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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 22 Collections and/or Records:

New Hampshire Legislature draft of an Act

Mss 807360.10
 Collection
Identifier: Mss 807360.10
Overview In English.

Votes of the Trustees of Moor's School

Mss 813474
 Collection
Identifier: Mss 813474
Scope and Contents Votes regarding appointment of committss for auditing President's accounts, collections of rents due to the School, etc. Meeting was held on Aug. 24, 1813 and Nov. 10, 1814. (4 pages)