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Jacob Johnson, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1769 May 14

ms-number: 769313

[note (type: abstract): Johnson writes that, if Huntington should go to Oneida Country, it is important that he learn the Indian language. Johnson strongly urges Wheelock to employ a professor of Indian language, and counsels him not to send Ralph Wheelock on a mission before meeting with Mr. Kirtland.][note (type: handwriting): Informal handwriting is occasionally difficult to decipher. At times, the writer does not pick up his pen or leave space between words. Letter case is occasionally difficult to discern, especially with regard to the letter S.][note (type: paper): Large sheet folded into four pages is in good-to-fair condition, with light-to-moderate staining, creasing and wear.][note (type: ink): Black.][note (type: signature): The signature is abbreviated.][note (type: noteworthy): It is uncertain as to whether, when he refers to "your School," Johnson means Moor's Indian Charity School, or the newly chartered Dartmouth College, and so this reference has been left untagged.]

Rev [& | and]&and Hon.
I Suppose you have [receiv'd | received]receiv'dreceived some Letters —
with the [Reaſons | Reasons]ReaſonsReasons of my not coming to Lebanon[place0122.ocp], as I had intend‐
ed —my Family [moſt | most]moſtmost [of'em | of them]of'emof them are unwell — [& | and]&and my [2d | 2nd]2d2nd Daughter
in a critical State of Life — [& | and]&and other things so with me, that my
Time is wholly took up— [& | and]&and [ſeveral | several]ſeveralseveral things yet to do of [imper‐
tance | impor‐
that I can't yet attend to — I saw Mr-Hunt‐
(whom you [mentiond | mentioned]mentiondmentioned to Me when at Lebanon[place0122.ocp])
who informs me that He with 2 [schoolmaſters | schoolmasters]schoolmaſtersschoolmasters are to
go soon for Oneida[place0179.ocp], [& | and]&and the [Indn | Indian]IndnIndian Country — Per‐
haps as things are cir [Circumſtanced | Circumstanced]CircumſtancedCircumstanced — it [me'nt | [guess (): may not]may not]me'nt[guess (): may not]may not it
ment be [beſt | best]beſtbest to at [preſent | present]preſentpresent ([till | 'til]till'til you [ſir | sir]ſirsir [ſee | see]ſeesee fur‐
ther) to employ more than One [Miſsionary | Missionary]MiſsionaryMissionary
([beſides | besides]beſidesbesides Mr [K–d | Kirtland]K–dKirtland[pers0315.ocp]) [& | and]&and 2 [Schoolmaſters | Schoolmasters]SchoolmaſtersSchoolmasters[& | and]&and perhaps
Mr Huntington[pers0271.ocp] (as things now are) may do [beſt | best]beſtbest to
go — He is indeed young, [& | and]&and [haſ | has]haſhas not had much time, or
advantage to get acquaintance in [theſe | these]theſethese affairs —
but (being, I hope, [honeſtly | honestly]honeſtlyhonestly [& | and]&and heartily [inclind | inclined]inclindinclined to [ſerve | serve]ſerveserve
the Redeemer, in this [moſt | most]moſtmost important [above] [Cauſe | Cause]CauſeCause)[Cauſe | Cause]CauſeCause) He may be [ſuc‐
ceeded | suc‐
, [& | and]&and [bleſt | blessed]bleſtblessed in the undertaking -— There are many
difficulties, [& | and]&and dangers, attending [ofit | of it]ofitof it, [eſpecially | especially]eſpeciallyespecially to one
unacquainted with The [Indn | Indian]IndnIndian Language, manner [below] [&c | etc.]&cetc.[&c | etc.]&cetc.
But God is able to do all things, [& | and]&and even out of
[weakneſs | weakness]weakneſsweakness to ordain Strength -— I [belive | believe]belivebelieve [ſir | sir]ſirsir it
would be [beſt | best]beſtbest (if [poſsible | possible]poſsiblepossible) for one [ofthe | of the]oftheof the [Schoolmaſter | Schoolmaster]SchoolmaſterSchoolmaster
to go as an Interpreter to Mr [Huntn | Huntington]HuntnHuntington[pers0271.ocp] For He will
be put to difficulty [otherwiſe | otherwise]otherwiſeotherwise to get an [Interpretr | interpreter]Interpretrinterpreter
— and moreover if Mr [Htn | Huntington]HtnHuntington[pers0271.ocp] [propoſes | proposes]propoſesproposes to [ſpend | spend]ſpendspend his
Life among the [Indns | Indians]IndnsIndians, to be [ſure | sure]ſuresure to give his Mind

to Learn their Language; The advantage [ofit | of it]ofitof it is
inconceivably great to a [Miſs.ry | missionary]Miſs.rymissionary — nex[above] tt to the Grace
of God [& | and]&and [miniſterial | ministerial]miniſterialministerial Gifts it is the better [halfe | half]halfehalf
of a [Miſsionys | missionary's]Miſsionysmissionary's qualifications to do [ſervice | service]ſerviceservice in the
[Cauſe | Cause]CauſeCause — I [coud | could]coudcould [wiſh | wish]wiſhwish that all [& | and]&and [evry | every]evryevery one that
think of doing Service as [Miſsionies | missionaries]Miſsioniesmissionaries among the
[Indns | Indians]IndnsIndians woud give [them selves | themselves]them selvesthemselves to the Learning of
their Language, as one [moſt | most]moſtmost [neceſsary | necessary]neceſsarynecessary ante‐
cedent qualification for their going among them
And for this [moſt | most]moſtmost important [purpoſe | purpose]purpoſepurpose that
you [woud | would]woudwould [ſir | sir]ſirsir get as [ſoon | soon]ſoonsoon as [poſsible | possible]poſsiblepossible a [pro‐
feſsor | pro‐
of Indian in your School and that the
[Indn | Indian]IndnIndian Language may be taught as equally if
not even more [neceſsary | necessary]neceſsarynecessary than Latin Greek
or Hebrew as I am indeed certain it is in this
[Caſe | Case]CaſeCase by my own [moſt | most]moſtmost certain experience
[There | Their]ThereTheir Language may be reduced to the rules
of [Grammer | grammar]Grammergrammar [& | and]&and taught as any other Language
and be learned as soon or sooner than any
other [eſpecially | especially]eſpeciallyespecially by [thoſe | those]thoſethose who have any [taſt | taste]taſttaste
or [geneous | genius]geneousgenius for the Oriental Languages —as I
[coud | could]coudcould [eaſily | easily]eaſilyeasily [shew | show]shewshow by what I learned [ofit | of it]ofitof it
—was it the will of God I [ſhoud | should]ſhoudshould spend as much
Time away there again as I did the [laſt | last]laſtlast
winter I think I [coud | could]coudcould be [maſter | master]maſtermaster of their
Language [& | and]&and be able to reduce it to the Rules
of [Grammer | grammar]Grammergrammar which I think [woud | would]woudwould be a [ſervice | service]ſerviceservice

of [unſpeakable | unspeakable]unſpeakableunspeakable [above] advantageadvantage whoever does it to effect —And
if your [ſon | son]ſonson[pers0578.ocp] or any other [propoſes | proposes]propoſesproposes to go into the [ſervice | service]ſerviceservice
I hope they will in the [mean time | meantime]mean timemeantime give [themſelves | themselves]themſelvesthemselves to
the [ſtudy | study]ſtudystudy of the Indian Tongue —you [ſee | see]ſeesee [ſir | sir]ſirsir the affair
is [ſo | so]ſoso much on my Mind that I know not how
to [diſmiſs | dismiss]diſmiſsdismiss it or give over urging it upon your
mind [ſir | sir]ſirsir [till | 'til]till'til you do [ſome thing | something]ſome thingsomething to effect about it
the which when I hear of my Mind will be [eaſy | easy]eaſyeasy
in that respect [illegible][guess (h-dawnd): m]m— but I [muſt | must]muſtmust not enlarge
May the Father of Lights direct you [ſir | sir]ſirsir in
all things [& | and]&and make his will in these [& | and]&and all respects
plain [& | and]&and perfect for the furtherance [& | and]&and upbuilding
the Redeemers Kingdom among the benighted

I am [Hond | Honoured]HondHonoured [ſir | sir]ſirsir with all [ſincerity | sincerity]ſinceritysincerity respect
Yours in [Chiſt | Christ]ChiſtChrist [Jeſus | Jesus]JeſusJesus our Lord —

[J | Jacob]JJacob Johnson[pers0287.ocp]
P.[ſ | s]ſs. I [belive | believe]belivebelieve upon the whole it may be [beſt | best]beſtbest for your
[ſon | son]ſonson [above] [Mr | Mr.]MrMr.[Mr | Mr.]MrMr. [Radolp | Rodolphus]RadolpRodolphus[pers0578.ocp] not to go for the Oneida[place0179.ocp] [untill | until]untilluntil you
[ſir | sir]ſirsir [& | and]&and [yr | your]yryour [ſon | son]ſonson[pers0578.ocp] have had a [perſonal | personal]perſonalpersonal Interview with
Mr [k–d | Kirtland]k–dKirtland[pers0315.ocp] at Your own [Houſe | House]HouſeHouse [& | and]&and [thoſe | those]thoſethose affairs —
[ſubſiſting | subsisting]ſubſiſtingsubsisting be [conſiderd | considered]conſiderdconsidered [& | and]&and amicably settled to mutual
[satiſfaction | satisfaction]satiſfactionsatisfaction which I hope [thro | through]throthrough the mercy [& | and]&and Grace
of God may be done [& | and]&and well done [ſo | so]ſoso that the
[path way | pathway]path waypathway of Duty may be open [& | and]&and plain That there
may be nothing in that [reſpect | respect]reſpectrespect within or
without to hurt or offend in all Gods Holy Moun‐
tain — It was my [Laber | labour]Laberlabour there with [K–d | Kirtland]K–dKirtland[pers0315.ocp] [& | and]&and prayer to
God then [& | and]&and [ſince | since]ſincesince tha[gap: tear][guess (h-dawnd): t]t [gap: tear] might be done —

From [Rev.d | Rev.]Rev.dRev. [J. | Jacob]J.Jacob [Johnſon | Johnson]JohnſonJohnson[pers0287.ocp]
 May [ | 13th]13.th13th 1769[1769-05-13].

To the Rev [& | and]&and Hon. —
[Dr | Dr.]DrDr. [Elezr | Eleazar]ElezrEleazar Wheelock[pers0036.ocp]

Groton is a town located in southeastern Connecticut between the Thames and Mystic Rivers. This land was originally settled by the Niantic tribe, who were forced out in the early 1600s by the Pequots. During the Pequot War in 1637, Captain John Mason’s soldiers and Indian allies attacked the Pequot’s Mystic fort, burning down the fort, killing mostly women and children, and largely displacing the Pequots. John Winthrop Jr. and his Puritan followers first settled Groton in 1646 as part of New London. In 1705, the General Court allowed the Groton inhabitants to incorporate as a separate town due to its increased population. The town was named Groton after Winthrop’s England estate. Farming, shipbuilding, and maritime trading sustained the Groton economy throughout the eighteenth century. Beginning in 1712, land disputes between the Connecticut government and the Pequot tribe in Groton ensued, and the Pequots sent many petitions and grievances to the Connecticut government. Legal battles concerning the colonists’ leasing of the 1,700 acres on which the Pequots lived continued throughout the 18th century, as missionaries came to the area to teach religion and establish schools. After the Revolutionary War, many Groton Pequots joined other Connecticut tribes and moved to the Brothertown settlement in upstate New York.


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.


Oneida is a city in Madison County located at the geographical center of New York state. Before European settlement of the area, the Oneida Tribe, one of the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, inhabited a large territory adjacent to nearby Oneida Lake. Around 1533, they built their first village on the south shore of the lake, at or near the mouth of Oneida Creek. At the end of the 17th century, this area began suffering raids by parties from the French colony of Quebec, in a battle to control the fur trade. In 1696, Oneida village was burned by the French. As a result, the Oneidas moved their chief village east of the original site, called Old Oneida, to a new site called Kanawalohale, also known as Oneida Castle, which was fortified by tall palisades and a moat. This is the site of the present-day village of Oneida Castle, a small hamlet west of the city of Oneida in the northwest corner of the town of Vernon. When used in Occom Circle documents, the place name "Oneida" usually refers to the territory inhabited by the Tribe east of Oneida Lake, but can also refer specifically to Oneida Castle. Although the Oneidas sided with the patriots during the Revolutionary War, much of their territory was sold or appropriated by the state of New York. In 1790, the first European settlers moved into the area of Old Oneida village, and the district began to expand. In the 1830s, the state built a feeder from Oneida Creek through the present city site to provide water for the new canal system, which enabled canal boats to ship freight into the town. Eventually, the railroad came through the town and helped with its expansion. This led to the incorporation of the Village of Oneida in 1848 and the establishment of the Town of Oneida in 1896. The town was chartered as the City of Oneida in 1901, and with two more railroad lines transecting the area, it became a thriving manufacturing center for the first half of the 20th century.

Johnson, Jacob W.

After graduating from Yale in 1740, Jacob Johnson studied theology, became a New Light preacher, and undertook some missionary work among the Mohawks. He was a very radical New Light: he believed in visions and dream interpretation, called himself a seer and, later in life, wore a girdle of hair in imitation of John the Baptist. From 1749 until 1772, he served as the minister at Groton, CT, and remained active in Native American missionary efforts. In the fall of 1768, Jacob Johnson went on a brief domestic fundraising tour with Joseph Johnson (perhaps intended to echo Occom and Whitaker’s tour of Britain, 1765-1767). Jacob Johnson is best remembered for his conduct at the Fort Stanwix Treaty of 1768, an enormously important treaty at which the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) sold a large amount of land, most of it belonging to other tribes, to the British, represented by Sir William Johnson. The treaty also resolved a contested boundary between Connecticut and Pennsylvania in Pennsylvania’s favor. Jacob Johnson was not Wheelock’s first choice of delegate. However, after several others declined the post, he was chosen to accompany David Avery, then on a mission at nearby Canajoharie. At the gathering, Jacob Johnson engaged in at least four points of serious contention. First, he strongly urged the Haudenosaunee not to sell their land, in direct contradiction of Sir William Johnson and the British Crown’s wishes. Second, he then urged them to sell their land — but only to Wheelock for the use of the Indian Charity School. Third, he tried to interrupt efforts to settle the PA/CT boundary, because he was involved with the interested CT party (called the Susquehanna Company). Fourth, he refused to drink to the king’s health, and gave a bizarre toast calling into question the justice of the monarchy. In the volatile climate leading up to the Revolution, none of his actions went over well. In the aftermath of the Treaty, Wheelock tried to distance himself from Jacob Johnson’s actions, but Wheelock’s relationship with Sir William Johnson still fell apart. (F.C. Johnson, Jacob Johnson’s great-grandson and biographer, has argued that it is unfair to hold Jacob Johnson wholly responsible for these events, as Wheelock and Sir William Johnson diverged on many important political and religious issues). After the Fort Stanwix Treaty, Jacob Johnson accompanied Kirkland on a mission to the Mohawks and Oneidas that lasted until April 1769. He was relatively proficient in the Mohawk (and, thus, Oneida) language, and made a valuable missionary. Like many other missionaries employed by Wheelock, Native-American and Anglo-American alike, Jacob Johnson disagreed with Wheelock about the financial compensation for his mission, and their relationship seems to have disintegrated at this point. In 1772, Johnson was dismissed from his post at Groton. He then resumed his involvement with Connecticut efforts to settle Pennsylvania territory, and became the first minister of Wilkes-Barre, PA, a Connecticut settlement in the contested region (now Wyoming County, PA). He remained there for the rest of his life, excepting a brief period during the Revolution when he sought refuge in CT (1778-1781).

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.

Huntington, Thomas

Thomas Huntington was Eleazar Wheelock’s maternal cousin. He graduated from Yale in 1768, and, in the spring of 1769, he went on a brief mission with Levi Frisbie and John Mathews to relieve Samuel Kirkland among the Oneidas at Kanawalohale. However, the situation at the time was so volatile that Kirkland could not leave, and Huntington went home after a month. After deciding that a missionary career was not for him, Huntington built a sizable fortune in Ashford, CT, through medicine and trade. He eventually settled in Canaan, CT, where he lived to the age of 91 while practicing medicine and business. Franklin Dexter, the biographer of Yale’s graduates, characterizes him as “somewhat eccentric.”

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.

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.

Document Summary

People identified in this document:

id Text in document Role in header Authorized Name
pers0271.ocp Mr-Hunt‐ ington mentioned Huntington, Thomas
pers0315.ocp Mr K–d Kirtland mentioned Kirkland, Samuel
pers0271.ocp Mr Huntington mentioned Huntington, Thomas
pers0271.ocp Mr Hunt n Huntington mentioned Huntington, Thomas
pers0271.ocp Mr H t n Huntington mentioned Huntington, Thomas
pers0578.ocp your ſon son mentioned Wheelock, Rodulphus
pers0287.ocp J Jacob Johnson writer Johnson, Jacob W.
pers0578.ocp M r Mr. Rad olp Rodolphus mentioned Wheelock, Rodulphus
pers0578.ocp y r your ſon son mentioned Wheelock, Rodulphus
pers0315.ocp Mr k–d Kirtland mentioned Kirkland, Samuel
pers0315.ocp K–d Kirtland mentioned Kirkland, Samuel
pers0287.ocp Rev. d Rev. J. Jacob Johnſon Johnson writer Johnson, Jacob W.
pers0036.ocp D r Dr. Elez r Eleazar Wheelock recipient Wheelock, Eleazar

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0092.ocp Groton Groton
place0122.ocp Lebanon Lebanon
place0179.ocp Oneida Oneida

This document does not contain any tagged organizations.

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1769-05-13 May. 13. 1769
1769-05-13 May 13.th13th 1769

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
modernization Reaſons Reasons
modernization moſt most
modernization 2d 2nd
modernization ſeveral several
variation imper‐
variation mentiond mentioned
modernization schoolmaſters schoolmasters
modernization Circumſtanced Circumstanced
modernization beſt best
modernization preſent present
variation till 'til
modernization ſir sir
modernization ſee see
modernization Miſsionary Missionary
modernization beſides besides
modernization Schoolmaſters Schoolmasters
modernization haſ has
modernization theſe these
modernization honeſtly honestly
variation inclind inclined
modernization ſerve serve
modernization Cauſe Cause
modernization ſuc‐
variation bleſt blessed
variation ofit of it
modernization eſpecially especially
modernization &c etc.
modernization weakneſs weakness
variation belive believe
modernization poſsible possible
variation ofthe of the
modernization Schoolmaſter Schoolmaster
modernization otherwiſe otherwise
modernization propoſes proposes
modernization ſpend spend
modernization ſure sure
modernization miniſterial ministerial
variation halfe half
modernization ſervice service
variation coud could
modernization wiſh wish
variation evry every
variation them selves themselves
modernization neceſsary necessary
modernization purpoſe purpose
variation woud would
modernization ſoon soon
modernization pro‐
modernization Caſe Case
variation There Their
variation Grammer grammar
modernization thoſe those
variation taſt taste
variation geneous genius
modernization eaſily easily
variation shew show
variation ſhoud should
modernization laſt last
modernization maſter master
modernization unſpeakable unspeakable
modernization ſon son
variation mean time meantime
modernization themſelves themselves
modernization ſtudy study
modernization ſo so
modernization diſmiſs dismiss
modernization ſome thing something
modernization eaſy easy
modernization muſt must
modernization ſincerity sincerity
variation Chiſt Christ
modernization Jeſus Jesus
modernization ſ s
modernization Mr Mr.
variation untill until
modernization perſonal personal
modernization Houſe House
modernization ſubſiſting subsisting
variation conſiderd considered
modernization satiſfaction satisfaction
variation thro through
variation path way pathway
modernization reſpect respect
variation Laber labour
modernization ſince since
modernization Rev.d Rev.
modernization Johnſon Johnson
modernization 13th
modernization Dr Dr.

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
& and
receiv'd received
of'em of them
Indn Indian
me'nt [guess (): may not]may not
K–d Kirtland
Huntn Huntington
Interpretr interpreter
Htn Huntington
Indns Indians
Miſs.ry missionary
Miſsionys missionary's
Miſsionies missionaries
Hond Honoured
J Jacob
Radolp Rodolphus
yr your
k–d Kirtland
J. Jacob
Elezr Eleazar

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HomeJacob Johnson, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1769 May 14
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