John Shattock, letter, to Joseph Fish, 1770 December 30.
Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to Alexander Moubray, 1771 October 15.
abstract: Multi-sectioned letter: Fish, writing to Wheelock, encloses a copy of a letter written by Shattock about his son John’s death, and asks Wheelock to pass on the news to people in Scotland and England. Wheelock writes to Alexander Moubray in Edinburgh.
handwriting: The first two sections of the letters, written by Fish, are formal and clear. The third section, authored by Wheelock, is not in Wheelock's hand; it is also formal and clear. The trailer is in Wheelock's hand. Several uncrossed t’s have been corrected by the transcriber.
paper: Large sheet folded in half to make four pages is in fair condition, with light-to-moderate creasing, staining and wear. Tearing leads to some loss of text.
signature: There are three different signatures; however, the only one presumably in the hand of the actual author is that of Fish.
Modernized Version -- deletions removed; additions added in; modern spelling and capitalization added; unfamiliar abbreviations expanded.
tocks Letter to me, (on this Sheet, the Other Side,) I re
ceived it; with a postscript, earnestly requesting me to
Send a Copy corrected, to the Rev. Dr.
Wheelock, with a view that, if it came in the Doctors
way, he might communicate an account of Johns Death
to Mr. Moubray in Edinburgh and to Mr. Cummin
in London. — Accordingly, to Oblige my Friend
x [illegible][guess: Mr. Shattock]/ John x, I have transcribed his Letter, Verbatim, except
ing a very few words, to help the sense a little. —
ry Serious, honest, faithful man, as I have reason to think.
I employed him 4 months a Schoolmaster to the Indian
Children at Stonington, in the Honourable Commission's Ser
vice: and he greatly recommended himself, as a mas
ter, to me and the Indians. But he began to lan
guish, with the consumption, (of which he died,) before
he left us. — As to his religious Sentiments, touch
ing the [illegible][guess: outward] Form of worship, I suppose they were
Something of the Separate way: but his life was very
Short, after his public, profession — He might have
seen cause to correct Somethings, had he lived: but as
above, I verily believe him to be Sincere and honest hearted.
"Souls," may need Explanation; in that, by it, Strangers
might think his Father a minister of the Gospel, or, at least,
a public Teacher: whereas he is only one that takes
Liberty, in the Indian way, to exhort frequently, and has
sometimes gone out to hold meetings etc.: when it
might be much better, and more proper, for him and many
others, if they were more Swift to hear and Slow to Speak.
Which way shall these Lines reach
you? Where will they find you? How is it with you and
your Dear wife and Children, in your new world? Can I hope
ever to See you again, while traveling through this weary
land? I ardently long for an Interview. Pray write me,
if tis but Six Lines — Twill be as good news from a far
Country. — I have neither Time nor room now to Say
more, than that my only Child, daughter Noyes and her 3 Sons
all she has living, are with us This winter — In a measure of Health—
my Son John departed this Life, about 4 o'Clock in the
morning.— A heavy Stroke from the Divine hand! how
ever, I have consolation mingled with my Sorrow,— I'm
not left to mourn as one that mourns without hope.
He departed in the Triumphs of faith. So that I have
no reason but to think, that my loss is his gain. —
He was buried decently on the 22nd —
the time of Night, he Said, "I have but a few minutes
"to Stay with you. Death has lost its Sting, and the Grave
"its Victory — Father, hold out to the end — Be faithful
"to Souls — be faithful unto Death." — His Speech by
this time failed, So that I understood no more he Said. —
his Instructors, and held himself under the Strongest Obli
gations of Gratitude, to the Divine hand, as the efficient
cause, and to the Rev. Dr. Wheelock, as the prin
cipal Instrument of his acquaintance with Gods word
and was very desirous to See him, in the time of his ill
ness, and I should have sent for the Doctor, had not the
Distance been too great.—
Nine of them out of the world. I have no reason to
think but they are all at rest,— Six of them dying in
their Infancy.— My son Peter was 25 years old, — a pro
fessor, and, in a judgement of Charity, [gap: hole][guess: a real] Saint. To
bias was 26 years of age, when he departed this Life. He
was educated at Doctor Wheelocks School, and was a
man remarkable for piety.— John, whom we have
just parted with, was in his 24th year. —
Hampshire October 15. 1771—
Fish of Stonington dated January 30. 1771. informing me of the Death
of John Shattock the Indian who was sick and was doubtless saving
ly converted to Christ at your house. But by what means Mr.
Fish'es Letter was so long delayed I cant tell. I haven't time to
give you the full account he appeared to be a real and a growing Saint
I have often heard him speak of your kindness with a Grati
tude remarkable for one of that Nation, before I removed
here into this wilderness which is about 200 miles from the Indian town
where he died. And as Mr. Fish informs me his father expressed a
desire that I should send you the account of his Son's Death, I will
transcribe the Letter in which he gives the account of it, to the
Rev. Mr. Fish. — see the Letter on foregoing page —
he altered a few words only to mend the grammar. The expression
to his father, be faithful to Souls, may need explanation. viz. his
father is not a minister as a stranger may naturally think from
that expression, but a zealous Christian who is forward to labor
[gap: tear] the good of Souls in a more private way. I esteem the loss to
[gap: tear] tribe to be very great, and it seems to spread a melancholy
gloom upon the general design that so man[gap: hole][guess: y] of the most
likely and promising which I have educated are [gap: tear][guess: re]moved. But
God's way is in the Sea. I ordered a narrative to be enclosed
to you some months ago but fearing it has failed I have
ordered the bearer of this to enclose another at Hartford in Con
necticut and direct them to the care of Mr. Jonathan Mason of Boston.
to whose care you may also direct yours to me. I am here in
the wilderness continually crowded with business. my prospects
are very encouraging. God has been with us of a truth. And
has caused much of his goodness to pass before us. I have
a sweet nest of Christians I trust in this nursery, which is
and has been the sovereign solace God has afforded to balance
the melancholy things you will read in my narrative.
I write now in utmost haste, have detained the Bearer
while I do it.
self and Lady from Dear sir,
Your unknown but assured
Friend and humble servant
Mr. Alexander Moubray
received October 8. 1771.
The Rev. Eleazar Wheelock D.D. —
President of Dartmouth College
Joseph Fish was a moderate Congregationalist minister who held the pulpit at North Stonington, CT, from 1731 until his death in 1781. He is notable as 1) an ally of Wheelock and a member of the Connecticut Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, 2) a moderate in the throes of the Great Awakening, and 3) a missionary to the Pequots and Narragansetts. The first point requires no explanation; the second two are closely related. Fish graduated from Harvard in 1728 and took a temporary post at Stonington in 1731. He was so popular with the congregation that they offered him a permanent position. For the first 10 years of his ministry all was well, but the Great Awakening segmented his congregation. The problem was that Fish was not strongly opposed to or strongly in favour of the Awakening, which led his church to split into not two, but three factions. As Fish's congregation dwindled so did his salary; however, when other congregations offered him their pulpits, what was left of the North Stonington congregation interfered, jealously guarding Fish's services. In addition to his career as a minister, Fish acted as a missionary to Native Americans throughout his life. From the 1730s on, he delivered sermons to the nearby Pequots and employed a schoolmaster for them (his employees included Moor's alumni John Shattock Jr. and Jacob Fowler). In 1765, Fish also began preaching to the Charlestown Narragansetts. He secured financial support from the Boston Board of the New England Company to open a school there as well, and hired Edward Deake to fill the post. However, Fish did not get along well with the Narragansetts, who had an established indigenous ministry, led by Samuel Niles and based around separatist principles. For Bible-centric Fish, illiterate and popular Samuel Niles was a ministerial nightmare. Fish and Deake served the Narragansetts until the mid-1770s, when the tribe politely requested that they stop.
John Shattock Sr. was a Narragansett lay minister and member of the tribal council. He was part of the anti-sachem contingent that opposed the Ninigret family's attempts to sell Narragansett land to pay off their personal debts. Two of his sons, Tobias and John Jr., attended Moor's Indian Charity School from December 1766 to the fall of 1767. In the 1770s, John Sr. was involved in successful Narragansett attempts to remove Anglo-American missionaries, including Joseph Fish and Edward Deake, from their territory.
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.
Mary Wheelock was born Mary Brinsmead on July 26, 1714 in Milford, Connecticut. In the year following the death of his first wife, Eleazar began to court Mary Brinsmead, and the two married on November 21, 1747. Mary and Eleazar had five children together, including John, who would succeed his father as President of Dartmouth College. Little appears in the historical record about Mary, but many of the people who wrote to Wheelock, especially his Native correspondents who often lived with the family, referred to her warmly. In September 1770, Mary dismantled her longtime home in Connecticut, and travelled with her children to the Wheelocks' new home in the wilderness of New Hampshire. They rode in a coach sent over from England by John Thornton, accompanied by 30 Charity School students on foot. Eleazar, who had gone ahead to build housing for everyone, wrote a letter to Mary with many instructions about the move; the disposition of domestic animals, people, supplies; and the acquisition of money that suggests she was an able and trustworthy manager (manuscript 770510.1; this manuscript is not included in Occom Circle documents). She died in 1784 in Hanover, New Hampshire, where she is buried in the Dartmouth College Cemetery.
John Shattock Jr. was a Narragansett council member and schoolmaster. Along with his brother Tobias, he briefly attended Moor's from December 1766 to the fall of 1767. Like many Moor's students, John and Tobias came from a prominent family: their father was John Shattock Sr., a Narragansett lay minister. Tobias and John Jr. received their basic education from Edward Deake at Charlestown, and then attended Moor's until they withdrew late in 1767 to try to prevent Narragansett land sales. The Narragansett sachems had run up massive debt over the course of the 18th century, and were trying to sell Narragansett land to the colony of Rhode Island to settle them, while much of the Narragansett Tribe opposed this course of action. John Jr. and Tobias took the lead in recruiting powerful Anglo-American allies for the Tribe, including Andrew Oliver, Sir William Johnson, George Whitefield, and Eleazar Wheelock. With these men's help, John Jr. and Tobias were able to secure a halt to land sales and plan a trip to London to plead their case before the Privy Council. They departed in January 1768 and arrived at Edinburgh on April 15, where they both fell ill with smallpox. John survived, but Tobias died on May 6th. John continued on to London, but failed in his appeal. He returned to the colonies where he took an active role in Narragansett leadership. He considered urging his tribe to move to Oneida territory, and even talked with Wheelock about relocating the Tribe to the upper Connecticut River, in New Hampshire territory (the Tribe decided it would be too cold there). In 1770, John briefly taught the Lantern Hill Pequots in North Stonington, CT before he died of consumption that December.
Tobias Shattock was a Narragansett leader who briefly attended Moor's Indian Charity School. He died in Edinburgh while trying to protect Narragansett land interests. Like many Moor's students, Tobias was from a powerful family: he and his brother John were the sons of John Shattock Sr., a Narragansett lay minister. Tobias and John received their basic education from Edward Deake at Charlestown and then attended Moor's from December 1766 to the fall of 1767. By all accounts, Tobias was an especially promising student. Both Tobias and John left Moor's to try to defend Narragansett land claims. The Narragansett sachems had run up massive debt over the course of the 18th century, and were trying to sell Narragansett land to the colony of Rhode Island to settle them. Much of the Narragansett Tribe opposed this course of action. Tobias and John Jr. took the lead in the Tribe's efforts to recruit powerful allies for their cause. Tobias appealed to Sir William Johnson and Andrew Oliver, who were able to secure a temporary halt on land sales. Then, with the support of Wheelock, Whitefield, and Sir William Johnson, the brothers set out to plead their case before the Privy Council in London in January 1768. They arrived in Edinburgh on April 15, 1768, where Tobias died of smallpox on May 6. John continued on to London, but was unsuccessful in his appeal. He returned to the colonies where he died in 1770.