Letter from Rev. Gilbert Rockwood to Henry R Schoolcraft

Letter from Rev. Gilbert Rockwood to Henry R Schoolcraft.

Tuscarora Mission, August 1, 1845.

In the following communication, you can make use of such statements as you may deem proper. If all the statements should not be necessary for your official objects, yet they may be interesting to you as an individual.

This mission was commenced about fifty years since, under the care of the “New York Missionary Society.” It was transferred to the ” United Foreign Mission Society,” in 1821, and to the ” American Board of Com. for Foreign Missions,” in 1826.

The church was organized in 1805, with five persons. The whole number of native members who have united since its organization is 123. The present number of native members is 53; others 5, total 58.

Between July 1st, 1844, and July 1st, 1845, there were only three admissions, two by profession and one by letter.

About one-third of the population attend meeting on the Sabbath. Their meeting house was built by themselves, with a little assistance from abroad.

They have also a schoolhouse, the expense of which was nearly all defrayed by themselves. There is but one school among them, which is kept the year through, with the exception of the vacations. The teacher is appointed by the American Board. The number of scholars the past year is not far from 50.

I have been among these Indians now nearly eight years. I can see that there has been an advance, both in their moral and physical condition.

It is within the memory of many now living among them, when drunkenness was almost universal; now, comparatively, few are in temperate. A majority of the chiefs, are decidedly temperance men, and exert a salutary influence. They have a temperance society, and hold frequent meetings. They utterly forbid the traffic in intoxicating drinks on their own soil.

The marriage relation is being better understood by them, and more appreciated. More of the young men and women enter into the marriage relation, in the regular Christian way, than a few years ago. Four couple have been regularly married the past year. Number of deaths, 8; an unusual number since I have been among them.

There is besides the church, above referred to, a Baptist church, organized a few years since, the particulars of which, I am unable to give. For any information you may wish respecting it, I would refer you to James Cusick, their minister.

On the whole, there is much to encourage the philanthropist and the Christian in labors for the good and well being of the Indians here, although we meet with many obstacles and difficulties in the way.

They are becoming more and more industrious in their habits, as the appearance of their farms, and the amount of produce, and their personal appearance will testify.

With these brief statements, I subscribe myself,

Yours, truly,

Vocabulary of the Tuscarora, from William Chew, Written out and Transmitted by the Rev. Gilbert Rockwood.

NOTE. In affixing Indian words, to the following vocabulary, Mr. Chew, who speaks the English very well, has promised to act as your translator and interpreter. The principal thing to be guarded against, however, is inaccuracy in the definitions, both in English and Indian.

If there is no infinitive to verbs, as I suppose, insert the simplest existing form, as He loves, &c.

Is there any participle to Tuscarora verbs!
H. R. S.

To Mr. Rockwood.

Tuscarora Mission,

Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe. Notes on the Iroquois: Or, Contributions to American History, Antiquities, and General Ethnology. E. H. Pease & Company. 1847.

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