Friday, October 9, 2009

Bernd Peyer's "The Betrayal of Samson Occom"

Bernd Peyer is a German Historian who wrote a good article about Samson Occom which appeared in the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine in 1998. Fortunately for us, the article is also online.

Peyer's article is largely about Occom's relationship with Eleazar Wheelock. To sum it up, after learning to read the Bible on his own, the nineteen-year-old Samson Occom became Wheelock's star student, around which a boarding school was established. As you may remember, Occom was the first Indian ordained as a Presbyterian minister and he raised a lot of money for Wheelock's school for Indians on a preaching tour in England and Scotland. A big part of Wheelock's betrayal of Occom occurred when he moved his school and gave up on educating Indians. Moor's Charity School remained - but only as a poor sister to Dartmouth College.

After he returned to the United States, Occom realized that Wheelock had used him and even looked upon him as something of a freak or "creature." You'll understand that better if you read Peyer's article.

The white Calvinst establishment should have done more to support Rev. Occom and his large family. Throughout most of his career, Rev. Occom was forced to support his family through fishing, hunting, gardening, picking ginseng, and with money earned from binding books, and making wooden items such as spoons and urns.

In upcoming posts, I'll address Rev. Samson Occom's relationship with Rev. John Sergeant, Jr.

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