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Nathaniel Whitaker, narrative, 1766

ms-number: 766900.11

abstract: Whitaker gives a brief history of Indian conversion in America and why it has thus far been relatively unsuccessful. Occom’s story is used as an argument for promoting Wheelock’s School and its focus on educating Indians, rather than English, as missionaries. A plan for an expanded school is put forth.

handwriting: Handwriting appears to be that of Nathaniel Whitaker. It is informal and small but legible. There are several uncrossed t’s that have been corrected by the transcriber. There are several additions and deletions, indicating that this is likely a draft.

paper: Small single sheets are in fair-to-poor condition, with significant staining and wear that leads to some loss of text.

ink: Dark brown ink bleeds through the pages. In spots, the ink, likely iron gall, has burned through the paper.

noteworthy: This narrative is possibly a speech that was delivered or printed by Nathaniel Whitaker in Great Britain. The manuscript number indicates a date of 1766, though no date is indicated on the document. No author is indicated on the document; authorship has been deduced from the handwriting and contents. In instances when the intention of the writer regarding a certain word cannot be discerned, the word has been left unmodified in the modernized transcription. At the bottom of two verso, there is an addition that begins with the pound sign; this addition continues on the bottom of three recto. On two verso, it is uncertain whether the "Hon: Scotch=Commiſſ.rs" refers to the Connecticut or New York/New Jersey board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, and so it has been left untagged. On eight verso, the identity of the "Candia Indians" is uncertain, and so it has been left untagged.

events: Occom’s First Mission to the Oneidas, Occom leaves his studies, Occom’s Mission to the Montauketts, Occom returns to Mohegan, Occom’s Second Mission to the Oneidas, Occom’s Marriage

The deſign of Goſpelizing the Savages of N. Amer: is hath been eſteemed of So Such im-
portance & [gap: tear][guess: of So great] utility as to engage the attention of the greateſt
& beſt of men for Ages paſt; [illegible] an[gap: tear][guess: d] therefore there have been
Several Societies formed & incorporated by Royal charters in this
[left]# who have made Several laudeble
attempts for this end.
(all, or at leaſt two of wch, have made many attempts to this
purpoſe, a particular hiſtory whereof would be too long to give.
This Society for promoting Chriſtian knowledge in Edenburgh,
have eſpecially Shewn their Zeal in this work, as hath alſo the Society in
London for propagating the Goſpel in N.E. & parts adjacent
But to the grief of both of [illegible] all who are aquainted with the Sta[gap: stain][guess: te of the]
Indians there, & pray for their converſion to X, the Succeſs of their pious en-
deavours hath been very Small in proportion to what might have been
expected. It is well know to all who are acquainted with the Hiſtory of
N.E. what was done there among the Indians at Martins Vinyard, & pla-
ces about Boſton & along the Sea Coaſt, buty the great mr Elliot of Boſton
& others many years Since, & that the Goſpel was received by many of the Natives
in thoſe parts, which Still continues to bleſs thoſe tribes, & is Supported
[gap: tear] by the Hon.ble Society in London. The moſt alſo are acquain-
ted with the Succeſs the [gap: tear] [gap: tear] of Good mr D. Brainard ha[gap: tear][guess: d a‐]
mong the Indians at Croſwixſung in N. Jerſey, & Forks of Dillawa[gap: tear][guess: re]
Penſilvania, the fruits of whoſe Labours remain to this day, & thoſe Indians
are collected, & are under the Care of the Revd Jn.o Brainard, brother to David
in New Jerſey, [illegible]. Some good alſo followed
the labours of the Revd mr Seargeant, & afterwards of the Rev d mr J. Edwards
at Stockbridge in the Government of Maſſechuſets Bay; as alſo of the Revd
mr Haley among the Indians of the Six nations at Onohoquage on
Suſquehannah river, Theſe three laſt were Sent by the Hon.ble Society in
. Yet after all the many attempts which have proved almoſt fruitleſs &
the Small Succeſs of thoſe which have been the moſt incouraging Seemed
to caſt a cloud over the whole deſign. Before I proceed it may be [illegible]
natural to inquire, what were the cauſes of hindrance in this good work.
And 1. The Indians have imbibed very Strong prejudices againſt the Engliſh,
from the repeated impoſitions & frauds the have Suffered from thoſe who have
traded with them, & eſpecially thoſe who have purchaſed their Lands. Hence they
are ready to Suſpect that they are not[illegible] Safe while they have the Engliſh men among
them, & are ever jealous that the deſign is to lay Some plan to get their
Lands from them, as is [illegible][guess: evident] as is evident from many facts wch can be adduced.
This Jealouſy Seems to have been the reaſon of their critical obſervance of the
conduct of the miſſionaries, which hath rendered it very difficult to be-
have So as to avoid their Suſpecion of Some fraudulent deſign; & this is
greatly heightened by the impoſſibility of converſing with them but
by an Interpreter who generally being an Engliſhman, as well as
the Miſſionary, they naturally Suſpect they are, or at leaſt may be,
laying Schemes unknown to them, & theſe Suſpicions have oppertunity to
Strengthen greatly, before the Miſſionary may come to know the reaſon any thing
of the matter thro' ignorance of their language. Hence it hath been generally
found that, altho' the Indians would admit the miſſionaries among them
& tre[gap: tear][guess: at] them with reſpect, their way, for a while, yet they have moſt commonly
grown Shy & gradually declined in their attendance, by wch the miſſionaries
have been diſcouraged, & after one or two attempts have declined the Miſſion
except in a few inſtances. To confirm what is obſerved above I Shall give one
inſtance out of many. It once happened that three Miſſ.rs & one Interpreter were
at one place among a party of Indians who had been formerly inſtructed in Some
meaſure, & who owned a conſiderable tract of Land, where they continued about
a fourt'ni't; Another Miſſ.ry was at a place about 100 miles diſtant, at the
houſe of an Indian inſtructed by mr Wheelock, where were a number of In-
dians who were very buſy in talking togather: the Indian who had been inſtructed,
being in a room adjoining, & overhearing them, informed the miſſry of their
converſation, wch was to this purpoſe, One Said "What is the reaſon that three
miniſters are gone to [gap: tear][guess: O]? Why does [gap: tear][guess: not] one go to that other place? [gap: tear]
[gap: tear] no miniſter & [gap: tear][guess: to] Such a place. I can't See why they all go to one place.
[gap: tear][guess: ano]ther anſwered, Why, I'll tell you,' The Indians have but little land at
Such & Such places, & that is the reaſon the do not go there; But at O they
have a good deal of land, & that's the reaſon So many are gone there; it is
to git their Land. This gave the Miſſry much trouble to remove their
Suſpicions which & it was done with great difficulty, he removed their jealouſies & eſpecially as no good reaſon which might be mentioned to them,
could be given for thoſe three miſſ.rs being at that place. This account I had
from the miſſry's own mouth.
2. Another great obſticle hath been The want of their Language, which
hath made it impoſſible to communicate any thing to them but by an Intrepreter.
I need Say nothing to convince the inteligent & thinking part of mankind, that
preaching by an interpreter, when each Sentence muſt be interpreted, before
the next can be delivered, muſt deſtroy the whole pathos & energy of delivery
& render even the moſt important Subjects much leſs inlivening to the hearers
even where good Interpreters can be had. But there is a great difficulty to
obtain any who can at all anſwer this end; & thoſe who can Speak the language
of the Indians are generally Such as have been traders among them, or Some
captive who has been learned their language; & both theſe Sorts of people are
well known to be moſt commonly of Such characters as to make it infinitely
unfit to truſt them with affairs of Such eternal conſequence. The Revd mr
, in a Narrative of his School publiſh in Boſton in 1763. writes thus on
this head. "There are very few or no interpreters, who are Suitable &
"well-accompliſhed for the Buſineſs, to be had. Mr Occom found great
"difficulty laſt year in his Miſſion on this account. And not only the cauſe,
"but his own reputation Suffered much by the unfaithfulneſs of the man
"he imployed. I Suppoſe the Interpreters now imployed by the Hon: Com-
are the beſt that are to be had at preſent. But how many Na-
"tions are there for whom there is no interpreter at all, except, it may
"be, Some ignorant & perhaps vicious perſon who has been their cap-
"tive, & whom it is utterly unſafe to truſt in matters of Such eternal con‐
"ſequence. And how Shall this difficulty be remidied? It Seems it muſt
"be one of theſe two ways, viz. either their Children muſt come to us, or
"ours go to them" To this I add, that the expence of Supporting an
Interpreter is much greater than will Support an Indian Miſſry. who
is capable of Speaking their language. The Hon: Commiſſ.rs in Boſton co'd
not obtain mr Gun whom they imployed, under £50. Ster: per an: be‐
ſides the Support of the Miſſry; & they allowed mr Occom but about
£15 ſSter. per An: who taught a School, & preached to them in their own
language. It is true this allowance was far below what was abſolute‐
ly [gap: tear][guess: nece]ſſery, & not more than enough to defray the extraordinary charges of his office
& company, without any thing for the Support of himſelf & famely; Yet
had they allowed him £50. or £60 or £70 per. An: it would not have been more
than half as much as another miſſ.n would coſt. This difficulty of obtain-
ing Suitable interpreters, & the great expence of the miſſion when they
could be obtained, hath been a block at the very threſhold, & diſcouraged thoſe
who, out of Love to Chriſt & the Souls of men, would gladly have ventured
out among them to preach the Goſpel.
3. Another difficulty y.t hath been & Still [illegible]remains is, The wandering
& unſettled manner of life wch the Indian lead. For tho they have little vil-
lages where their hutts are at no great diſtance from one another, yet they
are frequently obliged to wander to a great diſtance to procure Something,
by hunting, to live on; in wch rambles they generally carry their Wives
& Children with them. This was the caſe with the Onoidas when mr Occom
was among them in the year 176[illegible]2 They were obliged to go to Suſquehan‐
nah river
to hunt for food; in which tour he accompanied & preached
to them. And this often hath been the caſe as is evident by the accounts given
by the moſt of the miſſionaries, & in particular in the Continuation of mr
Wheelock's Narrative printed in Boſton in 1765.
This is a difficulty not eaſily remidied, & muſt be born with till they can
be bro't to till their lands & not depend So much on the uncertain means of
hunting for their Support. The moſt likely way to affect this will be con-
Sidered hereafter.
4. Difficult as it is for Miſſionaries to go among the Indians with any
any tolerable hopes of Succeſs, it is Still more difficult, in Several reſpects,
to Set up Schools among them to any great advantage. For not only the 'fore-
mentioned Jealouſies, wan't of their Language, & wandering, but alſo the
afverſion the parents have to Such a diſcipline as is abſolutely neceſ‐
ſary to keep them in any order and promote their learning is a great obſtruction The Children
are So uſed to an idle life, that they are ever ready to wander & neglect the
School, & when at School to neglect their books; & if any diſcipline is uſed,
both they & their parents reſent it, & hence will not allow, or at leaſt will
not urge them children to go to School. Mr Wheelock in his narrative printed
in Boſton 1763. page 219. writes thus, "There is no Such thing as Sending Engliſh
"Miſſionaries, or Setting up & maintaining Engliſh Schools to any good pur‐
poſe in moſt places among them, as their Temper, State & condition have
"been & Still are. It is poſſible a School may be maintained to Some
"good purpoſe at Onohoquage, where there have been heretofore Several
"faithful miſſionaries, by the bleſſing of God on whoſe labours the In‐
"dians are in Some meaſure civilized, Some of them baptized, a Number
"of them, in the judgment of Charity, real Chriſtians — And [gap: tear][guess: where] the
"Hon: Scotch= Commiſſ.rs, I hear, have Sent two Miſſionaries, & have made
"Some attempts to Set up a School. But at Jeningo, a little beyond, they
"will by no means admit an Engliſh Miſſionary to reſide among them.
"And tho' there were many of them under great awakenings & concern,
"by the bleſſing of God on the labours of a Chriſtian Indian from theſe
"parts, yet Such was the violent oppoſition of Numbers of them, that
"it was tho't by no means Safe, for an Engliſhman to go among them,
"with a deſign to tarry with them #. And like to this is the caſe with
"parties of Indians for near an hundred miles togather, on the weſt Side
"of Suſquehannah River. Another School or two may poſſibly be Set up [below]with

# I find at the End of the Revd mr Randals Sermon preached before the Society
in Scotland
in 1763. a letter from the Revd mr Samuel Mather of Boſton, in which
he gives a very agreable & juſt account of the Indians at Onohoquage which he
had from a perſon who had lived among them, & who he Says alſo informed him,
"That about 16 miles weſt of Onohoquage, there are 200 Indians, who gene-
"rally [illegible] talk Engliſh, & who have an Indian teacher, who knows but little,
"tho he Seems well diſpoſed. Theſe Indians Seem well prepared for an Engliſh
"miſſionary" — Theſe are the Indians above mentioned at Jeningo: and the acc.t
which mr Wheelock here has publiſhed he had from this Indian preacher, who is
"with Succeſs among the Mohawks, [illegible]
"& where they have got into the way of cultivating their Lands for a living,
"& So have more ability to Support their children, & leſs occaſion to ram-
"ble abroad with them. But even in theſe places we may find it more dif-
"ficult than we may imagin before trial be made (tho' I would by no means
"diſcourage the trial of every feaſible method for the accompliſhing this
"great deſign) but by Acquaintance with the Schools which the Hon: Lon-
have, with pious Zeal, Set up & maintained among
"the Several tribes in theſe parts, I am much confirmed in theſe Sen-
"timents. Theſe parties live amongſt, and are incompaſſed by the Engliſh, have
"long had good preaching, & numbers of them appear to be truly godly.
"Yet Such is the Savage temper of many, their want of due eſteem for
"learning, & gratitude to their benefactors, & eſpecially their want of Govern-
"ment, that their Schoolmaſters, tho Skilful & faithful men, conſtantly com-
"plain they can't keep their children in any meaſure conſtant at School.
"Mr Clelland the School-maſter at Mohegan has often told me what unwea-
"ried pains he had taken by viſiting & diſcourſing with their parents, &c. to
"remidy this evil, & after all can't accompliſh it. The children are Suffered
"to n[gap: tear][guess: eg]lect their attendance on inſtruction, & waſte much time, by which
"means they don't learn So much in Several years as they might, & others
"do in one, who are taken out of the reach of their parents, & out of the way
"of Indian examples, & are kept to School under good government & con-
"Stant inſtruction. I the reather mention this Inſtance, becauſe of the well
"known Skill & fidelity of that good Gentleman, & becauſe that tribe are as
"much civilized, & as many of them chriſtianized, as perhaps any party of
"them in this government. And by all I can learn, it is no better in this reſpect
"with any other. They are So diſaffected towards a good & neceſſary government,
"that as gentle an exerciſe of it as may be, & anſwer the deſign of keeping up
"order & regularity in any meaſure among them, will likely So diſguſt them as
"to render the caſe worſe reather than better. Captain Martain Kellog com‐
"plained of this as his great diſcouragement in the School at Stockbridge, not‐
withſtanding he underſtood, as well as any man, the diſpoſitions of the Indians,

one of the Mohegan tribe taught & Sent by mr Wheelock & who has been often among them endeavouring to
teach them according to his ability, with whom I am well acquainted, & who told
me that they were greatly prejudiced againſt the Engliſh as they removed to that
place being turned off their land elſe where; & who went among them in 1763, & could
not preach to them as the man whom he expected to be his interpreter was not there
& none among them could interpret for him. This account he gave me immediately
after his return. So that there muſt be Some miſtake in mr Mathers Account
"and had the advantage of knowing their language & cuſtoms, having been so
"long a captive among them, & was high in their affiction & eſteem; Yet he was
"obliged to take the Children home to Weatherſfield with him, quite away from
"their parents, before he could exerciſe that government which was neceſſary
"in order to their profitting at School — And beſides all this they are so
"extreemly poor, & depend so much upon hunting for a livelyihood, that they are
"in no capacity to Support their children at School, if their diſpoſition for it
"were ever So good" i.e. in a conſtant & regular way. Some light may be
thrown on this Subject by a letter from David Fowler an Indian School‐maſ‐
ter educated by mr Wheelock, dated, Onoida, June 24. 1765. — "My Scholars
"learn very well, I have put eleve[gap: tear][guess: n] of them into a, b, ab. (i.e. 19 day after he
begun the School) "I have three m[gap: tear][guess: or]e that will advance to that place this week
"& Some have got to the Sixth page. It is a thouſand pities they cannot keep
"togather: they are often going about to git their proviſion. One of the chiefs,
"in whoſe houſe I live, told me, he believed Some of the Indians would Starve
"to death this Summer. Some of them have almoſt conſumed all their corn
"already." From hence it appears, that the goſpelizing the Indians is attend-
ed with very great difficulties, & were it not abſolutely neceſſary, theſe things
would be Sufficient to diſcourage any attempt; But where any thing is ne‐
ceſſary, & of infinite importance (as this certainly is, both with regard to our‐
Selves as God's covenant people, & to them as formed for immortality) the
greater the difficulties are, the more vigourous Should be our efforts, & if
we fail in one attempt we Should try another. This is the way of men as to things
of infinitely leſs importance. But alaſs! the children of this world are often wi‐
ſer in their generation than the children of Light.
Let us not then be diſcou‐
raged, but attend to what follows, which is humbly offered as the moſt likely
remidy for theſe evils, & which, by the bleſſing of God hath done more already,
than any attempt which was ever before made.
About 27 years ago, the Revd mr Occom an Indian of the Mohegan tribe
near New London in Connecticut in New England, was converted from pagan‐
iſm (as were a number beſides of that tribe) till which time he had lived to-
tally ignorant of the chriſtian religion; being then betwen 16 & 17 years of
age. After this he had a Strong deſire to learn to read the Scriptures. He ap-
plied to Some Engliſh, who lived near his tribe, to inſtruct him in his letters, &c.
& by his diligent application, without any School, he was able to read brokenly
in the Bible New Teſtament, & Speak a little broken Engliſh when he was about 19
years old: at which time, hearing that the Revd mr Wheelock, whom he had heard
preach among the Indians, & for whom he had a high eſteem, had a number
of Engliſh youths fitting for college, he had a deſire to go to him to be inſtructed
for a few weeks in reading — Providence opened the way by his Mother going
to mr Wheelock, who cheerfully took him, & taught him 4 years, near one
year of which time he was unable to Study thro' indiſpoſition of body. His
application to Study was So intence, that at the end of that time he hurt
his eyes so as to be unable to perſue his Studies, and was adviſed to go therefore went
to Montauk on Long Iſland, & taught[illegible][guess: a] School among the Indians. there, who
where he took the place of the Revd mr Horton who had been imployed among
them by the Hon. Scotch Commiſſioners in N. York. At his firſt going to that
place he taught School about a year & half without Support from any So-
ciety; but marrying, he found it neceſſary to have Some other help than
he could procure by labour in vacant hours. He kept School both parts of
the day, & in the winter months Seaſon evenings alſo, attended their Sick, & funerals,
and prayed & expounded the Scriptors to them & exhorted them every Sabbath
& did all the other parts of a teacher among them, So that his time being al‐
moſt wholly ingroſed he could do but little for his own Support. Some
friends knowing his circumſtances applied to the Hon: London Commiſſionrs
in Boſton
who gave him £15 Ster. per an: which they continued for moſt of
the 1[illegible]6 years he was there. But his family increaſing greatly he was
obliged to remove to his own land in Mohegan, in order to procure Some
Support for them, & here he had for one year £22:10 Ster: from the S.d
Hon: London Commiſſ.rs; & being 100 miles diſtant from them, & Surround-
ed by the Hon: Scotch Commiſſ.rs in Connecticut, it was tho't beſt he Sho'd
be under their care; & accordingly that Board in July 1764. prefered a
requeſt to have him diſmiſed from the Board in Boſton to them, with the
continuance of his Sallery; which was readily done, only but they continued
the Sallery only for that year: so that being much in debt before, he was
now reduced to Some Straights as the Board in Connecticut had no means of
relief for him, yet it pleaſed God to open the hearts of friends So that he did
not Suffer. But to return.
About 8 years after mr Occom left mr Wheelock, i.e. in 1754. The
Sent to the Revd mr John Branard in New Jerſey for two boys in order to edu-
cate them. He was encouraged to this by obſerving the Succeſs which mr
occum had among the Indians on long Iſland, who were filled with prejudices
against their Miniſter the Revd mr Horton, & all other miniſters around, by the
intemperate Zeal of Some exhorters from N. England; & who were happily
cured by his prudent management among them, so as to attend to the Sober dic-
tates of religion, & Seing that, by the divine bleſſing, his labours had been
Succeſful by the divine bleſſing for the Saving good of Some; & obſerving alſo that his own Na-
tion, as well as thoſe adjacent who knew him, depended on him to con-
duct their civil, as well as religious affairs, he concluded that the teaching
the Indians by their own Sons was the moſt likely way to Succeſs; & therefore
procured the two boys above mentioned. When he took theſe two youths, he had
no fund for their Support, nor Sufficient income for the Support of his own
numerous family; tho' he had Some eſtate in land [illegible][guess: or] And from that time till
I left America, he never had any thing in hand for the Support of the cauſe
except twice a Small matter little more than to diſcharge the debts in which he had in-
volved his own eſtate by it; And when he firſt undertook this work, he
says Page 14th of his firſt Narrative "I did not much think of any
"thing more than only to clear my Self & family of partaking in the
"guilt publick guilt of our land & nation in such a neglect of them."
After he had inſtructed theſe two Youths for near two years, one of them faling into
a decline, he Sent him home, & two more of the Delawar Tribe came in his place.
And altho the war Soon commenced, & the face of Indian affairs appeared more
& more gloomy; yet Such was the good behaviour of the Boys, & their proficiency
in learning that he was incouraged to go on, & gradually increaſe the Number, So
that in April 1757, he had four; & in April 1759, five; & Seven in November, 1760;
& eleven in Auguſt 1761, & in Novem 1762 he had no leſs than 25 in his School*
[right]*& [illegible] [illegible] & thus he went on to increaſe the
number till in the whole he hath had
between 40 & 50 whome he Supports.

Mr Mr Wheelock's principle view hath been had all along been, to open a way to the Six na‐
, & thro' them, to more remote tribes, if the affair Should Succeed: But this could
not be accompliſhed at firſt. Thoſe Nations had always been averſe to parting with their
Children to go to the Engliſh. [illegible][guess: The] Hon: Cadwalleder Colden Governor of New York told me, that
he had tryied to obtain Some of their Children to have them educated, & tho' perſonally
acquainted & intimate with many of them, could never prevail. Hence mr Whee-
was under a neceſſity of begining with thoſe Tribes who had Some acquaintance
with the Engliſh, & alſo with religion. Beſides, the War commencing, it was quite imprac-
ticable, & would have been eſteemed wild & extravagant indeed, to have made an attempt
of this nature among Indians who were often in Suſpence what Side to take in the war;
& his propoſal to obtain them, when the war was ended, "was by many hardly to be account-
ed for but by a diſtempred brain." By the time the War ended, he had taken four of the
Delawar Nation from New Jerſey, one of whom was dead; & two from Montauk on Long-
in N. York governm.t & only one from Connecticut, viz from Mohegan; & Since
that time hath never taken any from [illegible]thoſe Nations, excepting 32 or 3 who were deſign'd
for trades after they had learned to read, write, & keep common accounts, & theſe were are
not reckoned in the School[illegible].
The attempt to procure youths from the Six Nations at firſt was hazardous,
& would require Some conſiderable expience, & had mr Wheelock attempted it without
any help from Some Society, & without money to Support the charge of So extraor-
dinary an enterprize, theyre would have been Still more danger ifthat he would
have been reproached as raſh & preſumptious. Therefore in May 1761, he ap-
plied to the Hon: Scotch Commiſſrs in Boſton, who approving the deſign of
Sending for children of remote tribes, paſſed a vote on May 7. to this purpoſe,
That m.r Wheelock be deſired to fit out David Fowler an Indian youth to acom‐
pany the Revd mr Occom on a Miſſion to Onoida, & that Said David be Supported
on Sd Miſſion a term not not exceeding 4 months, & that he endeavour, to bring
on his return, to bring down three Boys to be put under mr Wheelocks care
& that £20 be put into mr Wheelocks hand to carry on the deſign; & that when

Said Sum Shall be expended, he adviſe the treaſurer of it & Send his accounts
for allowance.
This was accordingly done & the thre boys procured & Sent
to mr Wheelock. This was the firſt opening among the back nations, & was
much facilitated by mr Occom & David Fowler, going up among them (who had
been educated in mr Wheelocks School) going up among them & giving them
a favourable Idea of the deſign, & eſpecially by the influance & aſſiſtance of
Sir W.m Johnſon. Incouraged by this countenance from the Board, Mr Wheelock
applied to the General Aſſembly of Maſſechuſets Bay the November following,
who granted him £54 Ster: on which incouragement he took Six more
Children of the Six Nations, truſting providence for the Supply of what that
Sum Should fall Short in their Support. This Sum of £54 Ster. that Hon: Aſſem‐
have granted forto mr Wheelock from year to year Since; & by the charities of
the pious in & about Boſton, Portſmouth, Connecticut, New York & Phila-
, & Some kind, unexpected providential Supplies from friends of the
cauſe in Great Britain, the School hath been hither to Supported; tho' no mo-
ney hath[illegible] ever been in hand more than Sufficient to diſchare preſent debts (wch
Some times have been very conſiderable without any human proſpiect of relief) &,
to twice only, to keep the School a few weeks.
In this number of youth there was one Mr Kirtland the Son of a Miniſter
in Norwich in New England, & Since there have been three or four more En‐
gliſh youth taken in to be trained up as aſſociates with the Indians in their
Miſſions, & Several who have had the moſt of their education at their own
expence are now imployed as miſſionaries among the Indians, & Sup-
ported by this Charity.
In Novem.r 1764, Mr Kirtland & Joſeph Wolley an Indian youth, Set out
for the Six Nations in order to winter among them. The went to Onohoquage
where Joſeph continued with the Indians till the next fall teaching School
& inſtructing them in the things of God & Jeſus Chriſt in which he appeared
to be much ingaged. Mr Kirtland went from thence to Fort Johnſon, &
tarried with Sir W.m Joh[illegible]nſon learning the Mohawk language, till the 17th of
January following
, & then traveled on boat in company with two Seneca Indians,
about 250 miles thro' a Snow four feet deep, &till he came to the Seneca Na‐
who are numerous, among whom he continued till the Spring of 1766, &
Suffered many hardſhips, & was often in great danger of being murdered by
Some of that Savage Nation — But God preſirved him; & by him hath opened
a hopeful proſpect of carrying the bleſſed goſpel among that numerous and
Savage tribe.
Beſides theſe The encouraging accounts which mr Kirtland gave of the d[gap: tear][guess: iſ]
of the Indians & their earneſst deſire to Send their Children to mr [gap: tear][guess: Whee-]
& to have teachers come among them, excited him to look out for Som[gap: tear][guess: e] En-
gli[gap: tear][guess: ſh]
gliſh miſſionaries to Sentd out with thoſe Indian youth who were quallified for
inſtructing the heathen. Mr Wheelock was incouraged to Send thoſe Engliſh Miſ‐
ſionaries by the confidence which he knew theſe Indians had in him, as Sincerely
Seeking their good, of which they were perſwaded by his educating their Children: &
alſo by the earneſt deſire they expreſſed of being inſtructed having miniſters Sent
among them, of which they had been deſtitute for Several years. Accordingly he
called the Hon: Board of Commiſſ.rs in Connecticty to meet on the 12th of March 1765
in order to examine meſſ .rs Titus Smith & Theo: Chamberlain as miſſionaries,
David Fowler, a Montauk Indian, Hezekiah Calvin, a Dielaware, Moſes, Johannes,
Abraham primus, Abraham Secundus & Peter, Mohawks as Schoolmaſters: ac-
cordingly we met; & providence So ordered it, that at the very time we were
gathering, three Indians arived from Onohoquage, having traviled on foot 300
miles thro' the Snow; & at the Same inſtant alſo came in mr Gun the Interpre-
ter, who was well acquainted with thoſe indians, by whom we were able to under-
stand them & they us. Thus theſe three parties met, in leſs than half an hour, from
places 300 miles diſtant, without any previous appointment or the leaſt know-
ledge of each others deſign. Their Arrand was to aſk for a miniſter to go & preach
Chriſt to them, & Said they had had no miniſter for a great while. The Board examined
and approved the Candidates; & on the 24th of April following they two were or-
dained, & commiſſioned by the Board as Miſſionaries, who went to the Six nations
in company with the Schoolmaſters who were placed in Schools among them
& in the Autum following they had in their Schools about 130 children, who
made good proficiency in reading, tho they knew not a letter (moſt of them) when
they went among them: And by a letter from mr Wheelock Since I am informed that
he had accounts of above 100 children in only four of thoſe Schooles laſt Summer.
Thus I have given as honeſt, plain, tho imperfect, an hiſtory of the riſe & pro-
greſs of this School as I am capable of in So Short a cumpaſs: and I perſwad my-
ſelf that it will eaſily appear, [illegible]that this plan is more likely to obviate the before-
mientioned difficulties, than any other that hath been attempted, & is incomparably
better than to depend wholly on Engliſh miſſ:rs: for, let it be obſerved
1. The Indians entertain no Jealouſies of their own Children as having a deſign of
defrauding them of their Lands, their intereſt being one; So ye grand objection is removed.
2. An Indian Miſſionary may be Supported wth leſs than half the expence, that will
be neceſſary for the Support of an Engliſh Miſſionary, who can't conform to their
manner of living, & who can have no dependance on them for any part of it; but on
the contrary, they will be always expecting Some favours from him, which will not
be the caſe with an Indian.
3. Hereby the great expence of an Interpreter will be Saved, as the Indians will
Speak to them in their own language & So be able to addreſs them with more pathos
[gap: tear][guess: &] energy; & be in a capacity more readily to prevent any riſing jealouſies & difficulties
[gap: tear][guess: whi]ch may be breading among them, & which could not be eaſily diſcovered by one who
[gap: tear][guess: is ig]norant of their language.
[gap: tear][guess: 4.] Indian Miſſionaries may be Suppoſed better to underſtand the tempers & Cuſtoms
[gap: tear][guess: of the] Indians, & more readily conform to them in a thouſand things than the Engliſh
can, & in things wherein their nonconformity may cauſe diſguſt, & by them be
conſtrued as the fruit of pride, or it may be, Something worſe.
5.The Influence of their own Sons among them will likely be much greater
than of any Engliſhman whatever. They will look upon Such as one of them;
their Intereſt the Same with theirs: & will naturally eſteem him as the hon–
of their Nation, & be more ready to be adviſed & Submit to his reproofs, than
to any Engliſh miſſionary; & eſpecially will they, more patiently, endure ye
diſcipline neceſſary in a School from one of their own nation than from
the Engliſh. This is abundantly evident in the caſe of mr Occom, who taught
School a long time among the Indians at Montauk, where, he Says, he could,
without offence, uſe any neceſſary Severity with the Children & reprove the
Parents for any fault: & even among his own tribe his influence is much
greater than any other man's in that whole government, as well as among
all the tribes in that vicinity
6.The great difference between the Engliſh manner of living, & that of the
Indians cauſes them to diſpare of immitating them; but when they See their
own Sons capable of huſbandry & a decent life, this hath already, & will pro-
pably continue more & more to animate them to induſtry & huſbandry, that
they alſo may partake of the Sweets of life, & not be so frequently reduced to a
Staving condition, which a dependance on hunting diſpoſes them to. And this
is the moſt likely means of preventing their rambling, & collecting them to‐
gather in compact bodies, & fixing them in Setled habitations; which will effec-
tually prevent their going to war with us, as then their property will be fixed, &
not eaſily removed, & therefor expoſed to be deſtroyed, & they ruined in caſe of a war, & will alſo
incline them to uſe their Influence with the more defiant nations to keep them
in peace; & to defend us when theyre Shall be war, as they will be our fronteer, &
moſt liable to Suffer. This alſo will bring them under better advantages for
inſtruction, as they will not need to ramble for their foodt. Let me add here
alſo, that this will be of inconceivable advantage to the trade of this Nation,
as every civilized Indian will take a conſiderable quantity of Britiſh ma-
nufactories yearly. Beſides, this will enable them to procure a living [illegible] from
the one fiftieth hundreth part of the land which is now neceſſary for them to hunt
on, & the reſidue may be improved by the Engliſh, without any injury to
the Indians when once they learn huſbandry, & hereby the britiſh Colonies
can be extended, & the people there be under no neceſſity of going into ma-
nufactories; which they never will, while they have Sufficient land to improve.
7. The Friendſhip and acquaintance which the Indian boys, from diſtinct
Tribes & places, will contract & cultivate, while togather, [illegible]at School, may be
improved much for the benefit advantage & furtherance of their Miſſion
8. In this School, children of different nations may, & eaſily will, learn one ano-
thers language, & Engliſh youth may learn of them; & thereby Save the vaſt
expence of Interpreters, & their miniſtry be much more acceptable, & edify‐
ing to the Indians.
9. Indian miſſionaries will readily own Engliſh ones, who Shall be aſſociated
with them (where the Engliſh can be introduced) as elder brethren, eſpecially
while they are So much dependant on the Engliſh for a Support — & they will
mutually help each other to recommend the deſign to the favourable reception
of the pagans, remove their prejudices, conciliate their friendſhip, & indce
them to repoſe due confidence in the Engliſh.
10. The Indians being acquainted with the Engliſh language, will thereby
be naturally bound to them, (for all know how Strong the tie of language is) &
will of courſe be naturally diſpoſed to trade with the people they can under-
Stand; & will alſo have the advantage of knowing what deeds & other writings
they Sign, by which they will be guarded from thoſe impoſitions, which have
been the ground of their Jealoſies, & coſt the Engliſh So much blood & treaſure
11. Indians bro't up for miſſionaries in this School, & the Engliſh youth alſo
are not likely to forſake the buſineſs of their miſſion, as they are will not likely to probably
be invited to churches among the Engliſh; and as they will have the induce-
ment to continue among the Indians which no Engliſh man can have, viz.
that they will neceſſarily be eſteemed, honoured & advanced among them on
account of their Superior knowledge. This has been the caſe moſt evidently
with mr Occom who hath more influence & honour among his own Nation
& all the Tribes around them, than any Sachim of the back nations hath among them.
[illegible][guess: thoſe Miſſionaries] 12 [illegible] where as there are very few inſtances of
Engliſh Miſſ.rs who have had a delicate education, but have Soon prefered
the pleaſures of Society & a field of more extenſive uſefulneſs, of which they
have had a fairer proſpect [illegible][guess: of] among the Engliſh, to the regions of Igno-
rance, & hardſhips of life in a dreary Wilderneſs, where their improvements
in learning & Science are hid, & they Seem almoſt loſt to themſelves & the world.
If the above obſervations are juſt, it is eaſy for the attentive mind to See that the
School before deſcribed is exactly calculated to anſwer all the difficulties which
have hitherto obſtructed this glorious work beyond any thing which hath yet
been attempted. And if the Indians can be bro't to agriculture & live decently,
it will tend to cure them of the vice of drinking to exceſs, which hath ever
been a great obſtruction to the progreſs of the Goſpel among them, & rendered
it dangerous for miſſionaries to be among them. The inſtance of mr Occoms
nation is a full proof of this. Formerly they were, like other Indians, addicted
to drinking to exceſs, but now they cultivate their lands & have the comforts
of life they are as free from that vice as perhaps any So large a num-
ber of people togather among the Engliſh.
I do not pretend that this plan is So perfect as to be incapable of improve-
ment; but am Senſible it is yet [illegible][guess: defic]neceſſarily deficient in many reſpects
& time, with experience, may diſcover many more defects, than do now occur. Give
me leave to hint one or two things which go [illegible] belong to the plan, & which can't at
preſent be accompliſhed for want of Supplies.
1. It is propoſed to obtain a large tract of land nearer the back Indians
in order to erect the School, & imploy a great Number of Indian Youth
of different nations in huſbandry as well as So much learning as Shall
be neceſſary for common buſineſs; & to train up a number of Girls to
all the buſineſs of houſ-wifery & Such trades as Shall render them uſeful
in their families; & alſo to teach the Indians lads Such trades as will en-
able them to promote huſbandry &c among their own Nations. This was
the plan propoſed by the Revd mr Seargent of Stockbridge, & adopted by
the Hon. Society in London & mr David Bainard, & was generally approved.
2. It is propoſed that the Indian youths, who have been taught to read & write
well, & Some of whom are of other nations & languages, Should go[illegible] accompanied
by Such Engliſh youth as are deſigned for a Miſſion, to Some nation where
they are likely to be imployed in order to Set up Schools to teach the chil-
dren Engliſh, while they perfect themſelves in their own or a Strange lan-
guage — This indeed is now perſued with reſpect to a number, but need's
larger Supplies to carry it into thorough execution.
This whole Scheem Seems to bid So farr for Succeſs; & the effects of it have
already been So remarkable, that I freely own, That after my intimate ac-
quaintance with it for Several years I am not able to form any objection
of any weight againſt it: And yet I have heard of three objections wch have
been improved to its diſadvantage, which I beg leave now to obviate.
1. The great expence of taking Indian youth from their parents & educat-
ing them among the engliſh is objected to this plan.
What I have Said already [illegible][guess: is] would be [illegible][guess: a] Sufficient anſwer to this objection were it not
for an Extract from Dr Chancy's Sermon preach in Boſton at the ordination
of mr Bowman on Auguſt 31. 1762, which I find publiſhe here at the end of
the Revd mr Randals Sermon, preach before the Society in Edenburgh, for pro-
moting chriſtian knowledge
; His words are "We have have not incouraged the
"Sending theſe Boys; &, as we imagine, for very good reaſons. The charge of bring-
"ing them from their own homes, & educating them among us, would be very
"great. We have felt the truth of this, as we lately found ourſelves obliged to
"pay nearly £60. Sterling in leſs than one year for three Boys only."
Theſe boys were under mr Wheelocks care; & I freely own that this expence is
very great. As it is natural for every one to underſtand by this account that, three Boys
only would ordinarily coſt near £60 Sterling in leſs than one year, per-
haps in eight or nine months. But the Dr was unhappily miſtaken as to the
fact, which was this. David Fowler was on a miſſion near four months in which
he Spent (including the expence of fitting him out) near £15. Ster: He procured
& Sent down three Mohawk Lads, they each brot a horſe which mr Wheelock
was obliged to keep in a time of great drought; they all came [illegible]little better than
naked, except one who had Some cloths; He cloathed them all — In about three
months, one being in a decline when he came was obliged to return, and another
to accompany him, The expence of their Journey back about [illegible] miles [illegible][guess: weſt]
one Soon died, the other married & did not return. The third accompanied mr
about 200 miles to procure two more to Supply their place, which
journey was expenſive; the two they obtained came naked were to be clothed
which added to the expence; So that in Stead of "three Boys only" there was the
clothing & firniſhing David Fowler [illegible]with horſe & money for his long journey
of Several months; the Expence of the Boys journey home above 200 miles;
the expence of Kirtlands Journey (excepting his horſe) to bring down the
other two; the paſturing their horſes in a dry & difficult Seaſon; the cloath-
ing all five & repairing their cloathing while they tarried; their Boarding
Schooling, waſhing, lodging, firewood, Candles, books, paper, &c. the amount
of all which. for near twelve months was, errors excepted, juſt £58.17.S.7 ¼d
Sterling: Hence it appears that the Dr was groſly miſtaken, when he Says "for
three boys only" It is a pitty he had not examined the caſe more thoro'ly
before he publiſhed concerning it, which he had the faireſt oppertunity for
as he was Cha[illegible]irman of the Committee when the bill account was carried in: and it
is a debt he owes to the world & to truth to [illegible]own his miſtake & Set this
affair in a true light, as it reſpects a matter of fact.. But this whole
II. affair is Set in a more full light in mr Wheelocks Narrative printed
in Boſton Page. 39-45. which has never be replied to by the D.r
II. The Second objection is, That the moſt of the Indian youth which mr
Wheelock hath had in his School are taken from the civilized & chriſtianized
Indians in Connecticut.
This is alſo a groſ miſtake: for So intimately as I am acquainted with
the School, I know of but two Indians in it or that ever were in it, which belonged
to connecticut, & one of thoſe, as I remember, was deſigned for a trade and the other
for a farmer. mr Occom indeed is another exception; but he had left mr Wheelock 8 or 9 years before he had the tho'ts of a School, & never was reckond as one oft.
III. It is alſo objected, that it would be a much better & cheaper way to learn
the Indians to read in their own language than to teach them Engliſh. In an‐
ſwer to this I would obſerve
1. There are no books in the language of any of the back nations, except the
Pſalms & a few other paſſages of Scripture in the Mohawk language; & it is
next to impoſſible to find any man to whom it would be Safe to truſt the
work of tranſlating the Scriptures into that or any other back Indian language.
2. If the Bible & Some other good books were tranſlated into any one
language which is known in America, it would be of uſe to but a compa‐
retively Small number, as theſ language differs generally ever hundred or 2
miles, not only in its Idiom, but in the very words as much as the Welch
differs from the Engliſh; So that there would require many tranſlations,
which, as they it would not be exceeding difficult to procure them, if not impoſſible, So the impreſ‐
ſions of them muſt be very expenſive.
I have now only to add a few motives which tend to influence the pious & be-
nevolent to exert themſelves for the Support of this School & of the miſſionaries
& Schoolmaſter who are & may be Sent from it into the Wilderneſs to inſtruct
the periſhing pagans in reading, writing, religion & the civil arts.
1. The conſideration of the low & wretched condition in which they live, Should ex-
cite us to this. Their habitations are uſually made of the Bark of trees, & are inſuffi‐
cien't to difend them from the rain & cold [illegible]. their lodging the cold earth or ye bark
of a tree, & at beſt the Skin of a Bare or some other beaſt — their food, the fleſh of
wild beaſts they take in hunting which they commonly eat without Salt, & frequent-
ly without bread, as they are unacquainted with huſbandry, & raiſe no bread corn,
except Maiſe or Indian corn, of which the Sildom have a Sufficiency. And they,
depending on hunting, are often Starved thro' want. Now, if we are required to
deal our bread to the hungry, where can we find more proper objects? eſſpecially
as there are So many thouſands & millions of theſe unhappy wretches, & a Smal
matter comparatively, will be Sufficient to bring them to be able to Support themſelves.
2. They have Souls as will as we, & are capable of the Same happineſs or mi-
ſery; & therefore love to their immortal part Should excite us to endeavour to Spread
the Goſpel among them, without which they cannot be Saved in God's ordinary way.
And can we pretend to be the followers of X & partakers of his Spirit, & yet be in-
different to the happineſs or miſery of their precious Souls!
3. God hath evidently intimated his diſpleaſure at our neglect, in Suffering
the Indians to be Such a Sore Scurge to the Britiſh Colonies, in barbarouſly butch-
ering & murdering the inhabitants, captivating their Sons, daſhing their little
ones againſt the Stones, & burning & laying waſt the country, for near a hundred
miles togather as the did the laſt war: all which might have been prevented, had
there been Suitable pains taken in time to Send pious, zealous miſſionaries among
them, eſpecially of their own Sons, who being trained up with the Engliſh would
naturally have an attachment to them, & by various means might have prevented
their engaging in a war. "There is good reaſon to think, that if one half which has
been laid out in building forts, maning & Supporting them, & in preſents to buy the
friendſhip of the Indians, had been prudently laid out in Supporting faithful miſſior.s
& School maſters among them, that the more inſtructed, & civilized party would have
been a better defence, than all the expenſive fortreſſes & prevented the laying waſte So
many towns & villages: Witneſs the conſequence of Sending mr Sergeant to Stock-
bridge, which was in the very road by wch they moſt uſually came upon our
people, & by wch there hath never been one attact made upon us, since his going there"
Sir W.m Johnſon in a letter to mr Occom, Say "Every Indian in the near Onoida Caſtle,
the Oghquagoes, Mohawks, Schoharees, & Candia Indians are determined to live &
die with the Engliſh; owing in a great meaſure to the little knowledge they have of
our religion, which I heartily wiſh was more known to them & the reſt."
4. The great obligations which lie on us as God's Covent people, who have all we injoy
more than they in a covent way, & So are bound to de[illegible]vote all to the Glory of our liberal
benefactor, Should be a motive to excite us to liberallity in this work.
5. The converſion of the heathen is that on wh the heart of the great Redeemer is greatly
Sit — for he shall be Satiſfied whe he Sees of the travil of his Soul. And can we be in[gap: tear][guess: dif-]
ferent in that in which he is So ingaged! did he become poor, that we might be rich; &
Shall we grudge a little of our Subſtance & pains for to Save thoſe Souls for which
he died! Surely if the love of Chriſt dwells in us we Shall think nothing too much
or too hard that is in our power in order to Set X on his throne among the heathien
6. The Spreading knowledge & Civility among the Indians will greatly increaſe the
trade & wealth of this nation, as they will then wear the britiſh manufacturies, which
article alone would every year far more than compenſate the annual expence
of inſtructing them
7. There are many promiſſes of God that X's Kingdom Shall come among the hea‐
then; & therefore we have good reaſon to believe our endeavours will not be fruitleſs
8 The deſign is carried far already by that eminant, faithful Servant of God mr
Wheelock, who with infinite pains & labour & to [illegible][guess: the] hazard of his own eſtate, hath trained up a number who are
now imployed in teaching the heathen; & if he can't be incouraged to go on, who will
ever attempt the like again
9. Many are willing to go out & Suffer the hardſhips of Such a wilderneſs life,
& forſake every comfort that reſults from Society & plenty, & go thro dangers & fateagues.
too many & great to be here deſcribed; And this they have done hitherto without any other
encouragement but that which hath aroſe from the hope of Spreading the Goſpel among
their periſhing fellow men, & from the promiſſes of a future reward in Glory; & can any
who bare the name of Chriſtians be backward to give of their Subſtance to fead &
cloath them, while they bear the burden & heat of the day — Surely we Should bear
one anothers burdens & So fulfil the Law of Chriſt.
10. And not to add. The gracious incouragement given by God himſelf, & his
many promiſſes that he will reward, even in this life, with temporal bleſſings
& in the life to come with eternal advantage, whatever is given for the advance-
ment of his cauſe here Should awaken us to Such acts of charity & piety. Many
are the promiſes to this purpoſe —Caſt thy bread on the Waters, & thou Shall find it after
many days. The liberal Soul deviſeth liberal things, & by liberal things Shall he Stand
Bleſſed is the man that conſidereth the poor, the Lord Shall be with him in time of
trouble, &c. &c. &c. And this is one yea[illegible] the principle thing which Chriſt will at laſt
acknowledge as the mark of his diſciples, & will reward with eternal Joy: He Shall
then Say to them on his right hand, Come ye bleſſed of my father inhierit the Kingdom
— for I was an hungred, & ye gave me meet, I was athurſt, & ye gave me drink —
— In as much as ye did it to one of the leaſt of theſe my brethren, ye did it to me —
May we be of this happy number, Amen & amen —

Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge
The Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge (SSPCK) is a Presbyterian missionary society formed in 1709 and still active today. The SSPCK was founded to anglicize the Scottish Highlands, which at the time were predominantly Gaelic and had little in common with lowland Scotland. British Protestants identified many of the same “problems” in Gaelic and Native American society, and in 1730, the SSPCK expanded into the colonies via a board of correspondents in Boston. Although most of Wheelock’s contact with the SSPCK took place through its Boston, New Jersey/New York, and Connecticut boards, he did work directly with the SSPCK parent organization during Occom’s fundraising tour of Great Britain (1765-1768). Since Occom was technically sent to England by the Connecticut Board of the SSPCK, it was only natural that his tour include a visit to the parent organization in Edinburgh. The SSPCK, headed by the Marquis of Lothian, issued a bulletin to its member churches which allowed Whitaker and Occom to collect a substantial sum of money with little time or travel. While most of the money that Occom raised went into a trust under the Earl of Dartmouth (the English Trust), the money he raised in Scotland (approximately £2,500) went into an SSPCK-controlled fund that ultimately proved difficult to access. While the English Trust essentially gave Wheelock a blank check for the money it controlled (much of which went toward clearing land and erecting buildings for Dartmouth College), the SSPCK was much more stringent about requiring that the money Occom had raised be applied only to Native American education. As was often the case in the 18th-century British-Atlantic world, religious politics were a powerful motivator. Wheelock and the SSPCK both practiced Reformed Protestant Christianity, but New Hampshire was an Episcopalian colony. To make Wheelock’s Reformed Protestantism more palatable to Episcopalian New Hampshire, the New Hampshire governor attempted to make the Anglican Bishop of London a member of the English Trust and possibly the Dartmouth Trustees (the Bishop of London seems to have never replied to the invitation). Dartmouth’s geographic association with the Episcopalian Church, in addition to concerns about the use of the fund, gave the SSPCK an incentive to withhold money from Wheelock. It only issued Wheelock £190 throughout his life, although it did provide financial support to Samuel Kirkland out of the fund. It is worth noting that Wheelock seems to have been well aware that he would have trouble getting money from the SSPCK: he went through the entirety of the English Trust’s fund before soliciting the SSPCK. Subsequent Dartmouth presidents struggled to access the money, with limited success, until 1893. In 1922, the SSPCK concluded that since Moor’s Indian Charity School had become defunct, it was within its rights to devote the remainder of the fund—then valued at £10,000—to other missionary operations.
The Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America
The Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America was a missionary society active in America from 1649 until 1786. It was first called the "New England Company" in 1770. Most secondary literature uses that name for convenience and to distinguish it from other missionary societies. The company was first chartered in 1649 as the "President and Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England," largely in response to John Eliot's missionary efforts. After the Restoration (1660), it was rechartered as the "Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America." The New England Company was very powerful and influential, in large part because it was a coalition between Anglicans and Dissenters. It supported a range of missionaries from the Mayhews to the Sergeants to Moor's alumnus Samuel Kirkland. After the Revolution, the New England Company refocused its attentions on New Brunswick and Canadian Indians. Wheelock had a very rocky relationship with the New England Company. Initially, it supported Wheelock's efforts. The Company funded Occom's education at Moor's and paid him a small salary during his time among the Montauketts. However, from 1765 onwards, its relationship with Wheelock rapidly deteriorated. The Company opposed the fundraising tour of Great Britain and went so far as to interfere with it by sending a widely circulated letter to England questioning Occom's background. The New England Company also interferred with Titus Smith's mission to Onaquaga by sending a rival missionary, Mr. Moseley, and stealing Titus' interpreter, Elisha Gunn. In 1767 it formally withdrew its financial support from Wheelock on the grounds that the fundraising tour had raised sufficient money. It is unclear what led the New England Company to suddenly change its stance towards Wheelock. Perhaps it wanted exclusive power over missionary distribution in New England, or perhaps it was thought that focusing on education over numbers in the field was counterproductive. Most secondary sources have conflated the New England Company's Boston Board and the Society in Scotland for Promoting Christian Knowledge's Boston Board, an easy mistake to make since both are sometimes referred to as the Boston Board and both vigorously opposed Wheelock. Any secondary source's statement about either should be carefully researched.
Six Nations
The Six Nations (often called the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois) is a confederacy composed of the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, Senecas, and Tuscaroras. The first five tribes unified at some point before European contact (dates differ by centuries), and the Tuscaroras joined them in 1722, after colonial violence drove the tribe out of Carolina. The Haudenosaunee occupied much of what is now central New York, and, thus, were sandwiched between French, English, and Dutch territories. They allied with the English against the French early on, just as their arch-enemies, the Huron, allied with the French. Despite the Six Nations’ unity, the constituent nations experienced European contact in different ways. The Mohawks and Oneidas, as the two easternmost tribes, had by far the most contact with the English, while the Senecas and Cayugas, the westernmost nations, had little contact with the English (although both hosted French Jesuit missionaries). Mohawk territory was the site of Johnson Hall, the administrative center and home of Sir William Johnson, the British Superintendent for Indian Affairs in the Northeast. The Oneidas, meanwhile, played host to several prominent Anglo-American missionaries and were thought of as the most Christianized Haudenosaunee tribe by many colonists. Eleazar Wheelock became fixated on the Haudenosaunee soon after he established Moor’s Indian Charity School in 1754. He saw in them the opportunity for a fresh start, since he believed that New England Indians had assimilated to Anglo-American norms in all the wrong ways (too much rum, too little Christianity). Wheelock established contact with the Haudenosaunee through Sir William Johnson and made the Mohawks and Oneidas the focal point of his missionary efforts for much of the 1760s. The American Revolution had dramatic repercussions for the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. The Mohawks, Senecas, Onondagas, and Cayugas sided with the British, while the Oneidas and Tuscaroras sided with the Americans. Since all Haudenosaunee hold membership in both a tribe (Mohawk, Oneida, etcetera) and a matrilineal clan (bear, wolf, and others), the tribes’ divergent alliances brought about political schism and violence within extended families. Furthermore, Haudenosaunee territory was devastated during the war, especially in General Sullivan’s 1779 raid on Cayuga and Seneca territory. After the Revolution, many Haudenosaunee who had affiliated with the British relocated to the Grand River Reserve in Canada, while many of the Oneidas and Tuscaroras remained in New York. The Haudenosaunee at the Grand River Reserve established their own council fire, which operated in parallel with the original council fire at Onondaga. Today, both council fires are still active, and each tribe also has its own independent government (as do displaced Haudenosaunee populations, such as the Oneidas of Wisconsin).
Moor’s Indian Charity School
Moor’s Indian Charity School was a grammar school for Native Americans that Eleazar Wheelock opened in North Lebanon, Connecticut in 1754. The school was named for Colonel Joshua Moor, also spelled More, who donated the land and school building. Moor’s was essentially an expansion of the grammar school that Wheelock opened in 1743 to support himself during the fallout from the First Great Awakening, when Wheelock, who'd participated in itinerant ministry during the Awakening, had his salary confiscated by the colony of Connecticut. In December of that year, Samson Occom asked Wheelock to teach him as well. Wheelock's work with Occom was so successful that Wheelock decided to replicate the experiment with other Native American boys. He accepted his first Indian students in 1754, and in 1761 began taking female students as well. Wheelock believed that in time, his school would become just one part of a larger missionary enterprise. He planned to send his Anglo American and Native American students to various tribes as missionaries and schoolmasters, with explicit instructions to pick out the best students and send them back to Moor’s to continue the cycle. His ultimate goal was to turn his school into a model Christian Indian town that would include farms, a college, and vocational training. However, Wheelock’s grand design did not survive the decade. Wheelock lost the vast majority of his Native American students; he fought with many of the best, including Samson Occom, Joseph Johnson, David Fowler, and Hezekiah Calvin, and other former and current students accused him of subjecting Native Americans to disproportionate amounts of manual labor. In 1769, perhaps due to concerns about corporal punishment, the Oneida withdrew all their children from Moor’s. When Wheelock relocated to Hanover in 1769, only two Native American students came with him, and it became clear that Wheelock’s focus was on Dartmouth and that Dartmouth was for white students. After Wheelock’s death in 1779, Moor’s Indian Charity School receded further into the background as John Wheelock, his father’s reluctant successor, stopped taking Indian students. Some Native American students were enrolled in Moor’s until 1850, when the school unofficially closed.
Boston Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge
The Boston Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge (SSPCK) was established in 1730 to support local missionary efforts. It was the SSPCK's first board in the British colonies in America. The SSPCK later founded a New York Board (1741) and a Connecticut Board (1764). Although Wheelock lobbied for a New Hampshire board after his 1770 relocation, by that time the SSPCK had had enough of him and his request was denied. The Boston Board of the SSPCK sponsored many missionaries to Native Americans, including David and John Brainerd. However, it did not provide very much support to Wheelock or his school, in large part because Wheelock and Charles Chauncy, chair of the Boston Board, clashed over Congregationalist politics. The Boston Board did provide £20 to support Samson Occom and David Fowler on a 1761 mission to the Six Nations to procure Moor's students, but it was then reluctant to support the boys Occom and Fowler obtained. The Board eventually paid £58.10.1 in 1762. They never gave money to Wheelock again. Wheelock was instrumental in forming the Connecticut Board of the SSPCK in 1764, over which he exerted considerable influence. From that point forward, he was largely able to avoid dealing with the Boston Board of the SSPCK. The The Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America is also called the Boston Board in some letters, and most secondary sources have mixed the two Boston Boards. This is an easy mistake to make since both are sometimes called the Boston Board and vigorously opposed Wheelock. However, the general confusion in the literature means that any secondary source's statement on either board should be taken with some skepticism.
Onaquagas refers to the Indians who lived in Onaquaga. Onaquaga (over 50 different spellings have been documented) was a cosmopolitan Indian town on the Susquehanna River. It was initially established as an Oneida settlement by those seeking an alternative to the power politics of Kanawalohale and Old Oneida. However, from the end of the 17th century onwards it became an immigration destination for displaced Indians from a wide range of tribes. The Tuscaroras settled at Onaquaga in the early 18th century, and in the decades before the Revolution they were joined by Stockbridge Indians, Delawares, Shawnees, Miamis, Tutelos, Nanticokes, and others. The relationship between this town and the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Six Nations was a symbiotic one: displaced peoples gained a home, and the Haudenosaunee bolstered their southern buffer zone against colonial encroachment. Between 1743 and 1775, Onaquaga was evangelized by missionaries from the New England Company (NEC), including Elihu Spencer, Gideon Hawley (especially popular, since he arrived fresh from his mission at Stockbridge), Eli Forbes, Ebenezer Moseley, and Aaron Crosby. A rich indigenous Christian tradition also developed in the town under the guidance of Isaac Dakayenensere and Gwedelhes Agwirondongwas (Good Peter). Onaquaga earned a reputation as an especially Christian, Anglicized town. Its citizens were adept at manipulating their religion towards political ends and negotiating the tricky conflicts between missionary societies (for instance, Eleazar Wheelock’s feud with the New England Company, which manifested itself in 1765 when both sent young missionaries to Onaquaga). From the late 1760s onward, Onaquaga’s cosmopolitan composition proved to be its undoing. The community was fragmented by disputes over the extent of Christian practice and the proper style of Christian practice, with Sir William Johnson and Joseph Brant (who owned a farm at Onaquaga) urging Episcopalianism and the NEC urging Congregationalism. An influx of Mohawk immigrants in the years after the 1768 Fort Stanwix treaty led the Onaquagas to side with the Crown in the Revolution, rather than with the colonies as most Oneida towns did, and it became Joseph Brant’s base of operations. The town was utterly destroyed in 1778 in the wave of violence that culminated in General Sullivan’s ravaging of Cayuga and Seneca territory. The area was resettled by Americans after the Revolution, and today it is the town of Windsor, NY.
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.
Mohawk Nation
The Mohawk Nation is one of the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy. As the “eastern door” of the Confederacy, or easternmost Haudenosaunee nation, the Mohawks were perceived throughout the colonial period as a gateway to wider alliances, trade, and religious influence with the Six Nations as a whole. Thus, they received heavy missionary attention from Jesuits, Anglicans, and Congregationalists as early as the 17th century. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, the Mohawks and Six Nations more generally were a point of heated competition between Britain and France, as well as between Protestant Christian sects. Wheelock sent several missionaries and schoolmasters to the Mohawks between 1765 and 1767, including Theophilus Chamberlain (Anglo-American), Hezekiah Calvin (Delaware), Abraham Major and Minor (Mohawks), Peter (Mohawk), Moses (Mohawk), and Johannes (Mohawk). The two main towns or "castles" that the mission was based at were Canajoharie and Fort Hunter. Two of the most important figures in Mohawk history as it pertains to Moor’s Indian Charity School were Sir William Johnson and Joseph Brant. Sir William Johnson was the British Superintendent of Indian Affairs in the Northeast, one of the most powerful men in British North America. He married into the Mohawk Tribe and had substantial influence among the Six Nations. Initially he supported Wheelock’s missionary project, but by 1769 he was endorsing Anglican missionaries instead. Joseph Brant was Sir William Johnson’s brother-in-law. He was the first of 19 Mohawk students at Moor’s, where he studied from 1761-1763. Although his time at the school was short, Brant entertained a deep affection for it. He went on to be an influential Mohawk war chief and may have protected Dartmouth College from raids during the Revolution. The Revolution fractured the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, with some tribes siding with the colonists and others with the British. The Mohawks sided with the British, and many of them, Joseph Brant included, relocated to the Grand River Reserve in Canada after the war. There was also a substantial Mohawk settlement established by 1700 at Kahnawake in New France (Canada), which hosted Jesuit missionaries. The Kahnawake Mohawks were often called “Canadian Mohawks” and Wheelock recruited students from them after his move to Hanover.
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.
The New York/New Jersey Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge
The New York/New Jersey Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge was the Presbyterian SSPCK board in the colonies and oversaw the Society's missionary efforts in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. It was established in 1741 at the request of Jonathan Dickinson, Aaron Burr (Sr.), and Ebenezer Pemberton, who employed several missionaries including Azariah Horton and both David and John Brainerd. Since these same men founded the College of New Jersey (Dickinson was the first president, Burr the second), the New York Board became somewhat conflated with the trustees of the College of New Jersey. The two bodies were not formally combined in the eyes of the SSPCK until February 1769, but as early as 1765, Wheelock wrote addressing the "Board of Correspondents in the Province of New York and New Jersey." The New York Board was almost exclusively Presbyterian, and many of Wheelock's Presbyterian acquaintances, including David Bostwick, Aaron Burr, John Brainerd, etc., were involved in it. The Board as a whole does not seem to have been particularly helpful or hostile towards Wheelock and his plans. They certainly supported missionary efforts for Native Americans, but refused to release John Brainerd from missionary obligations to accompany Occom to England.
Connecticut Board of Correspondents of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge
The Connecticut Board of Correspondents of the SSPCK was founded in 1764 at Wheelock's request. He wanted a public board's support so that his school would seem more credible since it was a private organization with no charter. The Boston Board of the SSPCK would not do since they generally opposed Wheelock, so his solution was to petition the SSPCK for his own board. The SSPCK acquiesed, and the board met for the first time on July 4, 1764. While the board was nominally separate from Wheelock's school, in practice, he exercised considerable control over it. The members of the board were Wheelock's handpicked friends and supporters: Jonathan Huntington, Elisha Sheldon, Samuel Huntington, Solomon Williams, Joseph Fish, William Gaylord, Samuel Moseley, Benjamin Pomeroy, Richard Salter, Nathaniel Whitaker, David Jewett, and Wheelock himself. Wheelock used this board to send Occom and Whitaker to England, hold exams for Moor's Indian Charity School, and generally support his designs. When Wheelock moved to New Hampshire, he tried to establish a New Hampshire Board as well, but by that point the SSPCK was much more cautious when it came to Wheelock's plans and refused. The Connecticut Board dissolved in 1771 as Wheelock was its raison d'etre.
Delaware Tribe
The Delaware Tribe, or Lenape Tribe, is a conglomeration of linguistically and culturally similar Native American groups that initially inhabited the mid-Atlantic region, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, eastern Connecticut, and southeastern New York. The three main groups comprising the Delawares are the Munsees, Unamis, and Unalaqtgos. Several Delawares attended Moor’s Indian Charity School, including some of Wheelock’s earliest students. Because the Delawares were not a politically unified entity, contact with Europeans and subsequent conflict over land and trade proved especially devastating for them. During 17th-century battles over trade access, the Delawares found themselves in conflict with the Dutch and the English as well as with other Native American groups that wanted to trade with Europeans. By the time the Dutch left in the mid-17th century, the Delawares were tributaries of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois). Scholars estimate that by 1750, through a combination of war and disease, the Delaware population had fallen by as much as 90 percent. Many Delawares responded to the situation by leaving. Some migrated west with Moravian missionaries; others joined different tribes, including the Cayugas in New York and the Stockbridge Mahicans in Massachusetts (who later migrated to Oneida territory, near Brothertown, NY, and from thence to Wisconsin). Still others migrated to Ohio and ended up in Kansas or Oklahoma as a result of American expansion. Those who stayed oversaw a century of complex treaty negotiation, including two of the more egregious instances of Native American dispossession: the infamous "walking treaty" between the Delawares and the colony of Philadelphia in 1686, and the American government's (unfulfilled) promise to give the Delawares their own fully-enfranchised state in the union for their support during the Revolution. The Delawares played an important role in the history of Moor’s Indian Charity School. John Brainerd, a Presbyterian missionary to the Delaware and a friend of Wheelock’s, sent Wheelock his first “planned” Native American students from among the Delawares in 1754. J. Brainerd also oversaw the establishment of a Christian Delaware settlement at Brotherton, New Jersey in 1758 (not to be confused with Brothertown in Oneida, New York).
Seneca Nation
The Senecas are one of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Six Nations. They are the Westernmost Haudenosaunee tribe and are known as the “Keepers of the Western door,” just as the Mohawks are the “Keepers of the Eastern Door.” During the colonial period, the Senecas were the largest of the Six Nations, in part because they adopted large numbers of Native Americans and even some Europeans to compensate for losses from disease and warfare. (Their most famous adoptee was Mary Jemison, a Scots-Irish woman who spent her life as an adopted Seneca and whose memoirs were written down and published in 1824.) The Jesuits launched missionary efforts among the Senecas, along with the rest of the Six Nations, in the second half of the 17th century. However, the Senecas received fewer Jesuit missionaries than other Haudenosaunee tribes did. This may have been due in part to their close relationship with the British, to whom the Senecas were loyal allies against the French and the Americans. It could also have stemmed from their conflict with the Hurons, another Haudenosaunee-speaking tribe located to the west of the Six Nations. Although the Hurons and Haudenosaunee spoke related languages, they were fierce enemies; because the Senecas were the most western of the Six Nations, they fought the Hurons more often. The Hurons had close ties to the French and hosted numerous Jesuit missionaries, so the Senecas' conflict with the Hurons may have further alienated them from Jesuit efforts. The Senecas also sided with the British during the Revolution, and, in retribution, General Sullivan destroyed their homes and crops during his 1779 rampage through central New York. The Seneca perspective on Sullivan's campaign survives in Jemison's memoirs. After the Revolution, many Mohawks and Cayugas, who had also allied with the British, left central New York. Some moved west, while others moved to the Grand River Reserve in Canada. The Senecas are notable for staying on their lands, where many of them remain today. Samuel Kirkland, an Anglo-American Moor’s Indian Charity School alumnus most famous for his work among the Oneidas, began his career with a mission to the Senecas between January 1765 and spring 1766. He also was adopted by the Senecas. His mission to the Senecas gave him his reputation as an dedicated missionary because of their perceived savagery. Eleazar Wheelock himself had little contact with the Senecas. Kirkland’s Seneca brother by adoption, Tekanada, suggested that he might send his son to Moor’s Indian Charity School, but does not appear to have done so.
General Assembly of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay
The Massachusetts General Assembly was the legislative branch of the colony of Massachusetts. One of its responsibilities was distributing available funds to missionary societies. Naturally, the Massachusetts Assembly became the site of several conflicts between Wheelock and his Boston rivals, the New England Company and Chauncy's Boston Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. Wheelock's dealings with the Massachusetts General Assembly related primarily to the Peter Warren fund. Sir Peter Warren (who was, incidentally, Sir William Johnson's initial employer in America), died in 1752 and left a fund of £750 to the Massachusetts Assembly for the education of Indian children. The Assembly ignored this fund until 1761, when it began distributing the interest Warren's legacy had accumulated. Andrew Oliver, the Assembly's secretary and the New England Company's treasurer, was at this time friendly to Wheelock and alerted him to the fund's existence. Wheelock applied for the money and received a total of £291.12 between 1762 and 1765 for the support of Indian students, including several members of the 1765 expedition to the Six Nations. In 1762, Charles Chauncy tried to claim the fund for his missionary society, the short-lived Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge among the Indians of North America. That society folded and Wheelock continued receiving the money. In 1765, the Assembly stopped rewarding Wheelock the Warren interest. Instead, it distributed the money to Rev. Forbes, a minister affiliated with the New England Company. It is no coincidence that the Assembly's decision coincided with Wheelock's breach with the New England Company. For whatever reason, in 1765 the New England Company became very hostile to Wheelock -- perhaps because they opposed Occom's fundraising tour. The New England Company had enormous influence in the Massachusetts Assembly through Andrew Oliver, and was likely behind the Assembly's decision to cut Wheelock off from the Warren fund. Wheelock applied to the Massachusetts Assembly for funds again in 1772 and 1773. While some interested individuals did offer Wheelock money, the Assembly rejected both his petitions, likely because of Wheelock's rivals in Boston. It is important to keep in mind that although the Massachusetts Assembly did not fund Wheelock after 1765, they still supported various missionaries and missionary societies.
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.
North America

Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is located in Lothian, a region of the Scottish Lowlands on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth. When Romans arrived in the area in 79 AD, they found and fought with the Celtic Britonnic Votadini Tribe, though they never settled there. In 1093, the Scottish King Malcolm III built his castle in Edinburgh, establishing it as the royal seat of a newly united country. The 1707 Act of Union united the kingdom of Scotland and the kingdom of England to form Great Britain, which took the Scottish Parliament and Crown out of Edinburgh. In 1752, the New Town Proposal responded to overpopulation and the unrest that troubled Edinburgh after the Act of Union, and was highly successful in bringing wealth and culture to the city. As a result, Edinburgh became known as the “Athens of the North.” In the 18th century, Edinburgh, along with London and the American colonies, became a key component of the transatlantic Presbyterian network. The city was home to the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge (SSPCK), the Presbyterian missionary society founded in 1709 to anglicize the Scottish Highlands. When the SSPCK turned its attention to the colonies and efforts to christianize American Indians, New England witnessed an influx of Presbyterian missionaries and ministers who hailed from Edinburgh, including Robert Clelland, the schoolmaster at Mohegan who clashed with Occom during the Mason Land Case. Because the Connecticut branch of the SSPCK sent Occom on his fundraising tour of Great Britain, it was fitting that he and Nathaniel Whitaker visited the parent organization while in Edinburgh. The same year, the University of Edinburgh offered Occom an honorary degree in divinity, which he turned down. The University conferred an honorary degree on Wheelock, but neglected to grant one to Whitaker, despite his best efforts to lobby the school. Today, the city is still known as a center for intellectual life and, in 2004, the Scottish Parliament returned to Edinburgh.

Martin's Vineyard

The first English immigrant to settle on a peninsula in a harbor on the northeastern coast of North America the local Algonquin Indians called "Shawmet" was William Blackstone in 1629. A year later, John Winthrop arrived with a group of English Puritans and other settlers and named the area Boston after his hometown in Lincolnshire, England. The colony quickly developed representative political institutions that would help shape a democratic nation. Over the next few centuries, Boston emerged as an intellectual and educational center, and, because of its excellent harbor, became a leading commercial hub and a primary port for North America. It is the capital and largest city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the largest city in New England. Boston was the home for the Boards of Commissioners of several overseas religious societies who sent missionaries throughout the colonies in the 18th century, and was the site of many important events of the American Revolution.

New Jersey

New Jersey is a state located on the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. For at least 10,000 years before the arrival of Europeans, the area of New Jersey was occupied by the Delaware Indians whose territory extended from what is now the state of Delaware to eastern Pennsylvania. Established as a colony in 1664 and named in honor of the English Channel’s Isle of Jersey, New Jersey shared a royal governor with the nearby colony of New York until 1738. During the Revolutionary War, New Jersey fought for independence from Britain and was the site of over a hundred different battles. In the later 1730s, the Society in Scotland for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge and the New England Company showed particular interest in missionizing in the Native communities along the Delaware River in New Jersey. At the same time, the First Great Awakening erupted along the eastern seaboard, and one of its most influential figures was Gilbert Tennent from New Brunswick, New Jersey, who, like other New Light ministers, courted and attracted Native converts. In the first years of Wheelock's Indian Charity School, he was less interested in recruiting Native students from local tribes and looked towards the powerful Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) tribes of New York and the Delawares of New Jersey. In 1754, at Wheelock’s behest, John Brainerd, a SSPCK missionary in New Jersey, sent two Delaware boys, John Pumshire and Jacob Woolley, who were the first official Native students at the School. In 1788, Occom, David Fowler and Peter Pohquonnappeet attempted fundraising in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for Brothertown and New Stockbridge.


One of the original thirteen colonies, Delaware was founded in 1638 and named after the Delaware River (itself named for an English nobleman). The area was home to several tribes of Indians, including the Delaware tribe, from which Wheelock recruited students.


Stockbridge is a small town on the Housatonic River in Berkshire County in western Massachusetts. The area was the home of the Mohekanew or Muh-he-ka-nuk people (people of the continually flowing waters), also known as the Mahicans, (or Mohicans and not to be confused with Mohegans from the Connecticut area), who had been driven there because of tensions with the Mohawk tribe over the expansion of the fur trade with the Dutch in the 17th century. European traders and settlers in the area brought disease and land greed, weakening the Mahicans and their traditional lifeways. In 1734, a missionary named John Sergeant from New Jersey came to live in the Mahican village of Wnahktukuk, baptizing those who accepted his teachings. In order to survive in a rapidly changing world, the Tribe accepted the misson and in 1736, the town of Stockbridge was created, named after a village in Hampshire, England, the last of the "praying towns" in Massachusetts, also known as "Indian Town." It was, for the English, strategically located along a military trail to Canada and created a Protestant buffer against Indian allegiance to the Catholic French. Sergeant built a church and schoolhouse, and brought four English families to settle there, ostensibly as models. Wappinger, Nipmuck and Tunxis Indians joined the community and the Mahicans made Stockbridge their chief village. They and the other Native peoples who lived there were called the "Stockbridge Indians." With the end of the French and Indian war, new settlers flooded into the town, buying up land and excluding the Indians from town government; the experimental community became divided into white and Indian neighborhoods. Although the Massachusetts General Court promised that the land given to the Indians as a reward for their service in the recent war and held in common would never be sold, that agreement was breached. In 1774, Indians from seven praying towns––Charlestown, Groton, Stonington, Niantic, Farmington, Montauk, and Mohegan––who were also in debt and dispossesed, accepted the invitaion of the Oneidas to settle on their lands in central New York state, but were driven back by the Revolution and retreated to Stockbridge. Eventually, in 1783 many Stockbridge Indians moved to Oneida lands and founded "new" Stockbridge near the Brotherton settlement established by Occom and other Mohegan Indians. Stockbridge, MA, was a destination for many of the missionaries trained by and associated with Wheelock and his Indian school, and eight Stockbridge Indians enrolled at Dartmouth College between 1771 and 1780. In 1778, Daniel Simon, a Narragansett Indian, one of five children in his family to go to Wheelock's Charity School, and the first Indian educated by Wheelock to receive a degree from Dartmouth College in 1777, was licensed to preach and taught at Stockbridge. As late as 1785, Occom recounts in his journals traveling to Stockbridge, MA to preach and visit Sergeant, Jr. and Kirkland, and finds the Indians "scattered," many removed to Oneida country.


Onaquaga (more than 50 different spellings have been documented) was a cosmopolitan Indian town on the Susquehanna River, now the site of the town of Windsor, New York. It was initially established as an Oneida settlement by those seeking an alternative to the power politics of Kanawalohale, the new chief village of the Oneidas, and Old Oneida, the former capital. However, from the end of the 17th century onwards it became an immigration destination for displaced Indians from a wide range of tribes. Yet, from the late 1760s onward, Onaquaga’s cosmopolitan composition proved to be its undoing. The community was fragmented by disputes over the extent and the proper style of Christian practice, with Sir William Johnson and Joseph Brant (who owned a farm at Onaquaga) urging Episcopalianism and the New England Company urging Congregationalism. An influx of Mohawk immigrants in the years after the 1768 Fort Stanwix treaty led the inhabitants of Onaquaga to side with the Crown in the Revolution, rather than with the colonies as most Oneida towns did, and it became Joseph Brant’s base of operations. The town was destroyed by the Continental Army in 1778 as part of the wave of violent retaliation for British and Indian attacks on frontier communities that culminated in General Sullivan’s ravaging of Cayuga and Seneca territory. The area was resettled by Americans after the Revolution.


Chenango, a small Oneida Indian settlement near present-day Binghamton, New York, was known as "Jeningo" before 1787, when it was settled by Anglo-Americans and then incorporated as a town. Wheelock sent the Mohegan Indian Samuel Ashpo to Jeningo/Chenango to preach among the Indians in 1760, 1761, 1763, and 1766 with moderate success. The Oneida Indians there requested Ashpo specifically in 1760, wanting a Native-American rather than white missionary living among them. In 1762, Wheelock writes a letter to a British supporter, Dennys DeBerdt, recounting Ashpo and Charles Jeffrey Smith’s missionary expedition to Jeningo/Chenango. Ashpo writes to Wheelock in 1763 that “Onohoquagee and Jeningo Indians” are in need of missionaries since their missionary left and proposes that Ashpo go himself. In 1769, Wheelock writes to Occom asking that he and Jacob Fowler go to Jeningo/Chenango to establish a village for Christianized Indians.


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.


Wethersfield is a town in central Connecticut located south of Hartford. The land that would become Wethersfield was inhabited by the Wongunk Indians, who called it Pyquag. In 1634, the Wongunks established trade with British settlers in Watertown, Massachusetts. Soon the fecund soil attracted British colonists to settle in the area, which they initially named Watertown before renaming it Wethersfield in 1637. Wethersfield’s proximity to the Connecticut River made it an important trading town, famous for its red onions, which has continued to be a symbol of the town throughout the centuries. The architecture of 17th- and 18th-century Wethersfield homes reflects the colonists’ need for security against the Pequots, a powerful and expanding tribe with whom the people of Wethersfield, aided by an alliance of Mohegan and Narragansett Indians, had battled during the Pequot War (1636-37). In 1692, a flood shifted the course of the Connecticut River east and destroyed all but one warehouse in the town of Wethersfield, which nevertheless continued to play a major role in commerce in the 18th century. Solomon Wells, a firm friend and patron of Occom, lived in Wethersfield.


Kanawalohale was a village located in the present-day town of Vernon in central New York state. In the 18th century, it was an Oneida village located about 60 miles west of the Mohawk village Canajoharie. Because the village’s name was similar to the Mohawk village of Canajoharie, many sources conflate the two. Founded in the mid-18th century, Kanawalohale was made up of a cluster of about 40 homes along the Oneida Creek, south of Oneida Lake. The name means head on a post in reference to an enemy soldier's skull displayed in the village. In 1765, David Fowler established an Indian school in Kanawalohale, where Wheelock’s son, Ralph, worked. Between the years of 1765 and 1767, Kanawalohale hosted many of Wheelock's missionaries including Samuel Kirkland, Joseph Johnson, David Avery, and Aaron Kinne. The Indians of Kanawalohale used their relationship with missionaries such as Kirkland to gain prestige over the formerly central Oneida village, Old Oneida. Kirkland often wrote in his journal about the dialogues he had with the Indians at Kanawalohale, who refused to receive his teachings silently. The Christian Indian population grew throughout the 1760s with at least 200 Indians attending church in the village. In 1780, Joseph Brant, a Mohawk allied with the British, led a war party against the revolting colonists, with whom the Oneidas had allied, that destroyed the Oneida village of Kanawalohale. This area is known today as Oneida Castle.

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.


Connecticut is a state in southern New England that borders Massachusetts to the north and the Long Island Sound to the south. Its name is derived from the Algonquian "Quonehtacut," meaning "long river," referring to the Connecticut, which runs from the border with Canada into the Long Island Sound. The area was originally inhabited by Algonquian-speaking Pequots, Mohegans, and Quinnipiacs. European settlers took advantage of tribal divisions to establish dominance in the region. Dutch explorer Adrian Block sailed up the Connecticut River in 1614, establishing an active Dutch trading post at what is now Hartford. English claims to Connecticut began in 1630, but settlement truly began when Thomas Hooker, a Congregationalist minister now known as "The Father of Connecticut," left Boston to found Hartford in 1636. Hartford became the center of the Colony of Connecticut, which did not receive its charter until 1662 when Governor John Winthrop, Jr. secured it from Charles II. In 1665, the Colony of New Haven, established in 1638 by the Puritan minister John Davenport, joined the Colony of Connecticut under this charter. Early settler relations with local Indians were tense, and encouraged the New England colonies of Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven to unify as the "United Colonies" or "New England Confederation" and fight together, with Indian allies, in the Pequot War and again in King Philip's (Metacom's) War. These wars helped establish a specifically Connecticut and specifically American identity; the latter drove the colony to join the rebellion against Britain in 1776. Occom, born into a Mohegan household in Connecticut, was closely associated with the Colony and retained strong ties to the region throughout his life. He converted to Christianity in 1743 when the Great Awakening spread through Connecticut, and inspired Wheelock's Indian Charity School, which was founded in Lebanon, CT in 1754. He also became involved in the Mason Land Case, a long-standing dispute over the ownership of reserve Mohegan lands in Connecticut. Wheelock also had strong ties to Connecticut, moving his Indian Charity School only when the colony would not grant it a charter.

New England
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.


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.


Portsmouth is a city located in southeastern New Hampshire. Europeans began settling along the Piscataqua River in 1623. By 1640, the first four plantations, or towns, in what is now the state of New Hampshire — Dover, Portsmouth, Exeter, and Hampton — were settled by the British. In the wake of this influx, native settlements, specifically that of the Abanakis who historically fished and hunted in Portsmouth, were largely reduced by disease and war. Originally called Strawbery Banke, the settlement was renamed in 1653 in honor of Captain John Mason (not to be confused with the John Mason of the Mason Land Case) who hailed from Portsmouth, England. Located along the Atlantic Ocean and the Piscataqua River, Portsmouth quickly became a regional center for trade and served as New Hampshire’s colonial capital from 1679 until the middle of the American Revolution. Following Queen Anne’s War, American colonists and the Wabanaki Confederacy of Native Americans signed an agreement in Portsmouth called The Portsmouth Indian Treaty of 1713 establishing peace between colonists and surrounding Native Americans. In 1763, Wheelock went to Portsmouth to solicit money for the funding of his school, and in 1765, Occom and Whitaker accompanied him to Portsmouth to fundraise for their trip to England.

Great Britain

Norwich is a city in New London County in the southeast corner of Connecticut. It was founded in 1659 when Major John Mason and Reverend James Fitch led English settlers inland from Old Saybrook, CT, on the coast. They bought land from Uncas, sachem of the local Mohegan tribe, and divided it into farms and businesses mainly in the three-mile area around the Norwichtown Green. In 1668, a wharf was built at Yantic Cove and in 1694 a public landing was built at the head of the Thames River, which allowed trade with England to flourish. The center of Norwich soon moved to the neighborhood around the harbor called "Chelsea." During the revolutionary period, when transatlantic trade was cut off, Norwich developed large mills and factories along the three rivers that cross the town: the Yantic, Shetucket and Thames, and supported the war effort by supplying soldiers, ships, and munitions. Norwich was the largest town in the vicinity in which Occom, Wheelock and their associates lived and worked, and it was possible to get there by water because of the harbor and access to the Long Island Sound. Lebanon, CT, the site of Wheelock's school, is 11 miles north and present-day Uncasville, the center of the Mohegan tribe, is a few miles south of Norwich. James Fitch did missionary work among the Mohegans in Norwich until his death in 1702, and Samuel Kirkland, the most important Protestant missionary to the Six Nations trained by Wheelock, was born in Norwich in 1741. On his evangelical tour of North America in 1764, George Whitefield planned to travel to Norwich to meet with Wheelock. The Connecticut Board of Correspondents of the Scottish Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge frequently met in Norwich, and many letters by people involved in the missionary efforts of Wheelock were written from Norwich.

Fort Johnson

Fort Johnson, originally referred to as Mount Johnson, refers to a stone house enclosed in a fortification located in the present-day town of Amsterdam, NY, in the Mohawk Valley. It is also the name of the small village in which the house is located, which became part of the larger city of Amsterdam. Less a full-scale fort built to repel armies and more a British embassy, Fort Johnson was an important site of British imperial negotiations between the Anglo and Native-American residents in upstate New York. The house received its name from Sir William Johnson, the British Superintendant of Indian Relations for all tribes north of the Ohio River, who lived there until the close of the French and Indian War. Today, Fort Johnson is most commonly referred to as Old Fort Johnson. In a letter to Wheelock, Whitaker speaks of Samuel Kirtland, a missionary who travelled to Fort Johnson to learn the Mohawk language.


Oneida is a city in Madison County located at the geographical center of New York state. Before European settlement of the area, the Oneida Tribe, one of the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, inhabited a large territory adjacent to nearby Oneida Lake. Around 1533, they built their first village on the south shore of the lake, at or near the mouth of Oneida Creek. At the end of the 17th century, this area began suffering raids by parties from the French colony of Quebec, in a battle to control the fur trade. In 1696, Oneida village was burned by the French. As a result, the Oneidas moved their chief village east of the original site, called Old Oneida, to a new site called Kanawalohale, also known as Oneida Castle, which was fortified by tall palisades and a moat. This is the site of the present-day village of Oneida Castle, a small hamlet west of the city of Oneida in the northwest corner of the town of Vernon. When used in Occom Circle documents, the place name "Oneida" usually refers to the territory inhabited by the Tribe east of Oneida Lake, but can also refer specifically to Oneida Castle. Although the Oneidas sided with the patriots during the Revolutionary War, much of their territory was sold or appropriated by the state of New York. In 1790, the first European settlers moved into the area of Old Oneida village, and the district began to expand. In the 1830s, the state built a feeder from Oneida Creek through the present city site to provide water for the new canal system, which enabled canal boats to ship freight into the town. Eventually, the railroad came through the town and helped with its expansion. This led to the incorporation of the Village of Oneida in 1848 and the establishment of the Town of Oneida in 1896. The town was chartered as the City of Oneida in 1901, and with two more railroad lines transecting the area, it became a thriving manufacturing center for the first half of the 20th century.

Whitaker, Nathaniel

Nathaniel Whitaker was an outspoken Presbyterian minister with a long and wide-ranging career. Between his ordination in 1755 and his death in 1795, Whitaker ministered to five different congregations. His longest tenure was at Chelsea, CT (near Norwich), from 1761-1769, during which he joined Occom on his two-and-a-half-year fundraising tour of Britain. While in Chelsea, Whitaker was very involved in Wheelock's project. The two engaged in frequent correspondence, and Whitaker served on Eleazar Wheelock's Board of Correspondents in Connecticut, as well as on the Board of Trustees of Moor's Indian Charity School. At one time, he was Wheelock's presumed successor, but Dartmouth's Trustees demanded that Wheelock appoint another. Wheelock, in part due to his strongly-held belief that Native Americans were childlike and rash, was convinced that Occom needed an Anglo-American supervisor on his fundraising tour. After several candidates turned down the job, Wheelock selected Whitaker. He proved to be a poor choice; he was, by many accounts, a difficult man to get along with, and many of Wheelock’s British allies, including George Whitefield and the English Trust (the organization that took control of the money Occom raised in England) preferred to deal with Occom, although Whitaker insisted on handling the tour’s logistics. Furthermore, in Britain, Occom was the obvious star of the tour, and it was unclear to many why Whitaker asserted himself so prominently. Whitaker’s poor decisions seriously alienated the English Trust and increased their suspicion of Wheelock’s later dealings and treatment of Occom. He gave the English Trust the impression that they would have control over money raised in Scotland (which was in fact lodged with the parent organization of the SSPCK), and he was the executor of the “Eells Affair,” a plan initiated by the CT Board of the SSPCK to bring the money that Occom and Whitaker raised back to the colonies by investing it in trade goods and selling them at a profit (Eells was one of the merchants who was to help with the resale of goods). The English Trust learned about the plan by reading letters that Whitaker had given them permission to open in his absence, and were immediately shocked. The wording of certain letters made it appear that only a percentage of the profit from the resale of the goods would go towards Moor’s Indian Charity School, but beyond that detail, the English Trust was scandalized at the thought of money raised for charity being invested in trade. The English Trust blamed Whitaker entirely for these affairs, and issued specific instructions for Occom to notarize all documents requiring Whitaker’s signature. In short, they wanted Occom to supervise Whitaker, when Wheelock had envisioned the opposite relationship (both Occom and Whitaker seem to have ignored their instructions, preferring to have as little contact with one another as possible). In 1769, a year after his return to Connecticut in 1768, Whitaker found himself dismissed by his Chelsea congregation (likely because he had spent two and a half years away from them). He went on to serve several more congregations before his death in 1795. Whitaker was an outspoken Whig, and during the Revolution he published several pamphlets on his political opinions.

Eliot, John

John Eliot was a Puritan minister who became known as "the Apostle to the Indians." He was born in England in 1604, the son of Bennett Eliot, a middle-class farmer, and graduated from Jesus College, Cambridge in 1622. Coming under the influence of Thomas Hooker, he became a Puritan dissenter and emigrated to the fledgling colony of Massachusetts in 1631. In 1632, he became a teacher at the church of Roxbury, near Boston, where he remained until his death in 1690. Interested in converting Indians, he learned their dialects with the assistance of a young Indian and gave his first sermon in the Massachusetts tongue in October 1646. Thereafter, he helped establish 14 "praying towns" for 4,000 converted Native peoples, which were destroyed during King Philip's (Metacom's) war in 1674. Eliot's work was funded from England and inspired the creation of the Company for Propagating the Gospel in New England and Parts Adjacent in North America in 1649, the first missionary society in England. After 1770, it became known as the New England Company, a group with whom Wheelock had very rocky relations. Still, Eliot's methods, his belief that "civilization" of Indians was necessary for conversion, and his training and use of Native teachers and evangelists, set the pattern for missionary work for the next two centuries and influenced Wheelock's approach. Eliot is best known for his production of a translation of the Bible into the Massachusetts dialect of Algonquian, published in 1661-1663. It was the first Bible printed in North America. Both Wheelock and the white missionaries he trained saw themselves as walking in Eliot's footsteps.

Brainerd, David

David Brainerd was a Presbyterian missionary who became a New Light martyr and inspired Wheelock to work for Native American education. He was the older brother of the longer-lived but lesser-known John Brainerd, who provided Wheelock with his first Native students. In the early 1740s, David got caught up in the New Light tide at Yale, and was subsequently expelled for describing men in positions of authority as unsaved. Because ministers to English congregations had to have a degree from Harvard or Yale, David became a missionary to Native Americans instead. His missions attracted substantial attention, and in 1744 the Newark Presbytery ordained him so that he could receive funding from the Society in Scotland for Propagating Chrisitian Knowledge (SSPCK). Between April 1743 and November 1746, when he became too ill to serve, David conducted missionary efforts among various tribes in the mid-Atlantic region, most notably in New Jersey. After his death from tuberculosis in 1747, David became something of a martyr. New Light Congregationalists, especially, saw David's expulsion from Yale as unjust and his commitment to Native Americans as divine. In 1749, Jonathan Edwards published a biography of David together with David's diary, and the text quickly became part of the New Light canon. Education was central to David Brainerd's ministry, and he was among Wheelock's several inspirations. In 1745, Brainerd sent Wheelock a copy of his journal.

Brainerd, John

John Brainerd was an ardent missionary with an important role in Wheelock's design. He was the younger brother of the famous missionary David Brainerd, who died as a young man after being expelled from Yale and serving as a missionary to New Jersey tribes. John completed his Yale degree and was immediately commissioned to replace David. Even in his own time, he was seen as a man as pious as, but less talented than, his brother, though Brainerd missioned to Indians during a more volatile period, and saw his congregation forcibly removed from their lands in 1755 and relocated at Brothertown in 1758 (this Brothertown should not be confused with the one founded in New York after the Revolution by many Moor's alumni). Brainerd was extremely devoted to the Indian cause. He often had the opportunity to serve wealthy English congregations, but preferred to remain an Indian missionary. He invested signficant sums of his own money into his missions, for which he was never reimbursed. Brainerd was a very prominent Presbyterian figure, active in the Presbytery and Synod of New York, holding several elected positions, and in the Presbtery and Synod of New York and Philadelphia once the two reunified in 1758. He was a Trustee of the College of New Jersey from 1754 until his death, and a member of the New York Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. Occom had planned to work with Brainerd in 1750, but political upheaval prevented it. Brainerd was one of several men nominated to accompany Occom to England, but the New York Board refused to let him go. While Brainerd and Wheelock were not close personal friends, the two had a similar interests and a long-lasting correspondence. John Brainerd sent Wheelock his first Indian boys, and also recruited female students in the 1760s. Throughout their lives, Brainerd and Wheelock updated one another on Indian missions, and Brainerd seems to have been one of Wheelock's "point people" in the Presbyterian Church.

Sergeant, Sr., John

John Sergeant was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1710. He went on to receive two degrees in theology from Yale, in 1729 and 1732. He was serving as a Yale College tutor when the New England Company sponsored him, along with Timothy Woodbridge (who was John Eliot’s great-grandson), to missionize in Mohican country in western Massachusetts, a mission that lasted 40 years. Konkopat, a Mohican sachem who worked with English ministers in the Connecticut River Valley, finally convinced his tribe to allow missionaries to come into their community. Within two years, the NEC began Stockbridge, a Christian Indian town that would help christianize Indians and foster defenses against the French and their Indian allies. The NEC proposed settling four British families in Stockbridge to keep Sergeant and Woodbridge company as well as to serve as "models of civility" for the Indians. These families were led by Ephraim Williams, a speculator in Indian lands. Sergeant married Williams's teenage daughter, Abigail. Because of Williams's interest in acquiring Native lands, many Stockbridge Indians became suspicious of Sergeant. Overall, though, the Indians were favorably disposed towards developments at Stockbridge. Sergeant went on to learn the native language and translated religious texts for Indian use. In the 1740s, several Oneida families sent their children to Stockbridge to study at Sergeant’s Indian boarding school. In 1744, Sergeant and several Stockbridge Indians visited Onaquaga and established relationships between their communities. For the next decade, however, the Williams family exploited the Indians and secured thousands of acres of Mohican lands. When Sergeant died in 1749, the Williams family took control of the Indian school and its funds. Due to poor management, the Stockbridge boarding school soon closed. The noted theologian Jonathan Edwards succeeded Sergeant in 1750 as the Stockbridge Indian missionary.

Edwards, Jonathan
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.

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.

Gunn, Elisha

Elisha Gunn was a gunsmith who resided in Onaquaga for a number of years and served as an interpreter for several different missionary societies. Although he was a well-known interpreter in missionary circles, there is little information about him. He is identified as a resident of Montague, MA, where his three children were born, but he and his family seem to have spent much of the 1760s living in Onaquaga. It is unclear where Gunn learned Haunenosaunee (Iroquois) languages, but his services were certainly in high demand: he was the interpreter over whom the Connecticut Board of the SSPCK and the Boston Board of the New England Company clashed in 1765. One of Wheelock's main goals was to train missionaries who could serve as their own interpreters, because he believed that existing interpreters were too scarce, too expensive, and too untrained in theology. What little we know of Gunn certainly supports Wheelock's arguments. He seems to have been one of the few available interpreters (if not the only one), his services cost the New England Company £50 sterling a year (more than three times Occom's salary at the same time), and his surviving letters show a reliance on extremely phonetic spelling and suggest a lack of formal education. NB: One genealogical website puts Gunn's birth year at 1723, a decade earlier. It would be easy for a researcher to mix 1723 and 1733, especially if the record is poorly written, and neither year is unreasonable.

Mather, Samuel
Clelland, Robert

Robert Clelland was the Scottish schoolmaster at Mohegan who became a contentious figure. He began as schoolmaster in 1752, supported by the Boston commissioners of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. Clelland resided in an apartment that was either adjacent or close to the school, and although he had a limited income, the Colony provided him with bread daily. Clelland had a close relationship with Reverend David Jewett, the white minister at Mohegan who oversaw the school and often lectured there; both Clelland and Jewett supported Connecticut in the Mason Case. However, Clelland conflicted with many other leaders in Mohegan. He repeatedly wrote to Eleazar Wheelock complaining about Ben Uncas III and his drunkenness, even though the sachem did not oppose the colony in the Mason Case and Clelland typically supported him. Clelland also developed a hostile relationship with Samson Occom; notably they held opposing positions during the Mason Case. Occom brought concerns regarding Clelland to the commissioners’ attention. He claimed the schoolteacher preferred the paying English students to the point that their presence was displacing Mohegan pupils, and criticized other ways in which Clelland ran the school. On September 19, 1764, the commissioners voted to release Clelland of his duties as schoolmaster. Notwithstanding, he remained until he was dismissed again on July 5, 1765. Occom’s involvement with Clelland’s dismissal further disrupted what was already a contentious relationship between him and Jewett. Clelland appears to have remained in Mohegan even after his dismissal.

Kirtland, Daniel
Kellogg, Martin
Fowler, David

David Fowler was Jacob Fowler's older brother, Samson Occom's brother-in-law, and an important leader of the Brothertown Tribe. He came to Moor's in 1759, at age 24, and studied there until 1765. While at school, he accompanied Occom on a mission to the Six Nations in 1761. He was licensed as a school master in the 1765 mass graduation, and immediately went to the Six Nations to keep school, first at Oneida and then at Kanawalohale. Fowler saw himself as very close to Wheelock, but their relationship fragmented over the course of Fowler's mission, primarily because Wheelock wrote back to Kirkland, with whom Fowler clashed, but not to Fowler, and because Wheelock refused to reimburse Fowler for some expenses on his mission (767667.4 provides the details most clearly). Fowler went on to teach school at Montauk, and played a major role in negotiations with the Oneidas for the lands that became Brothertown. He was among the first wave of immigrants to that town, and held several important posts there until his death in 1807.

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.

Horton, Azariah

Azariah Horton was an Anglo-American missionary who conducted a 10-year mission (1741-1751) to the Montauketts and Shinnecocks of Long Island before being replaced by Samson Occom in 1750. After graduating from Yale in 1735 and briefly preaching in Turkey, NJ, Horton was ordained and commissioned by the New York (later New Jersey) Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge (SSPCK) to serve as a missionary on Long Island. His territory was extensive: in addition to the Montauketts and the Shinnecocks, Horton ministered to Indian tribes on the Wyoming and Delaware rivers where the Brainerd brothers were later quite successful. Horton kept a diary during the first three years of his mission (1741-1744) in which he records his extensive travels between sites. By the late 1740s, however, he was residing solely at Shinnecock and spending almost all of his time there. Perhaps his health had decayed and he was unable to travel, or perhaps he had simply given up on his mission (the sources are unclear). Whatever the cause, his neglect left the Montauketts ripe for Samson Occom’s missionary efforts. Horton encouraged Occom’s ministry, and the two stayed in contact (Occom visited him at least once, in 1760). However, when Horton retired, the SSPCK retired his mission with him. They believed that it was a fairly fruitless enterprise, which is likely at least part of the reason why they were disinclined to pay Occom for his efforts. After leaving Montauk, Horton became the pastor at Bottle Hill, NJ (sometimes described as South Hanover). He retired of his own volition in October 1776 and moved to live with his son in Chatham, NJ, where he died in 1777 after being exposed to smallpox while ministering to the dead and dying in George Washington’s army.

Colden, Cadwallader
Johnson, William

Sir William Johnson was a powerful British colonial official who amassed wealth and influence by integrating into the Mohawk tribe. For a brief window of time (1761-1768), he provided support for Wheelock’s missionary efforts among the Six Nations. He also helped the Brothertown Nation of Indians procure land from the Oneidas. Johnson was born in Ireland in 1715. His family had been part of the Catholic elite, but after William of Orange’s 1690 victory at the Battle of the Boyne, they at least nominally converted to the Episcopalian Church. In 1738, Johnson emigrated to America to manage his uncle Peter Warren’s estate in Mohawk territory. Over the next decade, Johnson became wealthy in his own right through trade and land sales, acquiring a vast estate crowned by his manor house, Johnson Hall, which became the central location for British and Indian treaty making. In 1745, Johnson began collecting official British titles and positions. He played an important military role in the French and Indian War and was named Superintendent of Indian Affairs in 1756 and first baronet of New York in 1757. Much of Johnson’s success was due to his influence among the Mohawks, which he obtained by learning their language and customs and integrating himself into their society. He participated in Mohawk rituals and entered into a common-law marriage with a powerful Mohawk woman, Molly Brant (also called Mary Brant). Because Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) society is matrilineal, this marriage was an essential element of his participation in Indian affairs. Wheelock desperately wanted to wield missionary influence among the Six Nations, and sought to obtain Johnson as an ally in his endeavors. At first, the two found grounds for cooperation. Wheelock sent Occom as a missionary to the Oneidas in 1761 and again in 1762, and sent a substantially larger group of missionaries and schoolmasters in 1765, 1766, and 1767. Johnson, meanwhile, encouraged Haudenosaunee children, including his brother-in-law Joseph Brant, to attend Moor’s. Johnson’s support proved indispensible to missionaries in the field; he helped with supplies, language skills, and relations with the Mohawks and Oneidas. Wheelock also valued Johnson for his influence in Britain, and drew on him for recommendations and public statements of support numerous times. From 1763 on, however, Johnson found himself decidedly uncomfortable with Wheelock’s missionary efforts, and by 1769, their relationship had dissolved completely. In 1766, Johnson was invited to join the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG), the largest and most influential Anglican missionary society in the 18th-century British-Atlantic world. He began working to place Anglican missionaries, rather than Congregationalist and Presbyterian ones, among the Six Nations, which alarmed Wheelock. Johnson was generally supportive of Native American tribes’ efforts to maintain their land and sovereignty. As the historian Linford Fisher has noted, “virtually every major Native group in southeastern New England successfully petitioned Johnson to act on their behalf during the late 1760s and early 1770s.” Among these groups was the Brothertown Nation, a Christian composite tribe formed by Southern New England Algonquian Moor’s alumni. Johnson helped them negotiate with the Oneidas, which proved essential to their successful land purchase and relocation to central New York.

Kirkland, Samuel

Samuel Kirkland (b. Kirtland) was Eleazar Wheelock’s most famous Anglo American student. He conducted a 40-year mission to the Oneidas and founded Hamilton College (established in 1793 as Hamilton Oneida Academy). Kirkland won acclaim as a missionary at a young age by conducting an adventurous and risky mission to the Senecas, the westernmost of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Six Nations. After his year and a half among them, which was well publicized by Wheelock, he was ordained and sent as a missionary to the Oneidas under the auspices of the Connecticut Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. He spent most of the rest of his life serving the Oneidas as a minister. Kirkland’s sincere devotion to serving as a missionary was excellent publicity for Wheelock’s program, but it also brought the two men into conflict. Wheelock became jealous of Kirkland when the school’s British benefactors began urging Wheelock to make Kirkland his heir, and Kirkland, meanwhile, was upset that Wheelock had failed to provide him with sufficient supplies on his mission — a complaint that he was unafraid to publicize (and that almost all of Wheelock’s other students shared). The breaking point came in 1770, when Kirkland split from Wheelock’s Connecticut Board and affiliated with the New England Company, a missionary society that had abruptly turned against Wheelock in 1765. Wheelock and Kirkland briefly made up in 1771, but their relationship quickly dissolved into further acrimony. Although Kirkland spent most of his life as a missionary to the Six Nations, he generally held disparaging views of Native Americans. He did not approve of Wheelock’s plan to educate Indians as missionaries, and was haughty towards the Moor’s alumni that worked with him (notably David Fowler, Joseph Johnson, and Joseph Woolley). Prior to the Revolution, Kirkland had been stringent in his refusals to take Oneida land, even when offered to him. The Revolution seems to have shifted his loyalties from the Oneidas to local Anglo Americans. Kirkland served as a chaplain in the American army and was instrumental in convincing the Oneidas to remain neutral (or, more accurately, to side with the Americans). At one point he was the chaplain with General Sullivan’s army, the force sent to ransack Seneca and Cayuga territory in 1779. It is unclear what emotions this aroused in Kirkland, who had served the Senecas less than 15 years earlier, yet after the war, Kirkland freely engaged in Oneida dispossession. Along with James Dean, another Wheelock alumnus with close ties to the Oneidas, Kirkland played a pivotal role in urging the Oneidas to sell land illegally to the state of New York. The land deals that resulted gave Kirkland the property, financial capital, and connections to establish Hamilton Oneida Academy. The last decades of Kirkland’s life were difficult. He found himself in a three-way battle with Samson Occom and John Sergeant Jr., who were also ministers in Oneida territory, for the hearts and minds of their congregations; he was fired as a missionary in 1797, although he continued to serve sans salary; one of his son’s business enterprises failed, leaving Kirkland nearly destitute; and two of his three sons died unexpectedly. Hamilton Oneida Academy, like Moor’s Indian Charity School, largely failed at its goal of educating Indians, and in 1812, four years after Kirkland’s death, it was re-purposed as Hamilton College, a largely Anglo-American institution. At some point in the mid-to-late 18th century, Kirkland changed his name from Kirtland, although the reasons for this are uncertain.

Woolley, Joseph

Joseph Woolley was a Delaware who died of consumption while keeping school at Onaquaga. He came to Wheelock in 1757 as a replacement for John Pumshire, and although Wheelock labeled him as "fit for college" in late 1761, he never attended. In the fall of 1764, Joseph went to the Six Nations with Kirkland to learn the Mohawk language and keep school, and in March 1765, he was officially approved as a schoolmaster and returned to Onaquaga to teach. He was very popular there, but died unexpectedly in late November 1765. Joseph was engaged to Hannah Garrett, who later married David Fowler, but a letter from David (765302.2) suggests that Joseph may also have pursued Amy (David's object of interest before Hannah).

Smith, Titus

Titus Smith was a Yale graduate whom Wheelock trained and ordained as a missionary and sent to the Six Nations with the 1765 mission. Together with Theophilus Chamberlain, a Yale student with whom he was examined and ordained, Smith led the band of newly-examined schoolteachers and ushers into the Six Nations to set up day schools. After Ebenezer Moseley replaced him, Smith retired from the missionary life and became an itinerant preacher in Connecticut until 1768, when he converted to Sandemanianism and was re-ordained. Because of his religion (Sandemanians opposed violence), as well as his Tory politics, Smith found himself in danger when the Revolution broke out. His family fled to Long Island, and from there to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Smith lived out his remaining years.

Chamberlain, Theophilus

Theophilus Chamberlain was a Yale graduate and missionary employed by Wheelock. His interest in Indian ministry may have started during the French and Indian War, when he was taken captive by a tribe allied with the French (it is unclear which tribe) at Fort William Henry and spent a year in Nova Scotia. After his return to New England, Chamberlain attended Yale. Wheelock recruited Chamberlain, along with fellow Yale graduate Titus Smith, to spearhead Moor's 1765 mission to the Six Nations. Chamberlain was examined as a missionary on March 12, 1765, and ordained on April 24, 1765. During the mission, he was stationed at Canajoharie (the Mohawk "Upper Castle") and oversaw the mission to the Mohawks. While on his mission, he converted to Sandemanianism, a decision that profoundly shaped the rest of his life. It is difficult to evaluate his efficacy as a missionary: he had high praise for himself, and David Fowler said the Mohawks were affectionate towards him, but Occom described him as overzealous. Chamberlain served the duration of his contract, but clashed with Wheelock afterwards over who was responsible for debts he had incurred on his mission (e.g. transportation costs, support for schoolmasters and interpreters). After departing from Wheelock's service, Chamberlain was ordained as a Sandemanian bishop. He fled to New York and later Nova Scotia during the American Revolution because of his religious and political beliefs. In Nova Scotia, Chamberlain oversaw the establishment of the settlement of Preston.

Calvin, Hezekiah

Hezekiah Calvin was one of Eleazar Wheelock's first Native American students. Like Wheelock’s other early Delaware students, he was sent by the minister John Brainerd. Calvin was certified as a schoolteacher on March 12, 1765, and was sent to the Mohawks at Fort Hunter in June 1765. The Mohawks threw him out at the end of September 1766, and he returned to Moor's. Samuel Johnson, an Anglo-American Yale student who replaced Calvin at Fort Hunter, reported that the residents unanimously accused Calvin of being abusive and rude. Calvin, in turn, maintained that the Fort Hunter Mohawks had mistreated him. Calvin’s second stint at Moor’s did not go well. He wrote several confessions for drunkenness and bad behavior, and frequently spoke ill of Wheelock. He left the school in the spring of 1768, and took up residence with the Secutor family (Narragansett) at Charlestown, Rhode Island. Calvin left the Narragansetts sometime late in 1768, presumably after the dissolution of his relationship with Mary Secutor. Wheelock heard reports early in 1769 that Calvin had been imprisoned at Little Ease, NJ, for forging a pass for a Black man (Calvin does not appear in the county records, so either he was never indicted or Wheelock had his information wrong). By 1777, Calvin was in a position of prominence at Brotherton, NJ (a town of Christian Delawares founded under John Brainerd’s ministry). At some point after 1788, Calvin moved west with the Delawares: he may have moved directly to join the Delawares in Ohio territory, or he may have relocated to Stockbridge in 1802 and then moved west.


Moses was a Mohawk Indian and Wheelock student who was part of the mission to the Canajoharie, Onaquaga, and Cherry Valley areas from 1765-1766. He taught the displaced Oneidas under Good Peter and Isaac Dakayenensere at Lake Otsego (next to Cherry Valley), along with Smith and Gunn. He taught reading and writing to between eight and 12 students. Although Joseph Woolley was initially supposed to teach this school, he fell ill and Moses replaced him. Moses also subbed for Woolley when Woolley visited the Tuscaroras. Like the other schoolteachers, Moses left over the winter of 1765 and returned to Wheelock, but he was back at Canajoharie by the next fall to teach with Samuel Johnson and Jacob Fowler. Theophilus Chamberlain speculated they could set up a third school for Moses, but this did not come to pass because by December 1st, less than a month after Chamberlain’s letter, Moses had traveled to Wheelock and back to Fort Hunter delivering letters. The Indians at Fort Hunter would not take him as a teacher because they preferred Johnson and distrusted unknown teachers after their experience with Hezekiah Calvin (according to Johnson). Moses appears to have continued working in the area, because in 1768 he refused Aaron Kinne’s request that he act as interpreter.


Johannes was a Mohawk who studied at Moor’s Indian Charity School from 1761 until 1765. He was approached as an usher (junior schoolteacher) on March 12, 1765, in the Moor’s graduation orchestrated by Wheelock in preparation for a mass mission to the Mohawk and Oneida. Johannes kept school at Old Oneida during the summer of 1765, but did not continue his post. A variety of Anglo-American Moor’s-affiliated missionaries, including Aaron Kinne and David Avery, sought his services as an interpreter, but there is no indication that Johannes accepted any of their invitations. It is more likely that, like other Haudenosaunees (Iroquois) who studied at Moor’s, Johannes rapidly reintegrated into Haudenosaunee society. Shortly after returning to Haudenosaunee territory, Johannes was too preoccupied with managing his family’s horses to serve as an interpreter (manuscript 765673), and a few years later, he was unable to respond to Aaron Kinne’s request because he was out hunting (manuscript 768363.1). Thus, in Johannes’ disappearance from Anglo-American records, we can read a polite rejection of the assimilation project that was Moor’s Indian Charity School’s raison d’etre.


Abraham major (aka Abraham primus), a Mohawk Indian, served as an usher or junior teacher along with Abraham Secundus and Peter. All three kept separate schools. Abraham major's school, a short ride from Abraham minor’s, was outside of Canajoharie; it began Friday, July 12, 1765. As of July 17, 1765, he had 15 or 16 students, primarily male. These schools seem to have operated from July 1765 (they were still traveling in June, and Theophilus Chamberlain described their schools in late July) until December 1765, when Chamberlain reported that the Abrahams had departed, and that Abraham major was in Schoharry. Both Abrahams' schools were taken over in 1766. Abraham major must not be confused with Greater Abraham, a high-ranking Mohawk, the brother of King Peter Hendrick and uncle of Chief Abraham (not to be confused with Little Abraham, the Moor's student), who lived in Canajoharie at the same time.


Abraham, known as Little Abraham, was an usher or junior teacher along with Abraham major and Peter. All of them kept separate schools. Abraham major's school began Friday, July 12, 1765, and presumably Little Abraham’s began at or around the same time. Little Abraham’s school was a two mile ride from Canajoharie, and as of July 17 1765, he had 11 or 12 students of both genders. These schools seem to have operated from July 1765 (they were still traveling in June and Chamberlain describes their schools in late July) until December 1765, when Chamberlain reports that the Abrahams have departed. Both Abrahams' schools were taken over in 1766. Little Abraham then taught a school at Willheske, 8 or 10 miles below Fort Stanwix, for an indeterminite time. He is not to be confused with another Little Abraham, the Canajoharie Mohawk who was Sachem from 1755 until his death in 1780.


Peter was an usher (although described as “keeping school” by Woolley) at Canajoharie, along with Moses, Johannes, and the Abrahams. All of them kept separate schools. Great Abraham’s school began Friday, July 12, 1765, and presumably Peter’s started around the same time. He was sick in October 1765, and could not teach school. Since Wheelock mentions him in a 1767 letter, he must have survived. Peter is not to be confused with Good Peter, an Oneida at Onaqauga who visited Moor’s, but was not educated there. Information about Peter generally appears in lists of the men he graduated with and taught with.

Chauncy, Charles

Charles Chauncy was an eminent Boston divine, the most zealous proponent of Old Light doctrine, and Wheelock's lifelong rival. Born into functional Puritan royalty -- his grandfather, also Charles Chauncy, had been president of Harvard in the seventeenth century -- Chauncy had every social connection possible. He entered Harvard himself at age 12, graduated in 1721, and became copastor at the First Church of Boston in 1727. From this pulpit, he launched his attacks on New Light Congregationalists. While the Old Light/New Light schism was deep, Chauncy alone saw the split as a cosmic battle between good and evil. His notable polemics include his 1743 work, “Seasonable Thoughts on the State of Religion in New England," as well as a 1744 open letter against George Whitefield. Chauncy had a long, bitter conflict with Wheelock. Wheelock was among those specifically named in Chauncy's attacks, and Chauncy used every avenue possible to frustrate Wheelock's plans for Indian education. As chair of the Boston Board of Correspondents for the SSPCK, Chauncy had plentiful opportunities to frustrate Wheelock, and was likely the impetus for Wheelock's creation of a Connecticut Board in 1764. Notable clashes between the two men included: 1) In 1761-1762, the Boston Board reneged on a promise to fund the education of a certain number of Indian boys. 2) In 1762, Chauncy formed his own society -- the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge among the Indians of North America -- and competed with Wheelock for sources of funding (specifically, a fund left by the late Peter Warren). This society planned to a) set up English day schools in Indian country and b) bring Indian boys back to English towns to be educated. Given the overlap with Wheelock's own goals and methods, it is fortunate for Dartmouth's history that Parliament denied Chauncy's society incorporation. For what is perhaps the most often cited letter on the feud, see Chauncy to Wheelock, 762165.

Occom’s First Mission to the Oneidas
Recruited in November by the New York Commissioners of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, Occom leaves in May 1761 with his brother-in-law David Fowler, for a mission among the Oneida in western New York. He preaches, establishes a school, and recruits three young Mohawk men to attend Wheelock’s Indian Charity School. He returns home at the end of September.
Occom leaves his studies
In 1747, after four years of schooling with Wheelock, Occom begins to prepare for entrance to Yale by studying Latin, Greek and Hebrew with Benjamin Pomeroy at Hebron, Connecticut. In the summer of 1749, he is officially released from his studies because of severe eyestrain.
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.
Occom returns to Mohegan
In March 1764, after three missions to the Oneida and heavily in debt, Occom and Mary move their family from Montauk to Mohegan across the Long Island Sound, and because of bad weather lose many of their household possessions in the process.
Occom’s Second Mission to the Oneidas
In 1762, Occom returns to Oneida from May to September to find the people in dire straits due to war and an early killing frost.
Occom’s Marriage
In the fall of 1751, Occom marries Mary Fowler, daughter of a prominent Montaukett family on Long Island, where Occom has established a school and mission.
HomeNathaniel Whitaker, narrative, 1766
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