Samuel Andrew (1656 - 1738)

‹ Back to Andrew surname

Is your surname Andrew?

Research the Andrew family

Rev. Samuel Andrew's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Share

Birthplace: Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts
Death: Died in Milford, New Haven, Connecticut
Occupation: Clergyman and President of Yale University
Managed by: Jose Vicente Alberdi
Last Updated:
view all 16

Immediate Family

About Samuel Andrew

Co-founder and 2nd President of Yale University

From Yale website

Samuel Andrew was perhaps the most distinguished of the early College trustees. Four years after graduating from Harvard in 1675, he was made a fellow and tutor there, holding these positions for five years. James Pierpont, Noadiah Russell, and Joseph Webb, who were later to join Andrew as charter trustees of Yale College, studied under him at Harvard. During the temporary absences of both Urian Oakes and John Rogers as presidents of Harvard, he was called upon to perform the duties of acting president, an extraordinary assignment for one in his twenties.

On November 18, 1685, Andrew was ordained pastor of the Congregational Church in Milford, Connecticut, as the successor to Roger Newton. Not long thereafter he married Abigail Treat, daughter of Robert Treat, Governor of Connecticut. For more than fifty years, Andrew remained at Milford, becoming one of the most prominent and respected ministers in the Connecticut Colony.

His active part in the founding of the College is not surprising. Andrew was a scholar and rarely left his study. Such parish duties as visiting the sick, consoling the poor, or officiating at funerals were almost always left to the church elders and deacons. But he did take a lively interest in the college project, attended the Branford meeting in early October 1701, and agreed to serve as one of the original trustees.

The untimely death of Pierson found the trustees unprepared to elect a new Rector. They had little money with which to pay a resident rector's salary. To fill the vacancy, Andrew, then fifty-one, accepted the post of rector pro tempore. He took charge of the Senior class, which now met at Milford. Phineas Fiske, a graduate of 1704 and the last tutor to serve under Pierson, led the other scholars off to Saybrook. There the Reverend Thomas Buckingham exercised a general surveillance over the students until his death in 1709. The underclassmen came to regard him and not Andrew as the real rector, a circumstance which was bound to lead to the diminution of Andrew's authority.

The College in fact now entered a period of general decline which lasted for ten years. Although Andrew was a scholar of wide repute and undoubtedly a good teacher, he was a poor administrator. He was faced with a series of problems with which he could not or did not try to deal, and the trustees themselves were divided on almost all of the issues. Financial difficulties continued, and the mounting costs of Queen Anne's War drained the Colony's treasury, thereby depriving the College of most of the hoped-for aid from that source. The division of the students, with the Seniors at Milford and the underclassmen at Saybrook, did not contribute to College solidarity. Moreover, the students were dissatisfied: they discovered the lodgings at Saybrook far from adequate and they were highly critical of their tutors-there were now two. Enrollment decreased, and by 1710 only two or three students were being graduated annually.

The most noteworthy event of Andrew's early administration occurred when twelve Connecticut ministers, nine of them trustees of the College, together with four laymen who composed the Saybrook Synod, met on September 9, 1708, and formulated the famous Saybrook Platform. This provided that every officer of the Collegiate School had to accept publicly the Confession of Faith adopted by the Synod. The orthodox Calvinistic faith thus became the officially adopted creed of the School and was strictly taught to its scholars. (During Andrew's administration and for some time afterward most graduates went into the ministry.)

An event of far greater importance for the School's immediate affairs took place in 1714. James Pierpont, one of the original trustees and a distinguished citizen of New Haven, had since 1711 been corresponding with Jeremiah Dummer, a Harvard graduate and the Massachusetts Bay Colony's and later Connecticut's agent in London, about obtaining books for the struggling College. By 1714 Dummer had collected some 800 volumes, at least 120 at his own expense, and sent them to Saybrook. He seems to have been unaware of the College's chaotic situation-and it was probably a good thing that he was. At the time the Dummer books constituted one of the large and cosmopolitan book collections in New England.

Yet many College problems remained unsolved. Students were growing increasingly unhappy, especially with what they considered to be poor teaching. Factionalism among the trustees increased after Pierpont's death, in 1714. Andrew meanwhile ventured but little out of Milford and made no secret of his wish to be relieved of the post of Rector pro tempore. His early administrative efforts at Harvard had undoubtedly made him at the outset hesitant to assume the position.

As a consequence, the trustees met in April 1716 and, to placate the students, allowed the Seniors to finish their studies wherever they pleased. Some of them chose to go to Wethersfield, under the tutorship of the Reverend Elisha Williams. T he College, therefore, found itself split into three separate camps.

The collection of the Dummer books more than any other factor forced the trustees to seek a solution to the growing disunity. A permanent building was clearly needed to house the books safely. After considerable bickering the majority voted to move to New Haven. The move was made at the end of 1716, and the first Commencement in New Haven was held in September 1717. The dispute over the permanent site did not end, however, for another year.

In 1718 Cotton Mather, disillusioned with his alma mater, Harvard (1), wrote to Elihu Yale, a retired and wealthy London merchant of the East India Company and a former Governor of Fort St. George at Madras, India, to solicit aid for the new College in Connecticut. It was Mather who, without consulting the trustees, first proposed that if Yale, who had already contributed about forty books, should see fit to make a sizable contribution to the Collegiate School, it should be named after him. At any rate, toward the end of 1718, with the aid of the ever-present Dummer, Mather persuaded Yale to part with some of his fortune, a considerable portion of which had been the fruit of dubious exploitation in India. The former Governor gave Dummer goods which were in turn sold in Boston for approximately £560. The gift was small enough considering Yale's wealth, but nonetheless it remained the largest private donation made to the College for over a hundred years. In appreciation, at the September 1718 Commencement, the trustees adopted Mather's suggestion and named the building which these funds helped to construct "Yale College."

That ceremony was soon followed by the "library war," which took place in December of that year. On completion of the New Haven building, a majority of the trustees not unnaturally planned to shift the library, composed mainly of the Dummer books, from Saybrook to New Haven. But the people of Saybrook felt differently. When the "invaders" from New Haven arrived in Saybrook to remove the books, half the village turned out to prevent the transfer. After several altercations, the books were finally loaded onto ox carts and prepared for the journey to New Haven. That night, however, the Saybrook villagers, using guerilla tactics, struck again, overturning carts, freeing oxen, and destroying many of the bridges between Saybrook and New Haven. In the general melee which ensued, some 250 volumes were stolen, never to be recovered. The College forces finally prevailed, and the remaining books arrived in New Haven the next day.

The time had now come to find a permanent replacement for Samuel Andrew. Under his lax administration the students had become increasingly unruly, especially those studying at Wethersfield. The trustees, in March 1719, and probably at the instigation of Andrew himself, elected Timothy Cutler, Andrew's son-in-law, as Rector.

Andrew was thus relieved of a task which lie had never really wanted and which had grown more and more burdensome as time went on. He did not relinquish his duties as a trustee, however, and even officiated at Yale Commencements during a subsequent interregnum. Until his death on January 24, 1738, he continued his pursuits of scholarship and preaching with diligence and great distinction.

Source: Holden, Profiles and portraits of Yale University presidents pages: 13-17

(1) Mather's disagreement was due for the most part to the fact that, unlike his father, Cotton had not been elected president.

From Historical sketches of the town of Milford

By George Hare Ford

Yale College is as much indebted to Rev Samuel Andrew of this town as to any other person excepting the individual after whom it was named Elihu Yale Esq of New Haven. Mr Andrew was one of the first projectors of the College was the most influential of the ten who obtained a charter for the same from the Legislature was one of the original trustees of the Institution continued to hold this trust thirty eight years had for a number of years the tuition of the senior class who resided in the town and was for a time the College Rector.

view all 11

Rev. Samuel Andrew's Timeline

1655
January 29, 1655
Cambridge,,Massachusetts
1656
January 29, 1656
Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts
1678
1678
Age 21
Connecticut, United States
1685
1685
Age 28
Milford, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
1692
1692
Age 35
1696
1696
Age 39
1701
1701
Age 44
Milford, New Haven, Connecticut
1704
November 19, 1704
Age 48
Milford, New Haven, CT
1738
January 24, 1738
Age 81
Milford, New Haven, Connecticut
????