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Samson Occom, journal, 1789 May 11 to 1790 January 10

ms-number: 789311

abstract: Occom details his travels through New York and New England, from May 11, 1789, to January 10, 1790.

handwriting: Handwriting is largely clear and legible. There are some crossed l's and uncrossed t's, which the transcriber has corrected.

paper: Several small sheets folded into a booklet and bound with small pins are in fair-to-poor condition, with significant wear that results in some loss of text. There are a few loose pages and the last page is torn in half.

ink: Brown ink varies in intensity throughout.

noteworthy: There are underlinings in black ink throughout and notes by later editors on the back of the last page (16 verso) in black ink and pencil; these edits have not been transcribed. On the scan of 11 recto, text from 12 recto shows through; the actual first line of 11 recto begins "gether. to Meeting…." Several other of the following scans show text from adjacent pages. On 15 recto, the name of the river that Occom mentions is uncertain; however it is possibly the Thames River. Persons and places whose names are illegible have not been tagged. If Occom's intention regarding a word or abbreviation is uncertain, that word or abbreviation has been left unmodified in the modernized transcription.


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


Monday May 11: 1789

We arrived at Albany, just be
fore Night, and we went to
See about getting a wagon to
carry us to Schenectady, — but
got none,

Tuesday May 12:

got a wagon
early and we Loaded about
10: and we set off, and we got
to Schenectady just before
sunset, and we were very
wet for had Rain most of the way
and I was much beat out, and
we put our things in Mr. John
Post
Barn, and there we lodged
We went to Bed Soon — —

Wednesday May 13:

about
5: I attended upon a Lecture
and there was not many
People, because they had not
Notice— I Spoke from, 1 Corinthians
7: 22: 30: and the People a[gap: worn_edge][guess: t]
[gap: worn_edge][guess: t]ended becomingly, and they
made me a Collection, and
it was good for the Times — —

Thursday May 14:

was at
the Place all Day — —

Friday

was at all Day
again — —

Saturday May 16:

About
10 we put aboard of a bateau
our things, and we went
over the River, and walked
up the River about 2 miles
and there we stopped Some at
a Certain house, and the man
of the house gave us a Dinner
and about 1: the Boat came
up, and set off sometime
in the afternoon, and we
got to Hi[illegible][guess: c]ry Tavern, and the[gap: tear][guess: re]
we lodged,—

Sabbath May 17:

Set off early
and we got to Warrens
Bush, at Night and my
wife
and I lodged at Mr. Bar
tlet
s, my good old Friends —

Monday May 18:

Went on again
early, and reached to Caughnawaga
and my wife I lodged at Mr.
Vedder
s, — —

Tuesday May 19:

Set off again
early, and we were over
with Rain at Major Fonda's
and my wife I went into the
house, and we were kindly
Treated had Dinner, and
we went a little farther and
there lodged at Mr. Hardys —

Wednesday May 20:

got up
early and got us breakfast
and then we pushed on and
we got up above fort Plain
and we Made up a fire by
the Side of the River and
there we Spent the Night —

Thursday May 21

got up
early and got breakfast
and as Soon as we had eaten
we went on again, and in
the we got to Canajoharie and
we lodged a little above old Mohawk
Castle
, and we made up a fire
near the River, near by one
Mr. John Vantreser, — —

Friday May 22:

Soon after
eating we went on again
and in the Evening we got
a little below Fort Herkimer
and we made up a Fire
again by the River, and
there we slept — —

Saturday May 23

in the
morning we went on again
we made a Halt at Mr. Franks
and after that we passed on
here a white woman took
our Little Salley, and made
walk about 8 miles She
only four and half year old
She was much wearied
in the Evening we got Mr.
Tygurt
s, and the we lodged
my wife and I in a Hovel
the Rest lodged in the Boat —

Sabbath May 24:

got up early
and I went over the River
and went to Fort Dayton and
there I preached, Twice to a
large number of People, and
I Spoke from Jonah III: 5
and 1 Corinthians XVI. 22 and the
People attended with all gra
vity and Solemnity,— took my
Dinner at Mr. Tolcuts — and
as Soon as the meeting was
done I went with Dr. Petre
and there took Tea — and
as Soon as we had done I
had an horse got up for me
and a young man with a
nother horse to accompany
me towards Fort Schuyler
and we Soon set off, and we
got about 4 miles Short of
the Fort, and there I got down
and the Young man went back
with horses, and I walked a
long about a mile, and found
Tired, and I went into a Certain
house, and asked whether I
could not Stay there, and they
Said I might, and so I stayed—
and the man of the house asked
me whether I could not give them
a discourse, I told them I could,
and So they Sent out word, and
Neighbours Came in directly
and there was a considerable
Number of People Collected.
and it is a New settlement,—
and I Spoke from the words
he that believeth on the Son
of god, hath the witness in
himself — and the People at
tended with Solemnity — Soon af
ter Meeting I went to bed, and
rested well. — —

Monday may 25:

got up
early and set off, and I got
to weavers Town Soon, and went
in old Mr. Weaver's House, and
there took breakfast, and
Soon after went on again and
got to my Family. about
10 at Fort Schuyler and found them all well,
and there we stayed all Day
and the Boat that brought us
went on to Niagara. – —

Tuesday May 26:

was again
at the Place all Day — towards
Night, our Anthony Paul
and Brother David Fowler
Came to us, and stayed all night
with us — — —

Wednesday May 27:

Soon after
breakfast, we set off for Bro
thertown
,. and we had Rain
to travel in, and to our Place
a little before sunset, and
were very much wearied, and
we went to Bed Soon. — —

Sabbath May 31:

preached at
Brothertown [illegible] to not a large
Congregation, Spoke from,
[gap: omitted] and the People were
attentive, and were glad to See
me once more. — —

Monday June 1 etc.:

this week
went to Warrens Bush, — —

Sabbath June 7:

Preached at
Elder Mudges meeting House
in Yankee hill, Spoke from
[gap: omitted] and there was a vast
Number of People, and attend
ed with great attention, —

Monday

Towards Night preached
at M

Tuesday June 9.

went to
Albany Bush, and there
I preached at a Certain
house. and there was not
many People, and they attended
with seriousness — —

Wednesday June 10,

was at
Philadelphia Bush, Came here
last Night, and lodged at one
Mr. Sharmans,— and about 9
the People Collected together at
the Same house, and I preached
to them, Spoke from [gap: omitted]
and the People attended well
as Soon as the meeting was
over, I with one Mr. [gap: omitted]
and I Dined there, and as soon
I had eaten, I went on to Johns Town, and So on — — —

Friday June 12.

got to Fort‑
Plain
before Noon, put up
at Mr. Jonathan Deans, one of
my good old Friends, found them
all well; — — Towards Night the
People Collected, and there was
but few, — and I Spoke from [gap: omitted]
[gap: omitted] lodged at at the Same house

Saturday June 13

Sometime
before Noon, set off again, and
got to German Flatts some
time before, night and I put at Esq.
Frank
s,—

Sabbath June 14

after break
fast went over to Fort Dayton
and there preached in a Dutch
meeting house
, and there was
a large Number of People, and
I Spoke from [gap: omitted] Isaiah V:

July 1 Sabbath

Preached at the Ger
man Flatts

August 1 Sabbath September 1. Sabbath and
September the last Sabbath.

the Texts
I Spoke from [gap: omitted]
by one man Sin entered into
the World etc. Jesus Christ the
Same etc. Understandest thou
what thou readest — at Esq.
Frank
s on week Day, thy heart
is not right in the Sight of god
So then every one of us Shall give
an account of himself to god. —
Blank page.

September 1

was called by the Major
Coldbreath
to be with them in their
Training at Clinton; about 2
in the afternoon they were all
Collected, and the major Came to
Capt. Tuttles where I was and
he accompanied me to the Com
pany, and a fine appearance
they made for the first Time
there was upwards of a Hundred
likely young men, the Place
has been Settling only 2 Year
and an half,— I gave them
a few words of Exhortation, and
then prayed, and then they exer
cised a little while,— and then went
to Dinner, they put me at the head
of the Table, and a fine Dinner
we had,— in the evening I went
to Capt. Billings and there lodged
and was kindly entertained.—

September 2:

I went home —

September 18: 1789 Friday

left home
and set out for New England, my
Son Andrew
accompanied, we got to
Fort Schuyler before Night, and we
stayed there all Night —

September 19

we got up very early
and set off, and we got to Fort
Dayton
near 12, called on Mr.
Talcutt
, and took Dinner, and
Soon after eating, my Boy went
back,— And towards Night I
went over to Esq. Franks, and
there lodged, — —

Sabbath September 20:

preached at
Esq. Franks Barn, and there
was a vast Number of People,
lodged at the Esq.'s — —

Monday September 21:

Sometime in
the morning, I went to Mr. Kains
and was there a while, and then
went back to Fort Herkimer,
took Dinner with Mr. [gap: omitted]

Tuesday 22

Toward Night, Esq. Phelps bat
eau Come along, and I got a B[illegible]th
in it, and I went aboard, and
we went down and got to the
little Falls after sunset and
there we lodged, — —

Wednesday September 23:

got up very
early, and had things carried below
the Falls, and So we went on down
the River, and we go to Caughnawa
ga
and we lodged at a Tavern,
we found the River exceeding low
and very difficult in Some Places
to get along, the men were obliged
to get out of the Boat very often —

Thursday October 1

Set off very
Early again, and got to Schene
ctady
a little before Night. and
I lodged at Mr. Posts -– — —

Friday October 2

got up early,
and went to a Certain house
where I expected to have a Chance
in a Wagon, but was disappointed
and So I went on afoot, and Some
in the afternoon a Friend over
took me, and he took me in his wagon
and we got to Albany just after
sunset, and I lodged at Mr. Orrs
and I went to Bed Soon — — —

Saturday October 3.

Sometime
before Noon set off afoot again
went to Coeymans Patent, and
I met Dr. Utter, and his Brother
and they Said they would be
back Soon, and would take
Me in their wagon, and just
before sunset they overtook
and I went with them, and we
called at Dr. Utters a little while
and Mr. Jesee Utter carried to his
house, and it was near midnight
before we got there, and there
I Lodged, — — —

Sabbath 4:

as Soon as we got our
breakfast, we went into a
wagon and to meeting at
Dr. Utters about 4 miles. and
there I preached. Spoke from
Acts VIII. 21. and the People attended
well,— In the afternoon, we went
to Mr. Conrad Tenikes Barn, and there
we had a meeting, and there was
a large Number of People, and
I Spoke from Jonah III: 5: and
the People attended with great
Attention, and it was a rainy
Day,— in the evening preached
in Mr. Conrad Tenikes House, and
there was a considerable of
People, and I Spoke from Matthew
I: 21: and the People behaved
well — Lodged at the house they
are Dutch People, and they were
very kind to me, and rest well — —

Monday October 5:

Sometime be‐
fore Noon, I had an horse brought
me and I went to Mr. Northrops
and found them very Religious
about 2. we began the meeting
and there was a great Number
of People,— lodged at the Same
house. —

Tuesday morning October 6

As Soon as I
had done eating, we went to
Dr. Stantons, — and we began
the meeting about 11: and there
was a great Number of People
and I Spoke from [gap: omitted] in the after
noon preached again — and
Spoke from [gap: omitted] in the
Evening I went to Mr. Stantons
and did not expect to have
any People, but there was
a number, Came together and
we a little meeting, — and
I lodged at the Same house
and rest well — — —

Wednesday October 7:

Soon after
Breakfast we went to Mr. Tenik
about 2 we began
the meeting, and there was
a great Number of People
and I Spoke from Mark V: 4
and the People attended well —
— — —
after meeting I went to Mr.
John Colvins' and there we
had another meeting, unexpectedly
and there was a large number
of People and I Spoke to them
Matthew Seek you first etc.: and the
People were much moved, it
was a Comfortable meeting, I
lodged at the Same house, — —

Thursday October 8:

in the morning
I went to See a woman that
had been Sick Some Time.
and Said few word to her and
prayed with her, — and then
went back, and took break
fast, and Soon after Mr. Colvin
went with me to the River, [gap: worn_edge][guess: and]
Mr. Wells at Albany
1 Corinthians 6: 19 —
we parted the River, and I
over to Schodack, and from there
went to Mr. Lotts about 7 miles
and I walked about 2 miles and half
and then Mr. Brown overtook
me, and he carried me to Mr.
Lott
s, got there near sunset
and we were very glad to See
each other once more,— lodged
at the Same house — — —

Friday 9

Sometime in the
morning I went to Mr. Daniel
Muckmullins
, and to Mr. Ephra
Baily
s, towards Night went
back to Mr. Lotts, and there we
had a meeting in the evening
and there a large Number
of People I Spoke from [gap: tear]
Galatians IV 11
gether to Meeting, and I Spoke
from Job I: 9 and the People
attended with great affection
I lodged at the Same house —

Tuesday October 13:

Mr. Whilly
Came to Mr. Lotts quite early
to accompany me down to Schodack
Landing
, got there Soon, and
Capt. Allyn was not ready, and
Mr. Whilly went back, —

Wednesday, October 14:

was at the Schoon
ner all, Day —

Thursday October 15:

Sometime
in the afternoon we weighed
anchor, and spread Sail to
the Wind, and went the River
got but about 10: 11: and
there we dropped anchor

Friday October 16

found
the wind ahead of us and
So we lay Still 'til about 2
in the afternoon and the
wind Sprang about west North
west and went down again —

Saturday October 17

Sometime
in the Day went on again
but did not go but little ways —

Sabbath October 18:

went on again
but did not go far — —

Monday October 19.

got but a little
ways again —

Tuesday October 20

went on again
not far.

Wednesday October 21.

went on Still
got near New York — —

Thursday October 22

a little after
sunrise we were ashore —
went directly to find a passage
to New London and found one
Soon, in a Sloop going to New London
Towards Night I put [gap: worn_edge]
my things. and lodged aboard
Capt. Fellows is Master of her —

Friday, 23

Sometime before
Noon we set Sail, and went
on the Wind in our Favour
and we sailed all Night,—

Saturday October 24.

we went
the wind in our favour conside
rable. towards Night the wind
began to Blow hard, and the
Clouds gathered thick and So
we Sought for a Harbor, and
sometime before sunset
we made a harbor, against
Brandford, and there Lay
all Night, and it was a
Stormy Night. —

Sabbath October 25

Sometime in
the Morning we set Sail, the
wind was right ahead as we
were geting out of the Har
[gap: worn_edge]
but it was very fair when
we got out, and the Sun was
about an Hour and half high
at Night when we got fast
at a wharf and I went to See Some
Friends — lodged at Mr. Perrys
a public House,— and I sat up
late with two women, convers
ing about Religious matters
about 11. I went to Bed, and
I was taken Strangely in the
Night with an uncommon Sweat
but after a while went to Sleep
but did not Sleep well — —

Monday October 26:

Got up early
and it was a Stormy Day it
rained very hard, and wind blew
hard also — towards Night I went
over to Groton, called on Capt. Lathem
a few minutes, and then went
to Mr. Streets, and there I took
food, and they let me have a
horse and went to Mr. Woodman
cys and there I lodged, and was
very kindly entertained, went to
Bed somewhat late, and Soon
after I got to Bed, I began to Sweat
again very much and was un
comfortable Slept but poorly —

Tuesday October 27.

got up early
and after breakfast, I had a
horse, of Mr. Woodmancy and I
went to Mr. Saunderss and I met
Mr. Saunders, and Mr. Woodworth
and they glad to See me, and so
I passed on, and when I got to the
house, how glad they were, and
there I stayed all Day — I expect
ed my Mare, that I Left with
Mr. Culver but She was ridden
away last Sabbath and was not
returned, and and So I stayed all Day
and all Night —

Wednesday 28:

after breakfast
took leave of the Family, and
went to old Mr. Culvers, and by
the way I met Mr. Culver bringing
my Mare to me, and So got up
and went on my way, and Soon
got to Gales Ferry, and the wind
was very hard, and could not get
over, and So stayed all Day at
evening the Wind was Still very
Strong and fl[illegible][guess: a]wee and So Concluded
to Stay all Night, and in the even
ing the People of the Family asked
me, whether it would be agreeable
to me to have a few Neighbours
Come together, that I might Pray
with them, I told them it was
quite agreeable,—

Thursday October 29

got up
early, and took breakfast and
then went over — and got to
Son Benonis sometime before
noon, and found him Sick and
had been very Sick for a
bout 6: weeks, and was now
a little Better,— and I went
on to my Old house, and
them that live in my house
were well, except the woman
and there I stayed — and I was
poorly with the uncommon
Cold that is everywhere —

Sabbath November 1:

was very warm
and I felt a little easy, and
I went Samuel Ashpos expecting, to
Seen meeting, but he had none
and So went back — —

Saturday November 7

was much poorly
yet I went to groton Indian Town
got there after sunset, and
was received with great Love
in the evening we had a little
meeting — — —

Sabbath November 8

the People got
together about 10, and a great
number there was, and I spoke
from Matthew I. 21: and Acts VIII. 21
and the People attended with
great attention and many was
[gap: worn_edge][guess: greatly aff]ected — in the evening
went to Mr. Stantons, and there had
another meeting, and a great
many People there was — I Spoke
from Galatians IV. 11 and the People
were very Serious — I lodged at
the Same house — —

Sabbath 15.

went to Mr. Whalley and
preached to a great Number, of
People I Spoke from Galatians IV. 11
and the People gave very great
attention,— as Soon as the meeting
was over I went to widow
Fitches
, and there was conside
rable Number of People, and
they attended well, and as Soon
as the meeting was done, I went
home to my old house — —

Sabbath November 22

went to go over
to [illegible][guess: Paweuttuunuck], but it was
very Stormy, and stopped — about
10 the Storm abated Some and
I set off got there about 12
and we the Service about 3
and there was a [gap: worn_edge] [gap: worn_edge][guess: People]
and I Spoke from Jeremiah VIII. 6
and the People attended with great
Solemnity — and the People desired
to have another meeting in the evening;
and So we had another, and there
was more People in the evening
than in the daytime, and Spoke
from 1 Corinthians VII: 29. 30. and there
was greater attention. than in the
daytime — I lodged at the house
the Mans Name was Mr. Herkules
and was kindly Treated. — —

Monday November 23

after Brea[gap: worn_edge]
I went to the River on horseback
and the Wind blew very hard.
but I had a fine Chance, in a
Whale Boat, to get over the River
got home about 10: and directly
went to the People, that were Sur
veying our Land. — —

Thursday November 26.

was to go over
to Mr. Babcocks at groton
but it was a very bad Storm

Saturday November 28:

towards
Night, I went to Mr. Posts at
Wecus Hill, in Norwich, got
there after sunset, Called at
Mr. John Posts and took Sup
per there, and after that
went to old Mr. Posts, and
found, him very poorly, and
there I lodged, and he had Se
veral fits in the Night —

Sabbath November 29.

The People
began to get together about
10: and there was a large con
course of People we began
the exercise about 11. and
Spoke from Isaiah I: 12: and the
People attended with great
Solemnity, and many were affec
ted, to Tears — Soon after meeting
after Dinner, I returned home
and had a meeting at my
own house and there was a
great many People, and I
spoke from 2 Timothy 3: —

January 10

I have been to no meet
ings four Sabbaths, we had
one very bad Stormy Sabbath and
my Mind has been filled with
Trouble So that I have had no
peace, but Sorrow, grief and
confusion of Heart — and I am
yet in great Trouble, — —
Non-contemporary text has not been transcribed.
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.

Vedder, Albert Jr.
Occom, Mary (née Fowler)

Mary Occom (née Fowler) was a Montaukett woman who married Samson Occom. Although information about her is limited and often comes from male, Anglo-American sources, it offers a tantalizing glimpse of her strength, as well as an alternative to the Eleazar Wheelock-centered narrative of Occom’s life that often dominates the latter’s biography. Mary was born into the influential Fowler family at Montauk, Long Island. She met Samson during his missionary service there (1749-1761). Mary studied at Samson’s school along with her brothers David and Jacob, and was almost certainly literate. She and Samson married in 1751. Wheelock and several other Anglo-American powers opposed their union because they worried it might distract Occom from being a missionary (as, indeed, family life did), and thus many scholars have read in Samson and Mary’s marriage an act of resistance against Samson’s domineering former teacher. Little information about the minutiae of Mary’s life survives, but existing sources speak volumes about her character and priorities. In front of Anglo-American missionaries visiting the Occoms' English-style house at Mohegan, Mary would insist on wearing Montaukett garb and, when Samson spoke to her in English, she would only reply in Montaukett, despite the fact that she was fluent in English. Mary Occom was, in many ways, Wheelock’s worst fear: that his carefully groomed male students would marry un-Anglicized Indian women. It is not a stretch to imagine that Mary provided much of the incentive for Wheelock to begin taking Indian girls into his school, lest his other protégés replicate Samson’s choice. Much of our information about Mary comes from between 1765 and 1768, when Samson was fundraising in Great Britain. Despite promising to care for Samson’s wife and family (at the time they had seven children), Wheelock, by every objective measure, failed to do so, and Mary’s complaints are well documented. Hilary Wyss reads in Wheelock’s neglect (and in letters from the time) a more sinister story, and concludes that on some level Wheelock was holding Samson’s family hostage, in return for Occom curtailing his political beliefs on the Mason Case. Wyss also notes Mary’s remarkable survivance in this situation. Mary drew on various modes of contact, from letters to verbal communication with influential women (including Sarah Whitaker, the wife of Samson’s traveling companion, and Wheelock’s own daughters), to shame Wheelock into action and demand what she needed. One of the major struggles in Mary’s life, and in Samson’s, was with their sons. Both Aaron and Benoni failed to live up to their parents’ expectations. Aaron attended, and left, Moor’s Indian Charity School three times, and both Aaron and Benoni struggled with alcohol and refused to settle down. The Occom daughters did not cause similar problems. Given the nature of existing sources, little is known about Mary after Samson and Wheelock lessened their communication in 1771. Joanna Brooks has conjectured that Mary was likely influential in Samson’s Mohegan community involvement later in life, for instance, in his continued ministry to Mohegan and, perhaps, his increasingly vehement rejection of Anglo-American colonial practices.

Bailey, Ephra
Utter, brother
Coldbreath
Colvin, John
Dean, Jonathan
Muckmullins, Daniel
Post, John
Salley

Salley [Occom] was possibly the youngest daughter or, more likely, the granddaughter of Samson Occom and Mary Fowler Occom. In 1789, she moved with the Occom family from Mohegan to Brothertown.

Tenike, Conrad
Utter, Jesee
Frank, Lawrence

Lawrence Frank, also identified in histories of Frankfort as "Lewis," was one of the earliest settlers of the town of Frankfort (originally Frank's Ford), located east of present-day Utica, which was named in his honor. He was the son of Henry Frank (c 1725-1790) and Maria Catharine. Henry immigrated to Pennsylvania from Germany, probably Bavaria, with his brother Christopher in 1740 and was a trader between the Mohawk and Lehigh Valleys in the 1740s and 50s. He settled in German Flatts, an area originally belonging to the Mohawk Nation but populated with German immigrants who bought up the fertile river lands. Lawrence married Mary Myers in 1769 and they helped found the new town of Frankfort on land originally bought from the Mohawks by Dutch settlers. The land was set off as a separate town from German Flatts by an act of the NY Legislature on February 5, 1796. Lawrence Frank owned a large tract of land, and town history reflects that he actively promoted the industrial and agricultural progress of Frankfort, which was severely damaged in the French and Indian and Revolutionary Wars. In fact, Frank and a group of other patriots were taken as prisoners of war during the Revolution and housed in Quebec from August 31 1778 until May 15 1781, when he was released and made his way back home. His popularity is reflected in the fact that the village of Howard's Bush was renamed Frankfort Center and McGowansville was renamed East Frankfort. Later in life, Frank moved with some of his family to a new settlement called Busti in Chautauqua County, NY, which is where he died. On his first journey to the Oneidas in 1761, Occom records paying for lodging at Mr. Franks, a tavern keeper in German Flatts. Although there is no historical record of such a place, Occom returned to this tavern many times on his preaching tours of the area between 1786 and 1790. Frank's Tavern must have been a major establishment because in early July of 1761, Occom notes that William Johnson met him and David Fowler there, and that the next day Johnson met with chiefs of the Oneidas to work out an agreement about an Oneida who killed a Dutchman. In June 1789, Occom records preaching in Esquire Frank's barn to "a vast number of people."

Vantresser, John
Paul, Anthony

Anthony Paul was born in Charlestown, Rhode Island, to Mary and James Paul. His family was a part of the Narragansett peoples who lived in Charlestown. There is not much information detailing Paul's early years, but he is believed to have attended Wheelock's school in Connecticut. It is through this connection that Paul is likely to have met Christiana Occom, daughter of Samson Occom and Mary Fowler. Paul married Christiana in 1777 and, after spending some time in Mohegan, the two settled in Brotherton in 1784. Paul worked as a preacher and helped raise at least six children with Christiana. Occom was fond of his son-in-law, and his journals tell of many happy times visiting the couple, including fishing trips and the day in 1787 when Samson baptized Paul and four of his children. As further indication of Occom's fondness for his son-in-law, he is believed to have left the books and papers that he kept in his New York home with Paul. In 1797, Paul and Christiana left Brotherton to live in Lake George, NY, where they spent the rest of their years.

Fowler, David Jr.

David Fowler, Jr., was the son of David Fowler and Hannah Garrett Fowler. He was born in Brothertown, inherited property upon the death of his father, and served as town clerk in the early 1800s.

Ashpo, Samuel

Ashpo was born into a very powerful Mohegan family, considered equal to the Uncas line, and became an influential Mohegan preacher. He was converted at Mohegan during the Great Awakening, and became a schoolteacher among the Indians at Mushantuxet from 1753 until 1757 and from 1759 until 1762, when he left to attend Moor's. Between 1757 and 1759, he worked as an interpreter, and supposedly struggled with alcohol. He attended Moor's for only six months, and then continued his teaching and missionary career on successive trips to Chenango (the first was cut short because of violence in the region). On July 1, 1767, the Connecticut Board dismissed him from their service because of further charges of drinking. He continued to preach successfully to various New England Indian tribes until his death in 1795. The variations of his name exist in part because Ashpo is an abbreviated form of Ashobapow.

Occom, Benoni

Benoni Occom (also known as Benjamin, Noney, and Nony) was Samson Occom and Mary Fowler’s seventh child and second son. Like Aaron Occom (Benoni’s elder brother, who died in 1771 after a wild young adulthood), Benoni did not live up to his parents’ standards for behavior. Unlike Aaron, he was not sent to Moor’s Indian Charity School; the difference may reflect Samson and Mary’s declining opinion of Eleazar Wheelock. Benoni’s behavior led Samson and Mary to kick him out of the house in July 1780, but the family had reconciled by 1788 (perhaps following 1787 rumors that Benoni had been hanged in Boston for murder). Although Benoni remained at Mohegan instead of moving to Brothertown, later letters from Occom to Benoni suggest that they were close and that Benoni visited his parents frequently. Later in life, Benoni was active in attempts to define Mohegan identity by petitioning to exclude anyone of African descent from tribal membership. His petition in this affair might indicate broader political involvement in tribal matters.

Woodworth
Saunders, Giddeon
Woodmancy
Latham, Robert

Captain Robert Latham was part of the large, ferry-man and ship-building Latham families of Groton and New London, Connecticut, several of whom Occom mentions in his journals. Robert's father was Daniel Latham, born April 16, 1719 in New London and his mother was Elizabeth. He was the youngest of five. After that, there is no more information about Captain Robert Latham except what we learn from Occom's journals for 1784-89. In his itinerant preaching in the area, Occom held meetings at Captain Latham's house, lodged, dined with and called on Latham and his wife several times, and used his Christian cards for exercises with them, describing them as a "very agreeable and discreet couple." The Captain must have been fond of Occom, because he sent a present of tea to Occom's wife in 1784. Going back and forth between Groton and New London in southern Connecticut required a ferry across the Thames River. Robert was likely a descendant of the first ferryman in this area, Cary Latham, who appears in the record during the 1680s. His successors, William and Thomas Latham, operated a shipyard in Groton where they built and launched ships. In 1807, this became the Latham Brothers company. It is not clear if Robert's title refers to his seafaring or military service. Although there is no mention of a Robert Latham in the records, members of the extended Latham family from Groton served with distinction and were captured, wounded, or killed in the Revolutionary War, participating in the Battle of Groton Heights and the storming of Fort Griswold.

Occom, Andrew Gifford

Andrew Gifford Occom was the youngest son of Samson Occom and Mary Fowler Occom. He was named for Andrew Gifford, a Baptist minister whom Occom met in London. In 1789, Andrew Occom moved with the Occom family to Brothertown, where he owned land that was deeded to his widow upon his death in 1796.

Fonda, Jellis Douw

Jellis Douw (also spelled Jelles Douwse) Fonda was a prominent merchant and land speculator in the Mohawk Valley. He was the son of Douw Jellese Fonda (1700-1780) and Maritjie Vrooman, part of the extensive Fonda family in the area descended from Jellis and Hester Jans Fonda who immigrated from the Netherlands to Albany in 1651. Before the American Revolution, Douw Jellis (the father) founded the Dutch village of Fonda at the site of the Mohawk hamlet of Caughnawaga along the Mohawk River about 30 miles west of Albany. Jellis Douw, his son, was the most prominent of the early Fondas. He was the first merchant in the Mohawk Valley west of Schenectady and was a close friend and associate of Sir William Johnson, Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Fonda fought in the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War, and though he was a Captain commanding a company of exempts in that war, he was known thereafter as Major Fonda, perhaps as an expression of respect. He served as a county judge, justice of the peace, county supervisor in Tryon and Montgomery counties, and Commissioner of Indian Affairs after Johnson's death. Fonda was also one of the executors of Johnson's will and designated guardian of his children. He was elected a state senator from 1779-81 and 1788-91, and died in office. In his preaching tours of the Mohawk Valley, Occom records lodging with Major Fonda several times during the period of 1786-89, and using the "ferry" Fonda had over the Mohawk River.

HomeSamson Occom, journal, 1789 May 11 to 1790 January 10
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