Grandson of Jonathan Edwards And 8th President of Yale College
Sometimes the good man, by the uncommon powers of his mind, by peculiar incidents in his life, by having exerted a commanding influence on the interests of the public, or by having acquired an unusual share in their affections; presents the most attractive subject of biography. That good man is Timothy Dwight.
The grandson of Jonathan Edwards, Timothy Dwight will doubtless be ranked among the first men in the history of our country. In the acquisition of knowledge, we have seen that the earliest efforts of his mind, even in infancy, were singular and extraordinary; and that his talents were as strongly marked at this early stage of his existence, as perhaps at any subsequent period of his life. He learned the alphabet in a single lesson; and before he was four years old he was reading the Bible with ease, favoring the historical books. He was admitted as a student at Yale at 13 years of age. At 19 he was teaching at Yale.
But what was most extraordinary was that when he started as president at Yale the school was in decline and students were rebellious and embracing sin. A few short years later enrollment had more than doubled and attendance at the College Church increased from three students to over 50% of the students. Timothy Dwight was a teacher, pastor, and father to the students, and by the time of his death was known as the father to New England -- and for most of his life he was without sight, unable to see well enough to read or write.