Samson Occom

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Born: 1723

Died: 14 July 1792


Samson Occom "was a member of the Mohegan nation, from near New London, Connecticut, who became a Presbyterian cleric. Occum was the first Native American to publish his writings in English, and also helped found several settlements, including what ultimately became known as the Brothertown Indians. Together with the missionary John Eliot, Occom became one of the foremost missionaries who cross-fertilized Native American communities with Christianized European culture." (Wikipedia)

"An examination of the hymns in Samson Occom's [1774] collection reveals the fact, hitherto, we think, unknown, that there are a considerable number which are not found in earlier books, and are not noted, or are unassigned by hymnologists. The conclusion is that he was himself the author of such. Was not this probably the reason why the book was announced as "Mr. Occom's Collection of Poems"? The collection contains one hundred and eight numbered hymns, with some doxologies and graces. Of these the greater part are known as by Watts, Wesley, Madan and others. He undoubtedly took them from hymn-books which were at hand. As to the remainder, some, which are unclaimed by authors so far as we are aware, do not seem to exhibit his style of composition, while others have distinctly his earmarks in certain expressions. We give the first lines of a number of these, which must be assigned to Occom, unless other authorship is proven:

  • Awake sad heart, whom sorrows drown
  • Behold Jesus Christ in the clouds
  • Behold that splendor, hear the shout
  • Blest be the God whose tender care
  • By sin my God and all was lost
  • Christ in that night he was betrayed
  • Christ Jesus is the chiefest Good
  • Come to Jesus, come away
  • Farewell to my pain and farewell to my chain
  • Hail thou happy morn so glorious
  • Hark ye mortals, hear the trumpet
  • I bless the Lord, who gives his word
  • Ladened with guilt, sinners arise
  • Lord from thy throne of flowing grace
  • Lord, I confess my sin is great
  • Most gracious God of boundless might
  • Now his the ever-rolling year
  • O sight of anguish, view it near
  • The Prodigal's returned
  • Today Immanuel feeds his sheep
  • Weary of struggling with my Pain
  • Welcome, welcome, blessed Servant
  • Why was unbelieving I
  • Ye that seek the Lord, who died

(Love 1899).

View the Wikipedia article on Samson Occom.

Settings using hymns by Samson Occom

Settings of text by Samson Occom


  • Occom, Samuel, Compiler. 1774. A Choice Collection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs. New London, Connecticut: Thomas and Samuel Green.

External links


  • Brooks, Joanna. 2003. American Lazarus: Religion and the Rise of African-American and Native American Literatures. New York: Oxford University Press. 272 pp.
  • Brooks, Joanna. 2006. Collected Works of Samson Occom, Mohegan. New York: Oxford University Press. 480 pp.
  • Love, William D. 1899. Samson Occom and the Christian Indians of New England, Boston: The Pilgrim Press. 379 pp.