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State of New York, resolution, 1791 February 24

ms-number: 791174

abstract: The NY State Assembly and Senate grant Occom 15 pounds to pay his expenses in attending the legislature on behalf of the Brothertown and New Stockbridge Indians. Also, Samson Occom’s receipt for the sum.

handwriting: Document appears to bear four different hands, all clear and legible.

paper: Single medium-sized sheet is in good condition, but there is heavy creasing and some discoloration along creases.

ink: Dark-brown.

noteworthy: Occom makes note of attending the Assembly in a letter to his son Benoni, manuscript 791117. As noted next to the signature of John McKesson, the document is a copy. The words “HAVERMEYER COLLECTION.” are typed on the bottom of one verso.

signature: There are three different signatures; given that this document is a copy, it's possible that some or all of the signatures are not in the hands of the signers.

Resolved if the Honorable the Senate concur herein
that the Treasurer of the State be requested to advance to Sampson Occum
the sum of fifteen Pounds to enable him to pay his Expences
in attending the Legislature in behalf of the Brothertown and New
Stockbridge Indians
, and that the Legislature will make Provision
by Law for the payment of the same—
Ordered that M.r Vandervoort and M.r Clowes — deliver a Copy
of the preceding Resolution to the Honorable the Senate and
request their Concurrence
A Copy John M..c Keſson Clk
In Senate 24,,th February 1791
Resolved that the Senate do concur with the Hon. the Aſsembly in their
preceding Resolution
Order that M,,r Pye and M,,r Tillotson deliver a Copy of the preceding concurrent
Resolution to the Hon. the Aſsembly
By Order
Ab,,m B. Bancker Clk.
See the Supply Law of March 1791.
Received 26,,th 1791 from Gerard Bancker
Treasurer Fifteen Pounds, pursuant to the within
Concurrent Resolution —
£15 – –
Samſon Occom
[illegible] Expences
Samson Occom £15 – – Febr,,y 1791
New York State Legislature
The Legislature of the State of New York is composed of two houses: the Senate, or upper house, led by the President (a post held ex officio by the Lieutenant Governor but usually filled by the Majority Leader), and the Assembly, or lower house, led by the Speaker. It meets at the New York State capitol in Albany. Members of both houses are elected for two year terms. The number of Senators varies, according to population, and stands now at 63. The Assembly has 150 members. The Legislature originated in the revolutionary New York Provincial Congress, assembled by patriots during the Revolutionary War, and has had a history of corruption. It is empowered to make laws subject to the governor's veto, which may be overridden by a two-thirds majority. It can also propose amendments to the New York State Constitution. In the late eighteenth century, this Legislature played a key role in the establishment of Brothertown. On a preaching tour of New York in 1784 to raise funds for Indian families moving up to Oneida country, Occom reported meeting a group of "agreeable" gentlemen who were members of the New York Assembly on a sloop he took to Albany, who are very pleased by the prospect of New England Indians moving to New York. Occom's journals for this period indicate that he was actively campaigning for the move, raising monies and meeting sympathetic ministers in upstate New York. He apparently made a good impresion, becaue in 1791, the New York Assembly and Senate paid Occom £15 for expenses to attend the Legislature on behalf of the Brotherton and New Stockbridge Indians (ms. 791174), indicating recognition of Occom's leadership. But the new settlement was beset with land troubles. In Fall 1786, the Oneidas, who had granted the New England Indians a tract of land in 1774 without reservations, wanted them to surrender the grant. Occom advised the Brothertown group to reject this dangerous proposal. When the Oneidas ceded all their lands to the State of New York in the Fort Schuyler Treaty of 1788, the Legislature intervened to recognize the Brothertown deed of 1774. But Occom and his group could not form the town's government and elect trustees until they ejected a group of whites who had won a ten-year lease from a group of trusting Indians. Again, the Legislature took action, passing the Act of March 31, 1795, insuring a large part of the Brothertown and New Stockbridge lands. Occom was responsible for this important measure, but it only slowed down the land grabbing that, after Occom's death, would eventually force the Brothertown Indians to move further west.
New Stockbridge Tribe
New Stockbridge Indians (also frequently called “Stockbridgers” by Occom) refers to the Stockbridge Indians who inhabited the town of New Stockbridge, NY, between 1785 and 1829. During the Revolution, Stockbridge, Massachusetts (a Christian Indian town containing members of several different tribes), hosted displaced members of the Brothertown Tribe, a group of Southern New England Algonquians who were in the process of immigrating to Oneida territory when the war broke out. The groups became close, and when the Brothertown Indians finally settled in Oneida territory in 1783, they secured an invitation from the Oneidas for the Stockbridgers to join them. Samson Occom, Brothertown’s minister, also preached at New Stockbridge, and he even moved there in 1789 due to political drama at Brothertown. Between the 1780s and the 1820s, all three groups struggled with each other and with encroaching American settlers for land. Unlike the Brothertown and Oneida Indians, the New Stockbridge Indians were steadfast in refusing to lease land to white Americans. Despite New Stockbridge’s perseverance, white settlers found ways to obtain Oneida, Brothertown, and Stockbridge land, and, by the 1790s, relocation was again appealing. In 1802, the New Stockbridge Indians were joined by the Delawares of Brotherton (a New Jersey Christian Indian town, distinct from Brothertown), and between 1806 and 1829, all of the New Stockbridge Indians left New York to move west. Moving west proved to be more easily said than done. Multiple times, the New Stockbridge, Brothertown, and Oneida tribes’ land deals fell through, and they were forced to relocate to less and less desirable territory. By the mid-18th century, many were living in Wisconsin, where they continued to face poverty and land encroachment. In 1843, a portion of the Stockbridge tribe accepted American citizenship to try to avoid further displacement. Another portion of the tribe refused citizenship. Political change in the 1930s enabled the Stockbridges to put some of their lands in trust, and, in 1972, that trust was expanded. Today, they maintain a reservation in Wisconsin and are known as the Mohican Indians or the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians.
Brothertown Tribe
The Brothertown Nation of Indians was a composite tribe of Southern New England Algonquians that was organized largely by alumni of Moor’s Indian Charity School. Four of the most important organizers were Samson Occom, Joseph Johnson, David Fowler, and Jacob Fowler. The Brothertown Indians lived on land purchased from the Oneidas beginning 1783 until 1831, when the Brothertown Indians moved on to Green Bay, Wisconsin. Brothertown, NY, should not be confused with Brotherton, NJ (sometimes spelled Brothertown), a Christian Indian settlement that John Brainerd established in 1758. The idea of relocating to central New York became increasingly popular in 18th-century New England as Indian tribes saw colonists take more and more of their land. Joseph Johnson began taking definitive steps to organize a migration in the 1770s. Despite reluctance from New England Indians and colonial authorities, Johnson was able to secure a tract of land from the Oneidas -- largely believed to be the most Christian of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Six Nations -- and organize a composite tribe from members of seven New England Indian settlements: Niantic, Montauk, Mohegan, Charlestown (Narragansett), Groton (Pequot), Stonington (Pequot), and Farmington (Tuxnis). The first migrants moved to Oneida territory in 1775, just in time to be displaced by the Revolution. Joseph Johnson died in 1776 or 1777 at the age of 25. Nevertheless, the Brothertown tribe made a second attempt after the war, this time with considerably more government support. In 1783, the first 50 settlers arrived in Brothertown. A hundred more followed in 1784, along with the Stockbridge Indians of Massachusetts, a Mahican group. It is important to remember that the Brothertown movement was by no means a mass migration: most New England Algonquians elected to remain. Brothertown’s leaders drew on Algonquian and Anglo-American influences to regulate their town, including policies based on a Connecticut law book and a community ethic emphasizing a communal decision-making process and care for the elderly. However, Brothertown was not a politically tranquil place. In addition to internecine struggles, the Brothertown Indians faced pressure from the Oneidas, who in 1786 tried to renegotiate their treaties with the Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians to alleviate demands on land driven by Anglo-Americans in the area. While the Brothertown Indians were able to defend their claim to the land in court, the fact of the matter was that land was becoming scarce. As early as 1791, the Stockbridge Indians began exploring the possibility of moving to the Midwest, and the Brothertown Indians followed suit in 1809. After a series of failed land deals, in 1831 the Brothertown Indians, Stockbridge Indians, and Munsee Indians (a subtribe of the Delaware) were awarded a tract of land in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Brothertown Nation is still based in Wisconsin and is currently struggling to obtain federal recognition.

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.


Stockbridge is a town in Madison County in central New York state, named for the Stockbridge Indians of Western Massachusetts. During the Revolutionary war, the Stockbridge Indians had befriended the Oneidas, whose villages were burned down by Indians allied to the British. When the Stockbridge tribe lost ownership of their Christian Indian town, the Oneidas invited them to settle on a six-mile square township, known as "The New Stockbridge Indian Territory." Although the details are unclear, a letter from the Stockbridge chief, Hendrick Aupaumut, to Governor George Clinton of New York suggests that the Oneidas gave the Stockbridge Indians a written deed in 1784, possibly at the Treaty of Fort Stanwix that year. The state of New York confirmed the Tribe's ownership of the town on several later occasions, but would ultimately rescind its promise, forcing the Stockbridge Indians to remove further west to Indiana and Wisconsin, where they ultimately settled in the early 19th century. By 1785, the majority of the Stockbridge tribe from Massachusetts had moved to the town of New Stockbridge, originally called "Tuscarora" or "Old Oneida" by the white settlers. In 1787, the Scottish Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge hired John Sergeant, son of the original missionary in Massachusetts, as minister for the tribe; Sergeant travelled between his home in Stockbrige, MA, to New Stockbridge every year for nearly forty years in that capacity. In 1788, Occom, who had been invited as minister for the Brothertown settlement nearby, opposed Sergeant's mission but Occom's death in 1792 settled the conflict. In 1795, three New York Quakers visited New Stockbridge and began an exchange that helped the village to flourish. The first Europeans settlers arrived in 1791, and the present day town was created in 1836 from parts of four adjoining towns.

Bancker, Gerard
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.

McKesson, John
Bancker, Abraham B.
HomeState of New York, resolution, 1791 February 24
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