James Pierpont (Yale Founder)
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James Pierpont Yale Founder
James Pierpont
Reverend James Pierpont 1711.jpeg
Rev. James Pierpont, 1711
Born(1659-01-01)January 1, 1659
DiedNovember 22, 1714(1714-11-22) (aged 55)
EducationThe Roxbury Latin School
Alma materHarvard University
Known forFounder of Yale College
Abigail Davenport
(m. 1691; died 1692)

Sarah Haynes
(m. 1694; died 1696)

Mary Hooker
(m. 1698; died 1714)

James Pierpont or Pierrepont (January 4, 1659 – November 22, 1714) was a Congregationalist minister who is credited with the founding of Yale University in the United States.

Early life

Pierpont was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts on January 4, 1659. He was one of five children born to John Pierpont and his wife, Thankful (née Stow) Pierpont (1629-1664), daughter of John Stow. His father, who was born in London in 1619, was a Roxbury town officer and a deputy to the general court before his death in 1682.[1]

He attended The Roxbury Latin School and Harvard University.[1]


Pierpont became an ordained Congregationalist minister on July 2, 1685. In 1701, he secured the charter for The Collegiate School of Connecticut, which soon thereafter took the surname of its benefactor Elihu Yale. He served as a founding trustee of Yale from October 16, 1701 until his death in 1714.

Personal life

Mary Hooker Pierpont, the third wife of Rev. James Pierpont.[2]

Pierpont was married three times and lived in New Haven at what was known as the Pierpont Mansion.[1] His first marriage was on October 27, 1691 to Abigail Davenport (1672-1691), the daughter of John Davenport and Abigail (née Pierson) Davenport. Abigail died on February 3, 1692 from a cold she caught shortly after their marriage. His second wife was Sarah Haynes (1673-1696), whom he married on May 30, 1694. Sarah was the daughter of Rev. Joseph Haynes and Sarah (née Lord) Haynes, and the granddaughter of Governor John Haynes. She died on October 27, 1696 after giving birth to their only child:[3]

  • Abigail Pierpont (1696-1768), who married Rev. Joseph Noyes (1688-1761) in 1716.[3]

In 1698, James Pierpont married for the third time to Mary Hooker (1673-1740) of Farmington. Mary was a daughter of Rev. Samuel Hooker and granddaughter of Rev. Thomas Hooker, chief founder of the Colony of Connecticut.[4]

  • James Pierpoint (1699-1776), who married Sarah Breck (1710-1753). After her death, he married Anne Sherman (1728-1803) in 1754.[5]
  • Samuel Pierpoint (1700-1723), who drowned while crossing the Connecticut River in a canoe.[5]
  • Mary Pierpont (1702-1740), who married Rev. William Russell (1690-1761) in 1719.[5]
  • Joseph Pierpont (1704-1748), who married Hannah Russell. After his death, Hannah married Samuel Sackett.[5]
  • Benjamin Pierpont (1706-1706), who died in infancy.[5]
  • Benjamin Pierpont (1707-1733), who died unmarried.[5]
  • Sarah Pierpont (1710-1758), who married noted colonial minister Jonathan Edwards in 1727.
  • Hezekiah Pierpont (1712-1741), who married Lydia Hemingway (1716-1779). After his death, Lydia married Theophilus Morgan.[1]

He died on November 22, 1714 in New Haven, Connecticut, where he was buried.[5] His widow died on November 1, 1740.[6]


Pierpont's descendants also include U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr, financier John Pierpont (J.P.) Morgan, Edwards Pierrepont, and songwriter James Lord Pierpont, best known for "Jingle Bells".[6]


  1. ^ a b c d Cutter, William Richard (1913). New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of Commonwealths and the Founding of a Nation. Lewis historical publishing Company. p. 1366. Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ "Mrs. James Pierpont (Mary Hooker)". artgallery.yale.edu. Yale University Art Gallery. Retrieved 2019.
  3. ^ a b Noyes, H. E. (1904). Descendants of James and Peter Noyes. H.E. Noyes. p. 79. Retrieved 2019.
  4. ^ Hooker, Edward (1909). "The Descendants of Rev. Thomas Hooker, Hartford, CT". Archived from the original on 2006-04-22. Retrieved .
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Dwight, Benjamin Woodbridge (1874). The History of the Descendants of John Dwight, of Dedham, Mass. J. F. Trow & son, Printers and Bookbinders. p. 1056. Retrieved 2019.
  6. ^ a b Cutter, William Richard (1919). American Biography: A New Cyclopedia. American Historical Society. p. 164. Retrieved 2019.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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