Many people know the name of Jonathan Edwards. Some are familiar with his work among the Stockbridge Indians. Not as many have heard of John Sergeant. John Sergeant was the missionary to Stockbridge before him.
In her book Stockbridge, Past and Present, Electa Jones writes,
“Mr. JOHN SERGEANT, a native of Newark, New Jersey, was at the time a Tutor in Yale College. He had been heard to say that he would prefer the life of a missionary among the Indians to any other ; and this being reported to the Committee, they made application to him in September. He replied that, with the consent of the Rector and Trustees, he would agree to spend one half of the year with the Indians until he should have carried his pupils through their course of studies, and after that, if his labors proved successful, he would take up his residence with them for life. The answer was accepted, and, Oct. 8, he left New Haven for his new field of labor.
Mr. Sergeant had long prayed for such an opening, and the state of his mind when his prayers were answered, proved their sincerity. In his diary he says :
“I was sensible I must not only lose a great many agreeable amusements of life, especially in leaving my business at College, which was the most agreeable to me that could be, but also expose myself to many fatigues or hardships, and I know not to what dangers ; yet I was so far from being unwilling, that I was rather desirous to improve what abilities I had in such an undertaking. Indeed I should be ashamed to own myself a Christian, or even a man, and yet utterly refuse doing what lay in my power to cultivate humanity, and to promote the salvation of souls.”