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Samson Occom's Journal, 1761 September 15-October 22

ms-number: 761515.1

[note (type: abstract): Occom details his travels over the course of September and October of 1761.][note (type: handwriting): The legibility of Occom’s usually clear handwriting is heavily mitigated by the poor condition of the paper.][note (type: paper): Small sheets folded into a booklet and sewn together with thread/twine are in poor condition, with heavy staining, yellowing, fading and wear. There is a hole in the bottom of one recto/verso.][note (type: ink): Brown ink is heavily faded.][note (type: noteworthy): There are several uncrossed t's and crossed l's that have been corrected by the transcriber. An editor, likely 19th-century, has overwritten Occom’s hand in black ink; these edits have not been transcribed. On one recto, in the second line, the word beginning "Conn…" likely refers to an Oneida or Onondaga town. The town could possibly be: 1) Gannentaha, the site of a Jesuit mission among the Onondagas; 2) Kaunehsuntahkeh, a Tuscarora village east of Oneida creek; 3) Canasaraga, in the Onondaga territory near present-day Syracuse; or 4) Kauhanauka, a Tuscarora town. In several instances, it is uncertain as to whether a name refers to a person or place; these names have been left untagged. It is possible, however, that these uncertain names refer to inns or taverns and the names of their owners. Starting on the bottom of five verso and finishing on one verso, the phrase "Samson Occom of Mohegan" is written upside-down in large letters, indicating that Occom was reusing paper for the pages of this journal.]

events: Occom’s First Mission to the Oneidas

[Sepr | September]SeprSeptember [ye | the]yethe 15[1761-09-15]

I [Sot | set]Sotset out from
Conn[illegible]oo[illegible]ah by way
of [Tuſcarora | Tuscarora]TuſcaroraTuscarora[place0288.ocp] and took
my Leave of them [a bout | about]a boutabout
10 [O'C | o'clock]O'Co'clock Several of the India[above] nsns
went with me to [onoyda | Oneida]onoydaOneida[place0179.ocp]
got there about 1 in the
[after-Noon | afternoon]after-Noonafternoon — was [kndly | kindly]kndlykindly
[Receivd | received]Receivdreceived by the [onoydas | Oneidas]onoydasOneidas[org0075.ocp]

Sabbath [Sepr | September]SeprSeptember [ye | the]yethe 20[1761-09-20]

[Preachd | Preached]PreachdPreached
at [onoyda | Oneida]onoydaOneida[place0179.ocp] a great Num
ber of the Indians Came to
gether from all of the [Caſtle | Castle]CaſtleCastle[place0179.ocp]
to hear the word of god. I
[Baptizd | baptized]Baptizdbaptized 3 [Perſons | persons]Perſonspersons
at Night Several made
a [Publick | public]Publickpublic [Confeſ | confes]Confeſconfes[illegible][guess (ivys): te]teon
three of the [gap: tear]Heads of [ye | the]yethe
3 [Caſtles | Castles]CaſtlesCastles [gap: tear][guess (ivys): ma]made a [PC | public confession]PCpublic confession
and [returnd | returned]returndreturned thanks by a
Belt of Wampum [&c | etc.]&cetc.

Monday [Sepr | September]SeprSeptember [ye | the]yethe 21[1761-09-21]

I Left [onoyda | Oneida]onoydaOneida[place0179.ocp] and
Several [a Companyd | accompanied]a Companydaccompanied
me to fort [Herkermer | Herkimer]HerkermerHerkimer[place0077.ocp].
my mare got away
from me at Night,
and did not find me
her [till | 'til]till'til [Fryday | Friday]FrydayFriday [Juſt | just]Juſtjust

Saturday [Sepr | September]SeprSeptember
[ye | the]yethe 26[1761-09-26]

we [Sot | set]Sotset away from
Fort [Herkummer | Herkimer]HerkummerHerkimer[place0077.ocp]s — got
about 4 miles below
Sir William [Jahnſon | Johnson]JahnſonJohnson[pers0292.ocp]s

[Sabath | Sabbath]SabathSabbath [Sepr | September]SeprSeptember [ye | the]yethe 27[1761-09-27]

[Sot | set]Sotset
out very Early, and
got to Schenectady[place0202.ocp] a
bout 10. went Meeting
with the People
[bottom] om of Mohegan[place0143.ocp]om of Mohegan[place0143.ocp]
hear[above] dd [mr | Mr.]mrMr. Vroman[pers1021.ocp] Preach,
but I [Cou'd | could]Cou'dcould not [underſt | underst]underſtunderst[illegible][guess (ivys): d]d
went to See the [Preaſt | priest]Preaſtpriest
in the Evening and the
Next morning, he treatde[above] dd
very Kindly gave me
a Moha[illegible: [guess (h-dawnd): q]q]ue Book —
[Sot | Set]SotSet ut out about 9 got
to Albany[place0001.ocp] at 12
and Several [Inſiſted | insisted]Inſiſtedinsisted upon [above] mymy
[Saying | staying]Sayingstaying at Albany[place0001.ocp] the week
out, and to Preach on the
Sabbath, and I at Len[above] ggth
I [Complyd | complied]Complydcomplied with their [Diſire | desire]Diſiredesire

[Sabath | Sabbath]SabathSabbath [octor | October]octorOctober [ye | the]yethe 4[1761-10-04]

I [Preachd | preached]Preachdpreached
in the morning in the City
, to [Prebyterian | Presbyterian]PrebyterianPresbyterian Con‐
gregation, and in the [af
ter Noon | af
ter Noon
I [Preachd | preached]Preachdpreached in
the [Engliſh | English]EngliſhEnglish Church—
Monday. Married a
[Cupple | couple]Cupplecouple in Albany[place0001.ocp], had
3 [Dolars | dollars]Dolarsdollars Marrying. —
and the Pe
[Sot | set]Sotset out in the after
Noon towards Home, got
So far as [Quemuns | Coeymans]QuemunsCoeymans[place0435.ocp]. —

[Tueſday | Tuesday]TueſdayTuesday. [Octr | October]OctrOctober [ye | the]yethe 6[1761-10-06]

[Sot | Set]SotSet
out very Early in the
Morning, and [Reachd | reached]Reachdreached
to Kings Bridge[place0434.ocp] at Night

october [ye | the]yethe 7[1761-10-07]

we [Sot | set]Sotset out
from the Kings Bridge[place0434.ocp] very
Early in the Morning, and
about the [Midle | middle]Midlemiddle of the after
Noon my mare was about
Sli[illegible][guess (ivys): nk]nking her fold and we
were obliged to Put up
at [gap: omitted]
[Sot | set]Sotset out very early in the
Morning [for ward | forward]for wardforward and [illegible]
Stop at [Poughkeepſie | Poughkeepsie]PoughkeepſiePoughkeepsie[place0191.ocp] to [illegible]
Preach in the Evening.
and about Candle Light
we began our [Exerciſe | exercise]Exerciſeexercise in
the State [Houſe | House]HouſeHouse[place0436.ocp] and there
was a great Number of
People to attend, and at
tended very [Seriouſly | seriously]Seriouſlyseriously
and they [gatherd | gathered]gatherdgathered [illegible]
[above] ££1: 7: 0. for me —; and they
were very [Soliſcitous | solicitous]Soliſcitoussolicitous to
have me Stay the Sabbath
over but I [Cou'd | could]Cou'dcould not to be
my Duty to Comply —

[Fryday | Friday]FrydayFriday [Octr | October]OctrOctober [ye | the]yethe 9[1761-10-09]

we [Sot | set]Sotset
out from [Poughkeepſie | Poughkeepsie]PoughkeepſiePoughkeepsie[place0191.ocp]
Towards York[place0308.ocp]. and got
So far as Rogers at Nig
and so far as Roger's
at Night, and there [turn'd | turned]turn'dturned

Saturday [Octr | October]OctrOctober [ye | the]yethe 10[1761-10-10]

we [Sot | set]Sotset out very Early in
the Morning on our Jour‐
ney, and got So far as
Browns by [Dobs's | Dobbs]Dobs'sDobbs ferry[place0431.ocp], and
there [turnd | turned]turndturned in, but met
with very [Diſagreeable | disagreeable]Diſagreeabledisagreeable

Sabbath [Octr | October]OctrOctober [ye | the]yethe 11[1761-10-11]

2 o'C in the after we [Sot | set]Sotset
out for [N. | New]N.New York[place0308.ocp] and by
way of [White [above] SoneSone | Whitestone]White [above] SoneSoneWhitestone Ferry[place0437.ocp] and
[Lodgd | lodged]Lodgdlodged by the Ferry —

Monday [Octr | October]OctrOctober [ye | the]yethe 12[1761-10-12]

9 we got over upon Long
, and from there [Sot | set]Sotset
away for [N | New]NNew York[place0308.ocp] and
got into the City about
[Sot | set]Sotset [illegible] went to M wells
and were very Kindly
[Receiv'd | received]Receiv'dreceived, found them all
well [& | and]&and — Next Day went
to [viſiting | visiting]viſitingvisiting my Friends was
kindly [Receivd | received]Receivdreceived by all —

[Fryday | Friday]FrydayFriday October ye 16[1761-10-16]

wards Night we went over
to Long Island[place0129.ocp] [gap: faded] and to
[Jamaca | Jamaica]JamacaJamaica[place0433.ocp] at Night, and

Saturday [Octr | October]OctrOctober [ye | the]yethe 17[1761-10-17]

[Sot | set]Sotset
Early in the Morning, and
got to Huntington[place0406.ocp] at Nig[gap: stain]
and [illegible] kept Sabbath there

Monday [Ocr | October]OcrOctober [ye | the]yethe 18[1761-10-18]

we [Sot | set]Sotset away [homward | homeward]homwardhomeward
Got So far as Mulfords
at Night T

[Tueſday | Tuesday]TueſdayTuesday [Ocr | October]OcrOctober 19[1761-10-19]

[Sot | set]Sotset out
very Early in the Morning.
and got [Shenecock | Shinnecock]ShenecockShinnecock[place0423.ocp] at
Night found the Indians
well. they were very glad
to See me once more, —

[Wedneſday | Wednesday]WedneſdayWednesday [Ocr | October]OcrOctober 20[1761-10-20]

we went
off very Early in the [Morng | morning]Morngmorning
got to Bridgehampton[place0018.ocp] be‐
fore Night [Lodg'd | lodged]Lodg'dlodged at [Mr | Mr.]MrMr.
s, my Friends were
Exceeding glad to See me

[Thirdſday | Thursday]ThirdſdayThursday [Ocr | October]OcrOctober 21[1761-10-16]

went on our Journey, got
to [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. Buell[pers0006.ocp]'s at [Eaſtham– | Easthampton]Eaſtham–Easthampton[place0062.ocp]
Some Time in the after
Noon, we were very
Kindly [receiv'd | received]receiv'dreceived by all
my Friends,

[Fryday | Friday]FrydayFriday [Ocr | October]OcrOctober 22[1761-10-22]

on towards home, [viſited | visited]viſitedvisited
my Friends and Neighbou[above] rsrs
all the way, got were
[Extreamly | extremely]Extreamlyextremely well [receivd | received]receivdreceived by
them all, got home at
Night found my Poor
Family well except our
[youngeſt | youngest]youngeſtyoungest Child. it had
been very Sick but it
was [geting | getting]getinggetting well, —
Thanks be to Almighty
god for [goodneſs | goodness]goodneſsgoodness to us.
[note (type: editorial): Blank page.]
Samson Occ[pers0030.ocp]
[note (type: editorial): Page not transcribed.]
Oneida Nation
The Oneidas are one of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Six Nations. During the 18th century, they were largely considered the most Christianized Haudenosaunee tribe. The Oneidas had a rich tradition of indigenous ministers, including Good Peter, Deacon Thomas, and Isaac Dakayenensere, and played host to several Moor’s missionaries, including Samson Occom, David Fowler, Samuel Ashpo, Joseph Johnson, Joseph Woolley, Titus Smith, and Samuel Kirkland (who went on to found Hamilton Oneida Academy, now Hamilton College). They were also the interpreter James Dean’s adoptive tribe. Notable Oneida towns included Onaquaga, Kanawalohale, and Old Oneida. Onaquaga was the central fire of the Six Nations. By the 18th century, it also had a sizeable contingent of Onondagas and Tuscaroras. Good Peter and Isaac Dakayenensere taught there, as did Joseph Woolley. Kanawalohale and Old Oneida were more predominantly Oneida. The Oneidas were involved in several crucial moments in the history of Moor's Indian Charity School. Onaquaga was the site of the 1765 confrontation between Wheelock and the New England Company, in which the New England Company disrupted Titus Smith's mission, first by sending their own missionary, and second by repossessing Elisha Gunn, the interpreter they had agreed to "loan" to Titus Smith. Left without an interpreter, Titus Smith was forced to abandon his mission (Wheelock repaid the favor a few years later by hiring James Dean away from the New England Company). A few years later, in 1769, Deacon Thomas led the Oneidas in withdrawing all their children from Moor's. The Oneidas' departure struck a devastating blow against Wheelock's Indian education plans, and provided more momentum for his shift to educating predominantly Anglo-Americans. The Oneidas sided with the colonists during the Revolution, but they were still affected by the general devastation in Six Nations territory, especially the Sullivan Expedition (1779). After the Revolution, the Oneidas granted tracts of their land to two Christian Indian organizations: the Brothertown tribe, a composite tribe of Moor’s alumni from New England, and the Stockbridge Indians. It was not long before the groups came into conflict with one another. Encroachment from the new State of New York put increasing pressure on Oneida land, and the Oneidas tried to renegotiate their treaties with the Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians to compensate. The Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians fought back, but by the 1820s all three groups had lost, and many of them relocated to Wisconsin.

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.

Fort Herkimer

Built on the south bank of the Mohawk River, Fort Herkimer, also called Fort Kaouri, is located east of Syracuse, New York. The Herkimer family built Fort Herkimer in 1740 around their homestead. From 1757 to 1758 during the French and Indian War, Nicholas Herkimer defended Fort Herkimer against the French. Fort Herkimer also offered protection to Patriot troops and surrounding inhabitants during the Revolutionary War.


Schenectady is a city located in eastern New York State. The area that would become Schenectady was originally controlled by the Mohawk Indians, the easternmost and most powerful of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy. The land making up Schenectady was one stop on the much larger Mohawk Trail, which extended from Schenectady to what would become Albany, New York. The name of Schenectady was a derivation of the Mohawk word, Schau-naugh-ta-da, which meant the place beyond the open pines. The first Europeans to arrive at Schenectady were the Dutch who established a settlement there in 1661. Schenectady would come under British control as Dutch power in the Americas waned and the British established the colony of New York. In 1690 during King William’s War, Schenectady became the target of French and Indian soldiers who attacked the town and killed 60 of its residents, an event that became known as the Schenectady Massacre. There was a smallpox outbreak in Schenectady in 1767, as noted in this collection’s documents. In 1780, Oneidas found refuge from Loyalist and Mohawk attacks in Schenectady, and the town served as a stop on the way to Brothertown, the pan-Indian settlement founded by Occom and other graduates of Wheelock’s school. Schenectady was designated a borough in 1765 and eventually incorporated as a city 1798.


Mohegan is a village in southeastern Connecticut at the site of the present-day town of Montville, and is the location of the Mohegan Indian Reservation. The village gets its name from the Mohegan Tribe, or wolf people, who split from the Pequots in the early 17th century under the leadership of the sachem Uncas. In the 1720s, the Mohegans requested the colony of Connecticut provide them with an English educator. An English minister and schoolteacher named John Mason (no relation to Captain John Mason) moved to Mohegan in order to provide English-styled education to the Mohegans, convinced his sponsors, the New England Company, to build a schoolhouse at Mohegan, which eventually served as a boarding school for other Native American children from the surrounding area. During the 17th century, the Mohegan Tribe became embroiled in a complicated controversy over control of Mohegan land — known as the Mason Land Case or, more specifically, Mohegan Indians v. Connecticut — that included the village of Mohegan. The Tribe claimed that it never authorized a transfer of their lands, held in trust by the Mason family, to the colonial government. In 1662, the colony of Connecticut was incorporated by a royal charter, which included the disputed tribal land. The land controversy was revived in 1704 when descendants of John Mason, the original trustee, petitioned the Crown on behalf of the Mohegans, but the suit was finally decided against the Tribe in 1773. Born in Mohegan, Occom became involved in the Mason Land Case and vehemently argued for the rights of the Mohegan Indians to maintain their land, opposing Eleazar Wheelock and other ministers in the area. Although Occom left Mohegan for a 12-year mission with the Montauk Indians of Long Island, he returned at the end of 1763 with his large family to build a house in Mohegan, establishing it as his base of operations. Even after the creation of the Brothertown settlement in Oneida country, for which he served as minister, Occom continued to commute back and forth from Mohegan; he didn't sell his house in Mohegan and move his family to Brothertown until 1789. Many members of his family remained in Mohegan, including his sister Lucy Tantaquidgeon, who lived there until her death at 99 in 1830.


Albany is a city located in eastern New York. When Netherlander Henry Hudson arrived in what would become Albany in 1609, the Mohican Indians lived in several villages in the area. The Mohicans gave Hudson’s crew furs, and the Dutch East India Company sent representatives to trade with the Native peoples. The Dutch established the village of Beverwyck within the territory of the New Netherlands. Beverwyck hosted a diverse population of Germans, French, Swedes, English, Irish, Scots, Dutch, and Africans. After the fall of New Netherlands to Britain in 1664, Beverwyck was renamed Albany in honor of the colony’s proprietor James, Duke of York and Albany. In 1686, Albany was granted a charter that incorporated the city and provided it the sole right to negotiate trade with Native Americans. During the French and Indian War, Albany was designated as the British military headquarters in the Americas. During the Revolutionary War, most Albany residents supported the revolution because of their opposition to British trade restrictions.

Albany City Hall

Albany City Hall

Kings Bridge

Poughkeepsie is a city in New York’s Dutchess County on the eastern shore of the Hudson River, located about halfway between Albany and New York City. The area was originally inhabited by the Algonquin-speaking Wappinger Indians who named the area Apokeepsing, meaning "safe harbor." Europeans were slow to colonize the eastern bank of the Hudson, but in 1683 the expanding English presence in New York prompted a Wappinger named Massany to sign a deed granting Wappinger land to two Dutch settlers who planned to build a mill on the land. In 1687, a colonial land patent given to Thomas Sanders and Myndert Harmse superseded this deed, and Wappinger land was quickly parceled off to the Dutch and English as homesteads. Wappingers continued to inhabit the area until the mid-1700s, when disease and overcrowding forced them to migrate to Stockbridge, MA, an Indian Town to which many New England Indian tribes fled. Occom often preached in Poughkeepsie beginning in the 1760s until the end of his life, though it was to a primarily European audience. He stopped by the town while traveling between Albany and New York on a route known as the Indian Trail. Poughkeepsie was spared during the American Revolution and, as a result, it became the capital of New York in 1778, until Albany took that honor in 1797.

State House
New York City
Dobbs Ferry
Whitestone Ferry
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.


Shinnecock, NY, was a village within the town of Southampton, NY occupied by the Shinnecock Indians. While this village no longer exists, the Shinnecocks have preserved some of their ancestral land through the Shinnecock Indian Reservation. The name Shinnecock means "people of the stony shore," in reference to the rocky southeastern edge of Long Island where the Shinnecocks lived. Shinnecock's proximity to Connecticut by way of the Long Island Sound meant that the village and its tribe experienced more missionary activity from New England than towns in the Western half of Long Island. European settlers first encountered the Shinnecocks in 1640, when they founded Southampton after purchasing land from the Tribe. During this period of colonization, the village of Shinnecock remained an enclave for the Tribe as the rest of Long Island was increasingly divided into English towns. Unlike the Montauketts to the East, the Shinnecocks were able to retain a land base, their own distinct village. From 1749 to 1761, Occom maintained a school and mission 30 miles east of Shinnecock in Montauk and often made trips to the village on his preaching tours of Long Island and New York, where he preached to largely Indian audiences. By the 1780s, however, English encroachment on Shinnecock land led many of the Shinnecocks, with Occom's encouragement, to leave Long Island for Brothertown. Those who remained in Shinnecock were subjected to a system of tribal governance that the New York State Legislature imposed in 1792, a system that lasted until 2007, when the Shinnecocks on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation reasserted their traditional governing structure.


Bridgehampton is a town on the southeastern tip of Long Island about 20 miles southwest of Montauk, NY. Its name is derived from the bridge English settlers built over nearby Sagg Pond in 1686. English settlement began on Long Island in 1640, when colonists from Massachusetts obtained land from the island's Shinnecock Indians. It wasn't until 1656, however, that the town of Bridgehampton was settled, when Josiah Stanborough built a homestead on Sagg Pond. Bridgehampton is now a part of the town of Southhampton, NY. Occom was associated with the Presbytery of Suffolk County in Bridgehampton and its Reverend James Brown. After meeting Occom at least two years earlier, Reverend Brown presided over Occom's ordination on August 29, 1759. Later, during Occom's many travels between his post as a missionary in Oneida and his home in Montauk, he often stayed with Brown at his home in Bridgehampton; they were close friends. In 1769, Occom visited Bridgehampton after confessing to "intemperate drinking" in a letter to the Presbytery. On November 1 of that year, the Bridgehampton ministers gave Occom the benefit of the doubt, concluded that he had simply been intoxicated from lack of food and a small amount of alcohol, and indicated their resepct.

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.

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.

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.

Brown, James
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.

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.
Document Summary

People identified in this document:

id Text in document Role in header Authorized Name
pers0292.ocp Sir William Jahnſon Johnson mentioned Johnson, William
pers1021.ocp m r Mr. Vroman mentioned Vroman
pers0101.ocp M r Mr. Brown mentioned Brown, James
pers0006.ocp M r Mr. Buell mentioned Buell, Samuel
pers0030.ocp Samson Occ writer Occom, Samson

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0288.ocp Tuſcarora Tuscarora Tuscarora
place0179.ocp onoyda Oneida Oneida
place0179.ocp the Caſtle Castle Oneida
place0077.ocp fort Herkermer Herkimer Fort Herkimer
place0077.ocp Fort Herkummer Herkimer Fort Herkimer
place0202.ocp Schenectady Schenectady
place0143.ocp Mohegan Mohegan
place0001.ocp Albany Albany
place0430.ocp City Hall Albany City Hall
place0435.ocp Quemuns Coeymans Coeymans
place0434.ocp Kings Bridge Kings Bridge
place0191.ocp Poughkeepſie Poughkeepsie Poughkeepsie
place0436.ocp the State Houſe House State House
place0308.ocp York New York City
place0431.ocp Dobs's Dobbs ferry Dobbs Ferry
place0308.ocp N. New York New York City
place0437.ocp White Sone Whitestone Ferry Whitestone Ferry
place0129.ocp Long Islan g d Long Island
place0308.ocp N New York New York City
place0129.ocp Long Island Long Island
place0433.ocp Jamaca Jamaica Jamaica
place0406.ocp Huntington Huntington
place0423.ocp Shenecock Shinnecock Shinnecock
place0018.ocp Bridgehampton Bridgehampton
place0062.ocp Eaſtham– Easthampton East Hampton

Organizations identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
org0075.ocp onoydasOneidas Oneida Nation

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1761-09-15 SeprSeptember yethe 15
1761-09-20 Sabbath SeprSeptember yethe 20
1761-09-21 Monday SeprSeptember yethe 21
1761-09-26 Saturday SeprSeptember yethe 26
1761-09-27 SabathSabbath SeprSeptember yethe 27
1761-10-04 SabathSabbath octorOctober yethe 4
1761-10-06 TueſdayTuesday. OctrOctober yethe 6
1761-10-07 october yethe 7
1761-10-09 FrydayFriday OctrOctober yethe 9
1761-10-10 Saturday OctrOctober yethe 10
1761-10-11 Sabbath OctrOctober yethe 11
1761-10-12 Monday OctrOctober yethe 12
1761-10-16 FrydayFriday October ye 16
1761-10-17 Saturday OctrOctober yethe 17
1761-10-18 Monday OcrOctober yethe 18
1761-10-19 TueſdayTuesday OcrOctober 19
1761-10-20 WedneſdayWednesday OcrOctober 20
1761-10-16 ThirdſdayThursday OcrOctober 21
1761-10-22 FrydayFriday OcrOctober 22

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
modernization ye the
variation Sot set
modernization Tuſcarora Tuscarora
variation a bout about
variation onoyda Oneida
variation after-Noon afternoon
variation kndly kindly
variation Receivd received
variation onoydas Oneidas
variation Preachd Preached
modernization Caſtle Castle
variation Baptizd baptized
modernization Perſons persons
variation Publick public
modernization Confeſ confes
modernization Caſtles Castles
variation returnd returned
modernization &c etc.
variation a Companyd accompanied
variation Herkermer Herkimer
modernization till 'til
variation Fryday Friday
modernization Juſt just
variation Herkummer Herkimer
variation Jahnſon Johnson
variation Sabath Sabbath
modernization mr Mr.
modernization underſt underst
variation Preaſt priest
variation Sot Set
modernization Inſiſted insisted
variation Complyd complied
variation Diſire desire
variation Preachd preached
variation Prebyterian Presbyterian
variation af
ter Noon
modernization Engliſh English
variation Cupple couple
variation Dolars dollars
variation Quemuns Coeymans
modernization Tueſday Tuesday
variation Reachd reached
variation Midle middle
variation for ward forward
modernization Poughkeepſie Poughkeepsie
modernization Exerciſe exercise
modernization Houſe House
modernization Seriouſly seriously
variation gatherd gathered
variation Soliſcitous solicitous
variation Dobs's Dobbs
variation turnd turned
modernization Diſagreeable disagreeable
variation White [above] SoneSone Whitestone
variation Lodgd lodged
modernization viſiting visiting
variation Jamaca Jamaica
variation homward homeward
variation Shenecock Shinnecock
modernization Wedneſday Wednesday
modernization Mr Mr.
variation Thirdſday Thursday
modernization viſited visited
variation Extreamly extremely
variation receivd received
modernization youngeſt youngest
variation geting getting
modernization goodneſs goodness

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
Sepr September
O'C o'clock
PC public confession
Cou'd could
octor October
Octr October
turn'd turned
N. New
N New
Receiv'd received
& and
Receivd received
Ocr October
Morng morning
Lodg'd lodged
Eaſtham– Easthampton
receiv'd received

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Summary of errors found in this document:

Number of dates with invalid 'when' attributes: 0
Number of nested "hi" tags: (consider merging the @rend attributes, or using other tags) 0
Number of tags with invalid 'rend' attributes: 0 (out of 39)
Number of people/places/organizations with unknown keys: 0 (out of 37)
Number of "add" tags with unknown 'place' attributes: 0 (out of 9)
Mixed case attribute values in header (potential error): 0 (out of 118)
HomeSamson Occom's Journal, 1761 September 15-October 22
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