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Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to Benjamin Forfitt, 1763 September 8

ms-number: 763508.1

[note (type: abstract): Wheelock writes to Forfitt thanking him for sending a chest of books for the School, and detailing troubles with the Indians that have prevented the missions of Charles Jeffrey Smith, Occom and Ashpo.][note (type: handwriting): Hand is small and crowded, though mostly legible, with several abbreviations.][note (type: paper): One large sheet is in good condition, with light-to-moderate creasing, yellowing and wear. There are some ink blots in the middle of the page resulting in very minor loss of text.][note (type: ink): Light brown][note (type: noteworthy): There is no signature, and the last paragraph is deleted, which suggests that this is a draft.]
[Opener]

Dear Sir.
Yours of [27.th | 27th]27.th27th [Apr.l | April]Apr.lApril[1763-04-27] [laſt | last]laſtlast, came [ſafe | safe]ſafesafe with the [Cheſt | chest]Cheſtchest of
Books for this School[org0098.ocp] [&c. | etc.]&c.etc. [y.e | the]y.ethe [20.th | 20th]20.th20th of [laſt | last]laſtlast month[1763-08-20]; and I take
them as an [Anſwer | answer]Anſweranswer of Prayer, and a renewed [Teſtimony | testimony]Teſtimonytestimony of God's
Favour for this Infant [Inſtitution | institution]Inſtitutioninstitution; and by God's Help I will
[diſcharge | discharge]diſchargedischarge the Sacred [Truſt | trust]Truſttrust (for So I look upon it) in the [beſt | best]beſtbest
manner. The Collection I [eſteem | esteem]eſteemesteem very valuable and well calcu
­lated for the [Deſign | design]Deſigndesign proposed. May God reward the pious Do­
­nors a [thouſand | thousand]thouſandthousand fold for this and all their Abundant Charities
and Labours of Love for the [periſhing | perishing]periſhingperishing Souls of men, as I [truſt | trust]truſttrust
he has, and forever will your dear Brother, who was the principle
[Inſtrument | instrument]Inſtrumentinstrument in procuring this Benefaction.
The [Expreſsions | expressions]Expreſsionsexpressions of [Kindneſs | kindness]Kindneſskindness in yours [refreſh | refresh]refreſhrefresh and [incourage | encourage]incourageencourage
my Heart. [tho' | though]tho'though the [preſent | present]preſentpresent Rupture with the Indians has drawn
a Cloud over the whole [Deſign | design]Deſigndesign, but I [truſt | trust]truſttrust it is not abiding.
it looks like a dying Struggle, and I hope will prove to be the
[lasſt | last]lasſtlast Effort of Satan to Secure those who have been for [ſo | so]ſoso long
a Time [peacibly | peaceably]peaciblypeaceably in his Chains.
[Sam.l | Samuel]Sam.lSamuel [Aſhpo | Ashpo]AſhpoAshpo[pers0002.ocp], an Indian of the Mohegan Tribe[org0063.ocp], who has
been for a Time in this School[org0098.ocp], and was examined and approved by
a number of [Miniſters | ministers]Miniſtersministers of this Government [laſt | last]laſtlast May[1763-05], [Sat | set]Satset out on
his [Miſsion | mission]Miſsionmission, [y.e | the]y.ethe [6th | 6th]6th6th of [laſt | last]laſtlast month[1763-08-06]. and as I have heard nothing
from him [ſince | since]ſincesince, I conclude he has got [gap: stain] into the Indian Country.
And as he [deſigned | designed]deſigneddesigned to go among them in Indian Habit, I
hope he will not fall a Sacrifice to [gap: stain] their Rage. and who
knows how much Good God may make him an [Inſtrument | instrument]Inſtrumentinstrument
of. and if God Should mercifully [gap: stain][guess (ivys): Succeed]Succeed his Endeavours
at Such a Time, when no [engliſh | english]engliſhenglish [Miſsionary | missionary]Miſsionarymissionary dares to [goe | go]goego
among them, it [muſt | must]muſtmust needs [raiſe | raise]raiſeraise the Reputation of the
Plan we have been [purſuing | pursuing]purſuingpursuing.
[M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Charles Jeffry Smith[pers0500.ocp], an excellent Youth was ordained
in my Pulpit June 30.[1763-06-30] and [Sat | set]Satset out on a [Miſsion | mission]Miſsionmission to remote
Tribes. July [4.th | 4th]4.th4th[1763-07-04], was driven back from the Six Nations[org0090.ocp] to
Albany[place0001.ocp], by an alarm of an Army of the Enemy approaching.
but it proved to be made by a few bad Fellows among [themſelves | themselves]themſelvesthemselves
and Whether [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Smith[pers0500.ocp] had [returnd | returned]returndreturned to those Nations, or not I can't
tell.
[M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Occom[pers0030.ocp] [Sat | set]Satset out on his [Miſsion | mission]Miſsionmission, and, I hear, went as far as to
the [Mohock | Mohawk]MohockMohawk Country[place0142.ocp] but the [Apprehenſions | apprehensions]Apprehenſionsapprehensions of Danger were Such
that he returned. The Combination among the Nations is very
[extenſive | extensive]extenſiveextensive, and their Rage very bitter; but by the [laſt | last]laſtlast accounts
they have met with Such [Repulſes | repulses]Repulſesrepulses, as give us Hopes that they will
now Soon be [diſcouraged | discouraged]diſcourageddiscouraged.
I have Sent [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. [De Berdt | DeBerdt]De BerdtDeBerdt[pers0014.ocp] Some Materials by [Gen.l | Gen.]Gen.lGen. Lyman[pers0344.ocp]
and [Col.o | Col.]Col.oCol. Dyar[pers0174.ocp], in order to obtain the Royal Favour of an In­
­corporation, and a Grant of Lands in the Indian Country in [Favo.r | favour]Favo.rfavour
of this [Deſign | design]Deſigndesign. You have likely heard or will hear Something of
it. If this Suit Should be [Succeſsful | successful]Succeſsfulsuccessful, I [truſt | trust]truſttrust God will also put it
into the Hearts of Friends to contribute to the Furtherance of the
[Deſign | design]Deſigndesign of Introducing Religion, and Learning among them and,
as a means thereof to lead them into an [underſtanding | understanding]underſtandingunderstanding of Agricul­
­ture [& | and]&and Manufacture [&c. | etc.]&c.etc.
[Trailer]
Letter to [M r | Mr.]M rMr. [B. | Benjamin]B.Benjamin Forfitt[pers0196.ocp]
[Sep.t | September]Sep.tSeptember 8. 1763.[1763-09-08]
Six Nations
The Six Nations (often called the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois) is a confederacy composed of the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, Senecas, and Tuscaroras. The first five tribes unified at some point before European contact (dates differ by centuries), and the Tuscaroras joined them in 1722, after colonial violence drove the tribe out of Carolina. The Haudenosaunee occupied much of what is now central New York, and, thus, were sandwiched between French, English, and Dutch territories. They allied with the English against the French early on, just as their arch-enemies, the Huron, allied with the French. Despite the Six Nations’ unity, the constituent nations experienced European contact in different ways. The Mohawks and Oneidas, as the two easternmost tribes, had by far the most contact with the English, while the Senecas and Cayugas, the westernmost nations, had little contact with the English (although both hosted French Jesuit missionaries). Mohawk territory was the site of Johnson Hall, the administrative center and home of Sir William Johnson, the British Superintendent for Indian Affairs in the Northeast. The Oneidas, meanwhile, played host to several prominent Anglo-American missionaries and were thought of as the most Christianized Haudenosaunee tribe by many colonists. Eleazar Wheelock became fixated on the Haudenosaunee soon after he established Moor’s Indian Charity School in 1754. He saw in them the opportunity for a fresh start, since he believed that New England Indians had assimilated to Anglo-American norms in all the wrong ways (too much rum, too little Christianity). Wheelock established contact with the Haudenosaunee through Sir William Johnson and made the Mohawks and Oneidas the focal point of his missionary efforts for much of the 1760s. The American Revolution had dramatic repercussions for the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. The Mohawks, Senecas, Onondagas, and Cayugas sided with the British, while the Oneidas and Tuscaroras sided with the Americans. Since all Haudenosaunee hold membership in both a tribe (Mohawk, Oneida, etcetera) and a matrilineal clan (bear, wolf, and others), the tribes’ divergent alliances brought about political schism and violence within extended families. Furthermore, Haudenosaunee territory was devastated during the war, especially in General Sullivan’s 1779 raid on Cayuga and Seneca territory. After the Revolution, many Haudenosaunee who had affiliated with the British relocated to the Grand River Reserve in Canada, while many of the Oneidas and Tuscaroras remained in New York. The Haudenosaunee at the Grand River Reserve established their own council fire, which operated in parallel with the original council fire at Onondaga. Today, both council fires are still active, and each tribe also has its own independent government (as do displaced Haudenosaunee populations, such as the Oneidas of Wisconsin).
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.
Mohegan Tribe
The Mohegans are an Algonquian tribe located in New London County, Connecticut. The Mohegan Tribe spent most of the 18th century struggling to regain control over its territory from the colony of Connecticut in a protracted affair known as the Mason Land Case. The groundwork for the dispute was laid in 1659, when Uncas, the first Mohegan sachem after the tribe separated from the Pequot, entrusted the Tribe’s lands to John Mason, an Anglo-American who had been Uncas’ ally in the war against the Pequot. The following year, the colony of Connecticut persuaded Mason to transfer his stewardship of the Mohegan land to the colony. However, since Mason continued to act as trustee, it was unclear to what degree the colony was the tribe’s legal steward. Nonetheless, in the 1690s, Connecticut began selling off the land specifically set aside for Mohegan use. The Tribe brought its first legal challenges in 1704, and the case was tried multiple times in the colonies and England before it was decided in favor of the colony in 1773. The case split the Mohegan Tribe into two camps and led to serious interference in tribal self-government. When the sachem Caeser died in 1723 (when his son Mahomet was too young to lead), the Tribe split over whether the new sachem should be Caesar’s younger brother Ben Uncas, or John Uncas Jr., a more direct descendent of Uncas I. When Ben took the post, John gathered his supporters and moved half a mile down the road in protest. The Mohegans thus split into “Ben’s Town” and “John’s Town” (these designations correlated with the “sachem party” and the “Mason party,” respectively). When Ben Uncas II, Ben Uncas I’s son, became sachem in 1726, he maintained his family’s shaky hold on power by allying himself with the colony of Connecticut. In an unstated quid pro quo, Ben Uncas II and his son, Ben Uncas III, did not pursue the Mason Case, and in return, they received favors and political support from the colony, which proved critical on multiple occasions when the Mohegans elected alternate sachems. The colony, meanwhile, got to parade a supposedly legitimate sachem in front of Anglo-American and British authorities as proof that the Mason party was composed of rabble rousers. Ben Uncas II and Ben Uncas III, as part of their project of tying themselves to the colony, worshiped at the Anglo-American parish in New London under the ministry of David Jewett, a minister sponsored by the New England Company, a powerful missionary organization. As a form of resistance to Jewett and, by extension, the sachem party, many Mohegans elected to worship with indigenous leaders such as Samson Occom and Samuel Ashpo. Jewett was none too pleased, and the affair drew the New England Company in on the side of the sachem party and inspired its backlash against Samson Occom and his mentor, Eleazar Wheelock, throughout the 1760s. Something of a resolution came in 1769, when Ben Uncas III died. At his funeral, the pallbearers (Occom included) dropped his coffin in front of the representatives from the Connecticut Assembly — a clear indication of what they thought of the company the sachem kept. The Tribe dissolved the office of sachem rather than instituting Ben Uncas III’s son Isaiah (who died shortly afterwards, in 1770), but the damage had been done. The case was decided in favor of the colony in 1773. Samson Occom and Joseph Johnson, both Mohegan, were essential architects of the Brothertown movement, a coalition of Southern New England Algonquians that migrated to Oneida territory in 1775 and again in 1783. However, the majority of the Tribe did not emigrate, and today the Mohegan Tribe is federally recognized and still holds land in Connecticut.
Lebanon

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.

Connecticut

Connecticut is a state in southern New England that borders Massachusetts to the north and the Long Island Sound to the south. Its name is derived from the Algonquian "Quonehtacut," meaning "long river," referring to the Connecticut, which runs from the border with Canada into the Long Island Sound. The area was originally inhabited by Algonquian-speaking Pequots, Mohegans, and Quinnipiacs. European settlers took advantage of tribal divisions to establish dominance in the region. Dutch explorer Adrian Block sailed up the Connecticut River in 1614, establishing an active Dutch trading post at what is now Hartford. English claims to Connecticut began in 1630, but settlement truly began when Thomas Hooker, a Congregationalist minister now known as "The Father of Connecticut," left Boston to found Hartford in 1636. Hartford became the center of the Colony of Connecticut, which did not receive its charter until 1662 when Governor John Winthrop, Jr. secured it from Charles II. In 1665, the Colony of New Haven, established in 1638 by the Puritan minister John Davenport, joined the Colony of Connecticut under this charter. Early settler relations with local Indians were tense, and encouraged the New England colonies of Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven to unify as the "United Colonies" or "New England Confederation" and fight together, with Indian allies, in the Pequot War and again in King Philip's (Metacom's) War. These wars helped establish a specifically Connecticut and specifically American identity; the latter drove the colony to join the rebellion against Britain in 1776. Occom, born into a Mohegan household in Connecticut, was closely associated with the Colony and retained strong ties to the region throughout his life. He converted to Christianity in 1743 when the Great Awakening spread through Connecticut, and inspired Wheelock's Indian Charity School, which was founded in Lebanon, CT in 1754. He also became involved in the Mason Land Case, a long-standing dispute over the ownership of reserve Mohegan lands in Connecticut. Wheelock also had strong ties to Connecticut, moving his Indian Charity School only when the colony would not grant it a charter.

Mohawk Country

Mohawk Country refers to the territory occupied and controlled by the Mohawk Tribe. This territory extends to the north near Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, and to the south along the Mohawk River in New York state. The Mohawks were members of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy and were known as the “Keepers of the Eastern Door,” charged with protecting the Haudenosaunee Confederacy from threats to the east. After contact with the Europeans in the 17th century, Jesuit missionaries came to the territory and recruited Mohawks to go north into Canada to practice Catholicism, and in the 18th century, Wheelock’s missionaries travelled to Mohawk Country to recruit students and carry out missionary work. The Mohawks allied with the British during the American Revolution, and at the end of the war many fled to Canada, while others went to the Bay of Quinte, which became known as Tyendinaga.

Albany

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.

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.

Forfitt, Benjamin
Ashpo, Samuel

Ashpo was born into a very powerful Mohegan family, considered equal to the Uncas line, and became an influential Mohegan preacher. He was converted at Mohegan during the Great Awakening, and became a schoolteacher among the Indians at Mushantuxet from 1753 until 1757 and from 1759 until 1762, when he left to attend Moor's. Between 1757 and 1759, he worked as an interpreter, and supposedly struggled with alcohol. He attended Moor's for only six months, and then continued his teaching and missionary career on successive trips to Chenango (the first was cut short because of violence in the region). On July 1, 1767, the Connecticut Board dismissed him from their service because of further charges of drinking. He continued to preach successfully to various New England Indian tribes until his death in 1795. The variations of his name exist in part because Ashpo is an abbreviated form of Ashobapow.

Smith, Charles Jeffery

Charles Jeffery Smith was an independently funded Presbyterian missionary and itinerant preacher. After his father's early death, Smith inherited a large private income. Instead of enjoying a life of leisure, he chose to complete his education at Yale and then become a missionary. After graduating, he taught at Moor's Indian Charity School, gratis, for a few months in 1763. His first mission, and his only mission among Indians, was a 1763 endeavor to the Six Nations, accompanied by then-student Joseph Brant as an interpreter. However, Pontiac's War forced them to return. Although Smith continued his missionary career, he focused on slaves in the Mid/South-Atlantic region and English-colonist congregations. Smith held several important roles in Wheelock's Grand Design. He was Wheelock's heir-once-removed (after Whitaker) in Wheelock's 1767 will, and was proposed as Occom's companion on the 1765 fundraising tour. Wheelock consulted Smith about the location of what was to be Dartmouth College (Smith proposed Virginia or South Carolina), and solicited him as an envoy to the Six Nations in 1768; when Smith refused, the job fell to Ralph Wheelock, who severely alienated the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and Sir William Johnson. Smith's residence was in Virginia at the time of his death, but he actually died in Long Island while visiting his family, from a gunshot wound sustained while hunting. It is unclear whether this was murder, an accidental shot, or suicide.

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.

Dyar, Eliphalet
DeBerdt, Dennys

Dennys DeBerdt was a London merchant of Dutch descent, a dissenter who took an avid interest in American affairs and politics. Although he was not especially prominent in British eyes, many Americans, including Wheelock, venerated him as a valuable ally. DeBerdt tried to help Wheelock secure a charter for Moor's, but his efforts failed because the Connecticut Assembly was opposed. Otherwise, DeBerdt helped Wheelock in much the same way as other supporters did: he collected and forwarded donations and circulated information. He also hosted Occom, Whitaker, and J. Smith on their fundraising tour. In 1765, the Massachusetts Assembly elected DeBerdt as their agent in London, a post he held until his death in 1770. He also served as an agent for the Assemblies of Connecticut and Delaware. He frequently advocated for American interests in London, and was instrumental in the repeal of the Stamp Act. DeBerdt invested heavily in American trade, with poor results for his estate. Perhaps because he was a Dissenter and enjoyed limited opportunities in England, he thought American religious freedom was well worth defending. Virtually all correspondence between DeBerdt and Wheelock dates from between 1757 and 1763. DeBerdt's last letter to Wheelock was written in 1763, and Wheelock wrote to DeBerdt only sporadically after that (his last two letters are dated October 1765 and February 1767). It is not clear why the two men stopped corresponding.

Lyman, Phineas

General Phineas Lyman was a longtime friend of Eleazar Wheelock’s and a supporter of his school. He was born in Durham, CT in 1715 and studied law at Yale. After graduating in 1738, Lyman became a tutor then successful lawyer, and he managed a law school in Suffield, MA. When Suffield was incorporated into Connecticut, Lyman became involved with the Connecticut General Assembly. He served in the French and Indian War, commanding 5,000 Connecticut troops, and was integral in the battle of Lake George in 1755 although General Johnson was credited with the victory. After the war, General Lyman went to England in search of acknowledgment for his war endeavors, and to secure land on the Mississippi or Ohio River for himself and fellow officers. Lyman assured Wheelock he would endeavor to incorporate his school into the territory. However, in April of 1769, Lord Dartmouth wrote to Wheelock indicating that General Lyman had excluded the school from his plea; Sir William Johnson had denounced Wheelock for supposedly deterring Indians from ceding their property. In 1774, after 11 years of negotiations, General Lyman finally obtained the grant for the Mississippi and Yazoo lands; nonetheless, Wheelock had already established his school in New Hampshire. In 1775, General Lyman died en route to the newly acquired territory in West Florida.

Document Summary

People identified in this document:

id Text in document Role in header Authorized Name
pers0002.ocp Sam. l Samuel Aſhpo Ashpo mentioned Ashpo, Samuel
pers0500.ocp M. r Mr. Charles Jeffry Smith mentioned Smith, Charles Jeffery
pers0500.ocp M. r Mr. Smith mentioned Smith, Charles Jeffery
pers0030.ocp M. r Mr. Occom mentioned Occom, Samson
pers0014.ocp M. r Mr. De Berdt DeBerdt mentioned DeBerdt, Dennys
pers0344.ocp Gen. l Gen. Lyman mentioned Lyman, Phineas
pers0174.ocp Col. o Col. Dyar mentioned Dyar, Eliphalet
pers0196.ocp M r Mr. B. Benjamin Forfitt recipient Forfitt, Benjamin

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0122.ocp Lebanon Lebanon
place0048.ocp Connecticut Connecticut
place0001.ocp Albany Albany
place0142.ocp Mohock Mohawk Country Mohawk Country

Organizations identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
org0098.ocp this School Moor’s Indian Charity School
org0063.ocp Mohegan Tribe Mohegan Tribe
org0098.ocp this School Moor’s Indian Charity School
org0090.ocp Six Nations Six Nations

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1763-09-08 8.th8th Sept.rSeptember 1763.
1763-04-27 27.th27th Apr.lApril
1763-08-20 y.ethe 20.th20th of laſtlast month
1763-05 May
1763-08-06 6th6th of laſtlast month
1763-06-30 June 30.
1763-07-04 July 4.th4th
1763-09-08 Sep.tSeptember 8. 1763.

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
modernization 8.th 8th
modernization 27.th 27th
modernization laſt last
modernization ſafe safe
modernization Cheſt chest
modernization &c. etc.
modernization y.e the
modernization 20.th 20th
modernization Anſwer answer
modernization Teſtimony testimony
modernization Inſtitution institution
modernization diſcharge discharge
modernization Truſt trust
modernization beſt best
modernization eſteem esteem
modernization Deſign design
modernization thouſand thousand
modernization periſhing perishing
modernization truſt trust
modernization Inſtrument instrument
modernization Expreſsions expressions
modernization Kindneſs kindness
modernization refreſh refresh
variation incourage encourage
modernization preſent present
modernization lasſt last
modernization ſo so
variation peacibly peaceably
modernization Aſhpo Ashpo
modernization Miniſters ministers
variation Sat set
modernization Miſsion mission
modernization 6th 6th
modernization ſince since
modernization deſigned designed
modernization engliſh english
modernization Miſsionary missionary
variation goe go
modernization muſt must
modernization raiſe raise
modernization purſuing pursuing
modernization M.r Mr.
modernization 4.th 4th
modernization themſelves themselves
variation returnd returned
variation Mohock Mohawk
modernization Apprehenſions apprehensions
modernization extenſive extensive
modernization Repulſes repulses
modernization diſcouraged discouraged
variation De Berdt DeBerdt
modernization Gen.l Gen.
modernization Col.o Col.
modernization Succeſsful successful
modernization underſtanding understanding
modernization M r Mr.

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
Sept.r September
Apr.l April
tho' though
Sam.l Samuel
Favo.r favour
& and
B. Benjamin
Sep.t September

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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 25)
Number of people/places/organizations with unknown keys: 0 (out of 16)
Number of "add" tags with unknown 'place' attributes: 0 (out of 0)
Mixed case attribute values in header (potential error): 0 (out of 114)
HomeEleazar Wheelock, letter, to Benjamin Forfitt, 1763 September 8
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