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In Their Own Words

September 15, 1736

Letter Supported Missionary Work Among Indians

After accompanying John and Charles Wesley to Georgia, Benjamin Ingham wrote to Sir John Phillips in England. Phillips was interested in supporting missionary work among Georgia’s Indians as well as helping the Salzburgers:

“Notwithstanding all the opposition of men and devils, I trust there is a door now opening for the conversion of the Indians. There is already a school built amongst them, the house 60 foot long and 15 wide… . It stands on a little hill which we call Irene, by a book side, about half a quarter of a mile above Tomochichi’s town, where the River Savannah divides itself into three streams… . The Indians, though at first they would hardly be persuaded to let one child learn, yet they now are very willing to have them taught and even some of the men seem to have a desire to learn.

“When the head men came down this summer to see Mr. Oglethorpe, Chickillee, the chief of them, was well pleased when he saw the children say their lessons, and he said perhaps the time is now come when all our children are to be taught learning.And Molatchee, who is next him said, if he had 20 children he would have them all taught… .

“Tomochichi is lately recovered from a dangerous sickness, wherein their own doctors gave him up, but it pleased God to restore him by the care of Mr. Oglethorpe, through the prayers of several Christians for him. I hope he will live to hear the glad tidings of the glorious Gospel. He has been very earnest to promote the school… .

“If Mr. Oglethorpe was in England he would undertake to collect charities towards founding and maintaining schools amongst the Indians… . What I wish for at present is one or more of my dear Oxford friends to come over and help me. I cannot indeed say that I am alone because the Moravian brethren join heartily with me, and from such helpers one may expect good success. As your worthy Society has sent over two transports of Salzburgers, I heartily wish they would contribute towards bringing over some more of the Moravian brethren from Hernhuth, for they are not only the most useful people in the colony, but also they are certainly the holiest society of men in the whole world.”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), General Oglethorpe’s Georgia: Colonial Letters, 1733-1743 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), pp. 278-279.