Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to Dennys DeBerdt, 1761 November 16


abstractWheelock reports on the progress of the school and various missions.

handwritingInformal handwriting is small, crowded and occasionally difficult to decipher.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good-to-fair condition, with light-to-moderate staining, creasing and wear. The central crease has been reinforced.


noteworthyAs noted on two verso, this document is a copy. The contents are similar to those of manuscript 761625.1.

EventsOccom’s First Mission to the Oneidas

Modernized Version Deletions removed; additions added in; modern spelling and capitalization added; unfamiliar abbreviations expanded.

  My dear Sir. 
By a Letter from Miss Smith of Boston  last week I'm informed that Mr. Whitefield has de­  ­posited in your Hands £25 Sterling the generous  bequest of Mr. Hardy to this Indian School (the  Lord return a thousand fold in better Good into  that generous bosom) please to pay the Money  to Mr. John Smith of Boston or his order, perhaps  he is yet in London. I have received part and shall  as soon as She has opportunity to transmit, the whole  from his Lady in Boston.
one of the Mohawk Lads, of whom I informed  you in my last, when I returned from Boston, about  Six weeks ago, was in a declining State of Health,  and Dr. Huntington an able Physician advised  me that his Blood was So Spoiled etc. that it was  not Likely he would continue long in the world,  and that it was best to Send him soon while  he was able to ride accordingly I sent him away October  13th accompanied by Negyes another Mohawk Lad, and  schoolmate, to the Mohawk Country. And on the 3rd   Instant I Sent young Kirtland with the Other Mohawk  youth., in order, when these two have made their visit  to their Friend to accompany them. and 4 or 5 more  of the Six Nations, if general Johnson, agreeable to  his Expectations has found Such as are likely and will­  ­ing to come; I have heard nothing from them since they  went away. I expect they will return, sometime next month.
Mr. Brainerd Sent me two Girls but one of them  before she got on Board the vessel was taken ill  and returned Home, I shall expect her when she shall  be able to come, as she and her Parents are desirous  of it. The other arrived here the beginning of last month  she is about 13. years old, and is an amiable little,  black Savage Christian, and I think loves Christ much  The Fruit of dear Mr. Brainerds Labour and Pains among  them.
If I had it by me I would send you a Speciman of  The writing of the Indian Girl who came to me last spring  and then but just knew her letters. I intend to send you  soon.
By a Letter from Mr. Elisha Gunn who lives with  the Indians at Onaquaga. I am lately informed  that there is a general Reformation among the  Indians as to their Drinking, that there is a general  religious concern among them in those parts, and  that a Number appear hearty in Religion. but what   
will the poor Creatures do, they have no Bible nor  any Spiritual Guide Among them. I hope a Stop will  now be put to our traders carrying rum among them.  Samuel Ashpo An Indian which I baptized some years  ago, and received him into this Church. of whom I think  Errors which he had run into; And Talks like an understanding  experienced and judicious Christian, and by whose Endeavors  in his late Rambles in those parts The religious concern a­  ­mong the Indians was much increased. informs me that they  were as wild as ever they were at Corinth, or Galatia, and  need a faithful and skillful Guide as much.
perhaps the Honourable Commissioners at Boston will think it expedient  to send him at present among them  You cant dear Sir conceive the Difficulty that attends  this affair. Their Temper and Manner of living is Savage  almost as the [illegible]al Creatures. they are Jealous forever  against the English have a design against them and will take  the Opportunity to requite the wrongs they have received  — and the Dutch Traders especially dont a little increase their  ill opinion of us.   they have as many Languages as they have Tribes  and there are few or none capable and faithful enough  to be trusted as Interpreters. and it cant be accompl ished without great expense. etc. I long to have my  Boys fit to go forth amongst them.
David my Indian scholar who accompanied Mr. Occom  in his mission to the Oneida Indians last summer re turned the Latter End of September he says their living is exceeding  poor have scarce any thing but what they got by Hunting  that Mr. Occom was received and treated with great respect  by Gen. Johnson. and that the Indians were as kind to  him as they could be, and seemed to be affected with  his preaching. and have sent [illegible][guess: one] down to New York  desiring that he may be sent to them next spring. where  D.V. he designs to return and Spend the next Summer  with them.
Our measures for an Incorporation are yet embarrassed  and yet my School flourishes and gains credit, especially  among the more Judicious and understanding part of mankind.  and who knows what methods God intends to take to accomplish  the design. I have lately Nominated a Number of worthy  Gentlemen of Civil and Sacred Characters and Expect the  Scottish Commissioners in Boston will recommend them to  the Honourable Society for Such Commission as they can give to  help us in this Affair.  We had a distressing Drought last Summer but a  very growing Autumn. provisions are very dear  yet among us. 
Please to accept most sincere respect  (and I do love you heartily) from my Honoured and very dear ſir   Yours most Sincerely  Eleazar Wheelock     
P.S. The schoolmaster Complains of the want of a Bell that [illegible][guess: Could]  may be well heard about a mile these Boys through long use are addicted and inclined to ramble [illegible][guess: about] and Their Health   Requires that they be indulged in it in playtime more than  English Children incline to , and it is often Difficult to  get them together at proper Hours without such a  public Signal. and I apprehend the advantage of it in one  year would be Equal to the expense of one for It would likely  make us more regular in all our Exercises  
Copy of Letter to  Mr. DeBerdt 1761.  November Bell.