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Samson Occom, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1761 June 24

ms-number: 761374

[note (type: abstract): Occom reports from New York that collections were taken and recommendations written in support of his mission.][note (type: handwriting): Handwriting is slanting and somewhat crowded, but largely clear and legible][note (type: paper): Two large sheets are in fair condition, with moderate creasing, staining and wear.][note (type: ink): Dark brown.][note (type: noteworthy): The year of the letter is catalogued as June 1761, but the trailer gives a date of 1762.]

events: Occom’s First Mission to the Oneidas


[Revd | Rev.]RevdRev. Sir
We [reach'd | reached]reach'dreached New York[place0308.ocp] [ye | the]yethe 15 [Inſt | instant]Inſtinstant[1761-06-15], and to my
[Surprize | surprise]Surprizesurprise, the [Genltemen | gentlemen]Genltemengentlemen had Concluded, not Send me
at all, and all the [Reaſon | reason]Reaſonreason that they Can give is,
they are [affrai[illegible: [guess (h-dawnd): r]r]d | afraid]affrai[illegible: [guess (h-dawnd): r]r]dafraid, the Indians will kill me, I told
them, they [Cou'd | could]Cou'dcould not kill [above] meme but once, and told them
I intended to Proceed on my Journey, and if I [Periſh | perish]Periſhperish
for want of Support, I [Periſh | perish]Periſhperish,—But I intended to [uſe | use]uſeuse
your Money Sir, that David[pers0155.ocp] has with him; and when
they [Perceiv'd | perceived]Perceiv'dperceived my [Reſolutions | resolutions]Reſolutionsresolutions, they [Emediately | immediately]Emediatelyimmediately [Conſulted | consulted]Conſultedconsulted
the matter, and Concluded, that I [Shoud | should]Shoudshould go, and [above] aa Collection
[Shou'd | should]Shou'dshould be made for me, and Recommendations [Shou'd | should]Shou'dshould
bye Sendt by me to [Genl | Gen.]GenlGen. [Amhurſt | Amherst]AmhurſtAmherst[pers0055.ocp] and to Sir William[pers0292.ocp]
And the whole Matter is [Acompliſh'd | accomplished]Acompliſh'daccomplished to my [Surprize | surprise]Surprizesurprise
[beyound | beyond]beyoundbeyond all my expectations, The [Laſt | last]Laſtlast Sabbath after
the [after Noon | afternoon]after Noonafternoon Service was over, at [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. [Boſtweck | Bostwick]BoſtweckBostwick[pers0089.ocp]'s Con­
gregation, they made a Collection for me and my
Family's Support, and it [munted | mounted]muntedmounted to [£60:ſ15:d7 | £60 15s 7d]£60:ſ15:d7£60 15s 7d and
Monday Evening the [Baptiſts | Baptists]BaptiſtsBaptists[org0124.ocp] made a Collection for me
at their Meeting [Houſe | House]HouſeHouse, and it mounted to [£13:0:0 | £13 0s 0d]£13:0:0£13 0s 0d
And [above] mymy Recommendations are done by the [Moſt | most]Moſtmost Noted Gentlemen
of this Place, not only to the [genrals | generals]genralsgenerals, but to other [genn | gentlemen]genngentlemen
of their [Aquantance | acquaintance]Aquantanceacquaintance, from this City to the further [moſt | most]moſtmost
[Engliſh | English]EngliſhEnglish Settlements,— the People are uncommonly kind
to us in this great City[place0308.ocp];— But we live [above] in [ye | the]yethe Suburbsin [ye | the]yethe Suburbs with one
[obediah | Obediah]obediahObediah Wells[pers0566.ocp] and old [Diſciple | disciple]Diſcipledisciple — I am invited to
the City[place0308.ocp] Every Day to Dine with Some gentleman
or other; [Som times | sometimes]Som timessometimes Two or three Invitations at once,
[Eſpiceally | especially]Eſpiceallyespecially the [Miniſter | minister]Miniſterminister, of all Sects and Denomina[above] tionstions
are [Extreamly | extremely]Extreamlyextremely Kind to me,— [Yeſteday | yesterday]Yeſtedayyesterday [above] 3 [o'c | o'clock]o'co'clock PM3 [o'c | o'clock]o'co'clock PM I was [Intro | introduced]Introintroduced
to wait upon his Honor, Colden[pers0135.ocp] [Preſident | President]PreſidentPresident and Com­
mander in Chief in [above] thethe Province of [N:York | New York]N:YorkNew York[place0166.ocp], and [wiſh'd | wished]wiſh'dwished
me Good [Succees | success]Succeessuccess and Gave me [above] goodgood advice and [Counſil | counsel]Counſilcounsel,
—I believe tomorrow Morning we Shall out from
here on our way to [Onoyda | Oneida]OnoydaOneida[place0179.ocp],
[Pleaſe | Please]PleaſePlease to remember us [above] inin your Fatherly [Prays | prayers]Praysprayers
Continually, [Except | accept]Exceptaccept Duty, and [Sutable | suitable]Sutablesuitable Re­
gards to the Family from
Your [Moſt | Most]MoſtMost [obediant | obedient]obediantobedient Indian Son,
[Samſon | Samson]SamſonSamson Occom[pers0030.ocp]
The [Revd | Rev.]RevdRev. [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. Wheelock[pers0036.ocp]
I [deliver'd | delivered]deliver'ddelivered [£53:ſ7:d10 | £53 7s 10d]£53:ſ7:d10£53 7s 10d to [Mr | Mr.]MrMr.
William Hedges[pers0253.ocp] of [Eaſt | East]EaſtEast-
, for the Support
of my Family
[S:O: | Samson Occom]S:O:Samson Occom[pers0030.ocp]
The Letters that I have
to the [Genrals | generals]Genralsgenerals are [Sign'd | signed]Sign'dsigned by
The [Hon.le | Honourable]Hon.leHonourable [Wm | William]WmWilliam Smith [Esqr | Esq. ]EsqrEsq. [pers0504.ocp]
[Revd | Rev.]RevdRev. [illegible]David [Boſtwick | Bostwick]BoſtwickBostwick[pers0089.ocp]
[Mr | Mr.]MrMr. [PVB | Peter Vanbrugh]PVBPeter Vanbrugh [Livingſton | Livingstone]LivingſtonLivingstone[pers0332.ocp]
[Mr | Mr.]MrMr. David Vanhorne[pers0552.ocp]
[Will.m | William]Will.mWilliam Livingston [Esqr | Esq.]EsqrEsq.[pers0333.ocp]
[M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. [Occum | Occom]OccumOccom's[pers0030.ocp]
May 1762[1762-05]
[Rec.d | Received]Rec.dReceived £20 of [Comiſsrs | Commissioners]ComiſsrsCommissioners[org0011.ocp]
and to draw on them
for [Laſt | last]Laſtlast Winter—
The [Rev:d | Rev.]Rev:dRev. [Eleazer | Eleazar]EleazerEleazar Wheelock[pers0036.ocp]
Lebanon[place0122.ocp], [N:England | New England]N:EnglandNew England[place0158.ocp]

[Theſe | These]TheſeThese
[note (type: editorial): Blank page.]
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.
Boston Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge
The Boston Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge (SSPCK) was established in 1730 to support local missionary efforts. It was the SSPCK's first board in the British colonies in America. The SSPCK later founded a New York Board (1741) and a Connecticut Board (1764). Although Wheelock lobbied for a New Hampshire board after his 1770 relocation, by that time the SSPCK had had enough of him and his request was denied. The Boston Board of the SSPCK sponsored many missionaries to Native Americans, including David and John Brainerd. However, it did not provide very much support to Wheelock or his school, in large part because Wheelock and Charles Chauncy, chair of the Boston Board, clashed over Congregationalist politics. The Boston Board did provide £20 to support Samson Occom and David Fowler on a 1761 mission to the Six Nations to procure Moor's students, but it was then reluctant to support the boys Occom and Fowler obtained. The Board eventually paid £58.10.1 in 1762. They never gave money to Wheelock again. Wheelock was instrumental in forming the Connecticut Board of the SSPCK in 1764, over which he exerted considerable influence. From that point forward, he was largely able to avoid dealing with the Boston Board of the SSPCK. The The Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America is also called the Boston Board in some letters, and most secondary sources have mixed the two Boston Boards. This is an easy mistake to make since both are sometimes called the Boston Board and vigorously opposed Wheelock. However, the general confusion in the literature means that any secondary source's statement on either board should be taken with some skepticism.

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.

New York City
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.


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.

New England
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.

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.

Bostwick, David

David Bostwick was a popular Presbyterian minister in New York—so popular, in fact, that two congregations fought over him and the New York Synod had to intervene. He was the president of the New York Board of Commissioners for the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowlege. Bostwick encouraged Occom's mission to the Oneidas; took up a collection at his church for Occom, which reached over 60 pounds; and lent his name to a recommendation for Occom to Sir William Johnson. When Samuel Buell published his sermon from Occom's ordination, it was prefixed with a letter addressed to David Bostwick outlining Occom's character.

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.

Wells, Obediah Oneida
Livingstone, Peter Vanbrugh
Amherst, Jeffery

General Amherst was a major figure in eighteenth-century British military politics, especially for his role in conquering Canada. He began his career during the War of Austrian Succession. In 1758, he was stationed in North America and successfully seized Louisbourg, a French fort on an island off of Nova Scotia. As a result of his success, he was promoted to Commander-in-chief of British forces in North America. Amherst invaded Canada and, in 1760, he captured Montreal. Despite his success in North America, Amherst never enjoyed working with American colonists, and constantly requested a new post. In 1763 this wish was granted, primarily because Amherst had failed to prevent or quell the Pontiac War. He returned home to Kent where he lived out his life as a high-ranking domestic military official. He is significant here because his endorsement of Occom gave Occom a connection to Sir William Johnson and enabled Occom to go among the Six Nations.

Colden, Cadwallader
Smith, William Sr.

William Smith (Sr.) was a famous New York lawyer and philanthropist who played an important role in establishing the College of New Jersey (which he served as a trustee) and King’s College (a project he abandoned once it became clear that the institution would be dominated by Episcopalians). He provided Eleazar Wheelock with some legal advice in the late 1750s and early 1760s, and his son, William Smith (Jr.), was a major proponent of Wheelock’s relocating the school to Albany, NY. William Smith immigrated from England to America in 1715 and earned his AM from Yale in 1722 (AB 1719). Despite potential as a minister and academic—he served as a tutor at Yale and was even offered the presidency of the college in 1724—Smith instead turned to the law and became one of the most eminent legal minds in New York and the mid-Atlantic. He was also very involved in New York City politics: he was an active participant in the Presbyterian faction and held several formal offices. He was Attorney General of New York in 1751 and a member of the Governor’s Council from 1753 until 1767. In 1763 he was made a judge. Several of William Smith’s political and legal activities affected Samson Occom’s life and career. First, he assisted Wheelock in legal problems surrounding the Joshua Moor estate (left to Wheelock by Moor, the school’s original benefactor) in the late 1750s. Second, he wrote a letter of recommendation for Occom prior to his aborted 1761 mission to the Oneidas. On less positive notes, William Smith was the counsel for Connecticut in the Mason Land Case, the 70-year legal battle that dispossessed the Mohegan tribe of much of its territory and which Occom vigorously opposed. More generally, he seems to have had a low opinion of Occom.

Fowler, David

David Fowler was Jacob Fowler's older brother, Samson Occom's brother-in-law, and an important leader of the Brothertown Tribe. He came to Moor's in 1759, at age 24, and studied there until 1765. While at school, he accompanied Occom on a mission to the Six Nations in 1761. He was licensed as a school master in the 1765 mass graduation, and immediately went to the Six Nations to keep school, first at Oneida and then at Kanawalohale. Fowler saw himself as very close to Wheelock, but their relationship fragmented over the course of Fowler's mission, primarily because Wheelock wrote back to Kirkland, with whom Fowler clashed, but not to Fowler, and because Wheelock refused to reimburse Fowler for some expenses on his mission (767667.4 provides the details most clearly). Fowler went on to teach school at Montauk, and played a major role in negotiations with the Oneidas for the lands that became Brothertown. He was among the first wave of immigrants to that town, and held several important posts there until his death in 1807.

Vanhorn, David
Livingston, William
Johnson, William

Sir William Johnson was a powerful British colonial official who amassed wealth and influence by integrating into the Mohawk tribe. For a brief window of time (1761-1768), he provided support for Wheelock’s missionary efforts among the Six Nations. He also helped the Brothertown Nation of Indians procure land from the Oneidas. Johnson was born in Ireland in 1715. His family had been part of the Catholic elite, but after William of Orange’s 1690 victory at the Battle of the Boyne, they at least nominally converted to the Episcopalian Church. In 1738, Johnson emigrated to America to manage his uncle Peter Warren’s estate in Mohawk territory. Over the next decade, Johnson became wealthy in his own right through trade and land sales, acquiring a vast estate crowned by his manor house, Johnson Hall, which became the central location for British and Indian treaty making. In 1745, Johnson began collecting official British titles and positions. He played an important military role in the French and Indian War and was named Superintendent of Indian Affairs in 1756 and first baronet of New York in 1757. Much of Johnson’s success was due to his influence among the Mohawks, which he obtained by learning their language and customs and integrating himself into their society. He participated in Mohawk rituals and entered into a common-law marriage with a powerful Mohawk woman, Molly Brant (also called Mary Brant). Because Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) society is matrilineal, this marriage was an essential element of his participation in Indian affairs. Wheelock desperately wanted to wield missionary influence among the Six Nations, and sought to obtain Johnson as an ally in his endeavors. At first, the two found grounds for cooperation. Wheelock sent Occom as a missionary to the Oneidas in 1761 and again in 1762, and sent a substantially larger group of missionaries and schoolmasters in 1765, 1766, and 1767. Johnson, meanwhile, encouraged Haudenosaunee children, including his brother-in-law Joseph Brant, to attend Moor’s. Johnson’s support proved indispensible to missionaries in the field; he helped with supplies, language skills, and relations with the Mohawks and Oneidas. Wheelock also valued Johnson for his influence in Britain, and drew on him for recommendations and public statements of support numerous times. From 1763 on, however, Johnson found himself decidedly uncomfortable with Wheelock’s missionary efforts, and by 1769, their relationship had dissolved completely. In 1766, Johnson was invited to join the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG), the largest and most influential Anglican missionary society in the 18th-century British-Atlantic world. He began working to place Anglican missionaries, rather than Congregationalist and Presbyterian ones, among the Six Nations, which alarmed Wheelock. Johnson was generally supportive of Native American tribes’ efforts to maintain their land and sovereignty. As the historian Linford Fisher has noted, “virtually every major Native group in southeastern New England successfully petitioned Johnson to act on their behalf during the late 1760s and early 1770s.” Among these groups was the Brothertown Nation, a Christian composite tribe formed by Southern New England Algonquian Moor’s alumni. Johnson helped them negotiate with the Oneidas, which proved essential to their successful land purchase and relocation to central New York.

Occom’s First Mission to the Oneidas
Recruited in November by the New York Commissioners of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, Occom leaves in May 1761 with his brother-in-law David Fowler, for a mission among the Oneida in western New York. He preaches, establishes a school, and recruits three young Mohawk men to attend Wheelock’s Indian Charity School. He returns home at the end of September.
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People identified in this document:

id Text in document Role in header Authorized Name
pers0155.ocp David mentioned Fowler, David
pers0055.ocp Gen l Gen. Amhurſt Amherst mentioned Amherst, Jeffery
pers0292.ocp Sir William mentioned Johnson, William
pers0089.ocp M r Mr. Boſtweck Bostwick mentioned Bostwick, David
pers0566.ocp obediah Obediah Wells mentioned Wells, Obediah Oneida
pers0135.ocp Colden mentioned Colden, Cadwallader
pers0030.ocp Samſon Samson Occom writer Occom, Samson
pers0036.ocp Wheelock recipient Wheelock, Eleazar
pers0253.ocp William Hedges mentioned Hedges, William
pers0030.ocp S:O: Samson Occom writer Occom, Samson
pers0504.ocp W m William Smith Esq r Esq. mentioned Smith, William Sr.
pers0089.ocp Rev d Rev. David Boſtwick Bostwick mentioned Bostwick, David
pers0332.ocp PVB Peter Vanbrugh Livingſton Livingstone mentioned Livingstone, Peter Vanbrugh
pers0552.ocp M r Mr. David Vanhorne mentioned Vanhorn, David
pers0333.ocp Will. m William Livingston Esq r Esq. mentioned Livingston, William
pers0030.ocp Occum Occom 's writer Occom, Samson
pers0036.ocp Eleazer Eleazar Wheelock recipient Wheelock, Eleazar

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0308.ocp New York New York City
place0308.ocp this great City New York City
place0308.ocp the City New York City
place0166.ocp Province of N:York New York New York
place0179.ocp Onoyda Oneida Oneida
place0062.ocp Eaſt East - hampton East Hampton
place0122.ocp Lebanon Lebanon
place0158.ocp N:England New England New England

Organizations identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
org0124.ocp BaptiſtsBaptists Baptists/Seventh Day Baptists
org0011.ocp ComiſsrsCommissioners Boston Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge

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Standard Form Text
1761-06-24 June yethe 24: 1761
1761-06-15 15 Inſtinstant
1762-05 May 1762

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
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modernization Mr Mr.
variation Boſtweck Bostwick
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variation £60:ſ15:d7 £60 15s 7d
modernization Baptiſts Baptists
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modernization Moſt most
variation genrals generals
variation Aquantance acquaintance
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modernization Engliſh English
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variation Occum Occom
modernization Rev:d Rev.
variation Eleazer Eleazar
modernization Theſe These

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
reach'd reached
Inſt instant
Cou'd could
Perceiv'd perceived
Shou'd should
Acompliſh'd accomplished
genn gentlemen
o'c o'clock
Intro introduced
N:York New York
wiſh'd wished
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deliver'd delivered
S:O: Samson Occom
Sign'd signed
Hon.le Honourable
Wm William
PVB Peter Vanbrugh
Will.m William
Rec.d Received
Comiſsrs Commissioners
N:England New England

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HomeSamson Occom, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1761 June 24
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