Blacks@Dartmouth 1775 to 1960

Caleb Watts

Student and preacher

alumnus image

Moor's Charity School

Class of 1775

Born  1750

Quotes from Biographical Sources

Another notable case was that of one Caleb Watts, a mulatto, though classed as an Indian, who came to Wheelock in the fall of 1770, soon after his removal to Hanover, being then about twenty years of age. He was born of an English mother whose name he bore, but was brought up as a slave by his grandfather and never taught to read. He proved apt to learn, and in 1775 had studied rhetoric, logic, geography, ethics, and divinity in preparation to go, under Wheelock's direction, as a missionary to the West Indies.

Wheelock then proposed to Governor Trumbull to send him to the South to dissuade the slaves from insurrection. In September 1775, Watts preached his first sermon one Sabbath evening in Wheelock's pulpit. He left in October 1776, and what became of him we do not know.

The traditional and peculiar policy of liberality toward the negro which has distinguished this College from others was thus coincident with its very foundation.

Chase, Frederick. (1913). In John K. Lord (Ed.), A History of Dartmouth College and the Town of Hanover, New Hampshire (p. 300).

Other source(s)

  1. Zug, James. (Jan 2007). The Slaves of Dartmouth. Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, 99(3), 40-45,100.
  2. Wilder, Craig Steven. (2013). Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities (p. 168). USA: Bloomsbury Press.

Profile image source: Image of a woodcut depicting Dartmouth’s founding, Dartmouth Rauner Library.