Friday, January 2, 2009

Cutting Marsh: Missionary to the Stockbridges

In 1959 a young graduate student at the University of Wisconsin(at Madison) completed his Masters' Thesis: Cutting Marsh Missionary to the Stockbridges 1830-1848.
What Roger Nichols wrote back then, like most Masters theses, was saved but largely forgotten about. But, nevertheless, unlike many other graduate students, Roger Nichols went on to become a nationally recognized expert on Native American Studies. He's written some rather well-known books, including American Indians in U.S. History.

I think I can make the claim that I'm one of only a few people to have read Nichols' thesis on Cutting Marsh in recent decades. I believe that because I read things in it that seemed to have gone unnoticed by other authors. But the original or primary sources that Nichols used have been used by others, myself included. They include the ABCFM Papers, Marsh's reports to the Scottish Missionary Society as reprinted in the Wisconsin Historical Collections, and the Cutting Marsh Papers (I doubt that the John C. Adams Papers had been discovered yet at that time). Anyway, a lot of the credit for what I know about Cutting Marsh, goes to Roger Nichols. He was the first person to refer to Rev. Marsh as being "stern and stubborn," and that is a description that I find hard to improve on.

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