I. Welcome To New
York: 1524 - 1745
1609 --Englishman Henry Hudson explored New York Bay and the North River (later, Hudson); claimed region up to Albany on behalf of Dutch West Indies Company
1611 -- Dutch explorer-navigator Adrien Block circumnavigated Manhattan Island, passed through "Hell Gate" and discovered Long Island Sound
1624 -- A Dutch settlement of thirty families established a trading post of New Amsterdam on southern tip of Manhattan Island
1626 -- Peter Minuit made director of New Netherland; said to have purchased Manhattan Island from resident Indians.
1636 -- Massachusetts Puritans open a college outside Boston in Cambridge (later Harvard); the first college in English North America
1647 -- Peter Stuyvesant appointed governor of New Netherland; served in position to end of Dutch rule in 1664
1654 -- First known Jews take up residence in New Amsterdam
1664 -- English seize New Netherland for the Duke of York (later James II); renamed New York; New Amsterdam became New York; Dutch encouraged to stay on
1665 -- New York 1st governor, Richard Nicolls, provides charter for municipal government for New York City
1673-74 -- Local Dutch briefly reclaim New York; negotiate it away a year later
1683 -- Governor Thomas Dongan organizes Provincial government with an appointed Governor's Council and an elected Assembly; marks beginning of representative government in the colony
1683 -- New York City receives a corporate charter from Governor Dongan; mayor to be appointed by governor
1685 -- February -- King Charles II died; the Duke of York becomes James II; with its proprietor's accession to the crown, New York becomes a royal colony
Revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV produces a substantial migration of French Hugurnots to New York region; DeLanceys, Jays, Boudinots among them
1688 -- A rebellion against the royal government of James II and his local representative Edmund Andros led by non-Englishman Jacob Leisler; rebels attracted substantial local support but repudiated a year later by the newly installed King William
1693 -- NY provincial government under Governor Benjamin Fletcher passes Ministry Act -- provides financial support from provincial tax receipts for Anglican churches in NYC, Westchester, Queens and Staten Island; Anglicans thereafter see themselves as the colony's established church; Dissenters opposed to this arrangement
1693 -- Virginian Anglicans open William & Mary College in Williamsburg with royal charter; the second college in English North America; operated as a grammar school until 1729
William Bradford moves from Philadelphia to NYC as public printer; publishes first book in New York
1695 -- Governor Fletcher approves grant of land in New York City for an Anglican Church; allows Dutch to use their taxes to support Dutch Reform clergy; greatly expands land patents to favored supporters
1697 -- Trinity Church founded by NYC Anglicans with royal charter from King William; given 7-year lease of 32 acres of prime NYC property [ "Queens Farm"] by Governor Fletcher; William Vesey (Harvard, 1688) named first rector of Trinity Church; held position to 1745
1700 -- New York's 7th governor, Richard Coote, the Earl of Bellomont, a Whig, threatens to reclaim land earlier provided Trinity Church by Governor Fletcher; bans Catholics from holding religious services in NYC
1701 -- Five Connecticut ministers found a Collegiate School (later Yale); opened in Saybrook, Connecticut, and moved about before settling in New Haven (1717); is the third college established in English North America
The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPGFP) is established in London to provide funds for Anglican missionaries in North American colonies; missionaries dispatched to New York and Connecticut soon thereafter
1703 -- Newly arrived Governor Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury (1661-1723), indicates his intention to have some of the Queen's Farm set aside as a site for a college
1704 -- Lewis Morris (1671-1746), a prominent landowner, urges the SPGFP to support his plan for a local college, declaring "New York is in the middle of America and a fit place for a colledge"
1708 -- Governor Cornbury forced to leave New York following attacks from critics of his pro-Anglican policies; charged by Robert Livingston with cavorting about town in women's clothes
1712 -- First reported slave revolt in NYC; twenty slaves hanged after nine whites were killed
1720 -- Presbyterians denied a royal charter (as Anglicans and Dutch Reformed had) by Governor William Burnett; members resent paying taxes to support Anglican clergy
1722 -- Yale Commencement marked by the declaration of conversion to Anglicanism by President Timothy Cutler and 6 other recent Yale graduates (including the future King's College president Samuel Johnson)
1724 -- A Baptist Church opens in New York City on Cliff Street
1727 -- Ebenezer Pemberton installed as minister of Presbyterian Church on Wall Street
1728 --NYC Jewish community organize a synagogue on Mill Street
1731 -- Governor John Montgomerie secures royal charter for municipal government of New York; mayor remains appointed by Governor
1732 -- Arrival of Governor William Cosby sparks a political confrontation within the NYC political elite when Cosby fires Chief Justice Lewis Morris, leader of the "country party," and replaces him withthe leader of the "court party," Associate Justice James Delancey
1735 -- A NYC journalist John Peter Zenger is tried for seditious libel for criticizing Governor Cosby; his defense, initially led by James Alexander and William Smith, Sr., later by Andrew Hamilton of Philadelphia, based on novel early assertion of freedom of the press; Zenger acquitted
1739 -- November -- Great Awakening evangelist George Whitefield preaches in Presbyterian Church on invitation of Rev. Ebenezer Pemberton after being denied use of Trinity Church by Rector William Vesey
1740 -- Philadelphia Presbyterians organize a Charity School, which later becomes Benjamin Franlklin's Academy (1749) and, still later, under the auspices of Anglicans and Presbyterians, is chartered in 1755 as the College of Philadelphia , by then the sixth college to be chartered in North America
1741 -- "Great Negro Plot" discovered by authorities; suspected of it being instigated by a Catholic priest John Ury; he and 3 other whites hanged; 13 Africans burned at the stake
1745 -- Pro-revivalist "New Light"
Presbyterians alienated from Yale, New Yorker William Smith,
Sr. among them, announce plan to establish an Presbyterian college in New Jersey
II. The Founding of King's College, 1745 - 1754
1745 -- March 13 -- NYC attorney James Alexander , following his gift of £50 to the organizers of a new college in neighboring New Jersey, pledged £100 in his will to establish a college in NY Province
1746 -- "New Light" Presbyterians receive provincial charter to found the College of New Jersey (later, Princeton); the fourth college founded in English North America
October 23 -- NY Assembly took under consideration a plan for a college in New York
December 6 -- NY Assembly supports lottery to raise £2250 "to advance learning" by establishing a college in New York; Governor George Clinton assents to plan "for the encouragement of learning, and towards the founding a college within the same."
1747 -- Debate begins among college advocates over ideal location: Cadwallader Colden recommended Newburgh, 40 miles north of NYC on the Hudson; Rev. James Wetmore, recommended Rye, in eastern Westchester County; Rev. Samuel Seabury, recommended Hempstead, on Long Island
October -- College of New Jersey opened in Newark, just across the Hudson River from NYC
1748 -- NYC Attorney William Livingston (Yale, 1741) proposed establishment in New York City of a "Society for the Promotion of Useful Knowledge"
1749 -- March -- William Livingston published "Some Serious Thoughts on Erecting a College in New York," intending to sustain interest in flagging project
1751 -- November -- NY Assembly appointed 10-member Lottery Commission to manage lottery fund of £3443.18s and to settle on locale for college; Commission dominated by Trinity Church and Dutch Reform members; William Livingston the only Presbyterian
1752 -- Trinity Church opened its first chapel, St. George's, on Beekman Street, to accommodate its growing and prosperous congregation
March -- Trinity Church offered 5 acres of Queen's Farm property adjoining Church land to the Lottery Commission as site for the new college; no conditions set for the offer.
October 24 -- Anglican newcomer to New York, The Reverend William Smith, published "Some Thoughts on Education: With Reasons for Erecting a College in this Province";
November 6 -- Smith reprinted "Some Thoughts on Education " in The New-York Mercury and N.Y. Post Boy and went on to propose Samuel Johnson, a prominent Anglican minister from Stratford, Connecticut, as head of college
November 30 -- William Livingston, William Smith, Jr., and John Morin Scott issue first number of the Independent Reflector, New York City's first periodical, consciously modeled after English Whig periodicals
December 4 -- In a letter to the N.Y. Post Boy, Livingston and William Smith, Jr. attack the Rev. Smith's efforts on behalf of an Anglican college as shameless job-hunting.
1753 -- February -- NY Assembly authorized a third lottery and an annual appropriation of £500 for five years to support a college; publicly committed funds to date for the college total more than £7000
March 22 to April 26 -- William Livingston, aided by William Smith, Jr. and John Morin Scott, responding to what they saw as a plot to erect a "Episcopal college" with public funds, launched a series of articles in their Independent Reflector, attacking Anglican plans for a college in New York City. Six extended articles committed to the subject over the course of six weeks
April 11 -- William Smith published "A General Idea of the College of Mirana," at the urging of the Lottery Commissioners, in which he argued for the use of Anglican liturgy in college services; his efforts won him the attention of Benjamin Franklin and eventually the provostship of the College of Philadelphia
April to October -- Series on anonymous rejoinders to the Independent Reflector attack on plan for a college appear in New-York Mercury; likely the work of the region's Johnson-trained Anglican ministers, among them Henry Barclay, Thomas Bradbury Chandler, Samuel Seabury, James Wetmore, Samuel Auchmuty
November -- Independent Reflector ceases publication after Governor De Lancey threatened its printer with withdrawal of provincial printing jobs.
November 22 -- On William Livingston's motion, the Lottery Commission unanimously elected Samuel Johnson as president of new college; New Haven Congregationalist minister, Chauncey Whittelsey, elected "first tutor" as Livingston's urging.
1754 -- January 7 -- Samuel Johnson makes non-committal response to presidency offer from Lottery Commissioners; absence of a charter and salary cited as issues; Johnson did not want Whittelsey as "First Tutor" and discouraged him from accepting the position.
February -- Anglican lawyers Benjamin Nicolls and John Chambers prepare draft of a college charter, based in part on the 1748 charter of the College of New Jersey.
March -- Samuel Johnson accepts the presidency of King's College -- and post as assistant minister at Trinity Church -- for combined annual salary of £450
April -- New Yorkers aligned with William Livingston organize a private circulating library, the New-York Society Library. It may have been thought of as a counter to the imminent Anglican college.
May 14 -- Trinity Church vestry informed the Lottery Commission that it was conditioning its earlier offer of land for a college on assurances that its president would always be an Anglican and that official religious services would use Anglican prayers
May 16 -- Draft of college charter, including Trinity Chirch's conditions, adopted by Lottery Commissioners, despite 20 objections by William Livingston who contended charter created "The College of Trinity Church"; charter forwarded to Acting Governor DeLancey and the Governor's Council.
III. The King's College Years -- 1754-1776
1754 -- July 17 -- Classes began in rectory of Trinity Church school on Rector Street; eight matriculants; Samuel Johnson did all the teaching that summer; in fall assisted by his second son, William Samuel Johnson
October 31 ["Charter Day"] -- Governor's Council accepted proposed charter from Lottery Commission for college; William Smith, Sr. lone dissent. Acting Governor DeLancey declined to present the charter to the more critically disposed Assembly for its consideration.
November 1 -- William Livingston lodged lengthy objection to charter with the Assembly, which voted to withhold lottery funds from the College when It was bypassed by Governor DeLancey
November 2 -- Lieutenant Governor James DeLancey signed college charter on behalf of King George II; Designated "The College of the Province of New York, in the City of New York... known by the name of King's College;" is the fifth college chartered in British North America
Livingston persisted in his assault on King's College in the Assembly and in the "Watchtower," a regular insert in the New-York Mercury; College's defenders respond in a new periodical of their own, John Englishman's True Notion of Sister-Churches
November -- Newly appointed College Governor (and step-son of Samuel Johnson) Benjamin Nicoll defends College Charter against Livingston's objections in Vindication of the Proceedings of the Trustees
1755 -- May 7 -- First meeting of Governors of King's College -- 26 members present; Governors receive charter from Acting Governor De Lancey; College Governor Rev. Joannes Ritzema promptly called for charter revision to permit establishment of a Dutch divinity professorship as inducement for continued Dutch support for the College
May 13 -- Trinity Church conveys deed for college property to King's College Governors; Governor Leonard Lispenard appointed Treasurer of the College
May 27 -- Joannes Ritzema's effort to align Dutch Reformed with King's college challenged by "New Light" Dutch under the leadership of Rev. Theodore Frelinghuysen who subsequently called for a Dutch college (later, Queens/Rutgers) that would be established in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1766, when it became the eighth college founded in British North America.
June 3 -- A supplementary charter establishing the professorship in Dutch Reformed theology granted by Governor De Lancey; the professorship never filled due to disagreement among Dutch Reformed churchmen.
June -- Pennsylvania proprietors granted charter to the College of Philadelphia (later, the University of Pennsylvania); it becomes the 6th college chartered in British North America
Active fundraising undertaken among Trinity Church members; parallel fundraising in England and West Indies, where effort led by Dr. James Jay, which eventually yielded over £4000
September 2 -- Governor Charles Hardy arrives in New York; assumes executive powers from Acting Governor DeLancey.
September 16 -- Governor Hardy
welcomed by College Governors; made personal gift of £500 to College
May 7 -- College governors vote to proceed with constructing a building for the College; Robert Crommelin hired as architect, had been the architect for St. George's Chapel
May 10 -- English Parliament declares war on French; beginning of French & Indian War in America; much of it fought within province of New York; ushers in period of wartime economic prosperity for NYC
December 16 -- NY Assembly, now preoccupied with wartime activities, effect a compromise whereby the impounded college lottery funds are split between King's College and NYC for a municipal infirmary and pest house; College's share was £3728; idea of an annual appropriation of £500 dropped. College ceases to be a political issue until the eve of the Revolution.
1757 -- May 11 -- The estate of college governor Joseph Murray, valued at £8000, bequeathed to King's College; is the largest single benefaction to a colonial college; paid for most of College Hall;
Daniel Treadwell, 27-year-old Harvard-trained scientist, appointed KC's first Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy; £100 salary; appointment arranged by newly elected Governor Samuel Auchmuty in Johnson's absence; Treadwell taught for three years until his death in 1760
1758 -- June 21st -- First commencement exercise of King's College, held at St. George's Chapel; five AB graduates.
1759 -- March 21 -- Governors informed that William Livingston will not take up ex-officio position as Speaker of NY Assembly
June -- No public commencement; only one AB graduate
1760 -- May -- President Johnson and new wife take up residence in new College Hall; staff and students follow; total cost of building, £11,000.
June 26 -- Third commencement, first to use new College Hall as staring point; ceremony held in St. George's Chapel; six graduating seniors
1761 -- June 3 -- 4th commencement in St. George's Chapel; 3 graduating seniors
1762 -- Archbishop of Canterbury recommended
Oxford-trained 25-year-old Rev. Myles Cooper as
a professor and possible successor to
President Johnson; appointment approved by College governors; Cooper to NYC as Professor
of Moral Philosophy and president-designate;
June 10 -- King's College's 5th commencement; 7 graduating seniors; held in St. George's Chapel; Sir Jeffrey Amherst in attendance
King's College opened a Grammar School to prepare students for admission to King's College
April 12 -- Sixty-seven year-old Samuel Johnson resigned as president; returned to Stratford, Connecticut as Anglican rector; died in 1772. Myles Cooper (1737-1785) appointed 2nd president of King's College; served until May 1775
May 17 -- King's College's 6th commencement, first presided over by Myles Cooper; held in St. George's Chapel; only 2 graduating seniors
1764 -- May 22 --Future statesman John Jay among 6 graduates at 7th Commencement of King's College; ceremonies in St. George's Chapel.
March -- Parliament passes Stamp Act as means of exacting financial support of imperial presence in American colonies
May 21 -- King's College's 8th Commencement; 5 graduating seniors, including future diplomatist Robert R. Livingston; the first to be held in Trinity Church
July -- News of Stamp Act produces violent protests throughout American colonies; New York City mob led by Sons of Liberty threatens life of Lt. Governor Cadwallader Colden
Rhode Island College (later, Brown) chartered in Providence as the 8th college in British North America
College of Philadelphia opens a medical school; first to be established in British North America
November -- NYC mobs, led by the Sons of Liberty, including Isaac Sears and Alexander MacDougal, oppose imposition of Stamp Act with violent assaults on provincial leaders; NYC house of Lt. Governor Cadwallader Colden house demolished
1766 -- March -- NYC's leading Presbyterians petition crown for royal charter for First Presbyterian Church; Crown rejects petition as undercutting the favored position of the Church of England
March -- Parliament repeals Stamp Act in face of widespread opposition in the colonies
May 20 -- King's College's 9th Commencement; 7 graduating seniors; ceremonies held in Trinity Church
Dutch Reformed community opposed to King's College
establishes its own college in New Brunswick, New Jersey, in 1766 (later,
Rutgers), became the eighth college founded in British North America.
August -- Opposition to Quartering Act in New York City, where British army was headquartered, by Sons of Liberty led by Isaac Sears results in direct clash with British troops.
1767 -- May 19 -- King's College 10th Commencement; 2 graduates; first to be held in new St. Paul's Chapel
November 2nd -- Drs. Samuel Bard (KC 1759), Peter Middleton and John Jones, along with Samuel Clossy, open Medical College within King's College; the second (to Penn) medical school to open in the colonies
Governor Henry Moore ceded King's College 24,000 acres of rural property for future income (later ceded to Vermont)
College Governors request of NYC access to water lots along edge of Hudson bordering on College; plan to lease them out for rental income
August -- Leading merchants organize New York Chamber of Commerce, the first in America; several King's College Governors prominent among founders; they reluctantly adopt non-importation agreement pressed by Sons of Liberty
November 10 -- New Jersey Governor William Franklin granted charter to Dutch Reformed clergy to open Queen's College (later, Rutgers); the 8th college founded prior to the Revolution
1769 -- William Livingston joins with other critics of Crown to form Society of Dissenters; seek repeal of Ministry Act of 1693 that favored Anglicans in lower New York
May 16th -- King's College's 12th Commencement; 3 graduates, including the first two recipients of medical degrees in British North America; ceremony held in Trinity Church
1770 -- January 19 -- Sons of Liberty clash with British troops in "Battle of Golden Hill;" many injuries and one fatality
February -- Sons of Liberty and sailors erect a Liberty Pole across from Commons
May 15th -- King's College's 13th Commencement; 8 graduates; held in Trinity Church
College began leasing water lots adjacent to the College
Charter granted for establishment of New York Hospital
1771 -- President Cooper adapted Oxford tradition of "The Black Book," or "Book of Misdemeanors," to record disciplinary actions taken against King's College students
May 21st -- King's College's 14th Commencement; 8 graduating seniors; ceremonies held in Trinity Church
September 30 -- Governors approve request for new royal charter; would make King's College the premier college in America; President Cooper to England to advance cause; Trinity Assistant Rector Rev. Charles Inglis as Acting President
1772 -- Princeton's President John Witherspoon's "Address to the Inhabitants of Jamaica," in which he criticized parents sending their sons to colleges located in cities, prompted a spirited response from King's College Tutor John Vardill (KC, 1766), who, in his "Candid Remarks on Dr. Witherspoon's Address", championed the College's urban locale, small enrollments and high cost.
May 19 -- King's College's 15th commencement; 12 graduating seniors (the 2nd largest graduating class in the history of the College); held in Trinity Church
October -- President Cooper back at College after a year in England
John Vardill (KC 1766) elected Professor of Natural Law and sent to England for training and ordination as Anglican minister; actively solicited King George III for a crown-funded Regius Professorship of Divinity and a new royal charter redesignating King's College as "The American University"
May 18th -- King's College's 16th Commencement; 6 graduating seniors; ceremonies held in Trinity Church
December 16 -- A Boston mob spilled tea in Boston Harbor in defiance of new British taxing policies
1774 -- 17-year-old orphan from the West Indies, Alexander Hamilton, admitted as a student with advanced standing after first considering the College of New Jersey
March -- Departing Governor William Tryon bestowed on King's College 10,000 acres (later declared part of Vermont) to support a professorship in municipal law
April 22 -- A NYC mob led by Sons of Liberty dumped cargo of tea into New York Harbor, in support of Boston resistance efforts
May 17 -- King's College's 17th Commencement; 13 graduating seniors (the College's largest graduating class); held in Trinity Church; the last public commencement for King's College
May 19 -- Conservative forces in NYC secure the political ascendance over Sons of Liberty in Committee of 51 to seek redress from Crown; elect five delegates to the Continental Congress; John Jay (KC 1764) and college governor James Duane among them.
August 4 -- King's College Governors approve draft of proposed royal charter for "American University in the Province of New York," which would have made King's College comparable to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and their respective colleges, with the other American colleges looking to it for its degrees.
September 5 -- October 26 -- 5-person NY delegation to 1st Continental Congress in Philadelphia included King's College governor James Duane and graduate John Jay (KC 1764); both align with moderate delegates against those calling for total break with England
1775 -- March -- John Jay elected by Tory-controlled Assembly to represent New York at Second Continental Congress;
April 19 -- British and American forces clash at Lexington and Concord; British casualties high
April 25 -- President Cooper and four other NYC Tories publicly warned by Patriots in a Philadelphia broadside "to fly for your lives, or anticipate your doom" for their anonymous pamphleteering efforts opposing colonial resistance to English policies
May -- Harvard College suspended operations following the Battle of Lexington-Concord; reopened in April 1776 following British evacuation of Boston
May 10 -- President Cooper fled College Hall just ahead of a "murderous band" of Patriots to the safety of the British ship HMS Kingfisher; escape aided by an undergraduate, sometimes thought to have been Alexander Hamilton; Cooper shortly thereafter sailed to England, never to return to America
May 16 -- College affairs placed in the hands of Rev. Benjamin Moore (KC, 1768), an assistant minister of Trinity Church, as interim president; continued in this position and that of British Army chaplain throughout the Revolutionary War; No public commencement "on account of the absence of Dr. Cooper," but 7 seniors listed as graduates
September -- Conservatives at Continental Congress, among them Jay and Duane, support "Plan of a Proposed Union between Great Britain and America"; plan narrowly defeated by delegates committed to resistance..
1776 -- April 6 -- College closed on orders of Revolutionary Committee of Safety; building confiscated for use by Continental Army as hospital; its library scattered; General George Washington appropriated College telescopes for military use; no public commencement for second straiht year, but six students designated as graduates
July 4 -- Continental Congress approved Declaration of Independence, as written by Thomas Jefferson; New York delegation abstained on orders of NY Provincial Congress
IV. Collegiate Operations Suspended, 1776-1783
1776 -- September 15 -- Revolutionary forces depart NYC after successful defensive engagement in Battle of Harlem Heights (current site of Columbia University); City in hands of the British Army for the duration of the war; King's College building to be used as a military hospital,
September 21 -- Fire, possibly set by departing revolutionary sympathizers, burned most of west side of lower Manahttan, including Trinity Church; fire stopped at southern fence of King's College
1777 --New York legislature meeting in Poughkeepsie adopts a state constitution eliminating privileges provided Anglicans under British rule; George Clinton elected first governor of New York State; held office until 1795
June -- Abortive attempt by six King's College Governors, led by Treasurer Leonard Lispenard, to restart college in his Wall Street home
1778 -- New York legislature passed Law of Attainder, which called for the deportation and confiscation of property of 53 NY Loyalists, a quarter of them affiliated with King's College
1779 -- College of Philadelphia reopens with state charter as University of Pennsylvania
1781 -- October --Combined American and French force defeat British at Yorktown; surrender of General Cornwallis effectively ends military phase of Revolutionary War
1783 -- November 25 -- British evacuate NYC upon signing of the peace treaty; General George Washington enters in triumph; thousands of Loyalists depart for Canada and England; among them dozens of New Yorkers affiliated with King's College.
Last revised: September 10, 2003