Joseph Johnson, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1768 February 10

ms-number768160

abstractJohnson writes to Wheelock about his life among the Oneidas and the progress of his school. He notes that Kirkland is very ill.

handwritingJohnson's hand is small yet clear and legible.

paperLarge single sheet is in fair condition, with moderate-to-heavy staining, creasing and wear.

inkBrown-black.

noteworthyAn unknown, likely 19th-century, hand has added the note “Ind. mis.” to the bottom of one recto; this note has not been transcribed.

Revd & much Hond Doct.r 
I would once more attempt to write a few lines to you my kind  and hond Benefactor as it is not only your Order, but my Indiſpenſable  Duty to write you at every opportunity this being the third attempt, that  I have made Since I left your houſe (firſt by David, next William,  David paſsed by, William came back) but have had the Miſfortune  of Seeing them booth, yet this once more will I trie per adventure it  may reach you; in which I Shall Endeavour to acquaint you of the State  of my School, and of the Indians; and Little of the manner in which  I live at preſent. Sir I have had By the goodneſs of God my health  as Uſual; and would hope that you have had your much Valuble  health allowed you. Sir, I have lived very well the fore part of the  Winter, but the Latter begins to come on heard. Sometimes Glutted  to the full at other times half Stearved never Steady, at priſent  they now begin to cook Some good dried Guts of Dear and what is  in it. (Dung if I may So call it.) to Seaſon the corn; likewiſe Some  rotten fiſh which they have keept Since laſt fall to Seaſon their  Samps, rottener the better they Say as it will Seaſon more broth.  corn they have plenty yet, but nothing to ſeaſon it. Little calf  Died for hunger was Soon quarterd & boild and Eat the other day  in this houſe, alſo Some hens dying of Some Diſtemper was  Served prety much the Same trick but not quite So quick.  I have Lived Interely upon the affare of the Indians this Winter  Such times Excepted as when I was at Mr Kirtlands—  The Indians are very much Engaged at preſent and have given  me 14 children, this is Since I wrote you laſt and have Shewn  their Reſpects to the Deſign as I Suppoſe Mr Kirtland will  Acquaint you to the full. Mr Kirtland had propoſed I Should  come down the Next week but the headmen Requeſted that  I Should Stay with them longer to which I agredd with the chearfull  heart to See them So much Engaged.  Kind Sir, I would Enform you that Mr Kirtland is  very Sick I fear unto Death this being the 10th Day Since  he has been Sick he has been moſt of the time confined to his bed  and is intirely Indiſpoſed for any manner of buſineſs whatever.  I would alſo Enform you that I keep Singing School every  Evening very full meetings. two of my Scholars are married ­men, one is Old Enough for my father. they all Learn very  faſt booth Singing & Reading. I dont know Sir, when  I Shall come home the great men give me leave to go in the  Spring. the Small-pox is very Brief in Albany and  Schenectady, vaſt numbers have dyed out of booth places.  alſo; Beaſts, they have a Diſtemper and die dayly booth horſes  and cows, the diſtemper is almoſt got up here. — 
The Indian horſes fare very heard this Winter, I have Seen where they  have gnawed little Elm trees to Eat the beark therof, the Indians have  given Mr Kirtland Some corn for his creatures from booth places.  Mr Kirtland preached twice here before his Sickneſs came on, and  propoſed to come down again but the Self Same week he was —  taken Sick. Thomas carrys on amongſt us now Sabbath Days.  Mr Dodge Enforms me that he open'ed a ſchool about one week he Says  he keept it before Mr Kirtland was Sick and was Oblig'ed to brake up —  William keept it Some time after wards Laſt Monday I went in to  See the School and Saw vaſt number of children in it almoſt [illegible][guess: 30]  lacking very few, it Seemed as if with pleaſure I could wait on Such  Number. then I turned my mind and thoughts of my little number  I had at Onoida. yet I think I cant think to have them few as  they be. So long as they Seem to be Engaged.  I have nothing more to acquaint you of at preſent only I want to  hear from you my ever hond Benefactor aſ I have not heard any  thing from you Since I came from your houſe.  So Revd Sir, I deſire Still to be under your direction & advice at all  times, as I am not yet capable of manageing my ſelf So I would  not undertake any thing without your kind advice & approbation.  Pleaſe to Remember me Still in your prayers; that God would  keep me humble and fill my heart with Gratitude booth to Him  and to Man. that I may put my whole truſt in him booth fo[gap: tear][guess: r]  Time & Eternity, for in him alone can I be ſafe amidſt ten thouſa­ ­nd Malicious Dearts of the Divil. So I would remain your  faithfull and Obedient pupil, and good for nothing not quite  Old Indian.
Joſeph Johnſon.  Onoida. february 10.th 1768. 
PS. this Letter if I may So call it was  wrote in haſt I dont know as if you  can make out to read it if you can I  Should be Exceeding glad, not only in  haſt but under many Diſadvantages.   
From Joseph Johnson  Feb.y 10. 1768 
To— the Revd Doctr Wheelock.  in  N England.   
[bottom]a Grand miſtake or reather great miſtake, a Letter  turned upſide down. as I was reagding it over I took notice  of it not before.—
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