Samuel Johnson, an American clergyman, first president of King's (now Columbia) college, New York, born in Guilford, Conn., Oct. 14, 1696, died in Stratford, Conn., June 6, 1772. He graduated at Yale college in 1714, and two years later was appointed tutor there. In 1720 he was ordained as a Congregational minister, and settled at "West Haven. He relinquished his pastoral charge in 1722, and soon after, in company with Mr. Cutler, rector of the college, and another gentleman, sailed for England, where they received episcopal ordination in 1723, and in May he received the degree of A. M. from the university of Oxford. He soon returned to America, bearing a commission as missionary of the society for the propagation of the gospel in foreign parts, and settled in Stratford, Conn., as rector of an Episcopal church there. In 1743 lie received the degree of D. D. from the university of Oxford. In 1746 he published "A System of Morality," and about the same time composed a compend of logic and metaphysics, and another of ethics, originally prepared for the use of his sons.
The two latter were printed by Franklin (Philadelphia, 1752), as text books for the university of Pennsylvania. In 1753 he was invited to become president of the newly founded college in New York; and having declined the presidency of the university of Pennsylvania, he entered upon his duties in New York in 1754. In addition to teaching the classes he assisted in planning the college edifices, and made earnest appeals to his friends in England for assistance in its endowment. During the nine years of his presidency he lost his wife, younger son, and stepson, and became so much depressed as to be unwilling to remain longer in charge of the college. He accordingly wrote to England for a successor, and in 1763 resigned and returned to Stratford. During his presidency he published one or two small works, and after his return to Stratford, where he resumed his parochial duties, revised his previous works, and published an English and a Hebrew grammar. - See "Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson," by E. E. Beardsley (New York, 1874).