Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Jotham Meeker and the Two Minute Books

New York Indian Removal, Part XVII:
Jotham Meeker and the Two Minute Books

Maybe you're wondering if we have any record of the Indians who left Cutting Marsh's church and then left Wisconsin after signing the treaty of 1839. The answer is: do we ever!...thanks to a Baptist missionary named Jotham Meeker....who owned a printing press!

Meeker learned a number of Algonkian languages and printed various scriptures, hymns, and other religious works in many small books during his career. Another Baptist missionary, John G. Pratt, also knew the printing trade. It seems Pratt was more directly involved in what we might call the church of the Hendricks-Konkapot faction.

As you may have already figured, having two missionary-printers around in a small church community meant that our old friends from "the Disaffected party" may have gotten a little more exposure than they should have. Actually, I don't know if church minutes were ever actually printed (or 'published') by Meeker or Pratt, but it seems that the preservation of Meeker's body of work led to the publication of "Two Minute Books of Kansas Missions in the Forties" in the Kansas Historical Quarterly (August 1933, Vol 2, no. 3), and it is now online.

As the Kansas Historical Society described it, the Minute Books "show that faith was weak at times, and temptation strong, but zeal burned like a bright white flame."

The last page of the Two Minute Books lists the members of the congregation as of 1848 (although some were recently deceased or excluded).
The Baptist contingent of Algonkian church history:

Stockbridge Mohicans: Hannah Konkapot, Eli Hendrick, Sally Hendrick, Jacob Littleman, Nancy Konkapot, Louisa Littleman, Susan Charles, Cornelius Charles.

Munsee Delawares: Joseph Killbuck, Abigail Killbuck, James Rain, Susan Killbuck, Sally Johnnycake, Charles Johnycake, Jane Johnycake, William Kaleb.

Other church members (tribal affiliation and, in some cases, race, is unknown): Betsy Ziegler, Francis Pokelas, Eunice Eaton,
Ar-nark-tun-dut, Wul-lun-da-nat-o'kwa, Hipelas, Hannah Hipelas, Macharch, Mrs. Jacob Skicket, E.S. Morse.

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