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MISSIONS among the sons of the American forest are by no means of modern origin or the result of latter-day civilization. Contemporaneous with the colonization of America began the efforts of the Roman Catholic Church and her zealous missionaries looking to the spiritual as well as to the material improvement of her aborigines. As representatives ’of the earliest colonizing nations, the missionaries acted in the dual capacity of explorers and teachers, besides exercising their special functions as spiritual advisers of the Indians[1]. A keen sense of missionary duty marks also many of the chronicles of English mariners of the Elizabethan era. Notably was this the case with the establishment of the first English colony in America — that of Virginia — by Sir Walter Raleigh. The philosopher, Thomas Harriot (1560-1621), one of Raleigh’s colleagues, laboured for the conversion of the natives, amongst whom the first baptism is recorded to have taken place on the 13th of August, 1587. Later in the development of the country the religious work among the Indians who survived the “wreck of nations” was conducted by churches of many denominations, by philanthropic societies and charitably inclined individuals. Under the encouragement of the English Colonial Government the Established Church of England undertook work among the Iroquois tribes of the province of New York at the beginning of the eighteenth century.

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[1] The name “Indian” was coined by Columbus (Letter of February, 1493), calling the inhabitants of the newly discovered land Indios. The recently (1899) proposed Amerind, for American, Indian, has not yet been adopted as widely as it deserves.


The greater part of the Indian work in British North .America has been, since the beginning of the nineteenth century. in the hands of the Church Missionary Society, which has performed a most remarkable work.

“I know of no other of its efforts in its world-wide field which have called forth greater self-sacrifice, or which have been crowned with more marked success. By its labours tribe after tribe of the Red Indians of the north, and many of the Esquimos, have been led to the knowledge of Christ’s Gospel, and united to Christ’s Church, and that, in very many cases, not merely formally nor for any earthly gain and advantage. Spiritual fruit has been reaped among those children of the wilds”[2].

[2] Wynne, The Church in Greater Britain (1901), p. 69.

Owing to adverse conditions, we are sorry to say this great society decided at the opening of the present century to withdraw from its Canadian missions.

The region occupied is mainly hyperborean and largely arctic, The beginning was made, in 1826, upon the Red river in the north, not far from Lake Winnipeg. Since then steady enlargement has been made, until now six grand divisions are found, extending through more than ten dioceses. Moosonee lies upon the east, south and west of Hudson’s Bay. Rupert’s Land and Qu’Appelle are in and. about Manitoba. Saskatchewan, to the north of the latter, and Calgary, to the west, lie on the flanks of the Rockies. Athab(p)asca lies to the north of Calgary, with Mackenzie River to the north of that and extending to the Polar Sea, while in the extreme north-west, across the Rocky Mountains, is found Selkirk, the limit of the British domain, bordering upon Alaska, and including the upper waters of the Yukon.

“In the 114 years which separate the planting of the See of Nova Scotia [in 1787], with episcopal jurisdiction over all Canada. and Newfoundland, and the .present, that Church has grown until it now [in 190l] consists of two provinces-Canada and Rupertsland-with two archbishops, twenty suffragans and two independent Bishoprics”[3].



[3] Ibid., pp. 79 and 229, Note XIV.- “The whole number of’ Canadian dioceses is now twenty-three, viz., ten in the Province of Eastern Canada, nine in the Province of Rupert’s Land, and four’ that will presently form the Province of Columbia.” — Prayer Book Dictionary (1912), p. 17, col. 2.



THE Mohawk were the most easterly tribe of the Iroquois confederation, the “Romans of the New World,” and hereditary foes of the Algonquians. In the federal council and in other inter-tribal assemblies they sit with the tribal phratry which is formally called the “Three Elder Brothers,” and of which the other members .are the Senecas and the Onandagas. These, with the Oneidas and Cayugas, make up the “Five Nations,” who became the “Six Nations” when joined in 1712 by the kindred Tuscaroras from North Carolina. The Mohawk villages were in the valley of Mohawk river,New York, from the vicinity of Schenectady nearly to Utica; their territory extended north to the St. Lawrence and south to the watershed of Schoharie creek and the eastern branch of the Susquehanna. From their position on the eastern frontier of the Iroquois confederation the Mohawk were the most prominent of the Iroquoian tribes in the early Indian wars and in official negotiations with the colonies, so that their name was .frequently used by the tribes of New England and by the whites as a synonym for the confederation.

The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (S.P.G.) was incorporated in 170I. Its organization was the result of a suggestion of Dr. Thomas Bray (1656-1730), commissary of the bishop of London for Maryland. From the first the conversion of the negro slaves and of the Indians of the American plantations formed a prominent part of the society’s operations. The nearest neighbours of the English settlements in the province of New York were the Mohawks. In 1704 the Society sent the Rev. Thoroughgood Moor as a missionary, but his stay was too brief to be productive of any benefit. After a visit of four sachems, with Col. Peter Schuyler (1657-1724), first mayor of Albany, N.Y., to England in 1709, two missionaries were promised by the S.P.G., with an interpreter and a schoolmaster, to work among the Mohawks, in response to the request of the sachems. Toward the close of 1712 the mission went forth, headed by a competent missionary, the Rev. William Andrews, who had colonial experience and a knowledge of the Indian language. He was met at Albany by the sachems with great demonstrations of joy. The Indians came in numbers to his preaching and sent their children to his school. Soon difficulties arose. The Mohawks did not mean to give up their heathen habits, and in 1718 Andrews requested the S.P.G. to allow him to retire. The mission was suspended in 1719.

Soon after Mr. Andrews’ arrival it was thought that a translation of portions of the Book of Common Prayer into the Mohawk language would promote the instruction of the Indians and facilitate their conversion. The book was printed by William Bradford[1] in New York, 1715. It has an Indian and an English title. The former reads:


Ne | Orhoengene neoni | Yogaraskhagh | Yondereanayendaghkwa, | ne | Ene Niyoh Raodeweyena, | Onoghsadogeaghtige | Yondadderighwanon- | doentha, | Siyagonnoghsode Enyondereanayendagh- | kwagge, | Yotkade Kapitelhogough ne Karighwadaghkwe- | agh Agayea neoni As(l?)e Testament, neoni Niyadegari- | wagge, ne Kanninggahaga Siniyeweonoteagh. | Tehoenwenadenyough Lawrance Claesse, Rowenagaradatsk | William Andrews, Ronwanha-ugh Ongwehoenwighne | Rodirighhoeni Raddiyadanorough neoni Ahœnwadi- | gonuyosthagge Thoderighwawaakhogk ne Wahooni | Agarighhowanha Niyoh Raodeweyena Niyadegoghwhenjage. | Eghtseraggwas Eghtjeeagh ne ong wehoonwe, neoni ne | siyodoghwhenjooktannighhoegh etho ahadyeandough. |

The English title reads: The | Morning and Evening Prayer, | The | Litany, | Church Catechism, | Family Prayers, | and | Several Chapters of the Old and New Testament, | Translated into the Mahaque Indian Language, | By Lawrence Claesse, Interpreter to William | Andrews, Missionary to the Indians, from the | Honourable and Reverend the Society for the Propagation | of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. | Ask of me, and I will give thee the Heathen for thine Inheritance, | and the Utmost Parts of the Earth for thy Possession. Psalm 12. 8. | Printed by William Bradford in New-York, 1715.

The book is a small quarto; page, 4½ x 6 inches, of (4), 115 (116 blank) and 21 pages. Leaf 1, obverse blank. reverse, English title; leaf 2, obverse, Mohawk title, reverse blank. The Indian title-page bears neither date nor imprint. The whole text (A-Cc in 2s, Dd in 4; A-E in 2s, 1 leaf, unnumbered), is divided into three parts, viz., (i.) Order for daily Morning and Evening Prayer throughout the year, and Litany. (ii.) Psalms and a collection of Scripture sentences. These two parts embrace sigs. A to Dd = 115 pages. (iii.) The Church Catechism, sigs. A to E + 1 leaf, obv., = 21 pages. The portions of Scripture translated are Psalms 1, 15, 32; Genesis, chaps. i-iii; and Matthew, chaps. i, ii and v.

A part of this edition was sent to Philadelphia, and was there sold by the printer’s son, Andrew Bradford.

Lawrence Claesse, according to the title-page, was the reputed translator; but the greater portion had been for some time prepared by :Mr. Freeman, a Calvinistic minister at Schenectady, N.Y. Dominie Bernardus Freeman [Freerman] was the second pastor of the First Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Schenectady. He was a scholarly Christian gentleman, able to preach in English as well as in Dutch, and later also in the Mohawk Indian tongue. His courteous manners, abilities and excellent character won the hearts of Hollander and Mohawk alike. He translated for the benefit of his Mohawk hearers, several books of the Scriptures, the Creeds, and a portion of the Book of Common Prayer into their language. These translations formed the basis of the first booklet in the Mohawk language, published at Boston in 1707. Do. Freeman was pastor of the Schenectady church from 1700-05. He then removed to Flatbush, L.I., where a house erected by him was still standing some years ago. In his work among the Indians Freeman was. assisted by the provincial interpreter, Lawrens Claese (Van der Volgen), a member of his church. That Freeman was the real translator of these portions of the Prayer Book is proved by a letter of the Rev. Thomas Barclay to the secretary of the S.P.G., dated Albany, Sept. 26, 1710[2]. Mr. Freeman’s work was done probably between 1700 and 1705. It was the first attempt in the New York Colony to translate anything into the Iroquois tongue. Mr. Freeman promised his manuscripts to the Rev. Thomas Barclay in 1710, and thus they came into the possession of the S.P.G. When a fresh impulse was given to Indian missions, and Andrews was appointed, the translation was sent to him for his use, and he was told to print suitable parts of it in New York and distribute copies among his people. Claesse probably revised Freeman’s translation and made some additions.

This first edition is now very scarce, only a few copies being known to exist[3].

[1] Bradford was born at Barwell, Leicestershire, England, May 20, 1663, of humble folk of the Established Church. He was apprenticed to Andrew Sowle, the principal Quaker publisher of his day in London, and became a proselyte to his master’s religion. In 1685 he emigrated to Philadelphia, and established there the third printing press of the American Colonies. He removed to New York in 1693, and became the first printer in that flourishing town. Soon after his removal to New York, Bradford returned to the Church of his ancestors, and became a member of Trinity Church. He published in 1710 the only edition of the English Book of Common Prayer printed in the American Colonies, a book now of the greatest scarcity. Bradford maintained throughout his long life a reputation for probity and ability. At eighty years of age he retired entirely from business, and spent the declining years of his life with his son William, at whose house he died on May 23, 1752, in the ninetieth year of his age.

Griffiths 111:1


[2] See Two Hundredth Anniversary of the First Reformed Church, of Schenectady, N. Y., June 20th and 21st, 1880, pp. 17, 37, 69-80, 85.



A reprint of a part of this first Mohawk Prayer Book was made in Boston, New-England, by Richard and Samuel Draper in 1763; (2), 24, 18 pages, small 4to. It omits the chapters from Scripture contained in the edition of 1715. Contents: The Order for Morning Prayer daily throughout the year, pp. 1-16; the Litany, pp. 17-24; the Church Catechism, pp. 1-9; Prayers, pp. 10-18. The Mohawk title reads: Ne | Orhoengene neoni Yogaraskhagh | Yondereanayendaghkwa, | Ne Ene Niyoh Raodeweyena, neoni | Onoghsadogeaghtige Yondadderigh- | wanondoentha. |

The work begun by Barclay and Andrews grew eventually and extended to other tribes of the Iroquois confederation, fostered at a later period especially by Sir William Johnson (1715-74), superintendent of Indian Affairs since 1746. In the summer of 1762 Sir William communicated to the Rev. Dr. Henry Barclay (1715-64), son of the Rev. Thomas Barclay, his intention of getting out, at his own expense, a new edition of the Indian Prayer Book, under the supervision of Dr. Barclay, who in earlier years· (1738-46) had been a resident missionary among the Mohawks. Sir William accordingly sent a translation of the Singing Psalms, Communion Service, Baptism and some Prayers, to be. added to the matter contained in the old edition. An agreement was entered into with William Weyman, of New York, to set up and print an edition of four hundred copies. The work, however, was not commenced until the fall of 1763, and before much progress had been made Dr. Barclay fell sick. In the meantime several missionaries had gone from New England to the Six Nations. Mr. Cornelius Bennett; a catechist of the Episcopal Church, was teaching school among the Mohawks in 1764; the Rev. Charles Jeffrey Smith, accompanied by young Joseph Brant as his official interpreter, and the Rev. Samuel Kirtland, or Kirkland (1741-1808), went the same year from Lebanon as missionaries to the same field, sent there by the Boston Commissioners. Several others were preparing themselves at Lebanon for this mission. For the use of these missionaries the 1763 reprint was made to serve until the new edition, undertaken by Weyman, was completed. It is very probable that the reprint was suggested to the Commissioners by the Rev. Dr. Eleazar Wheelock (1711-79).

Dr. Barclay’s death, in August, 1764, put a total stop to the work for two years. The Rev. Dr. John Ogilvie (1723-74), then of Trinity Church, New York City, who also had been missionary to the Mohawks (1749-62) and was conversant with their language, was then entrusted with the superintendence of the printing, which in 1768 was again interrupted by the death of Mr. Weyman, when only nine sheets-signatures A-I, or pp. 1-74-· had been completed[4]. Hugh Gaine thereupon undertook the completion of the work, and though he was obliged to reprint signatures A-H, owing to the sheets being short, he set up the balance of the book (pp. 75-204) between September 17 and December 25, 1768, or a little over three months for a larger portion than it had taken Weyman six years to do. The first bound copy of this second edition was forwarded to Sir William on February 2, 1769[5].

Griffiths 111:2

[3] Copies are in the British Museum, London; the Lenox Library, and the New York Historical Society, both in New York. Another copy is in the Library of William and Mary College (see American Hist. Magazine, Vol. II, pp. 89,90); the Library Company of Philadelphia (see loc. cit., Vol. I, p. 219). The John Carter Brown Library, Providence, R.I., has a complete set of all editions of the Mohawk Prayer Book. The J. P. Morgan Library, New York, has copies of the first, second and fourth editions. See, also, Church, Catalogue of books . . . Vol. 5, No. 861.

[4] Weyman was the son of the Rev. Robert Weyman. The latter was sent by the S.P.G. about 1720 to take charge of “Episcopal Churches at Oxford and Radnor in Pennsylvania.” He removed from there in 1730 to the cure of St. Mary’s Church, Burlington, N.J., where he died November 28, 1737. William was born in Philadelphia and served his apprenticeship there under William Bradford, the grandson of New York’s first printer. He died in New York City, after a lingering illness, on July 27, 1768. See, further, C. R. Hildeburn, Printers in Colonial New York, 1895, pp. 60-64.

The title-page of this edition reads as follows:

The Order | For Morning and Evening Prayer, | And Administration of the | Sacraments, | and some other | Offices of the Church, | Together with | A Collection of Prayers, and some Sentences of | . the Holy Scriptures, necessary for Knowledge | Practice.

Ne | Yagawagh Niyadewighniserage Yonderaenaayendagh- | kwa orghoongene neoni Yogaraskha yoghse- | ragwegough. Neoni Yagawagh Sakra- | menthogoon, neoni oya Addereanai- | yent ne Onoghsadogeaghtige. | Oni | Ne Watkeanissaghtough Odd’yage Addereanaiyent, | neoni Siniyoghthare ne Kaghyadoghseradogeaghti, | ne Wahooni Ayagoderieandaragge neoni Ayon- | dadderigh-hoenie. | Collected, and translated into the Mohawk | Language under the Direction of the late Rev. | Mr. William Andrews, the late Rev. Dr. Henry | Barclay, and the Rev. Mr. John Oglivie [sic]: | Formerly Missionaries from the venerable Society | for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign | Parts, to the Mohawk Indians. | [New York.] Printed in the Year, M,DCC,LXIX. |

(4), 204 pages. Page,3½ x 6¼; paper,4-9/16 x 7¼ inches. Sigs. A-Bb. in 4s, + one leaf unmarked, and one leaf blank. Leaf 1 blank; 2, obv. title, rev. blank. Contents (in English and in Mohawk, two columns) : p. 1, rev. blank; text, p. 3 foll., in long lines. The general and sub-headings are in English and in Mohawk. Contents: Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, Litany, Occasional Prayers and General Thanksgiving, Catechism, Collection of Prayers, Psalms and chapters of the Holy Bible, Collection of sentences from the Holy Scriptures, Communion Service, Baptism of Infants, Matrimony, Burial of the Dead, part of the Singing Psalms.

Distrustful of his own ability in the use of the Mohawk language, which he had not used for some years, Dr. Barclay during his illness suggested that Mr. Daniel Claus, afterward Indian agent in Canada, would be better able to do the work entrusted to himself. But Mr. Claus was then away from the city, and Weyman sent the copy given him back to be transcribed clearly under Sir William’s own eye, agreeing to follow copy when it was returned. Hence some of the otherwise unaccountable delay.


Griffiths 111:3

[5] Hugh Gaine, of Scotch-Irish stock, was born in Belfast, Ireland, in 1726 or 1727. He came to New York in 1745, and died there, April 27, 1807. His body was buried in his vault in Trinity Church graveyard, New York. The standard book on Gaine is The Journals of Hugh Gaine, Printer, edited by Paul Leicester Ford; 2 vols.; New York; Dodd, Mead & Co.; 1902. Also see “Hugh Gaine, the Irish Printer,” Chap. V, of Hildeburn, Sketches of Printers and Printing, pp. 72-88.



VERY few of the four hundred copies of the 1769 edition of the Mohawk Prayer Book were in the hands of the Mohawks when they retired to Canada in 1779, under the leadership of Brant and William Johnson, the half-breed son of the late Sir William by Caroline, the daughter of Chief Hendrick. Most of the Prayer Books had been destroyed early during the War of Independence. Apprehensive that the book might be wholly lost in a short time, the Indians petitioned General Sir Frederick Haldimand (1718-91), governor of the province of Canada (1778-85), that he would order it reprinted. The request was granted, and one thousand copies were ordered to be printed under the supervision of Col. Claus.

The Mohawks and others of the Six Nations, “rather than swerve from their allegiance to Great Britain,” had elected to abandon their dwellings and property and join the Loyalist army. Eventually they were obliged to take shelter in Canada, where for several generations the S.P.G. ministered to them.

Colonel Daniel Claus was born in 1727, in a small town near Heilbronn, Würtemberg, in Germany. He came to America in 1749. In the spring of 1752 he became acquainted with Sir William Johnson. He had, by observation and patient study, acquired a knowledge of the Iroquois language, and soon gained great influence with, and the full confidence of, the Mohawk people. He was, in consequence, attached to the department of Sir William, whose daughter Nancy he soon married. In later years he became deputy-superintendent, under Sir William, of Indian Affairs, with headquarters at Detroit. Together with his wife’s family and the Mohawk Indians he emigrated to Canada, and retired later on to Cardiff, Wales, where he died during the latter part of 1787.

The title of the 1780 edition reads as follows:

Griffiths 111:4

The Order | For Morning and Evening Prayer, | And Administration of the | Sacraments, | and some other | Offices of the Church | Of England, | Together with | A Collection of Prayers, and some Sentences of the Holy | Scriptures, necessary for Knowledge and Practice. | Ne Yakawea. | Niyadewighniserage Yondereanayendakhkwa Orhoenkene, | neoni Yogarask-ha Oghseragwegouh; | Ne oni Yakawea, | Orighwadogeaghti Yondatnekosseraghs, | Tekarighwageahhadont, | Neoni óya Adereánayent ne Onoghsadogeaghtíge, | oni | Ne Watkeanissa-aghtouh odd’yake Adereanaiyent neoni tsi- | niyoght-hare ne Kaghyadoghseradogeaghti ne wahœni | Ayakoderiéndarake neoni Ahondatterihhonnie. | The Third Edition, | Formerly collected and translated into the Mohawk or Iroquois Lan- | guage, under the direction of the Missionaries from the Venerable | Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in foreign Parts, to the | Mohawk Indians. | Published | By Order of His Excellency Frederick Haldimand, | Captain-general and Commander in Chief of all his Majesty’s | Forces in the Province of Quebec, and its Dependencies, and | Governor of the same, &c. &c. &c. | Revised with Corrections and Additions by | DANIEL CLAUS, Esq., P. T. Agent | For the six Nation Indians in the Province of Quebec. | [Quebec.] Printed in the Year, M,DCC,LXXX.

Title, 1 l., (reverse blank); advertisement[1] and contents, 2 ll., (reverse of second blank); sigs.:, 4 leaves unnumbered; A-Bb in 4s, Cc 3 leaves. Text, entirely in the Mohawk language, except the headings, which are in Mohawk and English. 208 pages. Page, 3½ x 6⅛; paper, 4½ x 6⅞ inches. Printed in long lines. Contents the same as in the 1769 edition. Pp. 196-208 contain the Singing Psalms.

[1] This advertisement is conveniently reprinted in John Wright, Early Prayer Books of America, pp. 31-33.

The difficulties experienced by the Quebec printer, William Brown, in the composition of the book were quite as great as those encountered by Weyman and Gaine. He was “an entire stranger of the language, and obliged to go on with the printing of it letter by letter, which made it a very tedious piece of work.” Accents were now introduced for the first time, to facilitate the pronunciation of the long words, “Paulus Sahonwadi, the Mohawk clerk and schoolmaster,” being present at the correction of every proof-sheet to approve of their being properly placed. By these precautions many mistakes of the first edition, which were copied in the second, were corrected.

William Brown was the. first printer in Canada. He established a press in Quebec, 1763-64. In 1780 he was still the only printer in Quebec[2].


Copies of this third edition are in the British Museum, London; the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., and in the John Carter Brown Library at Providence, R.I., as stated above.

The third edition became soon exhausted, and the S.P.G. resolved to have a new edition printed without delay, the British Government assuming all expenses. It appeared in 1787. Its two titles read:

[2] See further, Isaiah Thomas, History of Printing in America, &c. Index, Vol. II: Canada.

* The Book of | Common Prayer, | and Administration of the | Sacraments, | and other | Rites and Ceremonies | of the | Church, | according to the use of the | Church of England: | together with | A Collection of Occasional Prayers, and | divers Sentences of | Holy Scripture, | Necessary for Knowledge and Practice. | Formerly collected, and translated into the Mohawk Language | under the direction of the Missionaries of that Society for the | Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, to the Mohawk | Indians. | A new edition: | to which is added | The Gospel according to St. Mark, | Translated into the Mohawk Language, | By Captn Joseph Brant, | An Indian of the Mohawk Nation. | London: | Printed by C. Buckton . . . | . . . 1787. |

The Indian title reads:

Ne Yakawea | Yondereanayendaghkwa | Oghseragwegouh, | neoni Yakawea | ne Orighwadogeaghty | Yondatnekosseraghs | neoni | Tekarighwagehhadont, | oya oni | Adereanayent, | ne teas nikariwake | Raditsihuhstatsygowa | Ronaderighwissoh | Goraghgowa a-onea rodanhaouh, | oni, | Watkanissa-aghtoh | Oddyake Adereanayent, Ineoni tsiniyoght-hare ne | Kaghyadoghseradogeaghty, | Newahòeny Akoyendarake neoni Ahhondatterihhonny. | A-onea wadiroroghkwe, neoni Tekaweanadennyoh Kanyen- | kehàga Tsikaweanondaghko, ne neane Raditsihuhstatsy ne | Radirighwawakoughkgòwa ronadanhà-ouh, Kanyenke waon- | dye tsi-radinakeronnyo Ongwe-œwe. | Keagaye ase Yondereanayendaghkwa. | Oni tahoghsonderoh | St. Mark Raorighwadogeaghty. | Tekaweanadennyoh Kanyenkehaga Rakowànea | T’hayendanegea, | Roewayats. | London: | Karistodarho C. Buckton. . . .

(4), iii, 505, (1) pages. Page, 3⅝ x 6⅝; paper, 4¾ x 7¾ inches. English title p. (1), reverse blank; Mohawk title, p. (3), reverse blank. Pp. i-iii contain the preface, dated London, January 2, 1787. This preface, not signed, was written by the Rev. Charles Inglis, rector of Trinity Church, New York, until after his expulsion from the new republic. He visited England in 1783, and was consecrated first bishop of Nova Scotia on August 17, 1787. Inglis had been in former years a missionary to the Mohawk Indians, and retained his active interest in their welfare until the end of his life in 1816.

Page 1 of the text contains in parallel columns the English and the Mohawk table of contents; pp. 2-133 contain Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, Litany, Occasional Prayers, etc., Catechism and Collection of Prayers; 134-175, Selections from Scripture; 176-341, the Gospel according to St. Mark, ending with the words, “I-ih wakhyadon, August 1774, Joseph Thayendanegea"; 342-411, “A collection of sentences,” just as in the first edition, only enlarged in scope and re-arranged; 412-485, the Order for the Ministration of the Holy Communion; 486-505, part of the Singing Psalms, with a few hymns appended, four of which are in Mohawk only. The last page has “Observations concerning the reading and pronunciation of the Mohawk Language” and list of errata.

The edition of 1787 is superior to its predecessors:

“The pointing. accentuation and spelling are more correct. Other editions were printed in the Mohawk language only; in this, the English is also printed on the opposite page. Hereby the Indians will insensibly be made acquainted with the English language; and such White People in their vicinity as chuse to learn Mohawk. will hence derive much assistance.” — Preface, p. ii.

The book contains a frontispiece and seventeen plates by James Peachey, all, with one exception, dealing with New Testament subjects. The frontispiece represents King George III and his queen sitting on a throne, surrounded by bishops and other dignitaries, and Indians doing homage. In the background can be seen a Mohawk congregation listening to the reading of the services from the Book of Common Prayer.

Griffiths 111:5
The edition of 1780, as well as its re-issue of 1787, were indebted largely to the services of the Rev. John Stuart (Stewart)[3]. Stuart was born in Harrisburg, Pa., February 24, 1740, the son of a Presbyterian emigrant from the North of Ireland. He graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1767; entered the communion of the Church of England, studied theology, and was ordained. After his return, in 1770, he laboured for seven years as a missionary among the Indians of the Mohawk Valley. At the same time he conducted a school at Fort Hunter, thirty miles below Canajoharie. While here he translated the Acts of the Apostles and the Church Catechism into Mohawk. It was then that Joseph Brant began assisting Mr. Stuart in his translations. After the revolt of the thirteen colonies, the Loyalist principles of Stuart, and his supposed connection with efforts to rouse the Indians against the Americans, led to his expulsion. His house and church were plundered, and he took refuge in Schenectady in 1778. In 1781 he emigrated to south-west Canada, together with the Mohawk Colony. He laboured as a missionary among the Indians of Upper Canada, and laid the foundations of the Church of England among the white inhabitants of the province. He made his home in Kingston, Canada, where he died, August 15, 1811. He was justly styled by the bishop of Toronto in his charge to the clergy, in 1842, “the Father of the Church in Upper Canada.” The title-page of the 1787 edition stated that Brant translated the Gospel according to St. Mark. This is not quite correct. The work of translating was done by Stuart, Brant only assisting him[4]. Brant was born in 1742, a Mohawk by birth, and a man of good abilities, who had been educated at “Moor’s Charity School,” for Indians, at Lebanon, Conn [5]. His Indian name was Thayendaanegea. He got the name Brant from the second husband of his mother, known among the whites as Brant. He became one of the best known of the Mohawk chiefs and emigrated to Canada with his nation. After the War of Independence the British Government granted him a large tract of land on the Grand River, Ontario, for his Mohawk and other Iroquois followers. In his later years the aged chief took to drinking, and by the time of his death, at Brantford, November 24, 1807, most of the settlement had been bartered away to white settlers for barrels of strong liquors[6].


[3] Compare the Rev. W. M. Beauchamp in The Church Eclectic, Vol. IX. No.5. p. 432; Utica, 188I — Hawkins. Historical Notices, &c., London, 1845, pp. 319-322. — The preface to the Mohawk edition of 1842, reprinted in Wright, Early Prayer Books of America, pp. 35-40. — American Historical Magazine. Vol. I, 1857, p. 312. col. 1.

[4] See Hawkins, loc. cit., p. 420.


[5] This school, named after Joshua Moor (More), a Mansfield. Connecticut, farmer, was founded by the Rev. Dr. Eleazar Wheelock about 1740. It was removed in 1769 to Hanover, N.H. The same year Dartmouth College was established; but the two schools remained distinct.


The additions and corrections made by Stuart and Brant for this edition were sent to England to the S.P.G. at the time when Col. Claus was going to England. Claus consented to superintend the work, critically revise the whole, and correct the sheets as they came from the press. His accurate knowledge of the Mohawk language qualified him for the undertaking. The book appeared during the early days of 1787, the same year in which Col. Claus died. The library of the British and Foreign Bible Society possesses a copy of this edition, presented by “Colonel Claus to Granville Sharp.”



[6] On Brant see William Stone, Life at Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea) . . . Albany, N.Y.: J. Munsell; 1865 ; 2 vols. ; plates; portraits; 8vo.



IN 1822 the S.P.G. definitely transferred its operations to the Iroquois reservation, on Grand River, Ontario, where it still continues its work, its principal establishment being the Mohawk Institute, near Brantford.


In 1842 an edition of the *Book of Common Prayer, in English and Mohawk, was printed at Hamilton, Canada, which is as superior to the 1787 edition as this latter was to its predecessors. The English title reads:

The Book of Common Prayer, according to the Use of the Church of England, translated into the Mohawk language, compiled from various translations, revised, corrected, and prepared for the press, under the direction of the Rev. Abraham Nelles, Chief Missionary in the service of the Company for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America. The Collects, the Service of Baptism of such as are of Riper Years, the Order of Confirmation, the Visitation of the Sick, the Communion of the Sick, Thanksgiving of Women after Child Birth, &c. Translated by John Hill, Junr., Appear in Mohawk for the first time, in this Edition of the Prayer Book. Hamilton: Printed at Ruthven’s Book and Job Office, &c., King Street. 1842.

The reverse of the English title is blank. Then follows the Mohawk title on p. iii, as follows: Ne Kaghyadouhsera ne | Yoedereanayeadagwha, | tsiniyouht ne yontstha ne | Skanyadaratiha Onouhsadokeaghty, | tekaweanatenyouh kanyeakehaka kaweanoetaghkouh, | watkeanisaaghtouh ne tekaweanatenyoehokouh, watkease, skagwada- | gwea; neoni kaweyeaneatase ne tsiteyeristoghraraktha, | ne raoteweyeanoenyaghtshera | ne Ratsi, Abraham Nelles, | Rarighwawakhouhtsheragweniyoh ne shakonatsteristase ne Tsikeatyogh- | gwayea ne Tehadirighwarenyatha ne Orighwadokeaghty ne Ase | Skanyadaratiha neoni aktatyeshouh ne America. | Ne Adereanayeathokouh, ne Yoedatnekosseraghtha ne Yakaoseragwea, | ne Yoedaderighwahniratstagweanitha, Yoedadenadarenawitha ne | Yakonouhwaktany, Yoedouhradaghgwha Tyakothoewisea, &c. | Ne Tehaweanatenyouh John Hill, Junr., | Nene toetyereaghte waokeatane ne Kanyeakehakake ne keaiekea Kaghya- | douhserakouh ne Yoedereanayeadagwha. | Oghroewakouh: Tekaristoghrarakouh Ruthven Tsite haristoghraraktha ne Kaghya- | douhsera, &c., Koraghkowah Tsitekanatokea. | 1842.

The reverse of this title (p. iv) has the contents, English and Mohawk, in parallel columns. A preface, in English, occupies pp. v-viii. The text, in long lines, alternate pages English and Mohawk, is on pp. 2-432.

Then follows a part of the Singing Psalms (24) and five hymns wholly in Mohawk, with a special title-page, reading: Ne | Karoegwea | ne ase tekaweanatenyouh | ne | teharighwagwathaokouh ne David, | ne kaghsaeany | ne eayontsthake | Enouhsadokeaghtike. | Hamilton: | Printed at Ruthven’s Book and Job Office, &c. . . . | 1842. The reverse of this title-page is blank; the text on pp. 435-456. Page, 3½ x 6½; paper, 5 x 8⅜ inches.

This is the most complete of all the editions of the Mohawk Prayer Book. It was superintended by Archdeacon Abraaham Nelles, who had for many years been chief missionary among the Mohawk and Tuscarora, at Mohawk Village, near Brantford. He was born at Grimsby, Ontario, in 1805, and died December 20, 1884, after giving fifty-three years of his life to work among the Indians.— John Hill filled the office of catechist at Quenti, Canada, from 1810 until his death, in 1841. He was greatly beloved by his own people and highly respected by the white settlers, all of whom joined to honour the departed at the time of his funeral.


Griffith 111:8
Of Mohawk translations of the American Book we mention here: Prayers for families, and for particular persons, selected from the Book of Common Prayer, (Translated into the language of the Six Nations of Indians). By Eleazer Williams, Catechist, lay-reader and schoolmaster. Albany: Printed by G. J. Loomis & Co. . . . 1816. The title is on the cover; there is no inside. title. Text, 16 pages, entirely in Mohawk, 8vo[1].
not listed by Griffiths, but available online.

Williams, while catechist at Oneida Castle, N.Y., undertook to revise the Indian Prayer Book of 1787. He did this at the advice of Bishop John Henry Hobart, that great friend of the American Indians, who in 1815 called for offerings for this proposed book. The 1816 Mohawk book is the result of this first revision. Williams greatly improved upon the 1787 edition in scientific manipulation of the letters; for, while the 1787 book employed twenty English characters, Williams confined himself to eleven. This reduction simplified the orthography and assisted the child in learning to read, an innovation which was of lasting benefit to the Indians. A further revision, or, rather, a new translation, undertaken by Williams a few years later, was not published until 1837, and then appeared as the compilation of the Rev. Solomon Davis, successor of Mr. Williams. The title reads:

* A Prayer Book, in the language of the Six Nations of Indians containing the Morning and Evening service, the Litany, Catechism, some of the Collects, and the prayers and thanksgivings upon several occasions, in the Book of Common Prayer of the Protestant Episcopal Church: Together with Forms of family and private devotion. Compiled from various Translations, and prepared for publication by request of the Domestic Committee of the Board of Missions of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. By the Rev. Solomon Davis, missionary to the Oneidas, at Duck-Creek, Territory of Wisconsin. New York. | Swords, Stanford, & Co., D. Fanshaw, printer, 1837.

168 pages. Reverse of title-page blank. Text, pp. 3-168. paper, 4½ x 7⅜ inches. The headings are printed in English and in Oneida; sub-headings in English or in Latin; the text in Oneida. Hymns occupy pp. 166-168.

Bagster, The Bible of Every Land (1860), page 459, characterizes the work as “a translation, ostensibly in Oneida, of the whole English Prayer Book . . . ; but this translation, though intelligible to the people of his [the translator’s] charge, is not written in pure Oneida, nor indeed in any dialect ever spoken by the Six Nations.”

Solomon S. Davis came to the Oneida Indians in 1821 as ,a lay-reader and catechist, and was made deacon in 1829. In that year, upon a further removal of the Oneidas from New York State to Wisconsin, the old mission was given up. Davis followed the tribe, and died in 1846, while serving as a missionary among them at Duck Creek, Wisconsin.

[1] Eleazar Williams was born in May, 1788, and died, August 28, 1858, at Hogansburgh, N.H. His father was Tehoragwanegan, an Iroquois chief of the Caughnawaga Mohawks, Quebec, known also as Thomas Williams (1759-1848), of white descent. His mother’s name was Mary Anne Rice Williams. She was of mixed blood, and died in 1856. In the Journal of the General Convention of 1820, pp. 91-, 92, it is said: “Mr. Eleazar Williams, a young man of Indian extraction, a candidate for Holy Orders, is licensed by the bishop as lay reader and catechist, to officiate in the Mohawk language, in St. Peter’s Church, Oneida Castle, Oneida County, the congregation of which is composed of Indians.” Williams, according; to Hewitt in Handbook of American Indians, Vol. I, pp. 953-955, was by no means a character to be proud of, notwithstanding his brilliant gifts and some good work done in his younger days. He is shown to have been crafty and unscrupulous in his dealings, both with the Whites and with the Indians.

Griffiths 111:7

Title page, 1875 printing
1875 printing; Griffiths 111:11
The edition of 1837 was entirely revised and recast by Mr. Williams. It was printed in 1853, entitled: The Book of Common Prayer. . . . Translated into the Mohawk or Iroquois Language, by the request of the Domestic Committee of the Board of Missions of the Protestant Episcopal Church, by the Rev. Eleazer Williams, V.D.M. Revised edition of his former translation. New York: Protestant Episcopal Tract Society . . . 1853. 108 pages, 16mo. Title, reverse blank; text pp. 3-108. The text is entirely in Mohawk, except the headings, which are sometimes in English. Other editions appeared in 1867, New York: H. B. Durand, 101 pages, 16mo; and in 1875, New York: T. Whittaker, published for the Indian Commission of the Protestant Episcopal Church. All three editions have added, paged separately, a selection of Psalms and hymns, 38 pages.


Griffiths 111:9 (1853)

Griffiths 111:10 (1867)
Griffiths 111:11 (1875)



The editions of both, Williams and Davis, do not compare favourably with the edition of Nelles and Hill of 1842. This :latter is superior, especially from an educational point of’ view, giving a good, reliable text in Mohawk as well as in English.





THE Siouan languages — so named after the largest and best-known tribal group or confederacy belonging to the family, the Sioux[1] or Dakotas — are spoken in a considerable :number of dialects. One group of tribes speaking Siouan languages lived on the Western Plains, extending from the· northern border of the United States far to the south., Another group of dialects was spoken by tribes inhabiting, the southern Appalachian regions ; and two isolated dialects belong to the coast of the Gulf of Mexico east of the Mississippi river and the lower Yazoo river respectively.

[1] “Sioux” is a. French corruption of Nadowe-ssi-wag; “snakes” or “enemies,” The Dakotas (“Allies”) are their chief branch.



In the year 1889 the S.P.C.K. published Portions of the Book of Common Prayer in the language of the Dakota or Sioux Indians of Rupertsland, translated by the Rev. William Alfred Burman. The title reads;

* Hanhanna qais Htayetu | Cekiyapi | token ptecena eyapi kte cin, | qa Litany, | qa nakun | Dawid Tadowan | kin etanhan, | tonana kalinigapi, | Qa | Itancan Htayetu Wotapi tawa kin, token | wicaqupi kin, | qa | Omniciye kin en Hoksiyopa. Baptisma wicaqupi | kin, token eyapi kte hecetu.| Printed for use by the Sioux mission, Manitoba, Canada, with the approval of the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, and by direction of the Bishop of Rupert’s Land. London . . . 1889.

215 pages, fcap. 8vo. The preliminary matter, the occasional offices, except Baptism and parts of the Psalter, are omitted.

Burman graduated B.D. from Manitoba University; was ordained deacon in 1879 and priest in 1881. During these years he was a missionary to the Sioux Indians. From 1881 until 1889 he was in charge of the Sioux Mission at Griswold, Manitoba; rural dean of Brandon, 1888-89; principal of Rupertsland Industrial School, 1889-93; rural dean of Lisgar, and rector of St. Peter, Winnipeg, 1893-1903, and commissary to the bishop of Selkirk since 1903. Since 1907 he has also been honorary canon of St. John’s Cathedral, Winnipeg, and bursar of St. John’s College. His name does not appear in the 1913 issue of Crockford, nor in the 1913 Clergy List.

Griffiths 24:5; Griffiths calls this language Dakota
Several Dakota translations of the American Prayer Book have been published since 1865. In that year appeared: Ikce wocekiye wowapi. | Qa isantanka makoce. | Kin en | token wohduze, | qa okodakiciyewakan en | tonakiya woecon kin, | hena de he wowapi kin ee. | Samuel Dutton Hinman, | Missionary to Dakotas. | Saint Paul: | Pioneer Printing Company. | 1865. x, 321 pages, 8vo. Printed in long lines. The text begins with the Table of Proper Psalms, and ends with the Burial of the Dead. Headings are in Dakota and in English. The dialect in this book is that of the Santee Indians.

Griffiths 24:1

In 1878 the New York Bible and Common Prayer Book Society published for the Indian Commission of the Protestant Episcopal Church a revised edition, entitled: Okodakiciye | Wocekiye Wowapi kin, | qa | Okodakiciyapi token Wicaqupi kin; | qa | Okodakiciye wakan kin en woe con qa wicolian | kin, America makoce kin en, United States | en, Protestant Episcopal Church | unpi kin obnayan; | qa nakun | Psalter, Qais David Tadowan kin. | i-xxii, 1-664 pages. Printed in long lines. Contains the Psalter and the Ordinal. This edition was the first instance of the publication in the United States of the entire Prayer Book in an Indian tongue.

A reprint without changes was put out in 1883, and again in 1909.

The 1865 edition was the work chiefly of Hinman. Samuel Dutton Hinman was born at Pittsburgh, Pa., January 17, 1839. In 1860 he was ordained a deacon by Bishop Henry Benjamin Whipple, of Minnesota, and in the same year he was appointed missionary to the Mdewakantonwan and Walipekute Dakotas at the Lower Sioux Agency, Redwood, Minn. The work was interrupted by the Sioux massacre of 1862; but on the final transfer of the Indians to Niobrara, Nebraska, in 1866, the work was resumed by Mr. Hinman, who had kept in close touch with the Indians during the period of disturbance. He had been ordained priest in 1863, while stationed at the camp of Indian prisoners at Ft. Snelling, Minnesota. From 1866 to 1876 he was with the Santee, near Niobrara, Neb., and was made archdeacon of the diocese. While here he founded St. Mary’s School. He died March 24, 1890.

With the help of an interpreter, Thomas A. Robertson, Hinman prepared a brief Dakota Church Service Book, which appeared in 1862, entitled; Dakota Church Service for the Mission of Saint John . . . Faribault, Minn.; Central Republican Book and Job Office. 1862. 24 pages, 12mo. This service book was the successor of a leaflet containing two or three prayers.

Griffiths 24:4 (1878, reiussued 1883, 1891, 1892, 1909)
Associated with the Rev. Joseph Witherspoon Cook, he brought out an “English and Dakota Service Book; being parts of the Book of Common Prayer, set forth for use in the missionary jurisdiction of Niobrara. Published by the Indian Commission of the Protestant Episcopal Church. 1875. Title on p. 1; pages 2-135 (bis), containing alternate English and Santee. 12mo. The service book was reissued in 1879 and 1911. (also 1895 & 1900)
Griffiths 24:3 (1875, reissued 1879, 1887, 1889, 1892, 1901, 1903)

The 1878 translation of the whole Prayer Book was brought out by Hinman, in conjunction with J. W. Cook, Daniel Wright Hemans, and Luke Charles Walker. Cook and Hemans were ordained clergymen, Walker a deacon. Cook, a half-blood, was born at Bethel, Vt., March 12; 1836. His parents removed in 1840 to Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated from Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, in 1860, was ordained deacon in 1864, and advanced to priesthood in 1865. In May, 1870, he began his labours as a missionary to the Yankton Indians, among whom he remained for the rest of his life. He has shown great energy in his work, having built a church at the agency and two at the ends of the reservation, to each of which a day school is attached. Mr. Cook has done valuable work as a translator of literature for the benefit of his congregations, and has contributed much toward our knowledge of the language and the ethnology of the Yankton Indians. He died at St. Louis, Mo., February 26, 1902.

The Rev. Daniel Wright Hemans was a full-blood Santee Dakota, and pupil of Mr. Hinman. He died March 31, 1878. — Walker was ordained deacon in 1873, and was canonically resident when Bishop William Hobart Hare was consecrated (1873). He is presbyter-in-charge of the Lower Brule :Mission, South Dakota.


Cover of 1962 Dakota BCP
Cover of later Dakota BCP (Griffiths 24:7, 1962 printing)


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