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Moor’s Indian Charity School


In 1735, Eleazar Wheelock opened a college preparatory “Lattin School” in Lebanon, Connecticut to educate students of English descent. Wheelock’s first Indian pupil was Samson Occom, a Mohegan who studied with Wheelock for four years beginning in 1743. Occom’s success prompted Wheelock to enroll two more Indian pupils, John Pumshire and Jacob Woolley, both from the Delaware tribe, beginning in December of 1754.

Wheelock’s students received a classical education. Wheelock hoped his Indian students would become missionaries who would return to convert their tribes at a lower cost and higher rate of success than could be achieved by English missionaries. Wheelock’s school was renamed Moor’s Indian Charity School for Joshua Moor, who donated a house and two acres of land in Lebanon, Connecticut to Wheelock’s efforts. The school enrolled both white and Indian students. Of the more than 100 Indian students who attended Moor’s Charity School while Wheelock was living, only Daniel Simon, who entered the school in 1768 or 1769, received a college degree within Wheelock’s lifetime.

Wheelock’s first female student, Amy Johnson, studied at Moor’s Charity School beginning in 1761. Female students lived with local families and received one day a week of tutelage at Wheelock’s school.

Moor’s Indian Charity School received financial support from the Connecticut and Massachusetts Legislatures, as well as the Scottish Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge (SSPCK). The “Scottish Fund” provided support for Indian students to attend Kimball Union Academy and Thetford Academy, as well as Moor’s Charity School and Dartmouth.

In 1770, school was moved to Hanover, NH where Wheelock opened Dartmouth College. Moor’s Charity School continued to educate students at a college preparatory level. Much of the money raised by Wheelock and Samson Occom in England, ostensibly intended for the support of Native pupils at Moor’s Charity School, was used for the development of Dartmouth College. However, SSPCK funds were tightly controlled and reserved specifically for the support of Native students. Dartmouth and Moor’s Charity School struggled unsuccessfully for decades to expand the use of the SSPCK funds so that the money could be used for general support of the College.

By 1808, only 3 of 38 students at Moor’s Charity School were Native American. The school was closed from 1829 to 1838 due to financial difficulties, but SSPCK funds continued to support the few native students who attended Dartmouth. Moor’s Charity School closed for good in 1849 or 1850.

In 1915, the Supreme Court of New Hampshire ordered that the funds from Moor’s Charity School be transferred to Dartmouth College, marking the legal end of an organization that had long since ceased to educate students.

Found in 35 Collections and/or Records:

Moor's Charity School account

Mss 816190.1
Identifier: Mss 816190.1
Overview In English.

Moor's Charity School accounts

Mss 814900.4
Identifier: Mss 814900.4
Scope and Contents Four pages of accounts of Moor's Charity School for the year 1814.

Moor's Charity School extract from minutes

Mss 808474
Identifier: Mss 808474
Overview In English.

Moor's Charity School list

Mss 815460
Identifier: Mss 815460
Overview In English.

Moor's Charity School list of students

Mss 810467
Identifier: Mss 810467
Overview In English.

Moor's Charity School list of students

Mss 810467.1
Identifier: Mss 810467.1
Overview In English.

Moor's Charity School list of students

Mss 814469.1
Identifier: Mss 814469.1
Scope and Contents List of Moor's Charity School students who took part in the annual examination and the subjects in which they were examined. Certificate as to the progrress of the Indian youth Lewis Langford, and the general welfare of the school, by gentlemen present a the examination. Submittedd to the Commissioners of the Society in Scotland by John Wheelock.

Moor's Charity School. Trustees

Mss 813474.1
Identifier: Mss 813474.1
Scope and Contents Two-page draft of the minutes of the meetings of the Moor's Charity School Trustees, relating to the finances of the School.

Moor's Charity School Trustees extract

Mss 814610
Identifier: Mss 814610
Scope and Contents Extract from the records: Report of the committee to the effect that the School owes John Wheelock 435/15/51/2. Report accepted.

Moor's Charity School Trustees minutes

Mss 814610.1
Identifier: Mss 814610.1
Scope and Contents Minutes of a meeting of the Moor's Charity School Trustees, relating to the finances of the school.