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Samson Occom, journal, 1789 May 11 to 1790 January 10

ms-number: 789311

abstract: Occom details his travels through New York and New England, from May 11, 1789, to January 10, 1790.

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

paper: Several small sheets folded into a booklet and bound with small pins are in fair-to-poor condition, with significant wear that results in some loss of text. There are a few loose pages and the last page is torn in half.

ink: Brown ink varies in intensity throughout.

noteworthy: There are underlinings in black ink throughout and notes by later editors on the back of the last page (16 verso) in black ink and pencil; these edits have not been transcribed. On the scan of 11 recto, text from 12 recto shows through; the actual first line of 11 recto begins "gether. to Meeting…." Several other of the following scans show text from adjacent pages. On 15 recto, the name of the river that Occom mentions is uncertain; however it is possibly the Thames River. Persons and places whose names are illegible have not been tagged. If Occom's intention regarding a word or abbreviation is uncertain, that word or abbreviation has been left unmodified in the modernized transcription.

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Monday May 11: 1789

We arrivd at Albany, Juſt be
fore Night, and I we went to
See about geting a wagan to
Cary us to [illegible] Schenactida , — but
got none, Tueſday

Tueſday May 12:

got a wagan
early and we Loaded about
10: and we Sot off, and we got
to Schenactida [illegible] Juſt before
Sun Sit, and we were very
wet for had Rain moſt of the way
and I was much beat out, and
we put our things in Mr John
Barn, and there we lodg[illegible] [guess: d]
We went to Begd Soon — —

Wedneſday May 13:

5: I attended upon a Lecture
and there was not many
People, becauſe they had not
Notice— I Spoke from, 1 Corin
7: 22: 30: and the People a[gap: worn_edge] [guess: t]

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[gap: worn_edge] [guess: t]ended becomingly, and they
made me a Collection, and
it was godd for the Times — —

Thirdsday May 14:

was at
the Place all Day — —


was at all Day
again — —

Satturday May 16:

a bout
10 we pout a Boar of a Batoe
our things, and we went
over the River, and walkd
up the River a bout 2 miles
and there we Stopt Some at
a Certain Houſe, and the man
of the Houſe gave us a Dinner
and about 1: the Boat Cam
up, and Sot off Some Time
in the after Noon, and we
got to Hi[illegible] [guess: c]ry Tavern, and the[gap: tear] [guess: re]
we Lodgd,—

Sabb May 17:

Sot of early
and we got to Warrans

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Buſh , at Night and my
and I Lodgd at Mr Bar
s, my good old Friends —

Monday May 18:

wen on again
early, and reachd to Kaconawa[illegible] [guess: u] ka
and my wife I Lodgd at Mr
s, — —

Tueſeday May 19:

Sot off again
early, and we were over
with Rain at Major Fonda's
and my wife I went into the
Houſe, and we were kindly
Treated had Dinner, and
we we a little further and
there Lodgd at Mr Hardys —

Wedneſday May 20:

got up
early and got us Breakfaſt
and then we puſ [illegible] hd on and
we got up above fort Plain
and we Made up a fire by
the Sigde of the River and
there we Spent the Night —

Thirdsday May 21

got up
early and got Breakfaſt

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and as Soon as we had ate
we went on again, and in
the we got to Conajohare and
we Lodgd a little above old Mohawk
, and we made up a fire
near the River, near by one
Mr John Vantreſer , — —

Fryday May 22:

Soon after
eating we went on again
and in the Evening we got
a little below Fort Harkamer
and we made up a Fire
again by the River, and
there we Slep — —

Saturday May 23

in the
morning we went on again
we made a Halt at Mr Franks
and after that we paſt on
here a white woman took
our Little Salley, and mad
wa [illegible] lk about 8 miles She
only four and half year old
She was much worried

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in the Evening we got Mr
s, and the we Lodgd
my wife and I in a Hovel
the Reſt Lodgd in the Boat —

Sabb May 24:

got up early
and I went over the River
and went to Fort De[illegible] [guess: a]ton and
there I preachd, Twice to a
large number of People, and
I Spoke from Jonah III: 5
and 1 Corin XVI. 22 and the
People attended with all gra
vity and Solemnity,— took my
Dinner at Mr Tolcuts — and
as Soon as the meeting was
done I went with Dr Petre
and there took Tea — and
as Soon as we had done I
had an Horſe got up for me
and a young man with a
nother Horſe to accompany
wme towards Fort Schiler
and we Soon Sot off, and we

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got about 4 miles Short of
the Fort, and there I got down
and the Young man went back
with Horſes, and I walked a
long about a mile, and found
Tired, and I went into a Certain
Houſe, and aſked whether I
Coud not Stay there, and they
Said I might, and so I Stayd—
and the man of the Houſe aſkd
me wether I Cou'd not give them
a Diſcourſe, I told them I Coud,
and So they Sent out word, &
Neighbours Came in directly
and there was a Conſiderable
Number of People Collected.
and it is a New Settement,—
and I Spoke from the words
he that believeth on the Son
of god, hath the witneſs in
himſelf — and the People at
tended with Solemnity — Soon af
ter Meeting I went to bed, and
reſted well. — —

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Monday may 25:

got up
early and Sot off, and I got
to weavers Town Soon, and went
in old Mr Weaver's Houſe, and
there took Breakfaſt, and
Soon after went on a gain &
got to my Family. about
10 at Fort Schioler and found them all well,
and there we Stayd all Day
and the Boat that brought us
went on to Niegara . – —

Tueſday May 26:

was again
at the Place all Day — towards
Night, our Anthony Paul Came
and Brother David Fowler
Came to us, and Stayd all Nig
with us — — —

Wedneſday May 27:

Soon after
Breakfaſt, we Sot off for B [illegible] ro
,. and we had Rain
to travil in, and to our Place
a little before Sun Sit, and
were very much w[illegible] [guess: a]rried, and
we went to Bed Soon. — —

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Sabb May 31:

Preachd at
Brother Town [illegible] to not a large
Congregation, Spoke from,
[gap: omitted] and the People were
attentive, and were glad to See
me once more. — —

Monday June 1 &c:

this week
went to warrins Buſh , — —

Sabb June 7:

Preachd at
Elder Mudges meeting Houſe
in Yankey hill, Spoke from
[gap: omitted] and there was a vaſt
Number of People, and attend
ed with great attention, a


Towards Night Preahd
at M

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Tueſday June 9.

went to
Albany Buſh , and there
I preachd at a Certain
Houſe. and there was not
many People, and they attended
with Seriousneſs — —

Wedneſday June 10,

was at
Phaladelphia Buſh , Came here
laſt Night, and Lodgd at one
Mr Sharmans,— and about 9
the People Collected together at
the Same Houſe, and I preachd
to them, Spoke from [gap: omitted]
and the People attended well
as Soon as the meeting was
over, I with one Mr [gap: omitted]
and I Dined there, and as soon
I had ate, I went on to John
, and So on — — —

Fryday June 112.

got to Fort‑
before Noon, put up

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at Mr Jonathan Deans, one of
my good old Friends, found them
all well; — — Towards Night the
People Collected, and there was
but few, — and I Spoke from [gap: omitted]
[gap: omitted] Lodgd at at the Same Houſe

Saturday June 13

Some Time
before Noon, Sot off again, and
got to Garman Flats Some
Time before, N and I put at Esqr

Sabb: June 14

after Break
faſt went over to Fort Dayton
and there preachd in a Dutch
meeting Houſe
, and there was
a large Number of People, and
I Spoke from [gap: omitted] Isa. V:

July 1 Sab

Preachd at the gar
man flats

Auguſt 1 Sab Sepr 1. S and
Sepr the laſt Sab .

the Texts
I Spoke from [gap: omitted]

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by one man Sin entered into
the World &c Jeſus Chriſt the
Same &c. Underſtandeſt thou
what thou readeſt — at Esqr
s on week Day, thy heart
is not right in the Sight of god
So then every one of us Shall give
an account of himſelf to god. —

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Sepr 1

was Call by the Major
to be with them in their
Training at Clinton; about 2
in the after noon they were all
Collected, and the major Came to
Capt Tuttles where I was and
he acompanied me to the Com
pany, and a fine appearence
they made for the firſt Time
there was upwards of a Hundred
likely young men, the Place
has been Settling only one 2 Year
and an half,— I gave them
a few words of Exhortation, and
then Prayd, and then they exer
ciſd a little while,— and then went
to Dinner, they put me at the head
of the Table, and a fine Dinner
we had,— in the evening I went
to Capt Bulling s and there Ld
and was kindly entertaind.—

Sepr 2:

I went home —

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Sepr 18: 1789 Fryday

left home
and Sot out for New England, my
Son Andrew
acompanied, we got to
Fort Sckiler before Night, and we
Stayd there all Night —

Sepr 19

we got up very early
and Sot off, and we got to Fort
near 12, Calld on Mr
, and took Dinner, and
Soon after eating, my Boy went
back,— And towards Night I
went overt to Esqr Franks, and
there Lodgd, — —

Sabb Sepr 20:

Preachd at
Esqr Franks Barn, and there
was a vaſt Number of People,
Lodgd at the Esqrs — —

Monday Sepr 21:

Some Time in
the morning, I went to Mr Kains
and was there a while, and then
went back to Fort Harkumer ,
took Dinner with Mr [gap: omitted]

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Tueſday 22

Toward Night, Esqr Phelps Bat
too Come a long, and I got a B[illegible]th
in it, and I went a Board, and
we went down and got to the
little Falls after Sun Set and
there we Lodgd, — —

Wedneſday Sepr 23:

got up very
early, and had things Caried below
the Falls, and So we went on down
the River, and we go to Cohneneau
and we Lodgd at a Tavern,
we found the River exceeding low
and very difficult in Some Places
to get along, the men were obligd
to get out of the Boat very often —

Thirdsday Sepr 24 Octr 1

Sot off very
Early again, and got to Schena
a little before Night. and
I Lodgd at Mr Poſt s -– — —

Fryday Sepr Octr 2

got up early,
and went to a Certain Houſe
where I expected to have a Chance
in a Wagon, but was diſapointed
and So I went on a foot, and Some

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in the after Noon a Friend over
took me, and he took me in his wagon
and we got to Albany Juſt after
Sun Sit, and I Lodgd at Mr Orrs
and I went to Bed Soon — — —

Saturday Octr 3.

Some Time
before Noon Sot off a foot again
went to Coegman Pattern , and
I met Dr Utter, and his Brother
and they Said they woud be
back Soon, and woud take
Me in their wagon, and Juſt
before Sun Set they over took
and I went with them, and we
Calld at Dr Utters a little while
and Mr Jeſee Utter Caried to his
Houſe, and it was near mid N
before we got there, and there
I Lodged, — — —

Sabb 4:

as Soon as we got our
Breakfaſt, we went into a
wagan and to meeting at

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Dor Utters about 4 miles. &
there I Preachd. Spoke from
Acts VIII. 21. and the People attended
well,— In the after Noon, we went
to Mr Conrod Tenikes Barn, and there
we had a meeting, and there was
a large Number of People, and
I Spoke from Jonah III: 5: and
the People attended with great
Attention, and it was a Rainey
Day,— in the evening Preachd
in Mr Corod Tenikes Houſe, and
there was a Conſiderable of
People, and I Spoke from Matt
I: 21: and the People behaved
well — Lodgd at the Houſe the[below]y
are Ducth People, and they were
very kind to me, and reſt well — —

Monday Octr 5:

Some Time be‐
fore Noon, I had an Horſe brought
me and I went to Mr Northop s
and found them very Religious
about 2. we began the meeting

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and there was a great Number
of People,— Lodgd at the Same
Houſe. —

Tuſeday M Octr 6

As Soon as I
had done eating, we went [illegible] to
Dr Stantons, — and we began
the meeting about 11: and there
was a great Number of People
and I Spoke [illegible] from [gap: omitted] in the aftr
Noon preachd again — and
Spoke from [gap: omitted] in the
Evening I went to M.r Stantons
and did not expect to have
any People, but there was
a number, Came together &
we a little meeting, — and
I Lodgd at the Same Houſe
and reſt well — — —

Wedneſday Octr 7:

Soon afr
Beakfast we went to M.r Tenik
about 2 we began the mee

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the meeting, and there was
a great Number of People
and I Spoke from Marck V: 4
and the People attended well —
Lodgd at Mr Tenikes — — —
after meeting I we to mr
John Colvins' and there we
had a nothere meeting, unexptedly
and there was a large number
of People and I Spoke to them
Matt Seek ye firſt &c: and the
People were much movd, it
was a Comfortable meeting, I
Lodgd at the Same Houſe, — —

Thirdsday Octr 8:

oin the morn
I went to See a woman that
had been Sick Some Time.
and Said few word to her and
Prayd with her, — and then
went back, and took break
faſt, and Soon after Mr Colvin
went with me to the River, [gap: worn_edge] [guess: and]

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Mr Wells at Albany
1 Corin 6: 19 —
we parted the River, and I
over to S[illegible] [guess: c]odock , and from there
went to Mr Lotts about 7 miles
and I walkd a bout 2 m and half
and then Mr Brown overtook
me, and he Caried me to Mr
s, got there near Sun Set
and we were very glad to See
each other once more,— Lodgd
at the Same Houſe — — —

Fryday 9

Some Time in the
morning I went to Mr Daniel
, and to Mr Ephra
s, towards Night went
back to Mr Lotts, and there we
had a meeting in the evening
and there a large Number
of People I Spoke from [gap: tear]
Gal. IV 11

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gether to Meeting, and I Spoke
from Job I: 9 and the People
attended with great affection
I Lodgd at the Same Houſe —

Tueſday Octr 13:

Mr Whilly
Came to Mr Lotts quite early
to acompany me down to Scodock
, got there Soon, and
Capt Allyn was not ready, &
Mr Whilly went back, —

Wedneſday, Octr 14:

was at the Schoon
ner all, Day —

Thirdsday Octr 15:

Some Time
in the after Noon we weighd
Ancker, and Spred Sail to
the Wind, and went the River
got but about 10: 11: and
there we Dropt Anker

Fryday Octr 16

the wind a Head of us and

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So we lay Still till a bout 2
in the after Noon and the
wind Sprang about weſt North
weſt and went down again —

Saturday Octr 17

Some Time
in the Day went on again
but did not go but little ways —

Sabb: Octr 18:

went on again
but did not go far — —

Monday Octr 19.

got but a little
ways again —

Tueſday Octr 20

went on again
not far.

Wedneſday Octr 21.

went on Still
got near New York — —

Thirdsday Octr 22

a little after
Sun riſe we were a Shore —
went directly to find a Paſage
to New London and found one
Soon, in a Sloop goin to N London
Towards Night I put [gap: worn_edge]

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my things. and Lodged a Board
Capt Fellows is Maſter of her —

Fryday, 23

Some Time before
Noon we Sot Sail, and went
on the Wind in our Favour
and we Saild all Night,—

Saturday Octr 24.

we went
the wind in our favour Conſide
rable. towards Night the wind
began to Blow hard, and the
Clouds gatherd thick and So
we Sought for a Harbor, and
Some Time before Sun Sit
we made a Harber, againſt
Brandford, and there Lay
all Night, and it was a
Stormy Night. —

Sabb. Octr 25

Some Time in
the Morning we Sot Sail, the
wind was right a Head as we
were geting out of the Har
[gap: worn_edge]

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but it was very fair when
we got out, and the Sun was
about an Hour and half high
at Night when we got faſt
at a warf and I went to See Some
Friends — Lodgd at Mr Perrys
a public Houſe,— and I Sot up
late with two women, Converſ
ing about Religious matters
about 11. I went to Bed, and
I was taken Strangely in the
Night with an uncommon Sweat
but after a while went to Sleep
but did not Sleep well — —

Monday Octr 26:

Got up early
and it was a Stormy Day it
Raind very hard, and wind blew
hard alſo — towards Night I went
over to Groton, Calld on Capt Lathem
a few minutes, and then went
to Mr Streets, and there I took
food, and they let me have a
Horſe and went to Mr Woodman

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cys and there I Lodgd, and was
very kindly entertaind, went to
Bed Some what late, and Soon
after I got to Bed, I began to Sweat
again very much and was un
comfortable Slept but poorly —

Tuſday Octr 27.

got up early
and after Breakfaſt, I had a
Horſe, of Mr Woodmancy and I
went to Mr Saunderss and I met
Mr Saunders, and Mr Woodworth
and they glad to See me, and so
I paſt on, and when I got to the
Houſe, how glad they were, and
there I Stayd all Day — I expect
ed my Mare, that I Left with
Mr Culver but She was rid
a way laſt Sabb: and was not
returnd, and and So I Stayd all Day
and all Night —

Wedneſday 28:

after Breakfaſt
took leave of the Family, and

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went to old Mr Culvers, and by
the way I met mr Culver bringg
my Mare to me, and So got up
and went on my way, and Soon
got to Gails Ferry, and the wind
was very hard, and Coud not get
over, and So Stayd all Day at
evening the Wind was Still very
Strong and fl[illegible] [guess: a]wee and So Concluded
to Stay all Night, and in the even
ing the People of the Family aſkd
me, whether it woud be agreable
to me to have a few Neighbours
Come together, that I might Pray
with them, I told them it was
quite agreable,—

Thirdsday Octr 29

got up
early, and took Breakfaſt and
then went over — and got to
Son Benonis Some Time before
noon, and found him Sick &
had been very Sick for a
bout 6: weeks, and was now

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a little Better,— and I went
on to my Old Houſe, and
them that live in my Houſe
were well, except the woman
and there I Stayd — and I was
poorly with the uncommon
Cold that is every where —

Sabb Novr 1:

was very warm
and I felt a little eaſy, and
I went S aſhpo s expecting, to
Seen meeting, but he had none
and So went back — —

Sabb Octr urday Novr 7

was much poorly
yet I went to groton Indian T
got there after Sun Set, and
was receivd with great Love
in the evening we had a little
meeting — — —

Sabb: Octr Novr 8

the People got
together about 10, and a great
number there was, and I Spok
from Mat I. 21: and Acts VIII. 21
and the People attended with
great attention and many was
[gap: worn_edge] [guess: greatly aff]ected — in the eveng

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went to Mr Stantons, and there had
another meeting, and a great
many People there was — I Spoke
from Gala IV. 11 and the People
were very Serious — I Lodgd at
the Same Houſe — —

Sabb 15.

went to Mr Whalley and
preachd to a great Number, of
People I Spoke from Gal IV. 11
and the People gave very great
attention,— as Soon as the meetg
was over I went to widow
, and there was Conſide
rable Number of People, and
they attended well, and as Soon
as the meeting was done, I went
home to my old Houſe — —

Sabb Novr 22

went to go over
to [illegible] [guess: Paweuttuunuck], but it was
very Stormy, and Stopt — about
10 the Storm abated Some and
I Sot off got there about 12
and we the Service about 3
and there was a [gap: worn_edge] [gap: worn_edge] [guess: People]

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and I Spoke from Jerem VIII. 6
and the People attended with great
Solemnity — and the People deſired
to have another meet in the evening;
and So we had another, and there
was more People in the evening
than in the Day Time, and Spoke
from I: Corin VII: 29. 30. and there
was greater attention. than in the
Day Time — I Lodgd at the Houſe
the Mans Name was Mr Herkules
and was kindly Treated. — —

Monday Novr 23

after Brea[gap: worn_edge]
I went to the River on Horſe Back
and the Wind blew very hard.
but I had a fine Chance, in a
Whale Boat, to get over the River
got home about 10: and directly
went to the People, that were Sur
veying our Land. — —

Thirdsday Novr 26.

was to go over
to Mr Babcocks at groton
but it was a very bad Storm

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Saturday Novr 298:

Night, I went to M [illegible] r Poſt s at
Wecus Hill, in Norwich, got
there after Sun Set, Calld at
Mr John Poſt s [illegible] and took Sup
per there, and after that
went to old Mr Poſt s, and
found, him very poorly, and
there I Lodgd, and he had Se
veral fits in the Night —

Sabb: Novr 29.

The People
began to get to [illegible] gether a bout
10: and there was a large Con
courſe of People we began
the Exerciſe about 11. and
Spoke from Isai I: 12: and the
People attended with great
Solemnity, and many were affec
ted, to Tears — Soon after meetg
after Dinner, I returnd home
and had a meeting at my

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own Houſe and there was a
great many People, and I
Sopke from II Timo. 3: —

Janr 10

I have been to no meet
ings four Sabbaths, we had
one very bad Stormy Sabb and
my Mind has been filld with
Trouble So that I have had no
peace, but Sorrow, grief and
Confuſion of Heart — and I am
yet in great Trouble, — —

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Non-contemporary text has not been transcribed.
Dutch Reformed Church
The Dutch Reformed Church developed during the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century as part of the Netherlands' bid for freedom from Spanish Catholic control. It followed the teachings of John Calvin, a Swiss Protestant theologian, and adopted a presbyterian form of church governance. Dutch settlers to New Amsterdam brought the Church over in 1628, and when the colony passed into English hands in 1664, 11 Dutch Reformed Churches existed. This increased to 34 Churches at the beginning of the 18th century, under the jurisdiction of the Classis of Amsterdam. In 1738, the American Dutch Reformed Churches wrote a petition for independence from Amsterdam, which was granted in 1755. Practitioners and Churches spread throughout New York and New England, and in the 19th century to the mid-West. In 1766 the missionary John Brainerd passed on to Wheelock a recommendation for John Kals, a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church, as a potential missionary and teacher of sacred languages. Occom recorded in his journal for 1787 that he preached several times in Dutch Reformed Churches and meeting houses in upstate New York to large and enthusiastic audiences.
Thames River

Albany is a city located in eastern New York. When Netherlander Henry Hudson arrived in what would become Albany in 1609, the Mohican Indians lived in several villages in the area. The Mohicans gave Hudson’s crew furs, and the Dutch East India Company sent representatives to trade with the Native peoples. The Dutch established the village of Beverwyck within the territory of the New Netherlands. Beverwyck hosted a diverse population of Germans, French, Swedes, English, Irish, Scots, Dutch, and Africans. After the fall of New Netherlands to Britain in 1664, Beverwyck was renamed Albany in honor of the colony’s proprietor James, Duke of York and Albany. In 1686, Albany was granted a charter that incorporated the city and provided it the sole right to negotiate trade with Native Americans. During the French and Indian War, Albany was designated as the British military headquarters in the Americas. During the Revolutionary War, most Albany residents supported the revolution because of their opposition to British trade restrictions.

Hudson River

The Hudson River, frequently referred to as the North River in Occom Circle documents, runs 315 miles from Newcomb in upstate New York to the Long Island Sound. The Algonquin-speaking tribes that originally inhabited both sides of the river called it Mahicantuck, or river that flows both ways. In 1609, Henry Hudson, an English explorer employed by the Dutch East India Company, sailed up the river while looking for a passage to India and instead found thousands of Algonquians living in the river's valley. Hudson sailed as far north as Albany before turning back. Dutch traders settled the river’s banks and established trade in the colony that would become New Netherland. The Dutch called it Noort Rivier, or North River, by contrast to South River, the Delaware River. Only when the English began to assert their claim over the North River in the 1600s did it become commonly referred to as the Hudson River, to emphasize its "discovery" by an Englishman. The Dutch eventually ceded the river to the English in 1674 under the Treaty of Westminster, but the name North River persisted into the early 20th century. In their writings, Occom and his contemporaries refer to the Hudson as North River. Occom travelled along the North River from Mohegan to Albany during his preaching tours in the mid-1780s. Eventually, Occom sailed up North River for good, settling in New Stockbridge in 1789. Today, the name North River still refers to the section of the Hudson between New Jersey and New York City.


Schenectady is a city located in eastern New York State. The area that would become Schenectady was originally controlled by the Mohawk Indians, the easternmost and most powerful of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy. The land making up Schenectady was one stop on the much larger Mohawk Trail, which extended from Schenectady to what would become Albany, New York. The name of Schenectady was a derivation of the Mohawk word, Schau-naugh-ta-da, which meant the place beyond the open pines. The first Europeans to arrive at Schenectady were the Dutch who established a settlement there in 1661. Schenectady would come under British control as Dutch power in the Americas waned and the British established the colony of New York. In 1690 during King William’s War, Schenectady became the target of French and Indian soldiers who attacked the town and killed 60 of its residents, an event that became known as the Schenectady Massacre. There was a smallpox outbreak in Schenectady in 1767, as noted in this collection’s documents. In 1780, Oneidas found refuge from Loyalist and Mohawk attacks in Schenectady, and the town served as a stop on the way to Brothertown, the pan-Indian settlement founded by Occom and other graduates of Wheelock’s school. Schenectady was designated a borough in 1765 and eventually incorporated as a city 1798.


Warrensburg is a town in east central New York located between the Hudson River and Lake George. These bodies of water provide a direct route from Long Island Sound to Canada by way of the Hudson River, Lake George, and Lake Champlain, thus opening the area to European settlement and missionary activities. Wheelock sent missionaries and school teachers there, and in his later years, Occom traversed the area as an itinerant preacher. Before European contact, the region switched possession between the Algonquins and Mohawks, who eventually claimed it. The first colonists were French; they remained until 1763, when the English drove them out of New York and French Canada at the conclusion of the French and Indian War. The area surrounding Warrensburg saw much of the war’s early fighting, including the Battle of Lake George in 1755. Following the Revolutionary War, the State of New York patented the Warrensburgh Tract, subdividing it to pay off soldiers. The area became popular with settlers coming up the Hudson, including William Bond, who became Warrensburg’s first settler in 1786. Occom visited Warrensburg, which he called Warren’s Bush, in 1789, near the end of his life. Spurred by the mill and lumber industries, the town grew and was incorporated as Warrensburgh in 1813. Upon encouragement from the Post Office, the town dropped the "h" from its name and became Warrensburg in 1894.


Caughnawaga was one of four palisaded villages or "castles" of the Mohawk tribe located along the Mohawk River in eastern New York state near the present-day town of Fonda. The name derives from a Mohawk word kahnawa:ke, meaning place of the rapids, referring to the rapids of the Mohawk River. When Europeans first arrived in the 16th century, there were nearly 8,000 people living in these four villages, which were made up of bark longhouses, organized matrilineally. In 1664, the English captured Albany and tried to bring the Mohawks under their influence. French Jesuits established a mission in the village, which operated from 1668 to 1679, teaching the Mohawks French and converting them to Catholicism. Under French influence, a band migrated in 1667 from the New York region to La Prairie, a Jesuit mission on the St. Lawrence river in Quebec, finally settling just south of Montreal at a site they called Caughnawaga after their original village in New York; it is now known as Kahnawake. (Among the migrants was Kateri Tekakwitha, a young Mohawk convert who in 1993 was canonized as a saint of the Catholic Church.) The traditional longhouse village of Caughnawaga was abandoned in 1693. Joseph Brant, an influential Mohawk chief and brother-in-law of Sir William Johnson, British superintendent for Indian Affairs, urged the Six Nations to support the British during the Revolutionary War. Because of this alliance, the Mohawks were forced out of the Mohawk Valley and fled to Ontario and Montreal. In the 1780s, English settlers established a new town north of the Mohawk River named Caughnawaga, after the Mohawk village, which Occom visited several times on his preaching tours of the area in 1785 and 1789. The original site of Caughnawaga was discovered in 1950, and is now the only completely excavated Haudenosaunee village in the country, showing the outlines of 12 longhouses and the defensive stockade.

Fort Plain

Fort Plain is a village on the Mohawk River in central New York's Montgomery County. The area's original inhabitants were the Mohawks, who also built fortifications in the bordering settlement of Canajoharie. By the 1660s, Dutch settlers began to encroach on Mohawk land, but the major wave of European settlement to Fort Plain began in the early 1700s with the arrival of Palatinate German immigrants. The Protestant Palatinates arrived in New York to escape persecution at home, and in return for their labor in work camps along the Hudson, they received land on the Mohawk River in 1718 in what would become Fort Plain. There may have been a fort in Fort Plain during the French and Indian War in order to protect both European settlers and Canajoharie, but Fort Plain's namesake fort was not built until the eve of the Revolution. Fort Plain was located on a hilltop at the junction of the Mohawk and Osquaga Rivers and gave the patriots a view of the surrounding area. It was briefly known as Fort Rensselaer until General Rensselaer fell out of favor with the colonial army. In 1778, the Fort and its surrounding settlements became an established village as more and more white settlers sought refuge nearby, and in 1780 Fort Plain became the primary fort in upstate New York. In 1783, after news of the American victory spread to the entire upstate New York region from Fort Plain, General Washington used it as the base for his visit to the area. Occom often visited Fort Plain in the late 1780s into the early 1790s when he travelled along the Mohawk River from his home in Brotherton. Fort Plain was home to James Dean, the Dartmouth graduate and Oneida interpreter, whom Occom visited at least once. Today, the village remains very small at about 2,000 residents.


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.

Fort Herkimer

Built around 1740 on the south bank of the Mohawk River in central New York, Fort Herkimer, also called Fort Kaouri, began as the home of Johann Jost Herkimer, for whom it is named. The area was originally inhabited by Mohawks, but Herkimer and other German settlers began to move to the south bank of the Mohawk River in the 1720s. By the outbreak of the French and Indian War, Fort Herkimer was a fortified homestead that included a church and two-foot-thick stone walls. Between 1757 and 1758, Nicholas Herkimer, Johann’s son, defended the Fort and its surrounding area from the French. Fort Herkimer also offered protection to Patriot troops and the area’s inhabitants during the Revolutionary War. After the war, it was the site of several treaty negotiations between the governor of New York and the Haudenosaunee Indians. Occom visited Fort Herkimer several times over the course of three decades while traveling through upstate New York. Although Fort Herkimer was destroyed in 1825 during the construction of the Eerie Canal, the town of Herkimer, NY, which is comprised of the land that surrounded Fort Herkimer, retains the name of the older structure and its builders.

Fort Dayton

Fort Dayton, located in what is now the town of Herkimer in central New York, was part of a defensive chain of forts built along the Mohawk River to fend off British and Indian attacks from Canada. It was constructed in 1776 by troops of the Fourth New Jersey Regiment under the command of Colonel Elias Dayton, on the north side of the Mohawk River at West Canada Creek in a settlement then called German Flatts because of the large population of German immigrants. Built on the site of the earlier Old Fort Herkimer, a dilapidated wooden blockhouse from the French and Indian War, it should not be confused with Fort Herkimer, which was located two miles east on the south side of the Mohawk River. Both forts offered the area's settlers protection during conflicts and a place to store their goods. On August 4, 1777, the Tryon County Militia mobilized about 900 men within the stockade of Fort Dayton, and General Nicholas Herkimer led this regiment from the Fort to relieve the British siege of Fort Stanwix. Enroute they engaged British troops in a small ravine near Oriskany, and though Herkimer was wounded, he won what later was determined to be one of the decisive battles that turned the tide of the Revolutionary War in favor of the Americans. After Herkimer's death a few weeks later, the area's inhabitants renamed their settlement "Herkimer" in his honor. On August 22, General Benedict Arnold (later to become the notorious traitor), also mustered a large army at Fort Dayton, which became a starting point for many military expeditions. It became the westernmost fort in the Mohawk Valley after the destruction of Fort Stanwix in 1781, and was besieged by the Mohawk leader Joseph Brant in 1782. General George Washington visited Fort Dayton in July 1783 on his tour of the fortifications of the Mohawk Valley. Fort Dayton was eventually abandoned and razed in 1832 to make way for the Erie Canal. It is the setting for the historical novel "Drums Along the Mohawk" (1936) by Walter D. Edmonds, which was made into a film in 1939 directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda, Claudette Colbert, and John Carradine. Occom visited friends and preached in Fort Dayton in 1789 and 1790.

New York City
Albany Bush
Fort Stanwix

Fort Stanwix (also known as Fort Schuyler) is located northeast of Syracuse in present-day Rome, New York. Under the direction of British General John Stanwix, for whom the fort is named, the British began constructing the fort in 1758 in order to control the Oneida Carry, which is the portage path between the Mohawk River and Wood Creek. During the French and Indian War, the British built several forts in the Oneida Carry area, but by August 1756, the British ordered all the forts destroyed when they received word that British posts nearby were quickly falling to the French. In 1758, the British attempted to reoccupy Oneida Carry by building Fort Stanwix. The building of the fort did in fact give the British the dominant position in the area, which they retained throughout the remainder of the French and Indian War. The British Army abandoned the fort in 1765. In October 1768, David Avery wrote a letter to Wheelock describing the possibility of recruiting students for the Indian Charity School from a gathering of Indians from the Six Nations, at Fort Stanwix. This gathering and the negotiations that took place resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Fort Stanwix on November 5, 1768. This treaty, between the British and the Six Nations, Shawnees, Delawares, Mingos and other tribes, delineated territory between the British and the Indians. The treaty drew a boundary line from Fort Stanwix down to the Ohio River, and followed the Ohio River west to where it meets the present-day Tennessee River. During the American Revolution, the colonists built a new fort in place of Fort Stanwix. This fort was named Fort Schuyler but was often referred to as Fort Stanwix.

Mohawk River

Brothertown was a multi-tribal Indian settlement in the center of what is now New York state. In the 1760s, Indians in New England and New York were devastated by war, disease, and European settlement, and many who had converted to Christianity believed that pressures and influences from surrounding European settlers impeded them from living Christian lives. The Brothertown Indians began as a group of Christian Indians including members of the Mohegan, Pequot, Narragansett, Montauk, Tunxis, Wangunk, and Niantic tribes. In the 1770s, led by Occom and Joseph Johnson, this group of Indians moved to land granted to them by the Oneida in New York. They named the land Brothertown to both reflect their intention to live with fellow tribes as brothers and also to pay tribute to Brotherton, a Delaware Indian reservation in New Jersey that served as an inspiration for the Christian Indian settlement. When the Revolutionary War began, the Indians of Brothertown sided with the Patriots, and as a result, British sympathizers burnt the Brothertown settlement in 1777. After this, many Brothertown settlers moved east while others remained and fought alongside the colonists.In the 1780s, many more New England Indians, including Occom and his family, moved to Brothertown and the nearby settlement of New Stockbridge, forming a town government, church and schools. In the early 1800s, the state of New York began to purchase tracts of Oneida land, and the Indians were forced to leave New York and settle in Greenbay, Wisconsin.

Yankee Hill

Yankee Hill was a hamlet in what is now the town of Florida, in Montgomery County, New York, in the center of the state. Yankee Hill refers to an actual hill, located south of the Mohawk River and west of Schoharie Creek. In 1781, British troops and their Iroquois allies raided Yankee Hill during the Revolutionary War. In the late 1780s, Occom preached in Yankee Hill and the surrounding areas, crossing over the Mohawk River and back again to reach different audiences. At the time, Yankee Hill was home to many farms. Today, the name Yankee Hill refers to a section of the Erie Canal’s Schoharie Aqueduct, which crosses over the creek near modern-day Florida, NY.

Philadelphia Bush
Johns Town
German Flatts

German Flatts is located in upper Mohawk Valley on the south side of the Mohawk River in Herkimer County, New York. The Oneidas had settled this land for centuries before Palatine German immigrants, for whom the town is named, settled there in the 1720s. The Palatines were granted leases from Governor Burnet to purchase land from the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) in 1723. The Germans and Oneidas sustained excellent relations and had both a trading and military alliance (and even had several inter-marriages). When the French and Indian War began, the German Flatts settlers and the Oneidas agreed to maintain peace and neutrality. Both the Palatines and the Oneidas resented nearby Fort Herkimer, believing it made the area a military target. The French refused to accept the neutrality of the Indians and Germans at German Flatts, and in 1757, the French and their Indian allies attacked a Palatine settlement in German Flatts with the help of a few Oneidas who succumbed to pressure from the French. The Germans could not defend themselves (40 were killed and 150 were taken captive back to New France), and the French and their Indian allies burned much of German Flatts. After the French and Indian War, the Germans and Haudenosaunee renewed their trading relationship and maintained peace throughout the 1760s. In two separate letters in September 1761, Wheelock refers to a July 7, 1761 letter from Occom, written from German Flatts, reporting his kind reception by the Six Nations. Wheelock also recounts a July 7th letter from General Johnson from German Flatts written by two Mohawk boys whom the General recommends as interpreters or missionaries for the Indian Charity School. In a 1767 letter to Robert Keen, Wheelock quotes letters from Samuel Kirtland that express the lack of provisions due to years of poor crops. In 1778 during the American Revolution, the Loyalists and Mohawks, led by Joseph Brant, attacked German Flatts, and residents withdrew to Fort Herkimer. While the majority of the Haudenosaunee sided with the British, the Oneidas supported the colonists in the Revolution.

New England

Clinton is a small village about 10 miles south of the Mohawk River in Oneida County at the center of New York state. It is named for George Clinton, the first governor of the state. Originally, the area was Oneida land, but in 1787, the State of New York issued what the records call "Coxe’s Patent," granting land in what would become Clinton to veterans of the Revolutionary War and their families. These veterans, led by Captain Moses Foote, came from Plymouth, CT to establish the village, which was first a part of Whitestown, then the town of Paris, and finally, in 1827, the town of Kirkland. Occom, who lived in nearby Brothertown when Clinton was founded, visited the village in its early years to preach to Indians and new settlers. In 1793, Samuel Kirkland, Wheelock’s most famous Anglo-American student and missionary, founded Hamilton-Oneida Academy on what is now Clinton’s College Hill. His aim was to educate both white settlers and Oneidas, with whom he had worked as a missionary for many years. While Kirkland hoped the school would promote harmony between Clinton’s original and new settlers, very few Oneidas attended the school, and in 1812, it dropped the "Oneida" from its name and became Hamilton College. Many Oneidas relocated from Clinton to Wisconsin in the 1820s because of pressure to give up more land than they had already given. Clinton became an incorporated village in 1843 and remains mostly agrarian.

Schodack Landing
Weavers Town
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.


The historical Mohawk village of Canajoharie was located about 50 miles northwest of Albany, New York, in the central part of the state. Today, both a town and village in the same vicinity of the Mohawk village of Canajoharie have taken the Mohawk name, but the location of the present-day village is slightly east of the historical village. Because the village’s name was similar to the Oneida village of Kanawalohale, where David Fowler established a school in 1765, many sources conflate the two villages. Canajoharie, which in English means a washed kettle, was also known by the names Indian Castle and Upper Castle, which refers to the late 17th-century Mohawk fortifications that were built around the town following a series of French attacks during King William’s War. The term Upper Castle served to differentiate Canajoharie from Lower Mohawk Castle located in the Mohawk village of Tionondoroge near Fort Hunter. Canajoharie contained the Indian Castle church, which still stands today and was built in 1769 by the British Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Sir William Johnson, with help from the Mohawk siblings Molly and Joseph Brant, who donated land to the cause. Throughout the span of the 18th century, war, disease, and emigration severely reduced the Mohawk population in Canajoharie, and an influx of both white and non-Mohawk Native Americans resulted in a diverse and ethnically mixed culture. Wheelock's missionary work in this village in the 1760s was headed by Theophilus Chamberlain, while Abraham major, Abraham minor, and Peter (Mohawk) maintained missionary schools near Canajoharie.


Groton is a town located in southeastern Connecticut between the Thames and Mystic Rivers. This land was originally settled by the Niantic tribe, who were forced out in the early 1600s by the Pequots. During the Pequot War in 1637, Captain John Mason’s soldiers and Indian allies attacked the Pequot’s Mystic fort, burning down the fort, killing mostly women and children, and largely displacing the Pequots. John Winthrop Jr. and his Puritan followers first settled Groton in 1646 as part of New London. In 1705, the General Court allowed the Groton inhabitants to incorporate as a separate town due to its increased population. The town was named Groton after Winthrop’s England estate. Farming, shipbuilding, and maritime trading sustained the Groton economy throughout the eighteenth century. Beginning in 1712, land disputes between the Connecticut government and the Pequot tribe in Groton ensued, and the Pequots sent many petitions and grievances to the Connecticut government. Legal battles concerning the colonists’ leasing of the 1,700 acres on which the Pequots lived continued throughout the 18th century, as missionaries came to the area to teach religion and establish schools. After the Revolutionary War, many Groton Pequots joined other Connecticut tribes and moved to the Brothertown settlement in upstate New York.

Wecus Hill
Gales Ferry

Gales Ferry is a village in the town of Ledyard in Connecticut's New London County, located on the eastern bank of the Thames River in the southeastern corner of the state. The area was originally inhabited by Pequot Indians, but at the end of the Pequot War in 1638, English colonists assumed control of the region. The group of Pequots who inhabited the area surrounding Gales Ferry were brought under rule of the Mohegans, who allied with the English during the War, and became known as the Mashantucket, or Western, Pequots. Their reservation is located in Ledyard today, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied Indian reservations in the US. The first English settlers of Gales Ferry were mostly farmers, who in the 1700s established a small community around the ferry on the Thames River. Gales Ferry derives its name from Roger Gale, who was ferry master in the village from 1759-1764. The village benefited from its location on an east-to-west Mohegan trail, which spurred the growth of local shops during the second half of the 18th century. Occom visited Gales Ferry several times in the 1780s during his preaching tours, often preaching in the village itself. Today, Gales Ferry is known for its Harvard-Yale Regatta, which began in 1878 near the village's namesake ferry.


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.


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.

Little Falls
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.

Vedder, Albert Jr.
Occom, Mary (née Fowler)

Mary Occom (née Fowler) was a Montaukett woman who married Samson Occom. Although information about her is limited and often comes from male, Anglo-American sources, it offers a tantalizing glimpse of her strength, as well as an alternative to the Eleazar Wheelock-centered narrative of Occom’s life that often dominates the latter’s biography. Mary was born into the influential Fowler family at Montauk, Long Island. She met Samson during his missionary service there (1749-1761). Mary studied at Samson’s school along with her brothers David and Jacob, and was almost certainly literate. She and Samson married in 1751. Wheelock and several other Anglo-American powers opposed their union because they worried it might distract Occom from being a missionary (as, indeed, family life did), and thus many scholars have read in Samson and Mary’s marriage an act of resistance against Samson’s domineering former teacher. Little information about the minutiae of Mary’s life survives, but existing sources speak volumes about her character and priorities. In front of Anglo-American missionaries visiting the Occoms' English-style house at Mohegan, Mary would insist on wearing Montaukett garb and, when Samson spoke to her in English, she would only reply in Montaukett, despite the fact that she was fluent in English. Mary Occom was, in many ways, Wheelock’s worst fear: that his carefully groomed male students would marry un-Anglicized Indian women. It is not a stretch to imagine that Mary provided much of the incentive for Wheelock to begin taking Indian girls into his school, lest his other protégés replicate Samson’s choice. Much of our information about Mary comes from between 1765 and 1768, when Samson was fundraising in Great Britain. Despite promising to care for Samson’s wife and family (at the time they had seven children), Wheelock, by every objective measure, failed to do so, and Mary’s complaints are well documented. Hilary Wyss reads in Wheelock’s neglect (and in letters from the time) a more sinister story, and concludes that on some level Wheelock was holding Samson’s family hostage, in return for Occom curtailing his political beliefs on the Mason Case. Wyss also notes Mary’s remarkable survivance in this situation. Mary drew on various modes of contact, from letters to verbal communication with influential women (including Sarah Whitaker, the wife of Samson’s traveling companion, and Wheelock’s own daughters), to shame Wheelock into action and demand what she needed. One of the major struggles in Mary’s life, and in Samson’s, was with their sons. Both Aaron and Benoni failed to live up to their parents’ expectations. Aaron attended, and left, Moor’s Indian Charity School three times, and both Aaron and Benoni struggled with alcohol and refused to settle down. The Occom daughters did not cause similar problems. Given the nature of existing sources, little is known about Mary after Samson and Wheelock lessened their communication in 1771. Joanna Brooks has conjectured that Mary was likely influential in Samson’s Mohegan community involvement later in life, for instance, in his continued ministry to Mohegan and, perhaps, his increasingly vehement rejection of Anglo-American colonial practices.

Bailey, Ephra
Utter, brother
Colvin, John
Dean, Jonathan
Muckmullins, Daniel
Post, John

Salley [Occom] was possibly the youngest daughter or, more likely, the granddaughter of Samson Occom and Mary Fowler Occom. In 1789, she moved with the Occom family from Mohegan to Brothertown.

Tenike, Conrad
Utter, Jesee
Frank, Lawrence

Lawrence Frank, also identified in histories of Frankfort as "Lewis," was one of the earliest settlers of the town of Frankfort (originally Frank's Ford), located east of present-day Utica, which was named in his honor. He was the son of Henry Frank (c 1725-1790) and Maria Catharine. Henry immigrated to Pennsylvania from Germany, probably Bavaria, with his brother Christopher in 1740 and was a trader between the Mohawk and Lehigh Valleys in the 1740s and 50s. He settled in German Flatts, an area originally belonging to the Mohawk Nation but populated with German immigrants who bought up the fertile river lands. Lawrence married Mary Myers in 1769 and they helped found the new town of Frankfort on land originally bought from the Mohawks by Dutch settlers. The land was set off as a separate town from German Flatts by an act of the NY Legislature on February 5, 1796. Lawrence Frank owned a large tract of land, and town history reflects that he actively promoted the industrial and agricultural progress of Frankfort, which was severely damaged in the French and Indian and Revolutionary Wars. In fact, Frank and a group of other patriots were taken as prisoners of war during the Revolution and housed in Quebec from August 31 1778 until May 15 1781, when he was released and made his way back home. His popularity is reflected in the fact that the village of Howard's Bush was renamed Frankfort Center and McGowansville was renamed East Frankfort. Later in life, Frank moved with some of his family to a new settlement called Busti in Chautauqua County, NY, which is where he died. On his first journey to the Oneidas in 1761, Occom records paying for lodging at Mr. Franks, a tavern keeper in German Flatts. Although there is no historical record of such a place, Occom returned to this tavern many times on his preaching tours of the area between 1786 and 1790. Frank's Tavern must have been a major establishment because in early July of 1761, Occom notes that William Johnson met him and David Fowler there, and that the next day Johnson met with chiefs of the Oneidas to work out an agreement about an Oneida who killed a Dutchman. In June 1789, Occom records preaching in Esquire Frank's barn to "a vast number of people."

Vantresser, John
Paul, Anthony

Anthony Paul was born in Charlestown, Rhode Island, to Mary and James Paul. His family was a part of the Narragansett peoples who lived in Charlestown. There is not much information detailing Paul's early years, but he is believed to have attended Wheelock's school in Connecticut. It is through this connection that Paul is likely to have met Christiana Occom, daughter of Samson Occom and Mary Fowler. Paul married Christiana in 1777 and, after spending some time in Mohegan, the two settled in Brotherton in 1784. Paul worked as a preacher and helped raise at least six children with Christiana. Occom was fond of his son-in-law, and his journals tell of many happy times visiting the couple, including fishing trips and the day in 1787 when Samson baptized Paul and four of his children. As further indication of Occom's fondness for his son-in-law, he is believed to have left the books and papers that he kept in his New York home with Paul. In 1797, Paul and Christiana left Brotherton to live in Lake George, NY, where they spent the rest of their years.

Fowler, David Jr.

David Fowler, Jr., was the son of David Fowler and Hannah Garrett Fowler. He was born in Brothertown, inherited property upon the death of his father, and served as town clerk in the early 1800s.

Ashpo, Samuel

Ashpo was born into a very powerful Mohegan family, considered equal to the Uncas line, and became an influential Mohegan preacher. He was converted at Mohegan during the Great Awakening, and became a schoolteacher among the Indians at Mushantuxet from 1753 until 1757 and from 1759 until 1762, when he left to attend Moor's. Between 1757 and 1759, he worked as an interpreter, and supposedly struggled with alcohol. He attended Moor's for only six months, and then continued his teaching and missionary career on successive trips to Chenango (the first was cut short because of violence in the region). On July 1, 1767, the Connecticut Board dismissed him from their service because of further charges of drinking. He continued to preach successfully to various New England Indian tribes until his death in 1795. The variations of his name exist in part because Ashpo is an abbreviated form of Ashobapow.

Occom, Benoni

Benoni Occom (also known as Benjamin, Noney, and Nony) was Samson Occom and Mary Fowler’s seventh child and second son. Like Aaron Occom (Benoni’s elder brother, who died in 1771 after a wild young adulthood), Benoni did not live up to his parents’ standards for behavior. Unlike Aaron, he was not sent to Moor’s Indian Charity School; the difference may reflect Samson and Mary’s declining opinion of Eleazar Wheelock. Benoni’s behavior led Samson and Mary to kick him out of the house in July 1780, but the family had reconciled by 1788 (perhaps following 1787 rumors that Benoni had been hanged in Boston for murder). Although Benoni remained at Mohegan instead of moving to Brothertown, later letters from Occom to Benoni suggest that they were close and that Benoni visited his parents frequently. Later in life, Benoni was active in attempts to define Mohegan identity by petitioning to exclude anyone of African descent from tribal membership. His petition in this affair might indicate broader political involvement in tribal matters.

Saunders, Giddeon
Latham, Robert

Captain Robert Latham was part of the large, ferry-man and ship-building Latham families of Groton and New London, Connecticut, several of whom Occom mentions in his journals. Robert's father was Daniel Latham, born April 16, 1719 in New London and his mother was Elizabeth. He was the youngest of five. After that, there is no more information about Captain Robert Latham except what we learn from Occom's journals for 1784-89. In his itinerant preaching in the area, Occom held meetings at Captain Latham's house, lodged, dined with and called on Latham and his wife several times, and used his Christian cards for exercises with them, describing them as a "very agreeable and discreet couple." The Captain must have been fond of Occom, because he sent a present of tea to Occom's wife in 1784. Going back and forth between Groton and New London in southern Connecticut required a ferry across the Thames River. Robert was likely a descendant of the first ferryman in this area, Cary Latham, who appears in the record during the 1680s. His successors, William and Thomas Latham, operated a shipyard in Groton where they built and launched ships. In 1807, this became the Latham Brothers company. It is not clear if Robert's title refers to his seafaring or military service. Although there is no mention of a Robert Latham in the records, members of the extended Latham family from Groton served with distinction and were captured, wounded, or killed in the Revolutionary War, participating in the Battle of Groton Heights and the storming of Fort Griswold.

Occom, Andrew Gifford

Andrew Gifford Occom was the youngest son of Samson Occom and Mary Fowler Occom. He was named for Andrew Gifford, a Baptist minister whom Occom met in London. In 1789, Andrew Occom moved with the Occom family to Brothertown, where he owned land that was deeded to his widow upon his death in 1796.

Fonda, Jellis Douw

Jellis Douw (also spelled Jelles Douwse) Fonda was a prominent merchant and land speculator in the Mohawk Valley. He was the son of Douw Jellese Fonda (1700-1780) and Maritjie Vrooman, part of the extensive Fonda family in the area descended from Jellis and Hester Jans Fonda who immigrated from the Netherlands to Albany in 1651. Before the American Revolution, Douw Jellis (the father) founded the Dutch village of Fonda at the site of the Mohawk hamlet of Caughnawaga along the Mohawk River about 30 miles west of Albany. Jellis Douw, his son, was the most prominent of the early Fondas. He was the first merchant in the Mohawk Valley west of Schenectady and was a close friend and associate of Sir William Johnson, Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Fonda fought in the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War, and though he was a Captain commanding a company of exempts in that war, he was known thereafter as Major Fonda, perhaps as an expression of respect. He served as a county judge, justice of the peace, county supervisor in Tryon and Montgomery counties, and Commissioner of Indian Affairs after Johnson's death. Fonda was also one of the executors of Johnson's will and designated guardian of his children. He was elected a state senator from 1779-81 and 1788-91, and died in office. In his preaching tours of the Mohawk Valley, Occom records lodging with Major Fonda several times during the period of 1786-89, and using the "ferry" Fonda had over the Mohawk River.

HomeSamson Occom, journal, 1789 May 11 to 1790 January 10
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