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Re: Naphtali Daggett (1727-1780)
Posted by: Pete daggett Date: December 06, 2001 at 21:00:39
In Reply to: Naphtali Daggett (1727-1780) by Lee Smith of 805

I hope you don't mind if I add some more information, there is a bit more to the story... Naphtali was a true hero of the revolution...

From SB Doggett Genealogy:

Rev. Naphtali Daggett, D.D., President of Yale College, was the second son among eight children.
His father dying while he was yet young, he was left under the direction of a mother, who was, however, in every respect peculiarly qualified to discharge the duties which devolved upon her.
He soon after commenced studies preparatory to college. He entered Yale College in 1744, and graduated in 1748, at the age of twenty-one.
He was distinguished during his college life for industry and close application.

He was settled as minister of Smithtown, on Long Island, in 1751. In September, 1755, he was elected the first professor of divinity in Yale College, which appointment he accepted, and removed to New Haven, and was inducted into office on March 4 following. This office he held during his life. After the resignation of Mr. Clap, September 10, 1766, he officiated as president till April 1, 1777, when he resigned the office, but still continued to hold that of professor of divinity. The learned Dr. Stiles was his successor in the Presidency.
During the barbarous attack on New Haven by the British army, in July, 1779, he took an active part in the defense of the country, and was distinguished for his resolution and intrepidity.
He made himself obnoxious by his open and active opposition to the British cause.
He had often inculcated upon the students under his charge, in the pulpit and in the lecture-room, the duty of resistance to British oppression. He had, therefore, incurred the special displeasure of the invaders.
He had openly preached and prayed against the success of their cause.
He knew no difference between preaching and practicing, and when the crisis came, he carried his own principles into action.
He shouldered his musket and went into the field with the rest, to repel the invaders.
He was taken prisoner by the enemy. They beat and bruised him, and offered him every indignity in their power. His clerical character, in their eyes, was no exemption from the most outrageous abuses.

They demanded of him who he was; he unhesitatingly replied: "My name is Naphtali Daggett. I am one of the officers of Yale College. I require you to release me." "But we understand you have been in the habit of praying against our cause." "Yes, and I never made more sincere prayers in my life." He was at first left for dead on the ground. He was saved by the intrepidity of the lady into whose house he had been conveyed. After the British had retired, an officer and a file of soldiers were sent back to convey him a prisoner on board their transports. They came to the house and inquired for him, and were answered by the lady, who appeared at the door and resolutely refused to admit them, that he was so badly wounded it would be impossible to convey him on board alive. "My orders," said the officer, "are positive to take him with me."-" But you would not surely carry away a dying man; he is now in the agonies of death."
After repeated demands and refusals, the officer finally determined to return and report the case to his superior, and ask for further orders, but he never came back after his prisoner. He was taken prisoner, and came near losing his life.
Dr. Daggett died in consequence of the wounds he had received on that occasion, November 25, 1780, at the age of fifty-three. He presided over the university about eleven years, and held the office of professor of divinity twenty five years.
Possessed of a strong, clear, and Comprehensive mind, he applied himself with assiduity and success to the various branches of knowledge, particularly to the learned languages and divinity.
Dr. Holines, in his life of President Stiles, says: "He was a good classical scholar, well versed in moral philosophy, and a learned divine." Clearness of understanding and accuracy of thought were characteristics of his mind.
He received the honorary degree of Doctor in Divinity from Yale College, and also from Princeton. He published a sermon on the death of President Clap, 1707; another delivered at the ordination of Rev. Ebenezer Baldwin, 1770; and a third delivered at the ordination of Rev. J. Howe, 1773. [Daggett's Hist. Attleboro'.]
Alden Bradford, in his notices of distinguished men in New England, says of Dr. Daggett "he was respectable as a theologian and a general scholar. While he acted as president of the college, it was in a prosperous state, and several of the alumni, distinguished afterwards in public life, were educated while he was at the head of that seminary. In his character as a scholar, we find indications and traits rather of solid and useful learning than of brilliancy, or of original genius. In that generation of men, there was more of a
desire to be useful than to excite admiration."

This is from Sim Sparkman

Pete -

Yes, I read your posting, thanks again, and I have the book. None of the accounts I've seen give an actual date for the capture and beating, but seem to imply that it took place during the British attack in July 1779 and that he died 25 Nov 1780 as a consequence of his wounds. OK, so I stretched 16 months to two years. The "pebbles" come from my Grandaunt Jessie Eliza Daggett (see below). Perhaps he was taken prisoner a second time in Nov 1780 and that is when he received the beating that resulted in his death.


>From the "Quotes and Notes" of my Grandaunt Jessie Eliza Daggett, GG
Granddaughter of Naphtali Daggett:
"We went first to Judges Cave, West Rock now, where Naphtali Daggett and other patriots were taken prisoners by the British, and made to walk back to New Haven, some three or four miles, with pebbles in their shoes. It was this time Naphtali Daggett replied when asked if he would again take up arms against the British, 'I think I would if I have the opportunity.'"

>From the "Quotes and Notes" of my Grandaunt Jessie Eliza Daggett, from the Preface of the Tuttle Family Genealogy:
"Rev. Naphtali Daggett D.D. President of Yale College born at Attleborough, Massachusetts in 1727. His death was occasioned by wounds received from the British troops when they invaded New Haven, Connecticut. He was called the Fighting President. He married Sarah Smith of Smithtown, Long Island, December 19, 1753."

>From the "Quotes and Notes" of my Grandaunt Jessie Eliza Daggett, by Sada Maria (Sarah) Daggett Allen GG Granddaughter of Naphtali Daggett:"The Rev. Naphtali Daggett entered Yale College in 1744, and graduated in 1745. He was settled as Minister of Smithtown in Long Island in 1751. In 1755 he was elected Professor of Divinity in Yale College - which he accepted and removed to New Haven. After the resignation of Mr. Claff in 1766 - officiated as President till 1777. He died in 1780 in consequence of wounds he had received in his engagement with the British. He held the office of Professor of Divinity twenty-five years presided over the University eleven

"When information of the enemys landing in West Haven reached the town and as their forces approached the place - persons of every age and sex were seen fleeing in all directions. Rev. Dr. Daggett at that time President of Yale College was a warm friend to the American Cause. Armed with a musket he joined his fellow citizens and went out to oppose the enemy. He was wounded and taken prisoner near West Bridge (West Rock). Dr. Daggett would in all probability have been murdered by the British, but for the interference of Chandler their guide - who was formerly his pupil in the College. While in their hands, Dr. Daggett was asked if released he would again take up arms
against them, to which he replied, 'I rather think I shall if I get the opportunity.'"

>From the Yale University web site:

"1755 Rev. Naphtali Daggett made college pastor.

"1756 The Church of Christ in Yale College founded in response to petition by students and instructors.

"1763 First Chapel (the Atheneum) completed.

"1764 Whitefield visits Yale a third time; Clap reconciles and allows him to preach in College Chapel.

"1766 President Clap resigns office; Rev. Daggett made President pro-tempore.

"1777 Rev. Daggett resigns presidency but continues as college pastor.

"1778 Rev. Ezra Stiles elected President.

"1780 Rev. Daggett dies."


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