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Samuel Buell, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1758 October 17

ms-number: 758567.1

[note (type: abstract): Buell writes that Occom should be sent on a mission to Virginia and, therefore, ordained as soon as possible.][note (type: handwriting): Handwriting is largely clear, yet superscripts are frequently difficult to discern, as is letter case, especially with regard to the letters “S,” “Y,” and “T.” There are many additions and underlinings.][note (type: paper): Large sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good-to-fair condition, with moderate creasing, staining and wear. A small tear and worn creases result in a minor loss of text.][note (type: ink): Brown.][note (type: signature): Signature is abbreviated.]

events: Occom’s Ordination


[Revd | Rev.]RevdRev. And dear Sir,
Yours by our little Jerime[pers0778.ocp]— I received,
and thank you for so much [above] LoveLove [expreſsed | expressed]expreſsedexpressed in it to a [Creture | creature]Creturecreature
so vile. I would have taken Your Dear little Jacob[pers1629.ocp] into
my Family during his stay here, but two [Studients | students]Studientsstudents in
Divinity, and [Dr | Dr.]DrDr.[above] [illegible][illegible] Prime[pers0787.ocp] were sojourning with us already,
so [above] thatthat we were full; And it suited well that he should [reſide | reside]reſidereside
at [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. Hedges.[pers0253.ocp] I was for a Time [determind | determined]determinddetermined to make
Trial of Peoples [Generoſity | generosity]Generoſitygenerosity, and see what they would do
for him, and other Indian Lads of Your School[org0098.ocp]; but
upon second thought, I was [apprehenſive | apprehensive]apprehenſiveapprehensive that it might
be preventive of some future Acts of this Kind, and therefore
have omitted for the [Preſent | present]Preſentpresent: How you came to hear
that my People are remarkable for Charity and
[Liberallity | liberality]Liberallityliberality I am not able to Say; they once indeed
exhibited Evidence of their [Generoſity | generosity]Generoſitygenerosity to Such a Degree
as I [Suppoſe | suppose]Suppoſesuppose an equal [Pr[illegible][guess (h-dawnd): [ſ | s]ſs][ſ | s]ſscedent | precedent]Pr[illegible][guess (h-dawnd): [ſ | s]ſs][ſ | s]ſscedentprecedent is not to be found scarce
in the Annals of America[place0003.ocp], when they sent 17 teen
fat Oxen [above] [& | and]&and [Stears | steers]Stearssteers[& | and]&and [Stears | steers]Stearssteers as a [Preſent | present]Preſentpresent to our Army at Lake-George[place0312.ocp],
and bore the [Expence | expense]Expenceexpense of Conveyance; but [otherwiſe | otherwise]otherwiſeotherwise I
am not [aſſured | assured]aſſuredassured they merit a high [Incomium | encomium]Incomiumencomium for [Liberallity | liberality]Liberallityliberality;
[tho' | though]tho'though I hope they will ever show a [Chriſtian | Christian]ChriſtianChristian Spirit
upon proper [Occaſion | occasion]Occaſionoccasion.— I am [apprehenſive | apprehensive]apprehenſiveapprehensive that it [requiers | requires]requiersrequires
your [Perſonal | personal]Perſonalpersonal [Preſence | presence]Preſencepresence to obtain anything worthy of
mentioning from my People, for your School.[org0098.ocp]

'Tis true. some of my People abound with [out[above] wordword | outward]out[above] wordwordoutward [Bleſsings | blessings]Bleſsingsblessings;
But, I fear that in [above] thisthis Day [above] inin which there is so little
Mortification prevailing, little, very little, [Liberallity | liberality]Liberallityliberality
will be seen abounding. —
The [laſt | last]laſtlast Week I [receiv,d | received]receiv,dreceived a second Letter from the [Revd | Rev.]RevdRev. [Mr | Mr.]MrMr.
in Virginia[place0236.ocp], as Secretary of a Society there, [form,d | formed]form,dformed
for [propegating | propagating]propegatingpropagating the [Goſpel | Gospel]GoſpelGospel,— in which, in the [moſt | most]moſtmost [preſsing | pressing]preſsingpressing
manner, he urges that [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. [Occum | Occom]OccumOccom[pers0030.ocp] would by December [above] nextnext[1758-12] be
[preſent | present]preſentpresent with him — as engaging in a [Miſſion | mission]Miſſionmission among the
[Cheireoikees | Cherokees]CheireoikeesCherokees[org0021.ocp], Upon the receiving of which — I [immeadi[illegible]ately | immediately]immeadi[illegible]atelyimmediately
[applyed | applied]applyedapplied to [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. [Occum | Occom]OccumOccom[pers0030.ocp] to undertake, — and [propoſed | proposed]propoſedproposed his
Ordination by our [Presbetery | Presbytery]PresbeteryPresbytery[org0085.ocp], but this he declined, in
that, for Several [Reaſons | reasons]Reaſonsreasons he thought he [muſt | must]muſtmust [neceſſarily | necessarily]neceſſarilynecessarily
[refuſe | refuse]refuſerefuse a [complyance | compliance]complyancecompliance with the above Motion, at [Preſent | present]Preſentpresent:
But has fully concluded, that upon [renew,d | renewed]renew,drenewed Application
he will early the next Spring accept the Call. —
Accordingly I have wrote to [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. Davis[pers0158.ocp] and let him know,
that upon hearing from [above] himhim again, as [expreſsing | expressing]expreſsingexpressing his [Deſier | desire]Deſierdesire that
[Mr | Mr.]MrMr. [Occum | Occom]OccumOccom[pers0030.ocp] would come to him in the Spring; nothing
special occurring, he may depend thereupon: And 'tis
altogether [Probible | probable]Probibleprobable the Application will be renewe[illegible]d.—
You will therefore undoubtedly conclude, [Sr | Sir]SrSir, (without a Moments
[Hiſitation | hesitation]Hiſitationhesitation,) that [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. [Occum | Occom]OccumOccom[pers0030.ocp]s Ordination [muſt | must]muſtmust [neceſsarily | necessarily]neceſsarilynecessarily be
attended as soon as it [poſsibly | possibly]poſsiblypossibly can with [Conveniency | convenience]Conveniencyconvenience; and
I [earniſtly | earnestly]earniſtlyearnestly [beſeach | beseech]beſeachbeseech it may; [above] be our Side the Waterbe our Side the Water or that You [conſent | consent]conſentconsent, that he
Should be ordained by our Presbytery[org0085.ocp].— [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. Davis[pers0158.ocp]
Informs in his letter, that a [Miſsionary | missionary]Miſsionarymissionary now [amoung | among]amoungamong the
[Chei[illegible]rockees | Cherokees]Chei[illegible]rockeesCherokees[org0021.ocp], writes encouraging,— "that they treat him with —

"Honour and Affection, and have [conſented | consented]conſentedconsented to give
"him a fair Hearing; that there is Sufficient Encour
"agement to Send forth another [Miſſionary | missionary]Miſſionarymissionary.
[Mr | Mr.]MrMr. Davis[pers0158.ocp] writes, that the Salary they allow a
[Miſsionary | missionary]Miſsionarymissionary is at [leaſt | least]leaſtleast £[70ty | 70]70ty70 [Sterl:[below] gg: | Sterling]Sterl:[below] gg:Sterling a Year; and they
[Propoſe | propose]Propoſepropose to bear [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. [Occum | Occom]OccumOccom[pers0030.ocp]s [Expences | expenses]Expencesexpenses on his
Way to Virginia[place0236.ocp]. I intended to have [tranſcribed | transcribed]tranſcribedtranscribed
much more of [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. [Daviſe | Davis]DaviſeDavis[pers0158.ocp]'s Letter, but have not
Time. — It has so [happen,d | happened]happen,dhappened, that I have lately recei
ved a [illegible]large Number of Letters from Gentlemen
in the [Miniſtry | ministry]Miniſtryministry, [above] several of which [muſt | must]muſtmust now be [anſwerd | answered]anſwerdanswered.—several of which [muſt | must]muſtmust now be [anſwerd | answered]anſwerdanswered.— and Some have been so [compleſant | complaisant]compleſantcomplaisant
as to [Deſier | desire]Deſierdesire my thoughts upon some critical Points
in Divinity, — the next Week is the [Seſsion | session]Seſsionsession of our [Preſby | Presby]PreſbyPresby[illegible][guess (h-dawnd): try]try[org0085.ocp]
[Preſbytery | Presbytery]PreſbyteryPresbytery[org0085.ocp] which [Occaſsion | occasions]Occaſsionoccasions much [gap: hole] [Buiſneſs | business]Buiſneſsbusiness this Week
and so [above] muchmuch [Ignor[illegible][guess (h-dawnd): an]ane | ignorance]Ignor[illegible][guess (h-dawnd): an]aneignorance, [Selfe | self]Selfeself, Pride, [Confuſion | confusion]Confuſionconfusion, and all that's
bad, attends m[illegible]e, [yt | that]ytthat I make but poor Work [amidſt | amidst]amidſtamidst
all; You will :[Dr Sr | dear sir]Dr Srdear sir, Drop the Mantle of Love
over the Errors [& | and]&and [Difficiencies | deficiencies]Difficienciesdeficiencies of my [Scrible | scribble]Scriblescribble. [Pleaſe | Please]PleaſePlease
to let me hear from You as Soon as may be.
I am [pritty | pretty]prittypretty well [aſſured | assured]aſſuredassured from knowledge of the
Multiplicity of [Buiſneſs | business]Buiſneſsbusiness that will [lye | lay]lyelay before
the [Preſbytery | Presbytery]PreſbyteryPresbytery[org0085.ocp] next Week — that we shall be
[oblig,d | obliged]oblig,dobliged to meet Soon again at this End of the
[Iſland | Island]IſlandIsland[place0129.ocp]; [above] in about 3 Weeksin about 3 Weeks which will afford an [Oppertune | opportune]Oppertuneopportune [Seaſon | season]Seaſonseason
for [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. [Occum | Occom]OccumOccom[pers0030.ocp]s Ordination, if You will [pleaſe | please]pleaſeplease
to come, and [aſſiſt | assist]aſſiſtassist, and make us Glad. I [above] amam [Straitn,d | straitened]Straitn,dstraitened
for time — am weary with Writing — and [muſt | must]muſtmust omit many
things; But not this one [above] vizviz my [Dr | dear]Drdear [Spouſe | spouse]Spouſespouse[pers0771.ocp] [preſents | presents]preſentspresents you
with a [thouſand | thousand]thouſandthousand-[tun | ton]tunton of Love, over and above [Joyning | joining]Joyningjoining
with me in cordial Salutations to [your Selfe | yourself]your Selfeyourself [& | and]&and [Dr | dear]Drdear [Spouſe | spouse]Spouſespouse[pers0577.ocp].
I am, [Revd | Rev.]RevdRev. [& | and]&and [Dr Sr | Dear Sir]Dr SrDear Sir[gap: tear] [utmoſt | utmost]utmoſtutmost [haſt | haste]haſthaste

Your Son [& | and]&and [Sert | servant]Sertservant[illegible]
[Saml | Samuel]SamlSamuel Buell[pers0006.ocp]

[M,r | Mr.]M,rMr. [Whelock | Wheelock]WhelockWheelock[pers0036.ocp]

[M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Buell[pers0006.ocp]s Letter
[below] [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Buell[pers0006.ocp]'s Letter
[M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Buell[pers0006.ocp]'s Letter

[below] [Rec.d | Received]Rec.dReceived [Nov.r | November]Nov.rNovember 4 1758[1758-11-04].[Rec.d | Received]Rec.dReceived [Nov.r | November]Nov.rNovember 4 1758[1758-11-04].

The [Revd Mr | Rev. Mr.]Revd MrRev. Mr.[Whelock | Wheelock]WhelockWheelock[pers0036.ocp]
Moor’s Indian Charity School
Moor’s Indian Charity School was a grammar school for Native Americans that Eleazar Wheelock opened in North Lebanon, Connecticut in 1754. The school was named for Colonel Joshua Moor, also spelled More, who donated the land and school building. Moor’s was essentially an expansion of the grammar school that Wheelock opened in 1743 to support himself during the fallout from the First Great Awakening, when Wheelock, who'd participated in itinerant ministry during the Awakening, had his salary confiscated by the colony of Connecticut. In December of that year, Samson Occom asked Wheelock to teach him as well. Wheelock's work with Occom was so successful that Wheelock decided to replicate the experiment with other Native American boys. He accepted his first Indian students in 1754, and in 1761 began taking female students as well. Wheelock believed that in time, his school would become just one part of a larger missionary enterprise. He planned to send his Anglo American and Native American students to various tribes as missionaries and schoolmasters, with explicit instructions to pick out the best students and send them back to Moor’s to continue the cycle. His ultimate goal was to turn his school into a model Christian Indian town that would include farms, a college, and vocational training. However, Wheelock’s grand design did not survive the decade. Wheelock lost the vast majority of his Native American students; he fought with many of the best, including Samson Occom, Joseph Johnson, David Fowler, and Hezekiah Calvin, and other former and current students accused him of subjecting Native Americans to disproportionate amounts of manual labor. In 1769, perhaps due to concerns about corporal punishment, the Oneida withdrew all their children from Moor’s. When Wheelock relocated to Hanover in 1769, only two Native American students came with him, and it became clear that Wheelock’s focus was on Dartmouth and that Dartmouth was for white students. After Wheelock’s death in 1779, Moor’s Indian Charity School receded further into the background as John Wheelock, his father’s reluctant successor, stopped taking Indian students. Some Native American students were enrolled in Moor’s until 1850, when the school unofficially closed.
Cherokee Tribe
The Cherokees are a North American Indian tribe, now with a population of about 350,000. They were one of the largest politically organized tribes at the time of European colonization. Their name derives from a Creek word meaning "people of different speech," which is more properly spelled Tsalagi; their original tribal name is Aniyunwiya. Their language, Tsalagi Gawonihisdi, is related to Haudenosaunee. Controlling a large territory in the Appalachian Mountains in parts of present day Georgia, eastern Tennessee, and the western Carolinas, the Cherokees hunted and raised corn, beans, and squash, and had large towns organized around council houses with sacred fires. The Spanish, French and English all attempted to colonize parts of the Southeast; by the 18th century, the Cherokees allied with the British against the French, who were allied with some of their traditional Haudenosaunee enemies. But English settlement destroyed many Cherokee towns and damaged tribal economies. The Cherokees and other neighboring tribes lost territory after the Revolutionary War because of their support of the British, and after 1800, the Cherokees began adopting settler culture, forming a government based on the US model, farming, and developing a written language that promoted almost full literacy among the Tribe and produced the first Indian newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix in 1828. But when gold was discovered on Cherokee land, Georgia disregarded a US Supreme Court ruling in favor of Cherokee sovereignty, and moved the Cherokees from their traditional homes in a forced march in Fall and Winter of 1838-39 known as the Trail of Tears. The main body of Cherokees were resettled in northeastern Oklahoma, where they are today. At the time of removal, some escaped to the hills and remained in western North Carolina. There are now three federally recognized Cherokee Tribes. In 1758, Occom was being considered for a mission to the Cherokees in Virginia, which never happened.
Presbytery of Suffolk County
The Presbytery of Suffolk County, established April 1747, was the governing body for Presbyterian churches in the East Hampton area of Long Island. The Presbytery ordained Occom on August 29, 1759 and remained his ally and supporter throughout his life. It is likely that the Presbytery's support for Occom stemmed in part from the presence of Samuel Buell, who was one of the Presbytery's founders, an extremely influential member, and Occom's close friend. Several of Occom's missions fell under the Presbytery's authority, including his early work among the Montauks and his missions to the Six Nations in the early 1760s. The Presbytery ceded their claims to Occom in 1765 so that he could go on his fundraising mission under the authority of the Connecticut Board. Occom was again involved with the Presbytery after his return from Great Britain. In 1791, he transferred his allegiance to the Albany Presbytery because it was closer to Brothertown. The Suffolk Presbytery was a member of the Synod of New York (after 1758, the Synod of New York and Philadelphia).
East Hampton

East Hampton is a town in New York's Suffolk county on southeast Long Island, 14 miles southwest of Montauk. East Hampton was originally inhabited by the Algonquin-speaking Montauketts, who numbered over 10,000 and had a peaceful trading relationship with the nearby Pequots until early 17th century when English colonists played the two tribes off each other. In 1640, after the Pequot War, an English settler named Lion Gardiner purchased an island in the bay between the present-day towns of Montauk and East Hampton from the Montauketts, which began the English settlement, or seizure, of the land that would become East Hampton. The Montauketts called the island Manchonacke, or island where many died, while Gardiner named the island after himself. In 1648, the colonies of New Haven and Connecticut purchased more land from the Montauketts, spreading beyond Gardiner's Island onto Long Island and settling the town of East Hampton. In 1664, East Hampton was annexed to the colony of New York. As the number of English settlers increased, the Montauketts became increasingly dispossessed, economically tied to the English but relegated to the bottom of the social order. By 1687, the English had fenced off the majority of Montaukett land through a series of resolutions, changing the tribal structure of the Montauketts and leaving them open to conversion to Christianity. In 1749, Occom had been released from his preparatory studies for college because of poor eyesight and went on a summer fishing trip to Montauk; he decided to settle there and by November had established a school for the Montauketts. He frequented East Hampton on his travels to New York and New England from his home in Montauk beginning in 1750, often staying with Reverend Samuel Buell of the Presbytery of Suffolk County, who presided over Occom's 1759 ordination at the Presbytery. While traveling through East Hampton, Occom also stayed with William Hedges, a whaling captain and one of his benefactors. One of Occom's letters indicates that Hedges took care of Occom's family while he completed his mission to the Oneidas in 1761. Occom's relationship to East Hampton changed in the 1770s, however, when he started to believe that the pervasive English influence on Montaukett society had become corrosive. As a result of Occom's encouragement, many of the Montauketts of East Hampton moved to Brothertown in the late 1780s.

Lake George

Lake George is located in upstate New York, north of Albany. The Mohawks called the lake Andiatarocté, and the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) used the lake for hunting, fishing, and traveling to the lands of their northern enemies. In 1646, Jesuit missionary Father Isaac Jogues saw the lake and named it Lac du Saint Sacrement. European powers fought over this area throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, and the lake served as the location of a battle during the French and Indian War, pitting Sir William Johnson of England against Baron Dieskau of France. Ultimately, Johnson won, and in 1755 he renamed the body of water Lake George in honor of the king of England. In 1780, Tories and their Indian allies defeated revolutionary forces in a battle near Lake George. In a 1756 letter to Wheelock, Occom writes that the Haudenosaunee Indians around Lake George urged him to leave the area, fearing that Native Americans allied with the French during the French and Indian War might be upset by his continued presence. In a 1758 letter to Wheelock, Samuel Buell refers to the generosity of his people in having sent oxen and steers to “our Army at Lake-George.”

Commonwealth of Virginia

Virginia is a state located on the eastern seaboard in the mid-Atlantic United States. This area was home to several powerful chiefdoms including thirty-two Algonquian-speaking tribes that made up the Powhatan Empire and other nations including the Meherrins, Nottoways, Monacans, Manahoacs, Nahyssans, Occaneechis, Saponis, Tutelo Saponis, and Cherokees. When the English arrived in the late 1580s, they named the region after their virgin queen, Elizabeth I, and in 1607 established the first permanent English colony in the Americas. The Powhatans grew tobacco, and an English colonist, John Rolfe, introduced a new strand from the West Indies, which became a lucrative cash crop of Virginia. Rolfe’s wife, Pocahontas (born Matoaka), daughter of Chief Powhantan, was baptized and taken to London as an example of the possibilities for converted Indians. In the 1700s, the white population in Virginia increased as a result of the influx of German and Scottish-Irish immigrants. Africans were brought to Virginia to work in the tobacco fields, and in 1661, Virginia codified laws that condoned and regulated slavery. By 1776, forty percent of the new state’s population were Virginians of African origin or descent. Wheelock's letters from the 1750s contain several suggestions that his trained missionaries, including Occom, should be sent on missions to Virginia to teach Indians in that colony. In 1758, Samuel Davies of Virginia recruited Occom for a mission to the Cherokee Nation in Virginia and suggested that his ordination happen immediately in preparation (Occom was ordained in 1759 but by Presbyterians on Long Island), although this mission never happened.

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.


Lebanon is a town located in the state of Connecticut southwest of the town of Hartford. The land that became Lebanon was inhabited at least 10,000 years ago based on the archeological record. By the 1600s, the land was permanently inhabited by the Mohegan Indians, who used the area primarily for hunting. Lebanon was officially formed in 1700 when English settlers consolidated a number of land tracts, including several land grants by the Connecticut General Assembly and lands purchased from the Mohegans. However, these purchases were controversial. In 1659, the Mohegans entrusted their reserve land to Major John Mason, and in the following year, Mason transferred this land to the Connecticut colonial government with the understanding that there would be enough land left for the Mohegans to farm. The Mohegans claimed that they never authorized a transfer to the colonial government and only Mason’s heirs were entrusted with their land. In 1662, Connecticut, which included the Mohegan land that had been entrusted to the Masons, was incorporated by a royal charter. Based on this charter, the colony argued that the land was now the property of the government. In 1687, the colony began granting the Mohegan land to townships, and in 1704 the Masons petitioned the Crown on behalf of the Mohegans, claiming that such transfers of land to townships were illegal. Between the years of 1705 and 1773 legal disputes and controversies persisted, finally ending in a verdict by the Crown against the Mohegans. In 1755, Wheelock received property and housing in Lebanon that he would use as his house and school. While Lebanon was originally incorporated as a part of New London County in 1700, in 1724 it became a part of New Windham, before once again becoming a part of New London County in 1826. Lebanon was central to the American Revolution with half of its adult population fighting for the colonists and hundreds of meetings convened in the town for the revolutionary cause.

Buell, Samuel

Buell was a popular Presbyterian minister during the second half of the 18th century in Long Island, as well as a close friend of Samson Occom. He was ordained in November 1743, and was a popular itinerant minister before settling at Easthampton. He preached at Occom's ordination, published the sermon in 1761 to raise funds for Occom (he also wrote the letter addressed to Bostwick prefacing his publication), and stayed in close contact with Occom even after Occom's public break from Wheelock. Occom's diary is full of references to visiting Buell and to their close friendship. During the Revolution, Buell was the only minister on Long Island for 40 miles, and was very active in assisting the American cause. He also founded Clinton Academy on Long Island in 1785, which was the first private school chartered by the New York Board of Regents. This academy was also remarkable in that it admitted women. Multiple historical sources have misconstrued Samuel Buell as Sol or Solomon Buell, likely because Buell sometimes signed his name Sa.l, a creative abbreviation of Samuel. However, there was no Reverend Solomon Buell in Easthampton, or, it seems, Long Island, in the second half of the 18th century: Samuel had no brothers, and were there to be two Reverend S. Buell's within 10 miles of one another during the same period, related or not, doubtlessly someone would have commented on it. In addition, the handwriting in letters ascribed to "Sol" and those assigned to Samuel is identical. Lastly, the only source besides collection manuscript 765530.3 describing a "Solomon Buell" is an anthology of letters from the Revolution, which contain letters from a Rev. Sol. Buell, or S. Buell, about aiding the American cause. These letters correspond well with descriptions of Samuel's life in an 1809 biography of his life, and, as he was the only Reverend but one for 40 miles during the Revolution, it is likely that these letters belong to him.

Wheelock, Eleazar

Eleazar Wheelock was a New Light Congregationalist minister who founded Dartmouth College. He was born into a very typical Congregationalist family, and began studying at Yale in 1729, where he fell in with the emerging New Light clique. The evangelical network that he built in college propelled him to fame as an itinerant minister during the First Great Awakening and gave him many of the contacts that he later drew on to support his charity school for Native Americans. Wheelock’s time as an itinerant minister indirectly brought about his charity school. When the Colony of Connecticut retroactively punished itinerant preaching in 1743, Wheelock was among those who lost his salary. Thus, in 1743, he began operating a grammar school to support himself. He was joined that December by Samson Occom, a Mohegan Indian, who sought out an education in hopes of becoming a teacher among his people. Occom’s academic success inspired Wheelock to train Native Americans as missionaries. To that end, he opened Moor’s Indian Charity School in 1754 (where he continued to train Anglo-American students who paid their own way as well as students who functionally indentured themselves to Wheelock as missionaries in exchange for an education). Between 1754 and 1769, when he relocated to New Hampshire, Wheelock trained approximately 60 male and female Native American students from nearby Algonquian tribes and from the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) of central New York. At the same time, he navigated the complicated politics of missionary societies by setting up his own board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, although he continued to feud with the Boston Board of the SSPCK and the London Commissioners in Boston (more colloquially called the New England Company). By the late 1760s, Wheelock had become disillusioned with the idea of Native American education. He was increasingly convinced that educating Native Americans was futile (several of his students had failed to conform to his confusing and contradictory standards), and, in late 1768, he lost his connection to the Haudenosaunee. With his inclination and ability to sponsor Native American missionaries largely depleted, Wheelock sought instead to fulfill his ultimate ambition of obtaining a charter and opening a college, which he did in 1769. To fund this new enterprise, Wheelock drew on the £12,000 that Samson Occom had raised for Moor’s Indian Charity School during a two-and-a-half year tour of Great Britain (1765 to 1768). Much of this money went towards clearing land and erecting buildings in New Hampshire for the Charity School’s relocation — infrastructure that also happened to benefit Dartmouth. Many of Wheelock’s contemporaries were outraged by what they saw as misuse of the money, as it was clear that Dartmouth College was not intended for Indians and that Moor’s had become a side project. Although Wheelock tried to maintain at least some commitment to Native American education by recruiting students from Canadian communities, the move did a great deal of damage to his public image. The last decade of Wheelock’s life was not easy. In addition to the problems of trying to set up a college far away from any Anglo-American urban center, Wheelock experienced the loss of relationships with two of his most famous and successful students, Samson Occom and Samuel Kirkland (an Anglo-American protégé). He also went into debt for Dartmouth College, especially after the fund raised in Britain was exhausted.

Hedges, William

William Hedges was a resident of Easthampton, Long Island, and a supporter of Occom during his mission at Montauk. He was the second son of William Hedges (b. 1679, d. November 4, 1768) and and Abiah Mulford (b. August 20, 1685, d. October 27, 1763). Both were descendants of the original settlers of Easthampton; Hedges' father was the grandson of the original William Hedges, a devout Puritan who fled with his wife from Kent in England to Lynn, Massachusetts in 1644, and finally moved to the new settlement of Easthampton on Long Island in 1650. There is little in the records about Hedges and his activities. He was close enough with Occom and his family on Long Island to be entrusted with the funds collected from local Long Island congregations to support the Occom family during Occom's first and second missions to the Oneidas, when the New York Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge grew lukewarm about the missions. Hedges was also a close friend of Samuel Buell, the Presbyterian minister who sponsored Occom's ordination. Buell entrusted Jacob, one of the young Indian boys from Wheelock's school visting on Long Island, to Hedges' care.

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.

Buell, Jerusha
Wheelock, Mary (née Brinsmead)

Mary Wheelock was born Mary Brinsmead on July 26, 1714 in Milford, Connecticut. In the year following the death of his first wife, Eleazar began to court Mary Brinsmead, and the two married on November 21, 1747. Mary and Eleazar had five children together, including John, who would succeed his father as President of Dartmouth College. Little appears in the historical record about Mary, but many of the people who wrote to Wheelock, especially his Native correspondents who often lived with the family, referred to her warmly. In September 1770, Mary dismantled her longtime home in Connecticut, and travelled with her children to the Wheelocks' new home in the wilderness of New Hampshire. They rode in a coach sent over from England by John Thornton, accompanied by 30 Charity School students on foot. Eleazar, who had gone ahead to build housing for everyone, wrote a letter to Mary with many instructions about the move; the disposition of domestic animals, people, supplies; and the acquisition of money that suggests she was an able and trustworthy manager (manuscript 770510.1; this manuscript is not included in Occom Circle documents). She died in 1784 in Hanover, New Hampshire, where she is buried in the Dartmouth College Cemetery.

Occom’s Ordination
In November 1756, the Boston Board of Commissioners of the London Society for Propagating the Gospel recommends Occom for ordination as a Congregational minister. When he is recruited in 1758 by the Presbyterian minister Samuel Davies of Virginia for a mission to the Cherokees, Occom needs to be ordained quickly, and the task is referred to the Suffolk Presbytery on Long Island, where he is living. Occom is examined and ordained a Presbyterian minister on August 29 and 30, 1759.
Document Summary

People identified in this document:

id Text in document Role in header Authorized Name
pers0778.ocp Jerime mentioned Jeremie
pers1629.ocp Jacob mentioned Jacob
pers0787.ocp D r Dr. Prime mentioned Prime
pers0253.ocp M r Mr. Hedges. mentioned Hedges, William
pers0158.ocp M r Mr. Davis mentioned Davis
pers0030.ocp Occum Occom mentioned Occom, Samson
pers0030.ocp M r Mr. Occum Occom mentioned Occom, Samson
pers0158.ocp M r Mr. Davis mentioned Davis
pers0158.ocp M r Mr. Daviſe Davis mentioned Davis
pers0771.ocp my D r dear Spouſe spouse mentioned Buell, Jerusha
pers0577.ocp D r dear Spouſe spouse mentioned Wheelock, Mary (née Brinsmead)
pers0006.ocp Sam l Samuel Buell writer Buell, Samuel
pers0036.ocp M, r Mr. Whelock Wheelock recipient Wheelock, Eleazar
pers0006.ocp M. r Mr. Buell writer Buell, Samuel
pers0036.ocp Whelock Wheelock recipient Wheelock, Eleazar

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0062.ocp Eaſt-hampton East Hampton East Hampton
place0003.ocp America America
place0312.ocp Lake-George Lake George
place0236.ocp Virginia Commonwealth of Virginia
place0129.ocp Iſland Island Long Island
place0122.ocp Lebanon Lebanon

Organizations identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
org0098.ocp Your School Moor’s Indian Charity School
org0098.ocp your School. Moor’s Indian Charity School
org0021.ocp CheireoikeesCherokees Cherokee Tribe
org0085.ocp our PresbeteryPresbytery Presbytery of Suffolk County
org0085.ocp our Presbytery Presbytery of Suffolk County
org0021.ocp CheirockeesCherokees Cherokee Tribe
org0085.ocp our PreſbyPresbytry Presbytery of Suffolk County
org0085.ocp PreſbyteryPresbytery Presbytery of Suffolk County
org0085.ocp the PreſbyteryPresbytery Presbytery of Suffolk County

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1758-10-17 Oc,trOctober yethe 17 AD 1758
1758-12 December next
1758-11-04 Nov.rNovember 4 1758

Regularized text:

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Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
Oc,tr October
& and
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form,d formed
renew,d renewed
Sr Sir
Sterl:[below] gg: Sterling
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Dr Sr dear sir
oblig,d obliged
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Dr Sr Dear Sir
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Rec.d Received
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HomeSamuel Buell, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1758 October 17
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