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Theophilus Chamberlain, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1766 November 12

ms-number: 766612.1

[note (type: abstract): Chamberlain writes of improvements in the mission among the Mohawks.][note (type: handwriting): Handwriting is small, yet formal and clear. Letter case and punctuation, especially comma vs. period, is frequently difficult to discern. The trailer is in an unknown hand.][note (type: paper): Large sheet folded into four pages is in good condition, with light staining, creasing and wear.][note (type: ink): Brown-black.]
[Rev,d | Rev.]Rev,dRev. and worthy
I received your favour of the [21st | 21st]21st21st of October[1766-10-21] some
days ago. Hope my [above] LetterLetter of the Same Month will [releave | relieve]releaverelieve you from
some of that Pain which I know you [muſt | must]muſtmust have felt from the
Thoughts that all your Endeavours to [inſtruct | instruct]inſtructinstruct and reform the
mohawks[org0062.ocp] would certainly Prove [insucſeſsfull | unsuccessful]insucſeſsfullunsuccessful. In Addition
to what you will learn from that Letter I add with great [Pleaſure | pleasure]Pleaſurepleasure
that the two Schools under the [Inſtruction | instruction]Inſtructioninstruction of [M,r | Mr.]M,rMr. [Johnſon | Johnson]JohnſonJohnson[pers0879.ocp] and
[illegible] Jacob Fowler[pers0018.ocp] have [increaſd | increased]increaſdincreased to four or five and forty and since
[moſseſ,s | Moses']moſseſ,sMoses'[pers0677.ocp] [arival | arrival]arivalarrival we set up a third which though small at [Preſent | present]Preſentpresent
will I hope when we have Time to collect the Children have
fifteen or Sixteen Children without any [diminition | diminution]diminitiondiminution of the other
school here which will still [increaſe | increase]increaſeincrease. [Laſt | Last]LaſtLast Sabbath the [Houſe | house]Houſehouse
where we now meet though the [largeſt | largest]largeſtlargest in the [Caſtle | Castle]CaſtleCastle, was so
[crouded | crowded]croudedcrowded that some of the People were obliged to return [out doors | outdoors]out doorsoutdoors,
and the Numbers of [thoſe | those]thoſethose who will attend is [Daly | Daily]DalyDaily [increaſing | increasing]increaſingincreasing, except
that the Indians are now [illegible]many of them on the Hunt and others
every day [joyning | joining]joyningjoining them. I know Sir that you are now
expecting me home. I know upon what Information you
came to a [conctluſion | conclusion]conctluſionconclusion that it was [beſt | best]beſtbest to leave the Mohawks[org0062.ocp], and
hope and expect that when you hear of the [preſent | present]preſentpresent State of
Affairs here you will say [tis | it is]tisit is [beſt | best]beſtbest by all Means to improve
the favorable Minute. And in confidence of this only, I have
some Weeks ago concluded not to return [till | 'til]till'til Spring [unleſs | unless]unleſsunless I
receive [abſolute | absolute]abſoluteabsolute Orders for it. I Long for [suceſs | success]suceſssuccess and however
I may have been thought to be cold, [careleſs | careless]careleſscareless, and negligent
in [proſecuting | prosecuting]proſecutingprosecuting your [Miſsion | mission]Miſsionmission I have the [Pleaſure | pleasure]Pleaſurepleasure of knowing
that I have [spard | spared]spardspared no Pains and neglected no Step to make
the Affair succeed [unleſs | unless]unleſsunless it is when I have thought that
making [Propoſals | proposals]Propoſalsproposals or altering [Diſpoſitions | dispositions]Diſpoſitionsdispositions Made would be [eſ‐
teemd | es‐
affirming. I have [Rev,d | Rev.]Rev,dRev. sir [venturded | ventured]venturdedventured to give my
Judgment upon [mr | Mr.]mrMr. [ Johnſons | Johnson] JohnſonsJohnson[pers0879.ocp]s [Deſire | desire]Deſiredesire with regard to his stay
‐ing at fort Hunter[place0078.ocp] this Winter. He told me [twas | it was]twasit was expect‐
ed that, if he came home this fall he should return next
Spring. It [appeard | appeared]appeardappeared to me that it would be more to his ad‐
vantage [bothe | both]botheboth in [reſpect | respect]reſpectrespect to his learning the Indian Language
and making [Proficency | proficiency]Proficencyproficiency in his other studies, to spend the whole
year here and the succeeding year there, than to [devide | divide]devidedivide the
[above] twotwo years into four Parts, and so leave the Indians [juſt | just]juſtjust as he has
got a Little smattering of their Language which he says him[above] selfself
he can retain only by staying longer [amongſt | amongst]amongſtamongst them. Then
I was fully [perſuaded | persuaded]perſuadedpersuaded that his continuing at fort Hunter[place0078.ocp] this
Winter was the only way to maintain and [eſtabliſh | establish]eſtabliſhestablish a school
there. To put [ither | either]ithereither of the Indian Lads (who by the way are
both wanted at this [Caſtle | Castle]CaſtleCastle[place0026.ocp]) there where I cant be with them
more than once in three or four Weeks, and where the Indians
declare they will throw the whole up if the [School-maſter | schoolmaster]School-maſterschoolmaster is
now [changd | changed]changdchanged, would be the means of ruining and that perhaps
beyond [Repare | repair]Reparerepair, a School upon which as much depends in
the Opinion of Gentlemen who are [beſt | best]beſtbest acquainted with
the Indians in [theſe | these]theſethese Parts, as any school in the six Nation[org0090.ocp]
Country. and the Indians are in all [theſe | these]theſethese [Caſtles | Castles]CaſtlesCastles offended with
the [Propoſal | proposal]Propoſalproposal of keeping Schools only in the summer. —
I hope to obtain an Interpreter this Winter without much
[Expence | expense]Expenceexpense. the Indians are [alowd | allowed]alowdallowed a [Blackſmith | blacksmith]Blackſmithblacksmith for the
next six Months. [M,r | Mr.]M,rMr. Spencer[pers0510.ocp] is appointed to serve in
that Place. Sir [Will,m | William]Will,mWilliam[pers0292.ocp] was up this W[illegible]eek to settle that
and some other Affairs with the Indians. He was at my
Lodgings [above] on Monday Eveningon Monday Evening and invited me to dine with him the next day.
I went and knowing his [Buſineſs | business]Buſineſsbusiness (which I found out by the
little Indian I [underſtant | understand]underſtantunderstand) took a favorable [Oppertunity | opportunity]Oppertunityopportunity
and put in a Petition [yt | that]ytthat in Spencer[pers0510.ocp]s Service for the
Indians his [Hon.r | Honour]Hon.rHonour would [pleaſe | please]pleaſeplease to [includ | include]includinclude interpreting
which might be done without [Increaſe | increase]Increaſeincrease of [Coſt | cost]Coſtcost to him,
or [Diſadvantage | disadvantage]Diſadvantagedisadvantage to [M,r | Mr.]M,rMr. Spencer[pers0510.ocp]. The [Requeſt | request]Requeſtrequest was too
[reaſonable | reasonable]reaſonablereasonable to be denied, and met with so favourable a
Reception that his [hon,r | honour]hon,rhonour [promiſd | promised]promiſdpromised to mention it in his
[Inſtructions | instructions]Inſtructionsinstructions to Spencer[pers0510.ocp] [wh | which]whwhich he would give out the
next day.
 Your Supply [Rev,d | Reverend]Rev,dReverend by [Moſses | Moses]MoſsesMoses[pers0677.ocp] came very [seaſonably | seasonably]seaſonablyseasonably
as I had then [leſs | less]leſsless [then | than]thenthan two dollars and was in debt for [myſf | myself]myſfmyself
the [School-maſters | schoolmasters]School-maſtersschoolmasters and Interpreter near [30,£ | £30]30,££30 [Law. | lawful]Law.lawful money, hav
‐ing made some [Proviſion | provision]Proviſionprovision for my own and Jacob[pers0018.ocp]s stay here over
the Winter. My Credit here will I fear be ruined by neglecting
the [Chriſtian | Christian]ChriſtianChristian Rule to owe no man [any thing | anything]any thinganything but to Love.
If you judge [Rev,d | Rev.]Rev,dRev. Sir that my Conduct is such as merits appro
‐bation, cannot Doubt but you will support me here to
my [satiſfaction | satisfaction]satiſfactionsatisfaction; and if you judge [otherwiſe | otherwise]otherwiſeotherwise, I beg it
as the [higheſt | highest]higheſthighest favour of a Patron to tell me plainly wherein
I [miſconduct | misconduct]miſconductmisconduct, that I may have [Oppertunety | opportunity]Oppertunetyopportunity to clear
[ myſelf | myself] myſelfmyself, to reform or to [reſign | resign]reſignresign my [Commiſſion | commission]Commiſſioncommission.
In the [Mean Time | meantime]Mean Timemeantime Sir, give my Duty to
Madam[pers0577.ocp], my [kindeſt | kindest]kindeſtkindest Compliments to all
your family and Love to the School[org0098.ocp], and
be [aſsurd | assured]aſsurdassured that [unconſcious | unconscious]unconſciousunconscious of Neglect
I [chearfully | cheerfully]chearfullycheerfully [Subſcribe | subscribe]Subſcribesubscribe [Myſelf | myself]Myſelfmyself
[Rev,d | Rev.]Rev,dRev. and Worthy Sir

your [faithfull | faithful]faithfullfaithful servant in the Lord
Theophilus Chamberlain[pers0009.ocp]

[Rev.d | Rev.]Rev.dRev. [Theoph.s | Theophilus]Theoph.sTheophilus Chamberlain[pers0009.ocp]’s
Letter [Nov.r | November]Nov.rNovember [12,,th | 12th]12,,th12th 1766[1766-11-12]

[Rev.d | Rev.]Rev.dRev. [Theoph.s | Theophilus]Theoph.sTheophilus Chamberlain[pers0009.ocp]’s
Letter [Nov.r | November]Nov.rNovember [12,,th | 12th]12,,th12th 1766[1766-11-12]

To [Rvd | Rev.]RvdRev. [E. | Eleazar]E.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.
Six Nations
The Six Nations (often called the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois) is a confederacy composed of the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, Senecas, and Tuscaroras. The first five tribes unified at some point before European contact (dates differ by centuries), and the Tuscaroras joined them in 1722, after colonial violence drove the tribe out of Carolina. The Haudenosaunee occupied much of what is now central New York, and, thus, were sandwiched between French, English, and Dutch territories. They allied with the English against the French early on, just as their arch-enemies, the Huron, allied with the French. Despite the Six Nations’ unity, the constituent nations experienced European contact in different ways. The Mohawks and Oneidas, as the two easternmost tribes, had by far the most contact with the English, while the Senecas and Cayugas, the westernmost nations, had little contact with the English (although both hosted French Jesuit missionaries). Mohawk territory was the site of Johnson Hall, the administrative center and home of Sir William Johnson, the British Superintendent for Indian Affairs in the Northeast. The Oneidas, meanwhile, played host to several prominent Anglo-American missionaries and were thought of as the most Christianized Haudenosaunee tribe by many colonists. Eleazar Wheelock became fixated on the Haudenosaunee soon after he established Moor’s Indian Charity School in 1754. He saw in them the opportunity for a fresh start, since he believed that New England Indians had assimilated to Anglo-American norms in all the wrong ways (too much rum, too little Christianity). Wheelock established contact with the Haudenosaunee through Sir William Johnson and made the Mohawks and Oneidas the focal point of his missionary efforts for much of the 1760s. The American Revolution had dramatic repercussions for the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. The Mohawks, Senecas, Onondagas, and Cayugas sided with the British, while the Oneidas and Tuscaroras sided with the Americans. Since all Haudenosaunee hold membership in both a tribe (Mohawk, Oneida, etcetera) and a matrilineal clan (bear, wolf, and others), the tribes’ divergent alliances brought about political schism and violence within extended families. Furthermore, Haudenosaunee territory was devastated during the war, especially in General Sullivan’s 1779 raid on Cayuga and Seneca territory. After the Revolution, many Haudenosaunee who had affiliated with the British relocated to the Grand River Reserve in Canada, while many of the Oneidas and Tuscaroras remained in New York. The Haudenosaunee at the Grand River Reserve established their own council fire, which operated in parallel with the original council fire at Onondaga. Today, both council fires are still active, and each tribe also has its own independent government (as do displaced Haudenosaunee populations, such as the Oneidas of Wisconsin).
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.

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.

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.

Johnson, Samuel

Samuel Johnson was a Yale student who, after first traveling to Canajoharie, taught the school at Fort Hunter (the smaller Mohawk town) from October 1766 until at least February 1767, possibly as late as June. Johnson returned to Yale by July 1767. Wheelock may have provided him with some financial support at college up until the end of 1767, when Johnson and Wheelock parted ways. It is possible that Johnson simply decided he did not want to be an Indian missionary, and, thus, withdrew from Wheelock’s support. It is more likely that the pair split over Wheelock’s treatment of his students. Johnson’s last letter to Wheelock expressed his opposition to Wheelock’s plan to pull Avery and McClure out of college for missions (767667.5); Johnson may have feared he would meet the same fate. Four years later, he wrote to Samuel Kirkland about Wheelock’s mistreatment of Crosby, whom Wheelock expelled from Dartmouth, and David Avery, whom Wheelock required to repay large portions of his tuition because his health prevented him from serving as a missionary. Johnson graduated from Yale in 1769, was ordained the same year, and served as a minister at New Lebanon, New York and West Stockbridge, Massachusetts. In 1780, he converted to the Shaker faith, along with his wife, their children, and much of his former New Lebanon Congregation.

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.


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.

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.

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.

Document Summary

People identified in this document:

id Text in document Role in header Authorized Name
pers0879.ocp M, r Mr. Johnſon Johnson mentioned Johnson, Samuel
pers0018.ocp Jacob Fowler mentioned Fowler, Jacob
pers0677.ocp moſseſ, s Moses' mentioned Moses
pers0879.ocp mr Mr. Johnſons Johnson mentioned Johnson, Samuel
pers0510.ocp M, r Mr. Spencer mentioned Spencer
pers0292.ocp Sir Will, m William mentioned Johnson, William
pers0510.ocp Spencer mentioned Spencer
pers0510.ocp M, r Mr. Spencer mentioned Spencer
pers0677.ocp Moſses Moses mentioned Moses
pers0018.ocp Jacob mentioned Fowler, Jacob
pers0577.ocp Madam mentioned Wheelock, Mary (née Brinsmead)
pers0009.ocp Theophilus Chamberlain writer Chamberlain, Theophilus
pers0009.ocp Rev. d Rev. Theoph. s Theophilus Chamberlain writer Chamberlain, Theophilus
pers0036.ocp Rv d Rev. E. Eleazar Wheelock recipient Wheelock, Eleazar

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0026.ocp Kanajoharry Canajoharie Caſtle Castle Canajoharie
place0078.ocp fort Hunter Fort Hunter
place0026.ocp this Caſtle Castle Canajoharie

Organizations identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
org0062.ocp mohawks Mohawk Nation
org0062.ocp Mohawks Mohawk Nation
org0090.ocp six Nation Six Nations
org0098.ocp the School Moor’s Indian Charity School

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1766-11-12 12,th12th of Nov,mNovember 1766
1766-10-21 21st21st of October
1766-11-12 Nov.rNovember 12,,th12th 1766

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
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modernization 12,th 12th
modernization Rev,d Rev.
modernization 21st 21st
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modernization muſt must
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variation insucſeſsfull unsuccessful
modernization Pleaſure pleasure
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modernization Johnſon Johnson
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modernization careleſs careless
modernization proſecuting prosecuting
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modernization miſconduct misconduct
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modernization Commiſſion commission
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variation faithfull faithful
modernization Rev.d Rev.
modernization 12,,th 12th
modernization Rvd Rev.

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
Nov,m November
tis it is
twas it was
Will,m William
Hon.r Honour
hon,r honour
wh which
Rev,d Reverend
myſf myself
Law. lawful
Theoph.s Theophilus
Nov.r November
E. Eleazar

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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 24)
Number of people/places/organizations with unknown keys: 0 (out of 23)
Number of "add" tags with unknown 'place' attributes: 0 (out of 5)
Mixed case attribute values in header (potential error): 0 (out of 116)
HomeTheophilus Chamberlain, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1766 November 12
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