Monday, February 9, 2009

The Mission is Approved by the Mohicans

A map of Massachusetts. Berkshire County is in red.

Here's what we've covered so far in regards to the establishment of a mission in what would become Stockbridge, Massachusetts:
1. The Housatonics Accept a Mission
2. Sergeant Meets the Indians

And our story continues:

The local council of July, 1734 wouldn't be the final word on Christianity for the Mohican nation. Being regional leaders, Umpachenee and Konkapot understood the mission should be approved by the national leaders, including Mtohksin, who was Chief Sachem at the time. Umpachenee hosted a council in February, 1735 that was attended by nearly 200 Mohicans and featured a sermon by Stephen Williams. Following the sermon, the national leaders discussed many of the same pros and cons of accepting the mission as the Housatonics had in their council. The verdict, as Samuel Hopkins (34-35, quoted in Frazier, 29) understood it, was that the Mohicans would "as a nation submit to instruction." However, another account of what was decided at the council was more nuanced. This account was passed along orally and eventually written down by Captain Hendrick Aupaumut and published in the Massachusetts Historical Society Collections in 1804. According to Aupaumut's account, the Christian gospel should "be preached in one certain village and let every man and woman go to hear it and embrace it; if they think best."

The "one certain village," of course, eventually became known as Stockbridge. Its success or failure in the short run, depended on how receptive individuals would be to what was preached there. For that reason, I don't believe that the Stockbridge Mohicans - as we know them - would exist today, if not for Rev. John Sergeant [Sr.]

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