Guide to the Samson Occom collection, circa 1743 - 1790Manuscript MS-1237

Full Finding Aid


Guide to the Samson Occom collection, circa 1743 - 1790

Call Number:

Manuscript MS-1237

Collection Dates:

circa 1743 - 1790

Size of Collection:

1 box (.25 linear feet)


Samson Occom, Mohegan Indian minister and missionary. Helped raise funds for Eleazar Wheelock's school which later became Dartmouth College. Journals and sermons document his life and career as a Native American Congregational minister between 1743 and 1790.

Access to Collection:


Use & Access

The materials represented in this guide may be accessed through the Rauner Special Collections Library at Dartmouth College. Rauner Library is located in Webster Hall. The materials must be used on-site and may not leave Rauner Library.

Rauner Special Collections Library is open to the public and in most cases no appointment is necessary. The exception is in the case of materials stored off site for which there may be a delay of up to 48 hours in retrieval. Please consult the Access to Collection statement below or contact Rauner Reference.

Access to Collection


Use Restrictions

Permission from Dartmouth College required for publication or reproduction.

Introduction to the Collection

The Samson Occom collection is made up of journals, sermons, an herbal, an autobiographical statement and a confession. The collection documents Occom's early life, his conversion to Christianity and education under Eleazar Wheelock. It also provides insight into contemporary social and political conflicts such as Oneida land settlements and Shawanese fighting in Virginia. The collection also documents Occom's ministries with the Mohegan in Connecticut, the Pequot in Montauk, NY and in Brothertown (a settlement of Christian Indians founded by Occom in Oneida territory) as well as his travels within New England and New York to preach, perform marriages, visit with the sick, and preside over funerals. The collection also contains limited documentation on his time in England where he solicited funds for Wheelock's school (the funds were later used to found Dartmouth College) from potential donors such as George Whitefield, William Legge, Lord Dartmouth and King George III. Additionally, the collection contains documentation of Occom's preaching, theology and biblical interpretation as well as his knowledge of herbal medicinal remedies. Of particular note is a confessional statement of faith by a Montaukett woman, Temperance Hannabal, transcribed by Occom during her conversion to Christianity.


The Reverend Samson Occom, a member of the Mohegan nation, was born in 1723 on Mohegan land near New London, Connecticut. In 1743, he began to study theology with Congregational minister Eleazar Wheelock. Occom became a schoolmaster and Presbyterian minister, serving as a missionary to Indian communities in New England and at Montauk on Long Island. In 1766, he and fellow minister Nathaniel Whitaker traveled to England to raise money for Wheelock's Indian Charity School. In the early 1770s Occom and Wheelock had falling out over the use of the funds raised in England to found Dartmouth College. In 1786, Occom moved to Oneida territory in New York, to found a separate Christian Indian community. He settled there with his wife Mary Fowler, their family, and a contingent of Christian Indians. The community was known as Brothertown. Occom died in Brothertown in 1792.

Related Material

Letters of Samson Occom are part of the individually cataloged correspondence of Eleazar Wheelock.

Series, Box & Folder List

Series 1, Journals and sermons, circa 1743 - 1790

Journals and sermons documenting Occom’s life and career as a Native American Congregational minister.

Box: 1, Dates: circa 1743 - 1790

Box Contents

  • Folder: 1, Herbal Remedies, 1754

    51 medicinal herbal remedies. (754900.2)

  • Folder: 2, Journal Fragments , circa 1754, circa 1759, Undated.

    Contains a statement of faith by Temperance Hannabal written in Occom’s hand, dated February [7 or 9, 1754] (754157), a fragment of an account of Occom traveling, preaching and baptizing (759666). [The text in Occom’s hand is faint and has been copied over rather roughly by the journalist and historical writer William Leete Stone (1792-1844)] . Also contains a fragment of a journal in describing Occom’s travels from Montauk to Maltuk, preaching and holding meetings (003217) as well as a blank sheet containing only one line of text (003218)

  • Folder: 3, Accounts, 1761

    A journal of expenses related travels and day-to-day living. (761290)

  • Folder: 4, Journal, 1743 December 6 - 1748 November 29

    Documents Occom's commencement of studies at Eleazar Wheelock's school, recording his frequent visits to Mohegan, as well as Groton, Nahantuck and Natick. (746656)

  • Folder: 5, Journal, 1757 June 28 - September 25

    Documents Occom passing his examination for ministry before Soloman Williams, Eleazar Wheelock, Benjamin Pomroy, Nathan Strong and Stephen White, and his ordainment on Long Island, as well as his to travel to Native communities in southern Connecticut and Long Island and time spent time with his wife and son.(757378)

  • Folder: 6, Journal, 1750 June 21 - 1751 February 9

    Documents Occom's visits Montauk and other Indian communities on Long Island. (750421)

  • Folder: 7, Journal , 1761 May 30 - July 7

    Occom and David Fowler, invited by the Reverend David Bostwick, travel to serve as missionaries to the Oneida. Records encountering English "heathens" who do not keep the Sabbath, receiving a pass from Jeffery Amherst that ordered officer's aid and assistance for Occom and observing an agreement between the Oneida and Sir William Johnson after the killing of a Dutchman by an Indian.(761330.1)

  • Folder: 8, Journal, 1761 September - October 22
  • Folder: 9, Journal, 1765 November 21 - 1766 July 22

    Documents Occom's travel to England with Nathaniel Whitaker to fund raise and preach. Records visiting famous sites such as Parliament, Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London, as well as meeting potential donors such as George Whitefield, William Legge, Lord Dartmouth, and a number of prominent ministers. (765621.6)

  • Folder: 10, Autobiography, 1765 September 17

    Occom's second draft of his autobiographical account of his "Heathen" childhood, conversion to Christianity in his late teens, instruction under Wheelock, and work as a Christian school teacher and minister to Native Americans.(768517)

  • Folder: 11, Journal, 1774 July 8 - August 14

    Documents Occom and David Fowler's travels from Mohegan to Indian communities in Connecticut, Western Massachusetts and New York. Discusses Shawanese fighting with the Virginians, resulting in Shawanese's appeal to other tribes for assistance. (774408.2)

  • Folder: 12, Journal, 1774 December 21 - 1775 February 9

    Documents Occom's tour of Connecticut and southeastern New York, preaching to Congregationalists, separates, Baptists, Presbyterians and Anglicans. (774671)

  • Folder: 13, Journal, 1777 September 13 - 26

    Documents Occom's tour of Connecticut and southeastern New York, preaching to Congregationalists, separates, Baptists, Presbyterians and Anglicans. (777513)

  • Folder: 14, Journal, 1784 May 8 - 1785 April 26

    Documents Occom's travel to Brothertown his public confession of misconduct and his preaching in the Mohegan-Norwich-New London area in Connecticut. (784308)

  • Folder: 15, Journal , 1785 May 1 - October 3

    Documents Occom preaching to and visiting Indian towns in Connecticut and Rhode Island. He reports on his family; including the death of his daughter, Tabitha, and aunt Hannah Justice.(785301)

  • Folder: 16, Journal, 1785 October 4, 1785 - December 4

    Documents Occom's travels to Oneida territory, Brothertown and New Stockbridge, preaching and performing marriages on his journey and then in the towns and surrounding area, often accompanied by Jacob and David Fowler. Also documents the formal organization of Eeyawquittowauconnuck, or Brothertown. (785554)

  • Folder: 17, Journal, 1785 December 5 - 14

    Documents Occom's departure from Brothertown and a month he spent around Saratoga Springs, New York, teaching, preaching and performing weddings. (785655)

  • Folder: 18, Journal, 1785 December 15 - 1786 January 22

    Documents Occom's journeys through Vermont and Massachusetts, performing marriages, visiting the ill and preaching. (785665)

  • Folder: 19, Journal, 1786 June 26 - December 10

    Documents Occom's activities in Brothertown as well as preaching to and counseling members of the New Stockbridge community. Documents activities such as hunting, fishing and gardening. Also documents his travels back to Mohegan, and his stop along the way in Albany, New York and several Dutch settlements to preach and encourage religious conversation. (786376)

  • Folder: 20, Journal, 1786 December 11 - 1787 April 7

    Documents Occom's journey from Brothertown to Mohegan including a stop in Stockbridge. Also documents his preaching to local congregation, visiting with friends and attending to tribal business. (786661)

  • Folder: 21, Journal , 1787 April 6 - July 3

    Documents Occom's preaching and travels around Long Island, his return to Mohegan and speeches at two funerals, his travels through Connecticut and the Schenectady-Albany area to preach to gather grounds and visiting Lemuel Haynes and a number of friends, and his arrival at the home of his daughter Christiana Occom Paul (787256)

  • Folder: 22, Journal , 1787 September 20 - December 5

    Documents Occom's sermons to both white and different Native groups in New Stockbridge, Brothertown and surrounding towns, at times with John Sergeant, Jr., as well as his preaching, marriage ceremonies, work with the sick, and baptisms. It also documents Occom's disagreement over Oneida land settlement. (787520.1)

  • Folder: 23, Journal, 1787 December 10 - 1788 August 10

    Documents Occom's preaching while traveling through New York and New Jersey, his solicitation of financial support for churches and schools with Peter Paupuunnuppeet and David Fowler in Philadelphia and New York City, and his visits to family and Indian communities on Long Island with Mary Fowler Occom. It also documents Occom's time in New Stockbridge, where he preaches and performs baptisms and has a disagreement with John Sergeant, Jr. (787660.1)

  • Folder: 24, Journal , circa 1771 January 1 - February 22

    Documents Occom's travels and sermons, which receive a particularly warm welcome and degree of support in Philadelphia (771101.2)

  • Folder: 25, Journal, 1789 May 11 - 1790 January 10

    Documents Occom and Mary Fowler Occom's move from Mohegan to Brothertown where Occom preaches and Occom's attendance at a military training exercise before traveling back to Mohegan (789311)

  • Folder: 26, Journal , 1790 February 21 - March 6

    Documents Occom's travels between Brothertown and Albany where he preaches and visits his daughters, Christiana and Olive (790171)

  • Folder: 27, Sermons, undated

    Occom's sermon on man's fall from most noble to ignoble and the need for temperance. Habakuk 2:15: "Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!" (003219)

  • Folder: 28, Sermons, 1766 July 13

    Occom's sermon on 2 Corinthians 5:17, on regeneration and the idea that "In Christ, he is a new creature" and the idea that those "in Christ" are new creatures in their holiness (766413)

  • Folder: 29, Sermons, undated

    Occom's sermon, wherein he preaches Psalms 139:7, that God is all-knowing, so much go to him with your sins to be forgiven: "Whither shall I go from my Spirit" (003220)

  • Folder: 30, Sermons, undated

    Occom's sermon on Ephesians 5:20, the duty of giving thanks, giving thanks to God, and the need to give thanks at all times and the thankfulness for all things received: "Giving thanks always for all things unto God" (003221)

  • Folder: 31, Sermons, undated

    Occom's sermon on Matthew 22:42, where Christ as only worthy object of thoughts and what think of Christ as central question in Christianity, "saying what think ye of Christ" (003222)

  • Folder: 32, Sermons, undated

    Occom's sermon on Thessalonians 11:18, the reasons why individuals are not Christian and Occom's reasons why they must be preached to and converted for "but Satan hindered us." (002332)

  • Folder: 33, Sermons, 1760 May 15

    Occom's sermon on Ephesians 5:14 in Montauk, preaching that it is possible to be a Christian ignoring Christian teaching and that one must arise from these sins to follow true Christian teachings: "Awake thou that sleepest" (760315)

  • Folder: 34, Sermon Fragment , undated

    Fragment (first half) of Occom's sermon preaching the dangers of atheism and Deism, the need for charity, and the creation of a fund to support young men's education to allow for their eventual ministry (003224)

  • Folder: 35, Sermon Fragment, undated

    Fragment of Occom's sermon on the need to prepare for death by living a good Christian life (003225)

  • Folder: 36, Sermons, circa 1766 July 13

    Occom's sermon in London on Timothy 6:12 and Christianity as spiritual warfare: "Fight the good fight of faith" (766413.1)

  • Folder: 37, Sermons, 1765

    Occom's sermon on Ezekiel 33:11, that man is sinner by nature, but can be saved from death by turning to God: "Turn yet turn from your evil ways" (765900.10)

  • Folder: 38, Sermon Fragment, undated

    Occom's sermon on the characteristics of faithful Christians and marriage (003226)

  • Folder: 39, Sermons, 1762 January 3

    Occom's sermon given at Middlefield and three other places and occasions on 2 Corinthians 13:11 on the need to care for others' welfare as well as continually directing attention to God: "Finally Brethren, farewell, be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you." [Water damage on the last page, no transcript] (762103)

  • Folder: 40, Sermons, 1762 July 18

    Occom's sermon on Psalms 11:7, on the rewards that mirroring God's righteousness can allow : "For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright" (762418)

  • Folder: 41, Sermons , 1762 September 26 - 1763 October 30

    Occom's sermon on Romans 7:12, the need to fully and completely follow God's infallible laws: "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." (762526)

Finding Aids