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


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.

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