Dwight. I. Timothy, an American divine and scholar, born in Northampton, Mass., May 14, 1752, died in New Haven, Conn., Jan. 11, 1817. From his earliest years, under the training of his mother, a daughter of Jonathan Edwards, he gave indications of a thirst for knowledge and great facility of learning. He is said to have been able at the age of four to read the Bible correctly and fluently. He graduated at Yale college in 1769, and took charge of a grammar school in New Haven, where he remained for two years. From 1771 to 1777 he was a tutor in Yale college; in the latter year, when on account of the revolutionary troubles the students of the college were dispersed, he went with his class to Wethersfield, where he remained till autumn, and in the mean time was licensed to preach by an association in Hampshire co., Mass. Soon after this he was appointed chaplain to a brigade of the division under Gen. Putnam, and joined the army at West Point, where he remained for more than a year, not only laboring for the spiritual interests of the soldiers, but heightening their enthusiasm by addresses and by patriotic songs, the principal of which was entitled "Columbia." By the death of his father in 1778 the support of his mother with 12 children devolving on him, the oldest of her sons, he resigned his chaplaincy and removed with his family to Northampton. Here he worked with his own hands on the farm, supplied some neighboring church on the Sabbath, established and sustained a school for both sexes, represented the town in 1781 and 1786 in the state legislature, and would have been chosen to the continental congress, but declined the intended honor in order to devote himself to the work of the ministry.
In 1783 he was ordained pastor of the Congregational church at Greenfield Hill, Fairfield, Conn.; but as his salary was insufficient for his support, he established an academy, to which he devoted six hours of each day. In 1787 he received the degree of D. D. from the college of New Jersey, and in 1810 that of LL. D. from Harvard college. On the death of Dr. Stiles he was chosen his successor as president of Yale college, was inaugurated in September, 1795, and held the office until his death. In addition to its appropriate duties he performed a vast amount of labor belonging to other departments. He was in reality professor of belles-lettres, oratory, and theology, teaching a class preparing for the ministry, and preaching in the college chapel twice every Sunday; in the discharge of which latter duty he prepared and delivered in a series of discourses his well known system of theology. During several years he spent his vacations in travelling through New England and New York, making extensive notes and critical observations on the manners of the time, which were afterward published and have a permanent value.
Dr. Dwight was a man of commanding presence, of dignified but affable manners, of striking conversational powers, of superior intellectual faculties, untiring in his industry and research, of great system and wonderful memory; as a teacher, remarkable for his skill and success; as a writer, interesting and sensible; and as a preacher, sound, strong, impressive, and at times highly eloquent. The literary labors of Dr. Dwight were very great, and his publications numerous, including dissertations, poems, and occasional sermons, issued during his life, and since his death; " Theology Explained and Defended," with a memoir (5 vols., 1818), often reprinted in this country and in England; "Travels in New England and New York" (4 vols., 1822); "Sermons on Miscellaneous Subjects " (2 vols., 1828). Among his poetical works are "The Conquest of Canaan" (1785), an epic poem in 11 books, finished in 1774, and "Greenfield Hill " (1794). II. Sereno Edwards, an American clergyman, son of the preceding, born at Greenfield Hill, Fairfield, Conn., May 18,1786, died in Philadelphia, Nov. 30, 1850. He graduated at Yale college in 1803, and was tutor there from 1806 to 1810, during which time he studied law in New Haven, and was admitted to the bar in the latter year.
He practised till 1815, when he gave up law for theology, and in October of the year following was licensed as a preacher. He was chaplain of the United States senate for the session of 1816-17, and in September of the latter year was ordained pastor of the Park street church, Boston, where he remained for ten years. Ill health obliged him to resign his charge in 1826, when he returned to New Haven, and occupied himself in writing the life and editing the works of the elder President Edwards, which were published in 1829. In 1828, in connection with his brother Henry, he opened in New Haven a school for boys, on the plan of the German gymnasiums, which was continued for three years. In March, 1833, he was chosen president of Hamilton college, N. Y., and the same year he received the degree of D. D. from Yale college. In 1835 he resigned his presidency, and in 1838 removed to New York, where sickness disabled him for active service. He died while on a visit to Philadelphia for medical advice. He published at various times several sermons and addresses, "The Life of Brainerd" (1822), a volume on the "Atonement" (1826), "Life of Edwards" (1830), and "The Hebrew Wife" (1836). A volume of his "Select Discourses" was published in 1851, together with a memoir by his brother, the Rev. Dr. W. T. Dwight. HI. William Theodore, an American lawyer and clergyman, brother of the preceding, born at Greenfield Hill, Fairfield, Conn., June 15, 1795, died at Andover, Mass., Oct. 22, 1865. He graduated at Yale college in 1813, was a tutor there from 1817 to 1819, and was admitted to the bar in Philadelphia in 1821. After practising his profession for ten years he studied theology, and in 1832 became pastor of the third Congregational church in Portland, Maine, which position he held till May, 1864. He was one of the most prominent and influential ministers in Maine, and a popular preacher.
He published in 1851 a memoir of the Rev. Sereno Edwards Dwight, and was the author of many addresses and reviews. IV. Theodore, an American lawyer, author, and journalist, brother of Timothy Dwight, born in Northampton, Mass., Dec. 16, 1764, died in New York, June 11, 1846. He studied law with his uncle, Judge Pierpont Edwards of Hartford, Conn., became eminent in his profession, and a leading speaker and writer of the federal party. He was for several years a senator in the Connecticut legislature, a representative in congress from that state in 1806 -'7, and editor during the war of 1812-'14 of the " Hartford Mirror," the leading organ of the federal party in the state. During the session of the Hartford convention in 1814 he acted as its secretary, and in 1833 published a "History of the Hartford Convention," written from a strong federal point of view. From 1815 to 1817 he edited the "Albany Daily Advertiser," and in the latter year removed to New York, where he established the "New York Daily Advertiser," of which he remained the editor till 1836, when he retired to reside in Hartford. Three years before his death he returned to New York. In 1839 was published his "Character of Thomas Jefferson as exhibited in his own writings," a book intensely partisan.
He was also the author of a "Dictionary of Roots and Derivations," and of several other educational works. V. Theodore, an American author, son of the preceding, born in Hartford, March 3, 1796, died in Brooklyn, N. Y., Oct. 16, 1866. He graduated at Yale college in 1814, and intended to study for the ministry, but was attacked with haemorrhage of the lungs and ordered abroad by his physician. After travelling over the greater part of Europe, he published in 1824 "A Tour in Italy." In 1833 he removed to Brooklyn and engaged in many public and philanthropic enterprises. He assisted his father in editing the "Daily Advertiser," was for a time editor and publisher of the "New York Presbyterian," and contributed to most of the principal magazines and other periodicals. He was a man of great cultivation, conversing with ease in the French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese languages, and having a good knowledge of German, Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic. At the time of his death, which was caused by a railroad accident, he was engaged in translating American works of instruction into Spanish, with the purpose of introducing them into the Spanish American countries.
He was the author of a "History of Connecticut" (1841), "The Northern Traveller" (1841), "The Roman Republic of 1849" (1851), "Life of Garibaldi" (1859), and of a number of educational works.