A Response from Documents of American History
to S.J. Res. 15 in the Senate of the United States
April 19, 2005, read twice and referred to the
Committee on Indian Affairs
by Dr. Catherine Millard
© 2005 Christian Heritage Ministries
The Joint Resolution reads as follows:
“To acknowledge a long history of official depredations and ill-conceived policies by the United States Government regarding Indian tribes and offer an apology to all Native Peoples on behalf of the United States.
Whereas the ancestors of today’s Native Peoples inhabited the land of the present-day United States since time immemorial and for thousands of years before the arrival of peoples of European descent;
Whereas the Native People have for millennia honored, protected, and stewarded this land we cherish;
Whereas the Native Peoples are spiritual peoples with a deep and abiding belief in the Creator, and for millennia their peoples have maintained a powerful spiritual connection to this land, as is evidenced by their customs and legends;
Whereas the arrival of Europeans in North America opened a new chapter in the histories of the Native Peoples;
Whereas, while establishment of permanent European settlements in North America did stir conflict with nearby Indian tribes, peaceful and mutually beneficial interactions also took place;
Whereas the foundational English settlements in Jamestown, Virginia, and Plymouth, Massachusetts, owed their survival in large measure to the compassion and aid of the Native Peoples in their vicinities;…
Whereas many Native Peoples suffered and perished…”
Section 1. Acknowledgment and Apology.
The United States, acting through Congress-
(4) apologizes on behalf of the people of the United States to all Native Peoples for the many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect inflicted on Native
Peoples by citizens of the United States;…
No apology is owed to the Indian tribes inhabiting the Continent of America, as borne out by the original
Documents of American History, which testify to the Gospel being graciously extended to these tribes, during the major landmarks of America’s history, commencing in 1492 – Discovery era, through the Development Period. Contrary to the above-quoted S.J. 15; - they are as follows, cited from
Documents of American History:
Christopher Columbus – 1492
“Christ-bearer to Unknown Coastlands”
Christopher Columbus’ son, Ferdinand Columbus, gives the following testimony of his father’s integrity and Christian character in his famed book,
History of the Life and Actions of Admiral Christopher Columbus and of his Discovery of the West Indies, called the New World. Written by his own son, Don Ferdinand Columbus:
The Author’s Preface
being the son of the Admiral Christopher Columbus, a person worthy
of eternal memory, who discovered the West Indies, and having myself sailed with
him some time, it seemed to me but reasonable that among the other things I have
writ, one and the chiefest should be his life, and wonderful discovery of the
West Indies or New World; because his great and continual sufferings, and the
distempers he laboured under, did not allow him time to form his notes and
observations into a method fit for history…For this reason I resolved to
undergo the labour of this task, thinking it better I should lie under the
censure my skill and presumption shall be subject to than to suffer the truth of
what relates to so noble a person to lie buried in oblivion…I promise to
compose the history of his life of such matter only as I find in his own papers
and letters, and of those passages of which I myself was an eye-witness.
The author informs the reader before he enters upon the work, that in it
he will find all the reasons which induced the admiral to such an undertaking;
he will see how far he proceeded in person upon the discovery in four several
voyages he made; how great and honourable the articles were upon which he
entered into the discovery, and which were afterwards confirmed to him by those
two famous Princes, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel; how basely they were all
violated, and he, after such unparalleled services, most inhumanly treated; how
far he settled the affairs of the island Hispaniola, what care he took that the
Indians should not be oppressed, but rather by good usage and example, prevailed
upon to embrace the Christian faith; also the customs and manners of the
Indians; their opinions and practice as to religious worship; and, in a word,
all that can be expected in a work of this nature, the foundation whereof was
laid by so great a man as was the admiral and finished by his own son, who had
all the education that could contribute to make him capable of writing so
notable a life…
believe he was particularly chosen by Almighty God for so great an affair as
that which he performed; and because he was to be so truly his apostle as, in
effect he proved it was his will he should in this part be like the others, who
were called to make known his name from the seas and rivers, and not from courts
and palaces, and to imitate himself, whose progenitors being of the blood royal
of Jerusalem, yet it pleased him, that his parents should not be much known.
Therefore, as God gave him all the personal qualities for such an
undertaking, so he would have his country and origins more hid and obscure…His
proper name being Christopher, it might be known he was a member of Christ, by
whom salvation was to be conveyed to those people…So the admiral
Christopher Columbus, imploring the assistance of Christ in that dangerous
passage, went over safe himself and his company, that those Indian nations
might become citizens and inhabitants of the church triumphant in
heaven; for it is believed that many souls which the devil had expected
to make a prey of…were by him made inhabitants and dwellers in the eternal
glory of heaven…”
to this, the following quotation form the Introduction of Christopher
Columbus’ Book of Prophecies summarizes not only his deep
commitment to the Gospel mandate, but also points to the Bible as the very
source of his inspiration:
a very early age I began to sail upon the ocean.
For more than forty years, I have sailed everywhere that people go.
I prayed to the most merciful Lord about my heart’s great desire, and
He gave me the spirit and the intelligence for the task:
seafaring, astronomy, geometry, arithmetic, skill in drafting spherical
maps and placing correctly the cities, rivers, mountains and ports.
I also studied cosmology, history, chronology and philosophy.
was the Lord who put into my mind (I could feel His hand upon me) the fact that
it would be possible to sail from here to the Indies.
All who heard of my project rejected it with laughter, ridiculing me.
There is no question that the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit,
because he comforted me with rays of marvelous illumination from the Holy
Scriptures, a strong and clear testimony from the 44 books of the Old Testament,
from the four Gospels, and from the 23 Epistles of the blessed Apostles,
encouraging me continually to press forward, and without ceasing for a moment
they now encourage me to make haste.
Lord Jesus desired to perform a very obvious miracle in the voyage to the
Indies, to comfort me and the whole people of God.
I spent seven years in the royal court, discussing the matter with many
persons of great reputation and wisdom in all the arts; and in the end they
concluded that it was all foolishness, so they gave it up.
But since things generally came to pass that were predicted by our
Saviour Jesus Christ, we should also believe that this particular prophecy will
come to pass. In support of this, I
offer the gospel text, Matthew 24:35, in which Jesus said that all things would
pass away, but not his marvelous Word. He
also affirmed that it laws necessary that all things be fulfilled that were
prophesied by Himself and by the prophets…
The Holy Scripture testifies in
the Old Testament by our Redeemer Jesus Christ, that the world must come to an
end. The signs of when this must
happen are given by Matthew, Mark and Luke.
The prophets also predicted many things about it.
Redeemer Jesus Christ said that before the end of the world, all things must
come to pass that had been written by the prophets…
the execution of the journey to the Indies I did not make use of intelligence,
mathematics or maps. It is simply
the fulfillment of what Isaiah had prophesied.
All this is what I desire to write down for you in this book…
said that some of the prophecies remained yet to be fulfilled. These are great and wonderful things for the earth, and the
signs are that the Lord is hastening the end.
The fact that the Gospel must still be preached to so many lands in
such a short time – this is what convinces me.”
letter to Lord Raphael Sansix, dated May 3, 1493, is entitled, Concerning
the Island Lately Discovered, and gives insight, once again, into the soul
of this great American hero, and his desire to bring the life-saving Gospel of
Jesus Christ to these distant shores. It
is hereunder excerpted:
great and wonderful is this thing, neither attributable to our merits, but to
the holy Christian faith…because what the human understanding was unable to
attain, that thing the Divine understanding granted to human creatures.
For God is accustomed to hearken to His servants, and those who love His
precepts, even to the accomplishment of impossibilities, as it hath befallen us
in the present case, who have accomplished those things, which hitherto the
strength of mortals hath not attained. For
if others have written or spoken anything of these Islands, all have done so by
quibbles or conjectures, no one affirms that he has seen them.
Whence the whole matter seemed almost a fable…
us all give things to our Lord Jesus Christ the Saviour, who hath bestowed on us
so great a triumph:…Let Christ exult on earth, as He exults in Heaven,
foreseeing as He does, that so many souls of people heretofore lost, are now
about to be saved…”
to the above-cited evidence of Columbus’ true motivation of bringing the
Gospel to the Indian tribes, his Last Will and Testament or Mayorazgo (Testament
of Founding Hereditary family Estate), dated Thursday, 22nd
February, 1498, contains directions to his son, Don Diego, for maintaining and
sustaining a Christian school he
founded on the Island of Espanola:
"Also I order to said Don Diego, my son, or to him who will inherit said Mayorazgo, that he shall help to maintain and sustain on the Island Espanola, four good teachers of the holy theology, with the intention to convert to our holy religion all those people in the Indias,and when it pleases God that the income of the mayorazgo will increase, that then also be increased the number of such devoted persons who will help all these people to become Christians. And may he not worry about the money that it will be necessary to spend for the purpose…”
conclusion to this section on Christopher Columbus, I quote again from
Columbus’ original Book of Prophecies, as to his motivation and
enablement. As he said, it was
simply the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecies in the Old Testament:
fact that the Gospel must still be preached to so many lands in such a short
time – this is what convinces me.’”
The 1607 Jamestown, Virginia Settlement
and The First Virginia Charter – to bring
the Gospel to the Indians
Jamestown, Virginia, is indeed a place of beginnings for what was
later to become the United States of America.
It was Virginia’s first capital for 92 years.
Originally known as “James Cittie,” it was the site of the first
permanent English settlement in America in 1607, and the meeting place of the
first representative legislative assembly in 1619.
The true identity of this great nation is indelibly stamped upon the First
Charter of Virginia, dated April 10, 1606. It shows clearly the settlers
motivation to bring the Gospel to the Indian tribes:
“JAMES, by the grace of God, King
of England, Scotland, France and
Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc., whereas our loving and well-disposed
subjects…and divers others of our loving subjects, have been
humble suitors unto us…We, greatly commending, and graciously
accepting of their desires for the furtherance of so noble a work,
which may, by the Providence of
Almighty God, hereafter tend to the glory of His
Divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian religion to such people,
as yet live in darkness and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge
and worship of God…graciously accept of, and agree to, their humble
and well-intended desires…”
was thus that the London Company established the first permanent Christian
colony in America with 120 settlers leaving England in December, 1606, and
planting a colony at Jamestown on May 14, 1607.
church tower is the only remaining original 17th-century structure.
A magnificent Cross, representing that upon which our Lord and Saviour
Jesus Christ was crucified, was erected by the colonists upon their
disembarkation on American soil. A
replica of this cross is here, in its place.
second act of the colonists was to kneel down and commemorate the Last Supper
together. Presiding over this
important celebration was their chaplain, the Reverend Robert Hunt, who became
the first minister of the colony.
this very spot stands the handsome Robert Hunt bronze memorial, showing forth
these first 1607 settlers kneeling on the ground, receiving the Lord’s Supper
from their chaplain. A sail tied
between three or four trees served as their first church.
The communion rail was made of boughs of trees.
In order for the reader to better comprehend the Christian fervor of
these 1607 Jamestown settlers, I have chosen to reproduce the colonists’ own
testimony, inscribed upon Hunt’s Memorial:
the glory of God and in memory of the Reverend
Robert Hunt, Presbyter, appointed by the Church of England.
Minister of the Colony which established the English Church
and English civilization at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607.
His people, members of the
Colony, left this testimony concerning him.
He was an honest, religious and courageous Divine.
He preferred the service of God
in so good a voyage to every thought of
ease at home. He endured every
privation, yet none heard him repine.
During his life our factions were ofte healed, and our
extremities so comforted that they seemed easy in comparison with
what we endured after his memorable death.
We all received from him the
Holy Communion together, as a pledge of reconciliation, for we all
loved him for his exceeding goodness.
He planted the First Protestant Church in America and laid down his
life in the foundation of America.”
above portrays a 1607 Christian foundational settlement in America, devoid of
the mercenary thrust which recent “historians” have given it.
further interest in this vein is a large informative plaque on the inner wall of
the original Jamestown church site, stating:
“To the glory of God and in grateful remembrance of the
adventurers in England and Ancient
Planters in Virginia who, through evil report loss
of fortune, through suffering and death, maintained stout hearts
and laid the foundations of our country.”
“Jamestown, the first permanent colony of the English
people and birthplace of Virginia and
the United States.”
of importance to the ministries and outreach of this original Christian colony,
we read the commemorative plaque recounting the historical annals of a young
Indian tribal convert to Christianity, who saved the settlement from a massacre:
“In memory of Chanco, an Indian youth converted
to Christianity, who resided in the
household of Richard Pace across the river from
Jamestown and who, on the eve of the Indian massacre of March 22,
1622, warned Pace of the murderous plot, thus enabling Pace to cross
the river in a canoe to alert and save the Jamestown settlement from
in Jamestown history is the life and conversion to Christianity of Pocahontas,
the “Indian Christian Princess.” She
was the favorite daughter of Powhatan, who ruled the Powhatan Confederacy.
She was born about 1595, probably at Woronocomoco, 16 miles from
Jamestown. After accepting Jesus
Christ as her Lord and Savior at age twelve, she changed her name to “Rebecka.”
Pocahontas saved Captain John Smith’s life twice from being clubbed by
her father; Captain Smith being the leader of the Jamestown settlement.* She was
baptized in the original church on Jamestown Island in 1613, subsequently
marrying Councilman John Rolphe. Her
marriage took place in the same church
in 1614. Pocahontas visited England
with her husband and infant son, Thomas, and was presented to the Royal Court.
Early Virginia historian, Sir William Keith gives this account of
Pocahontas’ death in 1617:
"…she fell sick at Gravesend, as she waited there
to embark on her return to Virginia;
and after a few days’ illness, died, with all the tokens
of piety and religion that became a good Christian; leaving behind her
only one son, Thomas Rolfe, whose posterity, in Virginia, at this day,
live in very good repute, and inherit lands by descent from her…”
the above we see the Pocahontas, whose name meant “Bright Stream
between Two Hills,” gained a new name at her conversion to Christianity, that
of “Rebecka,” the name
given to Isaac’s wife in the Old Testament Scriptures.
We further understand that Pocahontas left an inheritance of lands to her
own descendants. This fact is quite contrary to modern-day history book
accounts which decry the 1607 settlers as having taken land from the Indians by
force; misusing and abusing them – even to the point of robbing them of their
inheritance and culture!
different is this true historical record of Pocahontas, the Indian
Christian Princess, compared to these recent revisionist
fables. Americans can be justly
proud of their rich Christian beginnings, stemming from Virginia, “the cradle
of the Republic.”
The Religion of the Indians
Captain John Smith, in his famed Historie of Virginia, gives the following bold testimony of the practice of child sacrifice among the Indian tribes, this being an
Abomination to Almighty God. He relates this fact for posterity:
“…Their solemn sacrifices of children, which they call
Smith continues his narrative on the Indians’ “strange” religion in his Historie of Virginia, thus:
Their god: …But their chief god they worship is the devil. Him they call
Okee, and serve more of ear than love. They say they have conference with him, and fashion themselves as near to his shape as they can imagine…
How the world was made: …They believe there are many gods, which they call Mantoac, but of different sorts and degrees. Also that there is one chief god that hath been from all eternity, who as they say when he purposed first to make the world, made first other gods of a principle order, to be as instruments to be used in the creation and government to follow: And after the sun, moon and stars, as petty gods; and the instruments of the other order more principal. First (they say) were made waters, out of which by the gods were made all diversity creatures that are visible or invisible.
How man was made: For mankind they say a woman was made first, which by the working of
one of the gods conceived and brought forth children; and so they had their beginnings, but how many years or ages since they know not;
having no records but only tradition from father to son.
How they use their gods: They think that all the gods are of human shape, and therefore represent them by images in the forms of men; which they call Kewasowok: one alone is called Kewasa; them they place in their temples, where worship, pray, sing, and make many offerings. The common sort think them also gods…
The subtlety of their priests: What subtlety soever be in the Werowances, and priests: this opinion worketh so much in the common sort, that they have great respect to governors; and as great care to avoid torment after death, and to enjoy bliss. Yet they have divers sorts of punishments according to the offense, according to the greatness of the fact. And this is the sum of their religion, which I learned by having special familiarity with their priests, wherein they were not so sure grounded, nor gave such credit, but, through conversing with us, they were brought into great doubts their own, and no small admiration of ours: of which many desired to learn more than we had means for want of utterance in their language to express…
Their consultations: When they intend any wars, the Werowances usually have the advice of their priests and conjurers, and their allies and ancient friends, but chiefly the priests determine their resolution. Every Werowance, or some lusty fellow, they appoint Captain over every nation. They seldom make war for lands or goods, but for women and children, and principally for revenge.
Their enemies: They have many enemies, namely, all their westerly countries beyond the mountains, and the heads of the rivers…
Their charms to cure: They have many professed physicians, who, with their charms and rattles, with an infernal rout of words and actions, will seem to suck their inward grief from their navals, or their grieved places…”
Smith then quotes this phrase to show the powerlessness of their charms:
“But ‘tis not always in physician’s skill, to heal the patient that is sick and ill; For sometimes sickness on the patient’s part, proves stronger far than all physician’s art.”
The Indian's Desire of Salvation
Under the sub-title, Their
Desire of Salvation, Smith relates that even the natives were in awe and
admiration of the colonists’ Christian lives, that is, their life of prayer,
obedience to the Lord, longsuffering and forgiveness; all of which drew them to
the true God of the Bible and Jesus Christ His Son:
"…The King Wingina where we dwelt would oft be
with us at prayer. Twice he was
exceeding sick and like to die. And
doubting of any help from his priests, thinking
he was in such danger for offending us and our God, sent for some of us to
pray, and be a means to our God, he might live with Him after death. And so did many other
in like case. One other strange
accident (leaving others) will I mention before
I end, which moved the whole country that either knew or heard of us, to have
us in wonderful admiration. There
was no town where they had practiced any villainy
against us (we leaving it unpunished, because we sought by all possible
means to win them by gentleness) but within a few days after our
departure, they began to die; in some
towns twenty, in some forty, in some sixty, and in one a
hundred and twenty, which was very many in respect to their numbers.
And this happened in no place
(we could learn) where we had been, but where they had used
some practice to betray us. And
this disease was so strange, they neither knew what
it was, nor how to cure it; ;nor had they known the like time out of
mind; a thing specially observed by us,
as also by themselves, in so much that some of them who
were our friends, especially Wingina, had observed such effects in four
or five towns, that they were persuaded it was the work of God through our
means: and that we by Him might kill
and slay whom we would, without weapons, and not come near them.
And thereupon, when they had any understanding, that any of their
enemies abused us in our journeys, they
would entreat us, we would be a means to our God, that they,
as the others that had dealt ill with us, might die in like sort: although we showed them
their requests were ungodly and that our God would not subject Himself to any
such requests of men, but all things as He pleased came to pass: and that we, to show ourselves
His true servants, ought rather to pray for the contrary. Yet because the effect
fell out so suddenly after, according to their desires, they thought it came
to pass by our means, and would come
give jus thanks in their manner, that though we
satisfied them not in words, yet in deeds we had fulfilled their
above accounts point out the contrast between Christianity as embraced by the
1607 settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, and the false religions practiced by
Indian tribes such as the Werowances. Once
again, we find that these original documents of early Virginia history dispel
the modern mythological textbook and history book accounts of the “noble
savage;” indoctrinated, exploited
and massacred by the colonists.
*see Frieze painting and sculpture in the Main
Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.
William Bradford and the 1620 Plymouth
“For the Furtherance of the Christian Faith…”
The 1620 Pilgrims arrived at Capt Cod, Massachusetts, on November 11,
1620. Ocean storms had blown them
off course. Thus, they arrived in
Massachusetts rather than their originally intended Virginia destination, King
James having granted a charter to the Virginia Company for it incorporation. (See
First Charter of Virginia, April 10, 1606).
finding themselves about to arrive upon land with no established form of
government as it would have been, had they landed in Virginia, they saw the
necessity to establish some type of governmental order among themselves before
landing. The result was the
Mayflower Compact, a charter which they drew up and signed, electing their own
officers, and binding themselves to work together for their common Christian
faith and their common good. From
this simple mutual agreement, took form the first American Commonwealth, the
beginning “of government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
This document, establishing the Pilgrims’ priorities, reads as follows:
In the Name of God, Amen.
We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal
subjects of our dread sovereign Lord King James, by the grace of God,
of of Great Britain, France and
Ireland, King, defender of the faith, etc., having undertaken, for the glory
of God, and advancement of the Christian faith,
and honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony
in the northern parts of Virginia, do, by these presents, solemnly and
mutually, in the presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine
ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering
and preservation, and furtherance of
the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to
enact, constitute and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts,
constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most
meet and convenient for the general
good of the colony; unto which we promise all
due submission and obedience. In
witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11 of
November, in the year of the reign of
our sovereign lord, King James of England, France, and Ireland and the
eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, Anno Dom. 1620.
had been a difficult journey. Bradford
tells us that, of the 103 Mayflower Pilgrim disembarking passengers, 51 of these
died during the first New England winter. However,
this stalwart band of settlers who had braved the dangerous seas and
inhospitable New England shores, to live their lives in harmony with God’s
Holy Scriptures, persevered in prayer, obedience and praise to Almighty God.
Bradford’s overriding theme throughout his moving history, Of Plimoth
Plantation, is that of God’s immeasurable grace and His guiding hand upon
the lives and endeavors of the Pilgrim settlers. The original Of Plimoth
Plantation is hereunder quoted:
…What could now sustain them but ye spirite of God and
His grace? May not and ought not
the children of these fathers rightly say: “Our fathers were
Englishmen which came over this great ocean and were
ready to perish in this wilderness; (Deut. 26:5,7) but they cried unto
ye Lord, and he heard their voice, and looked on their adversitie, etc.
Let them therefore praise ye Lord, because He is good, and his mercies
endure forever (107 Psalm v. l,2,4,5,8).” Yea,
let them which have been redeemed of
the Lord show how he hath delivered them from ye
hand of ye oppressour. When they
wandered in ye desert wilderness out of ye way, and found no citie to dwell
in, both hungrie and thirstie, their
sowle was overwhelmed in them. Let
them confess before ye Lord his loving
kindnes and his wonderfull works before ye
sons of men…
…Thus it pleased God to vanquish their enemies and give
them deliverance; and by his spetiall
providence, so to dispose that not any
one of them were either hurte, or hitt, though their
arrows came close by them, and on every side of them, and sundry
of their coats, which hunge up in ye barricade, were shot throw and
throw. Afterwards they
gave God sollamne thanks and praise for their
…and thus they found ye Lord to be with them in all
their ways and to bless their outgoings
and their incomings for which let his holy name
have ye praise for ever to all posteritie…
to these original documents on the mind-set and value-system of the 1620
Pilgrims at Plimoth Plantation, what does the term “Pilgrim fathers” really
mean? Who were these people whose
lives and deeds so thoroughly influenced and permeated the entire course of
America’s history? Quoting from a
publication of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, reprinted under the title The
Term Pilgrim Fathers, we read that President Roosevelt, in his August 20,
1907 address commemorating the landing of the Mayflower Pilgrims, said:
“The coming hither of the Pilgrims 300 years ago,
followed in far larger numbers by their
sterner kinsmen, the Puritans, shaped the destinies of this
Continent, and therefore profoundly affected the destiny of the whole
Roger Williams (1603-1683)
– Friend of the Indians
Rhode Island’s Greatest Hero in the
U.S. Capitol’s Hall of Fame
Roger Williams was chosen by the citizens of Rhode Island as their
great hero in the U.S. Capitol’s Hall of Fame.
His marble statue depicts him holding a Bible in his right hand.
was born in Wales in 1603. After
graduating from Oxford, he ministered through the Church of England, but, upon
preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he was labeled “a Puritan” and became
an outcast of the established Anglican Church.
on a ship for America, considered “the haven for persecuted Christians,” he
and his wife Mary arrived on February 5, 1631 in this country.
Two months later, he became a teaching elder of the Church at Salem.
Being, once again, offensive to the Governor and Assistants of
Massachusetts Bay, he left for Plymouth, and assisted Reverend Ralph Smith of
the church there. His preaching on
Freedom of Religion and biblical truth caused some of his parishioners to be
offended. He thus returned to
Salem, settling there with his family. Roger
Williams gained the reputation, both in America and England of “a godly man
and a zealous preacher.” He
boldly preached against violation of the Indians’ rights, through the land
patent, which the King of England had placed in the hands of the government.
He also preached that the magistrate had no right “to deal in mattes of
conscience and religion.”
was ordered to leave the colony in the Fall of 1635, the time being extended to
Spring 1636. However, “the people
being much taken with the apprehension of his godliness,” in January
following, the Governor and Assistants sent an officer to take him to a ship
bound for England. Roger thus moved
to Rehoboth, prior to the officer’s arrival.
1636, he founded the Providence settlement, after which he joined the Baptists.
In March, 1639, Williams was baptized by Ezekiel Halliman at Providence.
1643, Roger Williams returned to England, representing the colonies of
Providence, Rhode Island and Warwick; in order to seek a Charter of
Incorporation. He finally procured
one, signed on March 14, 1644 by the Earl of Warwick, then both Governor and
Admiral of the English settlement.
Williams was a man of moral excellence and integrity.
He was an injured, persecuted man. However,
he made the best of every opportunity to befriend and expose the neighboring
Indian tribes to the life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ.
He continually performed acts of kindness to his persecutors, helping the
poor and miserable, and offering an asylum to the persecuted.
Williams’ Outreach to the Indians –
“A Key into the Language of America”
an indelible mark on posterity, Williams’ A Key into the Language of
America was composed in 1643. This
work presents the character of the Indians, admirably calculated to facilitate
communication with them, necessary to peaceful cohabitation.
Of this famous work, Williams writes:
“To my dear and well-beloved friends and countrymen, in
Old and New England: I present
you with a Key; I have not heard of the life, yet framed,
since it pleased God to bring that mighty Continent of America to
light; others of my countrymen, have
often and excellently, and lately written of
the country (and none that I know beyond the goodness and worth of
of it). This Key, respects
the native language of it, and happily may unlock some rarities concerning the
natives themselves, not yet discovered… There
is a mixture of this language North and South, from the place of
my abode, about six hundred miles; yet within the 200 miles
(aforementioned) their dialects do exceedingly differ; yet not so, but (within
that compasse) a man may be this help, converse with the thousands of natives
all over the country: and by such
converse it may please the Father of Mercies
to spread civility (and in His own most holy season) Christianity;
for one candle will light ten thousand, and it may please God to bless
a little leaven to season the mighty
lump of those peoples and territories…”
focused upon bringing the Word of god to lost souls, Williams prefaces his
translation of the Genesis account of Creation, excerpted as
…I shall propose some proper expressions concerning the
Creation of the world, and man’s
estate, and in particular theirs also, which from myself
many hundreds of times, great numbers of them have heard with great
delight, and great convictions: which, who knows (in God’s holy
season) may rise to the exalting of the
Lord Jesus Christ in their conversion and salvation?
“Friend, I will aske you a question.
What thinke you?
Who made the Heavens?
The Earth, the Sea.
Some will answer “Tatta,” I cannot tell, some will
answer “Manittowock,” the gods.
“How many gods bee there?
Many, great many.
Friend, no so.
There is onely one God.
You are mistaken.
You are out of the way.”
phrase which much pleaseth them, being proper for their wandering in the woods,
and similitudes greatly please them.
“I will tell you newes.
One Onely God made the
Five thousand years agoe, and upwards.
He alone made all things.
Out of nothing.
In six days He made all things.
The first day Hee made the light.
The second day Hee made the firmament.
The third day Hee made the earth and sea.
The fourth day He made the sun and the moon.
Two great lights.
And all the stares.
The fifth day Hee made all the fowle.
In the ayre or heavens
And all the fish in the sea.
The sixth day Hee made all the beasts
Of the field.
Last of all He made one man.
Of red earth.
And call’d him Adam, or red earth.
And the afterward, while
Adam or red earth slept.
God tooke a rib from Adam, or red earth.
And of that rib He made one woman.
And brought her to Adam…”
Key into the Language of America finishes with a poem, prefaced by
this eternal truth, as found in the Bible:
O, how terrible is the look, the speedy and serious
thought of death to all the sons of
men. Thrice happy those who are
dead and risen with the Son of God, for
they are past from death to life, and shall not
see death (a heavenly sweet paradox or riddle), as the Son of
God hath promised them.
“The Indians say their bodies die,
Their souls they do not die;
Worse are then Indians such, as hold the soul’s mortality
Our hopeless body rots, say they,
Is gone eternally.
English hope better, yet some’s hope
Proves endless misery
Two worlds of men shall rise and stand
‘Fore Christ’s most dreadful bar;
Indians and English naked too,
That now most gallant are.
True Christ most glorious then shall made
New earth, and heavens new,
False Christs, false Christians then shall quake,
O blessed then the true.”
prayer to Almighty God concludes his masterful translation of their Indian
“Now, to the most high and most holy, immortal,
invisible, and the only wise God, who alone is
Alpha and Omega, and beginning and the ending,
the first and the last, who was, and is, and is to
come; fro whom, and to whom are all things;
by whose gracious assistance and wonderful
supportment in so many varieties of hardship and
outward miseries,…by honor, glory, power, riches,
wisdom, goodness and dominion ascribed by all His
in Jesus Christ to eternity, Amen.”
Williams’ love of the Indians
Williams shows his deep love of the Indians in his statement that “God was
pleased to give me a painful, patient Spirit to lodge with them, in their
filthy, smoky holes (even while I lived in Plymouth and Salem) to gain their
William Penn’s Bible -
His August 18, 1681 Letter to the Indians
and 1682 Treaty with the Indians
William Penn was an English nobleman whose father, Admiral Penn,
aspired to a great military career for his son.
At age 22 however, Penn was converted from Atheism to Christianity after
hearing Thomas Loe’s famous sermon: “The Sandy Foundation Shaken.”
Young William joined the friends Society of Quakers, and found himself
imprisoned three times for preaching the Gospel. While serving a nine-month term in the Tower of London, Penn
dreamed of starting a colony in the new world, where biblical truth could be
sought, free from persecution. In
1681, he arrived with his followers on board the ship “Welcome,” founding
shortly thereafter “Philadelphia, City of Brotherly Love.” His leather-bound Bible and Psalter, accompanied him.
On the title page to his Book of Psalms, Penn had written:
“Set forth and allowed to be sung in all churches, of
all the people together, before and
after morning and evening prayer, and moreover in private houses for their
godly solace and comfort, laying apart
all ungodly songs and ballads: which tend only to the nourishing of vice and
corrupting of youth.”
is interesting to note that in his Bible, the section which is the most
underlined is the Book of Exodus, which tells about the Israelites’ escape
from Egypt. This is a point of
significance, in view of the English Quaker exodus to Pennsylvania, likening
their removal to America with that of the Israelites’ deliverance from bondage
and slavery. Penn’s desire for
freedom extended to all persons, as is shown in this letter he sent ahead to the
Indians in the area. It reads:
Penn’s Letter to the Indians
There is one great God and Power that hath made the world and
all things therein, to whom you and I and all people owe
their being and well-being, and to whom you and I must one
day give an account, for all that we doe in the world;
This great God hath written His
law in our hearts by which we are
taught and commanded to love and help and doe good
to one another and not to doe harm and mischief one unto
another…I shall shortly come to you myself at which time
we may more freely and largely confer and discourse of
these matters. Receive
those presents and tokens which I have
sent to you as a testimony to my goodwill to you and
my resolution to live justly, peaceably and friendly with you.
I am, your loving friend, William Penn.
world-renowned painting by Quaker Benjamin West, Penn’s Treaty With the
Indians, which is on permanent exhibition at the Pennsylvania
Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, celebrates Penn’s excellent relationship
with the Indians, which was never marred by war during his reign as governor of
Penn’s father, Admiral Penn, had transferred to his son the tract of land now
known as Pennsylvania (Penn’s Woods) in America, which had been given to him
by the Crown of England. This was
in return for exemplary service to His Majesty the King.
William Penn’s Christian caliber and integrity, however, caused him to
buy the land from the Indians, rather than take it. His famous 1682 Treaty with the Indians sealed
the agreement. It is graphically
memorialized in sculpture and in a frieze painting within the main rotunda of
the U.S. Capitol, showing William Penn’s biblical approach to life.
The College of William and Mary and the
And the Indian School, 1697
Of primary significance in the heart of Williamsburg is The
College of William and Mary, established in 1693 by the Crown of England. A
plaque prominently displayed on the inside wall of the Christopher Wren
Building, first edifice of what is now a vast College campus, quotes from its
original Charter, specifying that the purpose for the school is the training of
ministers of the gospel for the propagation of the Christian faith amongst the
Charter granted by King William and Queen Mary, for
founding of William and Mary College in Virginia.
William and Mary, by the grace of God, of England,
Scotland, France and Ireland, King and Queen, Defenders of the Faith, to all
whom these our present Letters shall come, greeting.
forasmuch as our well-beloved and trusty subjects, constituting the
General Assembly of our Colony of Virginia, have had it
in their minds, and have proposed to themselves, to the end that
the Church of Virginia may be furnished with a Seminary of
Ministers of the Gospel, and that the Youth may be piously educated in
Good Letters and Manners, and that the Christian faith may be
propagated amongst the Western Indians, to the
glory of God…
College of William and Mary holds preeminence as the nation’s oldest college
(Harvard being the oldest university). Three
United States presidents (Tyer, Monroe and Jefferson) attended this college,
George Washington being its first chancellor.
At its establishment in 1693, the college comprised three schools:
The Grammar, Philosophy and Divinity schools. Among the textbooks studied were, Buchanan’s Paraphrase
of the Psalms, the Latin Bible, the Greek New Testament and Greek and
Latin editions of the Book of Common Prayer.
The Indian School - 1697
1697 an Indian School was added, its stated purpose being to prepare Indian boys
so that they could go back to their tribes as Christian evangelists to teach and
preach the Word of God.
of the Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence,
George Wythe, for whom the law college is named, was legal mentor to Thomas
Jefferson, Peyton Randolph, John Marshall and many early Americans.
American patriots such as John Marshall, star pupil of George Wythe, and fourth
Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; Peyton Randolph, first president of the
Continental Congress, along with 16 members of that body; and four signers of
the Declaration of Independence, proceeded from this school.
Edmund Randolph, attorney general under George Washington observed: “until the
Revolution, most of the leading men were alumni of William and Mary.”
was here, too, that George Washington received his surveyor’s commission in
1749, Benjamin Franklin the honorary degree of Master of Arts in 1756, and the
Chevalier de Chastellux and Thomas Jefferson in 1782, the degree of Doctor of
presidents, until 1814, and most of its faculty until the American Revolution
were ministers. Six of its
presidents have jointly held the position of Rector of Bruton Parish Episcopal
Church, which served founding fathers George Washington, Thomas Jefferson,
Patrick Henry and others.
Greatest Hero in the U.S. Capitol’s Hall of Fame
and the Indian School – alias Dartmouth College
Trumbull was chosen as Connecticut’s greatest hero in the U.S. Capitol’s
Hall of Fame. A close friend of
George Washington, he was Governor of Connecticut during the Revolutionary War.
the age of thirteen Trumbull entered Harvard College, a Divinity School in those
days. His studies comprised Greek,
Hebrew and Latin; later extending to physics, ethics, geography, geometry and
forensics. He greatly promoted the
practice of Christian virtues, values and morals on campus.
Graduating from Harvard at 17, Jonathan pursued studies in Theology with
a minister/tutor for two and a half years, in order to become a Minister of
Gospel. Trumbull was a member of
the Congregational Church in Colchester and preached sermons.
upon the untimely death of his older brother, he was obliged to leave the
full-time ministry in order to assist his father in his business; and eventually
was elected to the Colonial Assembly at 23.
He also served as Governor’s Assistant for 22 years, opposing the Stamp
Act passed by Parliament, which he deemed unconstitutional.
The Indian School
In the years preceding the American Revolution, he helped to found
an Indian School, which was later moved to Hanover, New Hampshire,
becoming Dartmouth College.
wrote to Trumbull from Army Headquarters in Valley Forge, that the American Army
would cease to exist if food did not arrive speedily. Within five days, Trumbull dispatched 300 beef cattle to
Washington in Valley Forge. Twenty-one
regiments of soldiers were sent, and 252 ships fitted out from Connecticut,
which Washington called “The Supply State.”
his life Jonathan Trumbull maintained a personal relationship with his Redeemer,
Jesus Christ. “The Lord Reigneth!”
was his oft-repeated response in times of crisis.
After the Revolutionary war had been won, George Washington wrote to his
friend Trumbull, “It is my wish that the mutual friendship…which has been
fostered in the tumult of public life, may not wither in the serenity of
George Washington’s letter to the
Society of the United Brethren
for Propagating the Gospel among the Indians
“To the Directors of the Society of the
United Brethren for Propagating the Gospel among the Heathen.
receive with satisfaction the congratulations of your society, and of the
Brethren’s congregations in the United States of America.
For you may be persuaded, that the approbation and good wishes of such a
peaceable and virtuous community cannot be indifferent to me.
will also be please to accept my thanks for the treatise* you presented; and be
assured of my patronage in your laudable undertakings.
proportion as the general government of the United States shall acquire strength
by duration, it is probable they may have it in their power to extend a salutary
influence to the aborigines in the extremities of their territory.
In the mean time, it will be a desirable thing, for the protection of the
Union, to co-operate, as far as the circumstances may conveniently admit, with
the disinterested endeavours of your Society to civilize the christianize the
Indians of the wilderness.
these impressions, I pray Almighty God to have you always in his holy keeping.
‘An Account of the Manner in which the Protestant
Church of the Unitas Fratrum, or Untied Brethren, preach the Gospel and
carry on their Mission among the Heathen.’
Lewis Cass (1782-1866) –
known by the Indians
as “the Great White Father”
Lewis Cass was chosen by the citizens of Michigan as their greatest
hero in the U.S. Capitol’s Hall of Fame.
He was governor of Michigan Territory for eighteen years.
This Territory comprised the unmapped areas of Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin
and Minnesota, stretching out to the Mississippi River.
James Madison had appointed Cass at age 31 to this task. The population at the time is estimated at 3,000 pioneers.
Indians of the Sioux, Winnebago, Ottawa and Chippewa Tribes were present.
his long and able leadership, there were no Indian wars. Similar to William Penn in Pennsylvania, Roger Williams in
Rhode Island and the Calverts in Maryland, Cass shared the reputation of fair
dealing with the Indians, but on a wider scale.
He studied their character and maintained fair and honest dealings with
them. He kept his promises and
ensured their understanding and upholding of their contracts, winning respect
was known by the Indians as “the Great White Father” in Detroit,
being more significant to them than the U.S. President in Washington.
Twenty-one solemn treaties were made by Cass with the Indians, by which
most of them migrated beyond the Mississippi River, leaving the greater part of
the domain – the great Northwest – to the pioneers, without conflict.
Lewis Cass was elected to the U.S. Senate, a post which he maintained
for twelve years. He believed that
a good education, extended to all the people, was the primary safeguard of a
Bethel Mission, one of 13 Choctaw
An historic plaque on the Natchez Trace (the old
road between Jackson and Tupelo) states the following concerning the missions to
Bethel, meaning House of God, was opened in 1822 as one of thirteen Choctaw
mission station. Missionaries, Indians and squaws laboured hard during
four weeks, “frequently till 10 o’clock at night, by the light of the moon
or large fires” to clear the forest and erect buildings. The missionaries who took the Gospel to the wilderness also
taught farming, carpentry, weaving and housekeeping as well as reading, writing
and arithmetic to Choctaw children. In
1826, people moved from the trace to new roads and Bethel was closed.
Site of the Brainerd Mission to the
and memorials to distinguished missionaries and educators, who laboured
tirelessly among the Cherokee Indians at the Brainerd Mission read
The Reverend Stephen Foreman
“He laboured with the Cherokees and walked with God”
Born October 22, 18O7, in the Cherokee Nation near the present site of
Rome, Georgia, of Scotch-Cherokee parentage.
Died December 8, 1881, at Part Hill Indian Territory and is buried at the
Stephen Foreman Cemetery there. A
gentleman of the Old Southern type, a scholar of much culture and learning, a
writer of prominence. Educated
College of Richmond, Virginia and Princeton Theological Seminary.
Licensed to preach September 23, 1835 by Union Presbytery, Tennessee.
Served “old nation” as associate editor of the Cherokee Phoenix.
Translated into Cherokee the New Testament, and part of the Old, also many
tracts and hymns. Worked with the
missionaries at Brainerd and preached for 46 years among his people.
Had charge of Train of Wagons at the removal of Cherokees 1838.
Organized Cherokee National Public School System and was first
Superintendent of Education west of the Mississippi River.
Elected to Supreme Court of the Cherokee Nation October 11,
1884. Executive Councillor
1847-1855 and held many other places of trust and honor.
Established First Presbyterian Church at Tah Lequah.
In memory of this great Cherokee who did so much for his people along the
lines of Religion, education and good fellowship, this tablet is lovingly
dedicated by his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
September 21, 1938.”
“Here upon a small clearing in the wilderness in 1817, Brainerd
Mission was founded among the Cherokee Indians by the American Board of
Foreign Missions. First called Chickamaugah.
Changed to Brainerd in 1818.
Maintained with aid of the United States Government until 1838.
Here 40 buildings were erected and hundreds of Indians were christianized
and educated. The Mission was
visited in 1819 by President Monroe.
Its work was successfully carried on by Eastern
Missionaries among whom were Reverend Ard Hoyt, first Superintendent, and Samuel
Austin Worcester, who inspired the use of Sequoyah’s syllabary in printing.
Scientific agriculture, trades and domestic arts were taught to several
hundred children, and through their influence, Christianity was spread
throughout the Cherokee nation.”
Brainerd Missionaries (1817-1838)
Friends and Students of Brainerd Mission:
“Prominent among the friends and students at Brainerd Mission
were: Charles A. Hicks,
Assistant Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, the most powerful man of his
time among the tribe. Charles
Reece, second member of the Brainerd Church and interpreter for the
missionaries: David Brown (A-Wih). Brilliant
students, interpreter, orator and translator.
Elias Boudinot (Kill-Kee-Nah), students, prominent in Cherokee National
Affairs, editor of Cherokee Phoenix.
Stephen Foreman, Minister, employed by the American Board.
John Huss, distinguished warrior who studied here and became a minister.
Lydia Lavery, student, wrote the first Cherokee hymn, married Milo Hoyt.
David Carter (T-Wah), student, Judge of the Cherokee Supreme Court,
editor of the Cherokee Advocate. Thomas
Basil (Tools-oo-Wan), students and interpreter.
Elijah Hicks, interpreter and editor of the Cherokee Phoenix.
Mission played an important part in the educational development and
christianizing of the Cherokee. Brainerd
Cemetery contains graves of whites and Indians who died at the Mission.”
Early Missions among the Objibways
and Dahkotahs of Minnesota
An 1881 Library of Congress book entitled, Minnesota Explorers
and Pioneers from A.D. 1659 to A.D. 1858, by a
distinguished member of the Massachusetts Historical Society, gives the
following historic account:
the month of June, 1820, the Rev. Dr. Morse, father of the distinguished
inventor of the telegraph, visited and preached at Mackinaw, and in consequence
of statements published by him, upon his return, a Presbyterian Missionary
Society in the State of New York sent a graduate of Union College, the rev. W.M.
Ferry, father of the present United States Senator from Michigan, to explore the
field. In 1823 he had established a
large boarding school composed of children of various tribes, and here some were
educated who became wives of men of intelligence and influence at the capital of
Minnesota. After a few years, it
was determined by the Mission Board to modify its plans, and in the place of a
great central station, to send missionaries among the several tribes to teach
and to preach…
Missions among the Sioux, A.D. 1835
About this period, a native of South Carolina, a graduate of
Jefferson College, Pennsylvania, the Rev. T.S. Williamson, M.D., who previous to
his ordination, had been a respectable physician in Ohio, was appointed by the
American Board of Foreign Missions to visit the Dahkotahs with the view of
ascertaining what could be done to introduce Christian instruction. Having made inquiries at Prairie du Chien and Fort Snelling,
he reported the field was favorable.
Presbyterian and Congregational Churches, through their joint Missionary
Society, appointed the following persons to labor in Minnesota; Rev. Thomas S.
Williamson, M.D., missionary and physician; Rev. J.D. Stevens, missionary;
Alexander Huggins, farmer; and their wives; Miss Sarah Poage, and Lucy Stevens,
teachers; who were prevented during the 1834, by the state of navigation, from
entering upon their work.
there had never been a chaplain at Fort Snelling, the Rev. J.D. Stevens, the
missionary at Lake Harriet, preached on Sundays to the Presbyterian church
there, recently organized.
The Mission to the Indians
Writing on January twenty-seventh, 1836, he says, in relation to his
field of labor:
“Yesterday a portion of this band of Indians, who had been some time
absent from this village, returned. One
of the number (a woman) was informed that a brother of ehrs had died during her
absence. He was not at this
village, but with another band, and the information had just reached here. In the evening they set up a most piteous crying, or rather
wailing, which continued, with some little cessations, during the night.
The sister of the deceased brother would repeat, times without number,
words which may be thus translated into English:
‘Come, my brother, I shall see you no more for ever.’
The night was extremely cold, the thermometer standing from ten to twenty
below zero. About sunrise, next
morning, preparation was made for performing the ceremony of cutting their
flesh, in order to give relief to their grief of mind.
The snow was removed from the frozen ground over about as large a space
as would be required to place a small Indian lodge or wigwam. In the centre a very small fire was kindled up, not to give
warmth, apparently, but to cause a smoke. The
sister of the deceased, who was the chief mourner, came out of hr lodge followed
by three other women, who repaired to the place prepared.
They were all barefooted, and nearly naked.
Here they set up a most bitter lamentation and crying, mingling their
wailings with the words mentioned. The
principal mourner commenced gashing or cutting her ankles and legs up to the
knees with a sharp stone, until her legs were covered with gore and flowing
blood; then in like manner her arms, shoulders, and breast.
The others cut themselves in the same way, but not so severely. On this poor infatuated woman I presume there were more than
a hundred long deep gashes in the flesh. I
saw the operation, and the blood instantly followed the instrument, and flowed
down upon the flesh. She appeared
frantic with grief. Through the
pain of her wounds, the loss of blood, exhaustion of strength by fasting, loud
and long-continued and bitter groans, or the extreme cold upon her almost naked
and lacerated body, she soon sank upon the frozen ground, shaking as with a
violent fit of the ague, and writhing in apparent agony.
‘Surely,’ I exclaimed, as I beheld the bloody scene, ‘the tender
mercies of the heathen are cruelty!’
little church at the fort begins to manifest something of a missionary spirit.
Their contributions are considerable for so small a number.
I hope they will not only be willing to contribute liberally of their
substance, but will give themselves, at least some of them, to the missionary
surgeon of the military post, Dr. Jarvis, has been very assiduous in his
attentions to us in our sickness, and has very generously made a donation to our
board of twenty-five dollars, being the amount of his medical services in our
Chippeway missions at Pokeguma
Pokeguma is one of the “Mille Lacs,” or thousand beautiful lakes
for which Minnesota is remarkable. It
is about four or five miles in extent, and a mile or more in width.
lake is situated on Snake River, about twenty miles above the junction of that
stream with the St. Croix.
the year 1836, missionaries came to reside among the Ojibways and Pokeguma, to
promote their temporal and spiritual welfare.
Their mission house was built on the east side of the lake; but the
Indian village was on an island not far from the shore.
a letter written in 1837, we find the following results of the missions:
“The young women and girls now make, mend, wash and iron.
The men have learned to build log houses, plough, hoe, and handle an axe
with some skill in cutting trees…”
Dr. Joseph Ward, Missionary to the
the Indians in the Dakotas and South
Dakota’s Greatest Hero in the U.S.
Capitol’s Hall of Fame
Dr. Joseph Ward (1838-1889)
was chosen by the citizens of South Dakota as their greatest hero in the U.S.
Capitol’s Hall of Fame.
father, Dr. Jabez Ward, was the country doctor and beloved physician of Perry
Centre, a town in Western New York State. Dr.
Ward ministered to both the body and soul of those who sought his help.
His account books revealed extremely hard work for sparse compensation.
He not only prescribed medicines, but also prepared them for his
patients, receiving meager returns. Ward’s
sister wrote this account of Perry Centre, “…the strict keeping of Saturday
night as the beginning of Holy Time, the nightly ringing of the curfew, the
tolling of the bell on the death of anyone in the parish – all these were more
conscientiously observed than in many Massachusetts towns.”
Most of all, the community loved and worshipped the Lord in church;
prayer, praise and Bible Study being a way of life.”
Joseph was five years old, his father died of pneumonia, having left his sick
bed to assist the birth of a child. His
widowed mothers, although an invalid, displayed Christian character and
integrity, molding her son’s future, a she patiently resigned her soul into
the hands of her blessed Redeemer. Her
incurable disease caused increasing pain and helplessness.
was thus that Ward’s magnificent character was developed, attending dialing to
his mother’s needs with tenderness, gentleness, and faithfulness, until the
age of fifteen. The constant
watchfulness at her bedside and the though of impending death wrought in him a
clear perception of immortality through Christ’s atonement.
He also acquired a taste for reading good books while attending his
mother’s ;needs. Joseph had
already devoured Josephus’ History of Israel, Milton’s Paradise
Lost and other great works at eight years of age.
It is said that Ward possessed a remarkable memory, later becoming a
Latin scholar. Blackstone’s
Commentaries also interested him.
preparation for the ministry began at Phillips Academy in Andover,
Massachusetts, where he became the foremost Latin scholar.
He spent eleven years in academy, college and seminary.
After graduation from Phillips Academy in 1861, he
matriculated at Providence, Rhode Island’s Brown University.
Teaching at the Sunday School of the church which his sister’s husband,
Reverend Stewart Sheldon, pastured, Ward fell in love with Sarah Wood, daughter
of the Sunday School Superintendent, the Honorable Joseph Wood.
1865, Ward entered Andover Theological Seminary, which was then
infused with missionary zeal. He
became a great champion of missions, being described by Dr. C.F.P. Bancroft:
“As a Theological student he showed the same traits
which made him subsequently the
effective home missionary, the faithful pastor, the
enterprising and sagacious college president.
There was the same candor of
judgment, the same frankness and openness of expression,
quickness of sympathy, abounding good humor, fertility of resources,
the same turn for practical business, the same integrity and solidarity
of character and robust but gracious piety.”
Dr. Joseph Ward – Missionary to the Indians in Dakota
was married to Sarah Frances Wood in Rhode Island in 1868, shortly after
graduating from Andover. The couple
soon accepted a call to missionary service to the Indians in Yankton, the
capital of Dakota Territory, which was at that time a village comprising a few
his leadership a Congregational Association in Dakota was formed encompassing
the above churches, as well as churches which had spring up at Canton, Sioux
Falls, Dell Rapids, Vermillian, Springfield on the Missouri; and the Indian
Mission at Santee, Nebraska. It was
thus that Joseph Ward gained the reputation of “father of Congregationalism in
Dakota,” being the pioneer-minister and organizer of the earliest churches,
together with the work of Dakota Indian Missions.
Being greatly interested in the Indian Missions, he became
the champion of the Indians’ welfare.
1872 he organized the Yankton Academy, forerunner of Yankton
College. It was the
foremost academic institution of Dakota Territory and continued in its academic
motto Dr. Ward chose for the College was, “Christ for the World” and the
widely known and sung hymn from which the phrase originated became the College
Hymn. The College bell then had a
verse from this hymn inscribed upon it:
At morn, at noon, at twilight dim,
My voice shall sound, the earth around,
Christ for the world, the world for Him.
Ward’s sudden death from blood poisoning was no doubt hastened by
his steadfast, loyal and unrelenting hard labour in the mission of Dakota. During the last hours of his life, he delivered a special
message of love and encouragement to each family member as well as each faculty
member of Yankton College. His
last message to the Trustees of the College as: “Do not stop anything for me.
The work must go on no matter what becomes of the workers.”
September 27, 1963, a welcome and statement of greeting was given by the
Honorable John F. Kennedy, President of the United States, at the unveiling of
Joseph Ward’s statue in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.
This was followed by a reading of the poem, “Ward of Dakota.”
Ward of Dakota
The winds sang welcome on the waiting prairie
When Joseph Ward came journeying to Dakota;
Not he the hunter, armed and predatory.
Not he the seeker of a gilded future.
Compassion was his guide, and love his mission.
Out of the east he came, a knight un-knighted,
Clad in invisible armor, God-directed:
And where his journey ceased, his hands created,
With sweat and toil, a citadel of learning,
A nursery of thought, a spring of knowledge;
Whose broad far-reaching gains are yet uncounted.
To him as builder, leader, youth-inspirer,
To him as seer and prophet of high vision,
To him as never-wearying burden-bearer,
To him as seeker of new paths, and opener
Of blinded eyes, with courage never flagging
Waging a war to banish wrong and evil
Wherever found, by letting light and truth in;
Homage is due, and love, and long remembrance.
- Mabel Frederick, Sioux Falls
Senator Dennis Chavez (1888-1962)
Friend of the Navajo Indians -
New Mexico’s greatest hero in the
U.S. Capitol’s Hall of Fame
Dennis Chavez was selected by the people of New Mexico to represent
them as their Greatest hero in the U.S. Capitol’s Hall of Fame.
Document No. 128, 89th Congress, 2nd Session, on the
Acceptance of the statue of Dennis Chavez, presented by the State of New Mexico,
describes in detail the proceedings in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, on March
31, 1966. Among the numerous
commendatory speeches given by distinguished leaders and statesmen, the
following are quoted:
Remarks by the Honourable
Robert L. Bennett
Acting Commissioner of Indian Affairs
It is an honor for me to represent the Indian people of this Nation
here today as we honor the memory of Senator Dennis Chavez. Most of us who were on the Navajo Reservation when he was in
the Senate know of his devotion to the service of the Indian people.
The mark of this man was in the fact that notwithstanding his
grandfather’s death at the hands of the Navajo and Apache Indians, he extended
the hand of friendship to them. They, in turn, grasped it and came to love him as he loved
them. It is no wonder then that at
his passing they cried out the words inscribed in Navajo on his statue:
“We have lost our voice.”
Jason Lee (1803-1845)
Missionary to the Flat Head Indians and
Oregon’s Greatest Hero in the U.S. Capitol’s
Hall of Fame
Jason Lee, chosen by the citizens of Oregon as their greatest hero in
the U.S. Capitol’s Hall of Fame, was the first missionary to
Oregon Territory. His handsome
bronze statue depicts Lee holding a Bible in his left hand.
Jason Lee came from sturdy New England ancestry.
His grandfather, John Lee, left England for America in 1734, becoming one
of the early settlers near Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Jason’s father, Daniel Lee, enlisted in the Wadsworth Brigade,
reinforcing General Washington in and around New York City, and taking part in
the battle of White Plains in 1776.
and Sarah Lee’s log house in Stanstead, Vermont, saw the birth of their son,
Jason, on June 28, 1803. He was the
youngest of 15 children. Jason’s
father died when he was 3 years old, and this necessitated his becoming
self-supporting at age 13.
accepted Jesus Christ a his Lord and Savior through a Wesleyan missionary in
1826, relating his conversion in his diary with this entry, “I saw, I
believed, I repented.”
Lee continued working with his hands until 1829, when he
entered Wilbraham Academy, a Methodist institution Wilbraham, Massachusetts.
The following is a character sketch left for us by one of his classmates,
Bishop Osman C. Baker. It shows his
moral excellence, righteousness, and compassion as well as his perseverance in
prayer, and sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit:
Lee was a large, athletic young man, six feet and three inches in height,
with a fully developed frame and a constitution like iron.
His piety was deep and uniform, and his life, in a very uncommon degree,
pure and exemplary. In those days
of extensive and powerful revivals, I used to observe, with what confidence and
satisfaction, seekers of religion would place themselves under his instruction.
They regarded him as a righteous man whose prayers availed much; and when
there were indications that the Holy Spirit was moving in the heart of the
sinner within the circle of his acquaintance, his warm Christian heart would
incite him to constant labour until deliverance would be proclaimed to the
graduation at Wilbraham in 1830, Jason served as a teacher in the Stanstead
Academy, preaching in the neighboring towns until time came for him to go to
Oregon as missionary to the Flat Head Indians.
He planned to join a certain Captain Nathaniel Wyeth, of Cambridge,
Massachusetts, leaving Independence, Missouri in April of 1834. Lee, accompanied by two Indian boys from Oregon, preached
throughout New England until his departure.
Great crowds listened to him deliver the Gospel.
One of these meetings was held at Lynn, Massachusetts.
The Zion Herald published the following excerpted account of this
Sabbath evening there was…an address by Reverend Jason Lee, missionary to
the Flat Heads. It was one
of the most pleasant meetings ever held in Lynn, of a missionary character.
Long before the time appointed to commence, the house was thronged to
overflowing, and the audience hung upon the lips of the speaker with such an
interest that it could not be mistaken. The
collection did honor to Lynn; it amounted to $l00.00.”
Monday, April 28, 1834, the missionary expedition to Oregon, led by Nathaniel
Wyeth, set out from St. Louis, Missouri. Lee
was accompanied by four missionaries. He
preached “the first formal Protestant religious observance to be held in the
vast interior west of the Rocky Mountains at Fort Hill, on July 27, 1834.”
Lee and his companions continued to Fort Boise, escorted by Thomas McKay
and his Hudson’s Bay Brigade. From
there they continued alone to Fort Walla Walla, where they arrived on September
15, 1834, being warmly welcomed by Dr. John McLoughlin.
With the latter’s help, they established their mission on the east bank
of the Willamette River, just north of Salem.
a result of Jason Lee’s preaching, and his work with the Flat Head Indians, 51
missionaries were sent out by the Missionary Society, arriving in Vancouver on
June l, 1840.
Jason Lee’s character and accomplishments were eulogized by Thomas A.
McBride, Justice of the Oregon
State Supreme Court, at the unveiling of his portrait:
“The precious jewel of a Commonwealth; the one thing
above all others which it would
treasure, and the memory of those grand
and self-sacrificing men and women who laid the foundations of its greatness
and prosperity. One of these
treasured memories, is the life and
work of Jason Lee, the founder of American
civilization in Oregon…Lee combined the fervor of a
missionary, the foresight of a seer, and the patriotism of a loyal
of Oregon, Ben Olcott, accepted the portrait for the people of his people, with
these stirring words:
“Unhesitatingly I say that Jason Lee was Oregon’s
most heroic figure. By every right of
achievement, this portrait of Jason Lee should adorn
the halls of the Capitol building in our state, as long as those
Capitol buildings stand.”
Marcus Whitman, M.D.,
Missionary to the Nez Perce and Flat Head
Indians in Washington Territory -
Washington’s Greatest hero in the U.S.
Capitol’s Hall of Fame
Marcus Whitman was chosen by the citizens of Washington State as
their greatest hero in the U.S. Capitol’s Hall of Fame. His statue depicts him in his pioneer outfit, striding to the
great Northwest, his Bible under one arm, his medical equipment in the other.
Few Americans are familiar with the story of Marcus and Narcissa
Whitman, two great American heroes, and their work for the cause of the
gospel. Marcus made a valiant
cross-country ride to save Oregon from falling to the Hudson Bay Company – and
hence to the British.
all believers know, every revival is preceded by prayer and fasting.
In Kentucky in 1797, a young pastor by the name of James McGready and
others entered into a solemn covenant:
“Therefore, we bind ourselves to observe the third
Saturday of each month for one year as
a day of fasting and prayer for the conversion of sinners in Logan County
and throughout the world. We
also engage to spend one half hour every Saturday
evening, beginning at the setting of the sun, and one half hour every
Sabbath morning at the rising of the
sun in pleading with God to revive His work.”
prayers were answered. Revival took
hold of the Kentucky wilderness and spread southward to the Carolinas and north
across the mountains to the cities and churches of the East and New England.
Marcus Whitman and Narcissa Prentiss, who later became his bride, were both
deeply touched by the revival – so much so that each had committed to the
single lifestyle in order to better serve the Lord.
But due to a mutual friend and divine providence, they married and
committed their lives to evangelizing the Indians of the Northwest.
The cross-country trip was made by means of sleigh, steamboat, stage, ox
cart, horseback and on foot, all the way from the State of New York.
Theirs was the first wagon to cross the Rocky Mountains.
1836, when Marcus and Narcissa Whitman crossed the mountains into Old Oregon as
missionaries of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, they
were being carried along by the current of that blessed stream which began to
flow throughout the land when the Great Revival broke out at the beginning of
addition, unbeknownst to the Whitmans, they were a providential answer to a
foiled attempt by a declining Indian tribe in Oregon to find the one, true,
triune God. In 1831, four Nez Perce
and Flat Head Indians came to St. Louis seeking to learn the secret of the white
man’s success, convinced that the white man’s God was more potent than their
own. These Indians were: Black
Eagle, Rabbit Skin Leggings, No Horns on His Head and Man of the Morning.
Their request was that missionaries be sent among them to tell them of
the white man’s God. The portraits of Rabbit Skin Leggings and No Horns on His
Head are in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.D., painted by the
Indian authority and painter, George Catlin.
1866 there appeared in a lecture by missionary Henry Spalding, an account of the
sorrowful appeal of one of these Indians to General Clark when they were leaving
to go back to their own people. Said
“I come to you over a trail of many moons from the
setting sun. I came with one eye
partly open, for more light for my people who
sit in darkness. I go back with
both eyes closed. How can I go back
blind to my people? I made my way
to you with strong arms through many
enemies and strange lands. I go
back with both arms broken and empty.
My people sent me to get the white man’s
Book from Heaven. You took me
where you allow your women to dance, as
we do not ours, and the Book was not there. you
took me where they worship the great Spirit with candles,
and the Book was not there. You
showed me the images of good spirits
and pictures of the good land beyond. But
the Book was not among them.
I am going back the long, sad trail to my people of
the dark land. You make my
feet heavy with burdens of gifts, and
my moccasins will grow old in carrying them.
But the Book is not among them.
When I tell my poor, blind people after one
more snow in the big Council that I did not bring the Book, no
word will be spoken by our old men or by our young braves.
one by one they will rise up and go out in silence.
My people will die in darkness,
and they will go on the long path to other hunting
grounds. No white man will go
with them, and no white man’s Book,
to make the way plain. I have no
woman ever made such a journey as they made by Narcissa Whitman. In her fascinating journal for July 27, Narcissa, after
speaking of some of her hardships, writes: “Do not think I regret coming.
No, far from it. I would not go back for the world. I am contented and happy.
Notwithstanding, I sometimes get very hungry and weary.
Have six weeks’ steady journey before us.
Will the Lord give me patience to endure it?”
August 29, when from the summit of the Blue Mountains Narcissa saw the Columbia
River and Mount Hood, the goal of their journey, far off in the distance, two
biblical promises came to her mind: “As thy days, so shall thy strength be,”
and “Lo, I am with you always.”
Whitmans established themselves at Waiilatpu, in a rude cabin, among the Cayuse
was the gospel of the Oregon Trail? What
was the gospel that compelled Marcus and Narcissa Whitman to thrust on through
the dangers and hazards of the great Northwest?
What made them faithful unto martyrdom, perishing at the hands of those
to whom they brought the good news of eternal life? What was the gospel which erected the first Protestant church
west of the Rockies? What was the gospel that transformed the Indians, causing
them to discard their tomahawks and scalping knives; replacing them with the
resounding hymns of redemption each morning and evening – filling the mission
with praises to Jehovah God? It was
the magnificent gospel of Christ the Redeemer, the gospel of salvation from sin
through the shed blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
This was the gospel of the Oregon Trail.
British, who had established posts in Oregon through the Hudson Bay Company’s
fur trading, had intended to colonize the territory.
Marcus Whitman undertook the arduous journey to Washington, D.C., to make
his appeal for Oregon. The
fascinating story was related by none less than President Warren G. Harding
in 1923 in a speech on “The Oregon Trail at Meacham, Oregon.
Here are excerpts:
As I stand here in the shadow of the great hills, my mind reverts to the
placid banks of the broad Potomac. There, as here, to an American proud of
his country and revering her
traditions, there is much of patriotic interest, and between these
rugged mountains and those fertile lowlands, I find much in common. Living history records
many indissoluble links, to one of which it seems fitting that I
should direct your attention today.
Of the many rooms in the White House, which
possess the peculiar charm of association with epochal happenings, the
one most fascinating to me is that
which formerly comprised the Cabinet Room and the
President’s study…Before my mind’s eye as I stood in that heroic
chamber a few days ago appeared the
vivid picture. I beheld seated at
his desk, immaculately attired, the
embodiment of dignity and courtliness, John Tyler, 10th President
of The United States.
Facing him, from a chair constructed for a massive frame,
his powerful spirit gleaming through his cavernous eyes, was the lion-visaged
Daniel Webster, Secretary of State.
The door opened and there appeared before
The amazed statesmen a strange and astonishing figure.
It was that of a man of medium
height and sturdy build, deep chested, broad shouldered, yet lithe in
movement and soft in step. He
was clad in a coarse fur coat, buckskin breeches,
fur leggings, and boot moccasins, looking much the worse for wear. But it was the
countenance of the visitor, as he stood for an instant in the doorway, that
riveted the perception of the two Chiefs of State.
It was that of a religious enthusiast,
tenaciously earnest yet revealing no suggestion of fanaticism,
bronzed from exposure to pitiless elements and seamed with deep lines
of physical suffering, a rare
combination of determination and gentleness –
obviously a man of God, but no less a man among men.
Such was Marcus Whitman, the pioneer missionary hero of
the vast, unsettled, unexplored Oregon
country…It was more than a desperate and perilous trip
that Marcus Whitman undertook. It
was a race against time. Public
opinion was rapidly crystallizing into
a judgment that the Oregon country was not worth
claiming, much less worth fighting for; that even though it could be
acquired against the insistence of Great Britain, it would prove to be
a liability. and he did not hesitate to
speak plainly as one who knew, even like the prophet
Secretary,” he declared, “you would better give all New England
for the cod and mackerel fisheries of Newfoundland than to barter away
Then, turning to the President in conclusion, he added
quietly by beseechingly:
“All I ask is that you will not barter away Oregon or
allow English interference until I can
lead a band of stalwart American settlers across the plains. For this
I shall try to do!”
The manly appeal was irresistible.
He sought only the privilege of proving his
faith. The just and
considerate Tyler could not refuse.
“Dr. Whitman,” he rejoined sympathetically, “your
long ride and frozen limbs testify to
your courage and your patriotism. Your
credentials establish your character.
Your request is granted!”
…Never in the history of the world has there been a
finer example of civilization following
Christianity. The missionaries
led under the banner of the cross, and the settlers
moved close behind under the star-spangled banner of the Nation.
Among all the records of the
evangelizing effort as the forerunner of human advancement,
there is none so impressive as this of the early Oregon mission and its
To the men and women of that early day whose first thought was
to carry the gospel to the Indians – to the Lees, the Spauldings, the
Grays, the Walkers, the Leslies, and to
all the others of that glorious company who found that
in serving God they were also serving their country and their fellowmen
– to them we pay today our tribute;
to them we owe a debt of gratitude, which we can never
pay, save partially through recognition such as you have accorded it
today…I rejoice particularly in the
opportunity afforded me of voicing my appreciation
bth as President of the United States and as one who honestly tries to
be a Christian soldier, of the signal
service of the martyred Whitman. And
finally, as just a human being, I wish
I could find words to tell you how glad I am to
see you all, and reflecting as you do, from untroubled eyes, and happiness
of spirit breathed by our own best song:
“There are no new worlds to conquer
Gone is the last frontier,
And the steady grind of the wagon-train,
Of the sturdy pioneer.
But their memories live like a thing divine,
Treasured in Heaven above,
For the Trail that led to the storied West,
Was the wonderful trail of Love.”
Warren Gamaliel Harding
President of the United States
Whitman, his wife and 12 others were massacred in a sudden uprising of the
Indians. They had been incited to
violence by a man from Maine named Jo Lewis, who had circulated the tale that
Dr. Whitman was poisoning the Indians.
tragedy put an end to the organized work of the American Board of Missions among
the Indians in Oregon. But the seed
that these devoted missionaries had sown did not return unto God void (Isaiah
55:10-11). It still bears fruit in
the Christian churches and Christian faith of the Nez Perce and Cayuse Indians.
One of the Indians said at their departure:
“You are leaving us forever, and my people, O my people
will see no more light.
My children will live only in a night that
will have no morning. When
we reach Walla Walla I shall look upon your face for the last time in this
world. But this
Book in which your hands have written and caused me to
write the words of God, I shall carry in my bosom ‘til I lie
down in the grave.”
Editor’s Note: For
further information, see The Rewriting of America’s History, © 1991 by