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Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to Sarah Simon, 1768 June 27

ms-number: 768377.2

abstract: Wheelock informs Simon that if she does not want her son to stay in school until his education is finished and he is ready to teach, she should say so at once so that no more money will be spent on him.

handwriting: Formal and legible handwriting is not Wheelock's; the trailer, however, is in Wheelock's hand.

paper: Large sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good condition, with light-to-moderate creasing, yellowing and wear.

ink: Brown.


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


Mrs. Simon.
I received your James not to please
myself but at your earnest desire by your Daughter Sarah,
Who told me you had given him to me to bring up and dispose
of as my own Son, and only upon such considerations I took
him, and have kept him to School ever since he has been
with me 'til about three Weeks ago, I hired a Man to take
him and instruct him in Husbandry which I found he was who­
lly ignorant of, and next winter I designed to take him into
the School again, and fit him as fast as I can for a school-
master, & when he is fit for it I designed to put him into good
business as I would a Child of my own — These were my Views
and so I understood your proposal by your Daughter — but if I
have not understood you right — if you intend to take him
away from me, or encourage his going away as others have
done after I have been at great expense to educate him;
or when he has half got his Education, I insist upon it that
you let me know it now, before I spend any more Money
to be thrown away upon him, there are hundreds who
would be glad to come into his Room and be at my disposal as
much as my own Children are — —
Please to send me word what I may depend upon, and if you choose
to have him come back to you, I assure you I dont want to Keep
him, as I never had any view but to his Good and the Good
of the Indians in my taking him at first — —
you may depend upon it if he tarries with me I shall take the
most effectual Method to learn him Husbandry as well as
to read and write, — please to let Mr. Deake see this and
desire him to write your answer to me — It grieves and
breaks my Heart that while I am wearing my Life out to
do good to the poor Indians, they themselves have no more desire
to help forward the great design of their happiness here
and Eternal Salvation in the World to come, but are so
many of them, and some of them too, those on whom I have
bestowed much Pains and cost pulling the other way and as
fast as they can undoing all I have done. Oh! that God
would show them their misery, and the only way of their Relief.
Your Daughter Sarah carries herself very well, but I
think it not best she should come home to visit you 'til
the Fall — I wish you prosperity with all my Heart
and am

your Real Friend
Eleazar Wheelock
P.S. The Conditions upon which I take all the English
Boys in my School are, that if they leave me before they
have got their Learning, or go into other business
afterwards that pleases them better than the Indian
Service they shall pay me all the expense of their Learn­
ing. and I think the reason is as good with respect
to your Son James
Blank page.
Letter to Sarah Simon
at Charlestown June 27.
1768
.
Respecting her son James
To
Mrs. Sarah Simon
at Charlestown
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.

Simon, Sarah

Mrs. Sarah Simon is the matriarch of the Narragansett Simon family, which included herself, Miss Sarah Simon, James Simon, Abraham Simon, Daniel Simon, and Emmanual Simon. All five children (there was at least one other) were educated at Moor's, to some degree. The Simon family spells their name Simon, but Wheelock and others vary it. She sent five children to Wheelock. Although Miss Sarah wrote that Mrs. Sarah was ill in 1769, missionary records indicate that Mrs. Sarah survived until at least 1773.

Deake, Edward

Edward Deake was an Anglo-American missionary and schoolmaster born in Rhode Island in 1732. After receiving reluctant approval from the Narragansett tribal council for the support of a schoolhouse and schoolmaster on Nov. 26 1765, Reverend Joseph Fish, who had been living among the Narragansetts, hired Edward Deake to serve as schoolmaster to the tribe in Charlestown, Rhode Island. Funded by the New England Company, Deake taught his students to read English, write, and cypher, following the pattern of other missionary schools for Native people in New England. Out of 151 school-aged Narragansetts, 53 students, boys and girls, attended Deake’s school. Deake regularly consulted a council of Indians for input on the best course of action for educating his students. In addition to his 24 pounds per year salary, Deake also received living quarters for himself and his family in the schoolhouse. After Tobias Shattock left for England in 1767, Deake became the main recruiter among the Narragansetts for Wheelock’s school, often corresponding with Wheelock to recommend students. But the Narragansetts, under the leadership of the charismatic Native preacher Samuel Niles, soon became disillusioned with Fish and Deake, distrusting the purpose and motivations of the school and fearing the colonial appropriation of their lands and right to self-government. In 1770, Narragansett leader John Shattock Sr. told Fish that the Narragansetts wanted Deake to leave, and attendance at Deake’s school evaporated in the next few years. Finally, on January 2, 1776, Deake requested relief from his position as schoolmaster and left soon after. There is some evidence he moved to New York state and worked as a minister. Deake died in 1794.

Simon, James

Part of the Simon family: Mrs. Sarah Simon, Miss Sarah Simon, James Simon, Abraham Simon, Daniel Simon, James Simon, and Emmanual Simon. All five children (there was at least one other) were educated at Moor's, to some degree. The Simon family spells their name Simon, but Wheelock and others vary it. James Simon served in Revolution.

Simon, Sarah

Miss Sarah Simon was a member of the Narragansett Simon family: Mrs. Sarah Simon, Miss Sarah Simon, James Simon, Abraham Simon, Daniel Simon, and Emmanual Simon. All five children (there was at least one other) were educated at Moor's, to some degree. The Simon family spells their name Simon, but Wheelock and others vary it. Miss Sarah was one of Wheelock's female students, and wrote a spiritually troubled letter to him before departing (769900.1).

HomeEleazar Wheelock, letter, to Sarah Simon, 1768 June 27
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