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Isaac Dakayenensere, letter, to the Connecticut Board of Correspondents of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, 1765 September 30

ms-number: 765530.5

[note (type: abstract): On behalf of the Oneida and Tuscarora chiefs, Dakayenensere writes to accept the Board's offer to build mills and instruct the Indians in husbandry.][note (type: handwriting): Handwriting is somewhat uneven, yet mostly formal and clear.][note (type: paper): Large sheet folded in half to make four pages is in fair condition, with moderate staining, creasing and wear. Preservation work has been done on particularly heavy creases.][note (type: ink): Black-brown.][note (type: signature): Seven large signatures all appear to be in Dakayenensere's hand.][note (type: layout): The first page of the letter is on one recto, but the second page is on two recto, not one verso.][note (type: noteworthy): Persons whose names are illegible have not been tagged.]

We thank you for the Care you take of
us, [& | and]&and that you have taken pains to write to us;
to let us know your . [forwardneſs | forwardness]forwardneſsforwardness, [& | and]&and [willingneſs | willingness]willingneſswillingness to [aſsiſt | assist]aſsiſtassist
[& | and]&and [inſtruct | instruct]inſtructinstruct us;
Many times when one or two [determins | determines]determinsdetermines up‐
on [any thing | anything]any thinganything, when others come to know it, it is over‐
thrown; therefore taking your [Propoſal | proposal]Propoſalproposal into [Conſideration | consideration]Conſiderationconsideration
[& | and]&and having a Mind that it [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould [ſtand | stand]ſtandstand [ſtrong | strong]ſtrongstrong [& | and]&and not be
overthrown, we called a general [Counſel | council]Counſelcouncil, in which we
approved of your [Propoſal | proposal]Propoſalproposal of [aſsiſting | assisting]aſsiſtingassisting of us in building
Mills, [& | and]&and [inſtrusting | instructing]inſtrustinginstructing us in [Huſbandry | husbandry]Huſbandryhusbandry, [& | and]&and thank you, that
you have taken [ſuch | such]ſuchsuch Care of us
Now concerning our Father [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. Smith[pers0503.ocp] who is here
[preſent | present]preſentpresent with us, we think we have nothing here [yt | that]ytthat
will tempt him to Stay [& | and]&and live with us [unleſs | unless]unleſsunless he [ſees | sees]ſeessees
a Reformation among us; we hope that God in his
own Time will bring about a Reformation [ſo | so]ſoso, that he may [gap: tear]
be willing to Stay with us
What we have now written is the general
voice of us all, both we of [Onohoquage | Onaquaga]OnohoquageOnaquaga[place0182.ocp], [& | and]&and our Brethren
the [Tuſcaroras | Tuscaroras]TuſcarorasTuscaroras[org0104.ocp] [aſsembled | assembled]aſsembledassembled in [counſel | council]counſelcouncil illegible
God is above all, [& | and]&and if we are brought [truely | truly]truelytruly to
love [& | and]&and fear him, we [ſhall | shall]ſhallshall not only be of one Mind in
[theſe | these]theſethese Affairs, but [ſhall | shall]ſhallshall be united [alſo | also]alſoalso in all others —
We [ſeem | seem]ſeemseem at [preſent | present]preſentpresent to be in [greateſt | greatest]greateſtgreatest want of
a [gap: stain][guess (h-dawnd): [[ſaw | saw]ſawsaw][[ſaw | saw]ſawsaw Mill, we [deſire | desire]deſiredesire that that may be [firſt | first]firſtfirst built;
[& | and]&and if Stones can be found for the [griſt | grist]griſtgrist Mill, [& | and]&and it [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould
then appear [beſt | best]beſtbest to have one, that that may be built next
Now Brethren we have told you the [ſum | sum]ſumsum of what
we have to [ſay | say]ſaysay, yet if the great Man, our Brother, who [ſits | sits]ſitssits
at the head of Affairs [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould not approve of what we
have done as we fear he will not, [tho' | though]tho'though you have a Mind
to [aſsiſt | assist]aſsiſtassist us, [& | and]&and we [deſireous | desirous]deſireousdesirous that you [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould, it will be, all
overthrown, which will make both you [& | and]&and us very [ſorry | sorry]ſorrysorry
 We We
[note (type: editorial): Blank page.]
We [ſend | send]ſendsend our Love to you [& | and]&and remain

your Brethren
[iſaac | Isaac]iſaacIsaac [dakayenenſere | Dakayenensere]dakayenenſereDakayenensere[pers0013.ocp]
yaywe kadiyorha[pers0297.ocp]
Adam waoonwano[above] roron[pers0558.ocp]
[[guess (): O]Oye[guess (): a]aſ | [guess (): O]Oye[guess (): a]as][guess (): O]Oye[guess (): a]aſ[guess (): O]Oye[guess (): a]as kaniyode
[ſeth | Seth]ſethSeth otyoywawayon[pers0401.ocp]
[illegible]erek kano[above] kakar[illegible]e
[guess (): Rotho [nonſawede | nonsawede]nonſawedenonsawede]Rotho [nonſawede | nonsawede]nonſawedenonsawede
[right] }} [Cheifs | Chiefs]CheifsChiefs of
the [Oneydas | Oneidas]OneydasOneidas [org0075.ocp]
[& | and]&and [Tuſcaroras | Tuscaroras]TuſcarorasTuscaroras[org0104.ocp]
upon [Suſquchan
nah | Susquehan

The [Revd | Rev.]RevdRev. [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. Eleazar Wheelock[pers0036.ocp]

[New-England | New England]New-EnglandNew England[place0158.ocp]

[right] From the Chiefs of the [ Onei‐
daes | Onei‐
and [Tuſcaroraes | Tuscaroras]TuſcaroraesTuscaroras[org0104.ocp] to
the Board of [Correſpondents | Correspondents]CorreſpondentsCorrespondents[org0034.ocp]
September [30th | 30th]30th30th 1765[1765-09-30]
From the Chiefs of the [ Onei‐
daes | Onei‐
and [Tuſcaroraes | Tuscaroras]TuſcaroraesTuscaroras[org0104.ocp] to
the Board of [Correſpondents | Correspondents]CorreſpondentsCorrespondents[org0034.ocp]
September [30th | 30th]30th30th 1765[1765-09-30]
Oneida Nation
The Oneidas are one of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Six Nations. During the 18th century, they were largely considered the most Christianized Haudenosaunee tribe. The Oneidas had a rich tradition of indigenous ministers, including Good Peter, Deacon Thomas, and Isaac Dakayenensere, and played host to several Moor’s missionaries, including Samson Occom, David Fowler, Samuel Ashpo, Joseph Johnson, Joseph Woolley, Titus Smith, and Samuel Kirkland (who went on to found Hamilton Oneida Academy, now Hamilton College). They were also the interpreter James Dean’s adoptive tribe. Notable Oneida towns included Onaquaga, Kanawalohale, and Old Oneida. Onaquaga was the central fire of the Six Nations. By the 18th century, it also had a sizeable contingent of Onondagas and Tuscaroras. Good Peter and Isaac Dakayenensere taught there, as did Joseph Woolley. Kanawalohale and Old Oneida were more predominantly Oneida. The Oneidas were involved in several crucial moments in the history of Moor's Indian Charity School. Onaquaga was the site of the 1765 confrontation between Wheelock and the New England Company, in which the New England Company disrupted Titus Smith's mission, first by sending their own missionary, and second by repossessing Elisha Gunn, the interpreter they had agreed to "loan" to Titus Smith. Left without an interpreter, Titus Smith was forced to abandon his mission (Wheelock repaid the favor a few years later by hiring James Dean away from the New England Company). A few years later, in 1769, Deacon Thomas led the Oneidas in withdrawing all their children from Moor's. The Oneidas' departure struck a devastating blow against Wheelock's Indian education plans, and provided more momentum for his shift to educating predominantly Anglo-Americans. The Oneidas sided with the colonists during the Revolution, but they were still affected by the general devastation in Six Nations territory, especially the Sullivan Expedition (1779). After the Revolution, the Oneidas granted tracts of their land to two Christian Indian organizations: the Brothertown tribe, a composite tribe of Moor’s alumni from New England, and the Stockbridge Indians. It was not long before the groups came into conflict with one another. Encroachment from the new State of New York put increasing pressure on Oneida land, and the Oneidas tried to renegotiate their treaties with the Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians to compensate. The Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians fought back, but by the 1820s all three groups had lost, and many of them relocated to Wisconsin.
Tuscarora Nation
The Tuscarora Nation is an Algonquian-speaking group related to the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) peoples, who migrated south and occupied lands on the Roanoke, Neuse, Taw, and Pamlico Rivers in North Carolina. Their name means “hemp gatherers,” from the Apocynum cunnabinum, or Indian hemp, a plant native to the area and used for many purposes by the Tuscaroras. They became populous and powerful, expanding their territory and establishing many large towns. But European settlers arrived who did not recognize their land rights, and met Tuscaroran resistance with broken treaties, kidnapping, rape, murder, enslavement of children, and appropriation of their towns. From 1711 to 1713, the Tuscaroras fought two devastating wars with the colonists of North Carolina, who were aided by settlers from South Carolina, Virginia, and the colonists’ Indian allies. Many Tuscaroras were killed, while others were sold into slavery. About 1,500 remaining Tuscaroras asked the Five Nations of the Haudenosaunee for sponsorship and were accepted by the Oneidas, migrating north to live in central New York and Pennsylvania. In 1722, they became the sixth nation of the Confederacy. Another 1,500 sought refuge in Virginia, the majority of those ultimately returning to North Carolina, where the reservation set aside for them was eventually appropriated piecemeal by settlers. By the time of Occom's first mission to the Oneidas in 1761, the Haudenosaunee had been missionized by the French, the British, and colonial missionaries from the New England Company. The Tuscaroras were closely associated with their sponsors and neighbors, the Oneidas, but while the Oneidas welcomed missionaries and established their own Christian practice, the Tuscaroras did not. In 1764, Wheelock sent Occom north specifically to missionize to the Mohawks, Oneidas, and Tuscaroras. The missionary Samuel Kirkland reported that one Tuscarora sachem “continues to oppose & reproach the work of god with all his might, & uses every Artifice to dissuade his people from attending divine worship within here.” During the Revolutionary War, some of the Tuscaroras and Oneidas allied with the Americans while the majority of the Confederacy supported the British, and these pro-British Indians formed the main forces that attacked frontier settlements of the central Mohawk and Cherry valleys. The pro-British Tuscaroras followed Mohawk Chief Joseph Brant north to to Ontario, establishing the reserve of the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation. In 1803, a final group of southern Tuscaroras migrated to New York to the Tribe’s reservation in the town of Lewiston, Niagara County, NY. They are a federally recognized Tribe.
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.
Susquehanna River

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.


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.

New England
Dakayenensere, Isaac

Isaac Dakayenensere was a chief and spiritual leader at Onaquaga. Dakayenensere worked closely with Good Peter to minister to the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) community at Onaquaga, a predominantly Oneida town with a diverse population. After converting during the 1740s, both men took up the mantle of evangelism and Christian education at Onaquaga. They cooperated with Gideon Hawley, an Anglo-American missionary, throughout his missions in the 1750s, and in the 1760s they began writing to Wheelock for missionaries and assistance with farming. They received Joseph Woolley, who kept school at Onaquaga from late August/early September of 1765 until his death at the end of that November, but they do not seem to have received the promised farming assistance. Dakayenensere’s daughter, Neggen Aoghyatonghsera (alias Margaret or Peggie) married Joseph Brant, a Moor’s alumnus and famous Mohawk war chief. In some scholarship, Isaac is misidentified as a Mohawk.

Kadiyorha, Yaywe
Waonwanoron, Adam

A resident of the Oneida community in Onaquaga, New York, and cosigner, with Isaac Dakayenensere, of correspondence with Wheelock requesting advice on and assistance with farming, milling, and religious education.

Otyoywawayon, Seth
Smith, Titus

Titus Smith was a Yale graduate whom Wheelock trained and ordained as a missionary and sent to the Six Nations with the 1765 mission. Together with Theophilus Chamberlain, a Yale student with whom he was examined and ordained, Smith led the band of newly-examined schoolteachers and ushers into the Six Nations to set up day schools. After Ebenezer Moseley replaced him, Smith retired from the missionary life and became an itinerant preacher in Connecticut until 1768, when he converted to Sandemanianism and was re-ordained. Because of his religion (Sandemanians opposed violence), as well as his Tory politics, Smith found himself in danger when the Revolution broke out. His family fled to Long Island, and from there to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Smith lived out his remaining years.

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.

Document Summary

People identified in this document:

id Text in document Role in header Authorized Name
pers0503.ocp M r Mr. Smith mentioned Smith, Titus
pers0013.ocp iſaac Isaac dakayenenſere Dakayenensere writer Dakayenensere, Isaac
pers0297.ocp yaywe kadiyorha mentioned Kadiyorha, Yaywe
pers0558.ocp Adam waoonwano ro n mentioned Waonwanoron, Adam
pers0401.ocp ſeth Seth otyoywawayon mentioned Otyoywawayon, Seth
pers0036.ocp M r Mr. Eleazar Wheelock mentioned Wheelock, Eleazar

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0182.ocp Onohoquague Onaquaga Onaquaga
place0182.ocp Onohoquage Onaquaga Onaquaga
place0206.ocp Suſquchan nah Susquehan na River Susquehanna River
place0122.ocp Lebanon Lebanon
place0158.ocp New-England New England New England

Organizations identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
org0104.ocp TuſcarorasTuscaroras Tuscarora Nation
org0075.ocp OneydasOneidas Oneida Nation
org0075.ocp Onei‐daesOnei‐das Oneida Nation
org0104.ocp TuſcaroraesTuscaroras Tuscarora Nation
org0034.ocp Board of CorreſpondentsCorrespondents Connecticut Board of Correspondents of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1765-09-30 SeptSeptember 30 1765
1765-09-30 September 30th30th 1765

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
variation Onohoquague Onaquaga
modernization forwardneſs forwardness
modernization willingneſs willingness
modernization aſsiſt assist
modernization inſtruct instruct
variation determins determines
variation any thing anything
modernization Propoſal proposal
modernization Conſideration consideration
modernization ſhould should
modernization ſtand stand
modernization ſtrong strong
variation Counſel council
modernization aſsiſting assisting
modernization inſtrusting instructing
modernization Huſbandry husbandry
modernization ſuch such
modernization Mr Mr.
modernization preſent present
modernization yt that
modernization unleſs unless
modernization ſees sees
modernization ſo so
variation Onohoquage Onaquaga
modernization Tuſcaroras Tuscaroras
modernization aſsembled assembled
variation counſel council
variation truely truly
modernization ſhall shall
modernization theſe these
modernization alſo also
modernization ſeem seem
modernization greateſt greatest
modernization ſaw saw
modernization deſire desire
modernization firſt first
modernization griſt grist
modernization beſt best
modernization ſum sum
modernization ſay say
modernization ſits sits
modernization deſireous desirous
modernization ſorry sorry
modernization ſend send
modernization iſaac Isaac
modernization dakayenenſere Dakayenensere
modernization [guess (): O]Oye[guess (): a]aſ [guess (): O]Oye[guess (): a]as
modernization ſeth Seth
modernization nonſawede nonsawede
variation Cheifs Chiefs
variation Oneydas Oneidas
variation Suſquchan
modernization Revd Rev.
variation New-England New England
variation Onei‐
variation Tuſcaroraes Tuscaroras
modernization Correſpondents Correspondents
modernization 30th 30th

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
Sept September
& and
tho' though

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 13)
Number of people/places/organizations with unknown keys: 0 (out of 17)
Number of "add" tags with unknown 'place' attributes: 0 (out of 4)
Mixed case attribute values in header (potential error): 0 (out of 115)
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