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David Jewett, letter, to Andrew Oliver, 1765 June 27

ms-number: 765376.2

[note (type: abstract): Jewett writes that his dispute with Occom has been resolved. He excerpts a letter from Occom.][note (type: handwriting): Informal handwriting is small and occasionally difficult to decipher, yet mostly clear and legible.][note (type: paper): Single sheet is in fair condition, with moderate staining, creasing and wear that leads to minor dimming of text.][note (type: noteworthy): Given that both the Connecticut Board of Correspondents of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge[org0034.ocp] and the Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America (NEC)[org0095.ocp] are involved in the Jewett Controversy, it is uncertain to which organization Jewett refers when he mentions the "Hon.ble Com̅iſ" and "the Commiſsioners" (one recto, lines 23 and 25-26, respectively), and so these references have been left untagged. However, they are likely the NEC. As is marked, this document is a copy.]

events: Jewett Controversy

To the [Hon.ble | Honourable]Hon.ble Honourable [And.w | Andrew]And.w Andrew Oliver[pers0031.ocp] [Esq.r | Esq.]Esq.r Esq.,
I'm [blam'd | blamed]blam'dblamed, [extreemly | extremely]extreemlyextremely [blam'd | blamed]blam'dblamed, for [Writting | writing]Writtingwriting to you
[againſt | against]againſtagainst [M.r | Mr.]M.r Mr. Occom[pers0030.ocp]; And I blame [myſelf | myself]myſelfmyself for Saying any[above] thingthing [y.t | that]y.t that was
[needleſs | needless]needleſsneedless for me to say about him. I [tho't | thought]tho'tthought, and do [ſtill | still]ſtillstill think, that
it was my proper [Buſineſs | business]Buſineſsbusiness to inform you what part he Acted in the
Differences, [& | and]&and [Dificulties | difficulties]Dificultiesdifficulties which have [ariſen | arisen]ariſenarisen at Mohegan[place0143.ocp], [reſpecting | respecting]reſpectingrespecting
both the School; [& | and]&and Lectures; nor am I [conſcious | conscious]conſciousconscious of knowingly [mis‐
repreſenting | mis‐
[any thing | anything]any thinganything to you in his Conduct; [tho' | though]tho'though I've [reaſon | reason]reaſonreason to
[ſuſpect | suspect]ſuſpectsuspect [myſelf | myself]myſelfmyself in what is Matter of Judgement upon it; as I cant
clear [myſelf | myself]myſelfmyself of having been prejudiced [againſt | against]againſtagainst him: And therefore
hope that Nothing will be [layd | laid]laydlaid up [againſt | against]againſtagainst him [meerly | merely]meerlymerely from [above] mymy Opinion
of him. [Beſides | Besides]BeſidesBesides, Sir, I [muſt | must]muſtmust in [faithfulneſs | faithfulness]faithfulneſsfaithfulness relate what has
[occurd | occurred]occurdoccurred [ſince | since]ſincesince I wrote to you. At a meeting of the Correspondents[org0034.ocp], in
Lebanon[place0122.ocp] last March[1765-03], many things which had been [publickly | publicly]publicklypublicly reported
of [M.r | Mr.]M.r Mr. Occom[pers0030.ocp] were [diſcoursed | discoursed]diſcourseddiscoursed of by the [Gent.n | gentlemen]Gent.n gentlemen of that Board[org0034.ocp]; and [ſome | some]ſomesome things
which they apprehended he was to blame in were pointed out to him.
He [ſubmitted | submitted]ſubmittedsubmitted to their [Judgm.t | judgement]Judgm.t judgement, and [promiſed | promised]promiſedpromised a [ſtrict | strict]ſtrictstrict regard to their [Counſel | counsel]Counſelcounsel.
More particularly, those things which had been grievous to me in his Con‐
duct at Mohegan[place0143.ocp], were debated before them. He Acknowledged his Mis‐
conduct in the Manner of rejecting their [School Master | schoolmaster]School Masterschoolmaster; declared his [In‐
nocency | in‐
as to any Intention of promoting the Separation at Mohegan[place0143.ocp];
or [elſwhere | elsewhere]elſwhereelsewhere; That it was his [deſire | desire]deſiredesire, and [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould be his endeavour to pro‐
mote my [Uſefulneſs | usefulness]Uſefulneſsusefulness among the Indians; That he never [underſtood | understood]underſtoodunderstood the
[Pleaſure | pleasure]Pleaſurepleasure of the [Hon.ble | Honourable]Hon.ble Honourable [Com̅iſ | Commissioners]Com̅iſ Commissioners to be [otherwiſe | otherwise]otherwiſeotherwise than that he [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould Settle
his family upon his own Lands at Mohegan[place0143.ocp]; Nor was it with any
[vew | view]vewview of making Overtures [illegible] contrary the appointment of the [Com‐
miſsioners | Com‐
, that he came there. And as to his Saying "that he would
turn [Church-man | churchman]Church-manchurchman and be above [y.e Miniſters | the ministers]y.e Miniſtersthe ministers around, or the like, as
was reported, he [declard | declared]declard declared it was [ſpoke | spoke]ſpokespoke only in Jest, [& | and]&and in a way of
Banter [ariſing | arising]ariſingarising from the [preſent | present]preſentpresent [Diſensſions | dissensions]Diſensſionsdissensions: had two who were pre‐
sent [w.n | when]w.n when he [ſpoke | spoke]ſpokespoke it, [teſtified | testified]teſtifiedtestified that they [underſtood | understood]underſtoodunderstood him in no other Light
Upon the whole [M.r | Mr.]M.r Mr. Occom[pers0030.ocp], [& | and]&and I renewed our [Friendſhip | friendship]Friendſhipfriendship, and in the
[Preſence | presence]Preſencepresence of the Board[org0034.ocp], burnt the Papers of Controversy. As I had [layd | laid]laydlaid
before you what [dash'd | dashed]dash'ddashed my Hopes concerning him, I [purpoſed | proposed]purpoſedproposed to offer
you what had now [revivd | revived]revivdrevived ['em | them]'emthem; and [promiſed | promised]promiſedpromised to write you [aſsoon | as soon]aſsoonas soon
as I could. I Accordingly wrote the next Week, and went to [illegible] [above] [illegible] [illegible]
Norwich[place0174.ocp] in hopes of Conveyance, but was disappointed. I had no
other Intention but to [imbrace | embrace]imbraceembrace [y.e | the]y.e the first Opportunity to send it; but
before any [preſented | presented]preſentedpresented, (being [loth | loath]lothloath to send by [ye | the]ye the Post) I took notice
that [M.r | Mr.]M.r Mr. Occom[pers0030.ocp] [ſtill | still]ſtillstill [forſook | forsook]forſookforsook my Lectures, which I [promiſed | promised]promiſedpromised [myſelf | myself]myſelfmyself he
would Attend, for as I said, I had his [promiſe | promise]promiſepromise "That to his best
[Diſcretion | discretion]Diſcretiondiscretion, he would endeavour to promote my Services [illegible] among
the Indians[org0063.ocp]: and I had [inſstanc'd | instanced]inſstanc'dinstanced [illegible] that to him as a Proof I [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould
look for; and [w.t | what]w.t what I was ready to think, would have the happiest In‐
fluence. This [hath | has]hathhas [occaſioned | occasioned]occaſionedoccasioned the long delay; nor has he once
attended my Lectures [ſince | since]ſincesince, ['till | 'til]'till'til [To Day | today]To Daytoday, when I [rec.d | received]rec.d received the [follg | following]follg following Letter.
Mohegan[place0143.ocp] June 26 1765[1765-06-26].
[Rev.d | Rev.]Rev.d Rev. Sir,
You are very [ſenſable | sensible]ſenſablesensible of the difficult [Cituation | situation]Cituationsituation of
our Indians[org0063.ocp] , Old Prejudices are not dead, but rather revive of
late, and new bias have [ſprung | sprung]ſprungsprung up, And it is very difficult to deal [below] with them.with them.

with them. There needs a great deal of [Chriſtian | Christian]ChriſtianChristian [Polacy | policy]Polacypolicy (If I may
so [expreſs | express]expreſsexpress myself) And this is one [Reaſon | reason]Reaſonreason why I have not as yet
attended Your Lecture; And indeed I [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould before now, if you
did not delay [Writting | writing]Writtingwriting to the [Hon.ble | Honourable]Hon.ble Honourable [Com̅iſ | Commissioners]Com̅iſ Commissioners of Boston[org0095.ocp]. And it is
my [purpoſe | purpose]purpoſepurpose to attend your Lecture, as [Buſineſs | business]Buſineſsbusiness, [& | and]&and Peregrinations will
permit. And will by degrees, endeavour to conciliate the Indians[org0063.ocp];
only let me not be drove, [& | and]&and [Urgd | urged]Urgdurged to it [to | too]totoo hard, And I [ſhall | shall]ſhallshall not
be wanting in your Service — only let me be [Aſsured | assured]Aſsuredassured of a Friend,
if not, I must defend myself as I can. This is from
[Y.r | Your]Y.r Your [ſincere | sincere]ſinceresincere [& | and]&and very humble [Sert | servant]Sert servant

[Samſon | Samson]SamſonSamson Occom[pers0030.ocp]
To the [Rev.d | Rev.]Rev.d Rev. David Jewett[pers0023.ocp].
PS. You may [Com̅unicate | communicate]Com̅unicatecommunicate [w.t | what]w.t what you please
of this to the [Hon.ble | Honourable]Hon.ble Honourable [Com̅iſ | Commissioners]Com̅iſ Commissioners of Boston[org0095.ocp]
I [ſhall | shall]ſhallshall add but this, That I hope his future Conduct
will [Witneſs | witness]Witneſswitness for him to your [Hon.ble | Honourable]Hon.ble Honourable Board[org0095.ocp], to this [Gov.t | Government]Gov.t Government [org0027.ocp], and to
the World. Pray forgive my [tediouſneſs | tediousness]tediouſneſstediousness, and [ſtill | still]ſtillstill give me leave
as [Occaſion | occasion]Occaſionoccasion [ſhall | shall]ſhallshall call for, to [ſpread | spread]ſpreadspread my Complaints before you.
I'm not only heartily wearied, but almost [diſtracted | distracted]diſtracteddistracted, with Con‐
tentions; But when I am myself,

 With [dutifull | dutiful]dutifulldutiful [Reſpect | respect]Reſpectrespect to [ye | the]ye the [Hon.ble | Honourable]Hon.ble Honourable Board[org0095.ocp]
  [y.r | Your]y.r Your ready [Serv.t | servant]Serv.t servant

David Jewett[pers0023.ocp]

[right] [Mr | Mr.]Mr Mr. [Jewet | Jewett]JewetJewett [pers0023.ocp]'s Letter to the
[Honble | Honourable]Honble Honourable Andrew Oliver[pers0031.ocp] [Eſqr | Esq.]Eſqr Esq.
June [26th | 26th]26th 26th 1765[1765-06-26]
[Mr | Mr.]Mr Mr. [Jewet | Jewett]JewetJewett [pers0023.ocp]'s Letter to the
[Honble | Honourable]Honble Honourable Andrew Oliver[pers0031.ocp] [Eſqr | Esq.]Eſqr Esq.
June [26th | 26th]26th 26th 1765[1765-06-26]

about occom[pers0030.ocp]
[bottom] A Copy.A Copy.

Connecticut Board of Correspondents of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge
The Connecticut Board of Correspondents of the SSPCK was founded in 1764 at Wheelock's request. He wanted a public board's support so that his school would seem more credible since it was a private organization with no charter. The Boston Board of the SSPCK would not do since they generally opposed Wheelock, so his solution was to petition the SSPCK for his own board. The SSPCK acquiesed, and the board met for the first time on July 4, 1764. While the board was nominally separate from Wheelock's school, in practice, he exercised considerable control over it. The members of the board were Wheelock's handpicked friends and supporters: Jonathan Huntington, Elisha Sheldon, Samuel Huntington, Solomon Williams, Joseph Fish, William Gaylord, Samuel Moseley, Benjamin Pomeroy, Richard Salter, Nathaniel Whitaker, David Jewett, and Wheelock himself. Wheelock used this board to send Occom and Whitaker to England, hold exams for Moor's Indian Charity School, and generally support his designs. When Wheelock moved to New Hampshire, he tried to establish a New Hampshire Board as well, but by that point the SSPCK was much more cautious when it came to Wheelock's plans and refused. The Connecticut Board dissolved in 1771 as Wheelock was its raison d'etre.
The Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America
The Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America was a missionary society active in America from 1649 until 1786. It was first called the "New England Company" in 1770. Most secondary literature uses that name for convenience and to distinguish it from other missionary societies. The company was first chartered in 1649 as the "President and Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England," largely in response to John Eliot's missionary efforts. After the Restoration (1660), it was rechartered as the "Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America." The New England Company was very powerful and influential, in large part because it was a coalition between Anglicans and Dissenters. It supported a range of missionaries from the Mayhews to the Sergeants to Moor's alumnus Samuel Kirkland. After the Revolution, the New England Company refocused its attentions on New Brunswick and Canadian Indians. Wheelock had a very rocky relationship with the New England Company. Initially, it supported Wheelock's efforts. The Company funded Occom's education at Moor's and paid him a small salary during his time among the Montauketts. However, from 1765 onwards, its relationship with Wheelock rapidly deteriorated. The Company opposed the fundraising tour of Great Britain and went so far as to interfere with it by sending a widely circulated letter to England questioning Occom's background. The New England Company also interferred with Titus Smith's mission to Onaquaga by sending a rival missionary, Mr. Moseley, and stealing Titus' interpreter, Elisha Gunn. In 1767 it formally withdrew its financial support from Wheelock on the grounds that the fundraising tour had raised sufficient money. It is unclear what led the New England Company to suddenly change its stance towards Wheelock. Perhaps it wanted exclusive power over missionary distribution in New England, or perhaps it was thought that focusing on education over numbers in the field was counterproductive. Most secondary sources have conflated the New England Company's Boston Board and the Society in Scotland for Promoting Christian Knowledge's Boston Board, an easy mistake to make since both are sometimes referred to as the Boston Board and both vigorously opposed Wheelock. Any secondary source's statement about either should be carefully researched.
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.
Colony of Connecticut
The government of the colony of Connecticut was organized into an upper house, comprised of the governor and other magistrates; and a lower house, comprised of representatives from towns. Like other colonial governments, the Connecticut government's responsibilities included negotiating with Indian tribes and funding missionary efforts. Naturally, the Connecticut government had a substantial impact on both Occom's and Wheelock's lives. For Occom, the colony's most defining act may have been the Mason Case. For Wheelock, it may have been the colony's refusal to support a charter for Moor's Indian Charity School. The Mason Case or Mason Controversy was a land dispute between the colony of Connecticut and the Mohegan tribe that formally lasted from 1703 until 1773. The Controversy spanned most of Occom's life and ended with the Mohegan tribe losing legal control of almost all their land. Although the case became very complicated, in brief, it was a question of whether the Mohegans had entrusted their land to John Mason, a private individual and ally of the tribe, or to the colony of Connecticut. If the lands were in trust to Mason, then Mason and his heirs could protect Mohegan land rights. However, if the lands were in trust to the colony, then the colony could do with them as they pleased. In 1703, the colony forcibly expelled Mohegans from their land and redistributed it for towns and private property. For the next 70 years, the Mohegan tribe appealed the case in both Connecticut and London. The colony took increasingly aggressive steps to maintain control over the land, including ignoring a 1721 royal order to return it and interfering in Mohegan succession to make sure that Ben Uncas, a man who was not inclined to oppose the colony on the Mason issue, became sachem. The ensuing dispute over sachemship split the tribe into two different settlements. Occom was born in 1723, at the height of the controversy over the sachemship. Because he and his father both participated in the Mohegan tribal council, the Mason Case and the problems it brought must have played a substantial role in Occom's young adulthood and also affected his later missionary career. (In 1764 and 1765, Occom was censured by the Connecticut Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge for speaking openly about the Mason Case.) Wheelock also had a difficult relationship with the colony of Connecticut. While Connecticut's government helped quite a few missionary efforts, it rarely gave Wheelock any kind of support (and never any money). Wheelock initially sought a charter from Connecticut in 1758. However, Connecticut would not grant a charter without royal support, and Wheelock's allies in England would not seek royal support without a Connecticut charter. In 1764, Wheelock again petitioned the CT Assembly for incorporation (legal control over the town his school was in). Again, they refused. The 1764 rejection likely stemmed from the Mason Case because Wheelock, via Occom, was implicitly on the side of the Mohegan tribe. The Connecticut government also rejected Wheelock on several more minor matters related to funding and legal power. It is not a stretch of the imagination to conclude that part of Wheelock's motivation for leaving Connecticut was his inability to obtain support from the colony's government.

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


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.


Norwich is a city in New London County in the southeast corner of Connecticut. It was founded in 1659 when Major John Mason and Reverend James Fitch led English settlers inland from Old Saybrook, CT, on the coast. They bought land from Uncas, sachem of the local Mohegan tribe, and divided it into farms and businesses mainly in the three-mile area around the Norwichtown Green. In 1668, a wharf was built at Yantic Cove and in 1694 a public landing was built at the head of the Thames River, which allowed trade with England to flourish. The center of Norwich soon moved to the neighborhood around the harbor called "Chelsea." During the revolutionary period, when transatlantic trade was cut off, Norwich developed large mills and factories along the three rivers that cross the town: the Yantic, Shetucket and Thames, and supported the war effort by supplying soldiers, ships, and munitions. Norwich was the largest town in the vicinity in which Occom, Wheelock and their associates lived and worked, and it was possible to get there by water because of the harbor and access to the Long Island Sound. Lebanon, CT, the site of Wheelock's school, is 11 miles north and present-day Uncasville, the center of the Mohegan tribe, is a few miles south of Norwich. James Fitch did missionary work among the Mohegans in Norwich until his death in 1702, and Samuel Kirkland, the most important Protestant missionary to the Six Nations trained by Wheelock, was born in Norwich in 1741. On his evangelical tour of North America in 1764, George Whitefield planned to travel to Norwich to meet with Wheelock. The Connecticut Board of Correspondents of the Scottish Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge frequently met in Norwich, and many letters by people involved in the missionary efforts of Wheelock were written from Norwich.

New London

New London is a city located in southeastern Connecticut along an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean called Long Island Sound. The area that would become New London was inhabited by the Pequots who called it Nameaug when the Europeans arrived in North America. Pequot villages bordered Long Island Sound and the Tribe had authority over the neighboring Tribes of the Mohegans and Niantics (all Algonquian-speaking tribes). The Dutch first explored this land in 1614 and established trade with the Native peoples, but the English soon gained possession of the land east of the Hudson in the 1630s. English animosity toward their Indian neighbors led to the Pequot War (1634-38), part of which took place in the present city of New London. The Pequots lost the war and their population deteriorated due to the violence and disease. The General Court of Massachusetts granted John Winthrop possession of Pequot territory in 1644 after which it was to be opened for settlement. By 1646, which is considered the official year of its founding, New London had permanent colonial inhabitants and municipal laws, and jurisdiction was granted to the colony of Connecticut in 1647. In 1658, the inhabitants renamed the town New London after London, England. New London was the colony of Connecticut’s first trading port and was a hub of trade with the West Indies and other colonies. Though initially part of the town of New London when it was first settled by the colonists, Groton, Montville, and Waterford were each separated from New London in 1705, 1786, and 1801 respectively. Present-day Salem was also part of New London when it was settled, but in 1819, it became a separate incorporated town composed of parts of Lyme, Colchester, and Montville. Occom kept a school in New London in the winter in 1748. New London was the home of Captain Nathaniel Shaw, one of the wealthiest merchants in the area, who gave money to Occom in the 1750s for the missionary cause and also sold materials to Occom for the building of his home. However, their positive relationship ended when Shaw refused to provide supplies for Mary Occom while Occom was in England. New London served as the port from which Occom and other missionaries traveled to reach Long Island. During the American Revolution, New London’s location and its status as a seaport made it both vulnerable to invasion and integral to colonial naval operations as well as the exchange of prisoners.New London was incorporated as a city in 1784.

Jewett, David

David Jewett was a white minster at Mohegan who developed a hostile relationship with Samson Occom. He become the pastor of the North Church in New London, CT (now Montville) in 1739. Jewett initially served as the clergyman for the English congregation, and attempts to merge the white church with the local Indians were unsuccessful. In 1742, when plans to establish a pastor for the Indians also proved to be futile, Jewett became the minister for them as well, supported by the Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America (New England Company). Indians received religious materials, and many, including Sarah Occom, Samon's mother, became members of his parish. In 1756 when Connecticut gathered a regiment to go to Crown Point, Jewett served as chaplain. He also became a member of the Connecticut Board of Correspondents of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge (SSPCK) when Wheelock assembled it in 1764. In addition to his role as minister, Jewett oversaw Robert Clelland’s school at Mohegan, which became one source of his animosity toward Occom. Occom criticized Clelland’s performance as schoolmaster, implicating Jewett as the supervisor, and Jewett rejected Occom’s intrusion. Furthermore, since Occom had been appointed to preach at Mohegan, several Indians as well as English, primarily those who sided with the Indians in the Mason Case, left Jewett’s church to follow Occom, as Jewett supported the Colony due to his land interests. Jewett brought charges against Occom to the Boston Board of the SSPCK and to the New England Company Commissioners, and the Connecticut Board of the SSPCK tried Occom in March of 1765. They found Occom to be innocent except for his involvement in the Mason Case; therefore, the Board declared that Jewett must write to the Boston Commissioners again to clear Occom. Although Jewett assented to the task, he did not pen the letter until Wheelock pressured him that June. While Jewett and Occom’s relationship was officially mended, bitterness remained until Jewett’s death in 1783.

Oliver, Andrew

Andrew Oliver was an influential Boston merchant and politician, who was a member of several societies that funded Eleazar Wheelock, including the Boston Board of the New England Company (treasurer) and Massachusetts General Assembly (secretary). Oliver played an important political role in pre-Revolutionary Massachusetts and, as a firm advocate of Indian missions, attended multiple conferences with Indian tribes. He believed that Anglican and Dissenter missionaries and societies could cooperate, and after Oliver and Wheelock were introduced in 1756, Oliver helped Wheelock access funding from the New England Company, the Massachusetts Assembly, and the Boston Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. Their relationship deteriorated, however, when the London Board of the New England Company turned against Wheelock late in 1765. Wheelock became aware of the London Board’s change of heart through the “Oliver letter,” a letter purportedly written by Oliver (actually written by Ebenezer Pemberton) that was “injurious” to the characters of Wheelock, Whitaker, and Occom. In 1765, Wheelock also lost his funding from the Massachusetts Assembly. It is unclear what role Oliver played in these events. On the one hand, the breach between Wheelock and the New England Company coincided with the collapse of Oliver’s political career over his attempts to enforce the Stamp Act. Oliver may have been too preoccupied to be involved in the London Board’s change of heart; after all, Boston mobs were burning him in effigy. On the other hand, if Oliver was not involved, it is more difficult to explain why his correspondence with Wheelock ended abruptly in 1767 or why Wheelock lost funding from the Assembly and the London Board at the same time. Oliver would be the obvious link; but of course, Wheelock had many detractors in Boston and another explanation is certainly possible.

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.

Jewett Controversy
This crisis comes to a head in 1764 when Occom returns to Mohegan from Montauket and gains a following among the Indians and English. Robert Clelland, schoolmaster at Mohegan, fears he is being supplanted, and his patron, the minister David Jewett, thinks Occom is interfering and not sufficiently respectful. More importantly, Occom supports the Mohegan tribe’s claims in the Mason Land Case, in which Jewett, who opposes them, stands to lose considerable property. Finally, Jewett brings an official complaint to the Boston Board of Correspondents for the Society in Scotland for progagating Christian Knowledge (SSPCK), which employs Clelland, and to his own employers, the New England Company. The Connecticut Board of Correspondents for the SSPCK (of which Jewett was a member) tries Occom, and acquits him on all charges except that of involvement in the Mason Case. Despite a nominal reconciliation, bitter feelings linger between Occom and Jewett.
Document Summary

People identified in this document:

id Text in document Role in header Authorized Name
pers0031.ocp And. w Andrew Oliver recipient Oliver, Andrew
pers0030.ocp M. r Mr. Occom mentioned Occom, Samson
pers0030.ocp Samſon Samson Occom mentioned Occom, Samson
pers0023.ocp David Jewett writer Jewett, David
pers0023.ocp M r Mr. Jewet Jewett writer Jewett, David
pers0031.ocp Andrew Oliver recipient Oliver, Andrew
pers0030.ocp occom mentioned Occom, Samson

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0164.ocp New London New London
place0143.ocp Mohegan Mohegan
place0122.ocp Lebanon Lebanon
place0174.ocp Norwich Norwich

Organizations identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
org0034.ocp the Correspondents Connecticut Board of Correspondents of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge
org0034.ocp that Board Connecticut Board of Correspondents of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge
org0034.ocp the Board Connecticut Board of Correspondents of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge
org0063.ocp the Indians Mohegan Tribe
org0063.ocp our Indians Mohegan Tribe
org0095.ocp Hon.ble Honourable Com̅iſ Commissioners of Boston The Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America
org0095.ocp Hon.ble Honourable Board The Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America
org0027.ocp this Gov.t Government Colony of Connecticut
org0095.ocp Hon.ble Honourable Board The Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1765-06-27 June 27. 1765
1765-03 last March
1765-06-26 June 26 1765
1765-06-26 June 26th 26th 1765

Regularized text:

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variation 26th 26th

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
Hon.ble Honourable
And.w Andrew
blam'd blamed
tho't thought
& and
tho' though
Gent.n gentlemen
Judgm.t judgement
Hon.ble Honourable
Com̅iſ Commissioners
declard declared
w.n when
dash'd dashed
'em them
inſstanc'd instanced
w.t what
rec.d received
follg following
Com̅iſ Commissioners
Y.r Your
Sert servant
Gov.t Government
Hon.ble Honourable
y.r Your
Serv.t servant
Honble Honourable

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HomeDavid Jewett, letter, to Andrew Oliver, 1765 June 27
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