Samuel Blatchford (university president)

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Samuel Blatchford (1767 - 1828) was the first president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.[1]

He was born in Devonport, Devon, England in 1767.[2] He was educated at the Dissenting College of Theology at Homerton, now called Homerton College, Cambridge. He married Alicia Windeatt on March 25, 1788. On November 4, 1789, he was ordained and became pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Kingsbridge, Devon.[3] In 1791, he became pastor of the church in Topsham, Devon. In 1795, he became pastor of a church in Bedford, Westchester County, New York State, and later pastor of a church in Bridgeport, Connecticut. In 1804, he became pastor of the Presbyterian churches in Lansingburgh and Waterford (which later merged). He was also asked to be principal of Lansingburgh Academy.[4] In 1805, he was appointed a trustee of Union College and later a member of the Board of Examiners.[4] In 1824, Stephen van Rensselaer appointed him trustee and the first president of the Rensselaer School, which grew to become Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He was given an honorary master's degree by Yale College in 1798 and the degree of Doctor of Divinity by Williams College in 1808.[5]

He died in Lansingburgh on March 27, 1828. Eliphalet Nott, the president of Union College and later the third president of Rensselaer, delivered the sermon at the funeral services. His grandson Samuel Blatchford was an attorney, judge and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.[6]


Academic offices
New institution President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
1824 – 1828
Succeeded by
John Chester

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nason, Henry B., ed. Biographical Record of the Officers and Graduates of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1824-1886, Troy, NY: William H. Young, 1887, page 28 [1]
  2. ^ The Blatchford Memorial, New York, 1871, page 1
  3. ^ The Blatchford Memorial, New York, 1871, page 9-10
  4. ^ a b The Blatchford Memorial, New York, 1871, page 33
  5. ^ The Blatchford Memorial, New York, 1871, page 32, 38
  6. ^ "Samuel Blatchford." Dictionary of American Biography Base Set. American Council of Learned Societies, 1928-1936. Reproduced in History Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale.