John Eliot

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The Indian Grammar Begun by John Eliot, 1666

John Eliot was born in Hertfordshire, England, in 1604. He is famous for his missionary work with Native Americans, including the first translation of the Bible into the Algonquin Indian language in 1663.

Early Years in England

In 1622, John Eliot graduated from Cambridge College. After teaching school for a while, John came under Puritan influence and was determined to become a teacher. In 1631, he emigrated to America, where he settled in Boston.

Ministry to the Indians

In 1646, John began preaching to Indians in English but soon learned to speak their language. With the help of a young Indian, John translated the Ten Commandments and the Lords Prayer into their language. After successfully preaching to the Indians in their language, Eliot convinced the Massachusetts General Court to set aside land for their residence. The Court agreed to do this and in 1654 another Indian town under his direction was established. By 1674, John had roughly 4,000 "Praying Indians" listening to his preaching. John Eliot died on the 21st of May in 1690.

Algonquin Writings and Translations

  • The Bible - translated from 1658 - 1663
  • Call to the Unconverted by Richard Baxter - 1665
  • Practice of Piety by Richard Baxter - 1665
  • The Indian Grammar Begun - 1666
  • The Indian Primer - 1669
  • The Logic Primer - 1672
  • The Harmony of the Gospels - 1678
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