Lot 10: 1836 Letter, ‘Apostle to the Indians’ in Arkansas on the ‘Trail of Tears’
23rd February 2017
1836 Letter, ‘Apostle to the Indians’ in Arkansas on the ‘Trail of Tears’. Heading: (American Indians - Trail of Tears). Author: Greene, Rev. David. Title: 1836 Letter, ‘Apostle to the Indians’ in Arkansas on the ‘Trail of Tears’. Place Published: Boston. Date Published: 1836. Description: Autograph Letter Signed as Secretary, American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Missionary Rooms, Boston, Feb. 8, 1836. 2pp.+stampless address leaf. To William Nutting. Randolph, Vermont. "...the Rev. C. Washburn...was here and I conferred with him...endeavoring to have from him what were his own inclinations and views of duty relative to relinquishing missionary labors among the Indians. He declined, speaking freely and decidedly...all action on the subject was accordingly delayed until we should hear from him, subsequently to his arrival at Dwight. This morning letters have been received from him stating that he is convinced that his duty will require him to continue his labors among the Indians...Regarding his missionary character and qualifications as they now do, and thinking that his experience and influence are especially required at this time in his present field, the Committee will not...recall him contrary to his own wishes and convictions of duty..." Cephas Washburn (1793-1860) was a famed Presbyterian missionary, called "The Apostle to the Cherokees" who worked with Native Americans of the southeastern United States, before and after their forced "removal" from their lands by US Government dictate. Born in Vermont, Washburn went to live among the Cherokee soon after becoming an ordained minister, joining the first Indians who voluntarily moved from Tennessee to Arkansas, where Washburn established the Dwight Mission (named for the President of Yale), the first American Christian Mission to the Indians west of the Mississippi. When the Cherokee were later forced to move further westward, many dying en route along the infamous "Trail of Tears", Washburn migrated along with them to eastern Oklahoma, where he reestablished the Dwight Mission. In this letter, it was on the eve of that "Indian Removal" that Vermont friends of Washburn's tried to persuade his Presbyterian sponsors to transfer him to a less perilous duty. But Washburn persevered, remaining with his Cherokee friends until 1850, despite his failed attempt to establish a college where white and Indian students could be educated together. He died just before the start of the Civil War. Condition: Very good.
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