Tuesday, October 22, 2013

An Update on Electa Quinney, The first Female Schoolteacher in Present-day Wisconsin

In an earlier post on Electa Quinney, I stated that I hoped I would never come across any data that proved she hadn't taught school in 1828. Well, I came across that data a few months ago and, seeing that "Electa Quinney" is a search term that brings people to this blog, I decided it is time for an update.

Volume XV of Wisconsin Historical Collections contains a letter from an Augustus T. Ambler. The purpose of that letter was to report the death of the Stockbridge Mohican's missionary, Jesse Miner, to the philanthropical society that supported his work.  Miner died in March of 1829.

In that same letter, Augustus T. Ambler reports that he had been teaching for three months and had also been sick for three weeks. Ambler adds that "Electa Quinney, a competent native teacher, will probably take charge of the school this summer."

And she did. Electa Quinney had taught for six years at New Stockbridge, New York and after arriving at Statesburg (which is now Kaukuana, Wisconsin), she taught the children of her people for one more term, in the summer of 1829.

I pieced these things together at about the same time that I got access to Electa Quinney's only known biography, an unpublished college term paper written by Annie Paprocki in 1999. Paprocki says the same thing: Augustus Ambler taught in the winter of 1828-1829 and Electa Quinney took over the teaching duties the next term, before being replaced by Jedidiah Stevens.

Here's a somewhat amusing sidenote:

Out of an understandable eagerness to point to positive role models (or to make money on the web), people need to be careful not to make false claims. I came across a webpage that even claims Electa Quinney was South Dakota's first schoolteacher. Correction: Electa Quinney never even lived in South Dakota. Also, there is no Kaukauna in South Dakata. 

Anyway, to wrap it up, I think Annie Paprocki was right to conclude that Electa Quinney is still a good role model despite not having taught school in 1828. You don't have to be the first one to do something to be a good role model. Electa Quinney was a Christian schoolteacher, and later a wife and mother at a time and place where nothing came easy - especially not to Indians.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Milestone - Algonkian Church History's 300th post

A lot of Algonkian Church History posts lead readers to other sites or to books or other resources.
But today - with our 300th post - Algonkian Church History is honoring itself!

According to Google, ACH has received over 80,000 page views since it began on November 5th, 2008. As the creator of almost all of the posts, I've been surprised when some posts are viewed by many - while others that I've worked hard on are seen by only a few.

Anyway, here's a list of some ACH posts that were popular, and others that deserve special mention:

Most Viewed Posts:

3rd Place: Occom's Short Narrative of My Life (1735 views to date)

2nd Place: Bury My Heart at the Monastery: The Menominee Takeover of the Novitiate
This well-illustrated post includes links to relevant sites. The standoff between a dissident faction of Menominees and the federal government was probably the most newsworthy event for Wisconsin Indians in the 1970's. The post now has 2039 views.

1st Place: The High Point of Stockbridge Calvinism
Don't get me wrong, this was not a bad post, but I suspect that it has received 2405 views partly by accident. Many web surfers undoubtedly came to this post by clicking on the symbol you see below on Google images:

Least Viewed Post:

NPR Asks Who Is an Indian? The once-broken link to the NPR segment now works. And, as before, this post is graced with a photo of a reader of this blog, Darren Kroenke.

Most Humorous Post:

Who Taught the Stockbridge Indians to Moon? This one needs no introduction.

Most Controversial Post:

Racial Identity Among the New York Indians: Chris Geherin Looks at "New Guinea"
I was thrown out of an online community after this post appeared. Even now, some people who self-identify as Indians are not willing to accept that they may also have some African blood. Get over it!

Most Viewed Series of Posts:

The New York Indian Removal Series Thanks to a link from the New York History blog, this series of twenty posts had a reasonably large audience.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Marker for Jacob Konkapot and Hendrick Aupaumut

About thirty Revolutionary War veterans were buried in what is now the state of Wisconsin. Most of them were white men buried in marked graves. Two of them - Captain Hendrick Aupaumut and Jacob Konkapot - were Stockbridge Indians buried in an unmarked site somewhere in present-day Kaukauna. In 1976, Aupaumut and Konkapot were memorialized on this marker.

As of October 11, 2013 - that is three days ago as I write - Melinda, a recent transplant to the state, completed her goal of visiting - and blogging on - all 537 Wisconsin Historical Society markers. As a matter of fact, Melinda went way beyond her goal and visited a grand total of 1754 Wisconsin historical sites!

Melinda has a late-stage cancer diagnosis, so it was that much more important to her to finish her tour within the roughly 18-month time-frame that she set for herself. Read her story here.

Melinda was only a few weeks into her project when she blogged on the marker that was erected on behalf of H. Aupaumut and J. Konkapot. This is what that post looks like.

Congratulations Melinda! Rest in Peace Captain Hendrick and Mr. Konkapot!

Monday, October 7, 2013

High Price for Hopkins' Historical Memoirs'

You can see that this book has a long title. 
Historical Memoirs, Relating to the Housatunnuk Indians: Or, An Account of the Methods Used, and Pains Taken, for the Propagation of the Gospel Among that Heathenish Tribe, and the Successes Thereof, Under the Ministry of the Late Reverned Mr. John Sergeant: Together, With the Character of that Eminently Worthy Missionary; and an Address to the People of this Country, Representing the very Great Importance of Attaching the Indians to their Interest, not only by Treating them Justly and Kindly, but by Using Proper Endeavors to Settle Christianity Among them. 
Perhaps you can see that it was published in 1753. That is four years after John Sergeant, the first missionary to the Housatonic Mohicans (eventually known as the Stockbridge Mohicans) died.
It is a very important book, partly because the author, Samuel Hopkins, had access to John Sergeant's journals which were later lost. The book also contains descriptions of things like maple syrup that white people don't seem to have been aware of before that point. The Indians boiled it down into a kind of sugar.
I got a chance to read a legitimate copy of this old book at the Wisconsin State Historical Society ten years ago. As I turned the pages it was literally falling apart - that is what happens with a book that is more than two hundred years old.
Anyway, a copy of this book brought $5,856 in a 2010 auction.
Sounds like an awful lot, until you realize that it was purchased for $10,500 in 2001!