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Samuel Kirkland

Loretta Metoxen, Oneida Tribal Historian Interview Nov 2008

Samuel Kirkland came to the Oneidas in 1764 and he was a young man in his 20s. He was a Presbyterian missionary to the Oneidas during that time. He did leave the Oneida village and became a chaplain to the Revolutionary soldiers in 1775 – 1783. He had 2 sons. Samuel made an effort to learn the Oneida language and so he could preach and discuss everything in the Oneida language. I think he did advise the Oneidas on a few treaties because his name appears on possibly on the 1788 and 1795 treaty.

I think his effectiveness was waived and it would be higher when he was in the Oneida community but when he left then people would waiver between Christianity and traditional ceremonies. Most Oneidas did both. He didn’t care for Handsome Lake and wrote about him, and criticized him. He was effective in getting the Oneidas, the Brothertown, and the Stockbridge to fight for the colonies. Not all Indian people fought in the Revolutionary War. He passed away in 1808. He was also a very good friend of Chief Skenandoah, and in 1816. Skenandoah said, “He was an aged hemlock with dead branches at the top and he couldn’t see any longer and he wanted to be buried next to his good friend the Reverend Kirkland.” And he was.

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