Cherokee Phoenix

From the Missionary Herald

Published June, 11, 1831

Page 3 Column 4a

From the Missionary Herald.


Extracts from a communication of Mr. Stevens; dated at Statesburgh, near Green Bay, Jan 11, 1831

Statements respecting the Condition of the People, and the School.

['The Indians at this village have hardly yet become settled, having been, from year to year, emigrating in small bands from their former residences in the state of New York, In many respects, however, they have advanced far in civilization.]

I believe I have visited every family in the village, and have ascertained pretty accurately the number of men, women, and children; their condition relative to the necessaries and comforts of life; and the number of hopeful Christians. Exclusive of the Oneidas, who came from New York last season and settled near this people, there are 225 persons; 56 men, 63 women, and about 106 children. Fifteen men are professors of religion, and twenty are members of the temperance society. Six or seven, who are not professors of religion, are apparently very serious. With a few exceptions, those who are members of the temperance society, and those who give evidence of seriousness, conduct with much propriety The members of the church give as much evidence as far as we can judge, and being genuine and consistent Christians, as professors generally in the most orthodox churches among the whites.

The whole number of families is about fifty; most of which obtain the necessaries, and some of them nearly all the comforts of life. Not more than eight or ten families are miserably poor. The people own above twenty yoke of oxen, and between thirty and forty cows. Most of the families have hogs and poultry. Besides corn, potatoes, turnips, oats, peas, and some flax, they have raised thie season past, as nearly as been calculated about five hundred bushels of wheat. If their mill for grinding was finished, most of them would soon be able to obtain the comforts of a civilized life.

There are only about twenty of the adults who cannot read in the Testament.

The people who came on last summer are settled on the river about three miles above the school house. Most of them appear to be industrious; but they are very ignorant, and few of them, either of the children or adults can read. The number of them is about ninety. They have united with this people, and have become one people. They have about forty children of suitable age to attend school, but they live too far from the school house to attend there. Some of them attend church on the Sabbath, and some of the children attend the Sabbath school. One of our young men, who lives in their settlement, collects their children at one of their houses on three evenings in each week, and teaches them to read. They manifest a great desire to have their children taught. Four or five among them give evidence of piety.

Among the people in the settlement around the mission, there are sixty-eight children over five and under twenty years of age. Fifty-two of them, we have now in school, though the number in a day does not exceed forty. From thirty-five to forty is my usual number. Several of the head men have visited the school, and they say it has never been in so good a state of progress as it is now, though I am almost discouraged at times, on account of the irregular attendance of the scholars. The mass of the people are very fare (sic) from sufficiently feeling the importance of having their children educated. It is only by continued exertion, that the school is kept in its present state. As to the improvement of the school, I can only say, that more than thirty of the scholars can read the New Testament intelligibly, and other school books; about a dozen are studying geography, and several arithmetic. Those are all pure Indian children. I do not know of a single exception. There may be one or two. The Sabbath school had been gradually rising in interest, during the past summer and autumn, but it is only within a month or six weeks past, that it has assumed the interesting features it now wears. The latter part of November, I visited many of the parents and children, and endeavored to excite them punctually to attend the Sabbath school, as well as the day school. About the same time I gave notice that on the first day of the ensuing year, there would be a public examination of the Sabbath school. This excited some interest, and on the 1st day of January, nearly all the youth and children, and a goodly number of the parents, assembled in the school house. The exercises were commenced by singing and prayer. The portions of scripture upon which the school was to be examined were the third chapter of John, fourth of Luke, and fifth of Matthew; also geography of Palestine, and the origin of the Old and New Testaments. Above five hundred questions were proposed to the scholars and teachers, to which answers were promptly given. This exercise occupied more than two hours. Then an appropriate hymn was sung and the parents and children were addressed, after which a constitution was presented and read for the organizing and regulating a Bible and Sabbath School Association. The objects being sufficiently explained, above sixty manifested a desire to be members. Here was seen the child of four or five years of age, up to the man and women of sixty, engaging in the study of the holy book of God. As soon as the names were taken, a Board of Managers were elected for the ensuing year, and the exercise of the day closed by singing a new year's hymn and prayer.