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Isaac Dakayenensere, letter, to the Connecticut Board of Correspondents of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, 1765 September 30

ms-number: 765530.5

abstract: On behalf of the Oneida and Tuscarora chiefs, Dakayenensere writes to accept the Board's offer to build mills and instruct the Indians in husbandry.

handwriting: Handwriting is somewhat uneven, yet mostly formal and clear.

paper: Large sheet folded in half to make four pages is in fair condition, with moderate staining, creasing and wear. Preservation work has been done on particularly heavy creases.

ink: Black-brown.

signature: Seven large signatures all appear to be in Dakayenensere's hand.

layout: The first page of the letter is on one recto, but the second page is on two recto, not one verso.

noteworthy: Persons whose names are illegible have not been tagged.

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

We thank you for the Care you take of
us, and that you have taken pains to write to us;
to let us know your . forwardness, and willingness to assist
and instruct us;
Many times when one or two determines up‐
on anything, when others come to know it, it is over‐
thrown; therefore taking your proposal into consideration
and having a Mind that it should stand strong and not be
overthrown, we called a general council, in which we
approved of your proposal of assisting us in building
Mills, and instructing us in husbandry, and thank you, that
you have taken such Care of us
Now concerning our Father Mr. Smith who is here
present with us, we think we have nothing here that
will tempt him to Stay and live with us unless he sees
a Reformation among us; we hope that God in his
own Time will bring about a Reformation so, that he may [gap: tear]
be willing to Stay with us
What we have now written is the general
voice of us all, both we of Onaquaga, and our Brethren
the Tuscaroras assembled in council
God is above all, and if we are brought truly to
love and fear him, we shall not only be of one Mind in
these Affairs, but shall be united also in all others —
We seem at present to be in greatest want of
a [gap: stain][guess: [saw] Mill, we desire that that may be first built;
and if Stones can be found for the grist Mill, and it should
then appear best to have one, that that may be built next
Now Brethren we have told you the sum of what
we have to say, yet if the great Man, our Brother, who sits
at the head of Affairs should not approve of what we
have done as we fear he will not, though you have a Mind
to assist us, and we desirous that you should, it will be, all
overthrown, which will make both you and us very sorry
Blank page.
We send our Love to you and remain

your Brethren
Isaac Dakayenensere
yaywe kadiyorha
Adam waoonwanoron
[guess: O]ye[guess: a]s kaniyode
Seth otyoywawayon
[illegible]erek kanokar[illegible]e
[guess: Rotho nonsawede]
} Chiefs of
the Oneidas
and Tuscaroras
upon Susquehan
na River

The Rev. Mr. Eleazar Wheelock

New England

From the Chiefs of the Onei‐
and Tuscaroras to
the Board of Correspondents
September 30th 1765
Dakayenensere, Isaac

Isaac Dakayenensere was a chief and spiritual leader at Onaquaga. Dakayenensere worked closely with Good Peter to minister to the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) community at Onaquaga, a predominantly Oneida town with a diverse population. After converting during the 1740s, both men took up the mantle of evangelism and Christian education at Onaquaga. They cooperated with Gideon Hawley, an Anglo-American missionary, throughout his missions in the 1750s, and in the 1760s they began writing to Wheelock for missionaries and assistance with farming. They received Joseph Woolley, who kept school at Onaquaga from late August/early September of 1765 until his death at the end of that November, but they do not seem to have received the promised farming assistance. Dakayenensere’s daughter, Neggen Aoghyatonghsera (alias Margaret or Peggie) married Joseph Brant, a Moor’s alumnus and famous Mohawk war chief. In some scholarship, Isaac is misidentified as a Mohawk.

Kadiyorha, Yaywe
Waonwanoron, Adam

A resident of the Oneida community in Onaquaga, New York, and cosigner, with Isaac Dakayenensere, of correspondence with Wheelock requesting advice on and assistance with farming, milling, and religious education.

Otyoywawayon, Seth
Smith, Titus

Titus Smith was a Yale graduate whom Wheelock trained and ordained as a missionary and sent to the Six Nations with the 1765 mission. Together with Theophilus Chamberlain, a Yale student with whom he was examined and ordained, Smith led the band of newly-examined schoolteachers and ushers into the Six Nations to set up day schools. After Ebenezer Moseley replaced him, Smith retired from the missionary life and became an itinerant preacher in Connecticut until 1768, when he converted to Sandemanianism and was re-ordained. Because of his religion (Sandemanians opposed violence), as well as his Tory politics, Smith found himself in danger when the Revolution broke out. His family fled to Long Island, and from there to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Smith lived out his remaining years.

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.

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