Cherokee Phoenix

From the New York Observer

Published April, 19, 1834

Page 1 Column 2b

From the New York Observer


Wheelock-Alfred Wright, missionary; Samuel Moulton, teacher; and their wives. Anna Burnham, teacher.

Bethabara.-Loring S. Williams, missionary; Mrs. W. Eunice Clough, teacher.

__ Eben'r Hotchkin, catechist; and Mrs. H.

__ Matthias Joslyn, teacher; Mrs. Mary Choate, teacher.

The new Choctaw country is bounded on the east by the Arkansas territory, on the north by the Arkansas River, on the south by the Red River, and on the west by lands occupied by other tribes of Indians.

Mr. Wright recovered from the sickness by which he was detained at Little Rock, on his way from the old nation, so as to be able to enter his new field of labor on the 14th of September of last year; and soon after selected a site for a station, six miles south of Little River, a branch of the Red River, and 18 miles east of Fort Towson, to which he has given the name of Wheelock, in memory of the first President of Dartmouth College, who was a devoted friend to the Indians, and first opened his Indians school,(afterwards transferred to Hanover, N. H.) in Lebanon, Ct. the native town of Mr. Wright. That portion of the Choctaws, among whom he labored before their removal, are settled compactly around his station, there being as many as 2,000 within the distance of 10 or 12 miles.

Mr. Williams entered the new country and selected the site of his station on the 12th day of July of last year. To his station he gave the name of Bethabara, it being near the principal fording place of the Mountain Fork of Little River, 10 miles west of the eastern boundary of the Choctaw country, and about 25 miles north of Wheelock.- Around this station, also, there is a dense settlement of Indians, amounting to 1,569, within a distance of 5 miles, and not less than 3,000 within 25 miles.

Mr. Hotchkin, who, with Mr. Moulton, arrived early in Dec. has been authorized to commence a separate station among the Christian portion of the Choctaws, near Wheelock, where he was urgently requested to settle by two chiefs. Mr. Joslyn, formerly a teacher at Mahew, and who has spent the last spring and summer at Dwight, is expected with Mrs. J. and Mrs. Choate soon to open a new station at some favorable place among the Choctaws, and devote himself to the instruction and superintendence of schools.

Churches- The missionaries appear to have been very cordially received by the Christian portion of the Choctaws generally,and entered on their labors immediately with very encouraging prospects. The church at Bethabara was organized on the 19th August of last year, embracing 56 persons, who had been members of the church before their removal, and one who was admitted on a new profession. The number has since been increased to 1143; of whom 136 are Choctaws, 5 of white and 2 of African descent, and 126 had been connected with the church in the old nation. Two pious captains have died in peace. Although many who joined the church in the old nation have, owing to the perilous situation in which they were placed for some time before their removal and during their journey, made shipwreck of the faith, yet old members generally withstand temptation, appear docile,and maintain a fair Christian character. They have been much occupied in preparing comfortable residences for themselves and have shown too much worldliness.- Still there is a great ' striking change in their character from what it was. Seven or eight Choctaws are candidates for admission to this church at this station.

The church of Wheelock, was organized on the 2d Sabbath in December, including 87 members, 7 of whom had not before been connected with any church. All were carefully examined as to their religious views and character, the spiritual condition of this church is much the same as that of the one at Bethabara.

Congregations- As the people are settled so compactly, larger congregations can be collected in common circumstances in the old nation. The average number attending the preaching of Mr. Williams at Bethabara is 150, and the largest 500. The number attending at two other places where he spends half of his Sabbath is considerably less. Nearly all are Indians. At the stations and in a number of other places, native church members hold stated meetings on the Sabbath, which they conduct themselves, when no missionary is resent. Frequent meetings are held by the missionaries on weekdays; there are also meetings for prayer and exhortation held frequently in various places, conducted by natives.- The females also attend small prayer meetings in different places.

The Choctaws have erected two houses of public worship in the part of the nation where Mr. Williams resides; one near his station and one in a settlement 20 miles distant.

Three Sabbath schools have been established by Mr. Williams, principally taught by native teachers, embracing about 100 scholars, and two more are about to be opened.

The calls for preaching and pastoral labor are numerous and urgent,and at this crisis two or three additional laborers are much needed.

Schools.- The Choctaws on arriving in their new country, were urgently desirous of having schools established among them without delay; so much so that within a few weeks after Mr. Williams arrived, Mrs. W. opened a school of 25, the parents offering to pay three or four dollars a quarter for each scholar. This was continued one quarter, when the health of the teacher compelled her to relinquish it. Mr. Williams has since opened schools in three settlements, in which the pupils are taught to read and write in both the English and Choctaw languages by native teachers, under his visitation and superintendence. The parents board and clothe the scholars, and generally furnish the books. The teachers receive $12 a month each from the Board. These schools now embrace 90 scholars. A number more have probably been established already on the same plan, in other neighborhoods, under the superintendence of Mr. Wright and Mr. Hotchkin; and many others are still needed, especially one or two of a higher order, into which those who formerly attended school in the old nation add more promising pupils from the neighborhood, schools might be collected and carried through a more advanced course of instruction. The state of feeling on this subject is represented to be such both among the friends and the opposers of Christianity, that it would seem if suitable teachers and books could be furnished, that a very large portion of all the children and youth of a suitable age might be gathered into schools without delay. Mr. Moulton and Mr. Joslyn are to devote themselves to teaching and superintending the schools. One or two other persons will be sent to cooperation in the same work as soon as they can be obtained.

Books in the Choctaw language. A second edition of the Choctaw hymns amounting to 3,000 copies has been printed during the past summer, making the whole number of copies of books printed in this language 13,000.

State of the people- Definite information respecting the number of the Choctaws, who have become settled in their country, has not been received. It is probably between 10,000 and 14,000. The number of the whole tribe, before their removal commenced, was estimated at 13,000 or 20,000. They generally appear to be satisfied with their new country, and are laboring with a good degree of vigor to prepare for themselves fields and comfortable residences, and manifest generally considerable industry and public spirit; though they have obviously suffered in their exposures to temptation while preparing for removing, and while on their long and hazardous journey. They have also suffered much from sickness while on their journey, and since their arrival in their new country; 160 out of several companies, embracing about 3,000 having died by the way, including many aged persons and infants. During the last spring and summer, the mission families also have been afflicted with much sickness.