John Wesley and the Indians



One of John Wesley’s main goals in coming to Georgia was to preach to the Indians. He said, “I will hear the gospel afresh by preaching it to the innocent savages because they have no defense against the text.” 

After he had met with some Native Americans he was very severe with them. He said, “They are liars, thieves, and murderers. They murder their own babies and they murder their own parents! They do not wish to learn and are not willing to be taught.”

Wesley wanted to go to their villages, but Oglethorpe would not allow it. “You will be killed and scalped! And who will take care of the colonists?” Wesley did meet with some Indians at the ship when arriving in Georgia. He became friends with Chief Tomochichi and the translator, Mary Musgrove. 

You will see pictures of John Wesley preaching to the Indians. Don’t believe it. It never happened. There is one famous painting of John Wesley preaching to a group of Indians. In that painting there is a teepee. Eastern Indians did not have teepees; Western Indians had teepees. 

On his return trip back to England John Wesley wrote in his diary a wealth of information about various Indian tribes near Savannah. He told how many warriors each tribe had and how they were governed. He described how many miles each tribe lived from Savannah.