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Samson Occom, journal, 1785 May 1 to October 3

ms-number: 785301

abstract: Occom's account of his travels as an itinerant preacher over the course of several months in 1785.

handwriting: Occom's hand is mostly clear and legible. As is common with Occom's writing, there are uncrossed t's and crossed uprights; these have been corrected by the transcriber.

paper: Small sheets folded into a booklet and bound with thread or twine are in good-to-fair condition, with light-to-moderate staining and wear that results in a minimal loss of text.

ink: Brown ink varies in intensity throughout. It appears that the pen nib changes as well.

noteworthy: This journal picks up where manuscript 784308 leaves off. On five recto, the identity of Mr. and Mrs. Carter's daughter is uncertain, and so she has been left untagged. On eight recto, the identity of Brother Moss's daughter is uncertain, and so she has been left untagged. On 11 recto, the name of the Indian Town is uncertain and so it has been left untagged. On 14 recto, the identity of Talitha's daughter is uncertain and so she has been left untagged. An editor, likely 19th-century, has overwritten the journal in spots. These edits have not been transcribed. Mention is made of the death of Occom's daugher Talitha. Individuals who are not named, and whose identities cannot be deduced, are not tagged.

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

May 1: 1785: Sabbath N [illegible][guess: 11]

Preached at Mrs. Fitches and
there was a large Number of
well behaved People, and the
word of god fell among the People
with Some weight and Some were
much affected especially in the
fore part of the Day, after meet
ing, took Dinner with the Fami
ly and after that went Home
felt somewhat Spent, and went
to Bed Soon —

May 10:

a number of us went
to Old Saybrook to fishing, a Storm
met us the next Day, and we stopped
at New London,

May 13:

went on our way and
got to the fishing, near night
and we Stayed there 'til 27
and we had pretty good Luck

the 28:

we got home and found
our folks well,

Sabbath may 29:

had meeting
at Harrys, and we had a

a penitent meeting, I said a
few words from the Brazen
Serpent, and we felt the
Power of god, I think,

June 5:

had meeting at Harys
and I Spoke from Romans 4:7

June 12: Sabbath:

Henry and I
went to Pawquonk and I
preached in Mr. Reuben
s Meeting House and
there was considerable num
ber of People, and they attend
ed with great Solemnity, both
parts of the Day, I Spoke from
1 Samuel 22:2: and Romans 4:7
and after meeting went to Mr.
s, and took Dinner there
and after eating we set away
for Home, and got a little
after sunset, —

June 18:

Henry and went from
Mohegan for Chartes Town
and we got a little before

Night, we put up at James
s, and were kindly re
ceived by them, —

Sabbath: June 19:

in the morning
went to See old Samuel
, and found him very
low, and I believe he never
will get up again, went
back to James, and then to
the meeting House, and was
a Number of People, but
not large, they had but
a Short Notice of my coming
and I preached from Romans 4 7
in the afternoon, we went
to Sam Niless, and I preached
from Daniel 5:25 in the
evening met at another house
and John Cooper was there
he Spoke, and he discovered a
party Spirit, afterwards I
rehearsed the History of Joseph

and then returned to James
s, and Lodged there
once more,

Monday, June the 20:

about 2 Hours high Deacon
Henry Quaquaquid and I
left Chartes Town and went
on Homeward, and we got
Home Some Time in the even
ing, found our Families
well —

Sabbath: 26:

went to
New Concord, and preached in
Mr. Troops meeting House —
from Matthew 4: 10: in the after
Noon from 1 Corinthians 18:22 and
was a larger number people
and they attended with great
Solemnity, after meeting
went to See Mr. Troop and
found him in low State of
Health, Supped with them
and Soon after Supper

took leave of them and
returned homeward, called
at Mr. Jabaz Crokers and
found in him in hard sick
ness full of Pain and distress
prayed with him, and after
Prayer went on, and I stopped
at Mrs. Fitches and tarried
there all Night, next
Morning after breakfast
went on and got home
about 9 found my well
three Days ago I heard a
hard heavy News, my
poor Talitha is Dead and
Buried, the Lord the Sove
reign of the Universe
Sanctify this dispensa
tion to me and to all my
Family —

Tuesday, June 28:

a Young
man Came to me from lower

part of groton in greatest
distress of Soul I ever Saw
anyone this long while and
he wanted I should go with him
to groton right away, and I
told him I woud be there on the
next Day —

June 29:

Rode down to new
. and So over to groton and
a meeting at Mr. Burringtons
and there was a goodly num
ber of People and they attend
ed the word with great Solemn
attention, and the Young man
that Came to Mohegan for me
was greatly affected, broke
out in bitterness of Soul, and
cried for mercy, Several gave
him a word of Exhortation —
I Lodged in the Same House

Thursday June 30:

about 11
Capt. Latham Came to the house
where I was, and I went Home
with his directly, Dined With
him, and his wife they

have no Children; near a
bout 3 went to Mr. Giddeon
's and there was a Num
ber of People got together and
we began the worship of god
Directly, and I preached to
there ˄ was an affectionate
attention, and after I had done
Speaking, Mr. Avery gave
a word of Exhortation, and
then he prayed and when he
had done the People sat Still
and would not go away, it
seemed they wanted to hear
more, they were hungry af
ter the word, and So we gave
out more Exhortations, and
after a while they went a
way with heavy hearts, and
Some of them wanted I Should
preach to them again on
the next Day, but I told them
I wanted to get home, to attend

upon other People, where
I had engaged, — lodged at
Mr. Saunderss, and was very
kindly entertained, —

Friday July 1: 1785

breakfast took my leave of
the Family in Peace and
good friendship; called at
Capt. Robert Lathams but
was not at Home, only his
wife, sat there awhile, and
then went to the Ferry and
went over to the City of New
, and So on home
ward, got home about 3
o'clock and found no one at
Home —

July 3: 1785:

on Sabbath set out
Early in the morning for Pau
, Mr. Eliphalet Lister
went with me, we got to the
Place Some Time before meet

meeting Call on Elder Palmer
and there took breakfast, and
then we went to meeting and
was considerable Number of
People, Mr. Lester preached,
And in the afternoon I
preach, and towards night
we went about 3 miles fur
ther towards Colchester Town
and there I preach again
to a large number of People
and both Elder Palmers were
there the Father and the Son
and there was Solemn attenti
on — after meeting went back
with Mr. Abel Palmer and I
stopped at Mr. Carters and Lodged
there, and had very agree
able conversation with Mrs.
and one of their
Daughters, in Religious
Concerns, went to bed late,

Monday July 4:

got up very
early and took my horse
and went Home, — got Home
about 10: and found my
getting ready to go to Pauqua
a fishing, and I went with
Directly, got to the Place before
night —

July 9:

Saturday went to New
, got to Deacon Huntingtons
about sunset, and was kindly
received and entertained Lodged there

Sabbath: July 10,

Deacon Huntington
and I went to meeting, and there
was a great Number People Col
lected together, and I preached
from Luke 12: 21: in the afternoon from John 12: 21: and they
made me a Collection, — towards
Evening preached at Deacon
's, — and Soon after
meeting I went to bed, but did
feel well, and was restless all
Night, —

July 11:

got up early
and they would have me Stay

breakfast, and I consented, and
after eating set off for Home
got Home about 10: and found
all my Family well, —

July 16

Set off from Home for
Preston, got to Deacon John Avery
just after sunset, and kindly
received by them Lodged there

Sabbath: July 17:

went to meeting
with the Deacon, and Mr. Park
preached in the Morning, —
in the afternoon I preached
from [gap: omitted] after I had
Mr. Park administered the Sacra‐
ment of the Lord Supper and
I partook With them, and it
was a Comfortable season
to the Children of God. Some
old Christians broke forth in
praises and adorations to god
and they encouraged one a
nother to on in their Christi
an course. after meeting
I went directly Home, went
with Mr. Story of Norwich

stopped at his house, and took
Supper with him, and was
kindly treated, Soon after
Supper I went on my way
got Home Some Time in the
Evening, and went to bed qui
etly Thanks be to god for his
goodness to me and Family
hitherto —

July 24:

Sabbath: early in the
Morning got up, and got ready
and went down to Gales Ferry
and went over to Groton, to
Mr. Saunders's and got there
about 9: and was tenderly
received by the whole Family
about 10 the People began
to 'gather, and there was a
Number of People Collected
together, and I preached to
from Luke 2 : 11: and in
the afternoon from John 21:22
and I think had Some assistance
especially in the afternoon —

and the People attended with
great Solemnity and affection
I believe many felt the Power
of the word, — I stayed at Mr.
Sa[illegible][guess: u]ders
s and had Some exer
cise with Several, in the even[illegible]
ing with my Christian Cards
and after that went to bed
quietly — Monday after break
fast went off after taking affec
tionate Leave of them, and stopped
at one Mr. John Shoolers to See
a Sick woman, found her
very much distressed both Body and
Mind, I gave her Some coun
sel and pressed to believe on
the Lord Jesus Christ, and
with her and then
went on my way, got
near noon, and rested a
few Minutes and took horse
again and down to New
, to buy Corn and
got home again Some Time
in the Evening —

Sabbath July 31:

went to Mrs.
and preached there twice from
1 Corinthians: 7: 29: 30 and 1 Corinthians 4: 7
and there was not great many
People and they attended well
towards night I went to Mr. Chapels
and preached there to a few People
and as Soon as the meeting was
done, I went Home, and got home
about Daylight in —

Sabbath August 7:

Set off from
Home and went to upper part
of Long Society, got to Mr. Moss's
near 10 and from there we
went to Mr. Woodworths, and there
was a great Multitude of People
and preached to them from
Daniel, 5: 25 and John 8: 47
Toward Night I preached at
Mr. Moss's: from 1 Corinthians 7: 29 and there was great
attention, and many were
Deeply affected, and Some
broke forth in Praises, espe
cially in the Evening, —

I Lodged at Mr. Moss's and
Brother London a Negro
preacher was with us all
this Day and this evening
and he and several of the
Young Christian Lodged at
Mr. Moss's — Monday Morning
we got up early in the
morning, and London and
I were setting off, but Brother
would have us Stay to break
fast and we consented, and
after breakfast we sang
and Prayed and the Power
of god Came down amongst
us and the Young Christians
were filled with Love to god
and to one another, and one
of Brother Moss's Daughters
who met with consolation
last Night was greatly
filled with Divine Love
and we had a blessed meet
ing — and we parted in Love
Peace and fellowship —

and I got Home about 12: and
found my Family well the
Lord be praised —

Sabbath: August 14:

went from
Home early in the morning for
Long Society, got there before
10 [illegible] Call on Mr. Jonathan Smith
and took breakfast with them
and then went to meeting
and there was a great number
of People and I preached to
them from Hebrews: 4: 2: and 2:Corinthians 17 V
Some Time after meeting
I went Home, stopped a while
at Mr. Ephraim Storys in the
Landing, and there I saw
Brother London a Negro
preacher and they was to
a meeting in the evening
and they would have me
Stay to meeting, but I did
not, I got Home Some Time
in the evening —

Thursday August 18:

to Mr. Posts at We[illegible][guess: ec]us Hill
and sister Beth with me and preach to a Number of
People and they attended well
with great Sobriety. — after
meeting Drank Tea with
them and then we set off for
Home, got Home Some Time
in the Evening, Thanks be
to god —

Sabbath August 21:

went from
Home very Early in the morning
for Pauquonk, got there Some
Time before meeting, called up on
Mr. Carter, and was kindly re‐
ceived, by the Family, and took
breakfast, and after that
went to meeting, and there
was a goodly number of People
and I preached to them, from Acts 2:37
and the People attended with
gravity and Sobriety, Especially
the Young People — Soon after
meeting I went Home, and got
home in the dusk of the Evening

Sabbath August 28

set off from my
house before sunrise and
went on towards north part
of Preston, got to Mr. Daniel
es before meeting, and we
went on to Mr. Woodworths and
found a great Number of People
Collected together, and I preached
to them, from Luke 16:5 and
Matthew 11:28: and there was great
Solemnity and affection Soon
after meeting, I went to Brother
s: and preached there, before
Night and there was a crowd
of People, from Luke 7:23:
Mr. Heart was there, — I lodged
at the Same House, Monday

August 29:

after breakfast Brother
and I went to see Mr. Heart
found him very kind and friend
ly, went from there to Mr. John
s and there I preached
to a Small Number of People
but there was great Solmen
ity among the People, took dinner

there and after Dinner went
to one Mr. Fitchs 3: or 4. miles
and there I preached to a great
Number of People and the word
of god fell with weight upon
the People, and I believe they
will not forget it Soon —
after meeting I went Home
with old Mr. Fitch, about a
mile and an Half east of
Long Society Meeting House
and there I Lodged, and was
very kindly Treated —
Tuesday morning after
breakfast took leave of the
Family and went on home
ward, got Home just before
noon and found nobody at Home

September 3:

Saturday towards night
left Home, and went to lower part
of groton, was detained Some Time
at gales Ferry, but got over a
bout sunset, and reached to Mr.
before daylight in
and was received by the whole family
with all kindness, Lodged there

September 4:

Sabbath about 10: a great
Number of people Collected toge
ther and I preached to them from
John 11:28: in the afternoon from
1 Corinthians 29: 5: and there was very
deep, Solemn, and Silent attention
the People looked as if they were
arraigned before the Judgement
Seat of god, I believe they felt
the Power of the Truth of the word
of god, — Soon after meeting I
dined with the People of the house —
and then I went to one Mr. Jabez
s about 3: miles Southward
I got there about sunset, I had
no thoughts of having a meeting
but presently after I got there
2 or 3 Neighbours were there, and
they whispered among themselves and
presently they asked me whether I
would preach if Neighbours
would Come in, and I told them
I would I would, and they, Sent out
to give notice, and in about
half an Hour a number of People

Came in So as to fill a large Room
or almost, and I Spoke to them
from John 4:10: and the People
attended well, — Lodged here this Night
and was kindly entertained — Monday

September 5

very in the morning I got up
and had my horse caught, and I set off
and directed my course to Capt. Robert
s got there just as they were
getting breakfast ready, sat down
with them, after eating I went to
Mr. William Sheffields, I had a little
Temporal business with him, but
I found him not he was just gone
from Home, — and So I went back
to Capt. R. Lathams took dinner
with them, and after Dinner took
leave of them and went to went
to Mr. Sheffields again and he was
at Home, I did my business
with him; and directly went
to the Ferry, meet my good
Friend Mr. Saunders, and he
gave me a piece of money and
I was very loath to take it but
he would make me take it

and So I was obliged to it, and the
good Lord reward him and his
family a thousandfold, —
went over to the City of New London
met Mr. Smith, and we did our
business, and So we parted in
good friendship — I went on
my way, and stopped at Capt. Wheelers
and Lodged there — Tuesday morning
set off very early, and got home
once more, well, and and my family was
much scattered, what was at home
were well, the Lord be praised —
for his goodness to us thus far —

Sabbath September 11

got up very early
in the Morning and set off from Home
and went to Long Society, got there
Some Time before the People Collect
stopped at Mr. John Smith, was kindly
received, near 11: went to the House
of Worship, and there a great Num
ber of People, and attended with great
and Solemn attention, preached
from Isaac v: 3: 4 and 1 Peter 1: 24
Directly after meeting, I with

Mr. Fitch and eat with them, and
after eating went to Mr. Downs and
preached there to considerable num
ber of People and they behaved well
I was much pained in Left shoul
der Spoke from Lamentations 3: 40
lodged at the Same house, and was
kindly entertained Monday very
early got up and got my mare
and went on, stopped at Mr. Fitchs
and took breakfast with them, and
Soon after I went on Homeward, and
I got˄ about 11: found my Family
was as Common, Thus far the Lord
has led me on, and glory be to his
Holy Name — rested a while, and
about 3: in the afternoon, took
up my Mare again, and went
to Niantic in Lyme, to See the
Sick, got to Rope Ferry just after
sunset, and heard, my Aunt
widow Hannah Justice was
Dead and Buried. She died saturday
Night and Buried on Sabbath
got to the Indian Town in the
dusk of the Evening, found my
cousin Isaac
his wife and all
his Children consisting four were

all very Sick — Prayed with them
and then home with cousin
, and Lodged there,
Tuesday, found Isaacs
Family little easy, Saw Some
other Sick — about 12. I preached
in cousin Josephs house to few
People — about 3: set off for
Home, got there just after
Daylight in —

Saturday September 17:

Some Time
in the afternoon left Home and
went to Preston, got to Deacon
s in the dusk of the evening
and was affectionately received
by him and Lodged there,

Sabbath 18:

about 10 went to meeting
and there was a considerable
number of People — Mr. Park
preached in the morning, and
in the afternoon I preached from
Luke Concerning the Prodigal
Son — Directly after Sermon
Mr. Park administered the ordi
nance of the Lords Supper.

and I partook with them once
more; and Directly after I
went the Indian Town of groton
with Jo: Sunsummon, and had
a meeting there and I believe
the Lord was present with us
the Christians were much
moved, Some Time in the
evening, we broke the meeting
and after a while I went
to bed Quietly — the Lord be
praised —

Monday September 19

set off for Home Early in the morning
after I took good leave of the Family
got home about noon, found my family
well, — Thursday about 9 in
the morning set off from Home, for
Oneida, and went up to lower part
of Canterbury got to Mr. Clarks
about 3. in the afternoon, and
the People had got together and
Mr. Clark had begun the meeting
he was at Prayer, — and I preached
and there was great Solemnity and
affection, and many Tears flow
down freely — Soon after meeting
went with Mr. Clark to his house

and took Dinner with them —
and the People Collected together
again in the Evening, in Mr.
s house, and we had a
Comfortable meeting, many were
melted down with Love, and
they broke out in adoration and
praise, and Some Time in the
evening we parted in Love, Peace
and I believe in Divine fellowship
and then went to bed peaceably
the Lord be praised —

Fryday September 23

had a little
exercise with my Cards with the
Family, and it was Comfortable
season with us, and after break
fast I took Brotherly leave of
them, and went on my way
and got to Mr. Post's in Crank about 1. and
took Dinner, and about 3 I set off
again, just Call on Mrs. Pomroy
and So passed on, and got to one
Mr. Post's a little of Galiad Meet
ing House
, and I was very kind
ly entertained, — Saturday morn
ing we set off very early in the
morning, and went on our way
got to Esq. Wellss about 10

sat awhile, and Esq. was very
urgent to have me Stay over the
Sabbath, but I could not, and So we
went on, and it was rainy kind
of the weather, just before Night we
got to Indian Place in Farmington
and put up at Daniel Massucks, and
the Indians were well, there were
but eight Families of Indians, —

Sabbath September 25:

preached 3 Times
many white People were together
and they attended well — here I met
with george Pharaoh and his family
from Long Island, they were moving
up to Oneida, —

Monday September 26:

we set off about
9: and got to Brother Phineas
about 2: and here I had the dole
ful account of the Death of my
Daughter Talitha, a mournful
and heavy addition to all Troubles
and Sorrows, went to See my poor
Daughters youngest Child, and
it was a Sorrowful and very
affecting Sight —
had a meeting with the People
on the next Day twice, and the
People were very Solemn —

This Night Lodged at one Mr.
's the woman is extraordi
nary in Christianity of great
understanding, and experience

Wednesday September 28

Set off early
having taken leave of the family
and I went on my way, sat
at Brother Phineas's took break
fast with them, Mr. Wilson
was with me a Son in Law
to old uncle Chaucum, Soon
after eating took leave of the
Family and we went on our
way; Stop at Mr. Chaucums —
and here Mr. Woodbridge the
Preacher among this People
overtook me, and was extreme
ly urgent to have me Stop to
preach once more but
I denied him, and we passed
on, he went with us a little
way and then parted in Peace
and we went on, and got
to Canaan just Night and
we went to Mr Joseph Marshalls
a minister of the gospel

and Lodged there found
his wife very poorly with
lameness —

Thursday September 29

got up very
early and set off and got Stockbridge
about 3 in the afternoon, and
called at Capt. Yoke's but he was
not at Home, and most all the
Indians were scattered, what were
left of those that are gone up to
Oneida, — about two thirds of them
are gone up to Oneida — just be
fore sunset went to See Mrs.
, and was a little while
and then returned,, Call on Mrs. Sergeant
and Lodged there, Mr. Sergeant was
not at Home —

Friday September 30

after breakfast
went back to Capt. Yokes, and
was there Some Time, and then
set off, — stopped a while at a
tavern, and here I met with
one Capt. Baldwin of New Canaan
and he urged to have me Stop at
his place to have a meeting in
the evening, and I consented, and

went on to Richmond, and got
there before noon stopped at Mr.
s an old aquaintaince
of mine, found them all well,
dined With them, and Soon after
Dinner went on our way, and
got to New Canaan just before
sunset, called on Col. Whiting
he we was busy, and So I passed on
reached Capt. Baldwins, in the
Evening the People began to ga
ther and there was a great Num
ber of People Collected, and I
preached to them from Exodus
the words go forward etc. — and I
had but little sense of Divine
things Yet the People attended
with gravity — Lodged at the
same house, —

Saturday, October 1: 1785

set off
early, and stopped at Mr. Camps
and took breakfast with him
and Sent off James before me —
after a while I set off, and about
11 o'clock called at a public House
the mans Name was Robinson

and he knew me and some o
thers and another Came in, and
they began to importune and
urge very hard to have me
Stop to keep Sabbath them, and
was a man desired me before
to go so far as to green Bush
and Mr. Camp desired me also
to Stop there and keep Sabbath
at one Esq. Woodworths, — and
finally Concluded to Stop at Mr.
's to preach there
in the Morning, and so go to
green Bush in the afternoon—
and so lodged in Mr. Robin
's — The Place is called
Phillips Town

Sabbath October 2:

The People
collected together, and there was
a great Assembly, and I preached
to them from [illegible][guess: 1] Epistles V:10: and
Soon after meeting took dinner
and then went of to Wood‐
s in green Bush, Mr.
and another gentleman

went with me, and we got
there about 4 PM: and there
was Number of People got to
gether, and I began the Service
Directly, and there a Solemn
attention, — The People Collected
something for me, lodged in
here this Night and was kind
ly entertained, — here I met Mr.
[illegible][guess: H]ally from Norwich he is
preaching in a Place called
New Bethlehem — in the
evening a Number of us had
agreeable exercise with my
Christian Cards and after that
went to bed Quietly —

Monday October 3:

was at Esq.
'til 12: then went to New Bethlehem
stopped at Mr. Townsends and
there took dinner, and then
kept on, Got to the Place a
bout 2: and a great Number
of People had got together, and
began the meeting directly, and
at [gap: worn_edge] went back to Esq. [gap: worn_edge]

The town of Cannan is located in northwestern Connecticut and is situated along the Housatonic River. Archeological evidence suggests that Native Americans inhabited this territory thousands of years ago. When the Europeans arrived in the early 18th century, the Weantinock tribe occupied the territory. An Indian trail called Berkshire Path ran through Canaan along the Housatonic River, connecting the Weantinock tribe with Indians from western Massachusetts to the North and the Pootatuck and Paugussett tribes to the South and stretched as far as Stratford, Connecticut. Several disputes over land and resources took place in the 18th century between the Indians and the settlers, which were decided by representatives of Connecticut’s General Court, who most often found in the settlers’ favor. The resources of the land that would become Canaan made this area attractive to settlers, who bid on townships in an auction organized by the General Assembly in the 1730s. In 1738, the town was sold in divisions of 53 shares and formally named Canaan after the biblical land. Canaan was incorporated in 1739, and the population quickly increased. By 1756, the Connecticut Assembly recorded only 1,000 Indians remaining in the colony. Throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries, many colonists in Canaan had slaves; however, slavery was slowly phased out through legal measures throughout this time period. During the French and Indian War, many people from Canaan fought against the French, and in 1760, Canaan men participated in a victorious siege against Montreal. Canaan colonists fought against the British in the Revolutionary War and the town provided goods and money for the cause. In 1858, the town was divided into Canaan and North Canaan.


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


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.

Long Island

Long Island is an island located in southeast New York State. In 1824, historian Silas Wood claimed that 13 different tribes inhabited the island when the Dutch and English arrived in 1639: the Canarsie, the Rockaway, the Matinecock, the Merrick, the Massapequa, the Nissequoge, the Secatoag, the Seatuket, the Patchoag, the Corchaug, the Shinnecock, the Manhasset, and the Montaukett. This is the commonly accepted tribal history of Long Island, and Wood’s theory is taught in New York textbooks today. Yet, in 1992, historian John Strong challenged this dominant narrative, arguing that tribal systems did not develop on Long Island until after Europeans arrived. Based on Dutch and English colonists’ accounts, the Algonquian communities on western Long Island likely spoke the Delaware-Munsee dialect and those to the east spoke languages related to the southern New England Algonquian dialects. These indigenous peoples organized themselves by language and kinship, but beyond village systems and the occasional alliance, there existed no formal tribal structure. Rather, internal structures arose among the Montauks, the Shinnecocks, the Poospatucks, and the Matinnocks to cope with English settlers, and became integral to these peoples’ survival. Although new diseases and land negotiations severely encroached on the freedom of Long Island’s Native population, these groups that developed tribal structures retain a sense of community today. By the 18th century, much of the island had fallen into the hands of the English, who were the sole European power on Long Island once the Dutch relinquished their claims to the land after the second Anglo-Dutch War in 1664. During the Great Awakening of the 18th century, Occom spent 12 years serving as a missionary to the Montaukett Indians of Long Island, along with Presbyterian minister Azariah Horton. Today, the western half of the island is densely populated due to its proximity to Manhattan, and its eastern half is mainly devoted to resort towns. The Shinnecocks and the Poospatucks retain autonomous reservations on Long Island.


Lyme is a town in southern Connecticut located along the Connecticut River. The Niantic tribe inhabited the area when, around 1590, the Pequot Indians displaced them. The area that became Lyme was founded as part of the Saybrook settlement, which is located at the mouth of the Connecticut River. The Earl of Warwick established Saybrook in 1631, but it was not yet settled by the English. The Dutch purchased the Saybrook territory in 1633 from local Native peoples, but in 1665, before the Dutch could fully occupy the territory, Governor Winthrop of the colony of Connecticut sent armed men to prevent the Dutch from holding the land. Subsequently, the English settled and named the land Saybrook. In 1665, the land on the east bank of the Connecticut River was formally separated from Saybrook, and the General Connecticut Court named the separated land Lyme after the town of Lyme Regis in England. In 1669, the colonists purchased an eight square mile area of river valley from a Mohegan Indian named Chapeto and then purchased the Joshuatown area from the son of the Mohegan sachem, Uncas. In 1839, East Lyme became a separate town, and in 1854, Lyme was regionally divided into Old Lyme in the south and Lyme in the north.


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.

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.


Niantic is a village located in East Lyme, a seaside town in southeast Connecticut on the Long Island Sound. The land was occupied by the Niantic tribe when the Europeans arrived. The Dutch claimed the area in the 17th century, but when the British claimed this same land as part of their colonies, the Dutch forfeited it to the British in a 1627 trade agreement. The village housed both preachers and a schoolhouse, and missionaries came to the village for the purpose of converting and assimilating the tribe. This effort intensified in the 1740s with the influence of the First Great Awakening. Increasingly dispersed and dispossessed of land, many Niantic Indians followed Occom and Joseph Johnson to upstate New York in the 1770's where they settled Brothertown.


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.


Oneida is a city in Madison County located at the geographical center of New York state. Before European settlement of the area, the Oneida Tribe, one of the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, inhabited a large territory adjacent to nearby Oneida Lake. Around 1533, they built their first village on the south shore of the lake, at or near the mouth of Oneida Creek. At the end of the 17th century, this area began suffering raids by parties from the French colony of Quebec, in a battle to control the fur trade. In 1696, Oneida village was burned by the French. As a result, the Oneidas moved their chief village east of the original site, called Old Oneida, to a new site called Kanawalohale, also known as Oneida Castle, which was fortified by tall palisades and a moat. This is the site of the present-day village of Oneida Castle, a small hamlet west of the city of Oneida in the northwest corner of the town of Vernon. When used in Occom Circle documents, the place name "Oneida" usually refers to the territory inhabited by the Tribe east of Oneida Lake, but can also refer specifically to Oneida Castle. Although the Oneidas sided with the patriots during the Revolutionary War, much of their territory was sold or appropriated by the state of New York. In 1790, the first European settlers moved into the area of Old Oneida village, and the district began to expand. In the 1830s, the state built a feeder from Oneida Creek through the present city site to provide water for the new canal system, which enabled canal boats to ship freight into the town. Eventually, the railroad came through the town and helped with its expansion. This led to the incorporation of the Village of Oneida in 1848 and the establishment of the Town of Oneida in 1896. The town was chartered as the City of Oneida in 1901, and with two more railroad lines transecting the area, it became a thriving manufacturing center for the first half of the 20th century.

Old Saybrook

Old Saybrook is a town located in southeastern Connecticut on the west bank of the Connecticut River, where it meets the Long Island Sound. The land that would become Old Saybrook was the territory of the Niantic Indians until the late 16th century when they were conquered by the Pequots. The first Europeans to settle in the area were Dutch, but by 1623 the colony failed due to harsh conditions. In 1635, English Puritans led by John Winthrop Jr. established a colony called Saybrook Plantation, hoping to deter the return of the Dutch. During the Pequot War of 1636, the powerful Pequot tribe conducted a siege of Saybrook Fort for eight months, but their population was ultimately decimated by the effort. Yale University, originally called Collegiate School of Connecticut, was founded in Old Saybrook in 1700 and then moved to New Haven in 1718. Because of its location, Old Saybrook was a convenient stopping point for Occom on his trips between Mohegan and Montauk, on Long Island, and was a point of embarkation for travel to other coastal cities by water. At least one Native American in Old Saybrook, the son of Josiah Wolcott, wanted to attend Wheelock’s school. Old Saybrook is one of the oldest towns in the state and was incorporated in 1854.


Stockbridge is a small town on the Housatonic River in Berkshire County in western Massachusetts. The area was the home of the Mohekanew or Muh-he-ka-nuk people (people of the continually flowing waters), also known as the Mahicans, (or Mohicans and not to be confused with Mohegans from the Connecticut area), who had been driven there because of tensions with the Mohawk tribe over the expansion of the fur trade with the Dutch in the 17th century. European traders and settlers in the area brought disease and land greed, weakening the Mahicans and their traditional lifeways. In 1734, a missionary named John Sergeant from New Jersey came to live in the Mahican village of Wnahktukuk, baptizing those who accepted his teachings. In order to survive in a rapidly changing world, the Tribe accepted the misson and in 1736, the town of Stockbridge was created, named after a village in Hampshire, England, the last of the "praying towns" in Massachusetts, also known as "Indian Town." It was, for the English, strategically located along a military trail to Canada and created a Protestant buffer against Indian allegiance to the Catholic French. Sergeant built a church and schoolhouse, and brought four English families to settle there, ostensibly as models. Wappinger, Nipmuck and Tunxis Indians joined the community and the Mahicans made Stockbridge their chief village. They and the other Native peoples who lived there were called the "Stockbridge Indians." With the end of the French and Indian war, new settlers flooded into the town, buying up land and excluding the Indians from town government; the experimental community became divided into white and Indian neighborhoods. Although the Massachusetts General Court promised that the land given to the Indians as a reward for their service in the recent war and held in common would never be sold, that agreement was breached. In 1774, Indians from seven praying towns––Charlestown, Groton, Stonington, Niantic, Farmington, Montauk, and Mohegan––who were also in debt and dispossesed, accepted the invitaion of the Oneidas to settle on their lands in central New York state, but were driven back by the Revolution and retreated to Stockbridge. Eventually, in 1783 many Stockbridge Indians moved to Oneida lands and founded "new" Stockbridge near the Brotherton settlement established by Occom and other Mohegan Indians. Stockbridge, MA, was a destination for many of the missionaries trained by and associated with Wheelock and his Indian school, and eight Stockbridge Indians enrolled at Dartmouth College between 1771 and 1780. In 1778, Daniel Simon, a Narragansett Indian, one of five children in his family to go to Wheelock's Charity School, and the first Indian educated by Wheelock to receive a degree from Dartmouth College in 1777, was licensed to preach and taught at Stockbridge. As late as 1785, Occom recounts in his journals traveling to Stockbridge, MA to preach and visit Sergeant, Jr. and Kirkland, and finds the Indians "scattered," many removed to Oneida country.

Wecus Hill
Chartes Town
Lebanon Crank

Lebanon Crank was the name of an area in the northwest part of the town of Lebanon, Connecticut, on both sides of the Hop River, which was created by the Connecticut legislature in 1716, in response to the demand of residents who did not want to travel to the First Church in Lebanon proper for services. It was also known as Lebanon North Parish and the Second Society or Second Church in Lebanon, names that refer to religious organizations of the Congregational Church. The two dozen families who started the parish built their first meetinghouse near the site of the present structure, around which the religious and political life of the community revolved. Eleazar Wheelock served as minister in this parish from 1735 to 1769, and his house, built around 1735, is the oldest building still standing. Lebanon Crank played a major role in his life. It was his base of operations when he became an itinerant mininster during the religious awakenings of the 1730s and 1740s, and he presided over a revival in the Second Church in 1740. His Indian Charity school was located nearby in Lebanon, and his students attended the Second Church in Lebanon Crank as part of their education. The parish was so invested in Wheelock's School that they tried to keep him from moving it up to New Hampshire when he founded Dartmouth College, but failed. Lebanon Crank was subsequently renamed Columbia and established as a separate town in May 1804.

Gales Ferry
Galiad Meeting House
Green Bush
Long Society Meeting House
Long Society
New Bethlehem
New Canaan

New Canaan is a town located in southwestern Connecticut. The British colonists who settled in the Connecticut area in the 17th century fought in the Pequot War, and purchased land in what is now Fairfield County -- including Norwalk and Stamford -- from the Native people who occupied it, tribes known for their tobacco growing and wampum making. The local sachems continued to sell land to both towns, but the deeds often overlapped or were vague, which caused much confusion regarding land rights. In 1731, families in Norwalk and Stamford petitioned to establish Canaan Parish, and in 1801, the parish officially separated from Norwalk and Stamford to become the town of New Canaan. Occom travelled through New Canaan on several occasions during his preaching tours, as he recorded in his journals. Starting in the early 19th century, New Canaan’s economy shifted from agriculture to shoe making. In 1868, the railroad to Manhattan extended to New Canaan, making it an ideal location for wealthier homeowners who worked in New York City.

New Concord
Phillips Town
Rope Ferry
Reuben Palmer's Meeting House
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.

Cooper, John
Niles, Samuel
Niles, Jr., Samuel
Sergeant, Jr., John

John Sergeant Jr., like his father, served as a minister in Stockbridge, MA. In 1773, Stephen West, the minister to the Stockbridge Indians since 1757, decided to leave his post and turned over ministering duties to John Sergeant Jr. Stockbridge, MA, which John Sergeant Sr. helped establish, failed as a Christian Indian town when the Stockbridge Indians lost ownership of their land. When the Oneida Tribe offered the Stockbridgers land in central New York after the American Revolution, many of them moved to the Brothertown and New Stockbridge settlements. The Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge funded Sergeant Jr. in 1787 to continue serving as a minister to the Stockbridge Indians who moved to New York. Sergeant travelled from Stockbridge, MA, to New Stockbridge every year to serve as their minister. In 1788, the Stockbridge Indians at New Stockbridge were divided in their support for Occom or John Sergeant as the town’s minister. Mohican sachem Hendrick Aupaumut led the community members who favored Occom. According to Sergeant, 30 members of the Tribe were in favor of Occom while 50 were in favor of him (later, half of Occom’s supporters defected to Sergeant). The relationship between Sergeant and Occom was contentious, with Occom disliking Sergeant’s manner of preaching. Occom moved to Munhegunnack or New Stockbridge in 1791 and suggests in a letter that many of Sergeant’s supporters were shifting support to Occom. In his sermons, Sergeant blamed the Indians’ loss of land on what he described as their drunkenness and idleness. He suggested that the whites’ encroachment on their lands was God’s punishment for their sins. Sergeant remained the New Stockbridge minister until his death in 1824.


Unidentified Smith.

Massuck, Daniel

Daniel Massuck was a Farmington Tuxnis who attended Moor’s for a few months in 1762 and fought in the Revolution. His father, Samuel Massuck, had converted to Christianity, and Daniel Massuck was raised as a Christian. The family was prominent in Farmington affairs, and played host to Joseph Johnson on numerous occasions. Both Samuel and Daniel were very involved in the early push to found Brothertown (a composite tribe of Algonquian Indians from the Long Island Sound region, organized and populated largely by former members of Moor’s Indian Charity School): both appear frequently as signatories on letters on the topic, and it was Samuel Massuck who asked for a Connecticut law book to produce the new settlement’s laws. However, neither Samuel nor Daniel actually emigrated to Brothertown (although Luke Massuck, Daniel Massuck’s son or brother, did, for a brief time). Perhaps because they had been brought into the movement by Joseph Johnson, after Joseph Johnson’s death (sometime during the Revolution years) they were no longer invested.

Lester, Eliphalet
Avery, John
Quaquaquid, Henry

Henry Quaquaquid was a Mohegan Indian who was active in both political and religious tribal affairs. In 1742 he, as a counselor, signed a petition that declared John Uncas as the rightful successor of Sachem Mahomet; however, the following year Quaquaquid, along with Occom and nine other counselors, signed Ben Uncas’s counter proclamation. As supporters of Ben Uncas, Occom and Quaquaquid lived in Ben’s Town rather than John’s Town, the home of the Ashpos. Nonetheless, they eventually changed their minds and joined the Ashpos in an effort to counteract tribal corruption and disunion. Around 1760, Ben Uncas III claimed that the rival faction had established Quaquaquid as sachem. Quaquaquid was also involved in the Mason case and acted as a messenger. He sought to protect the Mohegans’ native rights, and in 1785 signed a petition, along with Occom and four others, to the Connecticut General Assembly asking for unrestricted fishing privileges. In 1789, Quaquaquid and Robert Ashpo appealed to the Connecticut Assembly again seeking aid, and as in the original petition, stressed their friendship. Additionally, Quaquaquid often accompanied Occom during his missionary tours, such as those of 1757 and 1785. He also acted as a deacon, possibly at a church that Occom established in Mohegan. Quaquaquid did not move to Brothertown, but remained in Mohegan with his family.

Avery, John

John Avery was born in 1705 in Groton, Connecticut. Avery was chosen to serve as deacon for a Congregationalist church in Preston, Connecticut, and was ordained on August 16, 1747. A study by Avery's ancestors indicates that he was once imprisoned for refusing to pay dues to Connecticut colony's state-sponsored Congregationalist church. He felt his imprisonment was noble, given his aversion to centralized church power. Avery was named lieutenant and then captain of the Preston trainband, the local militia, in 1739 and 1741, respectively. He resigned in 1750. In 1743, Avery was named deputy to the general court. Occom lodged at the home of Avery at least three times when passing through New London. Avery died in 1789 in Preston, Connecticut, and in his will, Avery granted his slave freedom and financial support. Joanna Brooks confuses Deacon John Avery with his son of the same name, who was a clockmaker and silversmith in Preston, Connecticut born in 1732.

Chaugham, James

James Chaugham was a Narragansett Indian from Block Island, RI. He married Molly Barber, a white woman from Wethersfield, CT. The couple settled near New Hartford, CT, and had eight children, one of whom, Mercy, married a fugitive slave named Isaac Jacklyn. Their extended family became known as the Lighthouse Tribe.

Croker, Jabez
Justice, Hannah
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.


Mrs. Latham was the wife of Captain Robert Latham, who was part of the extensive Latham family in Groton and New London, Connecticut. She lived in Groton with her husband, who was a friend and supporter of Occom. We know from Occom's journals for 1784-89 that he held meetings at the Lathams' house, lodged, dined with and called on the Lathams on several occasions as he crossed back and forth from Groton to New London on the ferry, which was likely operated by a descendant of Cary Latham, the first ferryman there in the 1680s. Occom notes several intriguing facts about Mrs. Latham: that she "looks quite young," which suggests she was Captain Latham's second wife, that they have no children, and that on occasion -- for example, after William Avery's funeral in January 1786 -- he calls on her specifically .

Lister, Eliphalet
Marshall, Joseph
Moss, Daniel
Niles, James
Saunders, Giddeon
Sergeant, Mary (née Codner)
Palmer, Abel
Palmer, Reuben
Pharoah, George
Brother Phineas
Sheffield, William
Shooler, John
Smith, Jabez

Jabez Smith was a deacon at the Second Baptist Church in Groton, CT, a congregation with strong New Light sympathies. He was very active in the church, and on at least one occasion he opened his home to an extemporaneous religious meeting, at which Occom preached. Smith supported himself via the family farm. The house he built there, in 1783, is still standing and currently serves as a museum.

Smith, Jonathan

Jonathan Smith was a friend of Samson Occom’s who lived in Long Society, a suburb of Norwich, Connecticut. Although Long Society did not have a formally organized church between 1782 and 1786, the town still hosted informal meetings, at several of which Occom preached.

Story, Ephraim
Sunsummon, Jo
Occom, Talitha

Talitha Occom was Samson Occom and Mary Fowler Occom’s sixth daughter. The only primary source references to her are two entries in Samson Occom’s 1785 diary, in which he records her death (June 26th, 1785, and September 26th, 1785). She lived somewhere between Farmington (CT) and Canaan (CT), and had at least one child (possibly at least three: Occom describes visiting her “youngest child.”) Because Talitha does not appear in any other primary source, some scholars have concluded that she did not exist. Joanna Brooks transcribes Talitha as Tabitha (although in manuscript 785301, the letter is very clearly an l rather than a b), and thus places Tabitha’s death at 1785 (although other records indicate that she survived her second husband, Joshua Cooper, who died in 1807), while Laura Murray suggests that Talitha is a metaphor for a daughter’s spiritual death. It is more likely that Talitha really was one of Occom’s daughters. First, Occom does not record the birth of any of his children in his diary, so it is no surprise that only one reference to Talitha survives. Second, Occom seems genuinely distraught about Talitha’s death. It could also be hypothesized that Talitha is a byword for “little girl” or daughter (borrowed from a resurrection story in the Gospel of Mark 5, in which Jesus tells a little girl, “talitha koum,” or, “little girl, get up”), and thus that Occom is writing about the death of a different daughter. However, based on genealogical data, there is no other daughter who could have died in 1785. William DeLoss Love recorded that Talitha was born in 1761, but, as often, it is unclear where he got this data from.

his wife
Yoke, Jehoiakim

Captain Jehoiakim Yoke is likely a Stockbridge Indian who enlisted with colonial forces during the American Revolution. Yoke rose through the ranks to become the Captain of a company of Indian rangers. It appears that he primarily fought on the war's western front, often against Native Americans loyal to Great Britain, and was a part of the infamous Sullivan Expedition. In response to a number of successful raids by Native allies of the British, George Washington tasked General John Sullivan with destroying Indian villages and decimating Indian food supplies in western New York. By the end of the expedition, General Sullivan’s army had destroyed more than 40 villages. A Captain Jehoiakim Yoke is mentioned in the Revolutionary War writing of David Freemoyer. In Freemoyer’s account, Captain Yoke and Freemoyer’s men were involved in conflicts with Native American troops under the command of the Mohawk leader (and Moor's alumnus) Joseph Brant. In his Revolutionary War journal, Chaplain William Rogers refers to a Captain Jehoiakim, an Indian from Stockbridge. In his entries from June of 1779, Rogers describes an incident where Native allies of the British attempted to reconnoiter the Colonial encampment but were driven away. This Captain Jehoiakim and two other Stockbridge Indians pursued the Native Americans but were unsuccessful in capturing them. William DeLoss Love writes about a Timothy Yokens, who became a captain of a company of Indian rangers. Given the similar descriptions of this Stockbridge Indian captain, it seems that the sources may be referring to the same man, with whom Occom lodged several times in 1786.

Huntington, Christopher IV

Christopher Huntington (IV) was a physician and deacon in New Concord, CT (Bozrah, CT), a satellite parish of Norwich. He was one of Eleazar Wheelock’s cousins. Occom seems to have struck up a friendship with Deacon Huntington on his later travels; this may suggest that the deacon was a New Light or even a Baptist.

Avery, William

William Avery was born in 1724 to the prominent Avery family of Groton, Connecticut. From January 1768 until his death, Avery served as Groton's town clerk and treasurer. During the American Revolution, Avery served on several war committees. In 1779, he represented Groton at a general convention in Hartford, and then served on a committee to secure bounties for Revolutionary soldiers by selling Groton "public lands." From 1772 until 1810, North Groton did not have an official minister, and South Groton did not have one between 1798 and 1810; it appears that religious activity waned during this time. In his journal for 1785, however, Occom recalls an experience preaching in Groton, where Avery followed his sermon with an exhortation, an extemporaneous outpouring by a layperson that in New Light churches of the time often followed the more formal sermon. Occom notes that the audience was so rapt on this occasion that they did not want to leave, and begged Occom to preach to them again. Avery died at the age of 63 and was buried in the Starr Cemetery in Groton.

HomeSamson Occom, journal, 1785 May 1 to October 3
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