Photo by Salt Water New England

Friday, March 23, 2018

Yale's First Student

Photos by Salt Water New England
Driving along the Boston Post Road on the Connecticut shore in Clinton, one might be slightly confused.   While the  signs say "Incorporated 1838", some of the surprisingly nice architecture was built much earlier.   That is because Clinton was originally part of Killingworth, Connecticut, which was settled in 1663.

And most passers-by probably never notice the small monument in front of the low-key starchy white Congregational church across the Clinton town hall.  It marks the spot (roughly) where the first class at Yale was held, in 1701/02.  This was taught by Abraham Pierson (Harvard 1668), then minister of the Killingworth Congregational Church, and who is buried in the graveyard just behind the church.

The first student at Yale (then, the Collegiate School) was Jacob Heminway, son of my 9th great grandfather Samuel Heminway (b. 1636 Roxbury, Mass.) who married Sarah Cooper (b. 1645) of the New Haven Colony.

Read more in the Yale Alumni Magazine.

Stanton House (1791) in Clinton Today

Killingworth Congregational Church Today

Killingworth Congregational Church, 1965


  1. I love that you provided two photos that show the contrast between a home where the architecture is almost an abstraction in the simplicity of the design against the more intricate design of the church though also perfect with embellishments at just the right pitch. There are so many examples of these two styles in Connecticut. It never ceases to delight the eye.

  2. Does not Old Saybrook receive credit for being the birthplace of Yale? Is this another reason for history-minded Eli’s to go to Clinton, other than for clams?