Dr. Leonard Hoar, President of Harvard

Is your surname Hoar?

Research the Hoar family

Dr. Leonard Hoar, President of Harvard'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!


Leonard Hoar, Rev.

Also Known As: "hoare/"
Birthdate: (45)
Birthplace: Gloucester, Gloucestershire, Great Britain
Death: Died in Boston, MA, USA
Place of Burial: Quincy, MA
Immediate Family:

Son of Charles Hoar, Jr. and Johanna Henchman
Husband of Bridget Usher
Father of Tryphena Hoare and Bridget Cotton
Brother of Thomas Hoar; Charles Hoare; Margery Flint; John Hoar; Joanna Hoar and 3 others
Half brother of Thomas Willett

Occupation: REV. DR.
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
view all 15

Immediate Family

About Dr. Leonard Hoar, President of Harvard



Born in Gloucestershire about 1630, he was the fourth son of Charles Hoare, by Joanna Hinkesman of Gloucester. Some time after the death of his father in 1638 he emigrated with his mother to America. Hoar, as he thenceforth called himself, graduated at Harvard College in 1650, and in 1653 returned to England, where he became a preacher. Through the interest of Sir Henry Mildmay he was beneficed at Wanstead, Essex, from which he was ejected by the 1662 Act of Uniformity. A Cambridge M.A. by incorporation, he was awarded the degree of M.D. by Cambridge per literas regias in 1671

Harvard Presidency and death

In 1672 Hoar went again to Massachusetts to preach, by invitation, at the Old South Church, Boston. He brought a letter, dated 5 February 1672, addressed to the magistrates and ministers in Massachusetts Bay by thirteen nonconformist ministers in and around London, friends of the colony and agents in raising funds for a new college building, who strongly recommended Hoar for the post of president of Harvard as successor to Charles Chauncy, who died 19 February 1672. The general court voted an increase of salary on the condition that Hoar was elected. He was accordingly chosen, to the disappointment of Urian Oakes, who was widely regarded as Chauncy's legitimate successor. Hoar was immediately elected and installed as President of Harvard on December 10, 1672; a position he held until he resigned on March 15, 1675.

Hoar had high ambitions for Harvard as research centre, as he wrote to Robert Boyle at this time. He was the first president of Harvard College who was also a graduate of it; but he was not well liked by his students or the people of Massachusetts, in part because of his radical religious views. The facts of his time in office remain obscure. Samuel Sewall was educated at Harvard by Hoar, one of only three students to graduate from Harvard in 1673. He was also one of the few to come to Hoar's defense in 1674 or 1675, just before Hoar was forced to resign. Some members of the corporation had combined against him, with the result that all the students, with the exception of three, had left. Sewall later argued that

"the causes of the lowness of the Colledge were external as well as internal."

Daniel Munro Wilson wrote

"At all events the students fell away from the president, and 'set themselves to Travestie whatever he did and said, and aggravate everything in his behavior disagreeable to them, with a design to make him Odious'."

Cotton Mather in his Magnalia Christi Americana stated that

"He was forced to resign ... 'his grief threw him into a Consumption whereof he died November 28, 1675 in Boston'. (Cotton Mather)"

His epitaph in the Hancock Cemetery at Quincy, Massachusetts reads:

Leonard Hoar - died Nov.28,1675 in Boston a.45, and interred here Dec.6, new gs.

His wife Bridget, daughter of John Lisle the regicide, died at Boston, Massachusetts, on 25 May 1723. By her he had two daughters: Bridget, who married, on 21 June 1689, the Rev. Thomas Cotton of London, a liberal benefactor of Harvard College; and Tryphena.


He produced work on biblical scholarship. He was author of:

‘Index Biblicus: or, the Historical Books of the Holy Scripture abridged. With each book, chapter, and sum of diverse matter distinguished, and a chronology to every eminent epocha of time superadded. With an Harmony of the Four Evangelists and a table thereunto, &c.’ [by L. H.], London, 1668 (another edition 1669). It was afterwards reissued as ‘Index Biblicus Multijugus: or, a Table to the Holy Scripture. The second edition, &c.’ [by L. H.], London, 1672.

‘The First Catalogue of Members of Harvard College,’ 1674. The only copy known was found in 1842 by James Savage in the State Paper Office in London, and was printed in the ‘Proceedings’ of the Massachusetts Historical Society for October 1864 (p. 11), a few copies with a title-page being issued separately.

‘The Sting of Death and Death Unstung, delivered in two Sermons, preached on the occasion of the death of the Lady Mildmay,’ Boston [Mass.], 1680, published by Hoar's nephew, Josiah Flint.

Leonard Hoar (1630-1675) was the third President of Harvard College (1672-1675) and the first Harvard College graduate to assume the presidency.

Hoar was born in 1630 at Gloucestershire to Charles Hoare (d.1638) and Joanna (Hincksman) Hoare (d.1651). His father was a brewer, alderman, and sheriff, and his mother was a member of a prosperous Gloucestershire family. After the death of Charles in 1638, Joanna moved the family to Massachusetts Bay Colony and settled in Braintree.  
English-born but New England bred, Hoar received his Bachelor of Arts (1650) and his Master of Arts (1654) from Harvard College. In 1656 he returned to England and became the Rector of Wanstead in Essex. He married Bridget Lisle, daughter of Lord John Lisle and had two daughters. Hoar left his ministry in 1662 after he found himself at odds with the Anglican Church. Interested in scientific and medical studies, he returned to school and graduated with a medical degree from the University of Cambridge in 1671.  
Hoar was chosen the President of Harvard College in 1672. At the time of Hoar’s appointment, Harvard College was suffering through a period of decline. Very few students were attending the College, most of the buildings were in need of repair, and the Indian College was deserted. Hoar’s goal upon assuming the presidency was to make Harvard College a center of scientific research in the New World and rededicate the College to the advancement of learning.  
Unfortunately, disaffection between Hoar and his teaching fellows and students doomed his presidency from the start. Strict and exacting with students and overbearing and rough with younger associates, Hoar lost the support of College officials. When he had a student whipped for a misdeed, the entire student body walked out of school. Four teachers resigned. Very few students returned to the College after the 1674 commencement. As a result, the General Court of Massachusetts declared the College in a languishing and decaying state, accusing Hoar of hindering the development of the school. On March 15, 1675, Hoar turned in his resignation. By this time Harvard College had pretty much shut its doors and there were very few students on campus.  
With his ideals and hopes crushed, Hoar’s demise broke his spirit and he became ill shortly after his resignation. He died in November 1675 a disillusioned man. He was buried in Braintree (now Quincy), at the age of 45.  
Although his term of office was brief, Hoar left behind the Harvard College tradition of issuing a catalogue of Harvard College graduates. In the seventeenth century, no university in the world had attempted to publish the names of alumni in a catalogue. This catalogue, eventually known as The Quinquennial Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates of Harvard University, was continued until 1930.  
In 1976, 301 years after Leonard Hoar’s resignation, the Massachusetts State Senate rehabilitated Hoar’s reputation by passing a resolution proclaiming and confirming Hoar’s innocence of any wrongdoing or misdeeds while president of Harvard College.  

Leonard Hoar, son of Charles and Joanna ( Hincksman) Hoar, of England, was president of Harvard College from 1672 until shortly before his death in 1675. He married Bridget Lisle, daughter of John Lord Lisle. Her father was president of the High Court of Justice in England under Cromwell, and drew the indictment and sentence of King Charles I. He was murdered in Lausanne;" Switzerland. August n. 1664, being shot in the back as he was on his way to church, by two Irish ruffians who were inspired by the hope of reward from some member of the Royal family in England. Bridget Lisle's mother was the Lady Alicia Lisle, who was in sympathy with the King, and was one of the earli

est victims of the infamous Chief Justice Jeffries, being charged with misprision of treason in aiding and concealing in her dwelling the day after the battle of Sedgemoor, Richard Xelthorpe. a lawyer, and John Hickes, a minister, accused of being refugees from Mon- mouth's army. She declared herself innocent of guilty knowledge, and protested against the illegality of her trial because the supposed rebels, to whom she had given common hospitality, had not been convicted. She was then advanced in years, and so feeble that it is said she was unable to keep awake during the tedious trial. Jeffries arrogantly refused her the aid of counsel, admitted irrelevant testimony, excelled himself in violent abuse, and so intimidated the jurors who were disposed to dismiss the charge, that they unwillingly at last brought in a verdict of guilty. She was hurriedly condemned to be burned alive" the very afternoon of the day of her trial, August 28, 1685, but, owing to the indignant protests of the clergy of Winchester, execution was postponed for five days, and the sentence was "altered from burning to beheading. This punishment was exacted in the market place of Win- chester on the appointed day, the implacable James II. refusing a pardon, although it was proved that Lady Lisle had protected many cavaliers in distress, and that her son John was serving in the royal army; and many persons of high rank interceded for her. among whom was Lord Clarendon, brother-in-law to the King. Lady Lisle was connected by marriage with the Bond. Whitmore, Churchill and other families of distinction, and her granddaughter married Lord James Russell, fifth son of the first Duke of Bedford, .thus connecting this tragedy with that of Lord William Russell, "the martyr of English liberty." In the first year of William and Mary's reign, the attainder was-reversed by act of parliament upon petition of Lady Lisle's two daughters. Tryphena Grove and Bridget (Hoar) Usher. Among the eight great historical paintings which adorn the corridor leading to the House of Commons, the third of the series represents Lady Lisle's arrest. Lady Lisle's tomb is a heavy flat slab of grey stone, raised about two or three feet from the ground, near Ellingham church, close to the wall, on the right side of the church porch.

It is said that when Lady Lisle was carried on horseback by a trooper to Winchester for trial, the horse lost a shoe and fell lame. She insisted that the trooper should stop at a smith's and have the shoe replaced, on his refusal declaring that she would make an outcry and resistance unless he did, saying that she could not bear to see the horse suffer. The blacksmith at first refused to do the work, saying that he would do nothing to help the carrying off of Lady Lisle, but on her earnest pleading, he did. She told him she would come back that way in a few days, but the trooper said, "Yes. you will come back in a few days, but without your head." The body was returned to Moyles' Court the day of the execution : the head was brought back a few days after in a basket, and put in at the pantry window ; the messenger said that the head was sent afterward for greater indignity.

There is a further tradition that when Lady Lisle heard of her husband's connection with the court which condemned King Charles, she was much distressed. It is well known that she disapproved the execution, and that she declared on her trial that she never ceased to pray for the King. The story further goes that she hastened to London and reached her husband's door as he had just mounted his horse to join the procession for some part of the proceeding of the court. She accosted him, but, being covered with a heavy veil, he did not recognize her, and roughly thrust her away. She fell under the horse's hoofs in a swoon: she was taken up and cared for by Hickes, one of the persons whom she afterward succored, and for relieving whom she was condemned. She remained in a swoon for a long time; her husband was sent for and visited her but. to use the phrase in which the story was told, "was very odious to her." She told Hickes that she could not repay him for his kindness in London, but if he came to the Isle of Wight, or to Movies' Court, in both of which places she had property, she would repay him, saying, "At Movies' Court I am mistress."

Bridget Hoar married (second) November 29, 1676, Hezekiah Usher. Jr. A memorial to the memory of Joanna, wife of Charles Hoar, and to Bridget, wife of Leonard Hoar and daughter of Lady Lisle, in the form of a double headstone, shaped from a large, thick, slab of slate, was erected by Senator George F. Hoar, a descendant. Following are the inscriptions:

"Joanna Hoare, died in Braintree. September 2ist, 1651. She was widow of Charles Hoare, Sheriff of Gloucester, England, who died 1638. She came to New England with five children about 1640.

"Bridget, widow of President Leonard Hoar, died May 25, 1723, daughter of John Lord Lisle. President of the High Court of Justice.

Lord Commissioner of the Great Seal, who drew the indictment and sentence of King Charles I., and was murdered at Lausanne, Aug. nth, 1664, and of Lady Alicia Lisle, who was beheaded by the brutal judgment of Jeffries. 1685. She was nearly akin by marriage to Lord William Russell."

Name: Leonard HOARE

Given Name: Leonard

Surname: Hoare

Sex: M

Birth: Abt 1630 in England

Death: 28 Nov 1675 in Barnstable, Barnstable Co, Massachusetts, USA

Note: Leonard Hoar was an early American clergyman and educator. He was educated at Harvard College and later studied medicine at Cambridge University. He occupied various ecclesiastical positions in England and produced works on biblical scholarship. In 1672 he was appointed president of Harvard. He occupied that position until his death in 1675.

Father: Charles HOARE b: Abt 1588 in England

Mother: Joanna HINCKSMAN b: Abt 1580 in England

Marriage 1 Bridget LISLE b: Abt 1640 in England



Bridget HOAR b: 13 Mar 1672/73 in Watertown Or Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Tryphena HOAR b: Abt 1675 in Watertown Or Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
view all 12

Dr. Leonard Hoar, President of Harvard's Timeline

Gloucester, Gloucestershire, Great Britain
Age 20
Harvard College
Age 20
Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA
Age 20
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
March 25, 1670
Age 40
Ellingham, Hampshire, England
Age 41
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
March 13, 1673
Age 43
Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts
November 28, 1675
Age 45
Boston, MA, USA
December 6, 1675
Age 45
Quincy, MA