Friday, February 13, 2009

Sergeant's Ordination

We've already seen

1. The Housatonics Accept a Mission

2. Sergeant Meets the Indians


3. The Mission is Approved by the Mohicans

What Comes Next?

Massachusetts Governor Jonathan Belcher was the leader of the Commissioners of Indian Affairs in Boston and it was he who first suggested the idea of an integrated mission town in 1730 (see Frazier, 39). Since Governor Belcher was planning to meet with some Roman Catholic Mohawks at Deerfield in August of 1735, that would also be a good opportunity to "announce the dedication of an English missionary's life to the service of Indians"(as Frazier put it on pages 31-32). So the Housatonic Mohicans, forty-three in all, headed for Deerfield. Umpachenee, however, chose not to make the trip. It is likely this was a passive protest against the mission or against the English in general.

We do know that Umpachenee never was a big supporter of the Calvinist mission. Konkapot, however, was, and he thanked Governor Belcher in a formal speech (see Frazier, page 33) for sending John Sergeant and the schoolteacher, Timothy Woodbridge.

Sergeant's ordination ceremony must have been a huge event. High civil and military officers of the colony of Massachusetts, clergy, gentlemen and many Indians were present. After Nathaniel Appleton's sermon (see illustration at left) and the ceremonial laying on of hands, Rev. Stephen Williams turned to the Housatonic Mohicans who were sitting together in a place of honor and, through an interpreter, asked them to indicate if they would receive Sergeant as their missionary. All forty-three of them rose to their feet to show their approval.

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