Skip to main content
 Previous Next
  • Zoom In (+)
  • Zoom Out (-)
  • Rotate CW (r)
  • Rotate CCW (R)
  • Overview (h)

Quick Views

View Options



Color Key

block letters
gap/damage: +++++
unclear: #####
alternate readings
hidden markup
[note: ....]
added text
deleted text
[date 'when' attribute]
[person, place or org. id]
David Fowler, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1766 August 26

ms-number: 766476.2

[note (type: abstract): Fowler writes to Wheelock, bitterly protesting the treatment he has received for purchasing what Wheelock thinks are too costly items at Mr. Breed’s store.][note (type: handwriting): Largely clear and legible, but with many deletions and overwrites.][note (type: paper): Wide sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good-to-fair condition, with light-to-heavy creasing, staining and wear. Much of the wax seal remains.][note (type: ink): Black-brown.][note (type: noteworthy): Wheelock’s response, with echoes from this letter, is document number 766476.1.]
[Rev.d | Rev.]Rev.dRev. and [Hon.d | Honoured]Hon.dHonoured Sir,
I think it very hard that
I [muſt | must]muſtmust [above] be be [ſ | s]ſs[blam'd | blamed]blam'dblamed [ſo | so]ſoso much as [above] I haveI have been [ſince | since]ſincesince my Return
from home, and all for taking up those things at
[Mr | Mr.]MrMr. Breed[pers0005.ocp]s, when I [hard | had]hardhad Orders from [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. Whee­
to get them, for which I am now accounted
a Devil or [Proude | proud]Proudeproud as the Devil. After you have re­
peatedly and [manifeſtly | manifestly]manifeſtlymanifestly told me that I [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould
have [whalſoever | whatsoever]whalſoeverwhatsoever I wanted; If you denied me when
I came to [aſk | ask]aſkask for them; I [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould not feel half [ſo | so]ſoso bad
as I do now, or if you told me in a mild Manner
when I got home: those things which you got
willegibleere too good and too [coſtly | costly]coſtlycostly, you [muſt | must]muſtmust not have
them, I [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould not [reſiſt | resist]reſiſtresist you —. You know,
Sir, I have been always been [governd | governed]governdgoverned and [ad­
viſ'd | ad
by you with all [eaſe | ease]eaſeease imaginable. —
—. This brings into my mind what Treat­
ment I met [ſince | since]ſincesince I came here. yea it is [ſhame­
ful | shame
, when I have been [above] [ſo | so]ſoso[ſo | so]ſoso faithful to you as if I was
your Negro, yea wI have [almoſt | almost]almoſtalmost [kill'd | killed]kill'dkilled [myſelf | myself]myſelfmyself
in Labouring. — I have done hitherto all what
laid in my Power to [kelp | help]kelphelp you; I think I can
[ſay | say]ſaysay and [beleive | believe]beleivebelieve you too that I have done more
Service to you thatn all the [reſt | rest]reſtrest of the Indian
Boys. and now I am too bad to live in the [Houſe | house]Houſehouse for
one of my [miſſtepes | missteps]miſſtepesmissteps, therefore I [muſt | must]muſtmust leave you
and your School[org0098.ocp] this very Day anyd go weeping
in the Road homeward
I am [greivd | grieved]greivdgrieved that I have toroubled [above] you [ſo | so]ſoso muchyou [ſo | so]ſoso much as I have.
I am [ſorry | sorry]ſorrysorry those things were not denied me at
[fiillegiblerſt | first]fiillegiblerſtfirst and then it would been all well and [eaſy | easy]eaſyeasy
before now. — But [aſure | assure]aſureassure you, Sir, you
[ſhall | shall]ſhallshall receive Payment from me yearly [till | 'til]till'til
every [Fathing | farthing]Fathingfarthing be paid, it [ſhall | shall]ſhallshall not be [ſaid | said]ſaidsaid
all that Money and illegible Pains which was [ſpent | spent]ſpentspent
for David Fowler[pers0155.ocp] an Indian [above] waswas for Nought I can
get Payment as well as white Man. O Dear me!
I cant [ſay | say]ſaysay no more, I am yr
your unwo[above] rrthy Servant,
David Fowler[pers0155.ocp]
David Fowler[pers0155.ocp]'s
[Augs.t | August]Augs.tAugust 26. 1766.[1766-08-26]
To the [Revd | Rev.]RevdRev.
[Mr | Mr.]MrMr. Eleazar Wheelock[pers0036.ocp]
[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.

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.

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.

Breed, Gershom

Breed was a vendor who traded with Occom and Wheelock. His wares included food, building materials, alcohol, clothing, and finished metal goods. He was a staunch Wheelock supporter, and helped hold and deliver mail for Wheelock, as well as sending his (possibly first-born) son, John McLaren Breed, to Wheelock's school (J. Breed went on to graduate from Yale in 1768). While Occom was abroad, he was more lenient in supplying goods to Mary Occom than other local vendors, such as Captain Shaw, but eventually, he too refused to sell to her on credit.

Document Summary

People identified in this document:

id Text in document Role in header Authorized Name
pers0005.ocp M r Mr. Breed mentioned Breed, Gershom
pers0036.ocp M r Mr. Whee­ lock recipient Wheelock, Eleazar
pers0155.ocp David Fowler writer Fowler, David
pers0155.ocp 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
place0122.ocp Lebanon Lebanon

Organizations identified in this document:

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

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1766-08-26 Aug.ſtAugust 26 1766
1766-08-26 Augs.tAugust 26. 1766.

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
modernization Rev.d Rev.
modernization muſt must
modernization ſ s
modernization ſo so
modernization ſince since
modernization Mr Mr.
variation Proude proud
modernization manifeſtly manifestly
modernization ſhould should
modernization aſk ask
modernization coſtly costly
modernization reſiſt resist
variation governd governed
modernization eaſe ease
modernization ſhame­
modernization almoſt almost
modernization myſelf myself
modernization ſay say
variation beleive believe
modernization reſt rest
modernization Houſe house
modernization miſſtepes missteps
variation greivd grieved
modernization ſorry sorry
modernization fiillegiblerſt first
modernization eaſy easy
modernization aſure assure
modernization ſhall shall
variation till 'til
modernization ſaid said
modernization ſpent spent
modernization Revd Rev.

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
Aug.ſt August
Hon.d Honoured
blam'd blamed
kill'd killed
Augs.t August

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 12)
Number of people/places/organizations with unknown keys: 0 (out of 9)
Number of "add" tags with unknown 'place' attributes: 0 (out of 6)
Mixed case attribute values in header (potential error): 0 (out of 99)
HomeDavid Fowler, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1766 August 26
 Text Only
 Text & Inline Image
 Text & Image Viewer
 Image Viewer Only