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Samson Occom, autobiography, undated

ms-number: 768517

abstract: Occom writes a second draft of his autobiography.

handwriting: The legibility of Occom's usually clear hand is heavily mitigated by editorial additions and deletions, likely 19th-century.

paper: Several small sheets of paper are folded into a booklet. The booklet appears to have been bound with twine or thread at one time; however, this binding is missing and, aside from the two outside pages, the pages are loose. The inner edges of these loose pages appear to have been trimmed. The paper is in good-to-poor condition with light-to-heavy staining and wear, which results in a minor loss of text. There is some repair work on the outside pages.

ink: Brown.

noteworthy: An editor, likely 19th-century, has overwritten Occom's hand in several places. The transcriber has attempted to decipher Occom's original hand and ignore editorial editions and deletions. There are pencil marks on 13 verso.

events: Occom leaves his studies, Occom's Mission to the Montauketts, Occom's Marriage, Occom's Ordination, Fundraising Tour of Great Britain


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


Having Seen and heard
Several representations, in
England and Scotland, made by
Some gentlemen in America,
Concerning me, and Finding many

gross mistakes in their Ac‐
counts, I thought it my
Duty to give a Short Plain
and honest Account of my
self, that those who may
hereafter See it, may
Know the Truth Concerning me. — —
Though it is against my mind
to give a history of myself and publish it
whilst I am alive, Yet to do
Justice to myself and to those
who may desire to know some
thing concerning me— and for the Honor
[gap: hole][guess: of] Religion I will venture to
give a Short Narrative of
my Life. — —
From my birth 'til I received
the Christian Religion.—
I was Born a Heathen and
Brought up In Heathenism
'til I was between 16 and 17 years
of age, at a Place called Mohe
gan
in New London Connecti
cut
, in New England
my Parents lived a wandering
life, as did all the Indians at
Mohegan; they chiefly Depended
upon Hunting, Fishing, and Fowling
for their Living
and had no Connections with
the English, excepting to Tr[gap: worn_edge][guess: af]
fic with them, in their Smal[gap: tear][guess: l]
Trifles — and they Strictly
maintained and followed their
Heathenish ways, Customs and
Religion — though there was Some
Preaching among them
once a Fortnight, in y[gap: tear][guess: e]
Summer Season, a Minister
from New London [illegible]used to come
up — and the Indians to
attend; not that they regard
ed the Christian Religion,
But they had Blankets given
to them every Fall of the year
and for these things they would
attend — and there was a Sort
of a School kept, when I was
quite young,. but I believe
there never was one that
even Learn to read any
thing — and when I was about
10 years of age there was
— a man who went
about among the Indian
Wigwams, and wherever
he could find the Indian children
would make them read —
but the Children used
to take Care to keep out off
his way — and he used to Catch
me sometimes and make me
Say over my Letters, and I be
believe I learned Some of them.
But this was soon over
too — and all this Time there was
not one amongst us, that made a
Profession of Christianity — Neither
did we Cultivate our Land, nor
kept any Sort of Creatures, except
Dogs, which we used in Hunting,
and Dwelt in Wigwams, these
are a Sort of Tents covered with
mats, made
of Flags — And to this Time
we were unacquainted with the
English tongue in general, though there
were a few, who understood a little
of it —–
From the Time of our Re‐
formation 'til I left Mr. Wheelock
When I was 16 years of age—
we heard a Strange Rumor among
the English, that there were Ex‐
traordinary Ministers Preaching
from Place to Place and a Strange Concern a
mong the white People — this
was in the Spring of the year.
But we Saw nothing of these
things, 'til sometime in the
Summer, then Some Ministers
began to visit us and Preach
the Word of god; and the
Common People also Came frequent
ly , and exhorted us to the things
of god, which it pleased the Lord,
as I humbly hope, to Bless and
accompany with
with Divine Influences, to the
Conviction and Saving Conversi
on of a Number of us; Amongst
which I was one that was Impressed
with the things, we had heard
These Preachers did not only
Come to us, but we frequently went to their
meetings and Churches , after I was convicted
I went to all the meetings I could Come
at; and continued under Trou‐
ble of Mind about 6 Months,

at which time I began to Learn the English—
Letters; Got me a primer
and used to go to my English
Neighbours frequently for
Assistance in Reading, but went
to no School — —
And when I was 17 years of
age, I had as I trust, a Discovery
of the way of Salvation through
J[illegible][guess: esus] and was enabled to put my
trust in him alone for Life and
Salvation, From this Time
the Distress and Burden of my
mind was removed, and I found
Serenity and Pleasure of Soul.
in Serving god, by this time I
Just began to Read in
the New Testament without
Spelling,— and I had Stronger
Desire Still to Learn to read
the Word of god, and at the
Same Time, had an uncommon
Pity and Compassion to my
Poor brethren According to the
Flesh, I used to wish, I was
Capable of Instructing my
poor Kindred, I use to think
if I could once Learn to Read
I would Instruct poor Children
in Reading— and used frequent
ly to talk with our Indians Con‐
cerning Religion.— Thus I Con
tinued, 'til I was in my 19th year;
by this Time I could Read a lit
tle in the Bible, at this Time
my Poor Mother was going to
Lebanon, and having had
Some Knowledge of Mr. Wheelock
and hearing he had a Number
of English youth under his Tuition,
I had a great Inclination to go
to him and to be with a week
or a Fortnight, and Desired
my Mother to Ask Mr. Wheelock,
whether he would take me a little
while to Instruct me in Reading;
Mother did So; and when She
Came Back, She Said Mr.
Wheelock
wanted to See me
as Soon as possible,— So I went
up, thinking I should be back
again in a few Days; when
I got up there, he received me
with kindness and Compassion
and instead of Staying a
Fortnight or 3 weeks, I
Spent 4 years with him —
After I had been with him
Some Time, he began to ac
quaint his Friends of my
being with him, and his Inten
tions of Educating me, and
my Circumstances,— and the
good People began to give
Some Assistance to Mr. Wheelock,
and gave me Some old and Some
New clothes — Then he represented
the Case to the Honorable Com
missioners at Boston
, who were
Commissioned by the Honorable Socie
ty in London for Propagating the
gospel among the Indians in
New England and parts adjacent

and they allowed him 60 £: per
annum:
both in old tenor, which
was about 6 £: Sterling, and
they continued it 2: or 3: years
I Can't tell exactly — while I
was at Mr. Wheelocks, I was
very weakly and my Health
much impaired, and at the
End of 4 years, I over strained
my Eyes to Degree, I could
not pursue my Studies any
Longer; and out of these
4 years, I Lost Just about
one Year; — And was obliged
to quit my Studies — —
From the Time I left Mr. Wheel
ock
'til I went Europe
As Soon as I left Mr. Wheelock,
I endeavoured to find Some Em‐
ploy among the Indians; went
to Niantic, thinking, they
may want a schoolmaster, but
they had one; then went to Narragan
sett
, and they were indifferent
about School, and went back
to Mohegan, and heard a Num‐
ber of our Indians were going
to Montauk on Long Island,—
and I went with them, and the
Indians there were very desirous
to have me keep a School amongst
them, and I Consented, and
went back a while to Mohegan
and Some in November I went
on the Island, I think it is 17
17 years ago last November
I agreed to keep a School with
them Half a year, and left it
with them to give me what they
pleased, and they took turns
to Provide Food for me — I had
near 30 Scholars this winter,
I had evening School too for those
that could not attend Day School
— and began to Carry on their meet
ings, T[illegible] they had a Minister, one Mr.
Horton
, the Scotch Society's Mis
sionary, but he Spent, I think,
two thirds of his Time at Shinne
cock
, 30 Miles from Montauk,
We met together 3 times for Di‐
vine worship every Sabbath
and once on every Wednesday even‐
ing— I read the Scriptures
to them and used to expound
upon Some particular pass
ages in my own tongue I
visited the Sick and attended
their Burials — when the half
year expired, they desired me
to continue with them, which
I complied with, for another
half year, when I had fulfilled
that, they were urgent to have
me Stay Longer So I continued
'til I was Married amongst them
which was about 2 years after
I went there —
And I continued to Instruct them
in the Same manner as I did before
after I was married a while, I found
there was need of a Support, more, than
I needed while I was Single,— and
I made my Case Known to Mr.
Buell
and to Mr. Wheelock, and
also the Needy circumstances,
and the desires of these Indians
and of my continuance amongst
them, and Mr. Wheelock and
other gentlemen, represented
my circumstances and the cir
cumstances, and the desires of
these Indians of my Continuing
amongst them, and the Com
missioners were So good as to
grant £15 per annum: Sterling — —
And I kept on in my Service as
usual, yea I had additional
Service, I kept School as I
did before and Carried on the
Religious meeting as often as
ever, and attended the Sick
and their Funerals, and did
what writings they wanted,
and often Sat as Judge
to reconcile and decide their
Matters between them, and
had visitors of Indians, from
all Quarters; and, as our
custom is, we freely Entertain
all visitors,— And was fetched
often from my Tribe and
from others [gap: stain] See into
their Affairs Both Religious
and Temporal,— besides my
domestic Concerns,— and
it pleased the Lord to increase
my Family fast — and Soon
after I was married, Mr. Horton
left these Indians, and the
Shinnecock Indians and after this I was licenced to preach and then
I had the whole Care of these
Indians at Montauk, and
visited the Shinnecock
Indians often — used to Set
out Saturdays towards Night
and back again on Mondays
I have been obliged to Set out from
Home after sunset, and Ride
30 Miles in the Night, to preach
to these Indians —
And Some Indians at Shinnecock
Sent their Children to my School
at Montauk, I kept one
of them Some Time, and had
a young Man half year from
Mohegan, A Lad from Ni
antic
, who was with me
almost a year,—

and had little or nothing
for Keeping them, —
My Method in the School
was, as Soon as the Children
got together, and have took
their proper Seats, I prayed
with them, then began to
hear them, I generally began
(after some of them could Spell
and Read,) with those, that
were yet in their Alphabets;
So around, as they were pro‐
perly Seat, 'til I got through
and I obliged them to Study
their Books, and to help one
another, when they could not
make out a hard, they
Brought to me — and I usu
ally heard them, in the Sum
mer season 8 Times a Day
4 in the morning, and in the
afternoon — In the Winter
season 6 Time a Day, as
Soon as they could Spell, they
were obliged to spell whenever
they wanted to go out; conclu
ded with Prayer, I generally heard my
Evening scholars 3 times Round,
And as they go out the School,
everyone that Can Spell,
is obliged to spell a word,
and So go out leisurely one
after another, — I Catechised
3 or 4 Times a weeks accor
ding to the Assembly's Short
er Catechism, and many
Times proposed questions
of my own, and in my
own tongue, — I found
D[illegible][guess: e]fficulty with Some
Children, who were Some‐
what Dull, most of these
Can Soon learn to say over
their Letters, they Distinguish
the Sounds by the Ear, but
their Eyes Can't Distinguish
the Letters, and the way
I took to cure them, was
by making an
Alphabet on Small bits
of paper, and glued them
on Small Chips of Cedar,
after this manner
A B etc. I put these on
Letters in order on
a Bench, then point to one Letter
and bid a Child to take notice
of it, and then I order the Child
to fetch me the Letter from the Bench
if it Brings the Letter, it is well,
if not it must go again and
again 'til it bring the right letter
When they Can bring any
Letters, this way, then I Just
Jumble them together, and
b[illegible]d them to Set them in Al‐
phabetical order, and it is
a pleasure to them; and they Soon
learn their letters this way —
I frequently discussed or Exhor
ted my Scholars, in Religious
matters — My Method in
our Religious Meetings was
this; Sabbaths Mornings we
assemble together about 10:o.C.
and begin with Singing; we
generally Sung Dr. Watts's
Psalms or Hymns, I distinctly,
read the Psalm or Hymn first,
and then give the meaning of
it to them, after that sing, then
Pray, and Sing again, after prayer
then proceed to Read Some
suitable portion of Scripture,
and So Just give the plain
Sense of it, in Familiar Discourse
and applied to them, So Con
clude with Pray, and Sing
ing, In the afternoon and
Evening we Proceed in the
Same Manner, and So in
Wednesday Evenings, — Some
Time after Mr. Horton left
these Indians, there was
a remarkable revival of
religion among these Indi
ans and many were hope
fully Converted to the Saving
knowledge of god in J[illegible]
It is to be observed, before Mr.
Horton
left these Indians
they had Some Prejudices infused
in their minds, by Some
enthusiastical Exhorters from
New England, against Mr.
Horton
, an[illegible] Many of them
had left him, by this means
he was discouraged, and Su[illegible]d
a Dismission, and was dismissed
from these Indians, — And being
acquainted with the Enthu
siasts in New England, and
the make and the Dispositi
ons of the Indians, took a
mil[illegible][guess: e] way to reclaim them,
I opposed them not openly
but let them go on in their
way, and whenever I
had an opportunity, I
would read Such passages
of the Scriptures, as I
thought, would Confound
their Notions, and I would
come to them with all Au‐
thority, Saying thus Saith
the Lord, and by this
means, the Lord was
pleased to Bless my poor
Endeavours, and they were
reclaimed, and Brought to
hear most any of the Minis
ters — I am now to
give an Account of my
Circumstances and manner
of living, — I Dwelt in
a wigwam, a Small hut, framed
with Small Poles and covered
with mats made of Flags,
and I was obliged to move
twice a year, about 2 Miles
Distance, by reason of the
Scarcity of wood, for in our
Neck of Land they Planted
their Corn, and in another, they
had their wood,— and I was
obliged to hire my Corn Carted
and my Hay also, — and
I got my Ground plowed every
year, which Cost me about
[illegible] 12 an Acre; and I kept
a Cow and a Horse, for
which I paid £ 21: every year
York Currency, And went 18
miles to Mill for every Dust
of meal we used in my family
I Hired or Joined with my
Neighbours to go to Mill with
a Horse or ox Cart, or on
horseback, and sometimes
went myself; my Family in
creasing fast, and my visitors
also, I was obliged to Continue
every way to Support my
Family; I took all oppor
tunities, to get something,
to feed my Family daily, —
I Planted my own Corn, Po‐
tatoes and [illegible]Beans; I use to
be out hoeing my Corn
sometimes before sunrise
and after my School is
dismissed, and by this means I
was able to raise my own
Pork, for I was allowed to keep
5 Swine, Some Mornings and
Evenings I woud be out with
my Hook and Line to Catch
fish, and in the Fall of
year and in the Spring, I
used my gun, for we lived
very handy for Fowl, and I
was very expert with gun,
and fed my Family with
Fowl, I could more than pay
for my Powder and shot, with
Feathers, at other Times I
Bound old Books for East Hampton
People, Made wooden Spoons
and Ladles, stacked Guns, and
worked on Cedar to make Pails,
piggins and Churns etc. —
besides all these Difficulties
I Met with adverse Providences,
I bought a Mare, had it but
little while, and She fell into
the quicksands and Died, after
a while Bought another, I kept
her about half Year, and She was
gone, and I never heard nor
Seen her from that Day to
this, it was supposed Some
Rogue stole her, and got
another and died with a dis
temper, and last of all I bought
a Young Mare, and kept
her 'til She had one Colt, and
She broke her Leg and Died
and Presently after the Colt
Died also, the whole I
Lost 5 Horse Kind, all these
losses helped to pull me down
and by this Time I got greatly
in Debt, and acquainted my
Circumstances to Some of my
Friends, and they Represented
my Case to the Commissioners
of Boston
, and interceded with
them for me, and they were pleased
to Vote 15 for my Help; and
Soon after Sent a Letter to my
good Friend at New London,
acquainting him, that they
had Superseded their vote; and
my Friends were So good as to
represent my Needy Circumstances
Still to them, and they were So
good at Last, as to vote £15
and Sent it, for which I am
very thankful, and the good Mr. Buell
was So Kind as to write in my
behalf to the gentlemen of Bos‐
ton
; and he told me they
were much Displeased with
him; and heard also once
and again, that they blamed
me for being Extravagant, I
Cant Conceive how these gentlemen
would have me Live, I am rea
dy to [illegible][guess: i]mputed [illegible][guess: it] their Ignorance, and would
wish they had changed circumstances
with me but one Month, that
they may know, by experience
what my case really was, but
I am now fully convinced, that it
was not Ignorance For I believe
it Can be proved to the world, that
these Same Gentlemen, gave a
young Missionary, a Single
man, one Hundred Pounds for
one year, and fifty Pounds for
an Interpreter, and thirty Pounds
for an Introducer, So it Cost them
one Hundred and Eighty Pounds
in one Single year, and they
Sent too where there was no
Need of a Missionary,
Now you See what difference
they made between me and other
missionaries, they gave me
180 Pounds for 12 years Service,
which they gave for one years
Service in another Mission —
In my Service, (I Speak like a
fool, but I am constrained)
I was my own Interpreter
I was both a schoolmaster,
and minister to the Indians,
yea I was their Ear, Eye and
Hand, as well Mouth, — I
leave it with world, as wick
ed as it is, to Judge, whether
I ought [illegible] not to have had half
as much, they gave a young
man Just mentioned, which
would have been but £50 a Year;
and if they ought to have
given me that, I am not un
der obligations to them, I owe
them nothing at all; Now what
Can be the Reason? that they
used me after this manner; I
Can't think of anything, but
this as a poor Indian Boy
Said, who was Bound out to
an English Family, and
he used to Drive Plow for a
young man, and he whipped
and Beat him almost every
Day, and the young man
found fault with him, and
complained of him to his master
and the poor boy was called to
answer for himself before his
master, — and he was asked,
what it was he did, that he
was So complained of and beat
almost every Day? he Said,
he did not know, but he supposed
it was, because he could not drive any
better, but Says he, I Drive as
well as I know how and at other
Times he Beats me, because he
is mind to beat me, but Says,
he, I believe he Beats for the most of the
Time, because I am an In‐
dian—
So I am ready to Say, they have
used thus, because I Cant Instruct
the Indians So well as other
Missionaries, but I Can assure
them I have endeavoured to teach
them as well as I how — but I
must Say, I believe, it is,
because I am poor Indian,
I Cant help that [illegible] God has
made me So; I did not make
my Se[illegible][guess: ft] So —
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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.

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, 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.

Buell, Samuel

Buell was a popular Presbyterian minister during the second half of the 18th century in Long Island, as well as a close friend of Samson Occom. He was ordained in November 1743, and was a popular itinerant minister before settling at Easthampton. He preached at Occom's ordination, published the sermon in 1761 to raise funds for Occom (he also wrote the letter addressed to Bostwick prefacing his publication), and stayed in close contact with Occom even after Occom's public break from Wheelock. Occom's diary is full of references to visiting Buell and to their close friendship. During the Revolution, Buell was the only minister on Long Island for 40 miles, and was very active in assisting the American cause. He also founded Clinton Academy on Long Island in 1785, which was the first private school chartered by the New York Board of Regents. This academy was also remarkable in that it admitted women. Multiple historical sources have misconstrued Samuel Buell as Sol or Solomon Buell, likely because Buell sometimes signed his name Sa.l, a creative abbreviation of Samuel. However, there was no Reverend Solomon Buell in Easthampton, or, it seems, Long Island, in the second half of the 18th century: Samuel had no brothers, and were there to be two Reverend S. Buell's within 10 miles of one another during the same period, related or not, doubtlessly someone would have commented on it. In addition, the handwriting in letters ascribed to "Sol" and those assigned to Samuel is identical. Lastly, the only source besides collection manuscript 765530.3 describing a "Solomon Buell" is an anthology of letters from the Revolution, which contain letters from a Rev. Sol. Buell, or S. Buell, about aiding the American cause. These letters correspond well with descriptions of Samuel's life in an 1809 biography of his life, and, as he was the only Reverend but one for 40 miles during the Revolution, it is likely that these letters belong to him.

Watts, John
Occom leaves his studies
Occom's Mission to the Montauketts
Occom's Marriage
Occom's Ordination
Fundraising Tour of Great Britain
HomeSamson Occom, autobiography, undated
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