Elizabeth Camp journals  1819-1825
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Biography

As a young woman, Elizabeth Camp spent her time teaching school and visiting friends. A devout Congregationalist, Elizabeth constantly prayed for the salvation of all souls, and was particularly anxious for the time "when all the tribes of Indians shall have among them the regular preaching of the gospel, & when their children shall be taught science, the arts of civilization, and the christian religion" (1:12-13). After visiting the Stockbridge Indians and meeting "many ardent & devoted christians, who, I thought were far more eminent for piety, than myself," Elizabeth was happy to accept a teaching position among them for the summer of 1820.

The history of the Stockbridge Indians, whose descendants prefer to be called the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of the Mohican Nation, is a complex story involving Dutch, English, French, Mohawks, and other tribes. To seriously compress the tale, in the 1730s, the town of Stockbridge in western Massachusetts had been established as a Christian mission town for the Indians. In addition to the missionaries who lived among the Indians to assist them in leading Christian lives, many other whites settled in Stockbridge. They soon wished to worship separately, segregate what had been communal schools, and strip the Indians of the right to vote. Even after fighting on the American side during the Revolution, the Stockbridge Indians, as these Mohicans came to be known, were not considered American citizens. The Stockbridge appealed to the Iroquois Nation, requesting a small land grant to live on, and the Oneida invited the Stockbridge Indians to come live near them. New Stockbridge, a six mile square tract of land adjacent to the Oneida's reservation, was established in 1785, and the territorial boundaries of this tiny reservation were officially established in 1794. About 300 Christian Stockbridge Indians resettled in New Stockbridge, New York.

When Elizabeth Camp went among them to teach the children and give the women religious instruction, the Stockbridge Indians were on the verge of another move. Greedy land speculators, led by the Odgen Land Company, wanted the Oneida and Stockbridge lands, and in 1822 the Indians, under the guidance of the U. S. government, began to remove to Wisconsin, where they were finally granted a reservation in 1856. Elizabeth spent only a few months among the Stockbridge, whom she seemed to hold in the highest esteem, as Christians and as a race.

After that summer, Elizabeth continued to circulate among friends, family, and other schools, but she provided few details in her journals. In August of 1823 she became a student again, and briefly attended the school for young ladies that Yale College graduate Claudius Herrick had established in New Haven in 1808. Herrick's school was apparently "distinguished for a high tone of moral and religious sentiment," which would have suited Elizabeth admirably (Dexter, 326).

In October, without any prior warning, Elizabeth announced she had married an unnamed "minister of the gospel," and was living in Hunter, [N.Y.] By 1825, the couple had moved to Worcester (which could be Massachusetts or Otego County, New York) and Elizabeth gave birth to a daughter on August 9. Nothing more is known about her or her family.