in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans, the story of Native American involvement in fall of Fort
William Henry has often focused on the role of the Stockbridge Mohicans and other New England tribes serving with Roger’s
Rangers. In his letter to the widow of Colonel Elisha Williams, former rector
of Yale and intimate of Jonathan Edwards, however, Indian missionary John Brainerd (brother and successor to David) referred
not to the Stockbridge Indians but rather to the vital and often overlooked Delaware Indian community of Bethel, New Jersey.
Bethel was often simply referred to as the "Indian Town."
The status of Bethel in the history of the Delaware Indians and colonial America is a piece
of the larger mosaic of Indian-white relations for this era, and illustrative of the intricate and complicated relationship
among Native communities, Christian missionaries, and colonists. Bethel was an
important intermediary step between David Brainerd’s watershed missionary work at Crosswicks and the ultimate establishment
of the Brotherton Reservation in Burlington County by 1760. For nearly fourteen
years, hundreds of Delaware Indians lived in a community located along the Manalapan River of central New Jersey in what is
now Monroe Township, Middlesex County. The community consisted of approximately
forty homes, a church and a schoolhouse, and it was one of the largest villages of colonial New Jersey.
This site is dedicated to fostering the a
better understanding of the Bethel Mission and its role during the French & Indian War.