Clelland, Robert

honorific(s): Mr.
Birth: Unknown
Death: Unknown

Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge (SSPCK)






Schoolmaster, missionary

  • Mohegan, CT (from 1752 to 1765-07-05)

On April 26, 1764, Occom wrote a petition for the Mohegan Tribe against Robert Clelland, enumerating the ways in which Clelland was mismanaging the school.

On September 19, 1764, the Boston commissioners voted to dismiss Clelland as the Mohegan schoolmaster; however, he continued until the commission voted to remove him again on July 5, 1765.

Marital status



Robert Clelland was the Scottish schoolmaster at Mohegan who became a contentious figure. He began as schoolmaster in 1752, supported by the Boston commissioners of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. Clelland resided in an apartment that was either adjacent or close to the school, and although he had a limited income, the Colony provided him with bread daily. Clelland had a close relationship with Reverend David Jewett, the white minister at Mohegan who oversaw the school and often lectured there; both Clelland and Jewett supported Connecticut in the Mason Case. However, Clelland conflicted with many other leaders in Mohegan. He repeatedly wrote to Eleazar Wheelock complaining about Ben Uncas III and his drunkenness, even though the sachem did not oppose the colony in the Mason Case and Clelland typically supported him. Clelland also developed a hostile relationship with Samson Occom; notably they held opposing positions during the Mason Case. Occom brought concerns regarding Clelland to the commissioners’ attention. He claimed the schoolteacher preferred the paying English students to the point that their presence was displacing Mohegan pupils, and criticized other ways in which Clelland ran the school. On September 19, 1764, the commissioners voted to release Clelland of his duties as schoolmaster. Notwithstanding, he remained until he was dismissed again on July 5, 1765. Occom’s involvement with Clelland’s dismissal further disrupted what was already a contentious relationship between him and Jewett. Clelland appears to have remained in Mohegan even after his dismissal.


Brooks, Joanna. The Collected Writings of Samson Occom, Mohegan. Oxford University Press: New York, 2006. Accessed via, Love, DeLoss W. Samson Occom and the Christian Indians of New England. Boston: Pilgrim Press, 1899. Silverman, David J. Red Brethren: The Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians and the Problem of Race in Early America. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2010.