Hamilton College , an institution of learning at Clinton, Oneida co., N. Y., 9 m. S. of Utica. Its origin is due to the generosity of the Rev. Samuel Kirkland. who was a missionary for more than 40 years among the Oneida Indians, and died in 1808. In 1793 the "Hamilton Oneida Academy" was incorporated through the influence of Mr. Kirkland, who presented its trustees with the title deed to several hundred acres of land. This academy existed 18 years, and was very prosperous. With the rapid growth of settlements in its neighborhood, the demand grew up for a higher institution, and Hamilton college was chartered in 1812. Dr. Azel Backus, a Congregational clergyman, distinguished in Connecticut as a preacher and scholar, was chosen the first president. He died in 1817, and his successor, Dr. Henry Davis, resigned in 1833. The third president, Dr. Sereno E. Dwight, a son of Timothy Dwight, president of Yale college, held the office two years, and the fourth, Dr. Joseph Penney, four years. Dr. Simeon North, a graduate of Yale college, was chosen president in 1839, after holding the classical professorship ten years. He was succeeded in 1858 by Dr. Samuel W. Fisher, also of Yale college.
The seventh president, Dr. Samuel Oilman Brown, an alumnus of and for many years a professor in Dartmouth college, was elected in 1866. - The course comprises four years, at the end of which the degree of bachelor of arts is conferred. The academic year is divided into three terms of about 13 weeks each. Applicants for admission must be at least 15 years of age, and must pass an examination in Greek, Latin, mathematics, and the common English branches. In 1873-'4 there were 10 professors besides the president and college pastor, and 152 students. There are between 1,700 and 1,800 names upon the triennial catalogue. The law department was endowed by William II. Maynard, and has recently been enriched by the valuable law library bequeathed to it by William Curtis Noyes. The agricultural department was endowed by the late Silas D. Childs of Utica. The Litchfield observatory, endowed by E. C. Litchfield of Brooklyn, X. Y., and under the charge of Prof. C. II. F. Peters, who has discovered 20 asteroids here, has an equatorial telescope with an object glass 13.5 inches in diameter and a focal length of nearly 16 feet. Geological and mineral cabinets and collections in natural history are connected with the college, embracing more than 17,000 specimens.
There is also an extensive collection of North American plants made by the late Dr. II. P. Sartwell. The college library contains more than 12,000 volumes. A new library building, capable of holding 60,000 volumes, has recently been erected at a cost of $45,000. Under the same roof is also a memorial hall and art gallery, to contain tablets, portraits, and other memorials of the friends of the college. The college grounds comprise 45 acres, on which are grouped three four-story stone buildings devoted to lodging and recitation rooms, chapel, boarding house, hall for collections in natural history, gymnasium, chemical laboratory, observatory, library hall, and president's house. The real estate and collections are valued at $300,000, and there are besides productive funds amounting to more than $250,000.