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Daniel Simon, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1771 September

ms-number: 771540

[note (type: abstract): Simon writes a plain-spoken letter stating that if he is not allowed to pursue his studies rather than work, he will find another school.][note (type: handwriting): Handwriting is small and uneven, yet mostly clear and legible.][note (type: paper): Large sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good condition, with light staining, creasing and wear.][note (type: ink): Black.][note (type: noteworthy): Notations at the top of one recto appear to be modern, and so they have not been included in the transcription.][note (type: layout): The first page of the letter is on one recto, but the second page is on two recto, not one verso.]
I
I now make [bould | bold]bouldbold to write to the [moſt | most]moſtmost
Reverend Doctor, when I Came [friſt | first]friſtfirst to
this School[org0098.ocp], I [underſtood | understood]underſtoodunderstood that this
School was for to bring up Such
Indians, as was not able to bring
up [themſelves | themselves]themſelvesthemselves, but the [above] doctordoctor is to learn then
them to work, but I have been to
work Ever Since I have been able;
and therefore if the doctor will let
me follow my [Studys | studies]Studysstudies, I Shall be
[thinkful | thankful]thinkfulthankful, as I [underſtood | understood]underſtoodunderstood the doctor.
when I talked with him, that we
[muſt | must]muſtmust work as much as to pay our way;
and if we Should, what good will the
Charity money do the Indians; [wich | which]wichwhich was
given to them, if we poor Indians Shall
work as much as to pay for our learning,
we Can go Some other [pace | place]paceplace, as good as here
for learning, if we are [ablie | able]ablieable to work and
pay for our learning, and I Say now,
[wo | woe]wowoe unto that poor Indian; or white man
that Should Ever [Com | come]Comcome to this School[org0098.ocp],
[with out | without]with outwithout he is rich; I write as I think,
[note (type: editorial): Blank page.]
and the doctor [muſt | must]muſtmust not get mad with me,
as I am a going to tell the doctor, what I
think. I intend to deal with the doctor, as
[honneſt | honest]honneſthonest is Ever the doctor had a Indian, and
if the doctor dont let me follow my [Studys | studies]Studysstudies
more that I have [don | done]dondone; I [muſt | must]muſtmust leave the
School[org0098.ocp]
, I Cannot [Speand | spend]Speandspend my time here,
I am old, and I [muſt | must]muſtmust improve all the
time I Can if I undertake to get learning,
and if I Cannot get learning here as I
[underſtood | understood]underſtoodunderstood I might; I have no [buſineſs | business]buſineſsbusiness [illegible]
[left] here,here, and I [muſt | must]muſtmust leave the School[org0098.ocp] and if the
doctor will let me go home to [Charles tow[above] nn | Charlestown]Charles tow[above] nnCharlestown[place0031.ocp],
this fall I [above] will willwill will Strive to get [Sum body | somebody]Sum bodysomebody to
pay the doctor, his money for my learn‐
ing, and if I Cannot I will [Com | come]Comcome back,
and pay the doctor for the [jorney | journey]jorneyjourney; and I
will go to [Studing | studying]Studingstudying arithmetic this winter, and
in the Spring I will go [a mong | among]a mongamong the Indians
if the doctor and I Can agree, and if So be
I Can get [any body | anybody]any bodyanybody to pay for my learn‐
ing I Shall follow my [Studes | studies]Studesstudies, and if I Cannot
I [muſt | must]muſtmust leave the School[org0098.ocp], and if I have
a [Rong | wrong]Rongwrong [underſtaning | understanding]underſtaningunderstanding of this [Schoot | school]Schootschool, I am
willing to acknowledge but I [belive | believe]belivebelieve I
have not and So I [writ | write]writwrite no more but
[Closer]
your [moſt | most]moſtmost Dutiful pupil Daniel Simon[pers0488.ocp]
[Postscript]
I should be glad if the doctor will
give an [anſwer | answer]anſweranswer to this
[Trailer]
[left] From [Dan.l | Daniel]Dan.lDaniel Simons[pers0488.ocp]
[Septr | September]SeptrSeptember 1771.[1771-09]
From [Dan.l | Daniel]Dan.lDaniel Simons[pers0488.ocp]
[Septr | September]SeptrSeptember 1771.[1771-09]


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.
Charlestown

Charlestown is located in Washington County in southwestern Rhode Island along the Block Island sound. For thousands of years before European settlement, the area was inhabited by Native Americans who lived by hunting, fishing and agriculture. When the English dissenter, Roger Williams, fled Massachusetts Bay in 1636 and stepped ashore in what would become the Plantation of Providence, he was welcomed by Canonicus, sachem of the Narragansett Indians. From Canonicus, Williams purchased a large tract of land that included the settlement of Misquamicut, which would become the site of an English settlement named Charlestown after King Charles II. It was incorporated in 1783. After the Great Swamp Fight in which the United Colonies massacred many Narragansetts — and hunted down and killed or enslaved those who escaped — 500 survivors (from a pre-war population of 5,000) signed a 1682 peace treaty and received permission to join with the Eastern Niantic tribe, which had remained neutral throughout the war and had a small reservation near Charlestown. Settlers continued to acquire land from the Naragansetts, and by 1880, the tribe ceased to exist as a legal entity. A portion of tribal lands were returned to Narragansett ownership in 1978 by the courts and state legislation, and the tribe was officially recognized in 1983. Charlestown is the present-day headquarters of the Narragansett Tribe and the location of their reservation.

Simon, Daniel

Daniel Simon was a member of the Narragansett Simon family (Mrs. Sarah Simon, Miss Sarah Simon, Abraham Simon, Daniel Simon, James Simon, and Emmanual Simon—all five children attended Moor’s Indian Charity School for at least some time). Daniel arrived at Moor’s Indian Charity School with his brother Abraham either very late in 1768 or early in 1769. The two brothers remained with Eleazar Wheelock during his relocation to Hanover, New Hampshire. Daniel Simon graduated from Dartmouth College in 1777 (the college’s first Native American graduate, and the only one during Wheelock’s lifetime). He was licensed as a minister by the Grafton Presbytery on January 19, 1778. After a stint keeping school at Stockbridge, MA, he took over John Brainerd’s ministry at Cranbury, NJ in 1783 (John Brainerd, the long-term Anglo-American missionary in the region, had died in 1781). In 1784, Simon was suspended from the ministry on charges of intemperance, and began serving “informally” as minister at Brotherton, NJ, until at least 1788. He married a sister of Hezekiah Calvin (a Delaware who had attended Moor’s, and who became prominent at Brotherton), which may explain why he settled at Brotherton, NJ, instead of Brothertown, NY (where all four of his siblings resided).

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.

Document Summary

People identified in this document:

id Text in document Role in header Authorized Name
pers0488.ocp Daniel Simon writer Simon, Daniel
pers0488.ocp Dan. l Daniel Simons writer Simon, Daniel

Places identified in this document:

id Text in document Authorized Name
place0031.ocp Charles tow n Charlestown Charlestown

Organizations identified in this document:

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

Dates identified in this document:

Standard Form Text
1771-09 SeptrSeptember 1771.

Regularized text:

Type Original Regularized
variation bould bold
modernization moſt most
variation friſt first
modernization underſtood understood
modernization themſelves themselves
variation Studys studies
variation thinkful thankful
modernization muſt must
variation wich which
variation ablie able
variation wo woe
variation Com come
variation with out without
variation honneſt honest
variation don done
variation Speand spend
modernization buſineſs business
variation Charles tow[above] nn Charlestown
variation Sum body somebody
variation jorney journey
variation Studing studying
variation a mong among
variation any body anybody
variation Studes studies
variation Rong wrong
variation underſtaning understanding
variation belive believe
variation writ write
modernization anſwer answer

Expanded abbreviations:

Abbreviation Expansion
Dan.l Daniel
Septr September

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 2)
Number of people/places/organizations with unknown keys: 0 (out of 8)
Number of "add" tags with unknown 'place' attributes: 0 (out of 5)
Mixed case attribute values in header (potential error): 0 (out of 95)
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