Brown Bag Lunch: Rebecca Kellogg
1704 Deerfield Captive to Congregational Missionary Interpreter for the Mohawks
Eight-year-old Rebecca Kellogg was one of the 112 English colonists captured by French/Canadian/Iroquois forces in 1704 in Deerfield, Massachusetts. She was adopted into the Mohawk community of Kahnawake on the St. Lawrence River. Rebecca married a Mohawk man and raised children, but then, quite surprisingly, she came back to British territory. She eventually became an interpreter to the Mohawk for the famous Jonathan Edwards when he preached in Stockbridge to Mohegan and Mohawk Christians. She then translated for a young Gideon Hawley as he attempted to set up his first mission in Mohawk country. In Edwards's letters and Hawley's diary, we meet a woman who was loyal, funny, strong, kind, and stubborn. How Edwards and Hawley wrote about Rebecca delightfully challenges assumptions we might have about Indian captivity, mission work, and women in the eighteenth-century backwoods.
Joy A. J. Howard is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia where she teaches early American literature courses and introductory classes. She received her Ph.D. from Purdue University and wrote a dissertation exploring how colonial writers altered the long-standing discourse of spirit possession stories. She's interested in colonial writings where religion intersects with constructions of the self and representations of the body. Her recent studies on Jonathan Edwards's Indian sermons in Religion in the Age of Enlightenment have led her to her work on Rebecca Kellogg because she translated for Edwards in Indian country. Some of this work will appear as "Rebecca Kellogg Ashley: Negotiating Identity on the Early American Borderlands, 1704-1757" in Women in Early America, edited by Tom Foster, under contract with New York University Press.
Wednesday, June 19th
12:00 - 1:00 pm
Program begins promptly at noon.