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Samson Occom, journal, 1750 June 21 to 1751 February 9

ms-number: 750421

abstract: Occom details his travels along the East Coast from the autumn of 1750 to the late winter of 1751.

handwriting: Handwriting is largely clear and legible. As is common with Occom, there are some uncrossed t’s and crossed l’s; they have been corrected by the transcriber.

paper: Small sheets folded into a booklet are in fair-to-poor condition, with heavy staining and wear that results in some loss of text.

ink: Brown ink sustains varying degrees of fading.

noteworthy: On one recto, Occom has written random words, some possibly in Mohegan, many illegible. The word "Sarah" (Occom’s mother) is written backwards. Also on one recto, an editor, likely 19th-century, has written: "June 21, 1750 to Saty Feb. 9. 1751. [at Montauk] Tuesd. Feb. 12]". This same editor has made underlinings and overwrites throughout the document; these have not been transcribed. When Occom mentions an "Indian Town" he is likely referring to the Indian villages associated with each place that he visits.

events: Occom’s Mission to the Montauketts


[illegible]
Nnaunwuqus
Beer-lahai-roi
orchard
Samſon Sarah
Mohegan
[illegible]

[bottom]Handkerchief 1 - 5 - 0
[bottom]a Quire of Paper - 0 - 11 - 0
[bottom] a pair of Stockings - 1 - 12 - 0
Blank page.

Thirdſday June ye 21[illegible]th 1750


I Sot out from Montauk for
Eaſthampton and got there
Some time before Night, and
taried at Revd Mr Buel's that
Night,

Fryday June ye 2518 22th

John Aſhpo Came to me from
Montauk, about 10 in the morng
and we Emediately Sot out from
thence for South Hampton, and
got there About 4 in the after N–
and taried at Dea– Tuts, and we
Stayd there amongſt our Country
Men till Monday June ye 25, and
then we Return'd from thence to
wards Montauk, and we got there
Some time before Night Safe &
Sound —

Saturday Auguſt ye 4 AD 1750


I Sot out from montk for Eaſt–
and got there before Night and
Lodged at Mr W: Hedge's that —
and Monday Juſt at Night
I Came a way from Eaſt and got
to Montk Juſt after Sun Set —

Mongday Sepr ye 10 AD: 1750

I Left
my School and to Napeeg, and
got there Juſt after Sun[illegible] Set
and we went further in the Night

Saturday Sepr ye 15:

we Sot
out Sail from Long Island
for main, and got over a
bout 1 o'Clock in the after
Noon [illegible] , and I was Landed
at Stoneing Town and
I Sot out from thence
for mohegan & got
there Some time in the
Night and found [illegible]Moſt
of my [illegible]Relations well

Thriday Sepr ye 20 AD: 1750


I Sot out from Mohegan for
Lebanon and [illegible]Got to Mr Williams
Juſt before Su[illegible]n Set and Lodg'd
there and was kindly entain'd.

and Fryday Sepr ye 21

Early in
the Morning, I Sot out from
thence to Crank and got to Mr we'
before Noon and found madam
and Theodora very Sick. and I
Stay'd there till [illegible] after Noon,
and then I Sot out from thence
for Hebron, and got there Juſt
after Sun Set and found moſt
of 'em Well, and Monday Sepr
the 24th
I Sot out from Hebron for
Mohegan, and got there Some time
in the Night, — and Fr[below]^yday
Sepr ye 28th
I Sot out from
Mohegan for Nawyyonuk
and got there Juſt before
Sun Set and tary'd with
one Lemuel Burrows & Satur
Day morning Sot out from
thence for Naroganſet

and got there Some time
after in the Night & Lodg'd
with one James Simon, &
was kindly Entertain by my
Friends &c &c —

Thirſday octr ye 4th AD: 1750


I Sot out from Naroganſet
for Nawauyounk and got
there Some time in the Night
and Lodg'd at Toowiſ's Wig‐
wam and Fryday morning Sot
from thence for New London,
and got there about 9 in ye
morning, and from thence
Strait up to Mohegan — and

Monday ocr ye 8

wen Down to
New London in order [illegible] to go
over to Long-Iſland &c &c

and Tueſday [gap: stain][guess: ocr] the 9th

was
at New London all the
 Day

and at Night about 1 or 2
o' C[gap: stain] Sot-Sail from New‐
London
for Montauk, and
got a Shore Juſt before Sun
riſe at fort pond and I Sot
from there Directly for the
Indian Town, and went a
mong the People to get Some
Sweet Corn, and then I went
to Napeek, and back again
to Indian Town and got there
in the Evening &c —

Saturday Ocr ye 13

I went
from Montauk for Eaſt &
taried there Sabbath and

Monday Ocr ye 15th

I return'd
to Montauk [illegible] again —

Thirſday Octr ye 18

we Sot
out from Montauk, for Eaſt
and taried that Night and
Friday Morning we Sot a
way from thence for Shene‐

Shenecock and we got there at mr Ho[illegible]
a bout 9, a bout 11 we went
the Indian Town, there we heard
Mr White Preach a thankſgiv
ing Sermon to the Indians, &
we taried there till Monday fol‐
lowing Octr ye 22 then we returnd
to Montauk again and we got
there about 7 at Night &c —

NovWedenſday November ye 14 1750


I Sot out from Montauk
for Eaſt to thankſgiving
and Fryday Novr ye 16 I re
turnd again to Montauk
and got there Juſt before
S[illegible][guess: ot]un Sit and So forth

Saturday December ye 1: 1750


I Sot out from Montauk for
Sagg to [illegible]See Mr Maltby
and I got there Juſt before
Sun Sit and Lodg'd at Mr
Ruſſil's


was kindly Entertain'd, and
Next Day I heard Mr Maltby
preach, and was with him
in the after Noon, at Mr
Gulſon
's, and taryd at Night
with Mr Maltby, And Monday
I part with him at Mr. Gulſon[illegible][guess: 's]
and Came a way home towards
home to Montauk & got there
at Night, &c

Saturday Fabruary ye
9 1750

[illegible: [guess: — 1]] I went to E Ham
and participate with 'em
the Sacrament of the Lds– S–
and Tueſday February ye
12
I returnd to Montauk

[illegible] to John Aſhpo
from Hannabel, 8 5 Due to
Cyrus from John Aſhpo

Mary George
Mary Aſhpo
Theatre Theſſalonians
Theſſalonians
Theſſalonias
[bottom][illegible] 12 Samſon Occom
[bottom]9 — 1 — [illegible]
[bottom]16 — 16 — [illegible] — 32 — 8
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.

Montauk

Montauk is an unincorporated hamlet located on the eastern tip of Long Island in southeastern New York. The town was named after the Montaukett Indians who lived on much of eastern Long Island when Europeans first made contact in the 17th century. Archeological records show that Native Americans occupied eastern Long Island at least 3,000 years prior to European contact. The Montaukett Indians derived their name from the land they lived on, Montaukett meaning hilly country. The Montauketts made great use of Long Island’s abundant resources, and the nation subsisted by growing crops such as corn, squash, and beans as well as gathering berries, herbs, and roots. In addition to game such as deer and fish, the Montauketts also hunted whales and used every part of the whale, including its oil, which they burned in large clamshells. Living on an island at first isolated the Montaukett people, but they soon became a strong economic force in the region thanks to the production of the American Indian currency wampum. Wampum was constructed out of polished sea shells, which were found in abundance along Long Island’s beaches. The Montauketts' rich resources, however, led to wars with surrounding Indian nations, including the Pequots and Narragansetts to the north. The Pequots eventually forced the Montauketts to forfeit wampum as tribute. By the early 17th century, the Montauketts were faced with wars against surrounding Native Americans and an onslaught of European diseases, and in order to preserve his nation’s territorial integrity, the Montaukett sachem, Wyandanch, established an alliance with English settlers in Connecticut in 1637. Over time, however, the Montauketts' began selling off land to the English settlers, and disease further decimated their numbers. A 1650 smallpox epidemic killed around two-thirds of the Montaukett people. In 1665, Wyandanch granted the English permission to pasture livestock on Montaukett lands. In 1686 a group of East Hampton settlers known as the Proprietors bought the territory of Montauk from the Montauketts, and would continue to hold on to the land in a joint trust for the next 200 years. Despite attempts over the years, the town has never been incorporated as a village. Many years later, the Montauketts attempted to reassert their land rights on Long Island by petitioning New York State Judge Abel Blackmar in 1909. Blackmar refused to recognize the Montauketts as an Indian tribe, which has to this day left them without a reservation on the land that still bears their name.

East Hampton

East Hampton is a town in New York's Suffolk county on southeast Long Island, 14 miles southwest of Montauk. East Hampton was originally inhabited by the Algonquin-speaking Montauketts, who numbered over 10,000 and had a peaceful trading relationship with the nearby Pequots until early 17th century when English colonists played the two tribes off each other. In 1640, after the Pequot War, an English settler named Lion Gardiner purchased an island in the bay between the present-day towns of Montauk and East Hampton from the Montauketts, which began the English settlement, or seizure, of the land that would become East Hampton. The Montauketts called the island Manchonacke, or island where many died, while Gardiner named the island after himself. In 1648, the colonies of New Haven and Connecticut purchased more land from the Montauketts, spreading beyond Gardiner's Island onto Long Island and settling the town of East Hampton. In 1664, East Hampton was annexed to the colony of New York. As the number of English settlers increased, the Montauketts became increasingly dispossessed, economically tied to the English but relegated to the bottom of the social order. By 1687, the English had fenced off the majority of Montaukett land through a series of resolutions, changing the tribal structure of the Montauketts and leaving them open to conversion to Christianity. In 1749, Occom had been released from his preparatory studies for college because of poor eyesight and went on a summer fishing trip to Montauk; he decided to settle there and by November had established a school for the Montauketts. He frequented East Hampton on his travels to New York and New England from his home in Montauk beginning in 1750, often staying with Reverend Samuel Buell of the Presbytery of Suffolk County, who presided over Occom's 1759 ordination at the Presbytery. While traveling through East Hampton, Occom also stayed with William Hedges, a whaling captain and one of his benefactors. One of Occom's letters indicates that Hedges took care of Occom's family while he completed his mission to the Oneidas in 1761. Occom's relationship to East Hampton changed in the 1770s, however, when he started to believe that the pervasive English influence on Montaukett society had become corrosive. As a result of Occom's encouragement, many of the Montauketts of East Hampton moved to Brothertown in the late 1780s.

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.

Stonington

Stonington is a town on the Long Island Sound by the Pawcatuck River in the southeastern corner of Connecticut. Before colonists arrived, the Algonquin-speaking Pequots who originally inhabited the area referred to it as “Mistack.” In 1649, however, Europeans opened a trading house near the Pawcatuck, and in 1666 they named the town Stonington. Relations between the Pequots and colonists were tense, especially because of the 1637 massacre of Pequot Indians at nearby Mystic, CT. Eventually, settlers set aside North Stonington for the Pequots, establishing one of the earliest Indian reservations that the Pequots have continually occupied since 1670. The town grew in the years leading up to the Revolution as a result of the shipbuilding and fishing industries. Occom visited Stonington to preach, often to crowds of Pequots in North Stonington, which became its own town in 1724. Its high Pequot population led some to call North Stonington “Stonington Indian Town.” Occom was acquainted with Joseph Fish, a Congregationalist minister, who in the 1760s opened a school for local Pequots and Narragansetts in Stonington. Moor’s alumni John Shattock Jr. and Jacob Fowler both spent time as schoolmasters there. During the Revolutionary War, Stonington was the site where patriots successfully deterred two British naval attacks. Following the war, many Stonington Pequots, along with other New England tribes, settled in Brothertown, in central New York.

Lebanon

Lebanon is a town located in the state of Connecticut southwest of the town of Hartford. The land that became Lebanon was inhabited at least 10,000 years ago based on the archeological record. By the 1600s, the land was permanently inhabited by the Mohegan Indians, who used the area primarily for hunting. Lebanon was officially formed in 1700 when English settlers consolidated a number of land tracts, including several land grants by the Connecticut General Assembly and lands purchased from the Mohegans. However, these purchases were controversial. In 1659, the Mohegans entrusted their reserve land to Major John Mason, and in the following year, Mason transferred this land to the Connecticut colonial government with the understanding that there would be enough land left for the Mohegans to farm. The Mohegans claimed that they never authorized a transfer to the colonial government and only Mason’s heirs were entrusted with their land. In 1662, Connecticut, which included the Mohegan land that had been entrusted to the Masons, was incorporated by a royal charter. Based on this charter, the colony argued that the land was now the property of the government. In 1687, the colony began granting the Mohegan land to townships, and in 1704 the Masons petitioned the Crown on behalf of the Mohegans, claiming that such transfers of land to townships were illegal. Between the years of 1705 and 1773 legal disputes and controversies persisted, finally ending in a verdict by the Crown against the Mohegans. In 1755, Wheelock received property and housing in Lebanon that he would use as his house and school. While Lebanon was originally incorporated as a part of New London County in 1700, in 1724 it became a part of New Windham, before once again becoming a part of New London County in 1826. Lebanon was central to the American Revolution with half of its adult population fighting for the colonists and hundreds of meetings convened in the town for the revolutionary cause.

Hebron

Hebron is a town located in central Connecticut, on the Connecticut River. The area was occupied by the Mohegan Tribe in the 17th century. During the Pequot War, the Mohegans under Chief Uncas allied with the English against the Pequots, and after the war, the Mohegans fought neighboring tribes with the help of the English. Following these battles, Chief Uncas and his two sons, Owaneco and Attawanhood (who was also known as Joshua), deeded particular Mohegan land to the English colonists. Attawanhood and Oweneco further aided the English settlers during Metacom’s War, and upon his death, Attawanhood’s will granted the land that would comprise Hebron to a variety of English colonists. The first English settlers of the deeded land came from Windsor, Saybrook, Long Island, and Northampton; the town of Hebron was eventually incorporated in 1704. But because some of those who were granted the land did not settle there and because of some Mohegan resistance, the town was slow to grow. With the help of the local government, the town grew large enough by 1711 to sustain a meeting house and a minister. A letter written in 1764 to the Committee of Correspondents with the Scotch Society appoints a number of representatives for the organization within Connecticut, including Benjamin Pomroy from Hebron. In 1768, missionary Aaron Kinne wrote a letter to Wheelock, who was staying in Hebron, to inform him of the state of the Indians in the Kanawalohale Indian School in upstate New York. Also, in a 1771 letter to his father Eleazar, Ralph Wheelock expresses his sorrow at the loss of his brother but informs him that all else is well in Hebron where he recently visited.

New London

New London is a city located in southeastern Connecticut along an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean called Long Island Sound. The area that would become New London was inhabited by the Pequots who called it Nameaug when the Europeans arrived in North America. Pequot villages bordered Long Island Sound and the Tribe had authority over the neighboring Tribes of the Mohegans and Niantics (all Algonquian-speaking tribes). The Dutch first explored this land in 1614 and established trade with the Native peoples, but the English soon gained possession of the land east of the Hudson in the 1630s. English animosity toward their Indian neighbors led to the Pequot War (1634-38), part of which took place in the present city of New London. The Pequots lost the war and their population deteriorated due to the violence and disease. The General Court of Massachusetts granted John Winthrop possession of Pequot territory in 1644 after which it was to be opened for settlement. By 1646, which is considered the official year of its founding, New London had permanent colonial inhabitants and municipal laws, and jurisdiction was granted to the colony of Connecticut in 1647. In 1658, the inhabitants renamed the town New London after London, England. New London was the colony of Connecticut’s first trading port and was a hub of trade with the West Indies and other colonies. Though initially part of the town of New London when it was first settled by the colonists, Groton, Montville, and Waterford were each separated from New London in 1705, 1786, and 1801 respectively. Present-day Salem was also part of New London when it was settled, but in 1819, it became a separate incorporated town composed of parts of Lyme, Colchester, and Montville. Occom kept a school in New London in the winter in 1748. New London was the home of Captain Nathaniel Shaw, one of the wealthiest merchants in the area, who gave money to Occom in the 1750s for the missionary cause and also sold materials to Occom for the building of his home. However, their positive relationship ended when Shaw refused to provide supplies for Mary Occom while Occom was in England. New London served as the port from which Occom and other missionaries traveled to reach Long Island. During the American Revolution, New London’s location and its status as a seaport made it both vulnerable to invasion and integral to colonial naval operations as well as the exchange of prisoners.New London was incorporated as a city in 1784.

Fort Pond
Shinnecock

Shinnecock, NY, was a village within the town of Southampton, NY occupied by the Shinnecock Indians. While this village no longer exists, the Shinnecocks have preserved some of their ancestral land through the Shinnecock Indian Reservation. The name Shinnecock means "people of the stony shore," in reference to the rocky southeastern edge of Long Island where the Shinnecocks lived. Shinnecock's proximity to Connecticut by way of the Long Island Sound meant that the village and its tribe experienced more missionary activity from New England than towns in the Western half of Long Island. European settlers first encountered the Shinnecocks in 1640, when they founded Southampton after purchasing land from the Tribe. During this period of colonization, the village of Shinnecock remained an enclave for the Tribe as the rest of Long Island was increasingly divided into English towns. Unlike the Montauketts to the East, the Shinnecocks were able to retain a land base, their own distinct village. From 1749 to 1761, Occom maintained a school and mission 30 miles east of Shinnecock in Montauk and often made trips to the village on his preaching tours of Long Island and New York, where he preached to largely Indian audiences. By the 1780s, however, English encroachment on Shinnecock land led many of the Shinnecocks, with Occom's encouragement, to leave Long Island for Brothertown. Those who remained in Shinnecock were subjected to a system of tribal governance that the New York State Legislature imposed in 1792, a system that lasted until 2007, when the Shinnecocks on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation reasserted their traditional governing structure.

Sag Harbor
South Hampton
Narragansett

Narragansett is a town in Washington County, Rhode Island, covering a narrow strip of land along the eastern bank of the Pettaquamscutt River to the Narragansett Bay in the southeastern part of the state. Today, it is known for its summer recreation and beaches. It is named for the most powerful Indian tribe in the area, the Narragansetts (meaning people of the small point), who are descendants of the aboriginal inhabitants of the area. Known as warriors, the Narragansetts customarily offered protection to the smaller tribes, the Nipmuck bands, the Niantics, Wampanoags and Manisseans, who paid tribute to them. Their sachem, Canonicus, met and befriended the English dissenter Roger Williams as he fled the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1636 and founded the settlement of Providence Plantation. The mutual respect they achieved disappeared in 1658 and 1659 as two groups of English investors hungry for land purchased two tracts of valuable land, which became known as "Narragansett Country," including what would become the town of Narragansett. This consisted of three peninsulas called "Boston Neck," "Little Neck," and "Point Judith Neck," which were used for grazing, farming and fishing. In 1675, the Narragansett allied themselves with the Wampanoag leader Metacom (aka King Philip), in his effort to regain tribal land in Massachusetts. A military force of English Puritans from Plymouth, Massaschusetts Bay and Connecticut massacred a group of Narragansetts, mostly women, children and the elderly living in their winter camp in the Great Swamp. The survivors retreated deep into the forest lands, which make up today's Reservation; others who refused to be subjected to the authority of the United Colonies were hunted down and killed, sold into slavery in the Caribbean, or migrated to Brothertown in upstate New York and Wisconsin. For the next 200 years, the population of the town expanded slowly, large plantations emerged, commerce evolved and the area became known for its cheese, sheep, horses, and grain. The Narragensett Pier was built in 1781 in the center of the village to accommodate shipping in Narragansett Bay.

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.

Occom, Sarah

Sarah Occom was Samson Occom's mother. There is some evidence that she was a member of the Groton Pequots, a remnant of the once powerful Pequot Tribe that was decimated by the war with the Puritans in 1636-37. (The Pequots and Mohegans were once a unified people until the Mohegan chief Uncas and a band of followers split off after a dispute with Sassacus, who became sachem of the Pequots.) One genealogy gives Sarah's birthdate as 1694, her maiden name as Wauby Sampson, her father as Sabientouset II (known as General Samson) and her mother as Hannah Wequot Uncas, of the line of the Mohegan's first sachem. Sarah married Joshua Occom (or Tomockham), a Mohegan, and they may have had up to five children: Joshua Jr., Samson, Jonathan, Lucy, and Sarah. In Samson's "Short Narrative" of his life, he notes that his parents "led a wandering Life up and down in the Wilderness" around Uncas Hill. Sarah was an early convert to Christianity during the revivals that swept the area, and Occom recounts that when he told her he wanted education in order to serve his Tribe, she went to Wheelock in nearby Lebanon, CT, because she heard "he had a Number of English youth under his Tuition," to request he take in her son. By 1743, Sarah was a widow, and Samson continued to visit and stay at his mother's house in Mohegan through the 1760s, though one source gives her death as 1782.

Buell, Samuel

Buell was a popular Presbyterian minister during the second half of the 18th century in Long Island, as well as a close friend of Samson Occom. He was ordained in November 1743, and was a popular itinerant minister before settling at Easthampton. He preached at Occom's ordination, published the sermon in 1761 to raise funds for Occom (he also wrote the letter addressed to Bostwick prefacing his publication), and stayed in close contact with Occom even after Occom's public break from Wheelock. Occom's diary is full of references to visiting Buell and to their close friendship. During the Revolution, Buell was the only minister on Long Island for 40 miles, and was very active in assisting the American cause. He also founded Clinton Academy on Long Island in 1785, which was the first private school chartered by the New York Board of Regents. This academy was also remarkable in that it admitted women. Multiple historical sources have misconstrued Samuel Buell as Sol or Solomon Buell, likely because Buell sometimes signed his name Sa.l, a creative abbreviation of Samuel. However, there was no Reverend Solomon Buell in Easthampton, or, it seems, Long Island, in the second half of the 18th century: Samuel had no brothers, and were there to be two Reverend S. Buell's within 10 miles of one another during the same period, related or not, doubtlessly someone would have commented on it. In addition, the handwriting in letters ascribed to "Sol" and those assigned to Samuel is identical. Lastly, the only source besides collection manuscript 765530.3 describing a "Solomon Buell" is an anthology of letters from the Revolution, which contain letters from a Rev. Sol. Buell, or S. Buell, about aiding the American cause. These letters correspond well with descriptions of Samuel's life in an 1809 biography of his life, and, as he was the only Reverend but one for 40 miles during the Revolution, it is likely that these letters belong to him.

Ashpo, John
Hedges, William

William Hedges was a resident of Easthampton, Long Island, and a supporter of Occom during his mission at Montauk. He was the second son of William Hedges (b. 1679, d. November 4, 1768) and and Abiah Mulford (b. August 20, 1685, d. October 27, 1763). Both were descendants of the original settlers of Easthampton; Hedges' father was the grandson of the original William Hedges, a devout Puritan who fled with his wife from Kent in England to Lynn, Massachusetts in 1644, and finally moved to the new settlement of Easthampton on Long Island in 1650. There is little in the records about Hedges and his activities. He was close enough with Occom and his family on Long Island to be entrusted with the funds collected from local Long Island congregations to support the Occom family during Occom's first and second missions to the Oneidas, when the New York Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge grew lukewarm about the missions. Hedges was also a close friend of Samuel Buell, the Presbyterian minister who sponsored Occom's ordination. Buell entrusted Jacob, one of the young Indian boys from Wheelock's school visting on Long Island, to Hedges' care.

Williams, Solomon

Solomon Williams was a Congregationalist pastor in Lebanon, CT from 1722 until his death in 1776. As pastor at Lebanon, Williams rose to prominence as a theologian and engaged in extensive correspondence and debate with some of the most eminent minds of the day. He was one of the rare truly moderate New Lights during the Great Awakening: he managed to maintain the respect of both Charles Chauncy, the rabid anti-revivalist, and George Whitefield, the famous evangelical. Williams also established a library in Lebanon and a very well-known grammar school, which became something of a feeder for Yale. Williams supported Eleazar Wheelock and Moor’s Indian Charity School through much of the 1750s and 1760s. He was something of a mentor to Samson Occom, and he became president of Wheelock’s Connecticut Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge (SSPCK). It is unclear why Williams is not named as a trustee of Moor’s in Wheelock’s 1768 will; perhaps Wheelock feared that Williams would not outlive him. Williams continued to run the Connecticut Board even after Wheelock relocated to New Hampshire in 1770. Despite the SSPCK’s disappointment in Wheelock, Williams and Wheelock seem to have remained on cordial terms. Their correspondence ceased in 1772, after Wheelock tried (and failed) to open a New Hampshire Board to replace the one in Connecticut (with, it might be added, the Connecticut Board’s blessing).

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.

Wheelock, Theodora
Wheelock, Mary (née Brinsmead)

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.

Burrows, Lemuel
Simon, James

James Simon was a semi-itinerant Pequot preacher who was active in the early 1750s. Little is known about his life outside of his conflict with Samuel Niles at Charlestown in 1752. Simon arrived at Charlestown in the late 1740s or early 1750s, just as separatism was dividing the Christian population. In 1750, the Anglo-American Baptist Stephen Babcock led away part of Joseph Park’s Congregationalist church. Many Narragansett Indians, under the influence of their charismatic spiritual leader Samuel Niles, went with him. However, by 1752, Niles faced a challenge for leadership of the Narragansett separate community: many Narragansett preferred James Simon as a minister. Babcock sided with James Simon and ordained him, leading Niles to host his own ordination. It seems that Niles was able to drive Simon out, because by late 1752, Simon was preaching farther afield, for instance in Titicut, MA. It is unclear where his career took him from this point forwards. Although James Simon shares a surname with Sarah Simon, a Christian Narragansett woman who sent five children to Moor’s Indian Charity School, it is unlikely that he was her husband. W. D. Love suggests that Sarah’s husband was a John Simon, but as often, his sources are unclear. Love’s conclusion seems reasonable, if only because of the brief time which James Simon spent in Charlestown and the number of Sarah’s children.

George, Mary
Ashpo, Mary
Occom’s Mission to the Montauketts
After being released from his studies in the summer of 1749 because of acute eyestrain, Occom goes on a fishing expedition to Montauk, Long Island and decides to establish a school there and become a missionary to the Montaukett Indians. He serves in that role for 12 years.
HomeSamson Occom, journal, 1750 June 21 to 1751 February 9
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