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Samuel Kirkland, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1766 March 6

ms-number: 766206

abstract: Kirkland writes a lengthy letter describing his work among the Senecas, and touching upon, among other things, his concerns regarding Chamberlain and his mission.

handwriting: Informal handwriting is small and frequently difficult to decipher. Kirkland frequently does not pick up his pen between words. Letter case is frequently difficult to discern, and there are several uncrossed t’s and crossed l’s. Due to the length and difficulty of the letter, instances of questionable letters, letter case, and deletions were transcribed as the writer likely intended.

paper: Two large sheets each folded in half to make four pages are in fair condition, with moderate staining, creasing and wear. There is repair work along particularly heavy creases.

ink: Brown ink is faded in spots, and dimmed by the condition of the paper.

noteworthy: On two recto, the identity of the Gentlemen Correspondents is uncertain, and so they have been left untagged. On four recto, the identity of the Onaquaga Sachem is uncertain and so he has been left untagged. This document appears to be a serial letter written over the course of more than one sitting; and there appears to be some text/paper missing between two verso and three recto. If Kirkland's intention regarding a word or abbreviation is uncertain, that word or abbreviation has been left unmodified in the modernized transcription.

signature: The letter is signed twice, both times abbreviated.

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

Rev. and honoured Sir.
I've received no Letter from you since last July
nor any particular account of your Welfare and the State of your School;— which in essence
is my main support in this gloomy wilderness.— I've been feeding myself for sometime
with a fond hope that Mr. Chamberlain has letters for me, only waits a safe opportunity
of Conveyance.— it is now so long since his return, I quite despair,— have had no word at all
from him— accidentally heard of his safe Arrival here.— I'm afraid my dear Fellow‐
Labourers. Rev. Messrs. Smith and Chamberlain. will cast me quite out all Society,—
because I'm settled among so bad a people, I being but little better myself.
I can assure them, I'm doing my utmost to reform them both.—
Rev. Sir I would now give you a short account of my Situation.— My Prospects
of success were so dark and discouraging, last fall and beginning of winter,— that I was ready
sometimes to think I must give up the point,— that there was no such Thing as getting interest
among this people at present. though very necessary and important for the progress of
your Design, by Their superior Number and great Influence over Other Nations.—
I could not feel willing to give up the Cause without farther trial. I thought it my duty to still
use my utmost (though very feeble) Endeavours, and spare no pains, 'til I should acquire their language
But through a kind Providence Things now appear with another aspect,— somewhat
encouraging.— I have lately spoke to the Chiefs and head warriors
of this, and several other small adjacent Castles.— The substance of which, and their
Answer shall only mention to save you needless trouble.—
I a'cquainted them more fully with my Design, Disposition, etc.— requiring of them what
was their real inclination with regard to my settling among them.— whether they
were desirous, would receive and embracing Christianity.— offered them several Argu‐
ments to enforce the Matter, show its Consequence, and desired them to give it due conside‐
ration.— In Their Answer, said. They had considered the whole.
of my Speech,— were entirely satisfied with my Design, and was certainly well disposed,—
had their real good at heart.— that they believed the Ministers in New England were very
good men, thought of nothing but God and heavenly Things.— would have me proceed in
learning the Language,— that they would receive me and embrace the Word of God.— When I should
think myself sufficiently acquainted with their Tongue to speak in public, they would
be ready to hear me.— They desired me to cleave fast to this Town (called Kana‐
) and keep as good Orders as possible, by private advice and admonitions, 'til
I should be able to speak in public. — This was delivered to me in presence of
eight persons (Chief and head‐warriors) who said the greatest part were thus minded,—
and that they would use their Influence that everyone should give me good treatment and
listen to what I might say.—
I desire to be Thankful to the Father of Mercies for any
hopeful prospects of success.— The agreeable Alteration in their Behaviour
towards me adds much to the peace and comfort of my life.—
I'm yet encouraged to hope that through the gracious blessing of God, I may be of
some service to this people.— Their present Situation and condition appears to me most
miserable and deplorable, I can scarcely find one who is in the least degree sensible of it,—
or thinks with any Concern what will become of their Children after them.—
There are numbers of their most sensible Men, who now often visit me, and inquire what I
think concerning them.— here and there one I hope begins a little to see the Case and are Affected with it
always express a desire of my being able to speak in public.— Though They in general
are strongly inclined to think the God has two distinct ways of government for white
people and Indians,— that there are two Roads, which lead to Heaven.— imagine it wont be accept
able or well pleasing to God that these should interfere with each other.— They bring the
English and Canadian Mohawks for an example,— whom they look apon as the worst and
most miserable of all Indians, (though they are mistaken as to the former) which is wholly owing
to their learning to pray as they call it.—
I have found out all their Traditions,— dont apprehend they will be any great obstruction to
their receiving the Gospel.— The greatest and almost insurmountable difficulty is their
being given so much to strong drink. Their being a people without any proper form or
kind of government make Things appear something dark.— They exercise no kind of Au‐
thority, nor have any kind of punishment for the highest Crime whatever.— Every Town
is like a little Republic,— and again, every Family in some sense, and still farther, every individual.
However Notwithstanding these Discouragements, the Gospel of Jesus Christ
should be offered them.— The work is Gods— poor feeble Man can only be found in
the use of Appointed Means,— must leave the blessing with him, who has the Sole right
and prerogative to give it,— who orders all Things, according to his own divine Counsel.
— May the ever blessed God grant his holy Spirit to accompany the means
and endeavours his People are now using for this purpose,— without which all will be in vain.—
Rev. Sir I hope soon to get so much influence as to procure several of
their Youths for your School.— which when once accomplished, opens the way for farther
improvement and instruction here among them.— I have the promise of one which I trust
wont fail and partly of two more.— There are Numbers who are yet jealous of the English and
have reached such deep rooted prejudices against them, that affairs of this kind must be
managed with some tenderness and moderation for the present.—
I'm extremely sorry my great distance prevents frequent Communication, that
I'm obliged to act without your Knowledge and advice. It gives me great perplexity and
exercise of mind.— Oh: that I might have divine wisdom and prudence to conduct
suitably in so great an affair,. He kept in the fear of the Lord.—
I'm daily gaining Ground, though but slowly,— Im inclined to think my poverty
slavery, and drudgery I've been obliged to undergo, has been no disadvantage to the Cause.
Neither am I sensible of any Injury to my Constitution by the hungry Spell and
peculiar hardships I underwent last Summer.— Blessed be God I have been hitherto enabled
to endure the hardships of an Indian Life.—
Rev. Sir. I dont apprehend it will be best for the Interest of the Cause that I return
this spring.— I'm just now as it were begining to get into their favour and good esteem,— am
able to list a few Things of Gods holy word,— in a fair way for soon acquiring a tole‐
rable knowledge of their language, which I find very difficult.— Several of their castles
begin to have a favourable opinion of my design.— But the Chief Town (calld Ch[illegible])
is not so well disposd to it.— I want to convince them if possible of the sincerity and goodness
of the Design, before my return. I purpose God willing to Visit them next summer.
You will please to write me your advice,— with which I shall comply.—
I have laboured under so many Discouragements and some peculiar Trials (which I dont think
proper to mention here) that I have not made that proficiency in the Language which I might
otherwise have done.— I've been apt often to think it would add much to my com‐
fort and happiness, if I was able to support myself in this affair, or could possibly live
without any charge or expense.— My obligations are so many both from without and
within,— my unequalness and unfitness for the business, make things very dark
on my side.— The Thoughts of turning out nothing else but an unprofitable
servant and ungrateful wretch, are very hard disagreeable Thoughts.— But I hope
I begin to believe that Godliness with Contentment is great gain.— I'm sure it is most
fit and right that I shoud entirely acquiesce in the Dispensation of Gods righteous Pro‐
vidence.— He surely knows what is best for me.— my proud corrupt heart some‐
times, though very seldom, lets me rejoice in his all-wise government.— would to
God I might be always be resigned to his holy and perfect Will.—
I have not enlarged Things, lest your Expectations should be too high.
you will doubtless acquaint the Rev., and honourable Gentlemen Correspondents
with my Situation. and please to present them my most dutiful regards.— Though
I'm not immediately under their Care, I trust I'm not without their Remembrances
Their pious Zeal and unfeigned Sincerity in this great Affair, should surely
be taken as an argument of encouragement and Comfort to the poor missionaries
it was said of Old the Prayers of the righteous avail.— may they live to see
the fruits of their Labour and answer of their prayers their abundant Satisfaction.—
Rev. Sir, I return most sincere Thanks for your kind Endeavours
to procure me the Honours of College. which I suppose coud not be obtained.
My humble Duty to Madam— proper Salutation to your family. and my
most humble Regards to Rev. Mr. Pomeroy etc.— I conclude, begging
a near Remembrance in your addresses of the Throne of Grace.—
wishing you the highest of Heavens blessings,— and that your unwearied Labours
may be crowned which honour and success, is the humble prayer, of,
Rev. Sir,
Your most obedient [illegible][guess: and ever obliged humble servant]

Samuel Kirtland

The Rev. Mr. Wheelock
P.S. I wrote the above in such haste, have
omitted several Things,— as the Opportunity delays
will now mention them.— I purpose to visit Rev. Mr. Chamberlain
sometime in the Spring, and inform him of my Situation,
advising what him respecting my Return etc.— Shall—
doubtless go as far as Capt. Butlers— I believe I must run you in deb[gap: tear][guess: t]
for a few necessaries. I have scarcely linen to cover my back, and to make i[gap: tear][guess: t]
last as long as possible, I have not slept in a shirt for Nine Months past.
As to Provisions, I hope with the blessing of health, shall be able to endure the
ensuing Summer. I have a few biscuit and a little flour yet left,
I have actually learned to be content with less Victuals, Than ever I was
wont to before.— we very often here postpone Breakfast and Dinner 'til four 'o Clock
in the afternoon. and sometimes until the next Day.— This new fashion was
very disagreeable to me for a long time. nor am I yet perfectly reconciled
to it.— Through a kind Providence I enjoy a very comfortable state
of health. I have during the Winter, excepting a bad cold, caught last fall
by going without shoes—
I have wrote a few Letters in these several Days past,— You will
please to forward them.— If I shall not have time, I humbly beg the
Favour of your writing my kind Friends in Boston, former Benefactors
I hope I have not given them occasion of offense by not writing for so long
a time.— I have scarcely wrote my own Father,— and all my letters to you
were wrote in such haste, and with so much inconsideration, imprudence, and ten‐
Thousand Blunders, that I trust you can easily excuse me.—
I'm conscious to myself that I feel some small Emotions of Gratitude towards them
as well as towards my Rev. Patron.— It is my Sincere and constant Prayer that
I may be enabled so to conduct and behave myself as that each shall have occasion
to rejoice, in having opened their Hearts and hands for my relief.—
The Honourable Sir William Johnson is a very Kind Patron to me in these distant
Parts,— The hopeful prospects of success here I must subscribe chiefly to [gap: worn_edge] [guess: undersed].
All His Honour's Letters to me are wrote wrote in the most friendly manner imaginable, and
with uncommon condescension,— giving the strongest Evidence of His Approbation, and good will towards
my design. which adds much to my comfort and encouragement in the Gloomy wilderness.
I know not how to requite such unmerited kindness.— I hope I may have suitable acknow‐
ledgements of Gratitude, and above all be thankful to the Father of Mercies for His
special friendship to the Design.—
I shoud be glad to hear if Mr. John Smith of Boston be returned from
England.— what he may bring in favour of your Design.— No more at present
Tuus ut anteKirtland
Received April. 29. 1766.
if otherwise, I believe I shall visit you notwithstanding the many difficulties which attend the journey. you may expect me by the 14 or 16 of May extraordinaries excepted.
His Honour Sir William, thinks it best and necessary that I return, unless by way of writing
I can give you sufficient Knowledge and acquaintance with the present state and Disposition
of the Indians with regard to receiving the Gospel. Though that would be difficult, and not so well as if I were present.
Time would fail me, should I attempt a plain and full account of Affairs, and nothing else will
answer in a Case of such importance.— if Things are represented in a superficial in‐
explicit manner, it will be of no service to you.—
In case of sickness, or anything that may fall out which shall prevent my return,
at the time mentioned, you will proceed to execute the plan you have laid out, but not in
its full extent.— As to Schoolmasters among the Senecas and Onondagas
what I've wrote in the fore part of this Letter must answer for the present, having not
time to enlarge— I find it exactly agreeable to His Honour's Opinion [illegible]
of the Matter.— therefore need say no more.— perhaps it may be thought well for
a young missionary to go there in order to learn their Language, open the way and lay some
foundation for future improvement. of which I can likely give you sufficient informa‐
tion when I return.— It will be necessary that you supply the Mohawks, Oneidas
and Onaquagas with missionaries and Schoolmasters as before Mentioned. and should be constan‐
tly if you really expect and hope [gap: blotted_out][guess: to] see any fruits of your unwearied Labour
and pains.— if these small beginnings at these several places are not perfec‐
ted, I imagine there is little hope of success,— but if suitably improved, I can't but
think and do really believe a blessing may be hoped for without presumption.—
I hope you may be able to find Such missionaries who shall be willing to tarry
with the Indians long enough for a proper trial, notwithstanding the Many discourag‐
ments, hardship, and inconveniences of Life that must at present accompany the business.
If I have any right View of the Case, I think the very Life and progress of the
Design depends upon the missionaries— though gettings Indian Boys to your School
is encouraging and opens a door for future improvment.—
The often changing of missionaries will do more hurt than good. and their
tarrying but a little while among them (or just looking upon them as they call it)
does not forward the Design, but discourages the Indians and gives occasion of
umbrage to such as are not well disposed.— which unfortunately happin‐
ing with the Mohawks and Oneidas has given the Onondagas, Cayugas and Seneca's
a mean opinion of the Design, and some suspicion of insincerity.— Neither
do I apprehend Things are now so forward with the [gap: blotted_out][guess: for] former, as they were
last spring or fall, excepting Davids School, which through a kind providence
has been preserved through many discouragements, and now appears very hopeful,
and promises great success, if other proper Means are seasonably applied for its
support and future improvments. Viz, A missionary constantly residing there, for in‐
structing the old people and encouraging the Young. No one can reasonably expect
any great success from such a School, under such Circumstances, without a
missionary to accompany the Schoolmaster.— I dont Mention this as if I
thought Mr. Chamberlain worthy of blame, far from it,— for I suppose
he acted from principles of conscience and sound Judgment in leaving Oneida.
the necessity of his continuing there [illegible][guess: ought] not appear so great as it really
was, for want of farther knowledge of their Situation and disposition.—
his long delay in coming to them and sudden leaving them, has given some disgust
and greatly discouraged them.— from my small acquaintance and view of Affairs,
their Situation, was such last fall, and the necessity so great for the general
interest of the Cause, as required the utmost endeavours to improve and embrace
so favourable an Opportunity.— a proper or improper Support in such
a case I suppose is quite out of [illegible][guess: the] question,— if it be true what old experienced
Divines say, that in a like case if a person should give a year or two's service
to the Lord, without any immediate pay, he will be no loser, find a good pay master
and large interest,— at least a hundred per cent.— I wish I might be able to take
this for my present portion, it would doubtless give me much ease, and prevent many
bitter complaints.— I'm very sorry Mr. Chamberlain has concluded
it not worth his while to learn an Indian Language. I much fear he will
give up his commission.— his faith, or rather expectations were so very high
last Summer when I first saw him, as made me fear they should soon come as low.
he told me, he thought hardly worth his while to learn any Language of the confederate
, but proceed to those more remote, for he sometimes thought he should live
to see the west fear he really believed God was going to bring all the Indians to the
knowledge of the Gospel, and that in a Natural way, by the use of appointed Means.
he also came fortified against all discouragements, he expected nothing but the
most vile ungrateful, inhuman and unkind treatment from the Savages, he knew
Indians and what he must receive from them.— he never so much as asked me what I thought
of Indians or indian Affairs in one single particular. and I had so
much damnable cursed pride if heart, that I did not open myself so freely to him as
I ought to have done, (The Lord forgive me for my iniquity). Though I gave him the Charac‐
ters of several persons at Oneida, whose influence was great,— their favour and esteem
might be well to procure. for which he thanked me kindly.— not that I blame him So
much as myself. for a proud haughty missionary is little Better than the Devil.—
Oh, that I may obtain Mercy of God through Jesus Christ, for my insincerity and pride of
heart. perhaps it may be well that you use some care in seeking missionaries for so important
a business.(or possibly they may cause you sorrow and trouble as I have done.)
for I sincerely believe you nothing but the interest of the Redeemers Kingdom at heart.
If a persons Eye be single (the Scriptures say) his whole Body shall be full of light
If they are true, one may know whether the Glory of God, [illegible] self his uppermost.
But what Im [illegible][guess: saying]! Rev. Sir forgive me this wrong. surely such things are
quite improper, unbecoming a youth.— discover too much arrogance and assurance.
would to God I might know myself. and act accordingly. I want your Instruction and
Discipline. bear with my folly, I mean well.— I really feel your indian Cause [illegible][guess: lie]
[illegible][guess: near] my heart. I'm grieved to think how matters have gone on here, when your
daily Labour and travail of soul is so great for its success. but this again disco‐
vers damnable pride of heart, what can I say! May the Lord be merciful to me:
but surely I have no Reason to boast, [illegible][guess: rather] to lie in the dust of humiliation.
for you know as well as myself, that I'm under infinite obligation, both from
within and without, to give my life and service to promote this Indian Cause, while it
shall appear agreeable to his will. but alas, how far short have I fell.
that I dont deserve even so much praise as is due to a Man for attempting to
do his duty.— oh, that I may be kept in the fear and love of God. from Pride and in‐
gratitude on the one hand, and Despair on the other.—
[gap: blotted_out][guess: dont] I pray you wont expose this page to my hurt.
The Bearer is now waiting to go, quite unexpected to me.—
must omit many things.— please God to spare my Life and health you
may expect me about the time mentioned before.—
I can only say this, that several Thing have happened lately which may
delay the progress of your Design. Yesterday heard at Sir Williams
the Onaquaga Sachem, deliver an account and complaint of an Indian Man
being killed near Minisinks or in the County. belonging to Oneida.
The Indian was butchered in the most cruel inhuman Manner.—
Also five of the Senecas killed in some parts of Pennsylvania,
which came in a Letter from Governor Penn to His Honour Sir Williams.
It is said one of the Onondagas have also shared the Same fate.—
Sir William is much afraid what the Consequences will be.—
four of the Seneca's, I suppose belonged to the Castle where I reside.
who went last summer to war [illegible]against the Cherokees. and have
been gone two Months longer than the time they set.—
I have been these three Days past with His Honour Sir Williams
for advice In my affairs etc. etc.— had many things of Consequence
to inform you, since the last page was wrote.— The Bearer
is impatient to go must leave all, 'til I see you God Willing
earnestly beg a near Remembrance in you Prayer
Rev. Sir in haste
Your ever obedient and though unworthy servant
Samuel Kirkland
PS. as I have wrote in great haste
I have no copy nor time for any Correction.
if anything shall appear dark unintelligible
through too Great Brevity, I beg your Candour 'til
I return, when I will endeavour to clear such thing
as shall be superficial and inexplicit..
Capt Butler and Lady give Compliment.— I set off immediately for the Senecas.
shall return as quick as possible [illegible] [illegible][guess: in] suitable prudence and Moderation in such
fatiguing Journeys.
tuus ut ante,
Samuel Kirkland.
The Rev. Mr. Wheelock.
received April 29. 1766.
Mr. Samuel Kirkland
March 6. 1766
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.

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.

Smith, John

John Smith was an affluent Boston merchant who supported Wheelock’s school throughout the 1760s. It is likely that Smith and Wheelock were introduced by George Whitefield or someone similarly involved in evangelical and missionary efforts in the British Atlantic world: John Smith made somewhat regular trips to London for business, and had been in contact with Whitefield since the 1740s. Like the other Boston merchants who supported Moor’s Indian Charity School (including Moses Peck, William Hyslop, and Nathaniel Eells), Smith traded with Wheelock and kept him up to date on political developments in Boston, especially as they concerned attitudes towards Moor’s Indian Charity School. However, Smith was better educated (and likely more affluent) than the other merchants that Wheelock worked with, and, correspondingly, played a more important role than his brethren in Wheelock’s efforts. Smith publicized the school independently (his letter to an unnamed friend, catalogued as 764318.2, is one of the most cited letters on the organization of Moor’s) and assisted Wheelock in publishing the Narratives. John Smith’s greatest contribution to Wheelock’s design was his support during Samson Occom and Nathaniel Whitaker’s fundraising tour of Great Britain (1765-1768). Smith set out for Britain in July 1765 to improve his health, and while there, acted as a vanguard for Occom and Whitaker. He managed their correspondence, suggested destinations, and served on an ad hoc advisory council that included George Whitefield, Samuel Savage, Robert Keen, and several other influential men. The pace of the journey caught up with John Smith, however, and he died in 1768 while in Britain.

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.

Chamberlain, Theophilus

Theophilus Chamberlain was a Yale graduate and missionary employed by Wheelock. His interest in Indian ministry may have started during the French and Indian War, when he was taken captive by a tribe allied with the French (it is unclear which tribe) at Fort William Henry and spent a year in Nova Scotia. After his return to New England, Chamberlain attended Yale. Wheelock recruited Chamberlain, along with fellow Yale graduate Titus Smith, to spearhead Moor's 1765 mission to the Six Nations. Chamberlain was examined as a missionary on March 12, 1765, and ordained on April 24, 1765. During the mission, he was stationed at Canajoharie (the Mohawk "Upper Castle") and oversaw the mission to the Mohawks. While on his mission, he converted to Sandemanianism, a decision that profoundly shaped the rest of his life. It is difficult to evaluate his efficacy as a missionary: he had high praise for himself, and David Fowler said the Mohawks were affectionate towards him, but Occom described him as overzealous. Chamberlain served the duration of his contract, but clashed with Wheelock afterwards over who was responsible for debts he had incurred on his mission (e.g. transportation costs, support for schoolmasters and interpreters). After departing from Wheelock's service, Chamberlain was ordained as a Sandemanian bishop. He fled to New York and later Nova Scotia during the American Revolution because of his religious and political beliefs. In Nova Scotia, Chamberlain oversaw the establishment of the settlement of Preston.

Wheelock, Mary (née Brinsmead)

Mary Wheelock was born Mary Brinsmead on July 26, 1714 in Milford, Connecticut. In the year following the death of his first wife, Eleazar began to court Mary Brinsmead, and the two married on November 21, 1747. Mary and Eleazar had five children together, including John, who would succeed his father as President of Dartmouth College. Little appears in the historical record about Mary, but many of the people who wrote to Wheelock, especially his Native correspondents who often lived with the family, referred to her warmly. In September 1770, Mary dismantled her longtime home in Connecticut, and travelled with her children to the Wheelocks' new home in the wilderness of New Hampshire. They rode in a coach sent over from England by John Thornton, accompanied by 30 Charity School students on foot. Eleazar, who had gone ahead to build housing for everyone, wrote a letter to Mary with many instructions about the move; the disposition of domestic animals, people, supplies; and the acquisition of money that suggests she was an able and trustworthy manager (manuscript 770510.1; this manuscript is not included in Occom Circle documents). She died in 1784 in Hanover, New Hampshire, where she is buried in the Dartmouth College Cemetery.

Butler, John

Captain John Butler was a prominent military officer and loyalist. He was born in New London, CT in 1728, and he received his education there. John’s father, Captain Walter Butler, had served well under Sir William Johnson, prompting Johnson to endorse the family. When Sir William became Superintendent of Indian Affairs in 1755, he appointed John Butler and his brother, Walter Butler, Jr., as captains in the Indian Department; the two fought in the battle of Lake George on September 8 of that year. John Butler commanded Indian forces throughout the French and Indian War, and he often acted as an interpreter. He became Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs and a Lieutenant Colonel of the militia. While he lived in NY, he hosted various figures on their journeys to the Oneida Nation. When Sir William died in 1774, General Guy Carleton, the military governor of Quebec, appointed John Butler as the interim Superintendent of Indian Affairs; Sir William’s nephew, Guy Johnson, replaced him in July of 1776. In the summer of 1775, Colonel Guy Johnson, John Butler and his son, Walter, escaped to Canada, but the Revolutionaries seized Butler’s property and carried his wife and children to Albany, where they remained under surveillance. Captain Butler continued to be involved with Indian forces during the Revolutionary War. He commanded Butler’s Rangers, a loyalist special forces team that fought alongside Indians, and he is known for leading the Rangers in the Wyoming Massacre of 1778 in Wyoming Valley, PA. In 1779 the Americans released his family during an exchange of prisoners. They reunited in Niagara, where Butler maintained his headquarters during the war and remained thereafter. Butler secured compensation from London for the property losses he suffered due to the Revolution, and he lived the remainder of his life as a notable citizen in Niagara, serving as judge of the district court and Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs. He died near Niagara in May of 1796.

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.

Kirtland, Daniel
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.

Penn, John
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.

Butler, Catherine (née Bratt)
HomeSamuel Kirkland, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1766 March 6
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