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Samson Occom, Journal, 1785 December 5 to 14

ms-number: 785655

abstract: Occom details his travels as an itinerant preacher.

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

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

ink: Brown ink varies in intensity.

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

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

Monday December 5: 1785

got up
very early, and prayed together and
Soon after Prayer I went to Mr.
s. and from there to Mr.
s, I [illegible]rode Mr. Clarks mare
and Came directly back, for
Mr. Dake was waiting for me
to Carry me in his sleigh to Balls
; about 9: we set off, and
to Ballston about 12: and I put
up in Mr. Weeds house, and
he received me kindly;
[gap: tear]2 went to meeting and there was
a little Number of People
and I preached to them from
Acts, XIII. 30: and there was
great seriousness in the assem‐
bly. after meeting went to Mr.
s and took Some Victuals
and ale) Sometime
in the evening, a man Came
to the house and desired me
to go to See a man that was
very Sick, and I went directly
and Soon got there, about

eight o'clock, and found the man
very Sick his Name is Mr.
Theophilus Hide
, and was
greatly desirous to be baptised
and I examined and found
him much distressed about his
Soul, and I endeavoured to
explained to him the Nature
of baptism, and finding him
to understand something of
the Nature of baptism and
he earnestly desiring it, So
at last I consented and I
baptised him — and his
wife was also greatly exer
cised about her Soul, and
they wanted to have their
Child baptised also, but I
declined — and I lodged there
and Dr. Jerviss was there
all Night. —

Tuesday December 6:

after break
fast went to Mr. Weeds in a sleigh
Mr. Hide Carried me, got to Mr.

Weed sometime before noon
about 1 went into the meeting
house, and there but few People
the smallest Congregation I have
had in these parts, and I Spoke
from Acts VIII: 30: the People attend
ed well, — went with one Mr. Hollister
and in the evening, there a Num
ber of Neighbours Came in and
my good old Friends Mr. Larkins
and his wife Came in also, I was
well acquainted with them on
Long Island, and we were very
glad to See one another, and 2
of their Children Came in also
a Son and Daughter, a likely
young Folks, — and we had very
agreeable exercise with my Cards
and we Sung and prayed together
and then I went home with Mr.
and Lodged there and
was extremely well received and
Treated, went to bed late and
Slept comfortably —

Wednesday December 7:

after break
fast Mr. Hollister Came to Mr. Larkins
with a sleigh to Carry to meeting
Mrs. Larkins and her Daughter
Bettsey went with us in the
sleigh,; we got the meeting about
10: and the people had not got
together but few, and we stayed
'til about 12 and went into
a schoolhouse and there was
pretty good number of People and
I Spoke from 1 Peter 1:24 —
and there was great Solemnity in
the assembly, Soon after I went
to one Mr. Jeremiah Bettys house
and a number of People went
also, and the man desired me to
baptise his Child, the woman
was of Baptist persuasion, Yet
She gave her full consent, and
after Examination, I got up to
Show the Nature of offering a
Child unto god in baptism and
the woman was much affected

and I Proceeded to baptise the
Child, — after that, I sat down to
eat with them, Soon after, I went
to Mr. Palmmers, and in the
Evening, we again I had ex
ercise with my Cards there
was a Number of Young People
and they behaved well, — late in
the evening I went to Bed quietly
once more, the Lord be praised —

Thursday December 8:

got up very
early, and Mrs. Palmmer got break
fast early and Soon after eating
I went off to a meeting North
part of Ballston, to Preach
got to Mr. weeds sometime
in the morning, and stayed Some
Time, and one Mr. Sprague Come
with a sleigh for me, and we went
off Directly, and got to Mr.
s about 12: and took
Dinner with them, and then
directly went to meeting, and
there was a great number

of People, and I Spoke from
John XVII. 3: and there was a
great and most Solemn attenti
on there were many Tears —
Soon after meeting I went di
rectly back with Mr. Spragues
Folks; and went directly to
Mr. Turners, and had a meet
ing there in the Evening, and
there was a Number of People
again they crowded the house
and I preached. from Hebrews
2: 3: and I believe the Lord
was present, I had Some sense
of Divine things, and the People
were greatly affected, there
was a flood of Tears, — I lodged
at the Same house —

Friday, December 9:

after breakfast, I went off a
young man went with me I
Call on Col. Gordon, and
he Treated me very kindly

would had me Stay to Dine with
him, but I could not Stay, and
So went on Soon, called on [gap: omitted]
but Stay but few minutes and
So went on, got to Mr. weeds be
fore Noon, and was there 'til
about sunset; and then Mr.
Came with his sleigh
for me, and went with him
directly, and got to his house
and got there sometime in
the evening. and when, we got
there found a number of Friends
together waiting for us; and
I sat a little while, and I began
with them with my Cards and
we had Very agreeable exer
cise, and we sat up late and
finally we broke up, and I
went to bed quietly once
more; blessed be the name
of the Lord for his goodness to

Saturday December 10,

after breakfast went to Mr.
and took Dinner with
them, and Soon after Dinner
I went back to Mr. Hollesters
Call, on Mr. Bettys, and sat
only few minutes, and went
on, — and sometime in the after
noon, Mr. Hollister got his sleigh
ready and we went on, Mr.
Amos Larkin
, Mr. Ely and a
woman went with us, and
we got to Mr. Rogerss just
before sunset, and we stopped
there a while, took Tea with
them, — and Soon after Tea we
went on, and called on Mr.
, a few minutes and then
we went on to good old Mr. Northrop
and there I lodged, we had Some
agreeable exercise with my Cards
only with the old People and
one young man, I read

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

Sabbath December 11

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

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

Monday December 12:

in the morning, I went to Mr.
s, and from thence to
Mr. Holms's, and was there 'til
about 2 in the afternoon
and there was a Young man
Came to fetch me from Gal
, and I went off with him

directly, and we got to Mr.
's near night where
I am to marry a couple of Scotch
Folks and they received me
with all kindness and friend
ship, lodged there and had
a Comfortable rest, —

Tuesday December 13:

we all got
up very early, and they got
breakfast Soon, — and we wait
‐ed for weddeners, and about
1 o'clock they Came, and a young
man went out with a bottle
to meet them and treated them
round before they Came into
the house, and Soon after they
got into the house, we proceeded
in Celebrating the ordinance
of Marriage, — and as Soon as
it was over we Sat down to
Dinner, and when that was
over, the weddeners set off

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

Wednesday, December 14:

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

Baptists/Seventh Day Baptists
The Baptists were a dissenter sect that became especially popular in New England after the First Great Awakening. They diverged from Protestant belief mainly in insisting that only believers should be baptized, and that it should be done by immersion in water and not by sprinkling or pouring water, but they represented the most radical of the radical New Lights and were known for lay preaching and personal spirituality. Wheelock and most of his former students were more moderate New Lights and opposed this sort of radical Christianity. Occom, however, had many connections with Baptist ministers in central New York. On his preaching tour in 1774, he records visiting several Baptist ministers, largely white, and speaking to large crowds, sometimes in the woods. He also records meeting with a "Seven Day Baptist" minister. The Seventh Day or Sabbatarian Baptists differ from Baptist beliefs mainly in observing the Sabbath on Saturday, in accordance with the ten commandments. Baptist belief held a strong attraction for Native peoples because it protected their autonomy and embraced preaching and leadership by lay people. Divides over theology became problematic at Brothertown, where Occom’s moderate sect clashed with the more Baptist sect over whether or not to lease their land to Americans. After Occom’s death, Samuel Ashpo, a Baptist Mohegan minister known for his separatism, began spending more time at Brothertown and built up a substantial Baptist congregation there.
Universalist Church
The Universalist Church was a Christian religious denomination that developed in America from Pietist and Anabaptist movements, inculding Quakers, Moravians, Methodists, Lutherans and others. Its defining theology is universal salvation, and thus it runs counter to the central Calvinist belief in predestination, in which some souls are predestined for damnation. As a Presbyterian, Occom held to the Calvinist view and vigorously disagreed doctrinally with adherents of Universalism. The first Universalist Church in America was founded by John Murray in Gloucester, MA in 1779, and in 1790 the Universalists adopted a a doctrinal statement and plan for church government. In 1961 the Universalists consolidated with the Unitarian Association to form the Unitarian Universalist Church.

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

Long Island

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

5000 Aires
Occom, Samson

Samson Occom was a Mohegan leader and ordained Presbyterian minister. Occom began his public career in 1742, when he was chosen as a tribal counselor to Ben Uncas II. The following year, he sought out Eleazar Wheelock, a young Anglo-American minister in Lebanon, CT, in hopes of obtaining some education and becoming a teacher at Mohegan. Wheelock agreed to take on Occom as a student, and though Occom had anticipated staying for a few weeks or months, he remained with Wheelock for four years. Occom’s academic success inspired Wheelock to open Moor’s Indian Charity School in 1754, a project which gave him the financial and political capital to establish Dartmouth College in 1769. After his time with Wheelock, Occom embarked on a 12-year mission to the Montauk of Long Island (1749-1761). He married a Montauk woman, Mary Fowler, and served as both teacher and missionary to the Montauk and nearby Shinnecock, although he was grievously underpaid for his services. Occom conducted two brief missions to the Oneida in 1761 and 1762 before embarking on one of the defining journeys of his career: a fundraising tour of Great Britain that lasted from 1765 to 1768. During this journey, undertaken on behalf of Moor’s Indian Charity School, Occom raised £12,000 (an enormous and unanticpated amount that translates roughly to more than two-million dollars), and won wide acclaim for his preaching and comportment. Upon his return to Mohegan in 1768, Occom discovered that Wheelock had failed to adequately care for his family while he was gone. Additionally, despite the vast sums of money that he had raised, Occom found himself unemployed. Wheelock tried to find Occom a missionary position, but Occom was in poor health and disinclined to leave his family again after seeing the treatment with which they had met while he was in Britain. Occom and Wheelock’s relationship continued to sour as it became apparent to Occom that the money he had labored to raise would be going towards infrastructure at Dartmouth College, Wheelock’s new project, rather than the education of Native Americans. After the dissolution of his relationship with Wheelock, Occom became increasingly focused on the needs of the Mohegan community and increasingly vocal in criticizing Anglo-Americans’ un-Christian treatment of Native Americans. In September of 1772, he delivered his famous “Sermon on the Execution of Moses Paul,” which took Anglo-American spiritual hypocrisy as one of its major themes, and which went into four printings before the end of the year. In 1773, Occom became further disillusioned when the Mason Land Case was decided in favor of the Colony of Connecticut. The details of the Mason Case are complicated, but to summarize: the Colony of Connecticut had gained control of Mohegan land early in the 18th century under very suspect circumstances, and successfully fended off the Mohegan’s 70-year-long legal challenge. The conclusion of the case came as a blow to the Mohegans, and further convinced Occom of Anglo-American corruption. Along with David Fowler (Montauk Tribe), Occom's brother-in-law, and Joseph Johnson (Mohegan), Occom's son-in-law, Occom helped found Brothertown, an Indian tribe formed from the Christian Mohegans, Pequots, Narragansetts, Montauks, Tunxis, and Niantics. They eventually settled in Oneida country in upstate New York. Occom moved there with his family in 1789, spending the remaining years of his life serving as a minster to the Brothertown, Stockbridge, and Mohegan Indians. Harried by corrupt land agents, the Brothertown and Stockbridge groups relocated to the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago, though Occom died in 1792 before he could remove himself and his family there. Occom's writings and legacy have made him one of the best known and most eminent Native Americans of the 18th century and beyond.

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