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Samson Occom, journal, 1774 December 19 to 1775 February 9

ms-number: 774672.3

abstract: Occom's journal describes his travels as an itinerant preacher during the period from December 19, 1774, to February 9, 1775.

handwriting: Occom's hand is small but consistently clear and legible. As is common with Occom, there are several uncrossed t's and crossed l's; these have been corrected by the transcriber.

paper: Several small sheets folded into a booklet and bound with thread or twine are in good-to-fair condition, with light-to-moderate staining and wear. One recto/verso is heavily damaged, which results in a significant loss of text.

ink: Brown ink varies in intensity throughout.

noteworthy: Although the missing text on one recto/verso makes it difficult to tell for certain, the "Indian Town" mentioned on one recto is likely Farmington. On four recto, it is uncertain to where Occom refers when he mentions the "Indian Place." Illegible person and place names have not been tagged. An editor, likely 19th-century, has overwritten several letters, words and phrases, as well as punctuation. These edits have not been transcribed.

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[gap: tear]
[gap: tear] River
[gap: tear]Some Time: I reachd
[gap: tear] [illegible]
[gap: tear] kept Sabbath at this
[gap: faded] Preachd at m[gap: faded]
[gap: faded] to a tronged A[gap: faded]
[gap: faded] very [gap: faded] [guess: pleaſent ] Day

Monday Decr 19:

left the place
about 10 [gap: faded] and [illegible] my way, and
it was a Dreadful Storm of
Rain and [illegible] in it all
[gap: faded] Farmingtown got
[gap: faded] before Sun Set
[gap: faded] very wet Lodged at E[gap: faded]h[gap: faded]

Dec.r 20

[gap: faded] at the Place
[gap: faded]
[gap: tear]

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hig[gap: tear]od [gap: tear]
a g[gap: tear]

Wedneſday Decr 21:

[gap: tear]
Indian Town about [gap: tear] the
morning, and it w[gap: tear] Cold;
towards Night Stopt a[gap: tear] [guess: t] one Mr
's and the People were urgent
to have me Stay till next Day and
give them a Diſcourſe and I Com
plyd; that Night it Snowd very
hard, all Night— —

Thirdſday Decr 22

it Snowd
Still Yet a great Number of People
Came together at the apointed Time
after meeting went home with one
Mr Weſt . Seven Day Baptiſt Preacher.
a godly man I believe a very
meek and humble man and
well reported by his Neighbours,
his wife is a Moravian woman
by Profeſsion a Pious woman by
[gap: tear] with

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them, this Night

Fryday Dec[illegible] [guess: r] 23

was with
Mr weſt all Day Lodged with
them again —

Saturday Decemr 24:

as this is
their Sabbath So the People got
together for meeting at their Uſu
al Hour and I preachd to them
as Soon as I had done Mr green
preachd, a Short Diſcourſe, and
after meeting, I went back to Mr
s and Lodgd there—

Monday Sabbath Decem 25:

People got
together about 11: a great Numbr
and I preachd to them twice in
the evening went to M.r Mechams
my good old Friend, he Came from
Weſterly and Lodgd there I was
very Poorly this Night I was Trou
bled with a Diſorder in my Bow
els very much — —

Monday Decem 26:

was very Com
fortable this morning my Diſorder
was gone, about 10 went to Hering‐ton
Meeting Houſe Calld on one [illegible]

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from there went to Mr Wooddroff [illegible] [guess: 's] ,
and there put up my Horſe at
and went to meeting Preached to
a large aſsemble, and the People
attended with great Solemnity —
in the evening went to See Mr
the old miniſter of the
Place he has layd down Preaching
by reaſon of Infirmities, he Seem
ed to be a good ſort of a man— Lodgd
with Mr Wooddroff

Tueſday Decer 27

after Breakfast went
on my Journey, Stopt at Letchfield a
few minutes Juſt to eat at a Tavern
and then Sot off again, and directed
my Courſe towards New Milford; reachd
the Place Juſt before night. Calld on
one Mr Balwin and Tarried there
all night, and appointed a meeting
10 o:c for the next Day, this Night
we had a Terrible Storm of Snow —

Wedneſday Decemr 28:

Storm Conti
nued very Hard Yet we went to meet
ing and there was a Conſiderable Num
ber of People, went to Mr Tallor s the
miniſter of the Place and was very

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kindly and tenderly entertaind —

Thirdsday Decr 29 :

went with
M.r Tallor to attend upon a Lecture
which Mr Ta [illegible] [guess: y] llor had appointed Some
Days before a bout 7 miles South from
the Town, I preachd, and there
was a Number of People got toge‐
ther, Conſidering the Deep Snow; after
Service, the people were very urgen[gap: faded] [guess: t]
to have another meeting in the even
ing, and I Conſented, and So preachd
again; and we had very Solemn
meeting, the people in general
were greatly affected — after meet
[illegible] [guess: ing] went home with one Mr Hitchcock
and Lodgd there, I believe the man
and his wife were true Chriſtians,
Sot up till late and then went to
Bed quietly Mr Ta [illegible] [guess: y] llor went home
this evening and I deſird him to Send
word to New Preſton , that I woud
be there on the next Day and give
them a Short Diſcourſe towards

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Fryday Janr Decr 29:

after Breakfast
returnd to N. Milford got about 12
and found Mr Tayl[illegible] [guess: a]r had not Sent
word to N Preſton , and I Past by
as Soon as Coud, one Deacon Hoge
accompanyd me, and we got
there a little before Sun Set, and
they gave notice to the People, and
begun our Meeting in the evening
and there was a great Number of
People, and they attended well,
as Soon as the meeting was done we
went back again to New Milford
This Night Lodged with one Mr
a Seperate Miniſter and
a very man I believe, — — —

Saturday Decr 31

had a meeting
at one Deacon Balwin s, among
the Seperates , had a Comfortable
meeting, after meeting went into
Town, Lodgd at Mr Taylor, —

Sabb Decemr Janr 31

Preach at the
Place all Day to amazing Num
ber of People —

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Lodgd at Mr Hynds whoſe wife
is a very good woman, was very
kindly entertaind, this evening
two young women Came to me
under great Concern of Soul and
I gave them a word of advice
and Coun[illegible] [guess: c]el

Monday Janr 2

left New Milford
early in the morning and went
on to New fairfield got there about
10 o:c Call in at Mr Sills the
Miniſter of the Place a few minuetes
and then went to meeting, preachd
to a large Number of People, after
meeting went to Mr Sills and Dind
and Soon after Dinner left the
Place and went on towards
Kint Mr Sill went with me, went
thro Pe [illegible] ſ[illegible] ttokook, Stopt a few
Minutes at the Indian Place
but there was no Indians at home
Scarſely, and So we paſt on, got
to Mr Bodwell about 7 in the eveng
and they Sent word all round that
Night to have a meeting next

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Day about 10 in the morning

Tueſday Janr 3:

went to meetg
about 10 and had a great
Number of People to Preach to
and the People attended with
great Solemnity and affecti
on, after meeting went to Mr
s and Din'd there, and
Soon after Dinner went on my
towards 9 Partners and got to
Esqr Hopkinss about 7 in the
evening and Lodgd there —

Wedneſday Jan.r 4:

at the red meeting Houſe, —

Thirdsday Janr 5:

at a priv[illegible] [guess: a]tt Houſe, in the
Place — —

Fryday Janr 6:

went to Mr
s in Esqr Hopkinss
Slay, got there before noon
about 1 went to meeting

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and it was extre[illegible] [guess: am] Cold, I
deliverd a Short Diſcourſe,
after meeting went to mr
's and Dind there, and
than went on our way Home
to Esqr Hopkins, got there
Juſt after Sun Set — — —

Saturday Janr 7:

was at
Esqr Hopkins all Day —

Sabb Janr 8:

preachd here
all Day, jut at night left
the Place and went over
the Mountain to Mr Wood's
Weeting Houſe, and preachd
there, and it was extre[illegible] [guess: eam]
Cold, went home with Mr
in his Slay and
Lodgd there — — — —

Monday Jan r 9:

left Mr Fowlers early
in the morning and went on towards
Pleaſent Vally , Got to mr Caſe 's before
Night, Mr Caſe was not at Home

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in the evening he Came Home
and we had a Joyful meeting he
and his Family were very well,
and his People Lodgd there —

Tueſday Janr 10:

towards evening
went to the Hollow and Mr Caſe went
with me I preachd at the Houſe of one
Mr Struit, a Young Dutchman who
is under great Conviction of Soul
we had a great Number of People and
very Solemn meeting we had, — —

Wedneſday Janr 11:

we went 8: or 9
miles Northweſt ward to one Mr Saml
s and preachd there in the eveg
to a Crowd of People, and they attended
e[illegible] [guess: c]eeding well — Lodgd in the Same
Houſe one Mr ward brought heither
in his Slay from mr Caſe 's —

Thirdsday Janr 12:

went off very
early in the Morning towards States
got there about 10 in the
morning put up at Mr Struits young
Mr Struit
brought us here, mr Ham
Came with us in the after noon about
1 began a meeting, there was not a great
Number of People at this time they

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Came by miſtake the meeting
was appointed at evening, —
in the evening a great Number
Came together, and I gave them
another Diſcource, the People here
are Chiefly Dutch, and I found
Some excellent Chriſtians amongſt
Lodg'd at Mr Struits [illegible] [guess: T]

Fryday Janr 13:

Sot off very
early in the morning towards
Pleaſent Valley, for we had
appointed meeting there at 1
o'c this Day, got there juſt a
bout meeting Time, and there
was a great Number of People
I preachd, — after meeting I
went with one Mr Newcom a Bap
Brother, a man of great Riches
was very kindly entertaind, Lodgd
here, with much Satiſfaction —

Saturday Janr 14:

this morning
I made uſe of my Printed Notes or
Christian Cards — [illegible] about

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11 I walkd Down to Mr Caſe 's
Mr Newcom went with me,
Spent [illegible] the reſt of the Day
with Mr Caſe , he is quite a
Clever Sort of a man —

Sab: Janr 15:

preachd at
the place again to a vaſt
Crowd of People, and we had
a very Solemn meeting many
were brought to Floods of Tears
[illegible] [illegible] it was
a Sacrament with the People
and I Join the People it was
a Comfortable Seaſon, — as Soon
as the service was over we
went to a Place Calld Oswago
about 6 miles off, got there
in the Duſk of the evening
found a prodigious Number
of People, preachd to them,
Mr Caſe made the last Prayer
I Lodgd with one Mr Plat

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: Monday Janr 16:

went to a
nother part of Oswago about
7 miles off, to a Baptist meet
ing Houſe
, meeting began abot
1 in the afternoon, and there
was a great multitude of
People of all Sorts and Deno
minations, the greater part
of the People Cou'd not get in
to the Houſe, and we had a
Solemn meeting — as Soon as
the meeting was done we went to
wards Poughkeepsy , and had a
meeting in the evening at one
Capt Hagmans and had a pro
digious great Number of People
and the People attended with much
affection —

Monday Tueſday Janr 17:

in the morning went on to Pough
and Stopt a Little while at
a publick Houſe, and So paſt by

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and went on towards the Ferry
about four miles Down the River
Mr Caſe and Mr Ward went with
me about a mile out the Town
and there took leave of me each
other in Friendſhip — and I went
to the Ferry, there met with mag
major Durgee of Norwich in
his return Home from Suſqueha
, got over before Sun Set &
went Down to Mr Debois's and
Lodgd there Found them all
well except his wife, they were
very glad to See me, and receivd
with all kindneſs — —

Wedneſday Janr 18:

after Break
faſt went Down to New Windſor Calld
on Mr Luml Co[illegible]ling and alſo one
Mr Cl[illegible] [guess: ea]rk my old friends and ac
quaintances they were extree[illegible] [guess: m]ly
glad to See me and Stopt no more
till I got Butter Hill where one

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Mr Joſeph Wood Lives he is an old
Diſciple indeed, we had a joy‐
ful meeting, we had not Seen each
other in Ten Years I felt as if
I was in my Fathers Houſe S[illegible] [guess: o]t
up till good bed Time and then
took our Repoſe for the Night

Thirdſday Janr 19:

was at Mr
s till towards Night, then
went to meeting at mr Cl[illegible] [guess: ea]rk s
there were So many People they
Coud not all get in, and we
had a Comfortable meeting
after meeting returnd Home
with Mr Wood again and S[illegible] [guess: o]t
up Some Time after we got Home

Fryday Janr 20:

was at
Mr Woods again till toward Night
again and went to New Windſor
for Meeting had a meeting in
one of Elders Houſe, returnd
home again with Mr Woods —

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Saturday Janr 21:

left Mr woods
early in the Morning and on
towards Malborough. Stopt at
New Windſor Breakfaſted with
Mr Cloſe , after Breakfaſt went
on my way got to Malborough
before Night Stopt at Mr Cl[illegible] [guess: ea]rk s
Mr Caſe the general Postmas‐
ter Brought me here in his
Slay from Newborough he
is one of my good old Friends
here I went Lodgd and mr Caſe went
home, and Lodgd with him —

Sab Janr 22:

about 10
went to the meeting Houſe and
a Multitude of People Came to
meeting, and we had a Solemn
meeting in the evening went
to Mr Deboiss Houſe and had
a meeting there and a great
Number of People were toge‐
ther again I Baptized two

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Children we had the power
of god with us many were
brought to floods of Tears —
I Lodgd here,

Monday Janr 23:

in the morning
went back again to Newborough
and preachd there in the Church
of England
to a great Number of
People as Soon as the meeting was
over I went up to Malborough &
preachd in the School Houſe to
a Crowded People and they atten
ded with affection — after meetg
—went back to mr Cl[illegible] [guess: ea]rk s and
Lodgd there — —

Tueſday Janr 24:

went away
early in the morning Mr Cl[illegible] [guess: ea]rk
went with me. and Mr Dayton
alſo went to wards Wall Hill got
to Mr Tolton's about 11 where
we were to have a meeting, a
bout 12 [illegible] we begun Meeting &
there was a Multitude of People
I had Some freedom in Speaking

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this Night Stayd with Mr Tolton

Wedneſday Janr 25:

a meeting not far from Mr
's in a Dutch mans H
a great number of People
came together again — —
in the evening had another
meeting not far the Place
where had a meeting in the
Day and I believe the Lord
was with us of a Truth there
was great Trembling in the
Congregation This night
Lodgd with one Mr Norton
had a long Converſation with
them, the were Baptiſts

Thirdsday Janr 26:

in the
morning went away to another
place, about 6 miles off, g
where we had apointed a
meeting at a Dutch mans
Houſe, we got there about 11

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about 12 went to meeting in
a Barn, the Peopl Crouded
like Bees and we had a Solem
meeting, after meeting I went
with a gentleman 2 or 3 miles
Norward, in the evening a Numr
of Neighbours Came in to
meeting tho we did not men‐
tion any meeting, and I gave
a word of HExhortation
Lodgd here — —

Fryday Janr 27:

Sot off in
the morning and to Blooming
, about 20 miles off got
there about 5 in the after
Noon was kindly entertaind
by one Mr Brewster Lodgd
there — —

Saturday Janr 28:

was at
Mr Brewsters all Day in
the evening one Hoseah Came
to See me he is a multoe man

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Reckend a Christian man
we had Some Converſation
together in Prodigious mat
ters — —

Sab: Janr 29:

preachd at the
Place to a vast Croud of People
and I had but little Senſe of
Divine things, ho[illegible]e however,
the People attended with great
attention — — towards Night went
Oxford about 4 miles off there
we had an evening meeting to
a Crouded Audience and I had
Some Senſe of Divene things &
the People were much affected
I believe Lord was with us of
Truth,— Lodgd at Deacon Little's

Monday Janr 30:

in the morning
quite early I Sot off for Smiths
Deacon Little accompanied
me, got the there about 10 a

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bout 12 we began Div[illegible] [guess: e] Service
and there was a great multi
tude of People, and I had much free
dom in Mind and Speech and many
People were melted into floods of
Tears, as Soon as the Meeting was
done I went Down to Murtherers
Ch Creek
got there before night
went to Mr Woods found them all
well, in the evening went meet
ing towards the Creek, and had
Some what Solemn meeting, af
ter meeting went to the Creek
and Lodgd there with one [illegible] [guess: Mr –]

Tueſday Febru Janr 31:

went off early in the morning
in order to get over the River,
Stopt a little while with Mr Cloſe
at New Windſor there was no
paſsing there, and So I went to
Newborough , Breakfaſted at
Mr [gap: omitted] and then went
to the ferry, about 11 went over

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to Fiſhkill s Side, and went one
to the Center of the Place, got to
the Preſbyterians Meeting Houſe
about 3 in the after-Noon, the
People Stopt me to have a meetng
on the next Day, and I went
to one [gap: omitted] and Lodgd
there, and was very kindly
treated and entertaind, —

Wedneſday: Febr 1: 1775

about 11 O:C went to meeting
and there was a great multi
tude of People, and had a Solemn
meeting, As Soon as the meeting
was over, I went on towards the
mountains, Lodgd with one Mr
— and was very kind
ly entertaind and he Sayd, yt
ever I Shoud Come there again I
Shoud make his Houſe my Home

Thirdsday: Febr 2:

went off very
early in the morning, to a Place

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Calld the Mills, there I had a meet
ing, begun about 12: preachd
in a Barn to a vast great Concorſe
of People, and the Power of God
was manifeſt amongſt us, there
was great trebling among the
People after meeting went with
one Mr Lawrence a Baptiſt Minis
ter he lives in the mountains, and
I Lodgd at his Houſe, —

Fryday: Febr 3:

about 12 went
to meeting, preachd to Amazing Num
ber of People in the woods, and we had
very good meeting the Spirit of god
moved upon the people, after meet
ing went Home with Mr Lawrence, in
the Evening Mr Lawrence and I went
to Capt Champlin s, and we had long
and Friendly Converſation together
in Religious Matters, Lodgd here this
Night, and was extre[illegible] [guess: am]ly we[illegible] [guess: ell] uſ'd
and entertain —

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Saturday Morning Febr 4:

left the Place and went over
to Dover Mr Miller went with
me we got to Mr Waldos about
10: he is a Baptiſt Miniſter of
the Place, and he receivd me
with Brotherly kindneſs and Love
Lodgd here —

Sabb Febr 5

about 10 went
to meeting, and there was great
Number of People Got toge‐
ther, and I preachd with
much freedom the People were
affected many of 'em, after
meeting, went Down to New
, got to Mr Sills be‐
fore Night, the meeting was
appointed at his Houſe, and
the People Came in So thick
there was not half Room enough for

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them, and juſt as we were
about to begin Divine Service
a Meſsenger Came from the
meeting Houſe which is a mile
off and Said there was great
Number of People got together
there, and we were obligd to
remove to the meetg Houſe and when
we got there we found a great
Number of People, the meetig
Houſe was Crouded, and the
Lord gave me freedome in
Speaking, after meeting
went back with Mr Sill and
Lodged there —

Monday: Febr 6:

in the morn-
ing went Down to a Town Houſe
of Fairfield and there Preachd;
began about 12 and there was
a great Number of People got
together and we had a Comfortable

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meeting, as Soon as the metetg
was over I went towards New
, got there towards Night
Stopt at Mr Hindss: and
there were very urgent to have
me Stay and have a meeting
they Pled So hard it was very
hard for me to paſs by the them,
there was one Young Convert
in particular Intreated with
Tears in her Eyes to have me
Stay they pul'd very hard
upon my very Heart Strings
and it Hard work to get
a way from them, however
I did get a way, and went
on towards New Preſton , got
there Some Time in the eveng
put up at Mr Cogswell s a
Tarvern and he gave me my
Entertainment —

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Tueſday Febr 7:

Sot of very
early in the morning, and
reachd to Farmington Some
Time in the Evening, put
up at Elijah Wympy's
found them all well — —

Wedneſday Febr 8,

off very early in the morning
and Got So far as Mr
s East Side of the
Connecticut River a bout
10 miles, I intended to have
gone further, but the Land
Lord Cornwell urgd to have
me Stay, and I Conſented
at laſt, and preſently it
was Noiſed about I was
there, and they had a Notio[below]n
of haveing a meeting, and
at last I Conſented, this

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was about half an hour
after Sun Set, and in about
more the Houſe was Crouded
with People. and I preached
and I had Some Freedom—
and after meeting went
to Reſt quietly, —

Thirdsday Febr 9:

leave of [illegible] [guess: 'em] very early
in the morning, and on
my way, made but little
Stops by the way, arriv'd
to my Houſe Juſt before
Night, and found all my
family in good State of
Health, — Bleſsed be the
Lord god of Heaven & Earth
for his goodneſs to me and
to my Family, that he has
carried me out and brought

Baptists/Seventh Day Baptists
The Baptists were a dissenter sect that became especially popular in New England after the First Great Awakening. They diverged from Protestant belief mainly in insisting that only believers should be baptized, and that it should be done by immersion in water and not by sprinkling or pouring water, but they represented the most radical of the radical New Lights and were known for lay preaching and personal spirituality. Wheelock and most of his former students were more moderate New Lights and opposed this sort of radical Christianity. Occom, however, had many connections with Baptist ministers in central New York. On his preaching tour in 1774, he records visiting several Baptist ministers, largely white, and speaking to large crowds, sometimes in the woods. He also records meeting with a "Seven Day Baptist" minister. The Seventh Day or Sabbatarian Baptists differ from Baptist beliefs mainly in observing the Sabbath on Saturday, in accordance with the ten commandments. Baptist belief held a strong attraction for Native peoples because it protected their autonomy and embraced preaching and leadership by lay people. Divides over theology became problematic at Brothertown, where Occom’s moderate sect clashed with the more Baptist sect over whether or not to lease their land to Americans. After Occom’s death, Samuel Ashpo, a Baptist Mohegan minister known for his separatism, began spending more time at Brothertown and built up a substantial Baptist congregation there.
Radical New Lights/Separatists
Separatism in late 18th-century colonial New England refers to the radical New Light congregations that split off (separated) from antirevivalist churches, often called Old Lights. These separatist groups were spawned by the preaching of evangelical ministers like Englishman George Whitefield and Anglo-Americans James Davenport and Gilbert Tennent who spread their message through the British Atlantic world during a period called the First Great Awakening (1730s and 1740s). These revivals involved various groups—Baptists, Congregationalists, Moravians, Presbyterians and even Anglicans—and aided the formation of new movements such as Methodism and the Separate movement specific to New England. This movement shared elements of the Separatism of the late 16th and 17th centuries, in which dissenting Protestants in England, often called Puritans, separated from the Church of England because they felt it was not sufficiently reformed or pure. The group misnamed "the Pilgrims" who settled Plimouth Plantation in 1620 were separatists. These elements include an extemporaneous style of preaching that emphasized personal conversion and relatively unmediated spiritual experiences. In the early phase of the revival in New England, prominent conservative ministers welcomed the renewal but the revivals soon became more democratic, anti-authoritarian, and experiential. Thus, the Old Lights opposed revivals while moderate New Lights embraced the Awakening but rejected its excesses and radical practices like stirring up crowds and calling out ministers they considered unconverted. Not all New Lights were Separatists, and though they always remained a minority, many Separate churches split off from Congregational churches during the 1740s across New England; some came to sympathize with local Baptist congregations. Linford Fisher identifies a specific form of Native Separatism during this period modeled on the Anglo-American movement that retained Christian practices but eschewed conventional institutional affiliation.
Church of England
The Church of England is the governing body of the Anglican Church in Britain and the Episcopalian Church in America. In the eighteenth century, the Church of England was at odds with the “dissenting” sects that had broken off from it during the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, including the Congregationalists and Presbyterians. The divide continued in the colonies. The southern colonies (Virginia, Carolina, etc) and New York were predominantly Anglican, while the mid-Atlantic and New England colonies were home to an assortment of dissenting sects. Wheelock and Occom both had conflicts with Episcopalians. Wheelock feuded with the Anglican Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG), a functional arm of the Church of England, over access to the Six Nations (the other important Anglican missionary organization, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, or SPCK, was more concerned with book distribution). Meanwhile, Episcopalian ministers in America ordained their own Indian minister and sent him to England prior to Occom’s 1765 fundraising tour to distract attention away from Occom. However, this Indian spoke no English and was not a success. Once in England, Occom met with a cool reception from Anglican clergy, and Occom doubted their sympathy for the Indian cause. He wrote, "they never gave us one single brass farthing. It seems to me that they are very indifferent whether the poor Indians go to Heaven or Hell. I can’t help my thoughts; and I am apt to think they don’t want the Indians to go to Heaven with them" (quoted J. Brooks 86-87). In the broader history of Moor’s Indian Charity School, notable Anglicans include George Whitefield, the famous New Light preacher, and Sir William Johnson, the Superintendent for British Indian Affairs in the North East. Anglican influence, especially via Sir William Johnson, was a large part of the reason why the Mohawks sided with the British during the Revolution.
Presbyterian Church
The Presbyterian Church is a branch of Protestantism that traces its origins to Martin Luther, a German priest and scholar who posted a list of 95 grievances against the Roman Catholic Church on the door of Wittenberg Cathedral in 1517. Twenty years later, a French theologian living in Switzerland named John Calvin further refined this criticism into what became known as Reformed theology, which was brought to Scotland by John Knox, a Scotsman who studied with Calvin in Geneva, and then spread to England. This new theology, eventually codified in the Westminster Confession of Faith, emphasized literacy, education, and lifelong study and interpretation of the scriptures. It also advocated an ascending order of church governance beginning on the local level with the congregation, led by ministers and elders; they were ratified by the next level of governance called a presbytery (from the Greek for “elder”), which was a district court made up of representatives from individual churches. Presbyteries were governed by a synod. This system distinguished Presbyterianism from congregationalism, in which power lies with the local churches, and episcopacy, in which power lies with bishops. In 1640, a congregation in Southampton, Long Island, organized what is considered the oldest Presbyterian church in America. The eastern portion of Long Island, where Occom lived and was ordained, was largely Presbyterian and was culturally more a part of southern New England than New York, an important religious and kinship connection for both Indians and English. The Saybrook Platform, adopted by Connecticut Congregationalists in 1708, acknowledged Presbyterian polity in its creation of “consociations” of regional supervision, an influence that spread through central and western Massachusetts, and later New Hampshire, due to the trade and travel along the Connecticut River. The College of New Jersey (now Princeton), though non-denominational, was founded by a Presbyterian and disseminated those beliefs. In 1741, the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge sent the Presbyterian missionary Azariah Horton to eastern Long Island where he met with some success until Occom arrived, and Samuel Buell, the Presbyterian minister who presided over Occom’s ordination in 1759, led the church at East Hampton, the closest English church to the Montauketts. For teaching and missionary purposes, Occom used the standard Calvinist Presbyterian and Congregational catechism, dating back to 1647. He preached at many Presbyterian churches across New England throughout his career, and in 1791 reported that the new church in New Stockbridge, near Brothertown, which he helped found, “willingly and Cheerfully adopted The Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian Church of the United States in America” (manuscript 791676).

The Tunxis Indians first established a village on the east side of a river (now named the Farmington River) and called it Tunxis Sepus, meaning at the bend of the little river. English settlers renamed it Plantation at Tunxis in 1640, and in 1645, the Connecticut General Assembly incorporated the land, in central Connecticut, as the town of Farmington. Throughout the 18th century, the Tunxis Indians attended church and school with the settlers. In a letter to George Whitefield, Wheelock wrote of a 14-year-old Farmington Indian who demonstrated a gift for learning and knew how to read and write English, indicating that the young Indian might make a great addition to his school. At least six male students who were possibly from Farmington entered the Indian Charity School between 1761 and 1762. Also, Occom's son-in-law, Joseph Johnson, resided in and wrote a letter from Farmington prior to establishing the Brothertown settlement in upstate New York. According to Calloway, the possible Farmington students were Moses, Samuel Ashpo, Daniel Mossuck, and Jacob Fowler, Enoch Closs, Samuel Tallman. However, the letter does not indicate whether the student Wheelock mentions ever attended the school.


The town of Litchfield is located in central Connecticut. The land was inhabited by the Potatuck Tribe, members of the Paugussett confederacy, when the British colonists arrived in the seventeenth century. In the earliest written records, the town’s Native American name is referred to as Bantam, or alternatively Peantam, meaning "he prays" in Algonquian. The name Peantam may have derived from Christian Indians who lived in the area. In 1715, colonists John Mitchell, Joseph Minor, and John Minor purchased a 44,800 acre tract of land for fifteen pounds from the Potatucks, but a provision in the deed stipulated that the Potatucks reserve a piece of land near Mount Tom for their hunting houses. The town was incorporated in 1719 by the Colonial Assembly of Connecticut, and the name was changed to Litchfield after a market center in England. Throughout the 1720s, colonists inhabiting the town built forts and sent alerts to stave off the threat of Native American raids, but throughout the 1730s and 1740s, threats diminished and the town began to stabilize. During the American Revolution, Litchfield served as a center of patriotic activity.

New Milford

New Milford is a town in Litchfield County on the western border of Connecticut along the Housatonic River. At almost 62 square miles, it is the largest town in the state. The Weantinock Indians, a sub-group of the Paugusset Nation, lived in the area of modern-day New Milford before and during the colonial period. They farmed and fished in freshwater areas. In 1702, 14 Indians conveyed a deed of "A Certain Tract of Land called Weeantenock" to the "Proprietors of New Milford" for "Sixty pounds Current money of this Colony of Connecticut and Twenty pounds in Goods." The Weantinocks left their Fort Hill land, where they had a large settlement and a fort. In 1707 the earliest settlers arrived and began creating farms and homesteads; they petitioned and were granted the privileges of a town in 1712. Many residents fought in the colonial wars and the Revolutionary War. Occom passed through New Milford at the end of December in 1774 during a fierce snow storm, but preached to a large gathering of people.

New Preston
New Fairfield
9 Partners
Pleasant Valley

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.

New Windsor
Butter Hill

Newburgh is a city located in southeastern New York state along the Hudson River. It is also the name of an adjacent town, which was part of the city until 1865 when the city split off from the town. Before the arrival of Europeans, the area was inhabited by the Waoranek Indians, members of the Lenape Tribe of the Algonquin people. In 1684, the governor of New York bought the area that would be Newburgh, along with the land comprising New Windsor, from the Waoranek Tribe for $200, cooking pots, scissors, cloth, shoes and other domestic items. In 1752, England officially recognized the Parish of Newburgh, named after Newborough, Scotland. Newburgh served as an encampment site for many troops during the American Revolution, and the British occupation of New York City caused the population of Newburgh to swell with colonial refugees. In 1800, Newburgh was incorporated.

Wall Hill
Blooming Grove

Blooming Grove is a town in New York's Orange County, on the western bank of the Hudson River north of New York City. The area was originally inhabited by the Minisink Indians, an Algonquian-speaking part of the Lenni-Lenape Nation, before colonists pressured them to sell their lands in the 17th and 18th centuries. By 1765, only 750 Minisinks remained in Orange County. When Henry Hudson sailed up the Hudson River in 1609, he dropped anchor near what would become Cornwall, NY. Blooming Grove was an area of the town of Cornwall until 1799, when it separated to form its own town. In his journal for 1775, Occom records a visit to Blooming Grove, which had a Presbyterian Church and, thus, an interested populace, as part of his preaching tour. He stayed with John Brewster, the Cornwall town clerk, and preached to the townspeople. In another undated journal entry, Occom fondly recounts a past visit to Blooming Grove during which he gave a young girl a book, and his later encounter with this woman as an adult while visiting near Fort Hunter, NY.

Smiths Clove
Murderers Creek
the Mills
Connecticut River

The Connecticut River is the largest and longest in New England. It originates in northern New Hampshire, runs south through western Massachusetts and Connecticut and empties into Long Island Sound. Although Governor Wentworth offered several parcels of land in the colony of New Hampshire as potential sites for the Indian school and college, Wheelock lobbied hard to locate them in Hanover, on a parcel that bordered the Upper Connecticut River, in part because the waterway provided an important means of transportation in unsettled territory with few roads. It gave him access to western Massachusetts and Connecticut, where, in fact, many of the settlers already in the area had come up the river from Connecticut, and also provided proximity to the Canadian Indian tribes, who, after the Oneidas pulled all their children from the School in 1769, became Wheelock’s prime target for recruitment.


Poughkeepsie is a city in New York’s Dutchess County on the eastern shore of the Hudson River, located about halfway between Albany and New York City. The area was originally inhabited by the Algonquin-speaking Wappinger Indians who named the area Apokeepsing, meaning "safe harbor." Europeans were slow to colonize the eastern bank of the Hudson, but in 1683 the expanding English presence in New York prompted a Wappinger named Massany to sign a deed granting Wappinger land to two Dutch settlers who planned to build a mill on the land. In 1687, a colonial land patent given to Thomas Sanders and Myndert Harmse superseded this deed, and Wappinger land was quickly parceled off to the Dutch and English as homesteads. Wappingers continued to inhabit the area until the mid-1700s, when disease and overcrowding forced them to migrate to Stockbridge, MA, an Indian Town to which many New England Indian tribes fled. Occom often preached in Poughkeepsie beginning in the 1760s until the end of his life, though it was to a primarily European audience. He stopped by the town while traveling between Albany and New York on a route known as the Indian Trail. Poughkeepsie was spared during the American Revolution and, as a result, it became the capital of New York in 1778, until Albany took that honor in 1797.

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.

Baldwin, Theophilus

Theophilus Baldwin served as the Separatist Congregationalist Deacon of New Milford, Connecticut. According to Occom's journal, Occom lodged at his home and met with him on at least two occasions.

Smith, Samuel
Wood, Joseph
Little, Ebenezer

Ebenezer Little was a Massachusetts merchant and a supporter of Wheelock's school, who shipped goods to Wheelock and helped the design however he could. His commitment to Wheelock's Indian School was such that the Reverend Parsons mentioned it in his sermon at Little's funeral. Manuscript 764662, not included in the Occom Circle, relates to Wheelock and Little's trade relationship. Little was very involved in the Presbyterian Church at Newburyport, as well as local government.

Champlen, Nathan
Wympy, Elijah

Elijah Wympy was a prominent Farmington Indian who was instrumental in establishing Brothertown, yet he subsequently led a group that disregarded the primary vision of the community. In his early years he was a student at the school in Farmington, CT, and in 1757 he served in the Seven Years’ War. During negotiations around 1773 between the Oneida and New England Indians concerning a tract of land, Wympy acted as a delegate for Farmington and asked other tribes to send envoys too. The Oneidas granted the territory the following year, and in 1775 Wympy was among the first to move to what became Brothertown. He was chosen as a trustee of the town in 1785, but around this time the Oneidas attempted to reclaim the land. Accordingly, Wympy participated in the effort to maintain the territory. Fortunately, when the state of New York gained Oneida territory in 1788, it acknowledged the Christian Indians’ right to the tract as it had originally been granted; the state passed an act in 1789 that recognized the Indians’ property and instituted a 10-year limit on leases for lots. Wympy and his followers, comprised mainly of outsiders, thus leased numerous parcels, including invaluable ones, to white settlers. Occom strongly opposed this and petitioned the Assembly, which passed an act in 1791 restricting the power to lease lands to the council. While Occom and Wympy had previously been friends -- Wympy had even partaken in the movement to establish Occom as the local minister -- their disagreement on the issue of leasing Brothertown lands to whites opened a strong divide between them. Wympy apparently regretted his actions, for in 1794 he was among the signers of an address to the governor seeking to remove the whites. He remained in Brothertown until his death around 1802.

HomeSamson Occom, journal, 1774 December 19 to 1775 February 9
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