Skip to main content
 Previous Next
  • Zoom In (+)
  • Zoom Out (-)
  • Rotate CW (r)
  • Rotate CCW (R)
  • Overview (h)
Jacob Johnson, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1768 October 17

ms-number: 768567

abstract: Johnson writes with news about the Congress at Fort Stanwix.

handwriting: Handwriting is informal yet mostly legible. Johnson frequently neglects to pick up his pen between words. The trailer that is cut off by a tear in the paper is in Wheelock's hand; the other is in an unknown hand.

paper: Large sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good-to-fair condition, with light-to-moderate staining, creasing and wear. There is preservation work done on particularly worn areas.

ink: Brown ink is faded in spots.

noteworthy: Manuscript 768576.1 appears to be an addition to this document.


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


Rev. and Honoured Sir
I doubt not but you will be glad
to hear from the Congress — I have sir Done every
thing I could both by Prayer consultation and applica‐
tion — I have consulted Col. Butler. —and others — I have
laid the cause before Sir William Johnson personally and
by an address in writing subscribed by Messrs. David
Avery
and myself (For Deacon Thomas went Home not well)
A copy of which I enclose which you will please to
preserve (for I have no other copy, and the original
is in Sir William's possession) I have opportunity to con‐
verse with the chief gentlemen here as Governor Frank‐
lin
of the Jersey Governor Penn Mr. Peters of Philadelphia
and others many others — I could be heartily glad you sir
was here you would be received most honourably and affectionate
I can assure you your name is often mentioned with
a great deal of respect by Sir William Johnson Governor Franklin
and others — Governor Penn is gone Home but before
He went I took an opportunity to confer with Him
about setting up an Indian College on the Susquehanna
or somewhere thereabout He told me He had seen
Dr. Whitaker and his request of a considerable Tract of Land
and that the affair was sent Home to the Proprietors I asked
Him if he thought the proposals would be granted He said He
thought not — I asked Him if the proprietors would not
part with a tract of Land for that purpose He said He believed
not as requested — will they said I upon any Terms He
said yes as they sold it to others upon no other terms
replied I He answered no He believed not or to that
purpose — I asked Him if the proprietors would
not come to some agreement with the New England purchasers
on the Susquehanna He said yes as they would with any other
purchasers and upon no other Terms said I He answered
no — . I conferred with Mr. Peters of Philadelphia
upon the subject — He thought great care should be taken to
choose such a place to set up an Indian academy as
might not interfere with any other public School or
occasion discontent or envy or the Like lest it shouldn't
answer the design —and besides He thought few of the Indians
would ever do for missionaries that in general it was not
worthwhile to do more for them than to learn them
to read and write and be industrious etc. I conferred Sir
william
upon the same subject what His opinion was
about it— He thought it a Laudable and very good design — I
asked Him where He thought best to set up the School
His Excellency said He supposed that affair was sent Home already
and determined — I informed his Excellency It was now in agi‐
tation and preparation to be sent — But I supposed not yet
gone — I asked Him where He thought the most proper
place to set it — He replied he supposed in or near Alba‐
ny
— I mentioned Pennsylvania He said He supposed the
proprietors wouldn’t part with their Lands for that pu[gap: tear][guess: rpose]
upon any other Terms than they would to others
— I mentioned Coos —He thought that too much a one
side — I mentioned Pittsfield — His Excellency asked if
they had any considerable of Lands etc. for that pur‐
pose — I told his Excellency they would subscribe in
Lands and money a thousand pounds and more He smiled and
made no reply only that Col. Williams was proprietor
there etc. etc.— upon laying the enclosed address before
Him when He had read it he asked me where I
would have the Bounds of the provinces restricted I told
Here especially at the Oneidas He said that was at the Indians
election whether they would part with their Lands or no
At present He couldn't tell no more than I could where
the division Lines would run when all the chiefs were
come together He should know and not before — and
that He should be as tender of the Indians interest as I
or any other friend could be to them — that it was easy for
designing men to get away their Land by insinuating
themselves into their favour together with a few Gifts good
words etc. that many too many had done it For the Indians
in general valued not their Lands — and much were
passed between Him and me alone — (which I have not time or
room to write for Paper is here so scarce that 12 sheets
has cost me as much as 2 quire in New England and with great
difficulty I have got so much and used half of it already)—
But said He viz Sir William upon the conclusion he should
make open proclamation of the Doings of the Congress that
all might know and in the meantime that I
might have further opportunity to confer upon
these things — And sir I must confess that Sir william has
and does treat me and mankind in the most handsome and
genteel manner Imaginable which has endeared Him to
me very much though He has no Grace yet has no small
Share of lovely Humanity — But sir on the whole
the situation of the Indians with respect to their Lands
is very ticklish and doubtful — no less than 15 thou‐
sand Pounds worth of goods and a vast deal of provision
with 7 chests of Gold and silver weighing not less than
a Barrel weight of cider or Peck each is sent as a
Temptation with Rum wine and high Spirits proportional
if not to Exceed and great numbers of adventurers from
all parts especially Albany New York Pennsylvania and Virginia and many
beyond— And besides it is thought the King has a design to
make a large purchase of the natives for some pious
use — But this is kept as a secret which has not yet
transpired and known only to a very few — I must leave you
as I am to guess in this matter what it portends but we
may be pretty sure something to the Church of England or some
dignitary — you will likely sir have a more full
account and view of these things at the close of the Congress which
I am apt to think will be about the Latter end of
next week it may be not before the week after
I am yours in all Christian Bonds etc. etc.
Jacob ws Johnson
Please to forward
the enclosed—

from Mr. Jacob Johnson Rev. Jacob Johnsons
 October 17th 1768.

To
Dr. Eleazar Wheelock
Connecticut New England

per Abraham
Oneida Nation
The Oneidas are one of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Six Nations. During the 18th century, they were largely considered the most Christianized Haudenosaunee tribe. The Oneidas had a rich tradition of indigenous ministers, including Good Peter, Deacon Thomas, and Isaac Dakayenensere, and played host to several Moor’s missionaries, including Samson Occom, David Fowler, Samuel Ashpo, Joseph Johnson, Joseph Woolley, Titus Smith, and Samuel Kirkland (who went on to found Hamilton Oneida Academy, now Hamilton College). They were also the interpreter James Dean’s adoptive tribe. Notable Oneida towns included Onaquaga, Kanawalohale, and Old Oneida. Onaquaga was the central fire of the Six Nations. By the 18th century, it also had a sizeable contingent of Onondagas and Tuscaroras. Good Peter and Isaac Dakayenensere taught there, as did Joseph Woolley. Kanawalohale and Old Oneida were more predominantly Oneida. The Oneidas were involved in several crucial moments in the history of Moor's Indian Charity School. Onaquaga was the site of the 1765 confrontation between Wheelock and the New England Company, in which the New England Company disrupted Titus Smith's mission, first by sending their own missionary, and second by repossessing Elisha Gunn, the interpreter they had agreed to "loan" to Titus Smith. Left without an interpreter, Titus Smith was forced to abandon his mission (Wheelock repaid the favor a few years later by hiring James Dean away from the New England Company). A few years later, in 1769, Deacon Thomas led the Oneidas in withdrawing all their children from Moor's. The Oneidas' departure struck a devastating blow against Wheelock's Indian education plans, and provided more momentum for his shift to educating predominantly Anglo-Americans. The Oneidas sided with the colonists during the Revolution, but they were still affected by the general devastation in Six Nations territory, especially the Sullivan Expedition (1779). After the Revolution, the Oneidas granted tracts of their land to two Christian Indian organizations: the Brothertown tribe, a composite tribe of Moor’s alumni from New England, and the Stockbridge Indians. It was not long before the groups came into conflict with one another. Encroachment from the new State of New York put increasing pressure on Oneida land, and the Oneidas tried to renegotiate their treaties with the Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians to compensate. The Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians fought back, but by the 1820s all three groups had lost, and many of them relocated to Wisconsin.
Church of England
The Church of England is the governing body of the Anglican Church in Britain and the Episcopalian Church in America. In the eighteenth century, the Church of England was at odds with the “dissenting” sects that had broken off from it during the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, including the Congregationalists and Presbyterians. The divide continued in the colonies. The southern colonies (Virginia, Carolina, etc) and New York were predominantly Anglican, while the mid-Atlantic and New England colonies were home to an assortment of dissenting sects. Wheelock and Occom both had conflicts with Episcopalians. Wheelock feuded with the Anglican Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG), a functional arm of the Church of England, over access to the Six Nations (the other important Anglican missionary organization, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, or SPCK, was more concerned with book distribution). Meanwhile, Episcopalian ministers in America ordained their own Indian minister and sent him to England prior to Occom’s 1765 fundraising tour to distract attention away from Occom. However, this Indian spoke no English and was not a success. Once in England, Occom met with a cool reception from Anglican clergy, and Occom doubted their sympathy for the Indian cause. He wrote, "they never gave us one single brass farthing. It seems to me that they are very indifferent whether the poor Indians go to Heaven or Hell. I can’t help my thoughts; and I am apt to think they don’t want the Indians to go to Heaven with them" (quoted J. Brooks 86-87). In the broader history of Moor’s Indian Charity School, notable Anglicans include George Whitefield, the famous New Light preacher, and Sir William Johnson, the Superintendent for British Indian Affairs in the North East. Anglican influence, especially via Sir William Johnson, was a large part of the reason why the Mohawks sided with the British during the Revolution.
Fort Stanwix

Fort Stanwix (also known as Fort Schuyler) is located northeast of Syracuse in present-day Rome, New York. Under the direction of British General John Stanwix, for whom the fort is named, the British began constructing the fort in 1758 in order to control the Oneida Carry, which is the portage path between the Mohawk River and Wood Creek. During the French and Indian War, the British built several forts in the Oneida Carry area, but by August 1756, the British ordered all the forts destroyed when they received word that British posts nearby were quickly falling to the French. In 1758, the British attempted to reoccupy Oneida Carry by building Fort Stanwix. The building of the fort did in fact give the British the dominant position in the area, which they retained throughout the remainder of the French and Indian War. The British Army abandoned the fort in 1765. In October 1768, David Avery wrote a letter to Wheelock describing the possibility of recruiting students for the Indian Charity School from a gathering of Indians from the Six Nations, at Fort Stanwix. This gathering and the negotiations that took place resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Fort Stanwix on November 5, 1768. This treaty, between the British and the Six Nations, Shawnees, Delawares, Mingos and other tribes, delineated territory between the British and the Indians. The treaty drew a boundary line from Fort Stanwix down to the Ohio River, and followed the Ohio River west to where it meets the present-day Tennessee River. During the American Revolution, the colonists built a new fort in place of Fort Stanwix. This fort was named Fort Schuyler but was often referred to as Fort Stanwix.

New Jersey

New Jersey is a state located on the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. For at least 10,000 years before the arrival of Europeans, the area of New Jersey was occupied by the Delaware Indians whose territory extended from what is now the state of Delaware to eastern Pennsylvania. Established as a colony in 1664 and named in honor of the English Channel’s Isle of Jersey, New Jersey shared a royal governor with the nearby colony of New York until 1738. During the Revolutionary War, New Jersey fought for independence from Britain and was the site of over a hundred different battles. In the later 1730s, the Society in Scotland for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge and the New England Company showed particular interest in missionizing in the Native communities along the Delaware River in New Jersey. At the same time, the First Great Awakening erupted along the eastern seaboard, and one of its most influential figures was Gilbert Tennent from New Brunswick, New Jersey, who, like other New Light ministers, courted and attracted Native converts. In the first years of Wheelock's Indian Charity School, he was less interested in recruiting Native students from local tribes and looked towards the powerful Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) tribes of New York and the Delawares of New Jersey. In 1754, at Wheelock’s behest, John Brainerd, a SSPCK missionary in New Jersey, sent two Delaware boys, John Pumshire and Jacob Woolley, who were the first official Native students at the School. In 1788, Occom, David Fowler and Peter Pohquonnappeet attempted fundraising in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for Brothertown and New Stockbridge.

Philadelphia
Susquehanna River
New England
Albany

Albany is a city located in eastern New York. When Netherlander Henry Hudson arrived in what would become Albany in 1609, the Mohican Indians lived in several villages in the area. The Mohicans gave Hudson’s crew furs, and the Dutch East India Company sent representatives to trade with the Native peoples. The Dutch established the village of Beverwyck within the territory of the New Netherlands. Beverwyck hosted a diverse population of Germans, French, Swedes, English, Irish, Scots, Dutch, and Africans. After the fall of New Netherlands to Britain in 1664, Beverwyck was renamed Albany in honor of the colony’s proprietor James, Duke of York and Albany. In 1686, Albany was granted a charter that incorporated the city and provided it the sole right to negotiate trade with Native Americans. During the French and Indian War, Albany was designated as the British military headquarters in the Americas. During the Revolutionary War, most Albany residents supported the revolution because of their opposition to British trade restrictions.

Pennsylvania
Coos

Coos County, pronounced "CO-ahss," named for the Abenaki word for pines, encompasses the northern section or panhandle of New Hampshire bordered on the west by the Connecticut River. The first reference to the area ("Cohoss") appeared in 1704 records of the colony of New Hampshire; it was also spelled Cowass and Coo-ash. Wheelock considered locating his Indian School in this largely unsettled area.

Pittsfield
New York City
Commonwealth of Virginia

Virginia is a state located on the eastern seaboard in the mid-Atlantic United States. This area was home to several powerful chiefdoms including thirty-two Algonquian-speaking tribes that made up the Powhatan Empire and other nations including the Meherrins, Nottoways, Monacans, Manahoacs, Nahyssans, Occaneechis, Saponis, Tutelo Saponis, and Cherokees. When the English arrived in the late 1580s, they named the region after their virgin queen, Elizabeth I, and in 1607 established the first permanent English colony in the Americas. The Powhatans grew tobacco, and an English colonist, John Rolfe, introduced a new strand from the West Indies, which became a lucrative cash crop of Virginia. Rolfe’s wife, Pocahontas (born Matoaka), daughter of Chief Powhantan, was baptized and taken to London as an example of the possibilities for converted Indians. In the 1700s, the white population in Virginia increased as a result of the influx of German and Scottish-Irish immigrants. Africans were brought to Virginia to work in the tobacco fields, and in 1661, Virginia codified laws that condoned and regulated slavery. By 1776, forty percent of the new state’s population were Virginians of African origin or descent. Wheelock's letters from the 1750s contain several suggestions that his trained missionaries, including Occom, should be sent on missions to Virginia to teach Indians in that colony. In 1758, Samuel Davies of Virginia recruited Occom for a mission to the Cherokee Nation in Virginia and suggested that his ordination happen immediately in preparation (Occom was ordained in 1759 but by Presbyterians on Long Island), although this mission never happened.

Connecticut

Connecticut is a state in southern New England that borders Massachusetts to the north and the Long Island Sound to the south. Its name is derived from the Algonquian "Quonehtacut," meaning "long river," referring to the Connecticut, which runs from the border with Canada into the Long Island Sound. The area was originally inhabited by Algonquian-speaking Pequots, Mohegans, and Quinnipiacs. European settlers took advantage of tribal divisions to establish dominance in the region. Dutch explorer Adrian Block sailed up the Connecticut River in 1614, establishing an active Dutch trading post at what is now Hartford. English claims to Connecticut began in 1630, but settlement truly began when Thomas Hooker, a Congregationalist minister now known as "The Father of Connecticut," left Boston to found Hartford in 1636. Hartford became the center of the Colony of Connecticut, which did not receive its charter until 1662 when Governor John Winthrop, Jr. secured it from Charles II. In 1665, the Colony of New Haven, established in 1638 by the Puritan minister John Davenport, joined the Colony of Connecticut under this charter. Early settler relations with local Indians were tense, and encouraged the New England colonies of Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven to unify as the "United Colonies" or "New England Confederation" and fight together, with Indian allies, in the Pequot War and again in King Philip's (Metacom's) War. These wars helped establish a specifically Connecticut and specifically American identity; the latter drove the colony to join the rebellion against Britain in 1776. Occom, born into a Mohegan household in Connecticut, was closely associated with the Colony and retained strong ties to the region throughout his life. He converted to Christianity in 1743 when the Great Awakening spread through Connecticut, and inspired Wheelock's Indian Charity School, which was founded in Lebanon, CT in 1754. He also became involved in the Mason Land Case, a long-standing dispute over the ownership of reserve Mohegan lands in Connecticut. Wheelock also had strong ties to Connecticut, moving his Indian Charity School only when the colony would not grant it a charter.

Johnson, Jacob W.

After graduating from Yale in 1740, Jacob Johnson studied theology, became a New Light preacher, and undertook some missionary work among the Mohawks. He was a very radical New Light: he believed in visions and dream interpretation, called himself a seer and, later in life, wore a girdle of hair in imitation of John the Baptist. From 1749 until 1772, he served as the minister at Groton, CT, and remained active in Native American missionary efforts. In the fall of 1768, Jacob Johnson went on a brief domestic fundraising tour with Joseph Johnson (perhaps intended to echo Occom and Whitaker’s tour of Britain, 1765-1767). Jacob Johnson is best remembered for his conduct at the Fort Stanwix Treaty of 1768, an enormously important treaty at which the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) sold a large amount of land, most of it belonging to other tribes, to the British, represented by Sir William Johnson. The treaty also resolved a contested boundary between Connecticut and Pennsylvania in Pennsylvania’s favor. Jacob Johnson was not Wheelock’s first choice of delegate. However, after several others declined the post, he was chosen to accompany David Avery, then on a mission at nearby Canajoharie. At the gathering, Jacob Johnson engaged in at least four points of serious contention. First, he strongly urged the Haudenosaunee not to sell their land, in direct contradiction of Sir William Johnson and the British Crown’s wishes. Second, he then urged them to sell their land — but only to Wheelock for the use of the Indian Charity School. Third, he tried to interrupt efforts to settle the PA/CT boundary, because he was involved with the interested CT party (called the Susquehanna Company). Fourth, he refused to drink to the king’s health, and gave a bizarre toast calling into question the justice of the monarchy. In the volatile climate leading up to the Revolution, none of his actions went over well. In the aftermath of the Treaty, Wheelock tried to distance himself from Jacob Johnson’s actions, but Wheelock’s relationship with Sir William Johnson still fell apart. (F.C. Johnson, Jacob Johnson’s great-grandson and biographer, has argued that it is unfair to hold Jacob Johnson wholly responsible for these events, as Wheelock and Sir William Johnson diverged on many important political and religious issues). After the Fort Stanwix Treaty, Jacob Johnson accompanied Kirkland on a mission to the Mohawks and Oneidas that lasted until April 1769. He was relatively proficient in the Mohawk (and, thus, Oneida) language, and made a valuable missionary. Like many other missionaries employed by Wheelock, Native-American and Anglo-American alike, Jacob Johnson disagreed with Wheelock about the financial compensation for his mission, and their relationship seems to have disintegrated at this point. In 1772, Johnson was dismissed from his post at Groton. He then resumed his involvement with Connecticut efforts to settle Pennsylvania territory, and became the first minister of Wilkes-Barre, PA, a Connecticut settlement in the contested region (now Wyoming County, PA). He remained there for the rest of his life, excepting a brief period during the Revolution when he sought refuge in CT (1778-1781).

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.

Butler, John

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

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.

Avery, David

David Avery was one of Wheelock's charity scholars and had a long career as a Congregationalist minister. He studied at Moor's and Yale, where he was David McClure's classmate, and received his Masters from Dartmouth in 1773. Avery went on several missions to Indian tribes before his health forced him to retire. His first mission, before his final year at Yale, was to Kanawalohale as a schoolteacher in the summer of 1768. While there, he attended the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix as Wheelock's representative. After graduating, he served on Long Island around Smithtown. He was ordained August 29, 1771, at Dartmouth. Wheelock then sent him to the Oneidas for eleven months (September 1771 to August 1772), primarily to find out why the Oneidas had withdrawn their children from Wheelock's school. However, Avery's health was failing, and at some point between August 1772 and March 1773, he withdrew from Indian missionary service. In response, Wheelock charged him part of his tuition. Avery lived an exciting life after he left Wheelock's service. The Sabbath after the battle of Lexington (April 19 1775), he bade his Gageborough congregation farewell, mustered twenty men, and led them to Boston where he preached to the entire army. He enlisted as a chaplain, although he also fought in battle and served as a medic. He left the army in February 1780, and spent the rest of his life in a variety of pulpits, with a stint under the Massachusetts Domestic Missionary Society.

Thomas

Thomas was an essential figure in Oneida Christianity and an important ally for Samuel Kirkland. While it is unclear when he converted to Christianity, by the 1750s he was preaching and leading services at Kanawalohale. By all accounts, he was a compelling speaker and talented at rendering Christian theology in terms compatible with Oneida cosmology. Thomas was instrumental in supporting Kirkland's mission: he often protected the Anglo-American missionary and helped him translate his ideas more effectively. Thomas also played an important role in the history of Moor's. His daughter, Hannah, was a student there, and in July 1768 he visited her. He returned the following January to pull her out of school following her mother's death, and he took the remaining five Oneida children with him. Later statements by Oneida chiefs (reported to Kirkland and David Avery) made clear that a large part of the Oneidas' reason for withdrawing their children was Wheelock's harsh discipline. Thomas was also present for Ralph Wheelock's 1768 outburst at Onaquaga, and was Avery's 1772 source for what had taken place there. Despite his disagreements with Wheelock, Thomas continued to support Kirkland's mission. Thomas was killed by British troops in 1779 while on a diplomatic visit to the Mohawks at Kahnawake (a site across the St. Lawrence River from Montreal). His murder gave the Oneidas yet another reason to side with the colonists during the Revolution.

Franklin, William

William Franklin was the 13th, and last, royal governor of New Jersey. He was the natural son of Benjamin Franklin, printer and diplomat of Philadelphia. William attended Alexander Annand's Classical Academy for two years and was tutored at home. He then served in King George’s war on the New York frontier, attaining the rank of captain, and participated in trade missions to the Delaware and Shawnee Indians in 1748. He went on to study law, was admitted to the bar, and traveled to Europe assisting with his father’s scientific experiments. In 1762 he was awarded an honorary master of arts degree from Oxford, married Elizabeth Downes, and was appointed to the governorship. Franklin was popular in the position early on, introducing subsidies for farmers, establishing the first Indian reservation at Brotherton, PA, and helping to found Queens College (now Rutgers University). His popularity faded when he allied himself with Great Britain during the Revolutionary War. He was arrested in June 1776, imprisoned, and released in October 1778 to British authorities in New York in a prisoner exchange. His wife died during this separation, and for the next four years, he was involved in Loyalist operations. After the American victory, Franklin emigrated to England where the British Commission on Loyalist Claims awarded him £1800 and a pension for his loss of estate. He remarried a wealthy Irish widow, Mary D’Evelyn, and served as an agent for Loyalist claims in London. Franklin tried to reestablish relations with his estranged father and his own natural son, William Temple Franklin, who had become Benjamin’s ward. Although briefly reconciled, his father finally disinherited him. He was called the most notorious Loyalist after Benedict Arnold.

Penn, John
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.

Williams, Coll
Frederick, George William

George William Frederick (King George III) became heir to the throne of England in 1751 upon the death of his father Frederick, Prince of Wales. He became King George III of England in the fall of 1760 at age 22, following the death of his grandfather King George II. George III passed many important edicts during his reign including that of the Royal Marriage Act of 1772; the Treaty of Paris in 1762, which ended the Seven Years War; the Stamp Act of 1765; and the Townshend Duties of 1767. However, he is most well-known for being the reigning monarch during the Revolutionary War. After the surrender of British forces to the Americans in 1782, George III considered abdicating the throne, but chose not to do so because he felt it would be too detrimental to Britain. The last 30 years of George's life were plagued with illness. In 1788 he had the first of many attacks of insanity, now believed to have been caused by an inherited disease known as porphyria. With George III unfit to rule, it was decided that his son George would become regent, an arrangement which was made permanent in 1810. King George III died on January 29, 1820 at the age of 81 after a reign of nearly 60 years (the third longest in British history). He was succeeded by his son George IV.

Simon, Abraham

Abraham Simon was a Narragansett Moor’s student who played a prominent role in Brothertown’s early civic life. Abraham was born in 1750 into the prominent Simon family, a Charlestown Narragansett family that sent five children to Moor’s (James, Emmanuel, Sarah, Abraham, and Daniel). The minister at Groton, Jacob Johnson, recommended Abraham Simon to Wheelock during the Fort Stanwix Congress in 1768 (how Jacob Johnson knew Abraham and why he had brought him to Stanwix is unclear. His ministry was only 30 miles away from Charlestown, so that may have been the connection). Abraham studied at Moor’s from 1768 until 1772, and, with his brother Daniel, was one of the few Indian students to relocate with Wheelock from Connecticut to New Hampshire. In 1772, Abraham made a brief journey on Wheelock’s behalf to the Tuscaroras, who proved uninterested in missionaries or schoolmasters. The next written record of Abraham Simon dates to 1774, when he wrote to Wheelock to inform him that he was going to keep school among the Pequots, which he did for approximately six months. In 1775, he enlisted in the army and served as a medic at Roxbury for at least part of the Revolution. Abraham immigrated to Brothertown in 1783 and was elected to the town’s first council. His house was a center of communal life, and appears many times in Occom’s diary as the location of religious meetings. Abraham died in Brothertown sometime before 1795, when his land was recorded under his widow’s name. Some confusion exists regarding Abraham’s death and burial. In 1925, some Dartmouth students became aware of an Indian named Abraham Symons who had lived in East Haddam, Connecticut, from 1790 until 1812. They assumed that this Abraham Symons was the Narragansett Abraham Simon, and erected a tombstone for him in East Haddam. Had they consulted William DeLoss Love’s account of Brothertown, perhaps they would not have done so. The town of East Haddam remains convinced that Abraham Simon is Abraham Symons, despite the fact that their account of Abraham’s life and connection to East Haddam relies on conflating his life with his brother Daniel Simon’s.

HomeJacob Johnson, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1768 October 17
 Text Only
 Text & Inline Image
 Text & Image Viewer
 Image Viewer Only