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David Fowler, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1765 May 29

ms-number: 765329.2

[note (type: abstract): Fowler reports on the progress of the mission at Oneida. He writes that Joseph Woolley was appointed schoolmaster at Onaquaga, and expresses concern for Mr. Kirtland.][note (type: handwriting): As Fowler notes, he has no writing table; his handwriting is therefore somewhat messy, but it is largely clear and legible.][note (type: paper): Large sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good-to-fair condition, with light-to-moderate staining, creasing and wear.][note (type: ink): Brown-black.][note (type: noteworthy): It is uncertain to whom Fowler refers when he mentions "Master" in his closing salutation, though it is possibly Rodulphus Wheelock[pers0578.ocp].]

[Rev:d | Rev.]Rev:dRev. & [Hon.d | honoured]Hon.dhonoured Sir,
After much Fatigue and [Diſcouro
agement | discour
by the Way I [reach'd | reached]reach'dreached here [laſt | last]laſtlast Sabbath Day
in the Morning. I got up to Johnson Hall[place0112.ocp] 11th [inſtant | instant]inſtantinstant,
[deliver'd | delivered]deliver'ddelivered all what you [ſent | sent]ſentsent by me both [above] moneymoney and [Letters | letters]Lettersletters to [mr | Mr.]mrMr.
[Kirtland | Kirkland]KirtlandKirkland[pers0315.ocp]
. — His Honour Sir William Johnson[pers0292.ocp] was in [ſuch | such]ſuchsuch
great [Buſineſs | business]Buſineſsbusiness that we could not [ſpeak | speak]ſpeakspeak to [above] himhim under five Days.
— I have been down to [Onohoquawge | Onaquaga]OnohoquawgeOnaquaga[place0182.ocp] to get those Boys [Jo­
­ſeph | Jo­
appointed to go down to School, but I could get none
of them. Some [ſaid | said]ſaidsaid they had too much Work to do and others [ſaid | said]ſaidsaid
that I came away too [ſoon | soon]ſoonsoon and [ſome | some]ſomesome [ſaid | said]ſaidsaid they will let their Chil­
dren go [Schooh | school]Schoohschool there little while and theny they'll [ſend | send]ſendsend them: I
[ſuppoſe | suppose]ſuppoſesuppose they would [ſend | send]ſendsend their Children if I waited two or three
Weeks; but I was unwilling to tarry [ſo | so]ſoso loo[above] nng for the Gentlemen's
—I have [ſettled | settled]ſettledsettled Joseph [Wooley | Woolley]WooleyWoolley[pers0041.ocp] with his Help a School ­
[Maſter | master]Maſtermaster at [Onohoquawge | Onaquaga]OnohoquawgeOnaquaga[place0182.ocp], he is greatly [belov'd | beloved]belov'dbeloved there, it will
be [beſt | best]beſtbest for [above] himhim to return as [ſoon | soon]ſoonsoon as [poſſible | possible]poſſiblepossible. He has done nothing there
worth mentioning [beſides | besides]beſidesbesides learning their [Langu[above] aage | language]Langu[above] aagelanguage.— We heard
how he was [ſettled | settled]ſettledsettled [laſt | last]laſtlast Fall; I [underſtood | understood]underſtoodunderstood when [above] I wasI was down that there
[left] waswas no [ſuch | such]ſuchsuch thing mentioned.— [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. [Kirtland | Kirkland]KirtlandKirkland[pers0315.ocp] is gone up to [Se­
neke | Se
again; he [ſat | set]ſatset out from this Place [24th | 24th]24th24th [inſtant | instant]inſtantinstant
and with [above] aa heavy Heart: things go on contrary to his Mind.—
I am greatly [concernd | concerned]concerndconcerned about him. — He took my [Horſe | horse]Horſehorse up with
him, told he told me that [above] hehe would bear all the Blame; for
he [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould killd [himſelf | himself]himſelfhimself if he carried all what he wanted up
on his Back. — I believe he will [ſend | send]ſendsend the little Creature very
[ſoon | soon]ſoonsoon by those men whom Sir William[pers0292.ocp] [ſent | sent]ſentsent to fetch down
their [Engliſh | English]EngliſhEnglish [Priſoners | prisoners]Priſonersprisoners from that Place. I [underſtood | understood]underſtoodunderstood [ſo | so]ſoso
[above] muchmuch about our [Miniſters | ministers]Miniſtersministers when I [above] waswas down to [Onohoquawge | Onaquaga]OnohoquawgeOnaquaga[place0182.ocp], I think
it will not do for them to go together they must be [Seperate | separate]Seperateseparate:
one of them [muſt | must]muſtmust come up here, and the other to [Onohoquawge | Onaquaga]OnohoquawgeOnaquaga[place0182.ocp],
If they [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould go together from Place to Place their coming will
be to none affect: [Becauſe | because]Becauſebecause they expect the [Miniſters | ministers]Miniſtersministers will [ſettle | settle]ſettlesettle &
tarry with them.— They are [ſuspecious | suspicious]ſuspecioussuspicious People, they'll [ſoon | soon]ſoonsoon
get [ſomething | something]ſomethingsomething another [againſt | against]againſtagainst them if they don't tarry
in one Place [above] [illegible][guess (h-dawnd): that]that will[illegible][guess (h-dawnd): that]that will [ſtrike | strike]ſtrikestrike off all they Affections from them: If
theiry [loſe | lose]loſelose the Affections of these People it is over with
them.— I can't [expreſs | express]expreſsexpress [myſelf | myself]myſelfmyself by writing as I could
by talking.— I live like a Dog here. my Folks are poor [& | and]&and
[naſty | nasty]naſtynasty, I [above] eateat with Dogs, for, they eat [& | and]&and drink out of the [ſame | same]ſamesame as I do.—
— I [ſhall | shall]ſhallshall need ten Dollars more. It would [beſt | best]beſtbest for Calvin[pers0008.ocp] to
come here. here is one pretty Town [juſt | just]juſtjust by me
and good many Children. I [muſt | must]muſtmust go down to German­
[Flats | Flatts]FlatsFlatts[place0084.ocp]
to get [Proviſion | provisions]Proviſionprovisions. after that I [ſhall | shall]ſhallshall [ſet | set]ſetset [above] downdown to my
School. Here are great number of Children, but I
[cant | can't]cantcan't tell you how many Scholars I [ſhall | shall]ſhallshall have. I
believe my [ſinging | singing]ſingingsinging School will exceed the other in
Number, I [cant | can't]cantcan't get but one boy here. — You will
know ho why I could get no more by the [Speach | speech]Speachspeech I
[ſend | send]ſendsend you. Joseph [Wooley | Woolley]WooleyWoolley[pers0041.ocp] is [almoſt | almost]almoſtalmost [nacked | naked]nackednaked I am obd
[oblig'd | obliged]oblig'dobliged to let him have one of my Shirts. —
I [ſhall | shall]ſhallshall be glad you [above] wouldwould [ſend | send]ſendsend me another [illegible]
Sir, I hope you won't [above] letlet this Letter be [ſeen | seen]ſeenseen, I have no
Table to write upon, [beſides | besides]beſidesbesides I have not writ [ſo | so]ſoso long my
Hand is out of order.— Please to give my kind [Reſpects | respects]Reſpectsrespects
to Madam[pers0577.ocp], [Maſter | Master]MaſterMaster and [Miniſters | ministers]Miniſtersministers. Please to accept
much Love [& | and]&and Duty from
your affectionate
though unworthy Pupil

David Fowler[pers0155.ocp]
[note (type: editorial): Blank page.]
David Fowler[pers0155.ocp]s of May 20
. with [ye | the]yethe doings of the
[Cheifs | Chiefs]CheifsChiefs
German Flatts

German Flatts is located in upper Mohawk Valley on the south side of the Mohawk River in Herkimer County, New York. The Oneidas had settled this land for centuries before Palatine German immigrants, for whom the town is named, settled there in the 1720s. The Palatines were granted leases from Governor Burnet to purchase land from the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) in 1723. The Germans and Oneidas sustained excellent relations and had both a trading and military alliance (and even had several inter-marriages). When the French and Indian War began, the German Flatts settlers and the Oneidas agreed to maintain peace and neutrality. Both the Palatines and the Oneidas resented nearby Fort Herkimer, believing it made the area a military target. The French refused to accept the neutrality of the Indians and Germans at German Flatts, and in 1757, the French and their Indian allies attacked a Palatine settlement in German Flatts with the help of a few Oneidas who succumbed to pressure from the French. The Germans could not defend themselves (40 were killed and 150 were taken captive back to New France), and the French and their Indian allies burned much of German Flatts. After the French and Indian War, the Germans and Haudenosaunee renewed their trading relationship and maintained peace throughout the 1760s. In two separate letters in September 1761, Wheelock refers to a July 7, 1761 letter from Occom, written from German Flatts, reporting his kind reception by the Six Nations. Wheelock also recounts a July 7th letter from General Johnson from German Flatts written by two Mohawk boys whom the General recommends as interpreters or missionaries for the Indian Charity School. In a 1767 letter to Robert Keen, Wheelock quotes letters from Samuel Kirtland that express the lack of provisions due to years of poor crops. In 1778 during the American Revolution, the Loyalists and Mohawks, led by Joseph Brant, attacked German Flatts, and residents withdrew to Fort Herkimer. While the majority of the Haudenosaunee sided with the British, the Oneidas supported the colonists in the Revolution.


Onaquaga (more than 50 different spellings have been documented) was a cosmopolitan Indian town on the Susquehanna River, now the site of the town of Windsor, New York. It was initially established as an Oneida settlement by those seeking an alternative to the power politics of Kanawalohale, the new chief village of the Oneidas, and Old Oneida, the former capital. However, from the end of the 17th century onwards it became an immigration destination for displaced Indians from a wide range of tribes. Yet, from the late 1760s onward, Onaquaga’s cosmopolitan composition proved to be its undoing. The community was fragmented by disputes over the extent and the proper style of Christian practice, with Sir William Johnson and Joseph Brant (who owned a farm at Onaquaga) urging Episcopalianism and the New England Company urging Congregationalism. An influx of Mohawk immigrants in the years after the 1768 Fort Stanwix treaty led the inhabitants of Onaquaga to side with the Crown in the Revolution, rather than with the colonies as most Oneida towns did, and it became Joseph Brant’s base of operations. The town was destroyed by the Continental Army in 1778 as part of the wave of violent retaliation for British and Indian attacks on frontier communities that culminated in General Sullivan’s ravaging of Cayuga and Seneca territory. The area was resettled by Americans after the Revolution.

Seneca Country

Seneca Country refers to the traditional lands inhabited by the Seneca Nation in what is now western New York State. It should not be confused with the much smaller modern Seneca County in the Finger Lakes region of central New York. Seneca Country originally consisted of the Finger Lakes region and the Genesee Valley in Western New York, which is bounded by the Genesee River and Canandaigua Lake, and fell within the huge Albany County, NY. Seneca Country was organized around the village unit, two of the biggest being Kanadasegea in the east and Ganondagan in the west. The Senecas were the Western-most tribe within the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, which is why they are known as "The Keepers of the Western Door." Unlike many tribes and territories during colonization, the Senecas and Seneca Country expanded as far South as Pennsylvania during the mid-1600s and early 1700s through the conquest and assimilation of smaller tribes. Despite the Senecas’ desire for neutrality, the British prevailed on them to eventually fight on their side during the Revolutionary War. British defeat meant the loss of significant land in Seneca Country, as a result of a treaty with the newly formed United States in 1784. Samuel Kirkland, one of Wheelock's most famous Anglo-American missionaries, began his career with a mission to Seneca Country in January 1765. Living among the Senecas was considered dangerous because they were known as the most warlike of the Six Nations, but Kirkland was able to learn their language during his year and a half there before he went on to serve as missionary to the Oneidas for 40 years. Today, some Senecas still live in what was once Seneca Country, and though many geographic locations in Western and Central New York still bear the name of their original inhabitants, many Senecas moved out of Seneca Country to Oklahoma and Canada.

Johnson Hall

Johnson Hall, which still stands today, refers to a Georgian house located in the present-day town of Johnstown, New York. It also denoted the small village surrounding the hall that became Johnstown. Its namesake is Sir William Johnson. Following the close of the French and Indian War in 1763, Johnson moved from what was known as Fort Johnson located in the present-day town of Amsterdam, New York to Johnson Hall, which became an important site in the history of Indian-white relations in the area. Johnson lived out the rest of his life there, dying in 1774 following a fraught conference regarding the mistreatment of the Shawnees by the British. Johnson wrote several letters to Wheelock from Johnson Hall with news of the Indians and council meetings with their representatives. David Fowler and Joseph Woolley, missionaries trained by Wheelock who went to work with the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), both called on Johnson, spending time at and writing letters from Johnson Hall about their work.


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.

Fowler, David

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

Wheelock, Rodulphus

Ralph Rodulphus Wheelock was Wheelock's oldest son and heir apparent. While Wheelock believed that Ralph showed great aptitude for the "Indian business," others saw Ralph as arrogant and abrasive. He also suffered from epilepsy, which seriously impeded his ability to work. He died in Hanover as an invalid under almost constant care and guardianship. Wheelock's struggle to accept his son's illness and his son's struggle to overcome it provide an undercurrent for some of the stranger events in the history of Moor's Indian Charity School and Dartmouth College. Ralph grew up surrounded by and dedicated to Indian education, but also with an inflated sense of Wheelock's, and his own, importance, which stayed with him for much of his life. Joseph Brant recounts a telling anecdote: Ralph once ordered William Major, Sir William Johnson's son, to saddle his horse on the grounds that he was the son of a gentleman and William Major was not. Ralph was unable to finish coursework at the College of New Jersey, which he attended from 1761-1763, although he graduated from Yale in 1765. He made three tours of the Six Nations (in 1766, 1767, and 1768), assisting ministers in bringing back children and negotiating with tribes. He taught at Moor's for two years, and was briefly considered as a companion for Occom on the Fundraising Tour. Wheelock formally named him as his heir in the 1768 draft of his will. However, Wheelock's reliance on Ralph brought disastrous consequences for the school. In the spring of 1768, Wheelock sent Ralph to the Onondagas and Oneidas to negotiate about schoolmasters and missionaries. Once there, Ralph managed to offend the assembled chiefs beyond repair. Ralph blamed his failure on Kirkland, and it was not until 1772 that Wheelock learned the truth of the matter. It is likely that Ralph's conduct influenced the Oneidas' decision to pull their children out of Moor's later in 1768: Wheelock himself implied as much in his 1771 Journal. By the early 1770s, Wheelock had realized that Ralph was never going to take over Dartmouth College. In a later will, Wheelock provided Ralph with £50 per annum for his care, to be paid out by the College, and stipulated that his other heirs should look after his oldest son. Because Ralph was unable to serve as Wheelock's heir, the presidency of the College passed to John Wheelock, a soldier who had no theological training or desire to run a college.

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.

Wheelock, Mary (née Brinsmead)

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

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).

Kirkland, Samuel

Samuel Kirkland (b. Kirtland) was Eleazar Wheelock’s most famous Anglo American student. He conducted a 40-year mission to the Oneidas and founded Hamilton College (established in 1793 as Hamilton Oneida Academy). Kirkland won acclaim as a missionary at a young age by conducting an adventurous and risky mission to the Senecas, the westernmost of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Six Nations. After his year and a half among them, which was well publicized by Wheelock, he was ordained and sent as a missionary to the Oneidas under the auspices of the Connecticut Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. He spent most of the rest of his life serving the Oneidas as a minister. Kirkland’s sincere devotion to serving as a missionary was excellent publicity for Wheelock’s program, but it also brought the two men into conflict. Wheelock became jealous of Kirkland when the school’s British benefactors began urging Wheelock to make Kirkland his heir, and Kirkland, meanwhile, was upset that Wheelock had failed to provide him with sufficient supplies on his mission — a complaint that he was unafraid to publicize (and that almost all of Wheelock’s other students shared). The breaking point came in 1770, when Kirkland split from Wheelock’s Connecticut Board and affiliated with the New England Company, a missionary society that had abruptly turned against Wheelock in 1765. Wheelock and Kirkland briefly made up in 1771, but their relationship quickly dissolved into further acrimony. Although Kirkland spent most of his life as a missionary to the Six Nations, he generally held disparaging views of Native Americans. He did not approve of Wheelock’s plan to educate Indians as missionaries, and was haughty towards the Moor’s alumni that worked with him (notably David Fowler, Joseph Johnson, and Joseph Woolley). Prior to the Revolution, Kirkland had been stringent in his refusals to take Oneida land, even when offered to him. The Revolution seems to have shifted his loyalties from the Oneidas to local Anglo Americans. Kirkland served as a chaplain in the American army and was instrumental in convincing the Oneidas to remain neutral (or, more accurately, to side with the Americans). At one point he was the chaplain with General Sullivan’s army, the force sent to ransack Seneca and Cayuga territory in 1779. It is unclear what emotions this aroused in Kirkland, who had served the Senecas less than 15 years earlier, yet after the war, Kirkland freely engaged in Oneida dispossession. Along with James Dean, another Wheelock alumnus with close ties to the Oneidas, Kirkland played a pivotal role in urging the Oneidas to sell land illegally to the state of New York. The land deals that resulted gave Kirkland the property, financial capital, and connections to establish Hamilton Oneida Academy. The last decades of Kirkland’s life were difficult. He found himself in a three-way battle with Samson Occom and John Sergeant Jr., who were also ministers in Oneida territory, for the hearts and minds of their congregations; he was fired as a missionary in 1797, although he continued to serve sans salary; one of his son’s business enterprises failed, leaving Kirkland nearly destitute; and two of his three sons died unexpectedly. Hamilton Oneida Academy, like Moor’s Indian Charity School, largely failed at its goal of educating Indians, and in 1812, four years after Kirkland’s death, it was re-purposed as Hamilton College, a largely Anglo-American institution. At some point in the mid-to-late 18th century, Kirkland changed his name from Kirtland, although the reasons for this are uncertain.

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.

Calvin, Hezekiah

Hezekiah Calvin was one of Eleazar Wheelock's first Native American students. Like Wheelock’s other early Delaware students, he was sent by the minister John Brainerd. Calvin was certified as a schoolteacher on March 12, 1765, and was sent to the Mohawks at Fort Hunter in June 1765. The Mohawks threw him out at the end of September 1766, and he returned to Moor's. Samuel Johnson, an Anglo-American Yale student who replaced Calvin at Fort Hunter, reported that the residents unanimously accused Calvin of being abusive and rude. Calvin, in turn, maintained that the Fort Hunter Mohawks had mistreated him. Calvin’s second stint at Moor’s did not go well. He wrote several confessions for drunkenness and bad behavior, and frequently spoke ill of Wheelock. He left the school in the spring of 1768, and took up residence with the Secutor family (Narragansett) at Charlestown, Rhode Island. Calvin left the Narragansetts sometime late in 1768, presumably after the dissolution of his relationship with Mary Secutor. Wheelock heard reports early in 1769 that Calvin had been imprisoned at Little Ease, NJ, for forging a pass for a Black man (Calvin does not appear in the county records, so either he was never indicted or Wheelock had his information wrong). By 1777, Calvin was in a position of prominence at Brotherton, NJ (a town of Christian Delawares founded under John Brainerd’s ministry). At some point after 1788, Calvin moved west with the Delawares: he may have moved directly to join the Delawares in Ohio territory, or he may have relocated to Stockbridge in 1802 and then moved west.

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People identified in this document:

id Text in document Role in header Authorized Name
pers0315.ocp m r Mr. Kirtland Kirkland mentioned Kirkland, Samuel
pers0292.ocp Sir William Johnson mentioned Johnson, William
pers0041.ocp Jo­ ­ſeph Jo­ seph mentioned Woolley, Joseph
pers0041.ocp Joseph Wooley Woolley mentioned Woolley, Joseph
pers0315.ocp M r Mr. Kirtland Kirkland mentioned Kirkland, Samuel
pers0292.ocp Sir William mentioned Johnson, William
pers0008.ocp Calvin mentioned Calvin, Hezekiah
pers0577.ocp Madam mentioned Wheelock, Mary (née Brinsmead)
pers0155.ocp David Fowler writer Fowler, David
pers0155.ocp David Fowler writer Fowler, David

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id Text in document Authorized Name
place0179.ocp Ono hoq yada quwage Oneida Oneida
place0112.ocp Johnson Hall Johnson Hall
place0182.ocp Onohoquawge Onaquaga Onaquaga
place0205.ocp Se­ neke Se neca Country Seneca Country
place0084.ocp German­ Flats Flatts German Flatts

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1765-05-29 May 29th29th 1765
1765-05-20 May 20 1765

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Type Original Regularized
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variation Wooley Woolley
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modernization Engliſh English
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Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
Hon.d honoured
Letters letters
& and

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HomeDavid Fowler, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1765 May 29
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