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Nathaniel Whitaker, narrative, 1766

ms-number: 766900.11

abstract: Whitaker gives a brief history of Indian conversion in America and why it has thus far been relatively unsuccessful. Occom’s story is used as an argument for promoting Wheelock’s School and its focus on educating Indians, rather than English, as missionaries. A plan for an expanded school is put forth.

handwriting: Handwriting appears to be that of Nathaniel Whitaker. It is informal and small but legible. There are several uncrossed t’s that have been corrected by the transcriber. There are several additions and deletions, indicating that this is likely a draft.

paper: Small single sheets are in fair-to-poor condition, with significant staining and wear that leads to some loss of text.

ink: Dark brown ink bleeds through the pages. In spots, the ink, likely iron gall, has burned through the paper.

noteworthy: This narrative is possibly a speech that was delivered or printed by Nathaniel Whitaker in Great Britain. The manuscript number indicates a date of 1766, though no date is indicated on the document. No author is indicated on the document; authorship has been deduced from the handwriting and contents. In instances when the intention of the writer regarding a certain word cannot be discerned, the word has been left unmodified in the modernized transcription. At the bottom of two verso, there is an addition that begins with the pound sign; this addition continues on the bottom of three recto. On two verso, it is uncertain whether the "Hon: Scotch=Commiſſ.rs" refers to the Connecticut or New York/New Jersey board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, and so it has been left untagged. On eight verso, the identity of the "Candia Indians" is uncertain, and so it has been left untagged.

events: Occom's First Mission to the Oneidas, Occom leaves his studies, Occom's Mission to the Montauks, Occom returns to Mohegan, Occom's second mission to the Oneidas, Occom's marriage

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

The design of gospelizing the Savages of North America hath been esteemed of Such im-
portance and utility as to engage the attention of the greatest
and best of men for Ages past; an[gap: tear][guess: d] therefore there have been
Several Societies formed and incorporated by Royal charters in this
Kingdom#, # who have made Several laudable
attempts for this end.
This Society for promoting Christian knowledge in Edinburgh,
have especially shown their Zeal in this work, as hath also the Society in
London for propagating the Gospel in New England and parts adjacent
But to the grief of all who are acquainted with the Sta[gap: stain][guess: te of the]
Indians there, and pray for their conversion to Christ, the success of their pious en-
deavours hath been very Small in proportion to what might have been
expected. It is well know to all who are acquainted with the history of
New England what was done there among the Indians at Martha's Vineyard, and pla-
ces about Boston and along the Sea Coast, by the great Mr. Eliot of Boston
and others many years Since, and that the Gospel was received by many of the Natives
in those parts, which Still continues to bless those tribes, and is Supported
[gap: tear] by the Honourable Society in London. The most also are acquain-
ted with the success the [gap: tear] [gap: tear] of Good Mr. David Brainerd ha[gap: tear][guess: d a‐]
mong the Indians at Crossweeksung in New Jersey, and Forks of Delaware
Pennsylvania, the fruits of whose Labours remain to this day, and those Indians
are collected, and are under the Care of the Rev. Jonathan Brainerd, brother to David
in New Jersey, Some good also followed
the labours of the Rev. Mr. Sergeant, and afterwards of the Rev. Mr. Jonathan Edwards
at Stockbridge in the Government of Massachusets Bay; as also of the Rev.
Mr. Haley among the Indians of the Six nations at Onaquaga on
Susquehanna river, these three last were Sent by the Honourable Society in
. Yet after all the many attempts which have proved almost fruitless and
the Small success of those which have been the most encouraging Seemed
to cast a cloud over the whole design. Before I proceed it may be
natural to inquire, what were the causes of hindrance in this good work.
And 1. The Indians have imbibed very Strong prejudices against the English,
from the repeated impositions and frauds they have Suffered from those who have
traded with them, and especially those who have purchased their Lands. Hence they
are ready to suspect they are not Safe while they have the English among
them, and are ever jealous that the design is to lay Some plan to get their
Lands from them, as is evident from many facts which can be adduced.
This jealousy Seems to have been the reason of their critical observance of the
conduct of the missionaries, which hath rendered it very difficult to be-
have So as to avoid their suspicion of Some fraudulent design; and this is
greatly heightened by the impossibility of conversing with them but
by an Interpreter who generally being an Englishman, as well as
the missionary, they naturally suspect they are, or at least may be,
laying Schemes unknown to them, and these suspicions have opportunity to
Strengthen greatly, before the missionary may come to know anything
of the matter through ignorance of their language. Hence it hath been generally
found that, although the Indians would admit the missionaries among them
and tre[gap: tear][guess: at] them with respect, their way, for a while, yet they have most commonly
grown Shy and gradually declined in their attendance, by which the missionaries
have been discouraged, and after one or two attempts have declined the mission
except in a few instances. To confirm what is observed above I Shall give one
instance out of many. It once happened that three missionaries and one Interpreter were
at one place among a party of Indians who had been formerly instructed in Some
measure, and who owned a considerable tract of Land, where they continued about
a fortnight; Another missionary was at a place about 100 miles distant, at the
house of an Indian instructed by Mr. Wheelock, where were a number of In-
dians very busy in talking together: the Indian who had been instructed,
being in a room adjoining, and overhearing them, informed the missionary of their
conversation, which was to this purpose, One Said "What is the reason that three
ministers are gone to [gap: tear][guess: O]? Why does [gap: tear][guess: not] one go to that other place? [gap: tear]
[gap: tear] no minister and [gap: tear][guess: to] Such a place. I can't See why they all go to one place.
[gap: tear][guess: ano]ther answered, Why, I'll tell you,' The Indians have but little land at
Such and Such places, and that is the reason they do not go there; But at O they
have a good deal of land, and that's the reason So many are gone there; it is
to get their Land. This gave the missionary much trouble
and it was with great difficulty, he removed their jealousies especially as no good reason which might be mentioned to them,
could be given for those three missionaries being at that place. This account I had
from the missionary's own mouth.
2. Another great obstacle hath been The want of their Language, which
hath made it impossible to communicate anything to them but by an interpreter.
I need Say nothing to convince the intelligent and thinking part of mankind, that
preaching by an interpreter,
must destroy the whole pathos and energy of delivery
and render even the most important Subjects much less enlivening to the hearers
even where good Interpreters can be had. But there is a great difficulty to
obtain any who can at all answer this end; and those who can Speak the language
of the Indians are generally Such as have been traders among them, or Some
captive who has learned their language; and both these Sorts of people are
well known to be most commonly of Such characters as to make it infinitely
unfit to trust them with affairs of Such eternal consequence. The Rev. Mr.
, in a Narrative of his School publish in Boston in 1763. writes thus on
this head. "There are very few or no interpreters, who are Suitable and
"well-accomplished for the business, to be had. Mr. Occom found great
"difficulty last year in his mission on this account. And not only the cause,
"but his own reputation Suffered much by the unfaithfulness of the man
"he employed. I suppose the Interpreters now employed by the Honourable com-
are the best that are to be had at present. But how many Na-
"tions are there for whom there is no interpreter at all, except, it may
"be, Some ignorant and perhaps vicious person who has been their cap-
"tive, and whom it is utterly unsafe to trust in matters of Such eternal con‐
sequence. And how Shall this difficulty be remedied? It Seems it must
"be one of these two ways, viz. either their Children must come to us, or
"ours go to them" To this I add, that the expense of Supporting an
Interpreter is much greater than will Support an Indian missionary who
is capable of Speaking their language. The Honourable Commissioners in Boston could
not obtain Mr. Gunn whom they employed, under £50. Sterling per annum be‐
sides the Support of the missionary; and they allowed Mr. Occom but about
£15 Sterling per annum who taught a School, and preached to them in their own
language. It is true this allowance was far below what was absolute‐
ly [gap: tear][guess: nece]ssary, and not more than enough to defray the extraordinary charges of his office
and company, without anything for the Support of himself and family; Yet
had they allowed him £50. £60 or £70 per. annum it would not have been more
than half as much as another mission would cost. This difficulty of obtain-
ing Suitable interpreters, and the great expense of the mission when they
could be obtained, hath been a block at the very threshold, and discouraged those
who, out of Love to Christ and the Souls of men, would gladly have ventured
out among them to preach the Gospel.
3. Another difficulty that hath been and Still remains is, The wandering
and unsettled manner of life which the Indian lead. For though they have little vil-
lages where their huts are at no great distance from one another, yet they
are frequently obliged to wander to a great distance to procure Something,
by hunting, to live on; in which rambles they generally carry their Wives
and Children with them. This was the case with the Oneidas when Mr. Occom
was among them in the year 1762 They were obliged to go to Susquehan‐
to hunt for food; in which tour he accompanied and preached
to them. And this often hath been the case as is evident by the accounts given
by most of the missionaries, and in particular in the Continuation of Mr.
Wheelock's Narrative printed in Boston in 1765.
This is a difficulty not easily remedied, and must be born with 'til they can
be brought to till their lands and not depend So much on the uncertain means of
hunting for their Support. The most likely way to affect this will be con-
Sidered hereafter.
4. Difficult as it is for missionaries to go among the Indians with any
any tolerable hopes of success, it is Still more difficult, in Several respects,
to Set up Schools among them to any great advantage. For not only the 'fore-
mentioned jealousies, wan't of their Language, and wandering, but also the
aversion the parents have to Such a discipline as is absolutely neces‐
sary to keep them in any order and promote their learning is a great obstruction The Children
are So used to an idle life, that they are ever ready to wander and neglect the
School, and when at School to neglect their books; and if any discipline is used,
both they and their parents resent it, and hence will not allow, or at least will
not urge the children to go to School. Mr. Wheelock in his narrative printed
in Boston 1763. page 19. writes thus, "There is no Such thing as Sending English
"missionaries, or Setting up and maintaining English Schools to any good pur‐
"pose in most places among them, as their Temper, State and condition have
"been and Still are. It is possible a School may be maintained to Some
"good purpose at Onaquaga, where there have been heretofore Several
"faithful missionaries, by the blessing of God on whose labours the In‐
"dians are in Some measure civilized, Some of them baptized, a Number
"of them, in the judgment of Charity, real Christians — And [gap: tear][guess: where] the
"Honourable Scotch= Commissioners, I hear, have Sent two missionaries, and have made
"Some attempts to Set up a School. But at Chenango, a little beyond, they
"will by no means admit an English missionary to reside among them.
"And though there were many of them under great awakenings and concern,
"by the blessing of God on the labours of a Christian Indian from these
"parts, yet Such was the violent opposition of Numbers of them, that
"it was thought by no means Safe, for an Englishman to go among them,
"with a design to tarry with them #. And like to this is the case with
"parties of Indians for near an hundred miles together, on the west Side
"of Susquehanna River. Another School or two may possibly be Set up with

# I find at the End of the Rev. Mr. Randals Sermon preached before the Society
in Scotland
in 1763. a letter from the Rev. Mr. Samuel Mather of Boston, in which
he gives a very agreeable and just account of the Indians at Onaquaga which he
had from a person who had lived among them, and who he Says also informed him,
"That about 16 miles west of Onaquaga, there are 200 Indians, who gene-
"rally talk English, and who have an Indian teacher, who knows but little,
"though he Seems well disposed. These Indians Seem well prepared for an English
"missionary" — These are the Indians above mentioned at Chenango: and the account
which Mr. Wheelock here has published he had from this Indian preacher, who is
"with success among the Mohawks,

" where they have got into the way of cultivating their Lands for a living,
"and So have more ability to Support their children, and less occasion to ram-
"ble abroad with them. But even in these places we may find it more dif-
"ficult than we may imagine before trial be made (though I would by no means
"discourage the trial of every feasible method for the accomplishing this
"great design) but by Acquaintance with the Schools which the Honourable Lon-
have, with pious Zeal, Set up and maintained among
"the Several tribes in these parts, I am much confirmed in these Sen-
"timents. These parties live amongst, and are encompassed by the English, have
"long had good preaching, and numbers of them appear to be truly godly.
"Yet Such is the Savage temper of many, their want of due esteem for
"learning, and gratitude to their benefactors, and especially their want of Govern-
"ment, that their schoolmasters, though skillful and faithful men, constantly com-
"plain they can't keep the children in any measure constant at School.
"Mr. Clelland the schoolmaster at Mohegan has often told me what unwea-
"ried pains he had taken by visiting and discoursing with their parents, etc. to
"remedy this evil, and after all can't accomplish it. The children are Suffered
"to n[gap: tear][guess: eg]lect their attendance on instruction, and waste much time, by which
"means they don't learn So much in Several years as they might, and others
"do in one, who are taken out of the reach of their parents, and out of the way
"of Indian examples, and are kept to School under good government and con-
"Stant instruction. I the rather mention this instance, because of the well
"known Skill and fidelity of that good Gentleman, and because that tribe are as
"much civilized, and as many of them christianized, as perhaps any party of
"them in this government. And by all I can learn, it is no better in this respect
"with any other. They are So disaffected towards a good and necessary government,
"that as gentle an exercise of it as may be, and answer the design of keeping up
"order and regularity in any measure among them, will likely So disgust them as
"to render the case worse rather than better. Captain Martin Kellogg com‐
"plained of this as his great discouragement in the School at Stockbridge, not‐
withstanding he understood, as well as any man, the dispositions of the Indians,

one of the Mohegan tribe taught and Sent by Mr. Wheelock and who has been often among them endeavouring to
teach them according to his ability, with whom I am well acquainted, and who told
me that they were greatly prejudiced against the English as they removed to that
place being turned off their land elsewhere; and who went among them in 1763, and could
not preach to them as the man whom he expected to be his interpreter was not there
and none among them could interpret for him. This account he gave me immediately
after his return. So that there must be Some mistake in Mr. Mathers Account
"and had the advantage of knowing their language and customs, having been so
"long a captive among them, and was high in their affection and esteem; Yet he was
"obliged to take the Children home to Wethersfield with him, quite away from
"their parents, before he could exercise that government which was necessary
"in order to their profiting at School — And besides all this they are so
"extremely poor, and depend so much upon hunting for a livelihood, that they are
"in no capacity to Support their children at School, if their disposition for it
"were ever So good" i.e. in a constant and regular way. Some light may be
thrown on this Subject by a letter from David Fowler an Indian schoolmas‐
ter educated by Mr. Wheelock, dated, Oneida, June 24. 1765. — "My Scholars
"learn very well, I have put eleve[gap: tear][guess: n] of them into a, b, ab. (i.e. 19 day after he
begun the School) "I have three m[gap: tear][guess: or]e that will advance to that place this week
"and Some have got to the Sixth page. It is a thousand pities they cannot keep
"together: they are often going about to get their provision. One of the chiefs,
"in whose house I live, told me, he believed Some of the Indians would Starve
"to death this Summer. Some of them have almost consumed all their corn
"already." From hence it appears, that the gospelizing the Indians is attend-
ed with very great difficulties, and were it not absolutely necessary, these things
would be Sufficient to discourage any attempt; But where anything is ne‐
cessary, and of infinite importance (as this certainly is, both with regard to our‐
Selves as God's covenant people, and to them as formed for immortality) the
greater the difficulties are, the more vigourous Should be our efforts, and if
we fail in one attempt we Should try another. This is the way of men as to things
of infinitely less importance. But alas! the children of this world are often wi‐
ser in their generation than the children of Light.
Let us not then be discou‐
raged, but attend to what follows, which is humbly offered as the most likely
remedy for these evils, and which, by the blessing of God hath done more already,
than any attempt which was ever before made.
About 27 years ago, the Rev. Mr. Occom an Indian of the Mohegan tribe
near New London in Connecticut in New England, was converted from pagan‐
ism (as were a number besides of that tribe) 'til which time he had lived to-
tally ignorant of the christian religion; being then between 16 and 17 years of
age. After this he had a Strong desire to learn to read the Scriptures. He ap-
plied to Some English, who lived near his tribe, to instruct him in his letters, etc.
and by his diligent application, without any School, he was able to read brokenly
in the Bible and Speak a little broken English when he was about 19
at which time, hearing that the Rev. Mr. Wheelock, whom he had heard
preach among the Indians, and for whom he had a high esteem, had a number
of English youths fitting for college, he had a desire to go to him to be instructed
for a few weeks in reading — Providence opened the way by his Mother going
to Mr. Wheelock, who cheerfully took him, and taught him 4 years, near one
of which he was unable to Study through indisposition of body. His
application to Study was So intense, that at the end of that time he hurt
his eyes so as to be unable to pursue his Studies, and therefore went
to Montauk on Long Island, and taught School among the Indians. there,
where he took the place of the Rev. Mr. Horton who had been employed among
them by the Honourable Scotch Commissioners in New York. At his first going to that
place he taught School about a year and half without Support from any So-
ciety; but marrying, he found it necessary to have Some other help than
he could procure by labour in vacant hours. He kept School both parts of
the day, and in the winter season evenings also, attended their Sick, and funerals,
and prayed and expounded the Scriptures to them and exhorted them every Sabbath
and did all the other parts of a teacher among them, So that his time being al‐
most wholly engrossed he could do but little for his own Support. Some
friends knowing his circumstances applied to the Honourable London Commissioners
in Boston
who gave him £15 Ster. per annum which they continued for most of
the 16 years he was there. But his family increasing greatly he was
obliged to remove to his own land in Mohegan, in order to procure Some
Support for them, and here he had for one year £22:10 Sterling from the said
Honourable London Commissioners; and being 100 miles distant from them, and Surround-
ed by the Honourable Scotch Commissioners in Connecticut, it was thought best he should
be under their care; and accordingly that Board in July 1764. profferred a
request to have him dismissed from the Board in Boston to them, with the
continuance of his salary; which was readily done, but they continued
the salary only for that year: so that being much in debt before, he was
now reduced to Some Straights as the Board in Connecticut had no means of
relief for him, yet it pleased God to open the hearts of friends So that he did
not Suffer. But to return.
About 8 years after Mr. Occom left Mr. Wheelock, i.e. in 1754. he
Sent to the Rev. Mr. John Brainerd in New Jersey for two boys in order to edu-
cate them. He was encouraged to this by observing the success which Mr.
Occom had among the Indians on long Island, who were filled with prejudices
against their minister the Rev. Mr. Horton, and all other ministers around, by the
intemperate Zeal of Some exhorters from New England; and who were happily
cured by his prudent management among them, so as to attend to the Sober dic-
tates of religion, and seeing that, his labours had been
successful by the divine blessing for the Saving good of Some; and that his own Na-
tion, as well as those adjacent who knew him, depended on him to con-
duct their civil, as well as religious affairs, he concluded that teaching
the Indians by their own Sons was the most likely way to success; and therefore
procured the two boys above mentioned. When he took these two youths, he had
no fund for their Support, nor Sufficient income for the Support of his own
numerous family; though he had Some estate in land And from that time 'til
I left America, he never had anything in hand for the Support of the cause
except twice a little more than to discharge the debts in which he had in-
volved his own estate ; And when he first undertook this work, he
says Page 14th of his first Narrative "I did not much think of any
"thing more than only to clear myself and family of partaking in the
" public guilt of our land and nation in such a neglect of them."
After he had instructed these two Youths for near two years, one of them falling into
a decline, he Sent him home, and two more of the Delaware Tribe came in his place.
And though the war Soon commenced, and the face of Indian affairs appeared more
and more gloomy; yet Such was the good behaviour of the Boys, and their proficiency
in learning that he was encouraged to go on, and gradually increase the Number, So
that in April 1757, he had four; and in April 1759, five; and Seven in November, 1760;
and eleven in August 1761, and in November 1762 he had no less than 25 in his School*
* and thus he went on to increase the
number 'til in the whole he hath had
between 40 and 50 whom he Supports.
Mr. Wheelock's principle view had all along been, to open a way to the Six na‐
, and through them, to more remote tribes, if the affair Should Succeed: But this could
not be accomplished at first. those Nations had always been averse to parting with their
Children to go to the English. [illegible][guess: The] Honourable Cadwallader Colden Governor of New York told me, that
he had tried to obtain Some of their Children to educate, and though personally
acquainted and intimate with many of them, could never prevail. Hence Mr. Whee-
was under a necessity of beginning with those Tribes who had Some acquaintance
with the English, and with religion. besides, the War commencing, it was quite imprac-
ticable, and would have been esteemed wild and extravagant indeed, to have made an attempt
of this nature among Indians who were often in suspense what Side to take in the war;
and his proposal to obtain them, when the war was ended, "was by many hardly to be account-
ed for but by a distempered brain." By the time the War ended, he had taken four of the
Delaware Nation from New Jersey, one of whom was dead; and two from Montauk on Long-
in New York government and only one from Connecticut, viz from Mohegan; and Since
that time hath never taken any from those Nations, excepting 2 or 3 who were designed
for trades after they had learned to read, write, and keep common accounts, and these are
not reckoned in the School.
The attempt to procure youths from the Six Nations at first was hazardous,
and would require considerable expense, and had Mr. Wheelock attempted it without
help from Some Society, and without money to Support the charge of So extraor-
dinary an enterprise, there would have been Still more danger that he would
have been reproached as rash and presumptuous. Therefore in May 1761, he ap-
plied to the Honourable Scotch Commissioners in Boston, who approving the design of
Sending for children of remote tribes, passed a vote on May 7. to this purpose,
That Mr. Wheelock be desired to fit out David Fowler an Indian youth to accom‐
pany the Rev. Mr. Occom on a mission to Oneida, and that Said David be Supported
on said mission a term not not exceeding 4 months, and that he endeavour,
on his return, to bring down three Boys to be put under Mr. Wheelocks care
and that £20 be put into Mr. Wheelocks hand to carry on the design; and that when

Said Sum Shall be expended, he advise the treasurer of it and Send his accounts
for allowance.
This was accordingly done and the three boys procured and Sent
to Mr. Wheelock. This was the first opening among the back nations, and was
much facilitated by Mr. Occom and David Fowler, (who had
been educated in Mr. Wheelocks School) going up among them and giving them
a favourable Idea of the design, and especially by the influence and assistance of
Sir William Johnson. Encouraged by this countenance from the Board, Mr. Wheelock
applied to the General Assembly of Massachusetts Bay the November following,
who granted him £54 Sterling on which encouragement he took Six more
Children of the Six Nations, trusting providence for the Supply of what that
Sum Should fall Short in their Support. This Sum of £54 Sterling that Honourable Assem‐
have granted to Mr. Wheelock from year to year Since; and by the charities of
the pious in and about Boston, Portsmouth, Connecticut, New York and Phila-
, and Some kind, unexpected providential Supplies from friends of the
cause in Great Britain, the School hath been hitherto Supported; though no mo-
ney hath ever been in hand more than Sufficient to discharge present debts (which
sometimes have been very considerable without any human prospect of relief) and,
twice only, to keep the School a few weeks.
In this number of youth there was one Mr. Kirtland the Son of a minister
in Norwich in New England, and Since there have been three or four more En‐
glish youth taken in to be trained up as associates with the Indians in their
missions, and Several who have had the most of their education at their own
expense are now employed as missionaries among the Indians, and Sup-
ported by this Charity.
In November. 1764, Mr. Kirtland and Joseph Woolley an Indian youth, Set out
for the Six Nations in order to winter among them. They went to Onaquaga
where Joseph continued with the Indians 'til the next fall teaching School
and instructing them in the things of God and Jesus Christ in which he appeared
to be much engaged. Mr. Kirtland went from thence to Fort Johnson, and
tarried with Sir William Johnson learning the Mohawk language, 'til the 17th of
January following
, and then traveled on boat in company with two Seneca Indians,
about 250 miles through a Snow four feet deep, 'til he came to the Seneca Na‐
, among whom he continued 'til the Spring of 1766, and
Suffered many hardships, and was often in great danger of being murdered by
Some of that Savage Nation — But God preserved him; and by him hath opened
a hopeful prospect of carrying the blessed gospel among that numerous and
Savage tribe.
The encouraging accounts which Mr. Kirtland gave of the di[gap: tear][guess: is]
of the Indians and their earnest desire to Send their Children to Mr. [gap: tear][guess: Whee-]
and to have teachers come among them, excited him to look out for Som[gap: tear][guess: e] En
gli[gap: tear][guess: sh]
glish missionaries to Send out with those Indian youth who were qualified for
instructing the heathen. Mr. Wheelock was encouraged to Send English mis‐
sionaries by the confidence which he knew these Indians had in him, as Sincerely
Seeking their good, of which they were persuaded by his educating their Children: and
also by the earnest desire they expressed of having ministers Sent
among them, of which they had been destitute for Several years. Accordingly he
called the Honourable Board of Commissioners in Connecticut to meet on the 12th of March 1765
in order to examine Messrs. Titus Smith and Theophilus Chamberlain as missionaries,
David Fowler, a Montauk Indian, Hezekiah Calvin, a Delaware, Moses, Johannes,
Abraham primus, Abraham Secundus and Peter, Mohawks as schoolmasters: ac-
cordingly we met; and providence So ordered it, that at the very time we were
gathering, three Indians arrived from Onaquaga, having traveled on foot 300
miles through the Snow; and at the Same instant also came in Mr. Gunn the Interpre-
ter, who was well acquainted with those indians, by whom we were able to under-
stand them and they us. Thus these three parties met, in less than half an hour, from
places 300 miles distant, without any previous appointment or the least know-
ledge of each others design. Their errand was to ask for a minister to go and preach
Christ to them, and Said they had had no minister for a great while. The Board examined
and approved the Candidates; and on the 24th of April following they two were or-
dained, and commissioned by the Board as missionaries, who went to the Six nations
in company with the schoolmasters who were placed in Schools among them
and in the autumn following they had in their Schools about 130 children, who
made good proficiency in reading, though they knew not a letter (most of them) when
they went among them: And by a letter from Mr. Wheelock Since I am informed that
he had accounts of above 100 children in only four of those schools last Summer.
Thus I have given as honest, plain, though imperfect, a history of the rise and pro-
gress of this School as I am capable of in So Short a compass: and I persuade my-
self that it will easily appear, that this plan is more likely to obviate the before-
mentioned difficulties, than any other that hath been attempted, and is incomparably
better than to depend wholly on English missionaries for, let it be observed
1. The Indians entertain no jealousies of their own Children as having a design of
defrauding them of their Lands, their interest being one; So the grand objection is removed.
2. An Indian missionary may be Supported with less than half the expense, that will
be necessary for the Support of an English missionary, who can't conform to their
manner of living, and who can have no dependance on them for any part of it; but on
the contrary, they will be always expecting Some favours from him, which will not
be the case with an Indian.
3. Hereby the great expense of an Interpreter will be Saved, as the Indians will
Speak to them in their own language and So be able to address them with more pathos
[gap: tear][guess: and] energy; and be in a capacity more readily to prevent any rising jealousies and difficulties
[gap: tear][guess: whi]ch may be breeding among them, and which could not be easily discovered by one who
[gap: tear][guess: is ig]norant of their language.
[gap: tear][guess: 4.] Indian missionaries may be supposed better to understand the tempers and customs
[gap: tear][guess: of the] Indians, and more readily conform to them in a thousand things than the English
can, and in things wherein their nonconformity may cause disgust, and by them be
construed as the fruit of pride, or it may be, Something worse.
5.The Influence of their own Sons among them will likely be much greater
than of any Englishman whatever. They will look upon Such as one of them;
their interest the Same with theirs: and will naturally esteem him as the hon–
of their Nation, and be more ready to be advised and Submit to his reproofs, than
to any English missionary; and especially will they, more patiently, endure the
discipline necessary in a School from one of their own nation than from
the English. This is abundantly evident in the case of Mr. Occom, who taught
School a long time among the Indians at Montauk, where, he Says, he could,
without offence, use any necessary Severity with the Children and reprove the
Parents for any fault: and even among his own tribe his influence is much
greater than any other man's in that whole government, as well as among
all the tribes in that vicinity
6.The great difference between the English manner of living, and that of the
Indians causes them to despair of imitating them; but when they See their
own Sons capable of husbandry and a decent life, this hath already, and will pro-
bably continue more and more to animate them to industry and husbandry, that
they also may partake of the Sweets of life, and not be so frequently reduced to a
starving condition, which a dependence on hunting disposes them to. And this
is the most likely means of preventing their rambling, and collecting them to‐
gether in compact bodies, and fixing them in settled habitations; which will effec-
tually prevent their going to war with us, as then their property will be fixed, and
not easily removed, and therefore exposed to be destroyed, and they ruined in case of a war, and will also
incline them to use their Influence with the more defiant nations to keep them
in peace; and to defend us when there Shall be war, as they will be our frontier, and
most liable to Suffer. This also will bring them under better advantages for
instruction, as they will not need to ramble for their food. Let me add here
also, that this will be of inconceivable advantage to the trade of this Nation,
as every civilized Indian will take a considerable quantity of British ma-
nufactories yearly. Besides, this will enable them to procure a living from
the one fiftieth part of the land which is now necessary for them to hunt
on, and the residue may be improved by the English, without any injury to
the Indians when once they learn husbandry, and hereby the british Colonies
can be extended, and the people there be under no necessity of going into ma-
nufactories; which they never will, while they have Sufficient land to improve.
7. The friendship and acquaintance which the Indian boys, from distinct
Tribes and places, will contract and cultivate, while together, at School, may be
improved much for the advantage and furtherance of their mission
8. In this School, children of different nations may, and easily will, learn one ano-
thers language, and English youth may learn of them; and thereby Save the vast
expense of Interpreters, and their ministry be much more acceptable, and edify‐
ing to the Indians.
9. Indian missionaries will readily own English ones, who Shall be associated
with them (where the English can be introduced) as elder brethren, especially
while they are So much dependant on the English for a Support — and they will
mutually help each other to recommend the design to the favourable reception
of the pagans, remove their prejudices, conciliate their friendship, and induce
them to repose due confidence in the English.
10. The Indians being acquainted with the English language, will thereby
be naturally bound to them, (for all know how Strong the tie of language is) and
will of course be naturally disposed to trade with the people they can under-
Stand; and will also have the advantage of knowing what deeds and other writings
they Sign, by which they will be guarded from those impositions, which have
been the ground of their jealousies, and cost the English So much blood and treasure
11. Indians brought up for missionaries in this School,
are not likely to forsake the business of their mission, as they will not probably
be invited to churches among the English; and as they will have the induce-
ment to continue among the Indians which no English man can have, viz.
that they will necessarily be esteemed, honoured and advanced among them on
account of their Superior knowledge. This has been the case most evidently
with Mr. Occom who hath more influence and honour among his own Nation
and all the Tribes around them, than any sachem of the back nations hath
whereas there are very few instances of
English missionaries who have had a delicate education, but have Soon preferred
the pleasures of Society and a field of more extensive usefulness, of which they
have had a fairer prospect among the English, to the regions of Igno-
rance, and hardships of life in a dreary wilderness, where their improvements
in learning and Science are hid, and they Seem almost lost to themselves and the world.
If the above observations are just, it is easy for the attentive mind to See that the
School before described is exactly calculated to answer all the difficulties which
have hitherto obstructed this glorious work beyond anything which hath yet
been attempted. And if the Indians can be brought to agriculture and live decently,
it will tend to cure them of the vice of drinking to excess, which hath ever
been a great obstruction to the progress of the Gospel among them, and rendered
it dangerous for missionaries to be among them. The instance of Mr. Occoms
nation is a full proof of this. Formerly they were, like other Indians, addicted
to drinking to excess, but now they cultivate their lands and have the comforts
of life they are as free from that vice as perhaps any So large a num-
ber of people together among the English.
I do not pretend that this plan is So perfect as to be incapable of improve-
ment; but am sensible it is yet necessarily deficient in many respects
and time, with experience, may discover many more defects, than do now occur. Give
me leave to hint one or two things which belong to the plan, and which can't at
present be accomplished for want of Supplies.
1. It is proposed to obtain a large tract of land nearer the back Indians
in order to erect the School, and employ a great Number of Indian Youth
of different nations in husbandry as well as So much learning as Shall
be necessary for common business; and to train up a number of Girls to
all the business of housewifery and Such trades as Shall render them useful
in their families; and also to teach the Indians lads Such trades as will en-
able them to promote husbandry etc. among their own Nations. This was
the plan proposed by the Rev. Mr. Seargent of Stockbridge,
and Mr. David Bainard, and was generally approved.
2. It is proposed that the Indian youths, who have been taught to read and write
well, and Some of whom are of other nations and languages, Should go accompanied
by Such English youth as are designed for a mission, to Some nation where
they are likely to be employed in order to Set up Schools to teach the chil-
dren English, while they perfect themselves in their own or a Strange lan-
guage — This indeed is now pursued with respect to a number, but need's
larger Supplies to carry it into thorough execution.
This whole scheme Seems to bid So far for success; and the effects of it have
already been So remarkable, that I freely own, That after my intimate ac-
quaintance with it for Several years I am not able to form an objection
of any weight against it: And yet I have heard of three objections which have
been improved to its disadvantage, which I beg leave now to obviate.
1. The great expense of taking Indian youth from their parents and educat-
ing them among the English is objected to this plan.
What I have Said already would be [illegible][guess: a] Sufficient answer to this objection were it not
for an Extract from Dr Chauncy's Sermon preach in Boston at the ordination
of Mr. Bowman on August 31. 1762, which I find published here at the end of
the Rev. Mr. Randals Sermon, preach before the Society in Edinburgh, for pro-
moting christian knowledge
; His words are "We have have not encouraged the
"Sending these Boys; and, as we imagine, for very good reasons. The charge of bring-
"ing them from their own homes, and educating them among us, would be very
"great. We have felt the truth of this, as we lately found ourselves obliged to
"pay nearly £60. Sterling in less than one year for three Boys only."
These boys were under Mr. Wheelocks care; and I freely own that this expense is
very great. As it is natural for everyone to understand by this account that, three Boys
only would ordinarily cost near £60 Sterling in less than one year, per-
haps in eight or nine months. But the Dr. was unhappily mistaken as to the
fact, which was this. David Fowler was on a mission near four months in which
he Spent (including the expense of fitting him out) near £15. Sterling He procured
and Sent down three Mohawk Lads, they each brought a horse which Mr. Wheelock
was obliged to keep in a time of great drought; they all came little better than
naked, except one who had Some clothes; He clothed them all — In about three
months, one being in a decline when he came was obliged to return, and another
to accompany him,
one Soon died, the other married and did not return. The third accompanied Mr.
about 200 miles to procure two more to Supply their place, which
journey was expensive; the two they obtained were to be clothed
which added to the expense; So that instead of "three Boys only" there was the
clothing and furnishing David Fowler with horse and money for his long journey
of Several months; the expense of the Boys journey home above 200 miles;
the expense of Kirtlands Journey (excepting his horse) to bring down the
other two; the pasturing their horses in a dry and difficult season; the cloth-
ing all five and repairing their clothing while they tarried; their Boarding
Schooling, washing, lodging, firewood, Candles, books, paper, etc. the amount
of all which. for near twelve months was, errors excepted, just £58.17..7 ¼
Sterling: Hence it appears that the Dr. was grossly mistaken, when he Says "for
three boys only" It is a pity he had not examined the case more thoroughly
before he published concerning it, which he had the fairest opportunity for
as he was Chairman of the Committee when the account was carried in: and it
is a debt he owes to the world and to truth to own his mistake and Set this
affair in a true light, as it respects a matter of fact.. But this whole
affair is Set in a more full light in Mr. Wheelocks Narrative printed
in Boston Page. 39-45. which has never be replied to by the Dr.
II. The Second objection is, That the most of the Indian youth which Mr.
Wheelock hath had in his School are taken from the civilized and christianized
Indians in Connecticut.
This is also a gross mistake: for So intimately as I am acquainted with
the School, I know of but two Indians that ever were in it, which belonged
to connecticut, and one of those, as I remember, was designed for a trade and the other
for a farmer. Mr. Occom indeed is another exception; but he had left Mr. Wheelock 8 or 9 years before he had the thoughts of a School, and never was reckoned as one of it.
III. It is also objected, that it would be a much better and cheaper way to learn
the Indians to read in their own language than to teach them English. In an‐
swer to this I would observe
1. There are no books in the language of any of the back nations, except the
Psalms and a few other passages of Scripture in the Mohawk language; and it is
next to impossible to find any man to whom it would be Safe to trust the
work of translating the Scriptures into that or any other back Indian language.
2. If the Bible and Some other good books were translated into any one
language which is known in America, it would be of use to but a compa‐
ratively Small number, as the language differs generally every hundred or 2
miles, not only in its Idiom, but in the very words as much as the Welsh
differs from the English; So that there would require many translations,
which, as it would be exceeding difficult to procure them, if not impossible, So the impres‐
sions of them must be very expensive.
I have now only to add a few motives which tend to influence the pious and be-
nevolent to exert themselves for the Support of this School and of the missionaries
and schoolmaster who are and may be Sent from it into the wilderness to instruct
the perishing pagans in reading, writing, religion and the civil arts.
1. The consideration of the low and wretched condition in which they live, Should ex-
cite us to this. Their habitations are usually made of the Bark of trees, and are insuffi‐
cient to defend them from the rain and cold their lodging the cold earth or the bark
of a tree, and at best the Skin of a bear or some other beast — their food, the flesh of
wild beasts they take in hunting which they commonly eat without Salt, and frequent-
ly without bread, as they are unacquainted with husbandry, and raise no bread corn,
except maize or Indian corn, of which they seldom have a Sufficiency. And they,
depending on hunting, are often Starved through want. Now, if we are required to
deal our bread to the hungry, where can we find more proper objects? especially
as there are So many thousands and millions of these unhappy wretches, and a small
matter comparatively, will be Sufficient to bring them to be able to Support themselves.
2. They have Souls as well as we, and are capable of the Same happiness or mi-
sery and therefore love to their immortal part Should excite us to endeavour to Spread
the Gospel among them, without which they cannot be Saved in God's ordinary way.
And can we pretend to be the followers of Christ and partakers of his Spirit, and yet be in-
different to the happiness or misery of their precious Souls!
3. God hath evidently intimated his displeasure at our neglect, in Suffering
the Indians to be Such a Sore scourge to the British Colonies, in barbarously butch-
ering and murdering the inhabitants, captivating their Sons, dashing their little
ones against the Stones, and burning and laying waste the country, for near a hundred
miles together as they did the last war: all which might have been prevented, had
there been Suitable pains taken in time to Send pious, zealous missionaries among
them, especially of their own Sons, who being trained up with the English would
naturally have an attachment to them, and by various means might have prevented
their engaging in a war. "There is good reason to think, that if one half which has
been laid out in building forts, manning and Supporting them, and in presents to buy the
friendship of the Indians, had been prudently laid out in Supporting faithful missionaries
and schoolmasters among them, that the more instructed, and civilized party would have
been a better defence, than all the expensive fortresses and prevented the laying waste So
many towns and villages: witness the consequence of Sending Mr. Sergeant to Stock-
bridge, which was in the very road by which they most usually came upon our
people, and by which there hath never been one attack made upon us, since his going there"
Sir William Johnson in a letter to Mr. Occom, Say "Every Indian in the near Oneida Castle,
the Onaquagas, Mohawks, Schoharies, and Candia Indians are determined to live and
die with the English; owing in a great measure to the little knowledge they have of
our religion, which I heartily wish was more known to them and the rest."
4. The great obligations which lie on us as God's Covent people, who have all we enjoy
more than they in a covent way, and So are bound to devote all to the Glory of our liberal
benefactor, Should be a motive to excite us to liberality in this work.
5. The conversion of the heathen is that on which the heart of the great Redeemer is greatly
set — for he shall be Satisfied when he Sees of the travil of his Soul. And can we be in[gap: tear][guess: dif-]
ferent in that in which he is So engaged! did he become poor, that we might be rich; and
Shall we grudge a little of our Substance and pains for to Save those Souls for which
he died! Surely if the love of Christ dwells in us we Shall think nothing too much
or too hard that is in our power in order to Set Christ on his throne among the heathen
6. The Spreading knowledge and Civility among the Indians will greatly increase the
trade and wealth of this nation, as they will then wear the british manufacturies, which
article alone would every year far more than compensate the annual expense
of instructing them
7. There are many promises of God that Christ's Kingdom Shall come among the hea‐
then; and therefore we have good reason to believe our endeavours will not be fruitless
8 The design is carried far already by that eminent, faithful Servant of God Mr.
Wheelock, who with infinite pains and labour and to [illegible][guess: the] hazard of his own estate, hath trained up a number who are
now employed in teaching the heathen; and if he can't be encouraged to go on, who will
ever attempt the like again
9. Many are willing to go out and Suffer the hardships of a wilderness life,
and forsake every comfort that results from Society and plenty, and go through dangers and fatigues.
too many and great to be here described; And this they have done hitherto without any other
encouragement but that which hath arose from the hope of Spreading the Gospel among
their perishing fellow men, and from the promises of a future reward in Glory; and can any
who bear the name of Christians be backward to give of their substance to feed and
clothe them, while they bear the burden and heat of the day — Surely we Should bear
one anothers burdens and So fulfill the Law of Christ.
10. And not to add. The gracious encouragement given by God himself, and his
many promises that he will reward, even in this life, with temporal blessings
and in the life to come with eternal advantage, whatever is given for the advance-
ment of his cause here Should awaken us to Such acts of charity and piety. Many
are the promises to this purpose —Cast thy bread on the Waters, and thou Shall find it after
many days. The liberal Soul deviseth liberal things, and by liberal things Shall he Stand
blessed is the man that considereth the poor, the Lord Shall be with him in time of
trouble, etc. etc. etc. And this is one yea the principle thing which Christ will at last
acknowledge as the mark of his disciples, and will reward with eternal Joy: He Shall
then Say to them on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my father inherit the Kingdom
— for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat, I was athirst, and ye gave me drink —
— Inasmuch as ye did it to one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it to me —
May we be of this happy number, Amen and amen —

Whitaker, Nathaniel

Nathaniel Whitaker was an outspoken Presbyterian minister with a long and wide-ranging career. Between his ordination in 1755 and his death in 1795, Whitaker ministered to five different congregations. His longest tenure was at Chelsea, CT (near Norwich), from 1761-1769, during which he joined Occom on his two-and-a-half-year fundraising tour of Britain. While in Chelsea, Whitaker was very involved in Wheelock's project. The two engaged in frequent correspondence, and Whitaker served on Eleazar Wheelock's Board of Correspondents in Connecticut, as well as on the Board of Trustees of Moor's Indian Charity School. At one time, he was Wheelock's presumed successor, but Dartmouth's Trustees demanded that Wheelock appoint another. Wheelock, in part due to his strongly-held belief that Native Americans were childlike and rash, was convinced that Occom needed an Anglo-American supervisor on his fundraising tour. After several candidates turned down the job, Wheelock selected Whitaker. He proved to be a poor choice; he was, by many accounts, a difficult man to get along with, and many of Wheelock’s British allies, including George Whitefield and the English Trust (the organization that took control of the money Occom raised in England) preferred to deal with Occom, although Whitaker insisted on handling the tour’s logistics. Furthermore, in Britain, Occom was the obvious star of the tour, and it was unclear to many why Whitaker asserted himself so prominently. Whitaker’s poor decisions seriously alienated the English Trust and increased their suspicion of Wheelock’s later dealings and treatment of Occom. He gave the English Trust the impression that they would have control over money raised in Scotland (which was in fact lodged with the parent organization of the SSPCK), and he was the executor of the “Eells Affair,” a plan initiated by the CT Board of the SSPCK to bring the money that Occom and Whitaker raised back to the colonies by investing it in trade goods and selling them at a profit (Eells was one of the merchants who was to help with the resale of goods). The English Trust learned about the plan by reading letters that Whitaker had given them permission to open in his absence, and were immediately shocked. The wording of certain letters made it appear that only a percentage of the profit from the resale of the goods would go towards Moor’s Indian Charity School, but beyond that detail, the English Trust was scandalized at the thought of money raised for charity being invested in trade. The English Trust blamed Whitaker entirely for these affairs, and issued specific instructions for Occom to notarize all documents requiring Whitaker’s signature. In short, they wanted Occom to supervise Whitaker, when Wheelock had envisioned the opposite relationship (both Occom and Whitaker seem to have ignored their instructions, preferring to have as little contact with one another as possible). In 1769, a year after his return to Connecticut in 1768, Whitaker found himself dismissed by his Chelsea congregation (likely because he had spent two and a half years away from them). He went on to serve several more congregations before his death in 1795. Whitaker was an outspoken Whig, and during the Revolution he published several pamphlets on his political opinions.

Eliot, John

John Eliot was a Puritan minister who became known as "the Apostle to the Indians." He was born in England in 1604, the son of Bennett Eliot, a middle-class farmer, and graduated from Jesus College, Cambridge in 1622. Coming under the influence of Thomas Hooker, he became a Puritan dissenter and emigrated to the fledgling colony of Massachusetts in 1631. In 1632, he became a teacher at the church of Roxbury, near Boston, where he remained until his death in 1690. Interested in converting Indians, he learned their dialects with the assistance of a young Indian and gave his first sermon in the Massachusetts tongue in October 1646. Thereafter, he helped establish 14 "praying towns" for 4,000 converted Native peoples, which were destroyed during King Philip's (Metacom's) war in 1674. Eliot's work was funded from England and inspired the creation of the Company for Propagating the Gospel in New England and Parts Adjacent in North America in 1649, the first missionary society in England. After 1770, it became known as the New England Company, a group with whom Wheelock had very rocky relations. Still, Eliot's methods, his belief that "civilization" of Indians was necessary for conversion, and his training and use of Native teachers and evangelists, set the pattern for missionary work for the next two centuries and influenced Wheelock's approach. Eliot is best known for his production of a translation of the Bible into the Massachusetts dialect of Algonquian, published in 1661-1663. It was the first Bible printed in North America. Both Wheelock and the white missionaries he trained saw themselves as walking in Eliot's footsteps.

Brainerd, David

David Brainerd was a Presbyterian missionary who became a New Light martyr and inspired Wheelock to work for Native American education. He was the older brother of the longer-lived but lesser-known John Brainerd, who provided Wheelock with his first Native students. In the early 1740s, David got caught up in the New Light tide at Yale, and was subsequently expelled for describing men in positions of authority as unsaved. Because ministers to English congregations had to have a degree from Harvard or Yale, David became a missionary to Native Americans instead. His missions attracted substantial attention, and in 1744 the Newark Presbytery ordained him so that he could receive funding from the Society in Scotland for Propagating Chrisitian Knowledge (SSPCK). Between April 1743 and November 1746, when he became too ill to serve, David conducted missionary efforts among various tribes in the mid-Atlantic region, most notably in New Jersey. After his death from tuberculosis in 1747, David became something of a martyr. New Light Congregationalists, especially, saw David's expulsion from Yale as unjust and his commitment to Native Americans as divine. In 1749, Jonathan Edwards published a biography of David together with David's diary, and the text quickly became part of the New Light canon. Education was central to David Brainerd's ministry, and he was among Wheelock's several inspirations. In 1745, Brainerd sent Wheelock a copy of his journal.

Brainerd, John

John Brainerd was an ardent missionary with an important role in Wheelock's design. He was the younger brother of the famous missionary David Brainerd, who died as a young man after being expelled from Yale and serving as a missionary to New Jersey tribes. John completed his Yale degree and was immediately commissioned to replace David. Even in his own time, he was seen as a man as pious as, but less talented than, his brother, though Brainerd missioned to Indians during a more volatile period, and saw his congregation forcibly removed from their lands in 1755 and relocated at Brothertown in 1758 (this Brothertown should not be confused with the one founded in New York after the Revolution by many Moor's alumni). Brainerd was extremely devoted to the Indian cause. He often had the opportunity to serve wealthy English congregations, but preferred to remain an Indian missionary. He invested signficant sums of his own money into his missions, for which he was never reimbursed. Brainerd was a very prominent Presbyterian figure, active in the Presbytery and Synod of New York, holding several elected positions, and in the Presbtery and Synod of New York and Philadelphia once the two reunified in 1758. He was a Trustee of the College of New Jersey from 1754 until his death, and a member of the New York Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. Occom had planned to work with Brainerd in 1750, but political upheaval prevented it. Brainerd was one of several men nominated to accompany Occom to England, but the New York Board refused to let him go. While Brainerd and Wheelock were not close personal friends, the two had a similar interests and a long-lasting correspondence. John Brainerd sent Wheelock his first Indian boys, and also recruited female students in the 1760s. Throughout their lives, Brainerd and Wheelock updated one another on Indian missions, and Brainerd seems to have been one of Wheelock's "point people" in the Presbyterian Church.

Sergeant, Sr., John

John Sergeant was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1710. He went on to receive two degrees in theology from Yale, in 1729 and 1732. He was serving as a Yale College tutor when the New England Company sponsored him, along with Timothy Woodbridge (who was John Eliot’s great-grandson), to missionize in Mohican country in western Massachusetts, a mission that lasted 40 years. Konkopat, a Mohican sachem who worked with English ministers in the Connecticut River Valley, finally convinced his tribe to allow missionaries to come into their community. Within two years, the NEC began Stockbridge, a Christian Indian town that would help christianize Indians and foster defenses against the French and their Indian allies. The NEC proposed settling four British families in Stockbridge to keep Sergeant and Woodbridge company as well as to serve as "models of civility" for the Indians. These families were led by Ephraim Williams, a speculator in Indian lands. Sergeant married Williams's teenage daughter, Abigail. Because of Williams's interest in acquiring Native lands, many Stockbridge Indians became suspicious of Sergeant. Overall, though, the Indians were favorably disposed towards developments at Stockbridge. Sergeant went on to learn the native language and translated religious texts for Indian use. In the 1740s, several Oneida families sent their children to Stockbridge to study at Sergeant’s Indian boarding school. In 1744, Sergeant and several Stockbridge Indians visited Onaquaga and established relationships between their communities. For the next decade, however, the Williams family exploited the Indians and secured thousands of acres of Mohican lands. When Sergeant died in 1749, the Williams family took control of the Indian school and its funds. Due to poor management, the Stockbridge boarding school soon closed. The noted theologian Jonathan Edwards succeeded Sergeant in 1750 as the Stockbridge Indian missionary.

Edwards, Jonathan
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.

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.

Gunn, Elisha

Elisha Gunn was a gunsmith who resided in Onaquaga for a number of years and served as an interpreter for several different missionary societies. Although he was a well-known interpreter in missionary circles, there is little information about him. He is identified as a resident of Montague, MA, where his three children were born, but he and his family seem to have spent much of the 1760s living in Onaquaga. It is unclear where Gunn learned Haunenosaunee (Iroquois) languages, but his services were certainly in high demand: he was the interpreter over whom the Connecticut Board of the SSPCK and the Boston Board of the New England Company clashed in 1765. One of Wheelock's main goals was to train missionaries who could serve as their own interpreters, because he believed that existing interpreters were too scarce, too expensive, and too untrained in theology. What little we know of Gunn certainly supports Wheelock's arguments. He seems to have been one of the few available interpreters (if not the only one), his services cost the New England Company £50 sterling a year (more than three times Occom's salary at the same time), and his surviving letters show a reliance on extremely phonetic spelling and suggest a lack of formal education. NB: One genealogical website puts Gunn's birth year at 1723, a decade earlier. It would be easy for a researcher to mix 1723 and 1733, especially if the record is poorly written, and neither year is unreasonable.

Mather, Samuel
Clelland, Robert

Robert Clelland was the Scottish schoolmaster at Mohegan who became a contentious figure. He began as schoolmaster in 1752, supported by the Boston commissioners of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. Clelland resided in an apartment that was either adjacent or close to the school, and although he had a limited income, the Colony provided him with bread daily. Clelland had a close relationship with Reverend David Jewett, the white minister at Mohegan who oversaw the school and often lectured there; both Clelland and Jewett supported Connecticut in the Mason Case. However, Clelland conflicted with many other leaders in Mohegan. He repeatedly wrote to Eleazar Wheelock complaining about Ben Uncas III and his drunkenness, even though the sachem did not oppose the colony in the Mason Case and Clelland typically supported him. Clelland also developed a hostile relationship with Samson Occom; notably they held opposing positions during the Mason Case. Occom brought concerns regarding Clelland to the commissioners’ attention. He claimed the schoolteacher preferred the paying English students to the point that their presence was displacing Mohegan pupils, and criticized other ways in which Clelland ran the school. On September 19, 1764, the commissioners voted to release Clelland of his duties as schoolmaster. Notwithstanding, he remained until he was dismissed again on July 5, 1765. Occom’s involvement with Clelland’s dismissal further disrupted what was already a contentious relationship between him and Jewett. Clelland appears to have remained in Mohegan even after his dismissal.

Kirtland, Daniel
Kellogg, Martin
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.

Horton, Azariah

Azariah Horton was an Anglo-American missionary who conducted a 10-year mission (1741-1751) to the Montauketts and Shinnecocks of Long Island before being replaced by Samson Occom in 1750. After graduating from Yale in 1735 and briefly preaching in Turkey, NJ, Horton was ordained and commissioned by the New York (later New Jersey) Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge (SSPCK) to serve as a missionary on Long Island. His territory was extensive: in addition to the Montauketts and the Shinnecocks, Horton ministered to Indian tribes on the Wyoming and Delaware rivers where the Brainerd brothers were later quite successful. Horton kept a diary during the first three years of his mission (1741-1744) in which he records his extensive travels between sites. By the late 1740s, however, he was residing solely at Shinnecock and spending almost all of his time there. Perhaps his health had decayed and he was unable to travel, or perhaps he had simply given up on his mission (the sources are unclear). Whatever the cause, his neglect left the Montauketts ripe for Samson Occom’s missionary efforts. Horton encouraged Occom’s ministry, and the two stayed in contact (Occom visited him at least once, in 1760). However, when Horton retired, the SSPCK retired his mission with him. They believed that it was a fairly fruitless enterprise, which is likely at least part of the reason why they were disinclined to pay Occom for his efforts. After leaving Montauk, Horton became the pastor at Bottle Hill, NJ (sometimes described as South Hanover). He retired of his own volition in October 1776 and moved to live with his son in Chatham, NJ, where he died in 1777 after being exposed to smallpox while ministering to the dead and dying in George Washington’s army.

Colden, Cadwallader
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.

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.

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).

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.

Calvin, Hezekiah

Hezekiah Calvin was one of Eleazar Wheelock's first Native American students. Like Wheelock’s other early Delaware students, he was sent by the minister John Brainerd. Calvin was certified as a schoolteacher on March 12, 1765, and was sent to the Mohawks at Fort Hunter in June 1765. The Mohawks threw him out at the end of September 1766, and he returned to Moor's. Samuel Johnson, an Anglo-American Yale student who replaced Calvin at Fort Hunter, reported that the residents unanimously accused Calvin of being abusive and rude. Calvin, in turn, maintained that the Fort Hunter Mohawks had mistreated him. Calvin’s second stint at Moor’s did not go well. He wrote several confessions for drunkenness and bad behavior, and frequently spoke ill of Wheelock. He left the school in the spring of 1768, and took up residence with the Secutor family (Narragansett) at Charlestown, Rhode Island. Calvin left the Narragansetts sometime late in 1768, presumably after the dissolution of his relationship with Mary Secutor. Wheelock heard reports early in 1769 that Calvin had been imprisoned at Little Ease, NJ, for forging a pass for a Black man (Calvin does not appear in the county records, so either he was never indicted or Wheelock had his information wrong). By 1777, Calvin was in a position of prominence at Brotherton, NJ (a town of Christian Delawares founded under John Brainerd’s ministry). At some point after 1788, Calvin moved west with the Delawares: he may have moved directly to join the Delawares in Ohio territory, or he may have relocated to Stockbridge in 1802 and then moved west.


Moses was a Mohawk Indian and Wheelock student who was part of the mission to the Canajoharie, Onaquaga, and Cherry Valley areas from 1765-1766. He taught the displaced Oneidas under Good Peter and Isaac Dakayenensere at Lake Otsego (next to Cherry Valley), along with Smith and Gunn. He taught reading and writing to between eight and 12 students. Although Joseph Woolley was initially supposed to teach this school, he fell ill and Moses replaced him. Moses also subbed for Woolley when Woolley visited the Tuscaroras. Like the other schoolteachers, Moses left over the winter of 1765 and returned to Wheelock, but he was back at Canajoharie by the next fall to teach with Samuel Johnson and Jacob Fowler. Theophilus Chamberlain speculated they could set up a third school for Moses, but this did not come to pass because by December 1st, less than a month after Chamberlain’s letter, Moses had traveled to Wheelock and back to Fort Hunter delivering letters. The Indians at Fort Hunter would not take him as a teacher because they preferred Johnson and distrusted unknown teachers after their experience with Hezekiah Calvin (according to Johnson). Moses appears to have continued working in the area, because in 1768 he refused Aaron Kinne’s request that he act as interpreter.


Johannes was a Mohawk who studied at Moor’s Indian Charity School from 1761 until 1765. He was approached as an usher (junior schoolteacher) on March 12, 1765, in the Moor’s graduation orchestrated by Wheelock in preparation for a mass mission to the Mohawk and Oneida. Johannes kept school at Old Oneida during the summer of 1765, but did not continue his post. A variety of Anglo-American Moor’s-affiliated missionaries, including Aaron Kinne and David Avery, sought his services as an interpreter, but there is no indication that Johannes accepted any of their invitations. It is more likely that, like other Haudenosaunees (Iroquois) who studied at Moor’s, Johannes rapidly reintegrated into Haudenosaunee society. Shortly after returning to Haudenosaunee territory, Johannes was too preoccupied with managing his family’s horses to serve as an interpreter (manuscript 765673), and a few years later, he was unable to respond to Aaron Kinne’s request because he was out hunting (manuscript 768363.1). Thus, in Johannes’ disappearance from Anglo-American records, we can read a polite rejection of the assimilation project that was Moor’s Indian Charity School’s raison d’etre.


Abraham major (aka Abraham primus), a Mohawk Indian, served as an usher or junior teacher along with Abraham Secundus and Peter. All three kept separate schools. Abraham major's school, a short ride from Abraham minor’s, was outside of Canajoharie; it began Friday, July 12, 1765. As of July 17, 1765, he had 15 or 16 students, primarily male. These schools seem to have operated from July 1765 (they were still traveling in June, and Theophilus Chamberlain described their schools in late July) until December 1765, when Chamberlain reported that the Abrahams had departed, and that Abraham major was in Schoharry. Both Abrahams' schools were taken over in 1766. Abraham major must not be confused with Greater Abraham, a high-ranking Mohawk, the brother of King Peter Hendrick and uncle of Chief Abraham (not to be confused with Little Abraham, the Moor's student), who lived in Canajoharie at the same time.


Abraham, known as Little Abraham, was an usher or junior teacher along with Abraham major and Peter. All of them kept separate schools. Abraham major's school began Friday, July 12, 1765, and presumably Little Abraham’s began at or around the same time. Little Abraham’s school was a two mile ride from Canajoharie, and as of July 17 1765, he had 11 or 12 students of both genders. These schools seem to have operated from July 1765 (they were still traveling in June and Chamberlain describes their schools in late July) until December 1765, when Chamberlain reports that the Abrahams have departed. Both Abrahams' schools were taken over in 1766. Little Abraham then taught a school at Willheske, 8 or 10 miles below Fort Stanwix, for an indeterminite time. He is not to be confused with another Little Abraham, the Canajoharie Mohawk who was Sachem from 1755 until his death in 1780.


Peter was an usher (although described as “keeping school” by Woolley) at Canajoharie, along with Moses, Johannes, and the Abrahams. All of them kept separate schools. Great Abraham’s school began Friday, July 12, 1765, and presumably Peter’s started around the same time. He was sick in October 1765, and could not teach school. Since Wheelock mentions him in a 1767 letter, he must have survived. Peter is not to be confused with Good Peter, an Oneida at Onaqauga who visited Moor’s, but was not educated there. Information about Peter generally appears in lists of the men he graduated with and taught with.

Chauncy, Charles

Charles Chauncy was an eminent Boston divine, the most zealous proponent of Old Light doctrine, and Wheelock's lifelong rival. Born into functional Puritan royalty -- his grandfather, also Charles Chauncy, had been president of Harvard in the seventeenth century -- Chauncy had every social connection possible. He entered Harvard himself at age 12, graduated in 1721, and became copastor at the First Church of Boston in 1727. From this pulpit, he launched his attacks on New Light Congregationalists. While the Old Light/New Light schism was deep, Chauncy alone saw the split as a cosmic battle between good and evil. His notable polemics include his 1743 work, “Seasonable Thoughts on the State of Religion in New England," as well as a 1744 open letter against George Whitefield. Chauncy had a long, bitter conflict with Wheelock. Wheelock was among those specifically named in Chauncy's attacks, and Chauncy used every avenue possible to frustrate Wheelock's plans for Indian education. As chair of the Boston Board of Correspondents for the SSPCK, Chauncy had plentiful opportunities to frustrate Wheelock, and was likely the impetus for Wheelock's creation of a Connecticut Board in 1764. Notable clashes between the two men included: 1) In 1761-1762, the Boston Board reneged on a promise to fund the education of a certain number of Indian boys. 2) In 1762, Chauncy formed his own society -- the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge among the Indians of North America -- and competed with Wheelock for sources of funding (specifically, a fund left by the late Peter Warren). This society planned to a) set up English day schools in Indian country and b) bring Indian boys back to English towns to be educated. Given the overlap with Wheelock's own goals and methods, it is fortunate for Dartmouth's history that Parliament denied Chauncy's society incorporation. For what is perhaps the most often cited letter on the feud, see Chauncy to Wheelock, 762165.

Occom's First Mission to the Oneidas
Occom leaves his studies
Occom's Mission to the Montauks
Occom returns to Mohegan
Occom's second mission to the Oneidas
Occom's marriage
HomeNathaniel Whitaker, narrative, 1766
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