Rev. Samuel Andrew

Man of exemplary holiness

Samuel Andrew (1656-1738), born at Cambridge, Massachusetts, on January 29, 1656, died at Milford, Connecticut, January 24, 1738, was a man of several hats: A distinguished scholar, college trustee and president, educator, clergyman and son-in-law of the governor of the Connecticut Colony. He also was the father of 10 children.

Andrew was perhaps the most distinguished trustee of a major university. Four years after his graduation from Harvard in 1675 at age 19, the university named him a fellow and tutor. He held that post for five years. During the temporary absences of Harvard Presidents Uriah Oakes and John Rogers, Andrew was named interim president of the Cambridge, Mass. School. This was considered to be a remarkable feat since he was in his 20s at the time. Three other individuals who had studied under Andrew at Harvard, James Pierpoint, Noadish Russell and Joseph Webb, would later join him as trustees of the new Collegiate School (Yale College).

On Nov. 18, 1685, Andrew was ordained as the third pastor of the First Congregational Church in Milford as the successor to Roger Newton and Peter Prudden. Shortly after his ordination he was married to Abigail Treat, daughter of Robert Treat, eighth governor of Connecticut. For more than half a century Andrew remained in Milford, becoming one of the most prominent and respected members of the clergy in all of the Connecticut Colony. A noted scholar, Andrew rarely left his study. Visiting the ill, counseling the poor, or officiating at weddings or funerals, therefore, always were left to the elders and deacons of the church. Andrew did, however, take an active role in the founding of Yale and agreed to serve as one of its trustees of the school. Andrew also accepted the post of rector pro tempore, taking charge of the senior class that moved to Milford.

While a trustee, Andrew saw the new school enter a period of decline that would last 10 years. He faced series of problems with which he did not or could not deal while the trustees became divided on almost all of the issues. Among them were mounting financial difficulties and a drained Connecticut treasury which made it difficult to provide funds upon which it depended to continue to function. Meanwhile, the split campuses at Milford and Saybrook contributed to disunity among students Moreover, students were dissatisfied since the lodgings in Saybrook were far from adequate and they were dissatisfied with their tutors. By 1710, only three students were graduated. As a consequence, although Andrew was recognized as a distinguished scholar and a good teacher, he gained a dubious reputation for being a poor administrator.