev. Association's Letter to Mr. Buell

Friday May the 25

I went home
to Montauk, Got there about
Noon, and found my Poor Family
well, and most of Neighbours
Praise be to god therefore —
after this I heard the Rev.
on long-Island received
the Letter, — and appointed the
29 of August 1759 for my ordina‐
tion — and they Sent a Text to
me out of 72 Psalm the 9 verse
8 they that Dwell in the wilderness
Shall bow before him —
and also an exegesis — in these
words — An Ethnicus qui Evan‐
gelium Nunquam Audiat, Eter‐
nem Salutem otinere Posit

And the appointed Time Being Come
I appeared before the Rev. Presbytery
at East Hampton, and passed an
Examination —, and Thursday August
the 30th
in the afternoon the Rev.
Proceeded in Solemnity
of my ordination, the Rev. Mr.
of East Hampton, made the
first Prayer, and preached from
Galatians 1.16, and the Rev. Mr.
of Bridgehampton Deman-
ded my public assent to the
Christian Doctrines and the Arti‐
cles of Faith, which I did — —
then immediately Proceeded to the
imposition of the Hands — the
Reverend Mr. Brown presided,
made the ordination Prayer;
the Rev. Mr. Barker of South
Gave the Right Hand
of fellowship; and the Rev.
Mr. Prime
of Huntington Gave
the Charge and made the last
Prayer, thus the Solemnity End‐
ed. Laus te Deum

Montauk October the 8 AD: 1759

I set out from Montauk for the
old manse where the Presbytery was
to sit and Mr. Reeve was to be ord
ained, and got So far as Sebaunuck
and preached there and tarried all
Night among the Indians,

October the 9

I set out very Early on my
Journey, and got to the old manse
about o'clock PM, and went Directly
to Meeting, Mr. Brown of Bridgehampton
preached from Proverbs 11.30, and tarried
one Mr. Miller's where the Presbytery
sat — Thursday Morning the Presbytery
broke up, the ministers dispersed a
bout 11 in the Morning, and I went
down to South, and got to Mystic
about 4 PM found the Indians
very Sickly, preached to them at
Evening, they seemed to give very
good attention —

Friday October the 12

set out from Mystic very Early in
the Morning, homeward, and got so
far as Mr. Browns at Bridgehampton
and Tarried there all Night, — and
Saturday October the 13 about 9 I set out
from thence, onward and got Home
little after sunset, and found
my Poor Family in Health
Praise be to God —

April the 1 1760

went to Smithtown where the
Presbytery was to sit, and
got So far as Canoe Place
that Night, and Tuesday
April the 1
set out early
in the morning, and got to
Smithtown about 4 o'clock
P M. and Wednesday the Presbytery
sat at Esq. Philip's, and
Thursday about 3 o'clock
the Presbytery Broke up
and I immediately set out
from thence to Mr. Reeve's
at South and got there just
about daylight in, and
was Kindly received by
Mr. Reeve, and Friday
April the 4
I away from
thence homeward and got
So far as Mr. Brown's at
Night and there I met with
Mr. Horton and we tarried
there all Night
and Saturday April the
about 9 o'clock in the morning
we took Leave of one another
and I Home about sunset
and all well at Home —

April the 26 AD: 1760

a Number of us went from
Montauk in our Whale Boat
for New England, and got
over to New London about 3 PM
and stopped there 'til just
before sunset and then
we set out from thence
for Mohegan and got there
about 9 at Night fou‐
nd my Relatives all well

Sabbath April the 27

kept the
Sabbath at Mohegan with
the Indians I preached Both
Parts of the Day found nothing
Special among them —

Monday April the 28

my Wife
and Father Fowler and I
and my Little Son Aaron
went to Lebanon to See
Mr. Wheelock, and we got
there before Night found all
well, and Deliver up my
little Son Aaron to the Rev.
Mr. Eleazer Wheelock
to be
Brought up by him —

Tuesday April the 29

returned to Mohegan again
and got there before Night
and stayed at Mothers that

Wednesday April the 30

about 9 in the Morning we
set out from thence towards
home and got So far as New
and there stayed at
Capt. Shaw's that Night

Thursday May the 1

set away from New London
for Home and get no further
than Harbor's Mouth and
stayed all Night at one Mr.
Cooper house,

Friday May the 2

we set
Sail very Early in the morning
from thence and got upon
Montauk Shore about 10
in the Morning and found
all well etc. —

may the 18 AD: 1760

I preached
at East Hampton, —

Saturday May the 24

I went from
Montauk for westward, and got So far
as Mr. Brown's and there kept the
Sabbath, with Mr. Brown and re‐
ceived the Sacred Supper of the Lord with
the People of Bridgehampton

Monday may the 26

Mr. Brown and
I went together westward, and we
we got to Quaugg and lodged at one
Mr. Howell's that Night, and Tuesday
May the 27
we set out from thence
on ward and got to Smithtown at
Night and lodged with one Justice
over the River, Wednesday
may the 28
we set away from thence
about 9 in the Morning, and got
to Huntington about 1 in the after
noon, and the People had gone to
meeting, and we went directly to meeting
and heard Mr. Reeve of South, — after
meeting we returned to Mr. Pri[illegible][guess: m]e's where
the Presbytery Sat, and examined two
young Men in order to ordination —
Nex day finished the examinations
with them, and then immediately went
to the house of god and Proceeded to in
the preliminaries of the ordination,
Mr. Brown preached the ordination
Sermon, Mr. Prime made the ordina‐
tion Prayer during the imposition
of hands upon Mr. Barrat. and
Mr. Brown made the Prayer dur‐
ing the imposition of Hands upon
Mr. Smith, and Mr. Prime gave the
Right hand of fellowsihp and the
ca[illegible][guess: r]ge, and Mr. Occom made
the Concluding Prayer
Friday may the 30 the Presby‐
broke up about 10 in the morning
and the ministers dispersed imme‐
diately, I preached at Huntington
in the afternoon, and towards
Night I went to Oyster Bay, —
and tarried at
Widow Wicks, and Saturday
may the 31
I preached at Oyster-
, from 16. 13.

Sabbath June the 1

I preached there
there again all Day from Ephesians 5.14
and Canticle of Canticles 5.16.

Monday the 2

I returned from Oyster
, got to Huntington about 11
AM. and about 1 in the afternoon
I set out from thence Homeward
got to Smithtown just before sun
set and tarried at Justice
William Phillips's that Night, and
Tuesday June the 3 preached at
Smithtown began about 10 AM
from Revelation 22.12 and after meet‐
ting I went Down to Setauket
and preached there that afternoon
from Matthew 22.42 tarried at
Mr. Tallmadge's that Night

Wednesday June the 4.

Sought out
from Mr. Tallmadges about 9 AM.
and went Down to South, and got
to Mr. Hedges's about 12 o'clock and
tarried there about one Hour and-
half, and then set away from thence
eastward and got the Indian Place
Just before sunset, and had a
Short discourse with them in the

Thursday June the 5

gave a word of exhortation to the
Indians, very Early in the morning
and then took Leave of them, and
journeyed eastward and got So
far as South Hampton, and there
tarried all Night with one Mr.
Stephen Foster
, and was very kind
ly entertained, —

Friday Morning
June 6.

was very Stormy Weather
and [illegible]it was fast Day with
the South Hamptonites, and I went
to meeting with the People in the
fore Noon, and heard Mr. White
Preach from Leviticus 26. 40.41.42
In the afternoon the Storm mode‐
rated, and went on my Journey home
ward, went to See Mr. Pane and Mr.
by the way, and So pass on
and I got to East Hampton just be‐
fore sunset met with Mr. Buell
who had just got home from the
Main, Brought a Tragical News
Concerning a Young Woman —
I lodged at Mr. Buell's,

day June the 7

set away from
East Hampton for home, and got
to Montauk about 3 o'clock in the
afternoon, and found all well at
Home, etc. —

Monday September the 1 1760

I set
out from Montauk with John
of New London, for New-
, and we got ashore at
New London Harbor's Mouth Tuesday
— and from thence I set away
by Land for mohegan and got there
just after sunset, and found all
all my Relations well in general
at mohegan, and Stayed there two

Friday September the [illegible]5

out from Mohegan for Lebanon
got there just before sunset,
found all well as Common at Mr.
, And Saturday September
the 6
David Fowler accompanied
me to Farmington, and we got
there about just after sunset
and there we found our Friends
Some from Mohegan Some from
Niantic and Some from Groton.
and we held a Meeting at one Solo‐
house, I delivered a Short dis‐
course to them,

Sabbath Day September
the 7

we Met together again at
the Same house, I preached to them
again, Monday September the 8
we set out from thence Home‐
ward, and I got to Mr. Pomeroy's
at Night and I tarried there
but David went to Mr. Wheelocks

Tuesday September the 9

I left Mr. Pome‐

New London September the 2 I went to See the Rev.
Mr. Graves
, and he gave me 9 Books and
one Dollar
and went to Mr. Wheelocks, and about
10 o'clock the Indian Scholars and I went
Down to mohegan, and got there at Night

Wednesday September the 10th

we tarried at Mohegan
Thursday we went to New London, and
Friday we stayed at New London. Satur
we went to Niantic and stayed
there the Sabbath over, and Monday September
the 15
we Spent the Day there Tuesday we
set out for Mohegan again, and got
there about 2 in the afternoon, and
Wednesday and Thursday we Spent at
Mohegan, and Friday September the 19
about 10 o'clock we went aboard of Mr.
, and sailed Down to New London
and a Number of us lodged at Capt.
, and many that Come with us
were bewitched with Strong Drink,

Saturday September the 20

a few of us went
over to Niantic again, and got
there about Noon, to the surprise
of my Friends, being unexpected there
found them all well — etc.
Sabbath Day September 21 we kept
the Sabbath there MonDay we went
Back to New London got the there
about 8 in the morning and Spent
the Day there, and Saw the exercises
of Joy in New London on account
of the Victory gained in Canada over
the French, tarried at Capt. Shaw's
that Night again,

Tuesday September the 23

we set out
from New London for Long-Island and sailed
most all that Day and Night
Towards morning we got to Oyster
, and Some of us went ashore
went aboard again
and sailed for Shelter Island
being Wind Bound we sailed in
to Shiller Island Harbor,
at Night went to house found
nothing but negroes and Indians
In it but they were Very kind
to us. the Indians in the
hearing I was on the Island,
a number came together to
hear the word of god, I gave
a Short discourse —

Thursday September the 25

we got up very Early in
the Morning, and aboard
and set sail for Montauk,
arrived there Sometime in the
Night, found all our Friends
well, — 17:3 [illegible][guess: 1/3]
Blank page.Blank page.Blank page.Blank page.
Zechariah Johnson — — 1
Henry Quaquaquid X 2
Simon Chaujoy — — 3
John Tantaquidgeon 4
Samson Occom — — 5
Moses Mazzen — 6
Blank page.

March the 31 1761

Received of Mr. Samuel Powers
for Jonathan Hedges 2.4-0
6.. : paid to Mr. Powers
out of it
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.

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.

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.

Strong, Nathan
White, Stephen
Chaujoy, Simon
Foster, Stephen
Harris, John
Hedges, Ebenezer
Hedges, Jonathan
Hedges, William

William Hedges was a resident of Easthampton, Long Island, and a supporter of Occom during his mission at Montauk. He was the second son of William Hedges (b. 1679, d. November 4, 1768) and and Abiah Mulford (b. August 20, 1685, d. October 27, 1763). Both were descendants of the original settlers of Easthampton; Hedges' father was the grandson of the original William Hedges, a devout Puritan who fled with his wife from Kent in England to Lynn, Massachusetts in 1644, and finally moved to the new settlement of Easthampton on Long Island in 1650. There is little in the records about Hedges and his activities. He was close enough with Occom and his family on Long Island to be entrusted with the funds collected from local Long Island congregations to support the Occom family during Occom's first and second missions to the Oneidas, when the New York Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge grew lukewarm about the missions. Hedges was also a close friend of Samuel Buell, the Presbyterian minister who sponsored Occom's ordination. Buell entrusted Jacob, one of the young Indian boys from Wheelock's school visting on Long Island, to Hedges' care.

Johnson, Zecheriah
Phillips, Justice
Phillips, William
Powers, Samuel
Davise Williams
Buell, Samuel

Buell was a popular Presbyterian minister during the second half of the 18th century in Long Island, as well as a close friend of Samson Occom. He was ordained in November 1743, and was a popular itinerant minister before settling at Easthampton. He preached at Occom's ordination, published the sermon in 1761 to raise funds for Occom (he also wrote the letter addressed to Bostwick prefacing his publication), and stayed in close contact with Occom even after Occom's public break from Wheelock. Occom's diary is full of references to visiting Buell and to their close friendship. During the Revolution, Buell was the only minister on Long Island for 40 miles, and was very active in assisting the American cause. He also founded Clinton Academy on Long Island in 1785, which was the first private school chartered by the New York Board of Regents. This academy was also remarkable in that it admitted women. Multiple historical sources have misconstrued Samuel Buell as Sol or Solomon Buell, likely because Buell sometimes signed his name Sa.l, a creative abbreviation of Samuel. However, there was no Reverend Solomon Buell in Easthampton, or, it seems, Long Island, in the second half of the 18th century: Samuel had no brothers, and were there to be two Reverend S. Buell's within 10 miles of one another during the same period, related or not, doubtlessly someone would have commented on it. In addition, the handwriting in letters ascribed to "Sol" and those assigned to Samuel is identical. Lastly, the only source besides collection manuscript 765530.3 describing a "Solomon Buell" is an anthology of letters from the Revolution, which contain letters from a Rev. Sol. Buell, or S. Buell, about aiding the American cause. These letters correspond well with descriptions of Samuel's life in an 1809 biography of his life, and, as he was the only Reverend but one for 40 miles during the Revolution, it is likely that these letters belong to him.

Occom, Aaron

Aaron Occom was Samson and Mary Occom’s prodigal second child and oldest son. He was born in 1753, during Samson’s mission to the Montauketts of Long Island. The Occoms entered Aaron in Moor’s Indian Charity School when he was seven, in the hope that he would “be Brought up.” However, Aaron proved ill-suited to school, and returned home in October 1761. He had two more brief stints at Moor’s Indian Charity School: the first in December 1765, after Samson departed for his two-and-a-half-year fundraising tour of Great Britain, and the second in November 1766, when Mary found herself unable to control Aaron’s wild behavior (which included attempting to run away with “a very bad girl” and forging store orders in Mary’s name). After his last enrollment at Moor’s, Aaron ran away to sea. He had returned to Mohegan by November 1768, and at age 18, he married Ann Robin. Aaron died in 1771, leaving a son also named Aaron. Samson periodically entertained the idea of apprenticing Aaron to a master, but never seems to have done so. One letter written by Aaron survives: an epistle to Joseph Johnson, another young Mohegan who studied at Moor’s.

Fowler, James

James Fowler was a notable Montaukett and the father of Mary Fowler Occom, David Fowler, and Jacob Fowler. He married Elizabeth (Betty) Pharaoh, a member of the prominent Pharaoh/Faro family (the current sachem of the Montaukett tribe, as of 2013, is a Pharaoh). When Occom arrived at Montauk in 1749, he took a special interest in the Fowler family and began courting Mary. They married in 1751, and, through Occom’s influence, the Fowler family became quite Christian. David and Jacob Fowler both attended Moor’s Indian Charity School and played important roles in the founding of Brothertown. James’ health deteriorated in the 1760s and 1770s. He died around 1774.

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.

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.

Justice, Hannah
Moseley, Samuel

Rev. Samuel Moseley was the minister of the Second Church (also called the Canada Society) in Windham, CT (reincorporated as Hampton in 1786), from 1734 until his death in 1791. After graduating from Harvard in 1729, he kept school in Dorchester, MA and served as chaplain at Castle William until his ordination in 1734. It is a testament to his ministerial abilities that he was able to keep the post until his death in 1791, especially since he held a conservative view of church hierarchy (he even considered Episcopalian ordination), doubtlessly a difficult stance to maintain during the tumultuous period of the First Great Awakening. Moseley was an early proponent of Eleazar Wheelock’s plan for a charity school. He worked with Wheelock and Benjamin Pomeroy to solicit George Whitefield’s support in the 1750s, and he was a member of the original board entrusted with the land deeded by Joshua More. Moseley was also one of the ministers who examined Samson Occom prior to his ordination in 1759, and he was named to the Connecticut Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge when it was formed in 1764. In 1767, there was a potentially awkward incident when the New England Company hired Ebenezer Moseley, Samuel’s son, to conduct a mission to the Onaquaga -- a village to which Wheelock had also sent a missionary. However, Wheelock interpreted the spiritual coup as a political machination by the Boston Board and did not hold E. Moseley responsible. Due to the low volume of letters between Wheelock and S. Moseley, it is unclear whether this incident affected their relationship.

Brown, James
Occom, Mary (née Fowler)

Mary Occom (née Fowler) was a Montaukett woman who married Samson Occom. Although information about her is limited and often comes from male, Anglo-American sources, it offers a tantalizing glimpse of her strength, as well as an alternative to the Eleazar Wheelock-centered narrative of Occom’s life that often dominates the latter’s biography. Mary was born into the influential Fowler family at Montauk, Long Island. She met Samson during his missionary service there (1749-1761). Mary studied at Samson’s school along with her brothers David and Jacob, and was almost certainly literate. She and Samson married in 1751. Wheelock and several other Anglo-American powers opposed their union because they worried it might distract Occom from being a missionary (as, indeed, family life did), and thus many scholars have read in Samson and Mary’s marriage an act of resistance against Samson’s domineering former teacher. Little information about the minutiae of Mary’s life survives, but existing sources speak volumes about her character and priorities. In front of Anglo-American missionaries visiting the Occoms' English-style house at Mohegan, Mary would insist on wearing Montaukett garb and, when Samson spoke to her in English, she would only reply in Montaukett, despite the fact that she was fluent in English. Mary Occom was, in many ways, Wheelock’s worst fear: that his carefully groomed male students would marry un-Anglicized Indian women. It is not a stretch to imagine that Mary provided much of the incentive for Wheelock to begin taking Indian girls into his school, lest his other protégés replicate Samson’s choice. Much of our information about Mary comes from between 1765 and 1768, when Samson was fundraising in Great Britain. Despite promising to care for Samson’s wife and family (at the time they had seven children), Wheelock, by every objective measure, failed to do so, and Mary’s complaints are well documented. Hilary Wyss reads in Wheelock’s neglect (and in letters from the time) a more sinister story, and concludes that on some level Wheelock was holding Samson’s family hostage, in return for Occom curtailing his political beliefs on the Mason Case. Wyss also notes Mary’s remarkable survivance in this situation. Mary drew on various modes of contact, from letters to verbal communication with influential women (including Sarah Whitaker, the wife of Samson’s traveling companion, and Wheelock’s own daughters), to shame Wheelock into action and demand what she needed. One of the major struggles in Mary’s life, and in Samson’s, was with their sons. Both Aaron and Benoni failed to live up to their parents’ expectations. Aaron attended, and left, Moor’s Indian Charity School three times, and both Aaron and Benoni struggled with alcohol and refused to settle down. The Occom daughters did not cause similar problems. Given the nature of existing sources, little is known about Mary after Samson and Wheelock lessened their communication in 1771. Joanna Brooks has conjectured that Mary was likely influential in Samson’s Mohegan community involvement later in life, for instance, in his continued ministry to Mohegan and, perhaps, his increasingly vehement rejection of Anglo-American colonial practices.

Williams, Solomon

Solomon Williams was a Congregationalist pastor in Lebanon, CT from 1722 until his death in 1776. As pastor at Lebanon, Williams rose to prominence as a theologian and engaged in extensive correspondence and debate with some of the most eminent minds of the day. He was one of the rare truly moderate New Lights during the Great Awakening: he managed to maintain the respect of both Charles Chauncy, the rabid anti-revivalist, and George Whitefield, the famous evangelical. Williams also established a library in Lebanon and a very well-known grammar school, which became something of a feeder for Yale. Williams supported Eleazar Wheelock and Moor’s Indian Charity School through much of the 1750s and 1760s. He was something of a mentor to Samson Occom, and he became president of Wheelock’s Connecticut Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge (SSPCK). It is unclear why Williams is not named as a trustee of Moor’s in Wheelock’s 1768 will; perhaps Wheelock feared that Williams would not outlive him. Williams continued to run the Connecticut Board even after Wheelock relocated to New Hampshire in 1770. Despite the SSPCK’s disappointment in Wheelock, Williams and Wheelock seem to have remained on cordial terms. Their correspondence ceased in 1772, after Wheelock tried (and failed) to open a New Hampshire Board to replace the one in Connecticut (with, it might be added, the Connecticut Board’s blessing).

Mazeen, Moses
Tantaquidgeon, John

John Tantaquidgeon, son of Ester Uncas and John Tantaquidgeon, was a Mohegan Indian who acted as a counselor to Ben Uncas III. He married Samson Occom’s sister, Lucy, and they had at least three children. He is a forefather of the modern-day Tantaquidgeon family.

Quaquaquid, Henry

Henry Quaquaquid was a Mohegan Indian who was active in both political and religious tribal affairs. In 1742 he, as a counselor, signed a petition that declared John Uncas as the rightful successor of Sachem Mahomet; however, the following year Quaquaquid, along with Occom and nine other counselors, signed Ben Uncas’s counter proclamation. As supporters of Ben Uncas, Occom and Quaquaquid lived in Ben’s Town rather than John’s Town, the home of the Ashpos. Nonetheless, they eventually changed their minds and joined the Ashpos in an effort to counteract tribal corruption and disunion. Around 1760, Ben Uncas III claimed that the rival faction had established Quaquaquid as sachem. Quaquaquid was also involved in the Mason case and acted as a messenger. He sought to protect the Mohegans’ native rights, and in 1785 signed a petition, along with Occom and four others, to the Connecticut General Assembly asking for unrestricted fishing privileges. In 1789, Quaquaquid and Robert Ashpo appealed to the Connecticut Assembly again seeking aid, and as in the original petition, stressed their friendship. Additionally, Quaquaquid often accompanied Occom during his missionary tours, such as those of 1757 and 1785. He also acted as a deacon, possibly at a church that Occom established in Mohegan. Quaquaquid did not move to Brothertown, but remained in Mohegan with his family.

Shaw, Nathaniel

Captain Nathaniel Shaw was one of the wealthiest merchants in New London during the mid-18th century. In the early 1730s, after building a fortune through sea trade with Ireland, he settled in New London to oversee his business. Captain Shaw was sympathetic to the Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the Parts Adjacent in America (often called the New England Company), and assisted them by transmitting money to Samson Occom in the 1750s, when the New England Company was providing him with financial support. Captain Shaw also had a private trade relationship with Occom, and sold him many household supplies and much of the equipment for his house at Mohegan. However, while Occom was in England (late 1765-mid 1768), Shaw refused to supply Mary Occom with goods, which put her in severe straits. Eleazar Wheelock hypothesized that Shaw was lashing out at Mary over Samson’s stance in the Mason Case, which, along with other circumstances, had turned the New England Company vehemently against Wheelock and Occom. However, it is perhaps more likely that Shaw refused to supply Mary because Wheelock had shown no indication that he planned to pay Occom’s debts (see 768114). During the Revolution, Captain Shaw and his son Nathaniel Shaw Jr., who took over much of the business around 1763, were noted patriots. They opened their mansion to wounded sailors, as well as to George Washington himself, helped to organize New London’s participation in the war, and turned their merchant ships into a privateering fleet.

Occom, Jonathan
Graves, Matthew

Matthew Graves was an Anglican minister and missionary in New London, CT, whose friendship with Occom led to a minor controversy. Graves was born on the Isle of Man, of Irish descent. Sometime in his mid-30s, when he was master of a Latin grammar school and rector of a church in Chester, England, he was inspired by the religious revivals led by the Wesleys in western England to volunteer for foreign mission service through the The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG). In 1745, the organization sent him to St. James Church in New London, CT, where the pulpit had been empty for some time. His brother John also volunteered and was sent to a church in Providence, RI. The parishoners in New London, however, proved unwelcoming, and Graves began attending dissenting church services and missionizing to slaves and Indian tribes in the area. Through these activities, he became acquainted with Wheelock's missionary work and with Occom, with whom he was on friendly terms. Graves wrote a glowing testimony of him for the fundraising tour of Great Britain. According to Love, Occom joked in Graves' presence that on the trip he would "turn Episcopalian," a hope Graves communicated to his Bishop, who did offer to ordain Occom, which he refused, causing some offense and a flutter in the newspapers. Sharply disappointed, in 1771, Graves turned against both Occom and Wheelock. He served in New London for 33 years but came to a bad end. In 1778, when he refused to change the traditional prayer for King George to a prayer for the new American Congress, he was summararily ejected from his church, and in 1779 he asked to be allowed to move to New York, behind enemy lines, with his sister Joanna. There he acted as a pastor to Loyalist refugess and died suddenly the following year.

Huntington, Ebenezer

Ebenezer Huntington was a deacon and tavern keeper in Norwich, CT. He inherited both posts from his father, Simon Huntington III, who died in 1736. Despite the fact that he, along with the rest of the Huntington family, was quite influential in Norwich at this time, little information about him survives. He was the cousin of Dr. Jonathan Huntington, Windham’s first doctor and the physician that served Wheelock’s students for many years.


Unidentified Smith.

Occom’s Ordination
Occom’s Mission to the Montauketts
HomeSamson Occom, journal, 1757 June 28 to 1761 March 31
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