Skip to main content
 Previous Next
  • Zoom In (+)
  • Zoom Out (-)
  • Rotate CW (r)
  • Rotate CCW (R)
  • Overview (h)

Quick Views

View Options



Color Key

block letters
gap/damage: +++++
unclear: #####
alternate readings
hidden markup
[note: ....]
added text
deleted text
[date 'when' attribute]
[person, place or org. id]
Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to Dr. Andrew Gifford, 1763 October 31

ms-number: 763581

[note (type: abstract): Wheelock writes to Dr. Gifford thanking him for his support at a time when hostilities with the Indians have stopped donations and interfered with missionary work. Wheelock asks Gifford to befriend General Lyman in England to advance the interests of the School.][note (type: handwriting): Handwriting is small and informal, with several additions and deletions.][note (type: paper): Single large sheet is in good condition, with light creasing, staining and wear.][note (type: ink): Brown-black.][note (type: noteworthy): The additions and deletions, along with the lack of a seal, indicate that this is likely a draft. On one verso, in the left margin, a note reading "Ind. Mis." has been added in a different, likely 19th-century, hand. This note has not been transcribed.]

events: Occom’s Third Mission to the Oneidas


[Rev.d | Rev.]Rev.dRev. and [Hond | Honoured]HondHonoured Sir.
Three Days ago my Heart was [refreſhed | refreshed]refreſhedrefreshed by the
[Rec.t | receipt]Rec.treceipt of Yours of July [6th | 6th]6th6th [1763-07-06] which came at a Time when I needed
Such a [refreſhing | refreshing]refreſhingrefreshing cordial, having received repeated and Shocking
[accots | accounts]accotsaccounts of the Rage and [Hoſtilities | hostilities]Hoſtilitieshostilities of the Savages [againſt | against]againſtagainst our Southern
Governments, and that our people were put into Such a Flame thereby,
that [inſtead | instead]inſteadinstead of Charity [& | and]&and [chriſtian | Christian]chriſtianChristian [Compaſsion | compassion]Compaſsioncompassion to their [periſhing | perishing]periſhingperishing Souls,
but little, [beſides | besides]beſidesbesides Threatenings of Slaughter [& | and]&and [Deſtruction | destruction]Deſtructiondestruction [Seem’d | seemed]Seem’dseemed to be breathed
forth from every Quarter, and as an Evidence that this was the common
Temper of this Government[place0048.ocp] at [preſent | present]preſentpresent I was told that a Contribution
had been [above] waswas moved [above] forfor in [conſequence | consequence]conſequenceconsequence of a [Breif | brief]Breifbrief granted by the [Governour | governor]Governourgovernor[pers0691.ocp]
and Company in favour of this School[org0098.ocp], in a Large [Aſsembly | assembly]Aſsemblyassembly in the
Town of [Windſor | Windsor]WindſorWindsor[place0245.ocp] on Connecticut River[place0050.ocp], and that nothing was
obtained by it but a Bullet [& | and]&and [Flynt | flint]Flyntflint, and that [above] somesome other congrega­
tions where the Contribution had been [aſked | asked]aſkedasked for, had done but
little better, and that [conſequently | consequently]conſequentlyconsequently I might expect but little [Aſsiſtance | assistance]Aſsiſtanceassistance
from that Quarter, at [preſent | present]preſentpresent. at this very Juncture even while my
Informers were [preſent | present]preſentpresent, came yours [filld | filled]filldfilled with the Spirit of Love [& | and]&and
containing Such [acco.t | account]acco.taccount of the Liberality already [Shewn | shown]Shewnshown and a [Diſpoſi­
­tion | disposi­
to further [Expreſsions | expressions]Expreſsionsexpressions of it, as there Shall be [occaſsion | occasion]occaſsionoccasion, as that
it [Seemd | seemed]Seemdseemed as [tho’ | though]tho’though [Omnicient | omniscient]Omnicientomniscient [Goodneſs | goodness]Goodneſsgoodness had directed your pen [above] in writingin writing and
ordered the very minute of your [above] of illegible [yr | your]yryour Letter’sof illegible [yr | your]yryour Letter’s arrival^ to forbid an unquiet or Anxious
[Tho’t | thought]Tho’tthought for the Support of this [Deſign | design]Deſigndesign.
The Lord mercifully reward you, dear Sir, and whoever has
had a Hand with you in procuring the Donation to this School[org0098.ocp],
which you give me Leave to Expect by the next Ship. It will be very
acceptable indeed, as was the Box of Books Sent by [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Forfitt[pers0196.ocp] from
the Society for Propagating Religious Knowledge among the poor[org0092.ocp].
I read your Letter in the hearing of My Indian Boys, and Joseph
a Delaware[org0038.ocp], one of the Number, whom I hope were conver­
ted [laſt | last]laſtlast Winter, [replyed | replied]replyedreplied, full of Affection. “O I Wish I knew how
to [expreſs | express]expreſsexpress my Gratitude to those Good Gentlemen, for Such [Expreſsi­
ons | expressi­
of their [Kindneſs | kindness]Kindneſskindness.” And I [truſt | trust]truſttrust the [Blesſsing | blessing]Blesſsingblessing of many who have
never [above] yetyet known the Plague of their own Hearts, yea of many Yet un­
born will come upon You. You may depend upon my [beſt | best]beſtbest Endeavours
to improve these and any Favours which you or others Shall See fit
to [conferr | confer]conferrconfer upon this School[org0098.ocp], in the [beſt | best]beſtbest manner I am able for the
Furtherance of the Great [Deſign | design]Deſigndesign in view.
I hope his [Majeſty | Majesty]MajeſtyMajesty, our dear Sovereign,[pers0305.ocp] will be divinely direc­
ted into Such [Meaſures | measures]Meaſuresmeasures as will fully [diſclose | disclose]diſclosedisclose the true Source [& | and]&and Origin
of the [preſent | present]preſentpresent Rupture. And when that is [above] Shall beShall be done I am [perſwaded | persuaded]perſwadedpersuaded, the
[heavieſt | heaviest]heavieſtheaviest Share in the Guilt will be found with Such unrighteous [illegible][guess (ivys): Deal­]Deal­
ers with the Indians, as have no Regard, but to get[above] securesecure to [themſelves | themselves]themſelvesthemselves
large [Eſtates | estates]Eſtatesestates, and that by any fraudulent, and [oppreſsive | oppressive]oppreſsiveoppressive [Meaſures | measures]Meaſuresmeasures which
[Apear | appear]Apearappear likely the [ſooneſt | soonest]ſooneſtsoonest to [accompliſh | accomplish]accompliſhaccomplish that End, [tho’ | though]tho’though it bear the Expense
of the public Peace and the Ruin of the poor Creatures.
I think [above] believebelieve when the true [Cauſes | causes]Cauſescauses of this great Evil, are [above] [ſhall | shall]ſhallshall be[ſhall | shall]ſhallshall be thoroughly Searched
out, it will not appear that the Savages have acted So very wide from
Such Principles, nor [above] [ſo | so]ſoso much[ſo | so]ſoso much beyond the natural Influence of Such motives, as
[left] [Lett.r | Letter]Lett.rLetter to [D.r | Dr.]D.rDr. A. Gifford[pers0221.ocp]
[Oct.r | October]Oct.rOctober 31. 1763.[1763-10-31]

[Lett.r | Letter]Lett.rLetter to [D.r | Dr.]D.rDr. A. Gifford[pers0221.ocp]
[Oct.r | October]Oct.rOctober 31. 1763.[1763-10-31]

They may be [Reaſsonably | reasonably]Reaſsonablyreasonably Supposed to be [govern’d | governed]govern’dgoverned by under their
[groſs | gross]groſsgross Ignorance, and the Influence of Jesuitical [Inſinuations | insinuations]Inſinuationsinsinuations, as
they are now [ſupposed | supposed]ſupposedsupposed to do. and then I [truſt | trust]truſttrust the [Reſentments | resentments]Reſentmentsresentments
of many which are now [ſo | so]ſoso keen [againſt | against]againſtagainst them, will at
[leaſt | least]leaſtleast have a Mixture of [compaſsion | compassion]compaſsioncompassion towards them as [con­
ſidering | con
them to have given this [Deſparate | desperate]Deſparatedesperate Struggle only to
deliver [themſelves | themselves]themſelvesthemselves from that Ruin and Slavery which they
imagine is [deſignd | designed]deſignddesigned [againſt | against]againſtagainst them.
I hope Something effectual will be done in this matter to prevent
Such floods of Evil from that Quarter in Time to come.
Dear [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Smith [pers0500.ocp] (of [Whoſe | whose]Whoſewhose Ordination and [Miſsion | mission]Miſsionmission you have
likely heard) was [cheirfully | cheerfully]cheirfullycheerfully joyfully [above] gladlygladly received by 5 of the 6.
(the other being confederate with the Enemy) but they
[look’d | looked]look’dlooked upon [above] [tho’t | thought]tho’tthought[tho’t | thought]tho’tthought his Life So exposed by [reaſon | reason]reaſonreason of [Stragling | straggling]Straglingstraggling Fellows
among them from [diſtant | distant]diſtantdistant Tribes, that they could not [deſire | desire]deſiredesire him
to continue with [above] themthem at [preſent | present]preſentpresent. he left them [ſoon | soon]ſoonsoon, after preach­
­ing a few Sermons, as did also [Meſsrs | Messrs.]MeſsrsMessrs. Occom[pers0030.ocp] and [Aſhpo | Ashpo]Aſhpo Ashpo[pers0002.ocp], but
[deſign | design]deſigndesign if it Shall be judged Safe to return to them in the Spring.
This Rupture has prevented Such an Addition to my Number
this Fall as I hoped for, by the [Aſsiſtances | assistances]Aſsiſtancesassistances of those [Miſsionaries | missionaries]Miſsionariesmissionaries
I hope the Lord will open the Door for it in the Spring.
My School[org0098.ocp] is yet in good [Circumſtances | circumstances]Circumſtancescircumstances, the youth behave
well, excepting Jacob[pers0040.ocp]. the young man who has been at New-
[Jerſey | Jersey]JerſeyJersey College[org0067.ocp]
(and would [doubtleſs | doubtless]doubtleſsdoubtless have had his Degree
there [laſt | last]laſtlast month if my Letters had not been delayed)
He has of late appeared to be under Such Temptations, as [ariſes | arises]ariſesarises,
or have their principal Strength from [Diſcouragements | discouragements]Diſcouragementsdiscouragements.
It is a point Settled with him, that without a Saving Change
he Shall never be fit for public [uſefulneſs | usefulness]uſefulneſsusefulness. And as to Such a
Change he Says, “There is no hope” and Seems Sometimes
to be open to all manner of Temptations, always [uneaſie | uneasy]uneaſieuneasy,
and Sometimes Seems [above] appearsappears to be [juſt | just]juſtjust upon the point to give [him­
ſelf | him­
over to [Senſual | sensual]Senſualsensual Gratifications. I [hant | haven't]hanthaven't time fully to
[diſcribe | describe]diſcribedescribe his [caſe | case]caſecase. this Hint is Sufficient to give you an
[underſtanding | understanding]underſtandingunderstanding of it.
I [beſpeak | bespeak]beſpeakbespeak your [Earneſt | earnest]Earneſtearnest Prayers for him, He once [appeard | appeared]appeardappeared
to have a very Tender [Conſcience | conscience]Conſcienceconscience, and [Seemd | seemed]Seemdseemed for Some Time
to be in the [Exercisſe | exercise]Exercisſeexercise of truly gracious Affections. He is a
good Scholar, and likely to be an [Inſtrument | instrument]Inſtrumentinstrument of great Good
if God Should [pleaſe | please]pleaſeplease mercifully to deliver him from these
[Pleaſe | Please]PleaſePlease Sir, if you have Opportunity, to make [Gen.l | Gen.]Gen.lGen. Lyman[pers0344.ocp]
of this Government[place0048.ocp] who is now in England[place0068.ocp], a Sharer in Your
[Friendſship | friendship]Friendſshipfriendship and [Reſpect | respect]Reſpectrespect. I [wiſh | wish]wiſhwish his merit may meet a
proper Reward. And I [truſt | trust]truſttrust You will not be wanting in
your Endeavours, as you have opportunity to forward
his [Intreſt | interest]Intreſtinterest, and also the [Intereſts | interests]Intereſtsinterests of this School[org0098.ocp], which
he is concerned for. [above] [Revd | Rev.]RevdRev. [Hon.d | ]Hon.d [& | and]&and Dear. [ſir | sir]ſirsir[Revd | Rev.]RevdRev. [Hon.d | ]Hon.d [& | and]&and Dear. [ſir | sir]ſirsir I am with SincereMuch Affection and
[Eſteem | esteem]Eſteemesteem. [Rev d | Rev.]Rev dRev. [Hon.d | Honoured]Hon.dHonoured, and Dear Sir.
Your unworthy Brother,
and Fellow Servant in the Lords House
Eleazar Wheelock[pers0036.ocp]
[Rev.d | Rev.]Rev.dRev. [Doct.r | Dr.]Doct.rDr. Gifford[pers0221.ocp].
Society for Propagating Religious Knowledge Among the Poor
The Society for Propagating Religious Knowledge Among the Poor, also known as the Book Society, was formed by dissenters (members of sects that diverged from the Church of England, such as Presbyterians and Baptists) in London in 1750 to distribute religious books to the poor. The Society donated books to Wheelock on at least two occasions in the 1760s; some of these books are still in the Dartmouth Library. The Book Society should not be confused with the Anglican Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK), which also distributed religious texts.
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.
Delaware Tribe
The Delaware Tribe, or Lenape Tribe, is a conglomeration of linguistically and culturally similar Native American groups that initially inhabited the mid-Atlantic region, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, eastern Connecticut, and southeastern New York. The three main groups comprising the Delawares are the Munsees, Unamis, and Unalaqtgos. Several Delawares attended Moor’s Indian Charity School, including some of Wheelock’s earliest students. Because the Delawares were not a politically unified entity, contact with Europeans and subsequent conflict over land and trade proved especially devastating for them. During 17th-century battles over trade access, the Delawares found themselves in conflict with the Dutch and the English as well as with other Native American groups that wanted to trade with Europeans. By the time the Dutch left in the mid-17th century, the Delawares were tributaries of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois). Scholars estimate that by 1750, through a combination of war and disease, the Delaware population had fallen by as much as 90 percent. Many Delawares responded to the situation by leaving. Some migrated west with Moravian missionaries; others joined different tribes, including the Cayugas in New York and the Stockbridge Mahicans in Massachusetts (who later migrated to Oneida territory, near Brothertown, NY, and from thence to Wisconsin). Still others migrated to Ohio and ended up in Kansas or Oklahoma as a result of American expansion. Those who stayed oversaw a century of complex treaty negotiation, including two of the more egregious instances of Native American dispossession: the infamous "walking treaty" between the Delawares and the colony of Philadelphia in 1686, and the American government's (unfulfilled) promise to give the Delawares their own fully-enfranchised state in the union for their support during the Revolution. The Delawares played an important role in the history of Moor’s Indian Charity School. John Brainerd, a Presbyterian missionary to the Delaware and a friend of Wheelock’s, sent Wheelock his first “planned” Native American students from among the Delawares in 1754. J. Brainerd also oversaw the establishment of a Christian Delaware settlement at Brotherton, New Jersey in 1758 (not to be confused with Brothertown in Oneida, New York).
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).
Princeton University
Princeton University is a College and Graduate School of liberal arts and sciences located in the town of Princeton, New Jersey. A member of the Ivy League, it enrolls about 8,000 students. When it was chartered in 1749, it was known as the College of New Jersey. It was founded by New Light Presbyterians as the educational arm of Scotch-Irish religion, and is the fourth institution of higher education established in British North America. For its first 50 years, the College was housed in Nassau Hall, one of the largest buildings in colonial America, set on land donated by Nathaniel Fitz Randolph. When expansion earned the College university status in 1896, it was officially renamed Princeton University, after the town. After the untimely deaths of its first five presidents, including Aaron Burr, Sr., and the noted Protestant theologian Jonathan Edwards, a prominent evangelical Presbyterian minister from Scotland named John Witherspoon took the helm in 1768. Witherspoon trained a generation of men who would lead the American Revolution, including James Madison, Aaron Burr, Philip Freneau and John Breckenridge. As a New Light minister, Wheelock was part of the same evangelical movement, and the College of New Jersey played a significant role in his educational experiment. Jacob Woolley, one of the first students at Moor's Indian Charity School, went on to enter the College of New Jersey in 1759, leaving in his senior year under a cloud of scandal. Several of Wheelock's Anglo-American students who studied at his Latin School and at the Indian Charity School graduated from "Nassau Hall" and became missionaries or schoolmasters in his "great design."
Connecticut River

The Connecticut River is the largest and longest in New England. It originates in northern New Hampshire, runs south through western Massachusetts and Connecticut and empties into Long Island Sound. Although Governor Wentworth offered several parcels of land in the colony of New Hampshire as potential sites for the Indian school and college, Wheelock lobbied hard to locate them in Hanover, on a parcel that bordered the Upper Connecticut River, in part because the waterway provided an important means of transportation in unsettled territory with few roads. It gave him access to western Massachusetts and Connecticut, where, in fact, many of the settlers already in the area had come up the river from Connecticut, and also provided proximity to the Canadian Indian tribes, who, after the Oneidas pulled all their children from the School in 1769, became Wheelock’s prime target for recruitment.


Windsor is a town located in central Connecticut north of Hartford. The town is situated where the Farmington and Connecticut Rivers meet. These rivers served as fishing sources, and a means of transportation for the fur trade for the local River Indians, who called this place Matianuck. In 1631, the River Indians traveled to Massachusetts Bay Colony and Plymouth hoping to create an alliance with colonists that would help protect them from the powerful and aggressive Pequot and Mohawk tribes. The River Indians’ descriptions of the land that would become Windsor enticed the colonists to settle in the area. This settlement occurred after the English colonists learned that the Dutch had settled in Hartford; led by William Holmes, a group of colonists in Plymouth journeyed to Connecticut to establish a trading post in what would become Windsor in 1633. The town was incorporated in the same year. The English named the settlement Dorchester. In 1636, the colony of Connecticut authorized John Mason of Windsor to command an offensive against the Pequot Indians during the Pequot War. This is the Mason to whom the Mohegans entrusted their lands in what would become the important Mason Land Case in which Occom was embroiled. Land in Windsor was divided among families, and the town served as a significant port throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. The land that made up Windsor was so vast (16,000 acres) that townships continued to split from Windsor up until 1854.


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 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.

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.

Gifford, Andrew

Andrew Gifford was the leading Baptist minister in England in the 18th century. He was born in Bristol, the son of Emmanuel Gifford (1673–1723), a Baptist minister, and his wife, Eleanor Lancaster (1662–1738); and grandson of Andrew Gifford, also a Bristol Baptist minister. He served as a Baptist minister in Nottingham (1725–1726) and Bristol (1727-1729). In January 1730, Gifford became Baptist minister at Little Wild Street, London, but was ostracized because of charges of sodomy that were never proven, and in 1736, he formed a new congregation in Eagle Street, where he remained as pastor for the rest of his life. Also a noted coin collector, he was a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and was appointed assistant librarian in the British Museum in 1757. With the fortune of his second wife, Gifford encouraged an educated Baptist ministry through his support of Bristol Baptist College. His unusual combination of Calvinist theology with evangelical passion made him a partisan of George Whitefield, whose "Eighteen Sermons" (1771) Gifford edited; it was a volume that sold widely in England and America. He also supported Wheelock's missionary efforts; in his "Narrative" for June 1764, Wheelock records that Gifford sent the school “a neat Pair of Globes, and a valuable Collection of Books," and appeals to him for help in advancing the School's interests in London. Gifford was one of several prominent clergymen who befriended Occom and Whitaker on their fundraising tour in England. Occom records hearing Gifford preach, preaching at his church, and dining and lodging at his house. A measure of Occom's affection for Gifford is that he and Mary Occom named their youngest son Andrew Gifford (b 1774 in Mohegan).

Fitch, Thomas
Woolley, Joseph

Joseph Woolley was a Delaware who died of consumption while keeping school at Onaquaga. He came to Wheelock in 1757 as a replacement for John Pumshire, and although Wheelock labeled him as "fit for college" in late 1761, he never attended. In the fall of 1764, Joseph went to the Six Nations with Kirkland to learn the Mohawk language and keep school, and in March 1765, he was officially approved as a schoolmaster and returned to Onaquaga to teach. He was very popular there, but died unexpectedly in late November 1765. Joseph was engaged to Hannah Garrett, who later married David Fowler, but a letter from David (765302.2) suggests that Joseph may also have pursued Amy (David's object of interest before Hannah).

Forfitt, Benjamin
Frederick, George William

George William Frederick (King George III) became heir to the throne of England in 1751 upon the death of his father Frederick, Prince of Wales. He became King George III of England in the fall of 1760 at age 22, following the death of his grandfather King George II. George III passed many important edicts during his reign including that of the Royal Marriage Act of 1772; the Treaty of Paris in 1762, which ended the Seven Years War; the Stamp Act of 1765; and the Townshend Duties of 1767. However, he is most well-known for being the reigning monarch during the Revolutionary War. After the surrender of British forces to the Americans in 1782, George III considered abdicating the throne, but chose not to do so because he felt it would be too detrimental to Britain. The last 30 years of George's life were plagued with illness. In 1788 he had the first of many attacks of insanity, now believed to have been caused by an inherited disease known as porphyria. With George III unfit to rule, it was decided that his son George would become regent, an arrangement which was made permanent in 1810. King George III died on January 29, 1820 at the age of 81 after a reign of nearly 60 years (the third longest in British history). He was succeeded by his son George IV.

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.

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.

Woolley, Jacob

Jacob Woolley, a Delaware, was one of Wheelock's first two Indian students. He was the cousin of Wheelock's third student, Joseph Woolley. John Brainerd sent Jacob Woolley, along with John Pumshire, to Wheelock late in 1754. While Pumshire died in 1757, Jacob continued studying with Wheelock and entered the College of New Jersey in 1759. He studied there until 1762, when he was expelled for failing his studies and abusing alcohol. It is also likely that there was a woman involved. In 1763, Jacob briefly returned to College before running away and enlisting in the army. Joseph Woolley met a man in Sheffield who described someone like Jacob Woolley teaching there in the fall of 1764, but this identification is not definite. Jacob never seems to have been very invested in becoming a missionary. Especially after his expulsion from the College of New Jersey, he expressed doubts about Wheelock's plans for him and struggled with alcohol. It is likely that he ran away primarily because Wheelock was non-responsive to these concerns.

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.

Occom’s Third Mission to the Oneidas
In May 1763, Occom, accompanied by Samuel Ashpo, another Mohegan minister, sets out on his third mission to the Oneidas but cannot get to New York because of the outbreak of Pontiac’s War.
Document Summary

People identified in this document:

id Text in document Role in header Authorized Name
pers0691.ocp the Governour governor mentioned Fitch, Thomas
pers0196.ocp M. r Mr. Forfitt mentioned Forfitt, Benjamin
pers0041.ocp Joseph Woolley mentioned Woolley, Joseph
pers0305.ocp his Majeſty Majesty , our dear Sovereign, mentioned Frederick, George William
pers0221.ocp D. r Dr. A. Gifford recipient Gifford, Andrew
pers0500.ocp M. r Mr. Smith mentioned Smith, Charles Jeffery
pers0030.ocp Occom mentioned Occom, Samson
pers0002.ocp Aſhpo Ashpo mentioned Ashpo, Samuel
pers0040.ocp Jacob mentioned Woolley, Jacob
pers0344.ocp Gen. l Gen. Lyman mentioned Lyman, Phineas
pers0036.ocp Eleazar Wheelock writer Wheelock, Eleazar
pers0221.ocp Rev. d Rev. Doct. r Dr. Gifford recipient Gifford, Andrew

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0122.ocp Lebanon Lebanon
place0048.ocp Connecticut. Connecticut
place0048.ocp this Government Connecticut
place0245.ocp Windſor Windsor Windsor
place0050.ocp Connecticut River Connecticut River
place0048.ocp this Government Connecticut
place0068.ocp England England

Organizations identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
org0098.ocp this School Moor’s Indian Charity School
org0098.ocp this School Moor’s Indian Charity School
org0092.ocp Society for Propagating Religious Knowledge among the poor Society for Propagating Religious Knowledge Among the Poor
org0038.ocp Delaware Delaware Tribe
org0098.ocp this School Moor’s Indian Charity School
org0090.ocp 6. Nations Six Nations
org0098.ocp My School Moor’s Indian Charity School
org0067.ocp New- JerſeyJersey College Princeton University

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1763-10-31 31. Oct.rOctober 1763.
1763-07-06 July 6th6th
1763-10-31 Oct.rOctober 31. 1763.

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
modernization Rev.d Rev.
modernization refreſhed refreshed
modernization 6th 6th
modernization refreſhing refreshing
modernization Hoſtilities hostilities
modernization againſt against
modernization inſtead instead
modernization chriſtian Christian
modernization Compaſsion compassion
modernization periſhing perishing
modernization beſides besides
modernization Deſtruction destruction
modernization preſent present
modernization conſequence consequence
variation Breif brief
variation Governour governor
modernization Aſsembly assembly
modernization Windſor Windsor
variation Flynt flint
modernization aſked asked
modernization conſequently consequently
modernization Aſsiſtance assistance
variation filld filled
variation Shewn shown
modernization Diſpoſi­
modernization Expreſsions expressions
modernization occaſsion occasion
variation Seemd seemed
variation Omnicient omniscient
modernization Goodneſs goodness
modernization Deſign design
modernization M.r Mr.
modernization laſt last
variation replyed replied
modernization expreſs express
modernization Expreſsi­
modernization Kindneſs kindness
modernization truſt trust
modernization Blesſsing blessing
modernization beſt best
variation conferr confer
modernization Majeſty Majesty
modernization Meaſures measures
modernization diſclose disclose
variation perſwaded persuaded
modernization heavieſt heaviest
modernization themſelves themselves
modernization Eſtates estates
modernization oppreſsive oppressive
variation Apear appear
modernization ſooneſt soonest
modernization accompliſh accomplish
modernization Cauſes causes
modernization ſhall shall
modernization ſo so
modernization D.r Dr.
modernization Reaſsonably reasonably
modernization groſs gross
modernization Inſinuations insinuations
modernization ſupposed supposed
modernization Reſentments resentments
modernization leaſt least
modernization compaſsion compassion
modernization con­
variation Deſparate desperate
variation deſignd designed
modernization Whoſe whose
modernization Miſsion mission
variation cheirfully cheerfully
modernization reaſon reason
variation Stragling straggling
modernization diſtant distant
modernization deſire desire
modernization ſoon soon
modernization Meſsrs Messrs.
modernization Aſhpo Ashpo
modernization deſign design
modernization Aſsiſtances assistances
modernization Miſsionaries missionaries
modernization Circumſtances circumstances
modernization Jerſey Jersey
modernization doubtleſs doubtless
modernization ariſes arises
modernization Diſcouragements discouragements
modernization uſefulneſs usefulness
variation uneaſie uneasy
modernization juſt just
modernization him­
modernization Senſual sensual
variation hant haven't
variation diſcribe describe
modernization caſe case
modernization underſtanding understanding
modernization beſpeak bespeak
modernization Earneſt earnest
variation appeard appeared
modernization Conſcience conscience
modernization Exercisſe exercise
modernization Inſtrument instrument
modernization pleaſe please
modernization Pleaſe Please
modernization Gen.l Gen.
modernization Friendſship friendship
modernization Reſpect respect
modernization wiſh wish
modernization Intreſt interest
modernization Intereſts interests
modernization Revd Rev.
modernization ſir sir
modernization Eſteem esteem
modernization Rev d Rev.
modernization Doct.r Dr.

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
Oct.r October
Hond Honoured
Rec.t receipt
accots accounts
& and
Seem’d seemed
acco.t account
tho’ though
yr your
Tho’t thought
Lett.r Letter
govern’d governed
look’d looked
tho’t thought
Hon.d Honoured

This document's header does not contain any mixed case attribute values.

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 32)
Number of people/places/organizations with unknown keys: 0 (out of 28)
Number of "add" tags with unknown 'place' attributes: 0 (out of 17)
Mixed case attribute values in header (potential error): 0 (out of 138)
HomeEleazar Wheelock, letter, to Dr. Andrew Gifford, 1763 October 31
 Text Only
 Text & Inline Image
 Text & Image Viewer
 Image Viewer Only