Timeline 1649–1722

This period follows the birth of Elihu Yale to the year after his death.

 

1649

On April 5, Elihu Yale (1649–1721) is born in Boston, Massachusetts.

 

1652

Elihu Yale and his parents, Ursula (d. 1699) and David Yale (d. 1690), leave Massachusetts for London, where Elihu is educated.

Gerard van der Gucht, Fort St. George, 1736, line engraving with hand coloring in watercolor on paper, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

Gerard van der Gucht

Fort St. George
1736
Line engraving with hand coloring in watercolor on paper
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

1672

On June 23, Elihu Yale arrives in Chennai (Madras) as an employee of the East India Company.

 

1680

Elihu Yale marries Catherine Elford (1651–1728), widow of Joseph Hynmers, on November 4. Catherine has three sons, Richard, Joseph (d. 1684), and Benjamin Hynmers (d. 1743), from her first marriage. Elihu and Catherine will have four children together: David (1684–1687), Catherine (1685–1715), Anne (1687–1734), and Ursula (ca. 1689–1721).

Marriage records for Elihu Yale and Catherine Hynmers, and John Nicks and Catherine Barker

1680
St. Mary's Parish
Fort St. George, India

1684

On August 11, Elihu Yale becomes acting president of Fort St. George. As the head of the East India Company’s operations, Yale is responsible for maintaining and growing the company’s commercial interests in the area by ensuring the passage of shipping up and down the Coromandel Coast. During his tenure, tensions between Yale and the company grow as he becomes incredibly rich through his private trade in diamonds and other precious gemstones.

1687

Elihu Yale is elected president of Fort St. George on July 25. He serves until 1692.

 

1688

David Yale, Elihu Yale’s only legitimate son, dies on January 25.

 

1689

On February 23, Catherine Yale departs with her daughters and a female servant from India (who later returns there) for England and settles in the London parish of St. Peter le Poer.

William Daniell, Madras, or Fort St. George, in the Bay of Bengal—A Squall Passing Off, 1833, oil on canvas, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

William Daniell

Madras, or Fort St. George, in the Bay of Bengal—A Squall Passing Off
1833
Oil on canvas
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

1690

French ships are repelled from Fort St. George by naval action.

Charles Yale (1690–1712), “illegitimate” son of Elihu Yale and his lover the merchant Hieronima da Paiva (d. 1712), is born on August 15.

 

1699

Elihu Yale’s mother dies, and he permanently returns to Britain with the wealth that he accumulated in India.

 

1704

Elihu Yale is appointed high sheriff of Denbighshire, Wales.

 

1706

On March 27, Elihu Yale’s daughter Catherine Yale (1685–1715) marries Dudley North (1684–1730) of Glemham, Suffolk, at St. Peter le Poer, London.

 

1707

Dudley (1707–1764), son of Catherine Yale and Dudley North, is born.

 

1708

James, Lord Cavendish (after 1673–1751) of Staveley, Derbyshire, marries Elihu Yale’s daughter Anne Yale (1687–1734) at St. Peter le Poer on July 6. As part of the dowry, Elihu Yale transfers £8000 worth of jewels to James, Lord Cavendish. In return, Anne Yale (afterwards known as Lady Cavendish) can live at various Cavendish properties including Latimer, Buckinghamshire. In September, Lord and Lady Cavendish travel to Wales to visit Elihu.

Anne North (1708–1789), daughter of Catherine Yale and Dudley North, is born.

This year is inscribed on the “Elihu Yale Sundial.”

Unknown artist, Elihu Yale Sundial, 1708, bronze, cast lead, and cement, Yale University Art Gallery

Unknown artist

Elihu Yale Sundial
1708
Bronze, cast lead, and cement
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Ganson G. Depew, BA 1919; Clarence W. Bowen, BA 1873; Henry King Smith, BA 1898; E. Byrne Hackett, Hon. M. 1914; and R. Eden Dickson, Esq.

1709

A new map of the Netherlands is dedicated to Elihu Yale.

John Senex, The VII United Provinces, 1709, hand colored engraving on paper, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

John Senex

The VII United Provinces
1709
Hand colored engraving on paper
Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

1710 [approximate date]

James, Lord Cavendish, and his wife, Anne Yale, move to Staveley Hall, Derbyshire (then called Staley Park).

The invention of Prussian Blue in Berlin is announced in Miscellanea Berolinensia.

 

1710–11

Elihu Yale acquires a house in Queen Square, London, two more houses in Southampton Row nearby, and a smaller third house in Brunswick Row. He begins furnishing his London houses, where he will be domiciled to the end of his life.

Courts rule that Elihu Yale’s stepsons (Catherine Yale’s sons from her first marriage to Joseph Hynmers) Richard, Joseph, and Benjamin Hynmers (d. 1743) are owed £8765 18s. 10d. from the estate of their father.

 

1711

On May 22, a letter from Jeremiah Dummer (1681–1739) to Reverend James Pierpont (1659–1714) of New Haven, Connecticut, reports that Elihu Yale seeks to send for “a relation of his from Connecticut to make him his heir, having no son.” Dummer was instrumental in finding financial support in London for Pierpont, who was a founding trustee of the fledgling Collegiate College of Connecticut (later Yale University). This begins hope of encouraging a gift from Elihu Yale for the college.

William Cavendish (1711–1751), son of Anne Yale and James, Lord Cavendish, is born at Staveley, Derbyshire.

Elihu Yale’s cousin, John Yale of New Haven, Connecticut, dies in early December. It is his son David who becomes Elihu Yale’s adopted heir.

 

1712

Charles Yale, son of Hieronima da Pavia and Elihu Yale, dies. He is buried in Cape Town, South Africa.

Elizabeth Cavendish (1712–1779), daughter of Anne Yale and James, Lord Cavendish, is born on November 5.

 

1713

Elihu Yale donates 32 books to the Collegiate School of Connecticut (later Yale University).

 

1715

Mary North (1715–1770), daughter of Catherine Yale and Dudley North, is born.

Catherine Yale, wife of Dudley North, dies.

 

1717

The portrait painter Enoch Seeman (ca. 1694–1744) paints a portrait of Elihu Yale, which is signed and dated. The Latin inscription reads: “Born in New England 1649.”

Enoch Seeman the younger, Portrait of Gov. Elihu Yale (1648/49–1721), 1717, oil on canvas, Yale University Art Gallery, Gift of Dudley Long North, M.P., 1789.1

Enoch Seeman the younger

Portrait of Gov. Elihu Yale (1648/49–1721)
1717
Oil on canvas
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Dudley Long North, M.P.

1718

On March 12, Jeremiah Dummer writes from London to Gurdon Saltonstall (1666–1724), governor of Connecticut: “I am endeavoring to get you a present from Mr. Yale, for the finishing [sic] your College, of which I shall write you more particularly in a little time.”

In September “a Large Box of Books, the Picture & Arms of K. George and two hundred lb. Sterling worth of English Goods, all to the value of 800 lb. in our money from Governor Yale of London” arrives in Boston. This entailed “Nine bales of goods together with 417 books and a portrait of George I” by Godfrey Kneller, with textiles that were sold to raise money for the Collegiate School of Connecticut.

The Collegiate School is named Yale College, in honor of Elihu Yale’s gift.

Sir Godfrey Kneller, King George I of Great Britain and Ireland, 1714, oil on canvas, Yale University Art Gallery, Gift of Governor Elihu Yale, 1718.1

Sir Godfrey Kneller

King George I of Great Britain and Ireland
1714
Oil on canvas
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Governor Elihu Yale

1719

David Yale, the son of John Yale of New Haven (and from 1712, Elihu Yale’s adopted heir), enters Pembroke College, Cambridge.

Antoine Watteau (1684–1721) travels to London, where in 1720 he is thought to have painted The Italian Comedians (National Gallery of Art, DC). This is the first painting made in Britain know to contain Prussian Blue.

On April 14, Jeremiah Dummer writes to Gurdon Saltonstall about a portrait of Elihu Yale attributed to James Worsdale:

“Mr Yale’s picture at full length with his nephew’s on the same canvas is drawn for a present to your College Hall and he will send you by the same conveyance another parcel of books, part of which he was promised me shall be the Royal Transactions, in 17 volumes. He promised sending you a pair of Globes, but when I told him you had two pair already, we agreed that in lieu of them you shall have some mathematical instruments and glasses for making philosophical experiments, as microscopes, telescopes, and other glasses for use, as well as for ornament and curiosity.”

Attributed to James Worsdale, Elihu Yale with a Young man, 1714, oil on canvas, Elizabethan Club, Yale University

Attributed to James Worsdale

Elihu Yale with a Young man
1714
Oil on canvas
Elizabethan Club, Yale University

1721

On February 25, Jeremiah Dummer writes to Gurdon Saltonstall: “Mr. Yale has shipped a hundred pounds sterling in goods for your college. This however, is but half what Mr. Yale promised me a month ago, when he assured me he would remit you 200lbs sterling per annum during his life, and make a settled annual provision to take place after his death. But old gentlemen are forgetful. I was with him to refresh his memory about the books, pictures and other presents which I formerly mentioned to you, and to see if they could be ready to go with the goods, but it seems they won’t be in order to a month hence. I shall be glad if they are ready then.”

Elihu Yale dies on July 8. His death sparks a legal dispute over his incomplete will, resulting in the university losing its claim to the £500 promised in the draft will.

On December 14, the first of six sales of Yale’s goods is held in London.

 

1722

The auctions of Elihu Yale’s goods continue. On December 12, Dudley North is believed to have purchased the picture attributed to James Worsdale: Elihu Yale with his Servant, oil on canvas, Yale University Art Gallery, Gift of Mrs. Anson Phelps Stokes, 1910.1

James Worsdale, Elihu Yale with his Servant, eighteenth century, oil on canvas, Yale University Art Gallery, Gift of Mrs. Anson Phelps Stokes

James Worsdale

Elihu Yale with his Servant
Eighteenth century
Oil on canvas
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Mrs. Anson Phelps Stokes