Biography and History

Jonathan Edwards, the elder, was a colonial American Congregational preacher and theologian. In 1757, on the death of the Rev. Aaron Burr, who had married Edwards's daughter Esther, he reluctantly agreed to replace his late son-in-law as the president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), where he was installed on February 16, 1758. Almost immediately after becoming president, he was inoculated for smallpox, which was raging in Princeton at the time. However, Edwards died of the inoculation on March 22, 1758, and was buried in the Princeton Cemetery.

Edwards's eldest son, Timothy, was a member of the Princeton Class 1757.

Edwards's middle son, also named Jonathan, was a member of the Princeton Class of 1765. A theologian and a pioneer of Native American languages, he became president of Union College in Schenectady, New York.

The youngest son, Pierpont, was a member of the Princeton Class of 1768, and the uncle of Aaron Burr. Pierpont was a delegate to the American Continental Congress from Connecticut in 1787-88, and served as United States Attorney for 17 years.

Source: From the finding aid for C0233