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Brothertown has been significantly blessed throughout the centuries with industrious, well-educated, and noteworthy citizens who have spent their lives in service to our people and others. Joseph Johnson, David Fowler, William Fowler, Alonzo D. Dick, William H. Dick, and Thomas Commuck are a few of these names. Probably the most well-known, however, is the name of Samson Occom (Mohegan/Brothertown).

Occom’s notoriety goes well beyond Brothertown, Native America, or even the century in which he lived. He was instrumental in the founding of Dartmouth College, helped establish the community of Deansboro (“old Brothertown”) in New York and fathered the Brothertown Tribe; all of which continue to exist more than two centuries later. He wrote hymns that are still sung; was the first person to publish an interdenominational hymnal; wrote the first Native American autobiography; and penned letters, sermons, and journals that are read and studied in classroom settings across the nation. Occom was the second Native American to be published (about 6 months after son-in-law Joseph Johnson (Mohegan/Brothertown)), and the first to be published internationally when his A Sermon Preached at the Execution of Moses Paul was printed and sold in England.

Occom died in New York on July 14, 1792. Although he was a Presbyterian minister, the Episcopal Church has set this date aside as an annual feast day in tribute to him. Let us mark our own calendars and join them each year on July 14th in remembering this truly remarkable Brothertown man.