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David Crosby, letter to Eleazar Wheelock, 1769 August 19

ms-number: 769469

[note (type: abstract): Crosby writes to introduce his brother William, who wishes to enter the school.][note (type: handwriting): Handwriting is formal and clear, yet letter case is frequently difficult to decipher, especially with regard to the letter S.][note (type: paper): Large sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good condition, with light-to-moderate creasing, staining and wear.][note (type: ink): Black-brown.][note (type: noteworthy): In instances where there is some question as to whether a word is spelled with an “e” or an undotted “i,” an “e” has been used. The right edge of two recto shows on the scan of one recto. It is possible that when Crosby refers to his father, he is in fact referring to his father-in-law (Crosby's wife's maiden name was Thomas).][note (type: signature): Letter is signed David Crosbey, as opposed to the verified spelling, Crosby.][note (type: layout): The first page of letter is on one recto, but second page of letter is on two recto, not one verso.]
Reverend [& | and]&and [honourd | honoured]honourdhonoured [Docter | Doctor]DocterDoctor
After due [above] [reſpects | respects]reſpectsrespects[reſpects | respects]reſpectsrespects to you, [& | and]&and yours in their [ſeveral | several]ſeveralseveral [Charracters | characters]Charracterscharacters,
I beg leave to inform you that I had wrote you a Line about
three weeks ago, in which I gave you to [underſtand | understand]underſtandunderstand that my
little Brother William[pers0593.ocp] had [com | come]comcome a long [Jorney | journey]Jorneyjourney to [ſee | see]ſeesee me, [& | and]&and [alſo | also]alſoalso
hinted his views [& | and]&and motives [herin | herein]herinherein. [illegible] viz the Hopes he had [entertain'd | entertained]entertain'dentertained
(after reading [yr | your]yryour [Naritive | narrative]Naritivenarrative of [ye | the]yethe Foundation, [Riſe | rise]Riſerise, [& | and]&and [deſign | design]deſigndesign of [ye | the]yethe Indian
charity School[org0098.ocp]
at Lebanon[place0122.ocp]) of [yr | your]yryour taking him under [yr | your]yryour Patronage
I gave you further to [underſtand | understand]underſtandunderstand that I [porpoſed | proposed]porpoſedproposed to bring or [ſend | send]ſendsend him
to [ſoon | soon]ſoonsoon to [ſolicit | solicit]ſolicitsolicit [yr | your]yryour [Friendſhip | friendship]Friendſhipfriendship for him. [unleſs | unless]unleſsunless I [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould [ſoon | soon]ſoonsoon [recive | receive]recivereceive
[firſt | first]firſtfirst [recive | receive]recivereceive a Line from you [adviſine | advising]adviſineadvising [otherwiſe | otherwise]otherwiſeotherwise. A [faivourable | favourable]faivourablefavourable
A [faverable oppertunity | favorable opportunity]faverable oppertunityfavorable opportunity of [ſending | sending]ſendingsending him (with my wif[illegible]es Brother
Joel[pers0281.ocp] [& | and]&and [ſiſter | sister]ſiſtersister Sibbel[pers0486.ocp] who are on a [Viſsit | visit]Viſsitvisit [above] herehere) does now [preſent | present]preſentpresent. and not
having heard from you [ſince | since]ſincesince I wrote, I have [ventiered | ventured]ventieredventured to [ſend | send]ſendsend him to you
and [illegible]join with him in [requeſting | requesting]requeſtingrequesting [yr | your]yryour [Friendſhip | friendship]Friendſhipfriendship [& | and]&and Favour for him.
If you [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould [pleaſe | please]pleaſeplease to [queſtion | question]queſtionquestion the Child he will you will [doubt
leſs | doubt
[ſoon | soon]ſoonsoon be [sattiſfied | satisfied]sattiſfiedsatisfied o in his [Ardant | ardent]Ardantardent [deſires | desires]deſiresdesires after [knolege | knowledge]knolegeknowledge [& | and]&and
of his [exerceſing | exercising]exerceſingexercising his little [Tallants | talents]Tallantstalents for [illegible][guess (reneel): god]god god's glory [& | and]&and the good of
[Manking | mankind]Mankingmankind. I [above] amam [ſattiſified | satisfied]ſattiſifiedsatisfied the Child is better able to give you a [ſattiſ­
fying | satis
[acount | account]acountaccount of his [circomſtances | circumstances]circomſtancescircumstances [& | and]&and [deſires | desires]deſiresdesires than [illegible]I am, and think
[beſt | best]beſtbest there to leave [ye | the]yethe Event. Only I would add thus much, [& | and]&and I
believe the [ſimplicity | simplicity]ſimplicitysimplicity, [openneſs | openness]openneſsopenness [& | and]&and [freeneſs | freeness]freeneſsfreeness of the Childs [Diſpoſition | disposition]Diſpoſitiondisposition
will render him Incapable of [Impoſing | imposing]Impoſingimposing upon you in [any wiſe | anywise]any wiſeanywise or
of [puting | putting]putingputting any [falſe | false]falſefalse [gloſs | gloss]gloſsgloss on his own [Charracter | character]Charractercharacter or [Circomſtances | circumstances]Circomſtancescircumstances.
If it If it [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould be [yr | your]yryour [pleſure | pleasure]pleſurepleasure to keep the Child a Day or [illegible] two.
in order to [ſattſfy | satisfy]ſattſfysatisfy [yourſelf | yourself]yourſelfyourself whether or no he can fill a Place in
[yr | your]yryour School with any tolerable [proſpect | prospect]proſpectprospect of its further[above] inging the good [deſigne | design]deſignedesign
of it. I am content he [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould [ſtay | stay]ſtaystay ['till | 'til]'till'til you know what is [beſt | best]beſtbest,
[Otherwiſe | otherwise]Otherwiſeotherwise you may [ſend | send]ſendsend him to my Father Tommas[pers0545.ocp] who will
[ſend | send]ſendsend him [hom | home]homhome to me [ſo | so]ſoso [ſoon | soon]ſoonsoon as [conveniant | convenient]conveniantconvenient. Or if you [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould be
like to talk with me on the [Primeſes | premises]Primeſespremises you may write a Line
or let Billy[pers0593.ocp] write [& | and]&and I will [endevour | endeavour]endevourendeavour to wait on you
[note (type: editorial): Blank page.]
and if it [ſhould | should]ſhouldshould be thought [Neceſary | necessary]Neceſarynecessary for me to go to Hardwick[place0096.ocp] (where
my Mother[pers1460.ocp] lives, and where the Child's [aquaentance | acquaintance]aquaentanceacquaintance are) to do
any [Buiſneſs | business]Buiſneſsbusiness that may [ſubſerve | subserve]ſubſervesubserve the [porpoſe | propose]porpoſepropose I will go

 I am obliged to [brake | break]brakebreak off here and only beg [leve | leave]leveleave
[above] only toonly to [ſubſcribe | subscribe]ſubſcribesubscribe myself. [illegible] [Rev'd | Rev.]Rev'dRev. [ſir | Sir]ſirSir yours in all [Reſpects | respects]Reſpectsrespects

 David [Croſbey | Crosby]CroſbeyCrosby[pers0145.ocp]
[Eaſt | East]EaſtEast Hartford[place0063.ocp]
[Aug | August]AugAugust 19. AD. 1769[1769-08-19]
[M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. David [Crosbey | Crosby]CrosbeyCrosby[pers0145.ocp]'s
[Aug.t | August]Aug.tAugust [ | 19th]19.th19th 1769[1769-08-19]

To the [Rev,d | Rev.]Rev,dRev.
[Eleazer Whelock | Eleazar Wheelock]Eleazer WhelockEleazar Wheelock[pers0036.ocp]
DD at
Lebanon Crank[place0123.ocp]
Moor’s Indian Charity School
Moor’s Indian Charity School was a grammar school for Native Americans that Eleazar Wheelock opened in North Lebanon, Connecticut in 1754. The school was named for Colonel Joshua Moor, also spelled More, who donated the land and school building. Moor’s was essentially an expansion of the grammar school that Wheelock opened in 1743 to support himself during the fallout from the First Great Awakening, when Wheelock, who'd participated in itinerant ministry during the Awakening, had his salary confiscated by the colony of Connecticut. In December of that year, Samson Occom asked Wheelock to teach him as well. Wheelock's work with Occom was so successful that Wheelock decided to replicate the experiment with other Native American boys. He accepted his first Indian students in 1754, and in 1761 began taking female students as well. Wheelock believed that in time, his school would become just one part of a larger missionary enterprise. He planned to send his Anglo American and Native American students to various tribes as missionaries and schoolmasters, with explicit instructions to pick out the best students and send them back to Moor’s to continue the cycle. His ultimate goal was to turn his school into a model Christian Indian town that would include farms, a college, and vocational training. However, Wheelock’s grand design did not survive the decade. Wheelock lost the vast majority of his Native American students; he fought with many of the best, including Samson Occom, Joseph Johnson, David Fowler, and Hezekiah Calvin, and other former and current students accused him of subjecting Native Americans to disproportionate amounts of manual labor. In 1769, perhaps due to concerns about corporal punishment, the Oneida withdrew all their children from Moor’s. When Wheelock relocated to Hanover in 1769, only two Native American students came with him, and it became clear that Wheelock’s focus was on Dartmouth and that Dartmouth was for white students. After Wheelock’s death in 1779, Moor’s Indian Charity School receded further into the background as John Wheelock, his father’s reluctant successor, stopped taking Indian students. Some Native American students were enrolled in Moor’s until 1850, when the school unofficially closed.

Lebanon is a town located in the state of Connecticut southwest of the town of Hartford. The land that became Lebanon was inhabited at least 10,000 years ago based on the archeological record. By the 1600s, the land was permanently inhabited by the Mohegan Indians, who used the area primarily for hunting. Lebanon was officially formed in 1700 when English settlers consolidated a number of land tracts, including several land grants by the Connecticut General Assembly and lands purchased from the Mohegans. However, these purchases were controversial. In 1659, the Mohegans entrusted their reserve land to Major John Mason, and in the following year, Mason transferred this land to the Connecticut colonial government with the understanding that there would be enough land left for the Mohegans to farm. The Mohegans claimed that they never authorized a transfer to the colonial government and only Mason’s heirs were entrusted with their land. In 1662, Connecticut, which included the Mohegan land that had been entrusted to the Masons, was incorporated by a royal charter. Based on this charter, the colony argued that the land was now the property of the government. In 1687, the colony began granting the Mohegan land to townships, and in 1704 the Masons petitioned the Crown on behalf of the Mohegans, claiming that such transfers of land to townships were illegal. Between the years of 1705 and 1773 legal disputes and controversies persisted, finally ending in a verdict by the Crown against the Mohegans. In 1755, Wheelock received property and housing in Lebanon that he would use as his house and school. While Lebanon was originally incorporated as a part of New London County in 1700, in 1724 it became a part of New Windham, before once again becoming a part of New London County in 1826. Lebanon was central to the American Revolution with half of its adult population fighting for the colonists and hundreds of meetings convened in the town for the revolutionary cause.


Hardwick is a town in central Massachusetts. Arrowheads found in Hardwick fields suggest that Native Americans were at least hunting in this area prior to Metacom’s War. At the end of the War, some Nipmuc Indians settled in this area and made a claim to the land, which the English recognized. In 1687, John Magnus and other sachems sold a 12-by-eight-mile tract of land to eight inhabitants of Roxbury. In 1739, town inhabitants petitioned for incorporation, which they were granted, and named their town Hardwick after Lord Hardwicke, an English nobleman. Hardwick was a market-based and prosperous town in the mid-18th century. In a 1769 letter to Wheelock, David Crosby writes that he would like his brother to attend Wheelock’s school, and he offers to go to Hardwick, where his mother lives, to fulfill any business Wheelock might think necessary.

East Hartford

As its name suggests, East Hartford is located east of the town of Hartford, Connecticut. What were known as the River Tribes, including the Podunks, lived in what would become East Hartford. Thomas Burnham purchased “a large tract of land of Tantinomo, the ‘one-eyed’ Sachem of the Podunks” that covered East Hartford (Goodwin 58). The residents of East Hartford petitioned the Connecticut General Assembly to grant East Hartford the privileges of a distinct town on five separate occasions (1726, 1728, 1737, 1769, and 1774), but East Hartford did not officially become a town separate from Hartford until 1783. An aspiring minister for the Connecticut Indians, David Crosby, wrote Eleazar Wheelock several correspondences from East Hartford.

Lebanon Crank

Lebanon Crank was the name of an area in the northwest part of the town of Lebanon, Connecticut, on both sides of the Hop River, which was created by the Connecticut legislature in 1716, in response to the demand of residents who did not want to travel to the First Church in Lebanon proper for services. It was also known as Lebanon North Parish and the Second Society or Second Church in Lebanon, names that refer to religious organizations of the Congregational Church. The two dozen families who started the parish built their first meetinghouse near the site of the present structure, around which the religious and political life of the community revolved. Eleazar Wheelock served as minister in this parish from 1735 to 1769, and his house, built around 1735, is the oldest building still standing. Lebanon Crank played a major role in his life. It was his base of operations when he became an itinerant mininster during the religious awakenings of the 1730s and 1740s, and he presided over a revival in the Second Church in 1740. His Indian Charity school was located nearby in Lebanon, and his students attended the Second Church in Lebanon Crank as part of their education. The parish was so invested in Wheelock's School that they tried to keep him from moving it up to New Hampshire when he founded Dartmouth College, but failed. Lebanon Crank was subsequently renamed Columbia and established as a separate town in May 1804.

Crosby, David

David Crosby was born, 1729, in Billerica, MA to David Crosby and Sarah Foster. There is very little information about his life. He married Elizabeth [Unknown] in 1756. They would have three children. By Sept. 1766, Crosby was acquainted with Eleazar Wheelock, whom Crosby admired and championed. He wrote and visited Wheelock at least through the late 1760’s. It is likely that Elizabeth died within the few months following November 1767. Mentioning his own mortality and his wish for a useful life, Crosby writes to Wheelock in March 1768 offering to indenture himself in order to join Wheelock’s school and be prepared as a missionary. Sometime after June 10, 1768, he married Anne Thomas of Lebanon, CT. They would have four children together. Crosby then returned to or settled in East Hartford where he died in 1819; Anne died there also the following year.

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.

Crosby, William
Foster Crosby, Sarah
Document Summary

People identified in this document:

id Text in document Role in header Authorized Name
pers0593.ocp William mentioned Crosby, William
pers0281.ocp Joel mentioned Joel
pers0486.ocp Sibbel mentioned Sibbel
pers0545.ocp Tommas mentioned Thomas
pers0593.ocp Billy mentioned Crosby, William
pers1460.ocp my Mother mentioned Foster Crosby, Sarah
pers0145.ocp David Croſbey Crosby writer Crosby, David
pers0145.ocp M. r Mr. David Crosbey Crosby writer Crosby, David
pers0036.ocp Eleazer Whelock Eleazar Wheelock recipient Wheelock, Eleazar

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0122.ocp Lebanon Lebanon
place0096.ocp Hardwick Hardwick
place0063.ocp Eaſt East Hartford East Hartford
place0123.ocp Lebanon Crank Lebanon Crank

Organizations identified in this document:

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

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1769-08-19 AugAugust 19. AD. 1769
1769-08-19 Aug.tAugust 19.th19th 1769

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
variation honourd honoured
variation Docter Doctor
modernization reſpects respects
modernization ſeveral several
variation Charracters characters
modernization underſtand understand
variation com come
variation Jorney journey
modernization ſee see
modernization alſo also
variation herin herein
variation Naritive narrative
modernization ye the
modernization Riſe rise
modernization deſign design
variation porpoſed proposed
modernization ſend send
modernization ſoon soon
modernization ſolicit solicit
modernization Friendſhip friendship
modernization unleſs unless
modernization ſhould should
variation recive receive
modernization firſt first
variation adviſine advising
modernization otherwiſe otherwise
variation faivourable favourable
variation faverable oppertunity favorable opportunity
modernization ſending sending
modernization ſiſter sister
variation Viſsit visit
modernization preſent present
modernization ſince since
variation ventiered ventured
modernization requeſting requesting
modernization pleaſe please
modernization queſtion question
modernization doubt
variation sattiſfied satisfied
variation Ardant ardent
modernization deſires desires
variation knolege knowledge
variation exerceſing exercising
variation Tallants talents
variation Manking mankind
variation ſattiſified satisfied
variation ſattiſ­
variation acount account
variation circomſtances circumstances
modernization beſt best
modernization ſimplicity simplicity
modernization openneſs openness
modernization freeneſs freeness
modernization Diſpoſition disposition
modernization Impoſing imposing
variation any wiſe anywise
variation puting putting
modernization falſe false
modernization gloſs gloss
variation Charracter character
variation Circomſtances circumstances
variation pleſure pleasure
variation ſattſfy satisfy
modernization yourſelf yourself
modernization proſpect prospect
variation deſigne design
modernization ſtay stay
variation 'till 'til
modernization Otherwiſe otherwise
variation hom home
modernization ſo so
variation conveniant convenient
variation Primeſes premises
variation endevour endeavour
variation Neceſary necessary
variation aquaentance acquaintance
variation Buiſneſs business
modernization ſubſerve subserve
variation porpoſe propose
variation brake break
variation leve leave
modernization ſubſcribe subscribe
modernization Rev'd Rev.
modernization ſir Sir
modernization Reſpects respects
variation Croſbey Crosby
modernization Eaſt East
modernization M.r Mr.
variation Crosbey Crosby
modernization 19th
modernization Rev,d Rev.
variation Eleazer Whelock Eleazar Wheelock

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
& and
entertain'd entertained
yr your
Aug August
Aug.t August

This document's header does not contain any mixed case attribute values.

Summary of errors found in this document:

Number of dates with invalid 'when' attributes: 0
Number of nested "hi" tags: (consider merging the @rend attributes, or using other tags) 0
Number of tags with invalid 'rend' attributes: 0 (out of 12)
Number of people/places/organizations with unknown keys: 0 (out of 14)
Number of "add" tags with unknown 'place' attributes: 0 (out of 5)
Mixed case attribute values in header (potential error): 0 (out of 110)
HomeDavid Crosby, letter to Eleazar Wheelock, 1769 August 19
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