Johnson, Amy

first name (variants): Amie
Birth: c. 1748 in Mohegan
Death: After 1772
Affiliation

Mohegan Tribe; Moor's Indian Charity School; Niantic Tribe

Education

Moor's Indian Charity School (1761-1766)

Nationality

Mohegan

Residence(s)
  • Lebanon, CT (from 1761-06-02 to 1766)
Marital status

Married Joseph Cuish, son of Niantic Baptist preacher Philip Cuish, before 1772.

Biography

Amy Johnson was a Mohegan woman who was the first female student at Moor’s Indian Charity School. She came to Moor’s in 1761 at age 13, perhaps because her brother Joseph Johnson was also a student there. She left the school at the beginning of 1766. According to W. D. Love, she then lived (and, presumably, worked) at the Bull’s Tavern in Hartford, CT for some time. During this period, she was courted by David Fowler, who gave her a gold engagement ring. Their relationship ended, although it is unclear why; he may have been concerned about her poor health (his main concern in a wife was finding a partner for missionary service), or she may have rejected him (Amy was the first of the three Moor’s students whom Fowler courted). Sometime before 1772 Amy married Joseph Cuish, son of the Niantic Baptist preacher Philip Cuish. The family had close ties to the Occoms and several Cuishes moved to Brothertown, although Amy and Joseph do not seem to have done so. Most of our information about Amy comes from her relationships to important men: she was sister to Joseph Johnson, student to Wheelock, the temporary object of David Fowler’s affections and, eventually, wife to Joseph Cuish. From a historical standpoint, our sources on Amy speak to the increasingly patriarchal element that Christianity brought into Algonquian society as well as the fundamentally inter-tribal nature of Algonquian relations during this period.

Sources

Love, Deloss. Samson Occom and the Christian Indians of New England. Pilgrim Press 1899. McCallum, James. The Letters of Eleazar Wheelock’s Indians. Dartmouth College Press 1932. Murray, Laura J. To Do Good To My Indian Brethren: The Writings of Joseph Johnson, 1751-1776. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press 1998. Szasz, Margaret Connell. Indian Education in the American Colonies, 1607-1783. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 1988.