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Jacob Woolley, confession, 1763 July 25

ms-number: 763425.2

abstract: Woolley's confession of drunkeness and blasphemy.

handwriting: Handwriting is formal and clear, with very few deletions and additions.

paper: Paper is in fair condition, with moderate staining, creasing and wear that results in minor loss of text. There is repair work at the creases.

ink: Brown.

signature: There are multiple signatures: that of Woolley and three others as witnesses.


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


I Jacob Woolley acknowledge I have been scandalously guilty
of several gross Breaches of the Law of God. Particularly, I have
been scandalously guilty of drinking strong Drink to excess;
And of being in a very sinful passion of Anger, which I showed by
a very boisterous Behavior, doubling and swinging my fists, stamping
with my Feet, and many violent Motions and gestures of Body, attempting
to throw the Bed and Bed clothes out of the Chamber window; And also
by very vile and profane Language, daring God Almighty to damn
me if I were guilty according to what had been reported of me
[when at the same Time the Report was true] and frequently challenging
of God to it, saying I did not care if I was damned, threatening Vengeance
upon the Boy who had reported what he had of me, saying I would
be revenged if I were damned for it. And thus I persisted in
Imprecations of Damnation upon myself, and blasphemous Treatment
of the sacred Name, against the much repeated and most forcible and
kind and urgent Entreaties of Mr. Wheelock and Mr. Lesley, in opposition
to whose Entreaties to spare and desist from my irreverent and abusive use
and Treatment of the sacred Names, I increased in it with the more
Fury and Violence; And also in attempting to go away with[gap: worn_edge][guess: out]
Leave or Advice from Mr. Wheelock, under whose Conduct Providence
has placed me, and pursuing that design in a very tumultuous Manner,
which was aggravated by this circumstance, that it was on Saturday
Evening, Time observed as Holy by Mr. Wheelock and Family, who
were kept in a Ruffle 'til late in the Night; And also by
many undutiful, proud, and ungrateful expressions towards Mr. Wheelock
 And all this has been greatly aggravated by the peculiar
Obligations I am under to God and Man, by whose goodness and their
Charity I have been so distinguished from all my Nation
 Hereby I have much dishonoured God, wounded the Hearts
of my kindest Friends and Benefactors, brought great dishonour
upon the Christian Name, and done much to discourage and cool
that Christian Charity, which has so remarkably appeared of late
towards my perishing Savage Bretheren, and particularly much
to discourage and hurt the interest and progress of this School, in which
I have received so great Favours, and which I am under so
great Obligations by all possible Means to encourage and promote.
I
I desire to be humbled in the dust for these things before
God and Man, and to implore the divine Pardon and forgiveness
through the Blood of Christ. I ask forgiveness of Mr. Wheelock,
Mr. Lesley, and of the whole Family and School, and of all
my kind Benefactors who shall hear of it. And desire they will
pray to God for me that Iniquity after all Endeavors used with
me may not prove my Ruin — and I do solemnly warn all the
Members of this school against Pride of Heart and a sensual course of Living,
and that they take Warning by my Falls. not to imitate my Example

Jacob Woolley
Lebanon July 25th 1763.
Signed in presence of us
Samuel Gray
David Fowler
Joseph Woolley

Woolley, Jacob

Jacob Woolley, a Delaware, was one of Wheelock's first two Indian students. He was the cousin of Wheelock's third student, Joseph Woolley. John Brainerd sent Jacob Woolley, along with John Pumshire, to Wheelock late in 1754. While Pumshire died in 1757, Jacob continued studying with Wheelock and entered the College of New Jersey in 1759. He studied there until 1762, when he was expelled for failing his studies and abusing alcohol. It is also likely that there was a woman involved. In 1763, Jacob briefly returned to College before running away and enlisting in the army. Joseph Woolley met a man in Sheffield who described someone like Jacob Woolley teaching there in the fall of 1764, but this identification is not definite. Jacob never seems to have been very invested in becoming a missionary. Especially after his expulsion from the College of New Jersey, he expressed doubts about Wheelock's plans for him and struggled with alcohol. It is likely that he ran away primarily because Wheelock was non-responsive to these concerns.

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.

Lesley, James
Gray, Samuel

Samuel Gray was one of the first four graduates of Dartmouth College. He was the son of Samuel and Lydia (Dyer) Gray, of Windham, CT, and attended Moor's Indian Charity School. He was one of the students, along with David Fowler and Joseph Woolley, who witnessed and signed Jacob Woolley's confesson in 1763. Two years later, The Connecticut Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge considered appointing Gray as its "Scribe or Register," which included keeping the books and accounts for the Board and the School. He probably moved to Hanover with Wheelock and attended Dartmouth College as an independent student; along with John Wheelock (Eleazar's younger son), Sylvanus Ripley and Levi Frisbie, he graduated in the first class of 1771, but because of a lack of a quorum of Trustees, did not receive his official diploma until 1773. Because he was not a charity student, he was relieved of the obligation to become a missionary. Rather, he studied law, practiced in Windham, served as the Clerk of the Windham County Courts for more than 40 years, and also served as Commissary General during the Revolutionary War. He was an honored guest at the Dartmouth commencement of 1827, where he pointed out the site of the first College structures, including the place where a bbq was held at his own graduation.

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.

Woolley, Joseph

Joseph Woolley was a Delaware who died of consumption while keeping school at Onaquaga. He came to Wheelock in 1757 as a replacement for John Pumshire, and although Wheelock labeled him as "fit for college" in late 1761, he never attended. In the fall of 1764, Joseph went to the Six Nations with Kirkland to learn the Mohawk language and keep school, and in March 1765, he was officially approved as a schoolmaster and returned to Onaquaga to teach. He was very popular there, but died unexpectedly in late November 1765. Joseph was engaged to Hannah Garrett, who later married David Fowler, but a letter from David (765302.2) suggests that Joseph may also have pursued Amy (David's object of interest before Hannah).

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