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Eleazar Wheelock, letter, to John Thornton, 1770 January 8

ms-number: 770108.1

[note (type: abstract): Wheelock writes to deny reports of his having neglected Kirtland. He mentions Thornton's kindness to Occom and the fact that John Wheatley has been drawn upon for 40 pounds towards Occom's support.][note (type: handwriting): Informal handwriting is small, crowded and occasionally difficult to decipher. Letter case is occasionally difficult to discern, particularly with regard to the letters W and S.][note (type: paper): Single sheet is in good-to-fair condition, with light-to-moderate staining and creasing. Wear at the edges results in a minor loss of text.][note (type: ink): Black-brown.][note (type: noteworthy): This document is likely a draft.]

My dear [& | and]&and [Hon.d | Honoured]Hon.dHonoured [ſir | Sir]ſirSir.
I thankfully acknowledge your kind [Fav.r | favour]Fav.rfavour of
[Aug.t | August]Aug.tAugust 26. 1769.[1769-08-26] And I [bleſs | bless]bleſsbless God on Your Behalf, who has given
you ability and [largneſs | largeness]largneſslargeness of Heart to [releive | relieve]releiverelieve the Needy, and [eſpecially | especially]eſpeciallyespecially
that he has made you Studious to [diſpose | dispose]diſposedispose your Charity So
that the Kingdom of the Redeemer May be advanced thereby
The [Expreſsions | expressions]Expreſsionsexpressions of Your [Kindneſs | kindness]Kindneſskindness towards Mr. Occom[pers0030.ocp], were [pe‐
‐cutiarly | pe‐
[wellcome | welcome]wellcomewelcome [& | and]&and [refreſhing | refreshing]refreſhingrefreshing to him, as they were at a Time When
his [Circumſtances | circumstances]Circumſtancescircumstances [calld | called]calldcalled for help. He preaches Steadily to his own
and to Neighbouring Tribes, but they are all under the care and
Patronage of the [Boſton | Boston]BoſtonBoston [Com̅iſsrs | Commissioners]Com̅iſsrsCommissioners[org0095.ocp], Who Suppose they have [otherwiſe | otherwise]otherwiſeotherwise
provided for them, and therefore [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Occom[pers0030.ocp] has no [penſion | pension]penſionpension, nor
[any thing | anything]any thinganything [publickly | publicly]publicklypublicly allowed him for his Labour among them, nor
can I do [any thing | anything]any thinganything [publickly | publicly]publicklypublicly for his Support in his [preſent | present]preſentpresent Service with
out giving offence, and exposing [Myſelf | myself]Myſelfmyself to thbe [cenſured | censured]cenſuredcensured as a Meddler
in that which belongs to others.
I have wrote [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Wheatly[pers0572.ocp] of [Boſton | Boston]BoſtonBoston[place0013.ocp], (who, [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Occom[pers0030.ocp] informs me,
deals with you, and by whom he Supposed he might [moſt | most]moſtmost naturally
receive your Beneficence) [deſiring | desiring]deſiringdesiring him to pay [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Occom[pers0030.ocp] £40.
Sterling [& | and]&and draw for it on you. I Suppose [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Occom[pers0030.ocp] has wrote [yo | you]yoyou
fully of the Affair.
As to [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Kirtland[pers0315.ocp]'s Supply in [every thing | everything]every thingeverything within my Power, he
has never been neglected one Day, when his [Neceſsities | necessities]Neceſsitiesnecessities have been
known to me, [& | and]&and I have generally exceeded what he has [deſired | desired]deſireddesired, [& | and]&and have
[above] never gave below.never gave below. And Since the Collections in England[place0068.ocp] I have always told him there
was enough, and it was only for him to let me know what he
wanted and it was at his Service. nor am I [conſcious | conscious]conſciousconscious that I have
ever wanted the Heart or Hand of a Father [towds | towards]towdstowards him in one [Inſtance | instance]Inſtanceinstance
[ſince | since]ſincesince I [firſt | first]firſtfirst took him under my Patronage, and [eſpecially | especially]eſpeciallyespecially since his [firſt | first]firſtfirst going
into the [wilderneſs | wilderness]wilderneſswilderness. However I have had a Scene of Trials of late of [ſuch | such]ſuchsuch
a Nature [& | and]&and So [greivous | grievous]greivousgrievous as I never expected from that Quarter, [& | and]&and which
I hope I Shall never have [occaſion | occasion]occaſionoccasion fully to [diſcloſe | disclose]diſcloſedisclose to you. I [ſuppoſe | suppose]ſuppoſesuppose
they have originated in part from, [& | and]&and been greatly [incouraged | encouraged]incouragedencouraged by a Sect of
people in these parts Who are commonly known by the Name of [Separets | Separates]SeparetsSeparates[org0136.ocp]
and [eſpecially | especially]eſpeciallyespecially by [ Saveral | several] Saveralseveral in Connection with them, who, it is [ſaid | said]ſaidsaid, are [deſirous | desirous]deſirousdesirous
of being Preachers, and of being Introduced as [Miſsionaries | missionaries]Miſsionariesmissionaries Among the Indians

[left] To [Jn.o | John]Jn.oJohn Thornton [Esq.r | Esq.]Esq.rEsq.[pers0541.ocp]
 [Jany | January]JanyJanuary 8. 1770.[1770-01-08]
To [Jn.o | John]Jn.oJohn Thornton [Esq.r | Esq.]Esq.rEsq.[pers0541.ocp]
 [Jany | January]JanyJanuary 8. 1770.[1770-01-08]

It has been reported far round [ y.t | that] y.tthat [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. Kirtland[pers0315.ocp] has been treated with
Neglect [&c | etc.]&cetc.—that he [deſigns | designs]deſignsdesigns to leave me [& | and]&and break off his Connection with
my School and put [himſelf | himself]himſelfhimself under the [Boſton | Boston]BoſtonBoston [Com̅iſsrs | Commissioners]Com̅iſsrsCommissioners[org0095.ocp] —that my
School[org0098.ocp] is coming down—and these Reports though they have no
credit near home have [gaind | gained]gaindgained credit with many Gentlemen of
worth at a [Diſtance | distance]Diſtancedistance—but it has [perſpired | perspired]perſpiredperspired from [ſome | some]ſomesome of that party
that [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. [K–ds | Kirtland]K–dsKirtland [pers0315.ocp]'s Character [& | and]&and influence is So great with the [Hon.le | honourable]Hon.lehonourable [Truſt | Trust]TruſtTrust in
that he has power to undermine me, and turn the Channe[gap: worn_edge][guess (h-dawnd): l]l
of those Collections in their Hands as he [pleaſes | pleases]pleaſespleases [&c | etc.]&cetc. how far [M.r | Mr.]M.rMr. [K–d | Kirtland]K–dKirtland [pers0315.ocp]
has been [knowg | knowing]knowgknowing to these Reports, or [w.t | what]w.twhat he has done to [diſcount | discount]diſcountdiscount[illegible][guess (h-dawnd): [ em | them] emthem][ em | them] emthem [above] [& | and]&and[& | and]&and [diſcrede[above] tt | discredit]diſcrede[above] ttdiscredit
them I cant Say. before he wrote begging Letters without any Knowle[gap: worn_edge][guess (h-dawnd): dge]dge
which were read in Several of the [moſt | most]moſtmost [reſpectible | respectable]reſpectiblerespectable Congregations [above] in New [Hamſhire | Hampshire]HamſhireHampshire[place0160.ocp]in New [Hamſhire | Hampshire]HamſhireHampshire[place0160.ocp]
at above a hundred miles [Diſtance | distance]Diſtancedistance from me, and [above] wherewhere collections wer[gap: worn_edge][guess (h-dawnd): e]e
publicly made for the Supply of his [neceſsities | necessities]neceſsitiesnecessities. When he had the
[fulleſt | fullest]fulleſtfullest [aſsurance | assurance]aſsuranceassurance that I could give him that there was money
enough for him if he would only let it be known that he [ſtood | stood]ſtoodstood in
need, and also [y.t | that]y.tthat my Heart and the Hearts of the [Honle | honourable]Honlehonourable [Truſt | Trust]TruſtTrust[org0103.ocp] were
always open to Supply him. I have reproved this Conduct as carrying
in it an [unreaſonable | unreasonable]unreaſonableunreasonable reflection [above] on me &. [y.e | the]y.ethe Trust[org0103.ocp]on me &. [y.e | the]y.ethe Trust[org0103.ocp], as well as exposing [himſelf | himself]himſelfhimself and
the [cauſe | cause]cauſecause to the Reproaches of the Enemy [above] it being about [y.e | the]y.ethe Time in [w.c | which]w.cwhich large [diſburſemts | disbursements]diſburſemtsdisbursements had been publicly made for his [uſe | use]uſeuseit being about [y.e | the]y.ethe Time in [w.c | which]w.cwhich large [diſburſemts | disbursements]diſburſemtsdisbursements had been publicly made for his [uſe | use]uſeuse [&c | etc.]&cetc. but whether this was
more than an [Inadvertency | inadvertence]Inadvertencyinadvertence, and whether there has been a clanning
for a Revolution, I am not fully able to Say. however there have
been Several things that have been [unintilligible | unintelligible]unintilligibleunintelligible if there be no
[deſign | design]deſigndesign forming which is yet [illegible][induſtriouſly | industriously]induſtriouſlyindustriously [illegible][guess (h-dawnd): be]be [conceald | concealed]concealdconcealed.
I Should not have hinted these things to you (which are not yet known
by a Soul in my [Pariſh | parish]Pariſhparish further than they have the Reports from abroad)
had not your repeating thes Important Caution to take Care for
his Support, [raiſed | raised]raiſedraised a Strong [Suſpicion | suspicion]Suſpicionsuspicion in my mind that Something of
the kind has been [tranſmitted | transmitted]tranſmittedtransmitted.— [above] [yo | you]yoyou may [expoſe | expose]expoſeexpose [w.t | what]w.twhat I here write if you think [beſt | best]beſtbest to my [Hon.d | honoured]Hon.dhonoured [yo | you]yoyou may [expoſe | expose]expoſeexpose [w.t | what]w.twhat I here write if you think [beſt | best]beſtbest to my [Hon.d | honoured]Hon.dhonoured Patrons, but I have confidence in [y.o | you]y.oyou [& | and]&and in [y.m | them]y.mthem [y.t | that]y.tthat [ | there]y.rethere will be [below] no ill [improvemt | improvement]improvemt improvement made of it—no ill [improvemt | improvement]improvemt improvement made of it—
 I am [ſenſible | sensible]ſenſiblesensible the powers of [Darkneſs | darkness]Darkneſsdarkness are [combind | combined]combindcombined [againſt | against]againſtagainst the
[progreſs | progress]progreſsprogress of the great [Deſign | design]Deſigndesign before us, but I have found it is not in
vain to hope [& | and]&and [truſt | trust]truſttrust in the Lord. I have [obtaind | obtained]obtaindobtained an ample [incorporatn | incorporation]incorporatnincorporation
for my School[org0098.ocp] [& | and]&and am now waiting for the Return of [Col.o | Col.]Col.oCol. Phelps[pers0424.ocp] my Agent
to take the Deeds [& | and]&and Secure the Donations made in from New [hamſhire | Hampshire]hamſhireHampshire[place0160.ocp] whom
I have [imployed | employed]imployedemployed to take the Deeds [& | and]&and Secure the Donations made [illegible]to the
School in that Province, and than I Shall endeavour to write my
[Hond | honoured]Hondhonoured Patrons fully of the gracious dealings of Heaven, [& | and]&and I [truſt | trust]truſttrust they [illegible][guess (h-dawnd): will]will
I Shall offer that which will excite them to [joyn | join]joynjoin in [praiſes | praises]praiſespraises to God who has
not [forſaken | forsaken]forſakenforsaken this [Cauſe | cause]Cauſecause, but is more and more abundant in his [mercys | mercies]mercysmercies
towards it. I am my [Hond | honoured]Hondhonoured Friend with high [Eſteem | Esteem]EſteemEsteem [& | and]&and [Reſpect | Respect]ReſpectRespect.
Your [Obed.t | Obedient]Obed.tObedient [& | and]&and very Humble [Serv.t | Servant]Serv.tServant
Eleazar Wheelock[pers0036.ocp]
The Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America
The Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America was a missionary society active in America from 1649 until 1786. It was first called the "New England Company" in 1770. Most secondary literature uses that name for convenience and to distinguish it from other missionary societies. The company was first chartered in 1649 as the "President and Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England," largely in response to John Eliot's missionary efforts. After the Restoration (1660), it was rechartered as the "Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America." The New England Company was very powerful and influential, in large part because it was a coalition between Anglicans and Dissenters. It supported a range of missionaries from the Mayhews to the Sergeants to Moor's alumnus Samuel Kirkland. After the Revolution, the New England Company refocused its attentions on New Brunswick and Canadian Indians. Wheelock had a very rocky relationship with the New England Company. Initially, it supported Wheelock's efforts. The Company funded Occom's education at Moor's and paid him a small salary during his time among the Montauketts. However, from 1765 onwards, its relationship with Wheelock rapidly deteriorated. The Company opposed the fundraising tour of Great Britain and went so far as to interfere with it by sending a widely circulated letter to England questioning Occom's background. The New England Company also interferred with Titus Smith's mission to Onaquaga by sending a rival missionary, Mr. Moseley, and stealing Titus' interpreter, Elisha Gunn. In 1767 it formally withdrew its financial support from Wheelock on the grounds that the fundraising tour had raised sufficient money. It is unclear what led the New England Company to suddenly change its stance towards Wheelock. Perhaps it wanted exclusive power over missionary distribution in New England, or perhaps it was thought that focusing on education over numbers in the field was counterproductive. Most secondary sources have conflated the New England Company's Boston Board and the Society in Scotland for Promoting Christian Knowledge's Boston Board, an easy mistake to make since both are sometimes referred to as the Boston Board and both vigorously opposed Wheelock. Any secondary source's statement about either should be carefully researched.
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.
Trust in England
The Trust in England was an organization formed in 1766 to safeguard money raised by Samson Occom and Nathaniel Whitaker on their fundraising tour of Great Britain. Initially, no trust had been planned, but less than a year into their trip, Occom and Whitaker had raised so much money it became clear that a trust was necessary to keep the money raised reputable and thus protect the images of those involved. On November 28, 1766, a trust was formed consisting of William Legge (the Earl of Dartmouth), Baron Smyth, John Thornton, Samuel Roffey, Charles Hardey, Daniel West, Samuel Savage, Josiah Robarts, and Robert Keen. These men all had prominent public reputations, and by association provided a guarantee that funds would be used for the purposes for which they had been given. All told, Occom and Whitaker raised nearly £10,000 (not including £2,000 in Scotland, which was put under the control of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge), a far greater sum than initially projected. The amount raised attracted intense public scrutiny and, given that its members had tied their reputations to the money’s collection and maintenance, the trust became enormously concerned with how Wheelock would employ it. Despite a minor scandal involving an impolitic and ultimately abandoned plan to transmit funds to America by buying trade goods and selling them at a profit, Wheelock and the English Trust managed to avoid any serious breach until March 1770, when Wheelock informed the men in England that he had obtained a charter for Dartmouth College. Wheelock had tried to get a charter for Moor’s Indian Charity School in Connecticut throughout the late 1750s and early 1760s, and there were two components to his plan: he wanted to move the school to a place where he could have room to expand, and he wanted to obtain a charter to open a college. The English Trust supported the first goal, but not the second, as a charter would interfere with its control of the funds. Wheelock was determined to have his charter, however, and when the time came, he told the English Trust only about his plan to move. The trust helped Wheelock select New Hampshire as the site for his relocation, but it did not learn about the charter -- granted by New Hampshire governor John Wentworth, with whom Wheelock had been secretly negotiating -- until more than three months after it had been issued. Adding insult to injury, Wheelock, without consultation, named the college after Lord Dartmouth, informing the man himself after the fact. (After the charter was issued, Dartmouth never wrote to Wheelock again.) The members of the English Trust were outraged; to placate them, Wheelock made superficial motions to keep Moor’s and Dartmouth separate, though in practice the institutions were one and the same. Despite its displeasure, the English Trust continued to honor Wheelock’s requests for money until 1775, when the fund ran out. It also drew from the fund to support Occom, whom it believed Wheelock had mistreated, and Kirkland, whom it saw as more faithful to the design of Christianizing Indians than Wheelock. Once the fund ran out, Thornton and Savage continued to provide Wheelock with some financial assistance when he found himself in debt.
Radical New Lights/Separatists
Separatism in late 18th-century colonial New England refers to the radical New Light congregations that split off (separated) from antirevivalist churches, often called Old Lights. These separatist groups were spawned by the preaching of evangelical ministers like Englishman George Whitefield and Anglo-Americans James Davenport and Gilbert Tennent who spread their message through the British Atlantic world during a period called the First Great Awakening (1730s and 1740s). These revivals involved various groups—Baptists, Congregationalists, Moravians, Presbyterians and even Anglicans—and aided the formation of new movements such as Methodism and the Separate movement specific to New England. This movement shared elements of the Separatism of the late 16th and 17th centuries, in which dissenting Protestants in England, often called Puritans, separated from the Church of England because they felt it was not sufficiently reformed or pure. The group misnamed "the Pilgrims" who settled Plimouth Plantation in 1620 were separatists. These elements include an extemporaneous style of preaching that emphasized personal conversion and relatively unmediated spiritual experiences. In the early phase of the revival in New England, prominent conservative ministers welcomed the renewal but the revivals soon became more democratic, anti-authoritarian, and experiential. Thus, the Old Lights opposed revivals while moderate New Lights embraced the Awakening but rejected its excesses and radical practices like stirring up crowds and calling out ministers they considered unconverted. Not all New Lights were Separatists, and though they always remained a minority, many Separate churches split off from Congregational churches during the 1740s across New England; some came to sympathize with local Baptist congregations. Linford Fisher identifies a specific form of Native Separatism during this period modeled on the Anglo-American movement that retained Christian practices but eschewed conventional institutional affiliation.

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.


The first English immigrant to settle on a peninsula in a harbor on the northeastern coast of North America the local Algonquin Indians called "Shawmet" was William Blackstone in 1629. A year later, John Winthrop arrived with a group of English Puritans and other settlers and named the area Boston after his hometown in Lincolnshire, England. The colony quickly developed representative political institutions that would help shape a democratic nation. Over the next few centuries, Boston emerged as an intellectual and educational center, and, because of its excellent harbor, became a leading commercial hub and a primary port for North America. It is the capital and largest city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the largest city in New England. Boston was the home for the Boards of Commissioners of several overseas religious societies who sent missionaries throughout the colonies in the 18th century, and was the site of many important events of the American Revolution.

New Hampshire

The state of New Hampshire is in northern New England, bordered by Vermont to the west, Maine to the east, Massachusetts to the south, and Canada to the north. The Connecticut River, which begins in Canada and empties into the Long Island Sound, runs along the western border of New Hampshire and, in the colonial period, functioned as a route for trade -- both of commodities and ideas -- between southern New England and the northernmost parts of America. New Hampshire was originally inhabited by large groups of Abenakis who spoke a dialect of Algonquin distinct from New England tribes to the south, but by 1617, disease and war had brought their number to only 5,000. European fishing fleets had travelled to the coast of New Hampshire since at least 1497, but English settlement of New Hampshire formally began when Captain John Mason, Governor of Portsmouth in Hampshire, England, was granted land in the region in 1622. Settlers arrived in 1623, establishing a base near what is now Portsmouth and entering the fur, fish, and timber trade. In 1641, New Hampshire agreed to come under Massachusetts' jurisdiction, but in 1679, Charles II gave New Hampshire its own charter. From then on, the Province of New Hampshire had its own government, consisting of a royal Governor and Council and an elected House of Representatives. By the time Wheelock moved Moor's Indian Charity School to New Hampshire, the colony was experiencing unprecedented growth. English victory in the French and Indian War stabilized the region, and as a result New Hampshire's Governor Benning Wentworth began to grant hundreds of townships to new settlers, many from the colony of Connecticut. Though Wheelock considered moving Moor's Indian Charity School to several different places, he finally decided on Hanover, NH, in 1768. Because Benning Wentworth was not receptive to Wheelock and his school, it was his nephew and successor Governor John Wentworth who signed Dartmouth College's charter in 1769. In August 1770, Wheelock moved his family to New Hampshire and established Dartmouth College. Moor's and the College would exist side-by-side in Hanover for decades. Soon after Wheelock founded Dartmouth in New Hampshire, the Revolutionary War began and the colony declared its independence. While several buildings and locations around Hanover bear Occom's name, he never visited the town or the college.

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.

Thornton, John

John Thornton was born in Yorkshire on April 1, 1720. As a young man, Thornton inherited money from his father Robert Thornton, who was the Director of the Bank of England, which he used to begin his career as a merchant. In 1753, Thornton married Lucy Watson, with whom he had four children. Watson had a Christianizing influence on Thornton, which ultimately led to his 1754 conversion to evangelical Anglicanism under Henry Venn, the curate of Clapham. Thornton's and Venn’s sons would continue their fathers’ religious traditions, going on to form the “Clapham sect,” an influential group of evangelical Christians who championed social reforms. As a result of his conversion, Thornton pursued charity just as much as trade, a major part of which involved managing the English Trust that oversaw the funds Occom and Whitaker collected for Wheelock’s Indian Charity School. Thornton met and hosted Occom several times during his stay in England, and eventually became the Treasurer of the Trust. After Wheelock moved the School to Hanover, however, he focused on the establishment of Dartmouth College to educate Anglo-American men as missionaries, and was accused of using the Trust's funds to this end. This shift in focus contributed to the rift that developed between Occom and Wheelock upon Occom’s return to America –- a rift Thornton tried to repair. Thornton thought of Occom as an equal and, in his role as Treasurer of the Trust, often reminded Wheelock of Occom's vital role in securing the funds that made the School possible. Thornton financed Occom's further missionary activities and insured that Wheelock did not forget Occom's hard work and Christian morals. In addition, Wheelock –- who knew that Occom respected Thornton –- often called upon the merchant when he himself could not convince Occom to undertake further missionary activity. The exchanges between Wheelock and Thornton ended once Wheelock had used up the funds that Occom had raised in England, yet Occom and Thornton kept in touch up through the Revolutionary War, with Thornton remaining one of Occom's most prominent supporters. He died on November 7th, 1790 as one of the wealthiest men in England, despite giving away nearly half his salary each year. In 1828, Thornton's role in the establishment of Dartmouth was memorialized in the College's naming of Thornton Hall.

Occom, Samson

Samson Occom was a Mohegan leader and ordained Presbyterian minister. Occom began his public career in 1742, when he was chosen as a tribal counselor to Ben Uncas II. The following year, he sought out Eleazar Wheelock, a young Anglo-American minister in Lebanon, CT, in hopes of obtaining some education and becoming a teacher at Mohegan. Wheelock agreed to take on Occom as a student, and though Occom had anticipated staying for a few weeks or months, he remained with Wheelock for four years. Occom’s academic success inspired Wheelock to open Moor’s Indian Charity School in 1754, a project which gave him the financial and political capital to establish Dartmouth College in 1769. After his time with Wheelock, Occom embarked on a 12-year mission to the Montauk of Long Island (1749-1761). He married a Montauk woman, Mary Fowler, and served as both teacher and missionary to the Montauk and nearby Shinnecock, although he was grievously underpaid for his services. Occom conducted two brief missions to the Oneida in 1761 and 1762 before embarking on one of the defining journeys of his career: a fundraising tour of Great Britain that lasted from 1765 to 1768. During this journey, undertaken on behalf of Moor’s Indian Charity School, Occom raised £12,000 (an enormous and unanticpated amount that translates roughly to more than two-million dollars), and won wide acclaim for his preaching and comportment. Upon his return to Mohegan in 1768, Occom discovered that Wheelock had failed to adequately care for his family while he was gone. Additionally, despite the vast sums of money that he had raised, Occom found himself unemployed. Wheelock tried to find Occom a missionary position, but Occom was in poor health and disinclined to leave his family again after seeing the treatment with which they had met while he was in Britain. Occom and Wheelock’s relationship continued to sour as it became apparent to Occom that the money he had labored to raise would be going towards infrastructure at Dartmouth College, Wheelock’s new project, rather than the education of Native Americans. After the dissolution of his relationship with Wheelock, Occom became increasingly focused on the needs of the Mohegan community and increasingly vocal in criticizing Anglo-Americans’ un-Christian treatment of Native Americans. In September of 1772, he delivered his famous “Sermon on the Execution of Moses Paul,” which took Anglo-American spiritual hypocrisy as one of its major themes, and which went into four printings before the end of the year. In 1773, Occom became further disillusioned when the Mason Land Case was decided in favor of the Colony of Connecticut. The details of the Mason Case are complicated, but to summarize: the Colony of Connecticut had gained control of Mohegan land early in the 18th century under very suspect circumstances, and successfully fended off the Mohegan’s 70-year-long legal challenge. The conclusion of the case came as a blow to the Mohegans, and further convinced Occom of Anglo-American corruption. Along with David Fowler (Montauk Tribe), Occom's brother-in-law, and Joseph Johnson (Mohegan), Occom's son-in-law, Occom helped found Brothertown, an Indian tribe formed from the Christian Mohegans, Pequots, Narragansetts, Montauks, Tunxis, and Niantics. They eventually settled in Oneida country in upstate New York. Occom moved there with his family in 1789, spending the remaining years of his life serving as a minster to the Brothertown, Stockbridge, and Mohegan Indians. Harried by corrupt land agents, the Brothertown and Stockbridge groups relocated to the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago, though Occom died in 1792 before he could remove himself and his family there. Occom's writings and legacy have made him one of the best known and most eminent Native Americans of the 18th century and beyond.

Wheatley, John

John Wheatley was a prominent Bostonian and owner of the slave, Phillis Wheatley, who became the first African-American woman to publish a book of poetry. Wheatley was a tailor with a wealthy clientele that included men like John Hancock. He was also a merchant and money-lender, and he became one of two constables of Boston in 1739. In 1761, Wheatley purchased a young girl from West Africa to serve as a servant for his wife Susanna. The Wheatleys supported the Revolutionary cause and had a large and influential circle of friends and acquaintances; many visiting Presbyterian and Anglican Methodist ministers stayed at their house. John Thornton, the English philanthropist and treasurer of the English Trust for Wheelock's Indian School, sent Wheatley donations for Indian missions in the colonies. Although Susanna was more actively involved in furthering Phillis's carreer as a prodigy and poet, John Wheatley put his name to the letter circulated in Boston and published in the newspapers attesting to the authenticity of Phillis's authorship of the poems (although some critics argue it was dictated by his son Nathaniel); this document is one of several that preface the edition of Phillis's "Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral" published in London in 1773. Wheatley freed Phillis after she returned from England and she continued to live in his house while she nursed Susanna through her final illness.

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
pers0030.ocp Mr. Occom mentioned Occom, Samson
pers0030.ocp Occom mentioned Occom, Samson
pers0572.ocp M. r Mr. Wheatly mentioned Wheatley, John
pers0315.ocp M. r Mr. Kirtland mentioned Kirkland, Samuel
pers0541.ocp Jn. o John Thornton Esq. r Esq. recipient Thornton, John
pers0315.ocp K–ds Kirtland mentioned Kirkland, Samuel
pers0315.ocp K–d Kirtland mentioned Kirkland, Samuel
pers0424.ocp Phelps mentioned Phelps
pers0036.ocp Eleazar Wheelock writer Wheelock, Eleazar

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0122.ocp Lebanon Lebanon
place0013.ocp Boſton Boston Boston
place0068.ocp England England
place0160.ocp New Hamſhire Hampshire New Hampshire
place0160.ocp New hamſhire Hampshire New Hampshire

Organizations identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
org0095.ocp BoſtonBoston Com̅iſsrsCommissioners The Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America
org0136.ocp SeparetsSeparates Radical New Lights/Separatists
org0098.ocp School Moor’s Indian Charity School
org0103.ocp TruſtTrust in England Trust in England
org0103.ocp the Honlehonourable TruſtTrust Trust in England
org0103.ocp y.ethe Trust Trust in England
org0098.ocp my School Moor’s Indian Charity School

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1770-01-08 JanyJanuary. 8. 1770
1769-08-26 Aug.tAugust 26. 1769.
1770-01-08 JanyJanuary 8. 1770.

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
modernization ſir Sir
modernization bleſs bless
modernization largneſs largeness
variation releive relieve
modernization eſpecially especially
modernization diſpose dispose
modernization Expreſsions expressions
modernization Kindneſs kindness
variation wellcome welcome
modernization refreſhing refreshing
modernization Circumſtances circumstances
variation calld called
modernization Boſton Boston
modernization otherwiſe otherwise
modernization M.r Mr.
modernization penſion pension
variation any thing anything
variation publickly publicly
modernization preſent present
modernization Myſelf myself
modernization cenſured censured
modernization moſt most
modernization deſiring desiring
variation every thing everything
modernization Neceſsities necessities
modernization deſired desired
modernization conſcious conscious
modernization Inſtance instance
modernization ſince since
modernization firſt first
modernization wilderneſs wilderness
modernization ſuch such
variation greivous grievous
modernization occaſion occasion
modernization diſcloſe disclose
modernization ſuppoſe suppose
variation incouraged encouraged
variation Separets Separates
variation Saveral several
modernization ſaid said
modernization deſirous desirous
modernization Miſsionaries missionaries
modernization Esq.r Esq.
modernization y.t that
modernization &c etc.
modernization deſigns designs
modernization himſelf himself
variation gaind gained
modernization Diſtance distance
modernization perſpired perspired
modernization ſome some
modernization Truſt Trust
modernization pleaſes pleases
modernization diſcount discount
variation diſcrede[above] tt discredit
variation reſpectible respectable
variation Hamſhire Hampshire
modernization neceſsities necessities
modernization fulleſt fullest
modernization aſsurance assurance
modernization ſtood stood
modernization y.t that
modernization unreaſonable unreasonable
modernization y.e the
modernization cauſe cause
modernization uſe use
variation Inadvertency inadvertence
variation unintilligible unintelligible
modernization deſign design
modernization induſtriouſly industriously
variation conceald concealed
modernization Pariſh parish
modernization raiſed raised
modernization Suſpicion suspicion
modernization tranſmitted transmitted
modernization expoſe expose
modernization beſt best
modernization y.m them
modernization there
modernization ſenſible sensible
modernization Darkneſs darkness
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modernization againſt against
modernization progreſs progress
modernization Deſign design
modernization truſt trust
variation obtaind obtained
modernization Col.o Col.
variation hamſhire Hampshire
variation imployed employed
variation joyn join
modernization praiſes praises
modernization forſaken forsaken
modernization Cauſe cause
variation mercys mercies
modernization Eſteem Esteem
modernization Reſpect Respect

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
Jany January
& and
Hon.d Honoured
Fav.r favour
Aug.t August
Com̅iſsrs Commissioners
yo you
towds towards
Jn.o John
K–ds Kirtland
Hon.le honourable
K–d Kirtland
knowg knowing
w.t what
em them
Honle honourable
w.c which
diſburſemts disbursements
Hon.d honoured
y.o you
improvemt improvement
incorporatn incorporation
Hond honoured
Obed.t Obedient
Serv.t Servant

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 51)
Number of people/places/organizations with unknown keys: 0 (out of 26)
Number of "add" tags with unknown 'place' attributes: 0 (out of 10)
Mixed case attribute values in header (potential error): 0 (out of 113)
HomeEleazar Wheelock, letter, to John Thornton, 1770 January 8
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