A speech by Brothertown Indian leader Samsom Occom, 1771

A Sermon at the Execution of Moses Paul... to which is added a short account of the late spread of the Gospel among the Indians, 1789


The author of this pamphlet was elder Samson Occom (1723-1792), a leader of the Brothertown (sometimes found as Brotherton) Indians who moved from New York to Wisconsin in the early 19th century. Occom learned English and became a Christian minister prior to the American Revolution. In 1771 Moses Paul, another Christian Indian, committed a random murder in Bethany, Connecticut, while drunk. Knowing he would be hung for the crime, Paul asked Occom to preach at his execution.

Occom's powerful sermon in support of temperance became a classic missionary argument against drunkenness. The edition presented here was published while Occom was raising funds in London in 1789 and includes a short summary of his career and of missionary work among American Indians at the time. The other work mentioned on its title page, Jonathan Edwards' Observations on the Language of the Muhhekaneew Indians, is given elsewhere in Turning Points in Wisconsin History.

The Brothertown (sometimes found as Brotherton) Indians are descendants of the Pequot and Mohegan tribes of southern New England. They united in 1769 when seven Christian, English-speaking Indian communities moved to land made available by the Oneidas in upstate New York. Forty years later, as white settlers pushed west, they were dispossessed and forced to move again. With their Oneida and Stockbridge neighbors, they came to Wisconsin in the 1820s and 1830s, settling along the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago in Calumet County.




Related Topics: Early Native Peoples
Territory to Statehood
Immigration and Settlement
First Peoples
Early U.S. Settlement
Treaty Councils, from Prairie du Chien to Madeline Island
19th-Century Immigration
Creator: Occom, Samson (1723-1792)
Pub Data: Second edition; London, 1789
Citation: Occom, Samson. A Sermon at the Execution of Moses Paul... (London, 1789). Online facsimile at:  http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/search.asp?id=1658; Visited on: 9/22/2014
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