Lifetime: 1673 - 1758 Passed: ≈ 266 years ago




United States

Experience Mayhew


Experience Mayhew (1673–1758) was a renowned New England missionary known for his dedicated work among the Wampanoag Indians on Martha's Vineyard and neighboring islands. His unwavering principles, notable works, and significant contributions to Native American literature and religious practices have left a lasting impact.

Principles and Contributions:

Mayhew's mission among the Wampanoag Indians was characterized by his deep respect for their culture and traditions. He embraced a philosophy of cultural exchange and sought to understand and communicate with the indigenous people on their terms. Mayhew's principles were rooted in compassion, tolerance, and a genuine desire to bridge the gap between European settlers and Native Americans.

One of Mayhew's notable works is the Massachusett Psalter, a rare book akin to the Bay Psalm Book and Eliot Indian Bible. This psalter played a crucial role in the religious and spiritual lives of the Wampanoag community. It provided them with a means to express their faith through the use of their native language, ensuring a sense of cultural continuity and religious identity.

Mayhew's Philosophy:

Mayhew's philosophy can be summarized as a belief in the power of mutual understanding and respect. He recognized the inherent worth and dignity of every individual, regardless of cultural background, and advocated for peaceful coexistence and harmony. Mayhew's approach emphasized the importance of preserving Native American languages, traditions, and spiritual practices while integrating Christian teachings.

Death and Legacy:

Experience Mayhew passed away in 1758, leaving behind a remarkable legacy as a devoted missionary and advocate for cultural exchange. His works continue to be revered for their historical significance and contribution to Native American literature. Mayhew's dedication to fostering understanding and respect between different cultures serves as an enduring example of intercultural dialogue and religious tolerance.

Mayhew is remembered for his pioneering efforts in preserving and promoting the Wampanoag language and culture. His work helped shape the foundation of Native American literature and played a vital role in preserving indigenous traditions during a time of significant cultural change.

Interesting Facts:

Experience Mayhew's life and work offer fascinating insights into the early interactions between European settlers and Native Americans. His commitment to learning the Wampanoag language fluently, as well as his deep respect for their spiritual practices, set him apart as a compassionate and dedicated missionary.

Mayhew's legacy also highlights the importance of cultural preservation and the value of diverse voices in shaping literature and religious practices. His works continue to be studied and appreciated by scholars, providing invaluable insights into the history and culture of Native American communities.

In conclusion, Experience Mayhew's life as a New England missionary and author stands as a testament to the power of mutual respect, cultural exchange, and the preservation of indigenous languages and traditions. His principles, notable works, and enduring legacy make him a significant figure in Native American history and an inspiration for intercultural understanding.

Books by Experience Mayhew

Indian Converts of Martha's Vineyard, in New-England Cover image

Indian Converts of Martha's Vineyard, in New-England

Essays Religion
Tradition Culture Christianity Religious Spirituality Observation Beliefs Experiences Historical

This book provides valuable insights into the religious practices and spiritual experiences of the Native American community on Martha's Vineyard. This insightful work sheds light on the cultural exchange and the unique religious landscape of the reg...