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Jacob Fowler, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1767 January 31

ms-number: 767131

[note (type: abstract): Jacob Fowler expresses gratitude for Wheelock’s attention and kindness.][note (type: handwriting): Handwriting is small, formal and legible.][note (type: paper): Paper is in fair-to-poor condition, with heavy yellowing, staining, creasing and wear. There is extensive silking along the creases.][note (type: ink): Black][note (type: noteworthy): The Latin phrase "si placet tibi domini" translates to "if it pleases you, master."]

[Rev:nd | Rev.]Rev:ndRev. [& | and]&and [Hon:rd | Honoured]Hon:rdHonoured Sir;
deeply [ſenſible | sensible]ſenſiblesensible, of
what Gratitude I owe to The [Rev:nd | Rev.]Rev:ndRev. [Mr | Mr.]MrMr. E. Wheelock[pers0036.ocp]
and to all his Family, for his [goodneſs | goodness]goodneſsgoodness to me
to [chuſe | choose]chuſechoose me out. from my [ſtupid | stupid]ſtupidstupid Brethren
and to bring me into his School[org0098.ocp], and there to
give me my Learning for Nothing only to
be Dutiful and Obedient to him and [above] toto all his
And to [ſet | set]ſetset me [ſo | so]ſoso much above my Fellow Crea-
tures, (viz) to be capable to teach a School.
To be [ſent | sent]ſentsent up here to teach a School, and how
Utterly Unworthy I am to be put to [ſuch | such]ſuchsuch Affair
And how unworthy I am of the [leaſt | least]leaſtleast Favour
from thy Hands.—
it makes me tremble to think to write to [ſuch | such]ſuchsuch
a Great Gentleman as [M:.r | Mr.]M:.rMr. E. Wheelock[pers0036.ocp] is, I am
afraid I [ſhall | shall]ſhallshall [ſay | say]ſaysay [Somthing | something]Somthingsomething that will be [diſ­
pleaſing | dis
to him.— If I do I humbly [aſk | ask]aſkask
Your [Forgivneſs | forgiveness]Forgivneſsforgiveness Sir. I am [ſhame | shame]ſhameshame to [ſay | say]ſaysay
any thing about My School.
I [ſuppoſe | suppose]ſuppoſesuppose [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. [Chamberlein | Chamberlain]ChamberleinChamberlain[pers0009.ocp] will tell you Sir ­

­about it.—
I dont know what to write more—
[Pleaſe | Please]PleaſePlease to give my Duty to [M:rſs | Mrs.]M:rſsMrs. Wheelock[pers0577.ocp]
My humble Compliments to all your Children
—Sir ([ſi | si]ſisi placet tibi Domini) my Love to all
thy School[org0098.ocp].—
Give me Liberty to [ſubſcribe | subscribe]ſubſcribesubscribe my Se[above] llf.—

Your [moſt | most]moſtmost Obediennt Dutiful [tho | though]thothough unworthy
[Pupel | pupil]Pupelpupil

Jacob Fowler[pers0018.ocp].—
Jacob Fowler[pers0018.ocp]'s
[Janry | January]JanryJanuary 31. 1767[1767-01-31].
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.
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.

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.

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, 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
pers0036.ocp E. Wheelock recipient Wheelock, Eleazar
pers0009.ocp M. r Mr. Chamberlein Chamberlain mentioned Chamberlain, Theophilus
pers0577.ocp M: rſs Mrs. Wheelock mentioned Wheelock, Mary (née Brinsmead)
pers0018.ocp Jacob Fowler writer Fowler, Jacob

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0573.ocp Onawatagegh Onowatage

Organizations identified in this document:

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

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1767-01-31 Jan:ryJanuary 31.st31st 1767
1767-01-31 JanryJanuary 31. 1767

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
modernization 31st
modernization Rev:nd Rev.
modernization ſenſible sensible
modernization Mr Mr.
modernization goodneſs goodness
variation chuſe choose
modernization ſtupid stupid
modernization ſet set
modernization ſo so
modernization ſent sent
modernization ſuch such
modernization leaſt least
modernization M:.r Mr.
modernization ſhall shall
modernization ſay say
variation Somthing something
modernization diſ­
modernization aſk ask
variation Forgivneſs forgiveness
modernization ſhame shame
modernization ſuppoſe suppose
modernization M.r Mr.
variation Chamberlein Chamberlain
modernization Pleaſe Please
modernization M:rſs Mrs.
modernization ſi si
modernization ſubſcribe subscribe
modernization moſt most
variation tho though
variation Pupel pupil

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
Jan:ry January
& and
Hon:rd Honoured
Janry January

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 11)
Number of people/places/organizations with unknown keys: 0 (out of 9)
Number of "add" tags with unknown 'place' attributes: 0 (out of 2)
Mixed case attribute values in header (potential error): 0 (out of 101)
HomeJacob Fowler, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1767 January 31
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