Samuel Kirkland

Rev. Samuel Kirkland (1741 – 1808) was a Presbyterian missionary among the Oneida and Tuscarora people in North America. He was the founder (in 1793) of the Hamilton-Oneida Academy (later Hamilton College). Kirkland was a student of Native American languages and lived many years with Indian tribes.

Samuel Kirkland was born in Norwich, Connecticut and died in Clinton, New York. He began his missionary work as a protégé of Reverend Eleazar Wheelock, but the two parted company in 1770. He became an advisor and ambassador for the Iroquois during the American Revolutionary War and was able to persuade many Oneidas and Tuscaroras to assist the American revolutionaries. After the war, he maintained good relations with the Indians and helped negotiate treaties and keep peace between Indians and whites.

On the other hand, Kirkland is also seen by some as a "point man" for the Americans during the revolutionary war and helped to subjugate the Oneida people. Kirkland also secured large parcels of the Oneida ancestral land for himself and his friends.

The town of Kirkland, New York is named after him.


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