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Theophilus Chamberlain, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1765 December 23

ms-number: 765673

[note (type: abstract): Chamberlain writes from his mission about the bad state of affairs among the Canajoharie Mohawks, and about how the Indian teachers sent out by Wheelock refuse to obey him.][note (type: handwriting): Even, clear, yet letter case — particularly on "s" and "d" — is often difficult to discern.][note (type: paper): Light wear and creasing; watermark and remnants of seal visible.][note (type: noteworthy): Mentions “the Gravil” as a disorder -- possibly a reference to an older name for kidney stones or “urinary gravel;” a note is added in Wheelock’s hand; meaning of “crop” as in “crop the woods” unclear.][note (type: signature): Abbreviated]
[Rvd | Rev.]Rvd Rev. and [honourd | honoured]honourd honoured Sir
After a long and tedious Journey on Account
of the repeated Snows and Rains which have fell Since I
left your [Houſe | house]Houſehouse, I [arived | arrived]arivedarrived here [laſt | last]laſtlast friday not in a good
state of health; yet [thrō | through]thrōthrough divine [goodneſs | goodness]goodneſsgoodness am now comforta
ble. I find [almoſt | almost]almoſtalmost every [Circumſtance | circumstance]Circumſtancecircumstance this way [diſcouraging | discouraging]diſcouragingdiscouraging
The Indians at fort Hunter[place0078.ocp] have got strongly [diſaffected | disaffected]diſaffecteddisaffected
towards [Engliſh | English]EngliſhEnglish [Inſtructors | instructors]Inſtructorsinstructors [suppoſing | supposing]suppoſingsupposing the [Deſign | design]Deſigndesign of the
[Engliſh | English]EngliſhEnglish is to [Inſtruct | instruct]Inſtructinstruct them and take away their Lands as
a Recompence. They have [uſd | used]uſdused Calvin[pers0008.ocp] with such Language,
or rather he has heard such Language [amongſt | amongst]amongſtamongst them [againſt | against]againſtagainst
the [Engliſh | English]EngliſhEnglish that he cant be willing to stay [amongſt | amongst]amongſtamongst them
this winter. In this [Caſtle | Castle]CaſtleCastle [place0026.ocp] I am [chargd | charged]chargdcharged with not keeping
my word to return within eight Weeks. My Blankets have
are taken by [ye | the]ye the Chief Sachem[pers0126.ocp] and sold for Liquor; and all
the Recompence I can have is "you did not come back
within eight weeks the Time you [talkd | talked]talkdtalked of. The Boys here
are so much [offof | off of]offofoff of [illegible] the Notion of being Subject to your Orders
that I can do nothing with them. Abraham major[pers0043.ocp], indeed
I have not seen he is gone to [Schoharry | Schoharie]SchoharrySchoharie [place0315.ocp]; little Abraham[pers0044.ocp]
cant come down before Spring on account of the Cold; [Moſes | Moses]MoſesMoses [pers0677.ocp]
cant come till then [becauſe | because]becauſebecause he intends to bring down his
[Coſen | cousin]Coſencousin who cant come before Spring; [John | Johannes]JohnJohannes [pers0282.ocp] has got
two [horſses | horses]horſseshorses to feed. [& | and]&and both [illegible] his Brothers being [lateley | lately]lateleylately gone
to War, he [muſt | must]muſtmust do it [himſelf | himself]himſelfhimself and therefore cant go
with me to [Onoida | Oneida]OnoidaOneida [place0179.ocp]. This however unexpected is in
fact the [Caſe | case]Caſecase. It [suprized | surprised]suprizedsurprised me to find them so [re
solvd | re
. I [above] hadhad tried the force of every [illegible] [guess (h-dawnd): thing]thing Motive I could
think of to alter their Minds but as yet can prevail
Nothing. I have mentioned your Expectations and their
obligations in gratitude to [anſwer | answer]anſweranswer them. I have [urgd | urged]urgd urged
your [Deſigns | designs]Deſignsdesigns of making them men in the World [& | and]&and their
[neceſaty | necessity]neceſatynecessity of your [Aſsiſtance | assistance]Aſsiſtanceassistance to live like men; I have
told them the Consequences of their Staying here, their
growing [raged | ragged]ragedragged, living like Indians, danger of being undone
[&c. | etc.]&c.etc. I have tried my own Influence which once was
[conſiderable | considerable]conſiderableconsiderable, but nothing prevails they will not stir.

David Fowler[pers0155.ocp] has been down from [Onoida | Oneida]OnoidaOneida [place0179.ocp] about a
[fortnite | fortnight]fortnitefortnight ago and run in Debt above five Pounds [illegible] [guess (h-dawnd): york]york
Money which I have paid for him. from [Onoida | Oneida]OnoidaOneida [place0179.ocp] I hear
that they [almoſt | almost]almoſtalmost [deſpair | despair]deſpairdespair of my coming there this winter.
There is no such thing as [gitting | getting]gittinggetting to [Onoida | Oneida]OnoidaOneida [place0179.ocp] with a [horſe | horse]horſehorse
at [preſent | present]preſentpresent; I intend to settle things in the [beſt | best]beſtbest Manner
I can here as [faſt | fast]faſtfast as [poſsible | possible]poſsiblepossible and crop [ye | the]ye the Woods on foot
to [Onoida | Oneida]OnoidaOneida [place0179.ocp]. [Cpt | Capt.]Cpt Capt. Butler[pers0277.ocp] to whom I am greatly obliged
for repeated favours, has taken care ([tho | though]thothough he did not go
as he [proposd | proposed]proposdproposed to [Onoida | Oneida]OnoidaOneida [place0179.ocp]) to send me up several sorts of
[Proviſion | provision]Proviſionprovision to fort [Stanwicks | Stanwix]StanwicksStanwix [place0081.ocp]; which I [here | hear]herehear has got wet
and am much afraid it will be [illegible] [guess (h-dawnd): all]all be [Spoild | spoiled]Spoildspoiled.
[Mr | Mr.]Mr Mr. Smith[pers0499.ocp] was taken sick at [Southhadley | South Hadley]SouthhadleySouth Hadley [place0216.ocp],
has the [Gravil | gravel]Gravilgravel, I have but little hope of his ever
[viſiting | visiting]viſitingvisiting [theſe | these]theſethese Parts again as his [Diſorder | disorder]Diſorderdisorder wont admit
of much [Rideing | riding]Rideingriding. I [carleſsly | carelessly]carleſslycarelessly came from your [houſe | house]houſehouse
without general Gage[pers0211.ocp]s [Commiſion | commission]Commiſioncommission, Should [Cpt | Capt.]Cpt Capt. [Buttler | Butler]ButtlerButler [pers0277.ocp]
[viſit | visit]viſitvisit you this Winter as he intends if the Winter favours
with Sleighing pray send it by him, he thinks twill
be of great Service to us. The Money I brought will
not be Sufficient to carry us [thro | through]throthrough the Winter. if you
think proper we Should have more pray send it by
[Cpt | Capt.]Cpt Capt. [Buttler | Butler]ButtlerButler [pers0277.ocp]. [Tommorrow | tomorrow]Tommorrowtomorrow I intend for fort hunter[place0078.ocp] to
give them some further Acquaintance with your school[org0098.ocp]
and [Deſign | design]Deſigndesign, to set their minds a little at Liberty from
their Prejudices if [poſsible | possible]poſsiblepossible.— Sir if I [underſtood | understood]underſtoodunderstood you
I had Liberty to send down some of [thoſe | those]thoſethose Mohawk[org0062.ocp] Lads
which were so fond of coming [laſt | last]laſtlast fall; but none
of y [illegible] them [Deſire | desire]Deſiredesire to come before Spring, [adviſe | advise]adviſeadvise
me what you [Deſire | desire]Deſiredesire about them, before then
if [poſsible | possible]poſsiblepossible; [nomore | no more]nomoreno more at [preſent | present]preſentpresent.

I remain yours to [ſerve | serve]ſerveserve [Theoph | Theophilus]Theoph Theophilus Chamberlain[pers0009.ocp]
To [Rvd | Rev.]Rvd Rev. [E. | Eleazar]E.Eleazar Wheelock[pers0036.ocp]
[Rvd | Rev.]Rvd Rev. [Mr | Mr.]Mr Mr. [Eleazer | Eleazar]EleazerEleazar Wheelock[pers0036.ocp]
In Lebanon[place0122.ocp]
From [Rev.d | Rev.]Rev.d Rev. Chamberlain[pers0009.ocp]
[Dec.r | December]Dec.r December 23. 1765[1765-12-23]

[note (type: editorial): Blank page.]
Moor’s Indian Charity School
Moor’s Indian Charity School was a grammar school for Native Americans that Eleazar Wheelock opened in North Lebanon, Connecticut in 1754. The school was named for Colonel Joshua Moor, also spelled More, who donated the land and school building. Moor’s was essentially an expansion of the grammar school that Wheelock opened in 1743 to support himself during the fallout from the First Great Awakening, when Wheelock, who'd participated in itinerant ministry during the Awakening, had his salary confiscated by the colony of Connecticut. In December of that year, Samson Occom asked Wheelock to teach him as well. Wheelock's work with Occom was so successful that Wheelock decided to replicate the experiment with other Native American boys. He accepted his first Indian students in 1754, and in 1761 began taking female students as well. Wheelock believed that in time, his school would become just one part of a larger missionary enterprise. He planned to send his Anglo American and Native American students to various tribes as missionaries and schoolmasters, with explicit instructions to pick out the best students and send them back to Moor’s to continue the cycle. His ultimate goal was to turn his school into a model Christian Indian town that would include farms, a college, and vocational training. However, Wheelock’s grand design did not survive the decade. Wheelock lost the vast majority of his Native American students; he fought with many of the best, including Samson Occom, Joseph Johnson, David Fowler, and Hezekiah Calvin, and other former and current students accused him of subjecting Native Americans to disproportionate amounts of manual labor. In 1769, perhaps due to concerns about corporal punishment, the Oneida withdrew all their children from Moor’s. When Wheelock relocated to Hanover in 1769, only two Native American students came with him, and it became clear that Wheelock’s focus was on Dartmouth and that Dartmouth was for white students. After Wheelock’s death in 1779, Moor’s Indian Charity School receded further into the background as John Wheelock, his father’s reluctant successor, stopped taking Indian students. Some Native American students were enrolled in Moor’s until 1850, when the school unofficially closed.
Mohawk Nation
The Mohawk Nation is one of the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy. As the “eastern door” of the Confederacy, or easternmost Haudenosaunee nation, the Mohawks were perceived throughout the colonial period as a gateway to wider alliances, trade, and religious influence with the Six Nations as a whole. Thus, they received heavy missionary attention from Jesuits, Anglicans, and Congregationalists as early as the 17th century. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, the Mohawks and Six Nations more generally were a point of heated competition between Britain and France, as well as between Protestant Christian sects. Wheelock sent several missionaries and schoolmasters to the Mohawks between 1765 and 1767, including Theophilus Chamberlain (Anglo-American), Hezekiah Calvin (Delaware), Abraham Major and Minor (Mohawks), Peter (Mohawk), Moses (Mohawk), and Johannes (Mohawk). The two main towns or "castles" that the mission was based at were Canajoharie and Fort Hunter. Two of the most important figures in Mohawk history as it pertains to Moor’s Indian Charity School were Sir William Johnson and Joseph Brant. Sir William Johnson was the British Superintendent of Indian Affairs in the Northeast, one of the most powerful men in British North America. He married into the Mohawk Tribe and had substantial influence among the Six Nations. Initially he supported Wheelock’s missionary project, but by 1769 he was endorsing Anglican missionaries instead. Joseph Brant was Sir William Johnson’s brother-in-law. He was the first of 19 Mohawk students at Moor’s, where he studied from 1761-1763. Although his time at the school was short, Brant entertained a deep affection for it. He went on to be an influential Mohawk war chief and may have protected Dartmouth College from raids during the Revolution. The Revolution fractured the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, with some tribes siding with the colonists and others with the British. The Mohawks sided with the British, and many of them, Joseph Brant included, relocated to the Grand River Reserve in Canada after the war. There was also a substantial Mohawk settlement established by 1700 at Kahnawake in New France (Canada), which hosted Jesuit missionaries. The Kahnawake Mohawks were often called “Canadian Mohawks” and Wheelock recruited students from them after his move to Hanover.

The historical Mohawk village of Canajoharie was located about 50 miles northwest of Albany, New York, in the central part of the state. Today, both a town and village in the same vicinity of the Mohawk village of Canajoharie have taken the Mohawk name, but the location of the present-day village is slightly east of the historical village. Because the village’s name was similar to the Oneida village of Kanawalohale, where David Fowler established a school in 1765, many sources conflate the two villages. Canajoharie, which in English means a washed kettle, was also known by the names Indian Castle and Upper Castle, which refers to the late 17th-century Mohawk fortifications that were built around the town following a series of French attacks during King William’s War. The term Upper Castle served to differentiate Canajoharie from Lower Mohawk Castle located in the Mohawk village of Tionondoroge near Fort Hunter. Canajoharie contained the Indian Castle church, which still stands today and was built in 1769 by the British Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Sir William Johnson, with help from the Mohawk siblings Molly and Joseph Brant, who donated land to the cause. Throughout the span of the 18th century, war, disease, and emigration severely reduced the Mohawk population in Canajoharie, and an influx of both white and non-Mohawk Native Americans resulted in a diverse and ethnically mixed culture. Wheelock's missionary work in this village in the 1760s was headed by Theophilus Chamberlain, while Abraham major, Abraham minor, and Peter (Mohawk) maintained missionary schools near Canajoharie.

Fort Hunter

Located in Montgomery County, and named after Governor Hunter of New York, Fort Hunter refers to the land located where the Mohawk River and the Schoharie Creek converge in Old Albany County, New York, as well as to the fort built on that land. Fort Hunter was also referred to as the Lower Mohawk Castle, while Upper Mohawk Castle referred to another Mohawk village located near present day Danube, New York. The Mohawk people, who originally occupied this land, referred to the village as Tionondoroge (also spelled Thienderego, Teantontalago, Tiononderoga, Tienonderoga, and Icanderoga). In 1686, the city charter gave Albany the right to the land that would comprise Fort Hunter. According to a European account, "Four Mohawk Kings," including Hendrick Peters Tejonihokarawa who hailed from the Fort Hunter area, met with Queen Anne in 1710 to request protection from the French and aid for the Anglican missionaries; she complied in 1711 and authorized the building of the actual fort. The following year, Anglican clerics, who were funded by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in England, built a mission on the land. Because the Mohawk tribe fought with the British against the American colonists, most Mohawks from Fort Hunter fled to Montreal after the American Revolution.


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.

Fort Stanwix

Fort Stanwix (also known as Fort Schuyler) is located northeast of Syracuse in present-day Rome, New York. Under the direction of British General John Stanwix, for whom the fort is named, the British began constructing the fort in 1758 in order to control the Oneida Carry, which is the portage path between the Mohawk River and Wood Creek. During the French and Indian War, the British built several forts in the Oneida Carry area, but by August 1756, the British ordered all the forts destroyed when they received word that British posts nearby were quickly falling to the French. In 1758, the British attempted to reoccupy Oneida Carry by building Fort Stanwix. The building of the fort did in fact give the British the dominant position in the area, which they retained throughout the remainder of the French and Indian War. The British Army abandoned the fort in 1765. In October 1768, David Avery wrote a letter to Wheelock describing the possibility of recruiting students for the Indian Charity School from a gathering of Indians from the Six Nations, at Fort Stanwix. This gathering and the negotiations that took place resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Fort Stanwix on November 5, 1768. This treaty, between the British and the Six Nations, Shawnees, Delawares, Mingos and other tribes, delineated territory between the British and the Indians. The treaty drew a boundary line from Fort Stanwix down to the Ohio River, and followed the Ohio River west to where it meets the present-day Tennessee River. During the American Revolution, the colonists built a new fort in place of Fort Stanwix. This fort was named Fort Schuyler but was often referred to as Fort Stanwix.

South Hadley

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.

Chamberlain, Theophilus

Theophilus Chamberlain was a Yale graduate and missionary employed by Wheelock. His interest in Indian ministry may have started during the French and Indian War, when he was taken captive by a tribe allied with the French (it is unclear which tribe) at Fort William Henry and spent a year in Nova Scotia. After his return to New England, Chamberlain attended Yale. Wheelock recruited Chamberlain, along with fellow Yale graduate Titus Smith, to spearhead Moor's 1765 mission to the Six Nations. Chamberlain was examined as a missionary on March 12, 1765, and ordained on April 24, 1765. During the mission, he was stationed at Canajoharie (the Mohawk "Upper Castle") and oversaw the mission to the Mohawks. While on his mission, he converted to Sandemanianism, a decision that profoundly shaped the rest of his life. It is difficult to evaluate his efficacy as a missionary: he had high praise for himself, and David Fowler said the Mohawks were affectionate towards him, but Occom described him as overzealous. Chamberlain served the duration of his contract, but clashed with Wheelock afterwards over who was responsible for debts he had incurred on his mission (e.g. transportation costs, support for schoolmasters and interpreters). After departing from Wheelock's service, Chamberlain was ordained as a Sandemanian bishop. He fled to New York and later Nova Scotia during the American Revolution because of his religious and political beliefs. In Nova Scotia, Chamberlain oversaw the establishment of the settlement of Preston.

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.

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.


Abraham major (aka Abraham primus), a Mohawk Indian, served as an usher or junior teacher along with Abraham Secundus and Peter. All three kept separate schools. Abraham major's school, a short ride from Abraham minor’s, was outside of Canajoharie; it began Friday, July 12, 1765. As of July 17, 1765, he had 15 or 16 students, primarily male. These schools seem to have operated from July 1765 (they were still traveling in June, and Theophilus Chamberlain described their schools in late July) until December 1765, when Chamberlain reported that the Abrahams had departed, and that Abraham major was in Schoharry. Both Abrahams' schools were taken over in 1766. Abraham major must not be confused with Greater Abraham, a high-ranking Mohawk, the brother of King Peter Hendrick and uncle of Chief Abraham (not to be confused with Little Abraham, the Moor's student), who lived in Canajoharie at the same time.


Abraham, known as Little Abraham, was an usher or junior teacher along with Abraham major and Peter. All of them kept separate schools. Abraham major's school began Friday, July 12, 1765, and presumably Little Abraham’s began at or around the same time. Little Abraham’s school was a two mile ride from Canajoharie, and as of July 17 1765, he had 11 or 12 students of both genders. These schools seem to have operated from July 1765 (they were still traveling in June and Chamberlain describes their schools in late July) until December 1765, when Chamberlain reports that the Abrahams have departed. Both Abrahams' schools were taken over in 1766. Little Abraham then taught a school at Willheske, 8 or 10 miles below Fort Stanwix, for an indeterminite time. He is not to be confused with another Little Abraham, the Canajoharie Mohawk who was Sachem from 1755 until his death in 1780.


Moses was a Mohawk Indian and Wheelock student who was part of the mission to the Canajoharie, Onaquaga, and Cherry Valley areas from 1765-1766. He taught the displaced Oneidas under Good Peter and Isaac Dakayenensere at Lake Otsego (next to Cherry Valley), along with Smith and Gunn. He taught reading and writing to between eight and 12 students. Although Joseph Woolley was initially supposed to teach this school, he fell ill and Moses replaced him. Moses also subbed for Woolley when Woolley visited the Tuscaroras. Like the other schoolteachers, Moses left over the winter of 1765 and returned to Wheelock, but he was back at Canajoharie by the next fall to teach with Samuel Johnson and Jacob Fowler. Theophilus Chamberlain speculated they could set up a third school for Moses, but this did not come to pass because by December 1st, less than a month after Chamberlain’s letter, Moses had traveled to Wheelock and back to Fort Hunter delivering letters. The Indians at Fort Hunter would not take him as a teacher because they preferred Johnson and distrusted unknown teachers after their experience with Hezekiah Calvin (according to Johnson). Moses appears to have continued working in the area, because in 1768 he refused Aaron Kinne’s request that he act as interpreter.


Johannes was a Mohawk who studied at Moor’s Indian Charity School from 1761 until 1765. He was approached as an usher (junior schoolteacher) on March 12, 1765, in the Moor’s graduation orchestrated by Wheelock in preparation for a mass mission to the Mohawk and Oneida. Johannes kept school at Old Oneida during the summer of 1765, but did not continue his post. A variety of Anglo-American Moor’s-affiliated missionaries, including Aaron Kinne and David Avery, sought his services as an interpreter, but there is no indication that Johannes accepted any of their invitations. It is more likely that, like other Haudenosaunees (Iroquois) who studied at Moor’s, Johannes rapidly reintegrated into Haudenosaunee society. Shortly after returning to Haudenosaunee territory, Johannes was too preoccupied with managing his family’s horses to serve as an interpreter (manuscript 765673), and a few years later, he was unable to respond to Aaron Kinne’s request because he was out hunting (manuscript 768363.1). Thus, in Johannes’ disappearance from Anglo-American records, we can read a polite rejection of the assimilation project that was Moor’s Indian Charity School’s raison d’etre.

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.

Butler, John

Captain John Butler was a prominent military officer and loyalist. He was born in New London, CT in 1728, and he received his education there. John’s father, Captain Walter Butler, had served well under Sir William Johnson, prompting Johnson to endorse the family. When Sir William became Superintendent of Indian Affairs in 1755, he appointed John Butler and his brother, Walter Butler, Jr., as captains in the Indian Department; the two fought in the battle of Lake George on September 8 of that year. John Butler commanded Indian forces throughout the French and Indian War, and he often acted as an interpreter. He became Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs and a Lieutenant Colonel of the militia. While he lived in NY, he hosted various figures on their journeys to the Oneida Nation. When Sir William died in 1774, General Guy Carleton, the military governor of Quebec, appointed John Butler as the interim Superintendent of Indian Affairs; Sir William’s nephew, Guy Johnson, replaced him in July of 1776. In the summer of 1775, Colonel Guy Johnson, John Butler and his son, Walter, escaped to Canada, but the Revolutionaries seized Butler’s property and carried his wife and children to Albany, where they remained under surveillance. Captain Butler continued to be involved with Indian forces during the Revolutionary War. He commanded Butler’s Rangers, a loyalist special forces team that fought alongside Indians, and he is known for leading the Rangers in the Wyoming Massacre of 1778 in Wyoming Valley, PA. In 1779 the Americans released his family during an exchange of prisoners. They reunited in Niagara, where Butler maintained his headquarters during the war and remained thereafter. Butler secured compensation from London for the property losses he suffered due to the Revolution, and he lived the remainder of his life as a notable citizen in Niagara, serving as judge of the district court and Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs. He died near Niagara in May of 1796.


Unidentified Smith.

Gage, Thomas

General Thomas Gage is best known for leading British troops during the early years of the American Revolution, but he also played a major role in shaping colonial North America prior to American independence. Gage was born to a father of the same name, the first Viscount Gage, and his wife, Benedicta Maria Theresa Hall, in 1719/1720, in Gloucestershire, England. Viscount Gage was born Catholic, but he and his wife converted to the Anglican Church prior to the birth of Thomas. At age eight, Gage was sent to Westminster School, where he stayed until 1736, and in 1741 he entered the British military by purchasing a lieutenancy. After the outbreak of the Seven Years’ War, Gage was sent to North America under the command of Major-General Edward Braddock, where he was involved in several disastrous battles, including the British defeat in the 1758 Battle of Ticonderoga. In 1763, after the outbreak of Pontiac’s War, Gage took over as commander-in-chief for all of North America when Jeffrey Amherst, his predecessor, was recalled because of his abusive treatment of Native Americans. In this capacity, Gage began regulating settlers’ relations with Native tribes, especially the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) confederacy, and regularly corresponded with the superintendents, including Sir William Johnson. In 1764 and 1765, several of Wheelock’s correspondences indicate that missionaries needed to obtain permission from General Gage before proceeding into Indian country. Gage was also concerned with growing discontent among British colonists in the east, and increased the presence of British troops in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. Following the Boston Tea Party in 1773, he was instrumental in shaping British policy toward the colonists, including closing the port of Boston and allowing British soldiers to quarter in the homes of colonists. From 1774 to 1775, Gage served as the military governor of Massachusetts, where he was responsible for sending British troops to Lexington and Concord and for the costly British victory at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Shortly thereafter, Gage was replaced by General Sir William Howe, and returned to England where he was eventually commissioned as a full general in 1782, and died on April 2, 1787 in London.

Document Summary

People identified in this document:

id Text in document Role in header Authorized Name
pers0008.ocp Calvin mentioned Calvin, Hezekiah
pers0126.ocp Chief Sachem mentioned Sachem
pers0043.ocp Abraham major mentioned Abraham
pers0044.ocp little Abraham mentioned Abraham
pers0677.ocp Moſes Moses mentioned Moses
pers0282.ocp John Johannes mentioned Johannes
pers0155.ocp David Fowler mentioned Fowler, David
pers0277.ocp C pt Capt. Butler mentioned Butler, John
pers0499.ocp M r Mr. Smith mentioned Smith
pers0211.ocp general Gage mentioned Gage, Thomas
pers0277.ocp C pt Capt. Buttler Butler mentioned Butler, John
pers0009.ocp Theo ph Theophilus Chamberlain writer Chamberlain, Theophilus
pers0036.ocp E. Eleazar Wheelock recipient Wheelock, Eleazar
pers0036.ocp Eleazer Eleazar Wheelock recipient Wheelock, Eleazar
pers0009.ocp Rev. d Rev. Chamberlain writer Chamberlain, Theophilus

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0026.ocp Kanajoharry Canajoharie Canajoharie
place0078.ocp fort Hunter Fort Hunter
place0026.ocp this Caſtle Castle Canajoharie
place0315.ocp Schoharry Schoharie Schoharie
place0179.ocp Onoida Oneida Oneida
place0081.ocp fort Stanwicks Stanwix Fort Stanwix
place0216.ocp Southhadley South Hadley South Hadley
place0078.ocp fort hunter Fort Hunter
place0122.ocp Lebanon Lebanon

Organizations identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
org0098.ocp your school Moor’s Indian Charity School
org0062.ocp Mohawk Mohawk Nation

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1765-12-23 Decemb December 23d 23rd 176 5
1765-12-23 Dec.r December 23. 1765

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
variation Kanajoharry Canajoharie
modernization 23d 23rd
modernization Rvd Rev.
modernization Houſe house
variation arived arrived
modernization laſt last
variation thrō through
modernization goodneſs goodness
modernization almoſt almost
modernization Circumſtance circumstance
modernization diſcouraging discouraging
modernization diſaffected disaffected
modernization Engliſh English
modernization Inſtructors instructors
modernization suppoſing supposing
modernization Deſign design
modernization Inſtruct instruct
variation uſd used
modernization amongſt amongst
modernization againſt against
modernization Caſtle Castle
variation chargd charged
modernization ye the
variation talkd talked
variation Schoharry Schoharie
modernization Moſes Moses
modernization becauſe because
variation Coſen cousin
variation John Johannes
modernization horſses horses
variation lateley lately
modernization muſt must
modernization himſelf himself
variation Onoida Oneida
modernization Caſe case
variation suprized surprised
variation re
modernization anſwer answer
modernization Deſigns designs
variation neceſaty necessity
modernization Aſsiſtance assistance
variation raged ragged
modernization &c. etc.
modernization conſiderable considerable
variation fortnite fortnight
modernization deſpair despair
variation gitting getting
modernization horſe horse
modernization preſent present
modernization beſt best
modernization faſt fast
modernization poſsible possible
modernization Cpt Capt.
variation tho though
variation proposd proposed
modernization Proviſion provision
variation Stanwicks Stanwix
variation Spoild spoiled
modernization Mr Mr.
variation Southhadley South Hadley
variation Gravil gravel
modernization viſiting visiting
modernization theſe these
modernization Diſorder disorder
variation Rideing riding
variation carleſsly carelessly
modernization houſe house
modernization Commiſion commission
variation Buttler Butler
modernization viſit visit
variation thro through
variation Tommorrow tomorrow
modernization underſtood understood
modernization thoſe those
modernization Deſire desire
modernization adviſe advise
modernization ſerve serve
modernization Rvd Rev.
modernization Mr Mr.
variation Eleazer Eleazar
modernization Rev.d Rev.

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
Decemb December
honourd honoured
& and
urgd urged
Theoph Theophilus
E. Eleazar
Dec.r December

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 21)
Number of people/places/organizations with unknown keys: 0 (out of 32)
Number of "add" tags with unknown 'place' attributes: 0 (out of 1)
Mixed case attribute values in header (potential error): 0 (out of 131)
HomeTheophilus Chamberlain, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1765 December 23
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