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Phineas Dodge, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1767 October 16

ms-number: 767566.1

[note (type: abstract): Dodge writes about his activities in, and progress through, the wilderness; he asks for a watch.][note (type: handwriting): Handwriting is largely clear and legible.][note (type: paper): Single sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good condition, with moderate creasing, staining and wear.][note (type: ink): Black-brown.][note (type: noteworthy): Among many variant spellings, Phineas spells his own name "Phinehas."][note (type: layout): The second page of the letter is on two recto, not one verso]

[Rev: | Rev.]Rev:Rev. [& | and]&and Honoured [Doct | Dr.]DoctDr.
[Throw | Through]ThrowThrough the [Goodneſs | goodness]Goodneſsgoodness of God
I have [Arived | arrived]Arivedarrived [hear | here]hearhere, Am oblige to [moove | move]moovemove
Slow By [reaſon | reason]reaſonreason of my heavy Load hope to Dine
at Rev. mr [Robinſes | Robins's]RobinſesRobins's[pers0448.ocp] [to Day | today]to Daytoday. [illegible][Bleſſed | Blessed]BleſſedBlessed be God
I am not in [ye | the]yethe [Leaſt | least]Leaſtleast [Diſscouiraged | discouraged]Diſscouirageddiscouraged Oh that
I may [alwayes | always]alwayesalways be [Inabled | enabled]Inabledenabled to put my [truſt | trust]truſttrust
in, [& | and]&and [Comit | commit]Comitcommit my [Wayes | ways]Wayesways to [ye | the]yethe Lord. be [thankfull | thankful]thankfullthankful
for all [marc[illegible]ys | mercies]marc[illegible]ysmercies, [illegible]Make it my [Daly | daily]Dalydaily Study
What I shall render to [ye | the]yethe Lord for All his
[Benifits | benefits]Benifitsbenefits[Johnſon | Johnson]JohnſonJohnson[pers0288.ocp] Sends his Duty — [& | and]&and [Sayes | says]Sayessays
he [Deſigns | designs]Deſignsdesigns to Do his [utmoſt | utmost]utmoſtutmost to promote
[knoledg | knowledge]knoledgknowledge among [ye | the]yethe Indians — The Boys [Likewiſe | likewise]Likewiſelikewise
Send [thair | their]thairtheir Duty All Behave Very Well. [Bleſſed | Blessed]BleſſedBlessed
be God for it. Honoured [Doct | Dr.]DoctDr. If you [Pleas | please]Pleasplease
to Send me a Watch by mr John Kirtland[pers0314.ocp]
I believe it Will be of Great [Sarvice | service]Sarviceservice in the
[Wildernis | wilderness]Wilderniswilderness to [Shew | show]Shewshow me how Precious time
Slips away [& | and]&and perhaps Excite me to a better
Improvement of it

[note (type: editorial): Blank page.] My humble Duty to Madam[pers0577.ocp] [above] sir [Whelock | Wheelock]WhelockWheelock[pers0578.ocp] [& | and]&and your family:sir [Whelock | Wheelock]WhelockWheelock[pers0578.ocp] [& | and]&and your family: [& | and]&and Due [reſpect | respect]reſpectrespect
to all [above] [Johnſon | Johnson]JohnſonJohnson[pers0288.ocp] [alſo | also]alſoalso Sends [ye | the]yethe Same[Johnſon | Johnson]JohnſonJohnson[pers0288.ocp] [alſo | also]alſoalso Sends [ye | the]yethe Same — Am in [ye | the]yethe [Greateſt | greatest]Greateſtgreatest [haſt | haste]haſthaste [muſt | must]muſtmust Beg
you [Corection | correction]Corectioncorrection, With Leave to Conclude [my Self | myself]my Selfmyself

your [moſt | most]moſtmost unworthy [Sarvant | servant]Sarvantservant at Com[above] mmand
With all Due [reſpect | respect]reſpectrespect

[Phinehas | Phineas]PhinehasPhineas Dodge[pers0169.ocp]

from [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. [P. | Phineas]P.Phineas Dodge[pers0169.ocp]
[Oct.r | October]Oct.rOctober 16. 1767[1767-10-16].

The [Doct | Dr.]DoctDr. Wheelock[pers0036.ocp]
The [Revd. | Rev.]Revd.Rev. [Doct | Dr.]DoctDr. Wheelock[pers0036.ocp]
New Hartford

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.

Dodge, Phineas

Phineas Dodge was an Anglo-American charity scholar at Moor’s Indian Charity School who served Samuel Kirkland as a schoolmaster at Kanawalohale twice, in 1767/8 and again in 1771. Phineas was the youngest son of Amos Dodge, a carpenter in Windham, CT. As was the case for other charity scholars, Moor’s afforded Dodge with an education he likely could not have accessed otherwise. While many of Dodge’s classmates attended Yale, Dodge himself did not, though it is unclear why. Dodge was sent to Oneida in 1767 to replace David Fowler as schoolmaster at Kanawalohale, but returned that spring as both he and Samuel Kirkland, the missionary in charge, were ill. He did not work for Wheelock again. However, he stayed in close contact with Kirkland, and served as his schoolmaster in 1771. Again, his health cut his mission short, and he retired from missionary service to keep school in Windham, CT, until his death in 1773. Dodge seems to have been exceptionally religious: his letters to Kirkland are predominantly abstract and religious in nature, with local news thrown in and little personal information.

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, Joseph

Joseph Johnson was a Mohegan who studied at Moor’s Indian Charity School and became one of the most important organizers of the Brothertown Movement (a composite tribe composed of Christian members of seven Southern New England Algonquian settlements). He was a prolific writer and his papers are relatively well-preserved. Johnson’s writing is especially noteworthy for his skillful use of Biblical allusion and his awareness of the contradiction that he, as an educated Native American, presented to white colonists. Johnson arrived at Moor’s in 1758, when he was seven years old, and studied there until 1766, when he became David Fowler’s usher at Kanawalohale. He continued teaching in Oneida territory until the end of 1768, when Samuel Kirkland sent him home in disgrace for drunkeness and bad behavior. After a stint teaching at Providence, Rhode Island, and working on a whaling ship, Johnson returned to Mohegan in 1771 and became a zealous Christian. He opened a school at Farmington, CT, in 1772, for which he seems to have received some minimal support from the New England Company. From his base at Farmington, he began organizing Southern New England Algonquians for the Brothertown project. The goal was to purchase land from the Oneidas, the most Christianized of the Six Nations, and form a Christian Indian town incorporating Algonquian and Anglo-American elements. Johnson spent the rest of his short life garnering necessary support and legal clearance for the Brothertown project. Johnson died sometime between June 10, 1776 and May 1777, at 25 or 26 years old, six or seven years before Brothertown was definitively established in 1783. He was married to Tabitha Occom, one of Samson Occom’s daughters. She lived at Mohegan with their children even after Brothertown’s founding, and none of their children settled at Brothertown permanently. Like most of Wheelock’s successful Native American students, Johnson found that he could not satisfy his teacher's contradictory standards for Native Americans. Although Johnson's 1768 dismissal created a hiatus in their relationship, Johnson reopened contact with Wheelock after his re-conversion to a degree that other former students, such as Samson Occom, David Fowler, and Hezekiah Calvin, never did.

Kirtland, John
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
pers0448.ocp mr Robinſes Robins's mentioned Robins
pers0288.ocp Johnſon Johnson mentioned Johnson, Joseph
pers0314.ocp John Kirtland mentioned Kirtland, John
pers0577.ocp Madam mentioned Wheelock, Mary (née Brinsmead)
pers0578.ocp sir Whelock Wheelock mentioned Wheelock, Rodulphus
pers0169.ocp Phinehas Phineas Dodge writer Dodge, Phineas
pers0169.ocp P. Phineas Dodge writer Dodge, Phineas
pers0036.ocp Doc t Dr. Wheelock recipient Wheelock, Eleazar

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0161.ocp New Hartford Smiths New Hartford
place0122.ocp Lebanon Lebanon

This document does not contain any tagged organizations.

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1767-10-16 octOctober 16: 1767 in yethe morning
1767-10-16 Oct.rOctober 16. 1767

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
modernization ye the
modernization Rev: Rev.
modernization Doct Dr.
variation Throw Through
modernization Goodneſs goodness
variation Arived arrived
variation moove move
modernization reaſon reason
modernization Robinſes Robins's
variation to Day today
modernization Bleſſed Blessed
modernization Leaſt least
modernization Diſscouiraged discouraged
variation alwayes always
variation Inabled enabled
modernization truſt trust
variation Comit commit
variation Wayes ways
variation thankfull thankful
variation marc[illegible]ys mercies
variation Daly daily
variation Benifits benefits
modernization Johnſon Johnson
variation Sayes says
modernization Deſigns designs
modernization utmoſt utmost
variation knoledg knowledge
modernization Likewiſe likewise
variation thair their
variation Pleas please
variation Sarvice service
variation Wildernis wilderness
variation Shew show
variation Whelock Wheelock
modernization reſpect respect
modernization alſo also
modernization Greateſt greatest
variation haſt haste
modernization muſt must
variation Corection correction
variation my Self myself
modernization moſt most
variation Sarvant servant
variation Phinehas Phineas
modernization M.r Mr.
modernization Revd. Rev.

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
oct October
& and
P. Phineas
Oct.r October

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 17)
Number of people/places/organizations with unknown keys: 0 (out of 12)
Number of "add" tags with unknown 'place' attributes: 0 (out of 4)
Mixed case attribute values in header (potential error): 0 (out of 108)
HomePhineas Dodge, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1767 October 16
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