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Joseph Johnson, letter, to John Rodgers, 1775 February 15

ms-number: 775165

abstract: Johnson writes of his intention to move with several tribes to lands granted by the Oneidas, and that he has been in touch with Wheelock regarding a recommendation.

handwriting: Handwriting is small, crowded and frequently difficult to decipher, with many deletions and additions.

paper: Single large sheet is in fair condition, with moderate-to-heavy staining, creasing and wear. Wear at especially heavy creasing leads to some loss of text.

ink: Black-brown.

noteworthy: This document appears to be a draft. Some of the contents of this letter are similar to those of manuscript 775164. Sums appear upside-down at the bottom of one verso; the letter is written around these sums. The identity of “Avery” on one verso is uncertain, although it is likely David Avery. The identity of "Fitch" on one verso is uncertain, and so he has been left untagged.


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



To the Rev. Dr. Rodgers at New York
Rev. and kind Sir; with humility, Gratitude and Love, I sit my
self down to write to your worthy person. through the goodness
of the great God of mercy I, and my little family are in health; and I hum
bly hope that by the same goodness you and yours have been, and Still are
in health, and prosperity. — kind Sir, I have ever retained your worthy Person
in my mind with pleasure, since, I have had the honour of being acquainted with
you. and I bless the Lord in whom I humbly hope, I have been enabled by his own
divine grace, to put my whole Trust, that he has graciously given me such a Good and real friend
in time of need as your worthy person has been, and I hope still will be. — if I was not satisfi
ed in my Mind, of your good will to me ward and to my poor despised Brethren I should not trouble you with my scribbles
but now with pleasure I write to you as unto the best friend or Benefactor that I
have in this world of trial, Sorrow and [illegible][guess: wants] and various vicissitudes. I heartily thank you
for all your Tokens of Love, pity, and respects that you showed toward me, and to
ward my poor brethren, when I was in the city of New York and I daily bless the Lord
that he gave me favour in the Eyes and hearts of his People there, God full
well knew my necessitous circumstances, and there he mercifully
relieved me, and greatly encouraged me to go on still, in his Service,
wherever he in his Providence should call me. and not to stagger. —
verily, verily, I have abundant reason to rejoice in the goodness of the
Lord, who regards the cause of those that trust in his holy Name. — O that I might
be enabled to live to his praise all my Days, and afterward, be graciously
received up into Glory, where I shall praise him throughout the
endless Ages of Eternity without interruption, and without ceasing
Amen. — Rev. Sir, I got safely home by the 5th of January and found
[gap: worn_edge][guess: al]l well. I preached four times by the way. 3 times at New haven, [gap: worn_edge]
once at East haven, but It is not the custom I perceive in these parts [gap: worn_edge]
consider of a traveling labourer, however, I am thankful that my mind is not chiefly set upon
the things of time and Sense. and so am not disappointed, nor in the least disquieted. I have been to several Towns of my Indian
Brethren since I have been at home, and have consulted with them, about
worldly affairs, and I have also preached to them the Gospel of our Lord
Jesus the Christ. — my Indian brethren seems to be really engaged to go
On in prosecution of the design which I made known to you when I
was at your residence — and we do fully purpose if god willing to set off from hence
or from these Parts by the 13th of March next .
I take it for granted and I believe that there will be upwards of 60 young men from the several Tribes
who will go with resolution into the western Country, as first Set
­tlers of the Land granted to us by the Oneidas. — however there
is 58 able working men that purposes to go from the following Tribes.
[gap: worn_edge][guess: i]n whose words I believe we may rely. from Mohegan 10. from Narragansett
20. from Montaukett on Long Island 13, from Niantic 5. from farm
ington
10. and there is two other Tribes who confess that they are So
deeply involved in debt that they cannot go this season, but fully
purposes to go soon as possible. that is Groton and Stonington.
— I was there last Thursday and had conference with them about the affair and I shall
go there again next Saturday, and tarry over the Sabbath with them.
and I believe that there will be a
small number from those two Tribes. the Rev. Mr. Occom will
Preach there next Sabbath. and he will propose condition to them
[illegible] and their Creditors so as they may go and take possess
[gap: worn_edge][guess: i]on with the rest of us. I hope that there will be nigh seventy in
the whole though it is little uncertain Poverty hinders many it is thought the best way in the first Place for[illegible][guess: Young]

men that are able to endure hardships to go and work or br[gap: worn_edge]
the way through, or prepare a Sort of Shelter for themselves and the[gap: worn_edge]
to live in, and to raise little somewhat to eat for them and [gap: worn_edge]
and after foundation is laid then we can with less difficulty
move up with our families, and the[illegible] may the
aged Men, and women go leaning upon their Sons as anchors
I feel really engaged on my Part, and greatly encouraged. The pro
spects of great future good to my poor brethren in these parts,
and also those that inhabit the western wilderness animates
my Soul to press forward. I greatly desire the prosperity of my
sinking Nation. — O that I might by the Grace of God, be beneficia[gap: worn_edge][guess: l]
[gap: stain] to the bodies, but to the precious, exceeding precious Sou[gap: worn_edge][guess: ls]
of my [gap: stain][guess: p]oor indian Brethren. —
Rev. and kind Sir. — I would further inform you that I received a
Letter from my Honoured Patron the Rev. Eleazar Wheelock D. D and
President of Dartmouth College the 13th of this Instant. the Extract
of which I send you even every word. — Dartmouth College January
23. 1775
. My dear Joseph Johnson etc.: etc.: — — — I had a favoura
ble opportunity to return an answer, the next Day. — I acquainted him
how the Lord had prospered me New York and had given me friends
there. and [illegible] made Mention of your good will towards me, and also to
towards my Poor Brethren. — I informed him that you designed to try
to get someThing for My Support And for my Encouragements from the
Honorable Board at Philadelphia, or New York, I was not certain, —
[gap: worn_edge]ever I desired him to write soon as possible to your worthy person
on my behalf, and recommend me to notice, and regard if I was
deserving. I informed him, that the Honorable Board would
meet by the first of April. — and I doubt not, but that he will
write to you But let The Lords will be done concerning that Matter. I doubt not but that you will do your uttermost to get me a Support. while I shall be in the service of our Lord.
If I have encouragement from that Honorable Board I will bless the
Lord, and rejoice in his goodness, if not I will still love, and
trust in his holy Name, and service him with all my might. and not
be discouraged, nor repine. for he will do the thing, that is right
with me and for me. — my purposes and necessitous circumstances I'll write
on other Paper by itself. — O kind Sir, ever Pray for me, that the God
of Love, would give me Grace Sufficient for me. give my Thanks, and becoming
Respects to your honoured, Beloved, and kind Consort and great regards to all
your family. and love to all inquiring friends

I am, kind Sir
your well-wisher, and humble Pupil
as it were.
Joseph Johnson an Indian of the
Mohegan Tribe.

36/0 7/6
17.6 5/ 24/10
18:6 5
17:6 3/0
48/0 2/6
37/9 1/3 27.10
10:3 2/6 12/5
48:0 6:3
18:6 Averys debt
10:38:Fitches D.t 19:6 30/4
£1:8:9 6/ 12
£1:11:9 1.6
6 13.6
£1 17:9

P.S. there was some Gentlemen that gave encourage
ment, that they would try to get Bibles and Psalm books
if any was want- -ing by those that go Next march. and
I have acquainted my Indian friends of the good will of Gentlemen
at New York. — and The Indians rejoice at such glad tidings.
if there is any so well disposed as to give us [illegible][guess: such] best
of gifts we will greatly rejoice, and try to make good use
of them. Most of us are so poor that [illegible]
[illegible]
[illegible] to come
60 [illegible][guess: of Each I] believe will be [illegible][guess: wanting] Send them to [illegible] I and [illegible]

to Dr. Rogers.

To the Rev. Mr. Rodgers D.D.
in the City of New York.—
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.
Mohegan Tribe
The Mohegans are an Algonquian tribe located in New London County, Connecticut. The Mohegan Tribe spent most of the 18th century struggling to regain control over its territory from the colony of Connecticut in a protracted affair known as the Mason Land Case. The groundwork for the dispute was laid in 1659, when Uncas, the first Mohegan sachem after the tribe separated from the Pequot, entrusted the Tribe’s lands to John Mason, an Anglo-American who had been Uncas’ ally in the war against the Pequot. The following year, the colony of Connecticut persuaded Mason to transfer his stewardship of the Mohegan land to the colony. However, since Mason continued to act as trustee, it was unclear to what degree the colony was the tribe’s legal steward. Nonetheless, in the 1690s, Connecticut began selling off the land specifically set aside for Mohegan use. The Tribe brought its first legal challenges in 1704, and the case was tried multiple times in the colonies and England before it was decided in favor of the colony in 1773. The case split the Mohegan Tribe into two camps and led to serious interference in tribal self-government. When the sachem Caeser died in 1723 (when his son Mahomet was too young to lead), the Tribe split over whether the new sachem should be Caesar’s younger brother Ben Uncas, or John Uncas Jr., a more direct descendent of Uncas I. When Ben took the post, John gathered his supporters and moved half a mile down the road in protest. The Mohegans thus split into “Ben’s Town” and “John’s Town” (these designations correlated with the “sachem party” and the “Mason party,” respectively). When Ben Uncas II, Ben Uncas I’s son, became sachem in 1726, he maintained his family’s shaky hold on power by allying himself with the colony of Connecticut. In an unstated quid pro quo, Ben Uncas II and his son, Ben Uncas III, did not pursue the Mason Case, and in return, they received favors and political support from the colony, which proved critical on multiple occasions when the Mohegans elected alternate sachems. The colony, meanwhile, got to parade a supposedly legitimate sachem in front of Anglo-American and British authorities as proof that the Mason party was composed of rabble rousers. Ben Uncas II and Ben Uncas III, as part of their project of tying themselves to the colony, worshiped at the Anglo-American parish in New London under the ministry of David Jewett, a minister sponsored by the New England Company, a powerful missionary organization. As a form of resistance to Jewett and, by extension, the sachem party, many Mohegans elected to worship with indigenous leaders such as Samson Occom and Samuel Ashpo. Jewett was none too pleased, and the affair drew the New England Company in on the side of the sachem party and inspired its backlash against Samson Occom and his mentor, Eleazar Wheelock, throughout the 1760s. Something of a resolution came in 1769, when Ben Uncas III died. At his funeral, the pallbearers (Occom included) dropped his coffin in front of the representatives from the Connecticut Assembly — a clear indication of what they thought of the company the sachem kept. The Tribe dissolved the office of sachem rather than instituting Ben Uncas III’s son Isaiah (who died shortly afterwards, in 1770), but the damage had been done. The case was decided in favor of the colony in 1773. Samson Occom and Joseph Johnson, both Mohegan, were essential architects of the Brothertown movement, a coalition of Southern New England Algonquians that migrated to Oneida territory in 1775 and again in 1783. However, the majority of the Tribe did not emigrate, and today the Mohegan Tribe is federally recognized and still holds land in Connecticut.
Narragansett Tribe
The Narragansetts are an Algonquian tribe based in Southern Rhode Island. Narragansett students (including the Simons, the Shattocks, and the Secutors) attended Eleazar Wheelock’s Moor’s Indian Charity School, and Charlestown, RI, was also one of the seven communities that participated in the Brothertown movement (the pan-Algonquian coalition organized by former Moor’s students). The Narragansetts were recognized in the 18th-century for their indigenous Christian Separatism, and a Separatist congregation under the leadership of Samuel Niles commanded much of the Tribe’s spiritual life from the 1740s onward. While Separatism is an imprecise word, it generally denotes congregations that formally separated from Congregationalist churches and were characterized by an increased emphasis on charismatic Christianity. Samuel Niles was an illiterate preacher who had himself been ordained by lay persons (thus breaking with the formal laying on of hands by an ordained person that created a theoretical chain from the Apostles to contemporary clergy). The congregation’s practices and theology diverged from the Anglo-American norm in meaningful ways, which shocked many Anglo-American observers but also gave the Narragansetts the autonomy needed to expel Rev. Joseph Fish, a New England Company (NEC) sponsored minister, and Edmund Deake, the schoolmaster who accompanied him, in 1776. Like other New England tribes, the Narragansetts struggled with land dispossession. In this case, the sachem and colony cooperated with one another to the Tribe’s disadvantage: the sachem family, the Ninigrets, had tied themselves closely to the colony of Rhode Island when they converted to the Anglican Church in 1727. They adopted a lavish English lifestyle and funded it by selling off tribal land. By the 1760s, land sales were a massive problem, and the anti-sachem party began trying to put a halt to them. Narragansetts with powerful connections, including former Moor’s students, appealed to Eleazar Wheelock and Sir William Johnson and, in 1767, secured a temporary halt to land sales through the intervention of NEC treasurer Andrew Oliver. The next year, Tobias and John Shattock traveled to London to appeal to the privy council for a permanent solution; however, Tobias died of smallpox, and John failed. Sachem Thomas Ninigret died in 1769, and the Tribe solved the land sales problem by abolishing the office of sachem in the 1770s. The Narragansetts continued to struggle with the state of Rhode Island after the Revolution. Rhode Island unilaterally (and illegally) dissolved the Narragansett’s tribal standing in 1880, but the Narragansetts maintained tribal structures and, as much as possible, residence on their territory. They were officially re-recognized in 1983.
Montaukett Tribe
The Montauks, or Montauketts, are an Algonquian tribe from Montauk on eastern Long Island. The Montauketts are closely related to other Algonquian tribes, including Mohegans, Pequots, and Shinnecocks, and the Mohegan and Montaukett languages are very similar. The Montauketts played an important role in Occom’s life and the history of the Brothertown tribe. Shortly after European arrival, the Montauketts found themselves in the unenviable positions of occupying a strategically important piece of land. English commanders made several treaties with the Montauketts in attempts to secure the eastern end of Long Island as a foothold against the Dutch. When the Dutch withdrew in the mid-17th century, the English found themselves unopposed in Long Island and renegotiated their relationship with the Montauketts. A series of land leases and purchases took place, the most significant of which was a 1703 “purchase” that is still debated in the tribe’s ongoing quest for recognition. Furthermore, because the Montauketts were producers of wampum, a functional currency in Native North America, the English found repeated excuses to fine the Montauketts and obtain wampum for their own diplomatic and economic pursuits. The Montauketts received attention from New Light preachers during and after the First Great Awakening, most notably James Davenport and Azariah Horton. In 1749, Occom took over Azariah Horton’s mission. He lived among the Montauketts from 1749 until 1761. During his time with the Montauketts, Occom wrote an account of their lifeways, which remains one of the best sources on the Montaukett tribe, and married a well-connected Montaukett woman, Mary Fowler. He also educated two of his brothers-in-law, David and Jacob Fowler, both of whom went on to attend Moor’s, serve as school masters among the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), and organize the Brothertown movement (the composite Algonquian tribe led by Moor’s alumni that migrated to Oneida territory after the Revolution). More than 30 Montauketts joined the Brothertown movement (David Fowler had considered the possibility of relocating the Montauketts to Oneida territory to escape encroaching colonists as early as 1765). Those who remained at Montauk continued to battle for legal control over their land. The next several centuries nearly amounted to a guerilla war between Long Island Americans and the Montauketts, as Long Islanders attempted to outlast the Montauketts and the Montauketts determinedly remained. In the first decade of the 20th century, a judge ruled that the tribe was “extinct” because they were no longer living as a unified tribal entity. That ruling has recently been overturned, and the tribe has hopes of state recognition in the near future.
Niantic Tribe
The Niantic tribe is an Algonquian-speaking Native American group that inhabited southern New England, specifically southeast Connecticut and Rhode Island. They used the Niantic River and the Long Island Sound as a fishing source and grew corn, squash, and beans. The invasion of the Pequots divided the Tribe into the Eastern Niantics living in southwest Rhode Island and the Western Niantics living in Niantic, Connecticut. They were further divided when the Pequot and Mohegan Tribes favored the Dutch and English, respectively; the Western Niantics allied with the Pequots, while the Eastern Niantics sided with the Mohegans and Narragansetts, but mostly remained neutral in the conflicts with the colonists. The Pequot War of 1636-39 devastated the Western Niantic population, which supported the Pequots during the war, and the surviving members of the Western Niantic Tribe were put under Mohegan control. After Metacom's War in 1675-76, the surviving Narragansetts fled to the Eastern Niantics in large numbers, mixing the tribes. Initially, English preachers had little success in assimilating and converting the Niantic people despite preachers and a schoolhouse in their village, but after 1741, preachers influenced by the Great Awakening began holding revival meetings in nearby Lyme. Around this time, the local Lyme minister, Reverend George Griswold, renewed his efforts to convert the Niantics and claimed that these revivals had lead to the conversion of twenty or more Indians by 1744. In the following years, the Niantics established their own unofficial church distinct from the local churches funded by the English government and private religious organizations. To further these independent Christian Indian congregations, Gideon Qequawcom built a meeting place for Christian Indians in the middle of Niantic village, and the Niantic Indian minister, Philip Occuish, served as a preacher to the Christian Niantics. As with many Christian Indians, many Niantic meetings occurred not in an official church or meeting house, but in wigwams and other Indian homes. After Occom's ordination, he served as an itinerant preacher to the Niantic Tribe. Several Niantic Indians attended Moor's Charity School, including Hannah Poquiantup and Hannah Nonsuch. In the 1770s, many Niantic Indians followed Occom and Joseph Johnson to upstate New York where they settled Brothertown. Connecticut declared the Tribe extinct in 1870 and sold its 300 acre reservation, the Black Point Peninsula of East Lyme. In 1886, its burial ground was also sold and desecrated. In 1998, 35 Connecticut families claiming Niantic heritage joined together to petition the government for tribal recognition, which, as of 2014, has not been granted.
Farmington Tribe
The Farmington Indians were the inhabitants of the Algonquian town of Farmington, CT. Before European contact, the Indians at Farmington were predominantly Tunxis. Disease and violence decimated the tribe and, by 1725, only 50 members survived. They were joined in the mid-18th century by members of the Quinnipiac, Sukiaugk, and Wangunck tribes, and the new group became known as the Farmington Indians. Farmington was one of the seven towns (along with Mohegan, Montauk, Niantic, Charlestown, Groton, and Stonington) that participated in the Brothertown movement, a composite tribe comprised of Algonquians from around the Long Island Sound that immigrated to Oneida territory in 1775, and again in 1783. Farmington was a predominantly Christian town. It was first evangelized by Rev. Samuel Whitman, a minister under the employ of the New England Company, who preached and taught at Farmington from 1732 until his death in 1751. Although Whitman’s successor, Rev. Timothy Pitkin, did not pursue the mission with the same zeal, the Farmington Indians were more than capable of attending to their own religious needs. Farmington became an active participant in regional networks of Algonquian Christian worship, along with the six other settlements that eventually joined the Brothertown movement. Samson Occom preached there, and, in 1772, he introduced his soon-to-be son-in-law Joseph Johnson as a schoolteacher and preacher. Although Johnson only formally taught at Farmington for 10 weeks, he subsequently used the town as his base of operations for organizing the Brothertown movement. The Farmingtons were instrumental in Johnson’s cause. They made up the bulk of immigrants in the aborted 1775 expedition (which then found shelter at Stockbridge, MA, where some Tunxis were already living) and, when Brothertown was re-founded in 1783, Elijah Wampy (a Farmington leader) formed part of the town’s leadership. Some Farmington Indians remained at Farmington rather than immigrating to Brothertown. However, by the late 19th century, those Farmington Indians had emigrated, died out, or been assimilated.
Groton Pequots
The Groton Pequots, also called the Mushantuxet Pequots or Western Pequots, are an Algonquian tribe in Groton, CT. In the 1660s, after the Pequot War of the 1630s in which the English attempted to eradicate the Pequot tribe, two separate groups of survivors were allotted reservations, producing the Eastern (Stonington) and Western Pequot tribes. The Groton Pequots received sporadic evangelical attention from the New England Company before the Great Awakening, but it was not until James Davenport, the famous evangelical, visited in 1741 that they expressed much interest in Christianity. Although the New England Company paid Jacob Johnson, the local Anglo-American reverend, to preach to the Pequots, the Pequots expressed a continual preference for indigenous religious leaders and teachers. The local indigenous congregation played host to the likes of Samuel Niles, Samson Occom, and Philip Occuish, although it did not have its own minister. The Groton Pequots did allow the New England Company to sponsor a school at Groton from 1753 until 1775, which was staffed almost exclusively by Indian teachers, including Samuel Ashpo, Jacob Fowler, and Abraham Simon. Neither the Groton Pequots nor the Stonington Pequots were enthusiastic participants in the Brothertown movement (the Algonquian coalition led by Samson Occom and Joseph Johnson that immigrated to Oneida territory in 1775, and again in 1783). No Pequots participated in the initial 1775 migration attempt, but some members of each Pequot group participated in the 1783 migration. The Groton Pequots have been unusually successful in recent history at regaining tribal territory. In a scenario common to many Indian tribes, in the 19th century the Connecticut government assumed that the Groton Pequots had disappeared and illegally sold off protected land. In the 1970s, surviving descendants of the Groton Pequots reached a legal settlement with the land’s current owners, who agreed that the initial 19th century sale had been illegal. In the face of this combined pressure, the Connecticut state government and the federal government agreed to recognize the Groton Pequots and gave them legal avenues for regaining control of their reservation. Today, the Groton Pequots’ bingo operation has made them one of the wealthiest tribes in America.
Stonington Pequots
The Stonington Pequots (also called the Lantern Hill Pequots, Pawcatuck Pequots, or Eastern Pequots) are an Algonquian tribe in North Stonington, Connecticut. In the 1660s, after the Pequot War of the 1630s in which the English attempted to eradicate the Pequot tribe, two separate groups of survivors were allotted reservations, producing the Eastern and Western Pequot (Groton) tribes. The Stonington Pequots had limited engagement with Christianity until James Davenport, the charismatic evangelical, preached there in 1741. After his visit, large numbers of Stonington Pequots affiliated with local Anglo-American churches between 1741 and 1743. After 1743 their affiliation with formal Anglo-American churches declined, likely because Stonington Pequots elected to worship at Separate Anglo-American churches or in an indigenous congregation. Though said congregation appeared informal in Anglo-American eyes, it played host to indigenous ministers like Samuel Niles and Philip Occuish. The New England Company sponsored a school at Stonington, which was organized by Reverend Joseph Fish (an NEC affiliated minister) and staffed by Charlestown Narragansetts, including John Shattock Jr (1770) and Charles Daniels (1771-1773). Neither the Groton Pequots nor the Stonington Pequots were enthusiastic participants in the Brothertown movement (the Algonquian coalition led by Samson Occom and Joseph Johnson that immigrated to Oneida territory in 1775, and again in 1783). No Pequot participated in the initial 1775 migration attempt, but some members of each Pequot group participated in the 1783 migration. Although the Stonington Pequots have occupied their reservation continuously since the 17th century, they are currently embroiled in a lawsuit over federal recognition. They were federally recognized in 2002, but the federal government revoked their recognition in 2005, and the Stoningtons have struggled with internal disputes over legitimate membership. In 2012, they filed suit to be reinstated as a federally recognized tribe.
Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College is small liberal arts institution in Hanover, New Hampshire. It has about four thousand undergraduate students taking courses in Arts and Sciences, and another two thousand in graduate schools in the Sciences, Comparative Literature, and Liberal Studies, as well as the Geisel School of Medicine, the Thayer School of Engineering, and the Tuck School of Business. It is a member of the Ivy League, and the ninth oldest institution of higher learning in the U.S. The charter establishing the College was signed in 1769 by John Wentworth, Royal Governor of New Hamsphire, who wanted an academy of higher learning in the colony. Its founder, Eleazar Wheelock, was a Congregational minister from Connecticut who, after his success in educating Samson Occom as a school teacher and Indian missionary in the 1740's, started Moor's Indian Charity School in 1754 to continue what he regarded as a divine mission to educate Native boys and girls to become missionaries. As the school grew, Wheelock began looking for a new location closer to Indian Country where he could expand. But in the 1760's he became disillusioned by the relative failure of his progam and began turning his attention to the education of Anglo-American men as missionaries. After a protracted search, he secured the royal charter in New Hampshire and in 1769 moved his family and base of operations to Hanover, where he established the College. It is named for William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth, who contributed to the funds raised by Occom and Whitaker on their fund-raising tour of Great Britain in 1766-68 and became a member of the London Trust that administered those funds. The College's charter announced its purpose as "the education and instruction of youth of the Indian tribes in this land [in] all parts of learning which shall appear necessary and expedient for civilizing and christianizing children of pagans…, and also of English youth and any others." But Wheelock's priorities were, in reality, the reverse. While he gave public notice in 1770 that "My Indian charity school … is now become a body corporate and politic, under the name of DARTMOUTH COLLEGE," he created this parallel structure to allow him to use the funds that were collected specifically for the education of Indians. Only around 75 Native students enrolled at the College before 1972, when it rededicated itself to educating Indians and established the Native American Studies Program. This is also the year Dartmouth went co-ed. Occom was angry and embittered at Wheelock’s abandonment of his “great design,” for which he had sacrificed so much. Their relations cooled after Occom’s return from England, and he never visited his mentor again, or, for that matter, Dartmouth College.
Synod of New York and Philadelphia
The Synod of New York and Philadelphia was the governing body of the Presbyterian Church in the mid-Atlantic region, including New York and New England. It worked closely with other Presbyterian organizations in the region, including the New York (and, after 1769, New Jersey) Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, and the College of New Jersey. Like those organizations, the Synod was a potential source of funding for missionaries involved in Indian ministry, although it tended to support primarily Presbyterian efforts (e.g., John Brainerd’s long ministry among the Delaware). For a period of time, the New York and Pennsylvania synods existed independently. In 1745, the Presbyteries of New York, New Brunswick, and Newcastle split from the Synod of Philadelphia over tensions resulting from the First Great Awakening, a transatlantic evangelical movement that spanned roughly 1734 until 1742. As within the Congregationalist church, the major points of contention were focused on 1) itinerant ministry and 2) qualifications for new ministers (namely, whether a college degree or demonstration of new birth was more important in a minister). The two synods reunified in 1758 as the Synod of New York and Philadelphia, although the member presbyteries continued to disagree over many of the same issues. The fact that these disagreements continued may be why writers often refer to the Synod of New York or the Synod of Philadelphia in letters from the 1760s and 1770s, even though the two synods were nominally reunified.
New York City
New Haven

New Haven is a city in south central Connecticut on New Haven Harbor and the Long Island Sound. The Quinnipiac Indians, specifically the Momauguin band of the Algonquin-speaking Tribe, were the area’s original inhabitants. The Quinnipiacs lived along the banks of Connecticut's many rivers; fittingly, Quinnipiac means long water country. After Dutch explorer Adrian Block first sailed up the Connecticut River in 1614, Quinnipiac lands and peoples began to dwindle, especially as English settlement expanded. In 1638, Reverend John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton, a London merchant, sailed into New Haven Harbor from Massachusetts Bay Colony and formally established New Haven as a Puritan settlement. Though he did not have a royal charter for his new colony, Davenport signed a treaty with Quinnipiac sachem Momauguin in 1738, which gave the English formal ownership over the land. Davenport had left Massachusetts in the midst of the Anne Hutchinson controversy, likely coming to Connecticut to found his own Puritan theocracy. New Haven existed as its own colony distinct from Connecticut until 1665, when Charles II united the two under the Colony of Connecticut. From then on, New Haven referred to the city specifically, which in 1701 became the co-capital of Connecticut along with Hartford. In 1716, the college that would become Yale, where Eleazar Wheelock received his degree in 1733, moved to its permanent home in New Haven. From its creation, Yale was committed to training Christian missionaries; several of Wheelock’s Anglo-American missionaries studied at Yale while many of his Anglo-American students from Moor’s went on to study there. Wheelock took Occom to New Haven in 1744 to see Yale's commencement exercises, but due to terrible eye strain, Occom never attended the College. Because New Haven was the co-capital of Connecticut, any of Occom's or Wheelock’s dealings with the Colony of Connecticut often involved New Haven. By the Revolutionary War, the city had a population of 3,500, almost none of whom were Quinnipiac Indians. New Haven remained co-capital of Connecticut until 1873, when it lost to Hartford in what is known as the "single capital contest."

East Haven
Long Island

Long Island is an island located in southeast New York State. In 1824, historian Silas Wood claimed that 13 different tribes inhabited the island when the Dutch and English arrived in 1639: the Canarsie, the Rockaway, the Matinecock, the Merrick, the Massapequa, the Nissequoge, the Secatoag, the Seatuket, the Patchoag, the Corchaug, the Shinnecock, the Manhasset, and the Montaukett. This is the commonly accepted tribal history of Long Island, and Wood’s theory is taught in New York textbooks today. Yet, in 1992, historian John Strong challenged this dominant narrative, arguing that tribal systems did not develop on Long Island until after Europeans arrived. Based on Dutch and English colonists’ accounts, the Algonquian communities on western Long Island likely spoke the Delaware-Munsee dialect and those to the east spoke languages related to the southern New England Algonquian dialects. These indigenous peoples organized themselves by language and kinship, but beyond village systems and the occasional alliance, there existed no formal tribal structure. Rather, internal structures arose among the Montauks, the Shinnecocks, the Poospatucks, and the Matinnocks to cope with English settlers, and became integral to these peoples’ survival. Although new diseases and land negotiations severely encroached on the freedom of Long Island’s Native population, these groups that developed tribal structures retain a sense of community today. By the 18th century, much of the island had fallen into the hands of the English, who were the sole European power on Long Island once the Dutch relinquished their claims to the land after the second Anglo-Dutch War in 1664. During the Great Awakening of the 18th century, Occom spent 12 years serving as a missionary to the Montaukett Indians of Long Island, along with Presbyterian minister Azariah Horton. Today, the western half of the island is densely populated due to its proximity to Manhattan, and its eastern half is mainly devoted to resort towns. The Shinnecocks and the Poospatucks retain autonomous reservations on Long Island.

Mohegan

Mohegan is a village in southeastern Connecticut at the site of the present-day town of Montville, and is the location of the Mohegan Indian Reservation. The village gets its name from the Mohegan Tribe, or wolf people, who split from the Pequots in the early 17th century under the leadership of the sachem Uncas. In the 1720s, the Mohegans requested the colony of Connecticut provide them with an English educator. An English minister and schoolteacher named John Mason (no relation to Captain John Mason) moved to Mohegan in order to provide English-styled education to the Mohegans, convinced his sponsors, the New England Company, to build a schoolhouse at Mohegan, which eventually served as a boarding school for other Native American children from the surrounding area. During the 17th century, the Mohegan Tribe became embroiled in a complicated controversy over control of Mohegan land — known as the Mason Land Case or, more specifically, Mohegan Indians v. Connecticut — that included the village of Mohegan. The Tribe claimed that it never authorized a transfer of their lands, held in trust by the Mason family, to the colonial government. In 1662, the colony of Connecticut was incorporated by a royal charter, which included the disputed tribal land. The land controversy was revived in 1704 when descendants of John Mason, the original trustee, petitioned the Crown on behalf of the Mohegans, but the suit was finally decided against the Tribe in 1773. Born in Mohegan, Occom became involved in the Mason Land Case and vehemently argued for the rights of the Mohegan Indians to maintain their land, opposing Eleazar Wheelock and other ministers in the area. Although Occom left Mohegan for a 12-year mission with the Montauk Indians of Long Island, he returned at the end of 1763 with his large family to build a house in Mohegan, establishing it as his base of operations. Even after the creation of the Brothertown settlement in Oneida country, for which he served as minister, Occom continued to commute back and forth from Mohegan; he didn't sell his house in Mohegan and move his family to Brothertown until 1789. Many members of his family remained in Mohegan, including his sister Lucy Tantaquidgeon, who lived there until her death at 99 in 1830.

Johnson, Joseph

Joseph Johnson was a Mohegan who studied at Moor’s Indian Charity School and became one of the most important organizers of the Brothertown Movement (a composite tribe composed of Christian members of seven Southern New England Algonquian settlements). He was a prolific writer and his papers are relatively well-preserved. Johnson’s writing is especially noteworthy for his skillful use of Biblical allusion and his awareness of the contradiction that he, as an educated Native American, presented to white colonists. Johnson arrived at Moor’s in 1758, when he was seven years old, and studied there until 1766, when he became David Fowler’s usher at Kanawalohale. He continued teaching in Oneida territory until the end of 1768, when Samuel Kirkland sent him home in disgrace for drunkeness and bad behavior. After a stint teaching at Providence, Rhode Island, and working on a whaling ship, Johnson returned to Mohegan in 1771 and became a zealous Christian. He opened a school at Farmington, CT, in 1772, for which he seems to have received some minimal support from the New England Company. From his base at Farmington, he began organizing Southern New England Algonquians for the Brothertown project. The goal was to purchase land from the Oneidas, the most Christianized of the Six Nations, and form a Christian Indian town incorporating Algonquian and Anglo-American elements. Johnson spent the rest of his short life garnering necessary support and legal clearance for the Brothertown project. Johnson died sometime between June 10, 1776 and May 1777, at 25 or 26 years old, six or seven years before Brothertown was definitively established in 1783. He was married to Tabitha Occom, one of Samson Occom’s daughters. She lived at Mohegan with their children even after Brothertown’s founding, and none of their children settled at Brothertown permanently. Like most of Wheelock’s successful Native American students, Johnson found that he could not satisfy his teacher's contradictory standards for Native Americans. Although Johnson's 1768 dismissal created a hiatus in their relationship, Johnson reopened contact with Wheelock after his re-conversion to a degree that other former students, such as Samson Occom, David Fowler, and Hezekiah Calvin, never did.

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.

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.

HomeJoseph Johnson, letter, to John Rodgers, 1775 February 15
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