Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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OCCOM, Samson, Indian preacher, born in Mohegan, New London County, Connecticut, about 1723; died in New Stockbridge, New York, 14 July, 1792. He was converted to Christianity about 1740, and at once expressed a desire to become the religious teacher of his tribe, he was four years an inmate of the school of Reverend Eleazar Wheelock, of Lebanon, Connecticut, and in 1748 he taught in New London, but soon went to Montauk, on Long Island, where he was first teacher and then preacher among the Indians for the next ten years, having been licensed by the Windam, Connecticut, association. On 30 August, 1759, he was ordained by the presbytery of Suffolk, and he maintained his connection with the Presbyterian church to the close of his career. In 1701 he went on a mission to the Oneida Indians under the direction of a society in Scotland for propagating Christian knowledge, and in 1766 he accompanied Reverend Nathaniel Whitaker to England to procure funds for an Indian charity-school. From 16 February, 1766, till 22 July, 1767, he preached between three and four hundred sermons, and, being the first Indian preacher that had visited Great Britain, he everywhere drew crowds of curious listeners. Nor were his labors without pecuniary result. George III. subscribed £200 and Lord Dartmouth (q. v.) fifty guineas, while his total receipts amounted to more than £10,000. On his return to this country he remained for a time in Mohegan, but removed in 1786 with some of the New England and Long island Indians to what was known as the Brotherton tract in Oneida county, New York. He subsequently resided among the Stockbridge Indians, where he received a tract of land. His funeral was attended by over six hundred of his race. He was the author of several hymns, among them the one beginning "Awaked by Sinai's awful sound," and published a sermon that he delivered at the execution of Moses Paul, an Indian (New Haven, 1772). He also wrote an account of the manners and customs of the Montauk Indians, which has been printed in the " Collections" of the Massachusetts historical society (first series, vol. x.).
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