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Rev. Paul Mazakute







Published through the offerings of the



Text courtesy of Margaret B. Smith, Archives of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut; 1335 Asylum Avenue; Hartford, Connecticut 06105

Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Diocese of New York, 2011

Indian Commission of the Protestant Episcopal Church,

Extract from the Address of the President of the Dakota League of Boston to the Rectors of the Diocese of Massachusetts; All Saints' Day 1873.

THE noble-hearted Bishop of Minnesota, in a visit to Boston eleven years ago, roused the dormant sympathy which existed in many hearts for the perishing Indian race, into a conviction that the responsibility of earnest prayer in their behalf lay upon every Christian.

Shortly after, a member of Emmanuel Church, Boston, while visiting in Albany, became acquainted with a dear sainted child of GOD, now resting in Paradise—Evelina C. Bogart. With paralyzed limbs, for twenty-five years she lay on a couch of suffering, much of the time in an agony of distress, yet always calm and patient, full of love and faith and zeal, living in the "peace of GOD that passeth understanding," stimulating by her words and prayers hundreds to more activity for their MASTER, and now, resting from her labors, "her works do follow her." Into the ready ear of this new friend she poured the story of Bishop Whipple' s mission at Redwood; of the young [5/6] Minister who had consecrated his life to the Indians,—Samuel D. Hinman; of the late fearful massacre which had scattered these poor people so happily gathered under his faithful teaching, and of their great need of food and clothing. She encouraged the desire to prepare boxes of clothing for their relief, suggested the possibility of supporting an Indian student, related her own experience, and furnished the definite information required.

The dearly-beloved Rector of Emmanuel Church, now Bishop of Central New York, entered with glad sympathy into the wishes and plans of his parishioners. Many calls were made, money and clothing contributed, and in the fall of 1863, a large box was sent to the Mission, bringing in response, letters from Mr. Hinman, Dr. Breck and Bishop Whipple, which aided in establishing a permanent interest in the work.

A strong desire was felt to do something toward the support of a student, and a teacher of Emmanuel Sunday-school, who had been moved by Bishop Whipple's address, persuaded her class to lay aside, weekly, something for this purpose; and out of this effort, a few months later, grew an organized association—the Dakota League—whose officers were a President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer, and whose members pledged themselves to awaken an interest among their friends and raise one hundred and fifty dollars a year for the support of an Indian student. Mr. Hinman's heart was lightened by the [6/7] pledge, and he chose for their beneficiary from among his most promising young men, Paul Mazakute, the first Indian Presbyter, whose whole life and eminently Christian death were a beautiful illustration of the power of the Gospel of CHRIST.

[8] IF this manuscript shall be approved by the Rev. Samuel D. Hinman, and by those chief friends of the Indians, Mr. William Welsh and the Secretary of the Indian Commission, I desire it published among the friends of this Mission.

The Rev. Paul Mazakute, a Presbyter of the Episcopal Church, has written in this book his last words to his friends.
The Rev. Samuel D. Hinman will translate this into English for me.
January, 1873.

Last Words of the Rev. Paul Mazakute.


[11] IN this book I shall write a few of my words, but I do not do it because I wish to praise myself, or make my name great; but humbly, and esteeming myself of no account, I write these my last words. I write to and as a member of the Holy Fellowship, and a Minister of the Church. And I write because I have yet many things that I desire. To my friends in CHRIST JESUS in the country called the United States, to the men and women who have faith in CHRIST, and walk in His way, I give thanks.

And the thing that I desire is this. I have five children—four boys and one girl. If any, no matter where they live, will have pity on them for my sake, and teach them letters, to lead them along the way of CHRIST, which leads to peace and life, they will make me truly thankful. I must now soon leave them, and as they are yet very small, I am truly sad at heart.

I do not look to any of the Dakota people. But I look with confidence to the white people who have the charity of JESUS. For this reason I now speak: for [11/12] two years I have been very sick, and for days and nights now I have been very weak. I seem now to be very near the gates of death. My life upon earth is very weak, my mind is very short, and my voice and my body both are faint. Therefore, for my children's sake, I put my trust in strangers. If I were well, I would not say this.


[13] I KNOW that to men upon earth, children are given to care for, and to instruct—and if I were to live long it would be a shame for me to say these things. But when children are left orphans, it is the privilege of any person, having charity, to care for them, and make them wise unto life, and whosoever doeth this shall win a great glory in Heaven.

In the year 1868 I went to the East, and saw much of the country there. In Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, especially, I saw many Houses and Works of Mercy. I have a very strong affection for all those States on that account, and a desire that my children be there. This is one reason why I desire it. In a little while I shall not be with them, and, if they are not instructed, they will grow up foolish and sinful, and if I think it sad that I can no longer see them on earth, it will be sadder still if I shall not see them hereafter in Heaven.

Therefore, if any one will pity me, and take one of them, and make it wise, and so cause me to see it in Heaven, my soul will have great joy. Whoever can do this for me will make me very thankful. I am an Indian, and I know all their thoughts and ways, and they are all hard and full of misery. I grew up among them sad and wretched; but at last I found a blessed [13/14] Faith, having which, though I am dying, I know that I am but waiting for a great joy and peace. It is true that the Dakotas now have this blessed Faith, and also have teachers—but these are among Dakotas, and the teaching is in their language, and so it is difficult for them to think of much, or to learn much. Therefore I desire my children to be taught among whites, hoping that if they are well cared for and learn English, one of them at least may come back as a Minister to his own people. This is my heart's desire.


[15] I HAVE a work, and, that it is a good work, my mind knoweth well. And I desire to work as long as I live, and to fulfil all those things JESUS has given me to do. I have done what I could. But I am GOD'S, and it seems His will to call me soon to Himself. But, though this is so, yet I desire that my work should live, and in my own family be handed down as their best inheritance. Therefore I desire that my children be well taught, and that as I was the first Minister from the Dakota people, so, if GOD my FATHER shall so bless me and keep me, from mine may grow up another Minister who, though I be not here, shall bear my name among the Ministers of CHRIST, and finish the work that I now lay down. I therefore desire this thing from my friends who are followers of the same Faith with me.

In times past I know how miserably the Dakotas have lived, and especially that their orphans have lived and died in sorrow. But now some of the Dakotas are following the good life, and as many as do not leave it will be saved, and those who do not take part in it will go into great tribulation. Thus hereafter the Dakotas will walk in two ways—one leading to sorrow, and one to blessing.

[16] This one I desire my children to walk in, so that if one of them shall be wise he may save other souls. If a man is rich, and humble himself to ask from another man, it is a shame; but if a man, poor and in misery, humble himself to ask help from another, it is right. Thus I, a Dakota, ask for help, and I ask without shame. And it is a shame for one to ask help from another people; but I send these my words to the whites: but I do it without shame, because we are one body in CHRIST.


[17] AND now I will speak of myself. In times past I walked over a dark road, having no light. I was in misery, deep in the valley of death, wounded by evil spirits, and in the midst of many fears. There was no man on earth to save me.

But all at once the GOOD SHEPHERD, always active—He who never tires; He who walks bravely in difficult places and in desert lands, ever seeking the lost—He came upon me, and He delivered me from the valley of death and from the place of torment of the Evil Spirit, and caused me to live.

This One is truly merciful, and no man can equal Him; alone all good; alone all strong; alone all holy: this One only is clear of sight; this One only strong of wing; this One only everywhere strong in battle, and with a great victory He has won all the peoples of the earth. He is the SAVIOUR of both body and soul—CHRIST, the SON of GOD.

This is He Who caused me to live, and it is He Who even now adds night and day to my fading life. This One alone I trust. His Word alone I obey. I am trying to live His Life, and I shall be with Him for ever.

GOD bless His servant also who led me to JESUS; so like Him in his work; fearing nothing, hindered by [17/18] nothing, and leaving his own people to save the poor lost Indian. GOD knows the number of souls that have been blessed through him, and they will be his everlasting recompense and crown of glory.

In 1862 I made my Christian vows. For seven years I was a Catechist, and for five years I have been a Minister. One year I was a Deacon, and for four years I have been a Priest. When I was made a Priest, I went to the Yankton people.

At first I lived at Yankton Agency, and I went also sometimes to White Swan to tell the good words of the Gospel. Then for a year I had a church at Choteau Creek, Dakota, and from there I went from time to time to preach the Gospel to the Ponkas. So that now if the Church is growing among those people, it was I that made the way. Since I have been a Minister, I have had but one voice among my people, a voice to proclaim the Light of CHRIST.

Though I have never been far away, yet among the Dakotas—at Yankton Agency, and White Swan, and Choteau Creek, at Ponka, at Santee, and on the Bazille—in six villages I have proclaimed the glad tidings of the Gospel. But, although I have labored thus, I do not account my life as perfect in GOD, and I do not forget to pray to JESUS, night and morning, to save me for His Mercy's sake.


[19] IN the five years I have been a Minister, of men, women, and children, I have baptized sixty-four. These I have baptized with my own hand. I have married eight persons, and, since I have been a Priest, I have administered the Holy Communion to my people on seven occasions. Thus, since the SAVIOUR has given me work to do, I have worked for Him according to my poor ability. This has been my mind. He, JESUS, through great suffering saved me and bought me with His precious Blood. So I, with my will, and my soul, and my body, and with my voice, ought to praise Him. And also I always remember that He sent me to work for Him, and that He watches over me, and that so I am not mine own but His. So, when I have been among other tribes, I have worked gladly with my own hands to build the rude churches we worshipped in. And on the Holy Day I have read Morning Prayer and the two Lessons, and preached to them, as also at the time of Evening Prayer. And perhaps in this way I have weakened my lungs sooner than they otherwise would have been weakened. But even if this be so, in CHRIST I count my body as nothing, and I remember that He toiled for me and died for me, and so, if working for Him I seem to die for Him, I count it no [19/20] more than right, and I glory in it. These things I have done for other tribes, but now I am come home to my own people, and although I am not well, yet (not at the Agency, but in another place) I have a good church and a village of people. The church is called the Church of the Blessed REDEEMER. And though now every day my body is weak, yet I remember the good fight CHRIST has given me to take part in. And I think that JESUS has given me this as my last glory upon earth, and I thank Him for it. But even now I cannot pray strongly in my church, but a Catechist, twenty-four years old, helps me, and reads the Prayers and Lessons, and I say the Offices and a few last words to my people. Thus, notwithstanding my illness, we are able to have all the Services of the Church.


[21] IN this book I have written many words, and perhaps some man may say or think, "He fears to die, and therefore he makes many words;" or it may be that no one will think this of me. But this has been my mind in writing. I think it a shame that I should die without giving my testimony to the Love of JESUS. I do not wish to die in silence, as a man without faith. In my body I fear nothing, but only fear Him Who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. This is GOD. For, whoever on earth walks with CHRIST, and is partaker of His Life, all such an one's treasures are in Heaven. Thus, ever since GOD called me away from the slavery of sin, and I came into His Light, I have thought, that—for the work that I did for JESUS while I lived, for my weariness for Him, for the heavy burdens borne for Him, for the hunger suffered for Him, for the thirst endured for Him, for my tears for Him, and for the sorrow endured for Him, for my walk with Him, waiting not, and resting not, day or night—that now soon, in Him and with Him, He for these things will give me comfort. And now this is my mind, "That I am going home to my FATHER’S [21/22] House; that I am going home where my good Elder BROTHER dwells."

And so every day I long to go, but know that I must wait until His appointed time, and then I shall go home and I shall be with Him, and be in joy in the new country of GOD. Even now with my eyes I seem to see it, and my heart leaps for gladness—the river of GOD flowing with the water of life; on either side the tree of life ever bearing fruit; and the City always brilliant; and the buildings all of shining gold; the men in raiment brighter than the sun; these all day and night, wise in mind, walk making peace, and singing hymns such as we never knew below, and with voices such as we have never heard. And on either side, the everlasting mountains, bright and ever green; men walking there rejoicing; the City with its streets of gold, and houses pleasing in their color like the leaves of autumn, green and scarlet, and white as silver; and there is no sun there, but the face of the LORD is the everlasting Light. It seems even now as if I were in this joy unspeakable and full of glory.

My heart longeth for it. To such a country as this I shall soon go home.

I am as a man who has left his pleasant home, and, after wandering for years, is now almost returned to it as He hasteneth and longeth for it, so my soul longs to be called home.

Therefore, my friends, when I am gone from earth, I do not wish any to sorrow for me. For I shall not be [22/23] in pain or sorrow. Remember for me that I am only sad for the relatives I leave behind me, and that I shall no longer look upon my wife and children, whom I love, and leave my blessing.


AND at last I will speak of my family. We were seven children—three boys and four girls. All were older than I. I am the youngest. My mother died nineteen years ago. My father died a long time before that. All my brothers and sisters died without faith, but one lived to hear with me the Word of Life; he died a short time ago. I am thirty-one years old. I was born in Minnesota, where the town of Wapaxa now stands. I was born in June, 1842.

For twenty years I lived in darkness, and now for eleven years I have kept the Faith. And now that I am to die, I thank GOD that He has permitted me to live until I knew something at least of the joy and peace of believing. I shall not now be among enemies but among friends.



[24] I HAVE had this disease for fifteen months, and, but for the care I have had, and the kind friends, I should have died long ago.

Dr. F. G. Holmes, of Nemaha, Nebraska, has given me medicine, and prolonged, my life—and I bless him, and his wife, and children, and all his house.

I also bless and say farewell, I trust only for a time, to my Minister who taught me, and to his wife—the best of women—and to Miss West, and all his family. Also to Mrs. Wisner, Mrs. Burnham, and the lady who built my church. [* See the letter below] To Mr. Welsh, and to all my friends, and all their families. May GOD keep us all, living or dying, and may we through His Mercy meet in Everlasting Life. Amen. P.M.

[* The following letter, written to this lady, will be read with interest in connection with a farewell so touching:

December 30, 1872,
Translation of letter of Rev. Paul Mazakute, December, 18,1872:

Miss ___:

My friend in CHRIST JESUS; the letter that you wrote me on the 2nd of this month, I received. to-night, [24/25] December 16th. I was at the house of Rev. Mr. Hinman, and he gave me the letter and read it for me. In that letter you gave me only good words, and all that you said to me pleased me very much and made me very happy. I am an Indian, and there is no reason why you should remember me but for my work's sake. That work GOD gave to me, and for that reason, though I am an Indian, and you of a different people, yet your faith is my faith, and in all the earth there are many different races of men, yet to all alike GOD has given His one SPIRIT, and one Life, and one Faith, and one SAVIOUR. You have grown up knowing all this, and for this reason, though I am far from you, and have never seen your face, you have given me a good gift and made me very thankful.

The church which you have given to the GREAT SPIRIT was finished in September. I will tell you how it is built. It is a frame building, made of cottonwood and pine lumber, forty feet in length by twenty in width: the gable is twenty-nine feet from the floor. Inside, it is not yet plastered, and we have no seats; but you have made me very glad by speaking of a bell, and stone Baptismal Font, and the Altar Cloth—I am very happy.

My life on this earth will not be long, and here I am doing a work which I trust JESUS will bless with glory hereafter, and I give thanks to GOD.

I have now celebrated the Holy Communion twice [25/26] in our church, in the month of August, and on the First Sunday in Advent. The Communicants were fourteen the first time, and fifteen the second. There are only forty families living here this winter, but we hold Service every Holy Day. We pray that JESUS will give us Everlasting Life. But now we do not pray in our church, we have no stove, and so meet in my house. And we have no furniture for our church now, no bell, no Font, no Altar Cloth, no seats; and I did not think we would ever be able to have them. But you are from a merciful people, and have made both me and my people glad at heart. And especially when we see the things, that you have spoken of, in our Holy House, our joy will be great Indeed.

I am growing weak, but I think I may live another Summer, and, for the blessing that you have conferred upon me and my people, I shall remember you in every one of these my last days upon earth. I will never forget to pray for you and the sisters whose names you have given me. This is all I will say: from my heart I shake hands with you. I wish to say more, but bending down to write is painful to me, and makes me very weak.

Your friend.

Extract from the Second Annual Report of the Indian Commission, made to the Board of Missions of the Protestant Episcopal Church, October, 1873.


[27] THE Commission have been made to realize, during the year, that, in the conduct of Mission work, as in the personal experience of individuals, alternations of joy and sorrow are to be expected. Since their last Report, in which they lamented the loss of two members of the little band of native Christian Ministers, the Rev. Paul Mazakute has been called away from his earthly labors. His death occurred on the 12th of May last. It was not wholly unexpected, for his failing health had given sad intimations, for months previous, that his continuance among the scenes of his pious and devoted labors could not be long extended. Of him it may be said that he was "faithful unto death"—faithful not only as a Christian man, but faithful as a Steward of the mysteries of GOD. As late as last December, the Rev. Mr. Hinman, who had been on a visit to Paul, wrote of him thus: "He will not rest from work, but says that GOD has evidently called him to make ready to pass over the dark river; [27/28] but that we must let him die, still at work, with his light burning. He says, 'Even if I die a month or a year sooner, I prefer to die still ministering at the Altar of my SAVIOUR.' " There in that little chapel on the Bazille River, which the loving devotion of a few Christian women in New York had provided for him, he continued to perform his sacred duties, and to testify of the dear SAVIOUR; and there at last, in that same chapel which he had loved so well, was his thin, worn body brought, ready for its burial, arrayed in the simple vestments in which he had been wont to minister in holy things. Miss West, who went up from the Santee Mission to be present at the funeral, furnishes such testimony as this, of the departed: "Paul was in all his daily life one of the most perfect patterns of the Christian character that I have ever known. He has shown it as much in his patience during his long suffering, as in his earnest working as long as he was able, and even after; he could not bear to give up. I received a note from him, while Mr. and Mrs. Hinman were in Sioux City, in which he wrote, 'I am without fear and full of joy, and I am in haste to be in the joyful country, with JESUS, my Divine Friend, beyond the clouds, because I can no longer work for Him on earth.' " May we not humbly say of Paul, what Paul the Apostle says of one of the Saints of the Primeval Dispensation, "he being dead yet speaketh"—speaketh to us white men, of what the blessed Gospel of the SON of GOD can accomplish [28/29] in the heart and life of the Indian, and speaketh to his yet heathen brethren, of the love and goodness and power of ONE Whom they seem to be ever feeling after under their sacred, traditional expression, the Great Spirit.

I heard
A voice from heaven, saying unto me,
From henceforth blessed are the dead
Who die in the Lord:
Even so saith the Spirit;
For they rest from their labours.

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