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Samson Occom, Journal, 1785 December 5 to 14

ms-number: 785655

abstract: Occom details his travels as an itinerant preacher.

handwriting: Handwriting is clear and legible. There are several uncrossed t's and crossed l's, which the transcriber has corrected.

paper: Several small sheets folded into a booklet are in good condition, with light-to-moderate staining and wear. There is some repair work on the heavy central crease of the outer pages.

ink: Brown ink varies in intensity.

noteworthy: The booklet is bound with a small pin, which is visible on the images of three verso and four recto. There is a red wax-pencil mark on one recto. An editor, likely 19th-century, has added notes and overwrites in black ink; these edits have not been included in the transcription.

MondDay Decr 5: 1785

got up
very early, and Prayd together &
Soon after Prayer I went to Mr
s. and from there to Mr
s, I [illegible]rid Mr Clarks mare
and Came directly back, for
Mr Dake was waiting for me
to Carry me in his Slay to Balls
; about 9: we Sot off, &
to Balls about 12: and I put
up in Mr Weeds Houſe, and
he receivd me kindly; (about
[gap: tear]2 went to meeting and there was
a little Number of People
and I preachd to them from
Acts, XIII. 30: and there was
great Seriouſneſs in the aſem‐
bly. after meeting went to Mr
s and took Some Victuals
and al) Lodged Some Time
in the evening, a man Came
to the Houſe and deſired me
to go to See a man that was
very Sick, and I went directy
and Soon got there, a bout

eight O: C, and found the man
very Sick his Name is Mr
Theophilus Hide
, and was
greatly Deſirous to be Baptiſd
and I [illegible] Examind and found
him much Diſtreſt about his
Soul, and I endeavourd to
Explaind to him the Nature
of Baptiſm, and finding him
to underſtand Some thing of
the Nature of Baptiſm &
he earneſtly Deſirin[illegible]g it, So
at laſt I Concented it and I
Baptiſed him — and his
wife was alſo greatly Exer
ciſed a bout her Soul, and
they wanted to have their
Child Baptiſed alſo, but I
declined — and I lodgd there
and Docr Jerviſs was there
all Night. —

Tueſday Decemr 6:

after Brea
faſt went to Mr Weeds in a Slay
Mr Hide Carried me, got to Mr

Weed Some Time before noon
about 1 went into the meeting
Houſe, and there but few People
the Smalleſt Congregation I have
had in theſe parts, and I Spoke
from Acts VIII: 30: the People attend
ed well, — went with one Mr Hollister
and in the evening, there a Num
ber of Neighbours Came in and
my good old Friends Mr Larkins
and his wife Came in alſo, I was
well acquainted with them on
Long Island, and we were very
glad to See one another, and 2
of their Children Came in alſo
a Son and Daughter, a likely
young Folks, — and we had very
agreable Exerciſe with my Cards
and we Sung and Prayd together
and then I went home with Mr
and Lodged there and
was extreamly well receivd &
Treated, went to bed late and
Slept Comfortablely —

Wedneſday Decr 7:

after Break
faſt Mr Holliſter Came to Mr Larkins
with a Slay to Carry to meeting
Mrs Larkins and her Daughter
Bettſey went with us in the
Slay,; we got the meeting a bout
10: and the people had not got
together but few, and we Stayd
till a bout 12 w and went in to
a School, Houſe and there was
prety good number of People &
I Spoke from 1 Peter 1:24 —
and there was great Solemnity in
the Asembly, Soon after I went
to one Mr Jeremiah Bettys Houſe
and a number of People went
alſo, and the man deſired me to
Baptiſe his Child, the woman
was of Baptiſt Perſwaſion, Yet
She gave her ful Concent, and
after Examination, I got up to
Show the Nature of offering a
Child unto god in Baptiſm &
the woman was much afected

and I Proceeded to Baptiſe the
Child, — after that, I Sot down to
eat with them, Soon after, I went
to Mr Palmmers, and in the
Evening, w[illegible]e again [illegible][guess: w]I had Ex
erciſe with my Cards there
was a Number of Young People
and they behaved well, — late in
the evening I went to Bed quietly
once more, the Lord thebe Praiſed —

Thirdsday Decr 8:

got up very
early, and Mrs Palmmer got Break
faſt early and Soon after eating
I went of to a meeting North
part of Ball's Town, to Preach
got to the Mr weeds Some Time
in the morning, and Stayd Some
Time, and one Mr Sprague Come
with a Slay for me, and we went
off Directly, and got to Mr
s a bout 12: and took
Dinner with them, and then
directly went to meeting, and
there was a great number

of People, and I Spoke from
John XVII. 3: and there was a
great and moſt Solemn attenti
on there were many Tears —
Soon after meeting I went di
rectly back with Mr Spragues
Folks; and went directly to
Mr Turners, and had a meet
ing there in the Evening, and
there was a Number of People
again they Crouded the Houſe
and I preachd. from Hebre –
2: 3: and I belive the Lord
was preſent, I had Some Senſe
of Divine things, and the People
were greatly affected, there
was a flood of Tears, — I Lodgd
at the Same Houſe —

Fryday, Decr 9:

Some Time
after Breakfaſt, I went of a
young man went with me I
Call on Colol Gordon, and
he Treated me very kindly

woud had me Stay to Dine with
him, but I Coud not Stay, and
So went on Soon, Calld on [gap: omitted]
but Stay but few mi[illegible]ntes and
So went on, got to Mr weeds be
fore Noon, and was there till
a bout Sun Sit; and then Mr
Came with his Slay
for me, and we[illegible]nt with him
directly, and got to his[illegible] Houſe
and got there Some Time in
the Evining. and when, we got
there found a number of Friends
together waiting for us; and
I Sot a litle while, and I began
with them with my Cards and
we had Very agreable Exer
ciſe, and we Sot up late and
finally we brok up, and I
went to be[illegible][guess: g]d quietely once
more; Bleſsed be the name
of the Lord for his goodneſs to

Saturday Decr 10,

Some Time
after Breakfaſt went to Mr
and took Dinner with
them, and Soon after Dinner
I went back to Mr Ho[illegible]lleſters
Call, an Mr Bettys, and Sot
only few minutes, and went
on, — and Some Time in the afr
noon, Mr Holleſter got his Slay
ready and we went on, Mr
Amos Larkin
, Mr Ely and a
woman went with us, and
we got to Mr Rogerss juſt
before Sun Sit, and we Stopt
there a while, took Tea with
them, — and Soon after Tea we
went on, and Calld on Mr
, a few minutes and then
we went on to good old Mr Northrop
and there I Lodgd, we had Some
agreable Exerciſe with my Cards
only with the old People and
one young man, I read

a great Number of the Cards
after they had Choſen each of
them a Text —

Sabb: Decr 11

After Breakfaſt
went to Mr Clarkes and about
11 the People began to Collect
faſt, and a Prodigious number
of People Gathered, — and
I began the Exerciſe about
1 and I Spoke from, Cant, 2 16
and I think the Lord was pre‐
ſent, the People attended with
all attention, and there was
great Solemnity and many
Tears were Shed, and I belive
the People will not forget this
Sabbath Soon, eſpecially Some
after meeting took Dinner
with Mr Clark — and in the
evening, I went to one Mr
, to attend upon the Young
with my Cards and there was
a Prodigious Number of People

old and Young, and we had
had very agreable Exerciſe
it was a Solemn Night, and [illegible]
the People, old angd young
I believe will not forget it
all their Days, and I hope &
pray, that it may be a Night
to be rememberd to the Glory
of God — Choice Portions of
Scriptures were Sown [illegible]this
Night among the People
as they never had; — we broke
up near midnight, and I
went to Mr Benjamins, and
it was Rainy, — and went
to bed late

Monday Decr 12:

Some Time
in the morning, I went to Mr
s, and from thence to
Mr Holms's, and was there till
about 2 in the after noon
and there was a Young man
Came to fetch me from Galla
, and I went off with him

directly, and we got to Mr
's near night where
I am to marry a Cupple of Scotch
Folks and they receivd me
with all kindneſs and Friend
ſihp, Lodged there and had
a Comfortable reſt, —

Tueſday Decr 13:

we all got
up very early, and they got
Breakfaſt Soon, — and we wait
‐ed for weddeners, and about
1 o.c they Came, and a young
man went out with a bottle
to meet them and treated them
round before they Came into
the Houſe, and Soon after they
got into the Houſe, we proceeded
in Celebratidng the ordernance
of Marriage, — and as Soon as
it was over we Sat down to
Dinner, and when that was
over, the weddeners Sot of

to the North end of galla
, — and I returned to 5000
, and got to Mr Holms
juſt before Sun Sit, and in
the evening a number of People
came in and we had exerciſe
with my notes, and it was
quite agreable, and went
bed late, —

Wedneſday, Decr 14:

This morn
ing Converſation, with Mr
, the Univerſaliſt Preach
er, the Same I had Conver‐
ſation with the other Day,
he is a very bold Creature
about 10: I went of to go to
one Mr Wakemans and
had a meeting there, and
there was [illegible] a goodly num
ber of People, [illegible]after meeting

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.
Universalist Church
The Universalist Church was a Christian religious denomination that developed in America from Pietist and Anabaptist movements, inculding Quakers, Moravians, Methodists, Lutherans and others. Its defining theology is universal salvation, and thus it runs counter to the central Calvinist belief in predestination, in which some souls are predestined for damnation. As a Presbyterian, Occom held to the Calvinist view and vigorously disagreed doctrinally with adherents of Universalism. The first Universalist Church in America was founded by John Murray in Gloucester, MA in 1779, and in 1790 the Universalists adopted a a doctrinal statement and plan for church government. In 1961 the Universalists consolidated with the Unitarian Association to form the Unitarian Universalist Church.

Ballston is a town in central New York state, north of Albany. The area was occupied by Mohawk Indians, who resented the appropriation of their sacred grounds by European settlers. The first settlers, the MacDonald brothers, built a homestead on the west bank of Ballston Lake in 1763. Reverend Eliphalet Ball arrived in 1770 with his three sons and members of his congregation from Bedford, NY, bought the land from the MacDonalds, named it Ball's Town, and established a Presbyterian church there in 1771. Soon, settlers arrived from other parts of New England, New Jersey, Scotland and north of Ireland. In 1774, a stockaded fort was built in Ballston, which was attacked by the British and their Indian allies from Canada in 1780 and 1781. It became a town of Albany county in 1785 and was part of the religious circuit in upstate New York in which Occom travelled.

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.

5000 Aires
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.

Hide, Theophilus
Larkins, Bettsy
Bettys, Jeremiah
Larkin, Amos
HomeSamson Occom, Journal, 1785 December 5 to 14
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