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David Fowler, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1766 January 21

ms-number: 766121.2

[note (type: abstract): David Fowler writes of the progress of his Indian school, the present religious state of the Indians and their want of a minister, news of Kirtland, and personal matters.][note (type: handwriting): Handwriting is clear and legible, though letter case is occasionally difficult to decipher.][note (type: paper): Large sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good-to-fair condition, with moderate creasing, staining and wear. The central vertical and horizontal folds are silked. There are significant remnants of the seal.][note (type: ink): Black-brown.][note (type: noteworthy): The identity of "Joseph" (identified simply as "Joseph") is uncertain; it is likely either Joseph Johnson or Joseph Brant. The letter mentions Joseph Woolley (identified simply as "Woolley"); however, at this time, apparently unknown to Fowler, Woolley is dead. On one recto, in the second paragraph, the identity of the Indians to whom Fowler refers is uncertain; Fowler's mission was in an Onedia town, but Chamberlain's mission was in a Mohawk town. In the last paragraph on two recto, it is uncertain to whom "Master" refers, and so he has been left untagged. Some contents of the letter are similar to those of 765365. There are two trailers; one is in Wheelock's hand, the other uncertain, although it could be Wheelock's. There are sums on two verso in an unknown hand; these have not been transcribed.]

[Rev.d | Rev.]Rev.d Rev. and [Hon.d | Honoured]Hon.d Honoured Sir

[illegible] [guess (h-dawnd): Aa]Aa After much [Warry | worry]Warryworry and Fatigue about my
[Houſe | house]Houſehouse and Journeys after [alſo | also]alſoalso hungry Belly I began to keep my School
[ſteadily | steadily]ſteadilysteadily [ſometime | sometime]ſometimesometime in November[1766-11]. My Scholars learn very well:
I find it is [impoſſible | impossible]impoſſibleimpossible to keep the Children [ſteadily | steadily]ſteadilysteadily to School. [illegible]
Men labour and work as [Engliſh | English]EngliſhEnglish do: They are lazy and inh [illegible] u-
man pack of Creatures as I ever [ſaw | saw]ſawsaw. in the World; They have [ſeen | seen]ſeenseen
me working and [tuging | tugging]tugingtugging Day after Day and never [offerd | offered]offerdoffered to help
me in the [leaſt | least]leaſtleast thing I had [above] to doto do in my [Houſe | house]Houſehouse only [finiſhd | finished]finiſhdfinished covering it
and [illegible] left me. I was [oblig'd | obliged]oblig'dobliged [above] toto eat with Dogs near two Months & I
[ſay | say]ſaysay with Dogs because they are [allways | always]allwaysalways licking Water out [off | of]offof the
Pails and Kettles we [uſe | use]uſeuse: Now I live like a Gentleman, I have a
[planly | plenty]planlyplenty of Corn, Flour, Meat, and rotten [Fiſh | fish]Fiſhfish.— I applied to
Sir William[pers0292.ocp] for [Proviſion | provision]Proviſionprovision; accordingly, he order the [Commading | commanding]Commadingcommanding
Officer at the Royal Block [Houſe | House]HouſeHouse [place0198.ocp] to give me out [Priviſion | provision]Priviſionprovision as
long as I [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould want.
 I am exceeding [ſorry | sorry]ſorrysorry as well as my poor Friends that
[Mr | Mr.]Mr Mr. Chamberlain[pers0009.ocp] does not return [above] toto us this Winter.— The In-
di [illegible] ans cannot conceive what [care | can]carecan be the [Reaſon | reason]Reaſonreason why he don't
return. But I told them three [Reaſon | reason]Reaſonreason, why he dont, return: and af-
ter they heard them they were [eaſy | easy]eaſyeasy.
 I never [ſaw | saw]ſawsaw [ſuch | such]ſuchsuch general [Dispoſition | disposition]Dispoſitiondisposition of hearing
the Word of God [amongſt | amongst]amongſtamongst these poor People as I do now: [moſt | most]moſtmost
every one of the Adults of this Place, have openly [renouc'd | renounced]renouc'drenounced their
Liquor, and [ſaid | said]ſaidsaid that they will devote [themſelves | themselves]themſelvesthemselves in hearing
the Word of God. Now is the Time for [Miniſters | ministers]Miniſtersministers to come
up [whilſt | whilst]whilſtwhilst they are in [ſuch | such]ſuchsuch [Diſpoſition | disposition]Diſpoſitiondisposition.— O for a [Mini
ſter | mini
[whoſe | whose]whoſewhose Heart is full of Love to God and [Compaſſion | compassion]Compaſſioncompassion to poor
Sinners, one who is [meak | meek]meakmeek and lowly and crafty in [wining | winning]winingwinning

Souls to [Chriſt | Christ]ChriſtChrist. who has a real [Sence | sense]Sencesense and worth of Immortal
Souls would greatly weaken the [ſtrong | strong]ſtrongstrong Holds of Satan in this
Place. — Dear Sir, do all that is in your Power to get
up a [Miniſter | minister]Miniſterminister early in the Spring. for the poor Creatures
are [rearly | [guess (h-dawnd): rarely]rarely ]rearly [guess (h-dawnd): rarely]rarely [deſirous | desirous]deſirousdesirous to hear the Word of God, we have no [Mini
ſter | mini
and yet we have a full [Aſſembly | assembly]Aſſemblyassembly every Sabbath. I have
nothing New to acquaint you; I [enjoyy | enjoy]enjoyyenjoy a good [ſtate | state]ſtatestate of Health and
am contented.
 I cant come down [till | 'til]till'til [ſome | some]ſomesome of [ye | the]ye the Scholars come up and
take my School. If Jacob[pers0018.ocp] is to come up; do let him take a School
near me [ſo | so]ſoso [illegible] that I may take care of him. — I want all my
[Cloaths | clothes]Cloathsclothes in [readineſs | readiness]readineſsreadiness, for I [ſhall | shall]ſhallshall be in a very [above] greatgreat [Haſt | haste]Haſthaste when I do
come. I determine to [ſee | see]ſeesee my poor Parents before I re
turn; for I [ſerv'd | served]ſerv'dserved them [baſely | basely]baſelybasely [laſt | last]laſtlast Fall. If they [ſuffer | suffer]ſuffersuffer
I cant tell how I can come up. Joseph [dertermines | determines]derterminesdetermines to
come down and pay you [Viſit | visit]Viſitvisit [alſo | also]alſoalso Thomas[pers0643.ocp] who has done
me more Service than all the Town[place0114.ocp]. He tells me; that he
[deſigns | designs]deſignsdesigns to go down with me and [ſet | set]ſetset my Rib[pers0742.ocp] on his [Horſe | horse]Horſehorse
and he will come up with own [above] hishis [Horſes | horses]Horſeshorses or Legs, that, is
if I [ſhall | shall]ſhallshall find one. I [rejoi[illegible] [guess (h-dawnd): c]c | rejoice]rejoi[illegible] [guess (h-dawnd): c]c rejoice greatly because I could
[left] notnot [above] no no get one [laſt | last]laſtlast Year. [eſpicially | especially]eſpiciallyespecially for [Wooley | Woolley]WooleyWoolley [pers0041.ocp]. I hear he
has no [Houſe | house]Houſehouse.
 I [Juſt | just]Juſtjust now heard of [Mr | Mr.]Mr Mr. [Kirtland | Kirkland]KirtlandKirkland [pers0315.ocp] he is
poor [forgſaken | forsaken]forgſakenforsaken Man. The Indians[org0088.ocp] have drove him out
[off | of]offof their [Houſes | houses]Houſeshouses and now he lives in a poor House [illegible] in the
Woods my Friends cant conceive what he keeps them
for: the Indians[org0088.ocp] dont want him there; for they all
[hat | hate]hathate him. It [ſeems | seems]ſeemsseems to me by what [Mr | Mr.]Mr Mr. Gray[pers0230.ocp] has
w [illegible] rote to him that he is [uneaſy | uneasy]uneaſyuneasy. fo Capt [Buller | Butler]BullerButler [pers0277.ocp] cre-

[ceivd | ceived]ceivdceived [above] a Lettera Letter from him [whilſt | whilst]whilſtwhilst I was at his [Houſe | house]Houſehouse. and [immediatly | immediately]immediatlyimmediately
[ask'd | asked]ask'dasked me how many Letters I [illegible] brought for [Mr | Mr.]Mr Mr. [Kirtland | Kirkland]KirtlandKirkland [pers0315.ocp] I
tol [illegible] d him one. [&c | etc.]&cetc. Tell [y.r | your]y.r your [oldeſt | oldest]oldeſtoldest Boy who went [above] downdown the [laſt | last]laſtlast
that [above] went down went down both his Parents left off [geting | getting]getinggetting driunk.
 I forgot to tell you what [ſort | sort]ſortsort of Cloth I would have
for my [Cloaths | clothes]Cloathsclothes. [above] I want blue Broad Cloth [illegible] and that which is good.I want blue Broad Cloth [illegible] and that which is good. Give my kind Regards to Madam[pers0577.ocp],
[alſo | also]alſoalso to Sir Wheelock[pers0578.ocp], and [Maſter | Master]MaſterMaster. and Love to the [reſt | rest]reſtrest of the
Family [alſo | also]alſoalso to all the Scholars. — That the Lord would
prolong your worthy [Live | life]Livelife, and make you a rich [Bleſsing | blessing]Bleſsingblessing
in the World, [alſo | also]alſoalso an [Inſtrument | instrument]Inſtrumentinstrument of [ſpreading | spreading]ſpreadingspreading the Gospel
[amongſt | amongst]amongſtamongst the poor Heathen in this Continent and after
we[gap: hole] [guess (h-dawnd): ll]ll [ſpent | spent]ſpentspent Livfe here receive [your | you]youryou in the [Manſions | mansions]Manſionsmansions
Joy and there to [ſhine | shine]ſhineshine as the Stars in the Firmament
forever and ever is the [Deſire | desire]Deſiredesire and Prayer.

[Revd | Rev.]Revd Rev. Sir,
Of your [affecionte | affectionate]affecionteaffectionate
and obedient Servant

David Fowler[pers0155.ocp]
P.S. I hope [above] you will you will [illegible] you will
overlook all my im [illegible] per
fections in This Letter
for I wrote the [bigeſt | biggest]bigeſtbiggest Part
of it in [Darkneſs | darkness]Darkneſsdarkness.

[Lettr | Letter]Lettr Letter from [D. | David]D.David Fowler[pers0155.ocp]
[Jan.y | January]Jan.y January 1766[1766-01]. —

[Receeved | Received]ReceevedReceived March 26.
To —
The [Rev.d | Rev.]Rev.d Rev. [M.r | Mr.]M.r Mr. Eleazar Wheelock[pers0036.ocp]
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.
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.
Seneca Nation
The Senecas are one of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Six Nations. They are the Westernmost Haudenosaunee tribe and are known as the “Keepers of the Western door,” just as the Mohawks are the “Keepers of the Eastern Door.” During the colonial period, the Senecas were the largest of the Six Nations, in part because they adopted large numbers of Native Americans and even some Europeans to compensate for losses from disease and warfare. (Their most famous adoptee was Mary Jemison, a Scots-Irish woman who spent her life as an adopted Seneca and whose memoirs were written down and published in 1824.) The Jesuits launched missionary efforts among the Senecas, along with the rest of the Six Nations, in the second half of the 17th century. However, the Senecas received fewer Jesuit missionaries than other Haudenosaunee tribes did. This may have been due in part to their close relationship with the British, to whom the Senecas were loyal allies against the French and the Americans. It could also have stemmed from their conflict with the Hurons, another Haudenosaunee-speaking tribe located to the west of the Six Nations. Although the Hurons and Haudenosaunee spoke related languages, they were fierce enemies; because the Senecas were the most western of the Six Nations, they fought the Hurons more often. The Hurons had close ties to the French and hosted numerous Jesuit missionaries, so the Senecas' conflict with the Hurons may have further alienated them from Jesuit efforts. The Senecas also sided with the British during the Revolution, and, in retribution, General Sullivan destroyed their homes and crops during his 1779 rampage through central New York. The Seneca perspective on Sullivan's campaign survives in Jemison's memoirs. After the Revolution, many Mohawks and Cayugas, who had also allied with the British, left central New York. Some moved west, while others moved to the Grand River Reserve in Canada. The Senecas are notable for staying on their lands, where many of them remain today. Samuel Kirkland, an Anglo-American Moor’s Indian Charity School alumnus most famous for his work among the Oneidas, began his career with a mission to the Senecas between January 1765 and spring 1766. He also was adopted by the Senecas. His mission to the Senecas gave him his reputation as an dedicated missionary because of their perceived savagery. Eleazar Wheelock himself had little contact with the Senecas. Kirkland’s Seneca brother by adoption, Tekanada, suggested that he might send his son to Moor’s Indian Charity School, but does not appear to have done so.

Kanawalohale was a village located in the present-day town of Vernon in central New York state. In the 18th century, it was an Oneida village located about 60 miles west of the Mohawk village Canajoharie. Because the village’s name was similar to the Mohawk village of Canajoharie, many sources conflate the two. Founded in the mid-18th century, Kanawalohale was made up of a cluster of about 40 homes along the Oneida Creek, south of Oneida Lake. The name means head on a post in reference to an enemy soldier's skull displayed in the village. In 1765, David Fowler established an Indian school in Kanawalohale, where Wheelock’s son, Ralph, worked. Between the years of 1765 and 1767, Kanawalohale hosted many of Wheelock's missionaries including Samuel Kirkland, Joseph Johnson, David Avery, and Aaron Kinne. The Indians of Kanawalohale used their relationship with missionaries such as Kirkland to gain prestige over the formerly central Oneida village, Old Oneida. Kirkland often wrote in his journal about the dialogues he had with the Indians at Kanawalohale, who refused to receive his teachings silently. The Christian Indian population grew throughout the 1760s with at least 200 Indians attending church in the village. In 1780, Joseph Brant, a Mohawk allied with the British, led a war party against the revolting colonists, with whom the Oneidas had allied, that destroyed the Oneida village of Kanawalohale. This area is known today as Oneida Castle.


Connecticut is a state in southern New England that borders Massachusetts to the north and the Long Island Sound to the south. Its name is derived from the Algonquian "Quonehtacut," meaning "long river," referring to the Connecticut, which runs from the border with Canada into the Long Island Sound. The area was originally inhabited by Algonquian-speaking Pequots, Mohegans, and Quinnipiacs. European settlers took advantage of tribal divisions to establish dominance in the region. Dutch explorer Adrian Block sailed up the Connecticut River in 1614, establishing an active Dutch trading post at what is now Hartford. English claims to Connecticut began in 1630, but settlement truly began when Thomas Hooker, a Congregationalist minister now known as "The Father of Connecticut," left Boston to found Hartford in 1636. Hartford became the center of the Colony of Connecticut, which did not receive its charter until 1662 when Governor John Winthrop, Jr. secured it from Charles II. In 1665, the Colony of New Haven, established in 1638 by the Puritan minister John Davenport, joined the Colony of Connecticut under this charter. Early settler relations with local Indians were tense, and encouraged the New England colonies of Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven to unify as the "United Colonies" or "New England Confederation" and fight together, with Indian allies, in the Pequot War and again in King Philip's (Metacom's) War. These wars helped establish a specifically Connecticut and specifically American identity; the latter drove the colony to join the rebellion against Britain in 1776. Occom, born into a Mohegan household in Connecticut, was closely associated with the Colony and retained strong ties to the region throughout his life. He converted to Christianity in 1743 when the Great Awakening spread through Connecticut, and inspired Wheelock's Indian Charity School, which was founded in Lebanon, CT in 1754. He also became involved in the Mason Land Case, a long-standing dispute over the ownership of reserve Mohegan lands in Connecticut. Wheelock also had strong ties to Connecticut, moving his Indian Charity School only when the colony would not grant it a charter.

Royal Block House
Fowler, David

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

Wheelock, 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.

Johnson, William

Sir William Johnson was a powerful British colonial official who amassed wealth and influence by integrating into the Mohawk tribe. For a brief window of time (1761-1768), he provided support for Wheelock’s missionary efforts among the Six Nations. He also helped the Brothertown Nation of Indians procure land from the Oneidas. Johnson was born in Ireland in 1715. His family had been part of the Catholic elite, but after William of Orange’s 1690 victory at the Battle of the Boyne, they at least nominally converted to the Episcopalian Church. In 1738, Johnson emigrated to America to manage his uncle Peter Warren’s estate in Mohawk territory. Over the next decade, Johnson became wealthy in his own right through trade and land sales, acquiring a vast estate crowned by his manor house, Johnson Hall, which became the central location for British and Indian treaty making. In 1745, Johnson began collecting official British titles and positions. He played an important military role in the French and Indian War and was named Superintendent of Indian Affairs in 1756 and first baronet of New York in 1757. Much of Johnson’s success was due to his influence among the Mohawks, which he obtained by learning their language and customs and integrating himself into their society. He participated in Mohawk rituals and entered into a common-law marriage with a powerful Mohawk woman, Molly Brant (also called Mary Brant). Because Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) society is matrilineal, this marriage was an essential element of his participation in Indian affairs. Wheelock desperately wanted to wield missionary influence among the Six Nations, and sought to obtain Johnson as an ally in his endeavors. At first, the two found grounds for cooperation. Wheelock sent Occom as a missionary to the Oneidas in 1761 and again in 1762, and sent a substantially larger group of missionaries and schoolmasters in 1765, 1766, and 1767. Johnson, meanwhile, encouraged Haudenosaunee children, including his brother-in-law Joseph Brant, to attend Moor’s. Johnson’s support proved indispensible to missionaries in the field; he helped with supplies, language skills, and relations with the Mohawks and Oneidas. Wheelock also valued Johnson for his influence in Britain, and drew on him for recommendations and public statements of support numerous times. From 1763 on, however, Johnson found himself decidedly uncomfortable with Wheelock’s missionary efforts, and by 1769, their relationship had dissolved completely. In 1766, Johnson was invited to join the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG), the largest and most influential Anglican missionary society in the 18th-century British-Atlantic world. He began working to place Anglican missionaries, rather than Congregationalist and Presbyterian ones, among the Six Nations, which alarmed Wheelock. Johnson was generally supportive of Native American tribes’ efforts to maintain their land and sovereignty. As the historian Linford Fisher has noted, “virtually every major Native group in southeastern New England successfully petitioned Johnson to act on their behalf during the late 1760s and early 1770s.” Among these groups was the Brothertown Nation, a Christian composite tribe formed by Southern New England Algonquian Moor’s alumni. Johnson helped them negotiate with the Oneidas, which proved essential to their successful land purchase and relocation to central New York.

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.

Fowler, Jacob

Jacob Fowler was a Montauk Indian whose life was dramatically shaped by Samson Occom, his brother-in-law. Occom taught Jacob when he was a child, and in 1762, Jacob followed his older brother David Fowler to Moor's. After three years he was approved as an usher in the 1765 examination, and in 1766 he went to assist Samuel Johnson at Canajoharie. He taught among the Six Nations until at least mid-1767. In early 1770, Occom procured him a job teaching at Mushantuxet through the Boston Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. Jacob taught and preached among the Pequots at Mushantuxet and Stonington until 1774, when Wheelock hired him to teach at Moor's, which had relocated to Hanover, NH as a complement to Dartmouth College. During this time, Jacob also assisted Joseph Johnson with efforts to rally the New England Christian tribes for a move to Oneida territory (the Brothertown Movement). By 1776, there were no Indians enrolled in Moor's and Jacob moved on to serve Governor John Trumbull of CT as a messenger to the Six Nations during the Revolution. After the Revolution, he continued organizing the Brothertown Movement and was among those who initially emigrated in 1784. He was elected clerk at Brothertown, and died sometime in the spring of 1787.


Thomas was an essential figure in Oneida Christianity and an important ally for Samuel Kirkland. While it is unclear when he converted to Christianity, by the 1750s he was preaching and leading services at Kanawalohale. By all accounts, he was a compelling speaker and talented at rendering Christian theology in terms compatible with Oneida cosmology. Thomas was instrumental in supporting Kirkland's mission: he often protected the Anglo-American missionary and helped him translate his ideas more effectively. Thomas also played an important role in the history of Moor's. His daughter, Hannah, was a student there, and in July 1768 he visited her. He returned the following January to pull her out of school following her mother's death, and he took the remaining five Oneida children with him. Later statements by Oneida chiefs (reported to Kirkland and David Avery) made clear that a large part of the Oneidas' reason for withdrawing their children was Wheelock's harsh discipline. Thomas was also present for Ralph Wheelock's 1768 outburst at Onaquaga, and was Avery's 1772 source for what had taken place there. Despite his disagreements with Wheelock, Thomas continued to support Kirkland's mission. Thomas was killed by British troops in 1779 while on a diplomatic visit to the Mohawks at Kahnawake (a site across the St. Lawrence River from Montreal). His murder gave the Oneidas yet another reason to side with the colonists during the Revolution.

Fowler, Hannah (née Garrett)

Hannah Fowler (née Garrett) was a Pequot woman who married David Fowler. The Garrett family boasted sachems and interpreters and was influential among the Stonington Pequots. Hannah grew up among the Charlestown Narragansetts, as her parents had affiliated with that tribe (a not-uncommon occurrence, given the close ties between the groups, especially in the realm of Christian spirituality). At Charlestown, Hannah received her basic education and was recruited for Moor’s Indian Charity School. She studied at the school from 1763 until she married David Fowler in 1766. Hannah and David’s marriage is especially noteworthy because it is the only instance where a female Moor’s student married a Native American missionary from Moor’s and joined him on missions — which had been Wheelock’s intent in admitting Native American women in the first place. Hannah assisted David on his mission to Kanawalohale from the time of their marriage in 1766 until his departure for Montauk in 1767. In 1783, the pair moved to Brothertown, where their house was the town center. Both Fowlers proved influential in town affairs, and their children and grandchildren also played a central role in the town’s administration.

Woolley, Joseph

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

Kirkland, Samuel

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

Gray, Samuel

Samuel Gray was one of the first four graduates of Dartmouth College. He was the son of Samuel and Lydia (Dyer) Gray, of Windham, CT, and attended Moor's Indian Charity School. He was one of the students, along with David Fowler and Joseph Woolley, who witnessed and signed Jacob Woolley's confesson in 1763. Two years later, The Connecticut Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge considered appointing Gray as its "Scribe or Register," which included keeping the books and accounts for the Board and the School. He probably moved to Hanover with Wheelock and attended Dartmouth College as an independent student; along with John Wheelock (Eleazar's younger son), Sylvanus Ripley and Levi Frisbie, he graduated in the first class of 1771, but because of a lack of a quorum of Trustees, did not receive his official diploma until 1773. Because he was not a charity student, he was relieved of the obligation to become a missionary. Rather, he studied law, practiced in Windham, served as the Clerk of the Windham County Courts for more than 40 years, and also served as Commissary General during the Revolutionary War. He was an honored guest at the Dartmouth commencement of 1827, where he pointed out the site of the first College structures, including the place where a bbq was held at his own graduation.

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.

Wheelock, Mary (née Brinsmead)

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

Wheelock, Rodulphus

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

Document Summary

People identified in this document:

id Text in document Role in header Authorized Name
pers0292.ocp Sir William mentioned Johnson, William
pers0009.ocp M r Mr. Chamberlain mentioned Chamberlain, Theophilus
pers0018.ocp Jacob mentioned Fowler, Jacob
pers0643.ocp Thomas mentioned Thomas
pers0742.ocp my Rib mentioned Fowler, Hannah (née Garrett)
pers0041.ocp Wooley Woolley mentioned Woolley, Joseph
pers0315.ocp M r Mr. Kirtland Kirkland mentioned Kirkland, Samuel
pers0230.ocp M r Mr. Gray mentioned Gray, Samuel
pers0277.ocp Capt Buller Butler mentioned Butler, John
pers0315.ocp M r Mr. Kirtland Kirkland mentioned Kirkland, Samuel
pers0577.ocp Madam mentioned Wheelock, Mary (née Brinsmead)
pers0578.ocp Sir Wheelock mentioned Wheelock, Rodulphus
pers0155.ocp David Fowler writer Fowler, David
pers0155.ocp D. David Fowler writer Fowler, David
pers0036.ocp M. r Mr. Eleazar Wheelock recipient Wheelock, Eleazar

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0114.ocp Canawarohare Kanawalohale Kanawalohale
place0198.ocp Royal Block Houſe House Royal Block House
place0114.ocp Town Kanawalohale
place0048.ocp Connecticut Connecticut

Organizations identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
org0088.ocp Indians Seneca Nation

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1766-01-21 Janry January 21 1766
1766-11 November
1766-01 Jan.y January 1766
1766-03-26 March 26. 1766

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
variation Canawarohare Kanawalohale
modernization Rev.d Rev.
variation Warry worry
modernization Houſe house
modernization alſo also
modernization ſteadily steadily
modernization ſometime sometime
modernization impoſſible impossible
modernization Engliſh English
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modernization ſeen seen
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variation offerd offered
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variation finiſhd finished
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modernization Proviſion provision
variation Commading commanding
modernization Houſe House
variation Priviſion provision
modernization ſhould should
modernization ſorry sorry
modernization Mr Mr.
modernization Reaſon reason
modernization eaſy easy
modernization ſuch such
modernization Dispoſition disposition
modernization amongſt amongst
modernization moſt most
modernization ſaid said
modernization themſelves themselves
modernization Miniſters ministers
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modernization Diſpoſition disposition
modernization Mini
modernization whoſe whose
modernization Compaſſion compassion
variation meak meek
variation wining winning
modernization Chriſt Christ
variation Sence sense
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variation rearly [guess (h-dawnd): rarely]rarely
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modernization Aſſembly assembly
variation enjoyy enjoy
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variation Cloaths clothes
modernization readineſs readiness
modernization ſhall shall
variation Haſt haste
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modernization baſely basely
modernization laſt last
modernization ſuffer suffer
variation dertermines determines
modernization Viſit visit
modernization deſigns designs
modernization ſet set
modernization Horſe horse
modernization Horſes horses
variation rejoi[illegible] [guess (h-dawnd): c]c rejoice
variation eſpicially especially
variation Wooley Woolley
modernization Juſt just
modernization Mr Mr.
variation Kirtland Kirkland
modernization forgſaken forsaken
modernization Houſes houses
variation hat hate
modernization ſeems seems
modernization uneaſy uneasy
variation Buller Butler
variation ceivd ceived
variation immediatly immediately
modernization &c etc.
modernization oldeſt oldest
variation geting getting
modernization ſort sort
modernization Maſter Master
modernization reſt rest
modernization Bleſsing blessing
modernization Inſtrument instrument
modernization ſpreading spreading
modernization ſpent spent
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modernization Deſire desire
modernization Revd Rev.
variation affecionte affectionate
variation bigeſt biggest
modernization Darkneſs darkness
variation Receeved Received
modernization Rev.d Rev.
modernization M.r Mr.

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
Janry January
Hon.d Honoured
oblig'd obliged
renouc'd renounced
ſerv'd served
ask'd asked
y.r your
Lettr Letter
D. David
Jan.y January

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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)
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HomeDavid Fowler, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1766 January 21
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