Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, like Hamilton College in Clinton, was founded originally to educate American Indians. Each was conceived by a minister and each evolved into a college. And each have an Oneida connection.

Hamilton College’s connections with Oneida have been well documented and chronicled, including the school’s beginning as the Hamilton-Oneida Academy established to educate Oneida. Hamilton was not alone in its quest to educate American Indians in the 18th century. Dartmouth, too, grew upon this premise.

In the book, “Memoirs of the Reverend Eleazar Wheelock,” the founder of Dartmouth offered the following:

“A short time previous to the departure of the school from Lebanon [Conn.], two Oneida Indians arrived in Lebanon, sent by the head man of their nation, to bring home their boys, ostensibly for the purpose of visiting their friends; but, as it afterward appeared, really from an apprehension that they were on the verge of war with the English.”

According to the Ivy League school’s website, the move from Connecticut to its present location happened thus:

“The Royal Governor of New Hampshire, John Wentworth, provided the land upon which Dartmouth would be built and on December 13, 1769, conveyed the charter from King George III establishing the College. That charter created a college “for the education and instruction of Youth of the Indian Tribes in this Land … Named for William Legge, the Second Earl of Dartmouth – an important supporter of Eleazar Wheelock’s efforts – Dartmouth is the nation’s ninth oldest college.”

(Photo:  The Native American Studies program is located in The Sherman House)

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2012 edition of The Oneida newsletter.