- Eleazar Wheelock
Eleazar Wheelock (
April 22, 1711– April 24, 1779) was an American Congregational minister, orator, educator, and founder of Dartmouth College.
He was born in
Windham, Connecticutto Ralph Wheelock and Ruth Huntington. He is the great-grandson of the first teacher of the first free school in the United States (see Dedham, Massachusetts), The Rev. Ralph Wheelock. In 1733, he graduated from Yale Collegehaving won the first award of the Dean Berkeley Donation for the distinction in classics. He continued his theological studies at Yale until he was licensed to preach in May of 1734, and installed as pastor of the Second Congregational Church of Lebanon, Conn. in February of 1735. He served as their minister for 35 years. On April 29, 1735, he married Sarah Davenport. He participated fully and enthusiastically in the Great Awakening, which had begun to sweep the Connecticut River Valleyaround the time of his graduation from Yale. He was one of its greatest proponents in Connecticut, serving as the "chief intelligencer of revival news".
In 1743, he took in a student named
Samson Occom, a Moheganwho knew English, and had been converted to Christianityin his childhood. Wheelock's success in preparing Occom for the ministry encouraged him to found a school in Lebanon for Native American Indians, with the purpose of instilling, in the boys, elements of secular and religious education, so that they could return to their native culture as missionaries. The girls were to be taught "housewifery" and writing. The school was to be supported by charitable contribution. His plans to educate the young Native American students in his school, which was called the Moor's Charity School, located on the Lebanon town green, did not progress well however - many of his students became sick and died while some turned profligate and in other ways failed to successfully pursue the charter of missionary work.
He eventually decided to enlarge the school and add a college (for the education of Indians and whites in the classics, philosophy, and literature) and began to search for another location for the schools. Wheelock obtained a charter from King George III on
December 13, 1769. Samson Occomand the British Board of Trustees headed by Lord Dartmouth opposed the addition of the college, and despite (or because of) Lord Dartmouth's opposition, Wheelock named the college Dartmouth College. Hanover, N.H.was chosen for the site, and in 1771, four students were graduated in Dartmouth's first commencement, including Wheelock's son John.
The Rev. Eleazar Wheelock died during the
Revolutionary War, on April 24, 1779. He is buried in Hanover, N.H. His writings include "Narrative of the Indian School at Lebanon."
During World War II a
Liberty Ship(Maritime Hull Number 0038) was named for Rev. Wheelock. This was a C-2 cargo ship outfitted to carry 550 troops. It participated in the Normandy Invasion and is frequently mentioned in the book "The Far Shore" by American author Max Miller.
* [http://www.wheaton.edu/bgc/archives/GUIDES/126.htm Papers of Eleazar Wheelock]
* [http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/people/A0852040.html Another Short Biography]
* [http://www.dartmouth.edu/home/about/history.html A Brief History of Dartmouth]
* [http://www.ctheritage.org/encyclopedia/ctto1763/wheelock.htm Short Biography of Eleazar Wheelock]
* [http://www.dartmouth.edu/ Dartmouth College]
* [http://www.dartmouth.edu/~news/features/succession/ Wheelock Succession]
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