BECAUSE ETHNOHISTORY DEMANDS SO MANY DIFFERENT SPECIALIZED skills from at least two disciplines, complete ethnohistorians are rare. William N. Fenton is one of them. As a student of all phases and facets of Iroquois culture, as an ethnologist with a keen historical sense, as a master of the library, the museum, and the field, and as a model of and spokesman for the ethnohistorical art, he is without peer. When I was invited in 1976 to contribute an essay to a festschrift to honor his forthcoming retirement from the State University of New York at Albany, I was pleased to be able to express my large debt to his friendship and example.
Appropriately, it was at the Iroquois Conference in 1977 that I read the following essay in Bill's honor. As it turned out, my topic could hardly have been more pertinent. When I was asked to contribute to the festschrift I had just spent several months reading the papers of Eleazar Wheelock, the founder of Moor's Charity School for Indians and later of Dartmouth College, Bill's alma mater. One of the first things I had discovered--which was news mostly to me--was that the majority of Indian students at Wheelock's school were Iroquois. What was not generally known, however, was that Wheelock had designs upon a large piece of Iroquois territory, allegedly to support his school, and that he was so unsuccessful in educating Indians, especially the Iroquois,