The West Virginia University Department of History will present the 2014 Rush Holt Lecture “Telling Stories in Early America, or, The Indian Who Went to London with an Eagle and Came Home with a Lion” on Thursday, Oct. 23, at 7:30 p.m. in room G21 of Ming Hsieh Hall on the WVU downtown campus.

Joshua Piker, history professor at the College of William and Mary and editor of the William and Mary Quarterly, will speak on the travels of Tomochichi, a Creek headman who sailed to England in 1734 for a meeting with King George II.

The event is free and open to the public.

“(Piker) exemplifies that teacher-researcher (mentality) that so many academics strive to become over the course of their careers, and he does it through the telling of stories, which is the focus of his talk on Thursday,” said Michele Stephens, assistant professor of history at WVU.

Tomochichi’s experiences on the voyage illustrate how American Indians approached the challenges and opportunities of the colonial world.

Piker has published articles and essays in a wide range of venues, as well as two monographs—”Okfuskee: A Creek Indian Town in Colonial America” and “The Four Deaths of Acorn Whistler: Telling Stories in Colonial America.” The Harvard University Press published both of his articles.

The first Rush D. Holt Lecture was presented by the WVU Department of History in 2011. Inaugurating the lecture series was the Honorable Rush D. Holt Jr., a U.S. congressman from New Jersey and the son of former U.S. Sen. Rush D. Holt Sr., of West Virginia, after whom the series is named.

The lecture series is supported by the family of Senator Holt through the Senator Rush D. Holt Endowment established in 1998 through a private gift to the WVU Foundation. The same endowment sponsors a biennial historical conference.

For more information, contact Joseph Hodge, chair of the Department of History at WVU at



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