Experience Mayhew


1673 – 1758


Who was Experience Mayhew?

Experience Mayhew was a New England missionary to the Wampanoag Indians on Martha's Vineyard. He was born on January 27, 1673, in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, the oldest son of Rev. John Mayhew, missionary to the Indians, and great-grandson of Gov. Thomas Mayhew. Jonathan Mayhew, his most famous child, became a minister at Old West Church in Boston.

Experience Mayhew began to preach to the Wampanoag Indians at the age of 21. He became a Congregational minister with the oversight of five or six Indian assemblies, and continued in his ministry for 64 years. Having thoroughly mastered the Wôpanâak language, which he had learned in infancy, he was employed by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England to make a new version of the Psalms and of the Gospel of John, which he did in 1709 in parallel columns of English and Indian.

In 1717, he translated the Lord's Prayer into Mohegan-Pequot.

Mayhew published Indian Converts in 1727, which covers the lives and culture of four generations of Wampanoag men, women, and children on Martha's Vineyard. Mayhew is also the author of the sermon Grace Defended.

It was said of him, "Had he been favored with the advantages of education he would have ranked among the first worthies of New England."

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  • United States of America
Lived in
  • Massachusetts

on July 23, 2013


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