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Miriam Storrs, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1768 November 24

ms-number: 768624

abstract: Storrs writes about her time in New York, and the temptations and dangers she has avoided with God's help.

handwriting: Handwriting is very uneven, yet mostly legible.

paper: Small single sheet is in good condition, with light staining, creasing and wear.

ink: Black ink is heavy and bold.

noteworthy: In the 11th line of one verso, it is possible that the word "but" is a variant spelling for boat.


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


Rev. and honoured sir
sir I arrived here 19 of this
month
and I am to go this week from
here but I keep good courage hoping
to be where I should be. I have been
sick some of the time but nothing to what
I deserve I was well treated I have work
Enough people would have me tarry with
them but I have got long so far
but the Dr. will need the Greeks to
read my writing if I had common s
sense I should form this writing
better sir I have heard but one prayer
since I went from norwich. since I went
from thy house instead of prayers
filthy talk etc. — —
I found no rest 'til I put my whole
trust in god [illegible] who was my best
preserver then was I lifted up above
any temptation I have been under
many trials but god was my
Deliverer heavy temptations pressed down
to the d dust which caused me for to
weep nights and hours when
I Saw everyone out of my sight
Dear sir I want see the Dr.
again. I lay many a
night and for fear of one
mans bad intention in [illegible] his heart
as I thought and he told me
after he went to shore that was
his end and aim but he found
he was mistaken he owned
a but I did keep clear of him
which I have reason to praise
my redeemer for all my days
and hope to go to him in 'Due time
 May God of infinite grace
grant me it for his sake
No more from your
unworthy subject
Miriam Storrs
P: S to Remember
to all the Family
I am in health
and to the
School
Mr.
Wheelock

in
Storrs, Miriam
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.

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