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Scottish American Teachers

The Scots have largely contributed to raise the standard of education and culture in the United States. They furnished most of the principal schoolmasters in the Revolutionary Colonies south of New York, and many of the Revolutionary leaders were trained by them. While Harvard still continued under the charge of a president and tutors and had but one "professor," William and Mary College had had for many years a full faculty of professors, graduates of the Scottish and English universities. The Scots established the "Log College" at Nashaminy, Pennsylvania, Jefferson College, Mercer College, Wabash College, and Dickinson College; and in many places, before the cabins disappeared from the roadside and the stumps from the fields, a college was founded. The "Log College" was the seed from which Princeton College sprang. The University for North Carolina, founded and nurtured by Scots in 1793, and the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University are indebted to the same source for their present position. William Gordon and Thomas Gordon, who founded a free school in the county of Middlesex, Virginia, in the latter half of the seventeenth century, were Scots; and Hugh Campbell, another Scot, an Attorney-at-law in Norfolk county, Virginia, in 1691, deeded two hundred acres of land in each of the counties of Norfolk, Isle of Wight, and Nansemond, for free schools. James Innes, who came to America from Canisbay, Caithness, in 1734, by his will gave his plantation, a considerable personal estate, his library, and one hundred pounds "for the use of a free school for the benefit of the youth of North Carolina," the first private bequest for education in the state. One of the first public acts of Gabriel Johnston, Provincial Governor of North Carolina (1734-52), was to insist upon the need of making adequate provision for a thorough school system in the colony. Out of the host of names which present themselves in this field of public service we have room only for the following:

James Blair (1656-1743), born in Edinburgh, was the chief founder and first President of William and Mary College, and Mungo Inglis was the first Grammar Master there till 1712. Francis Alison (1705-99), an Ulster Scot educated in Glasgow, was Vice-Provost of the College of Philadelphia, now the University of Pennsylvania. David Rhind, tutor of John Rutledge, "an excellent classical scholar, and one of the most successful of the early instructors of youth in Carolina," was of Scottish birth. The tutor of Thomas Jefferson was also a Scot. Samuel Finley (1715-66), born in Armagh of Scots ancestry, S.T.D. of Glasgow University, 1763, was President of the College of New Jersey, and one of the ancestors of Samuel Finley Breese Morse, inventor of the Morse system of telegraphy. In educational work in the eighteenth century no name stands higher than that of William Smith (1727-1803), born in Aberdeen, first Provost of the College of Philadelphia. He was the introducer of the system of class records now used in all American universities. Isabella Graham (1742-1814), born in Lanarkshire, ranked as one of the most successful teachers in New York at the end of the eighteenth century. James Dunlap (1744-1818), of Scottish descent, was President of Jefferson College, Pennsylvania. William Graham (1745-99), was first President of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University). Robert Patterson (1743-1824), a Scot of Ulster, was Vice-Provost of the University of Pennsylvania (1810-13), and Director of the United States Mint in Philadelphia (1805-24). His son, Robert M. Patterson, succeeded him as Vice-Provost in 1828. Peter Wilson (1746-1825), born at Ordiquhill, Aberdeenshire, published several important text-books on Latin and Greek, was Member of the New Jersey Legislature in 1777, and in 1783 was appointed to revise and codify the laws of the state of New York. Thomas Craighead (1750-1825), first President of Davidson Academy (1785-1809), afterwards the University of Nashville, was great-grandson of Rev. Robert Craighead who went from Scotland to Donoghmore in Ireland. Joseph McKeen (1757-1807), first President of Bowdoin College, was of Ulster Scot origin (1718). John Kemp (1763-1812), born at Auchlossan, Aberdeenshire, became Professor of Mathematics in Columbia University. He "had an important influence in moulding the views of De Witt Clinton on topics of internal improvement and national policy." John Brown (1763-1842), Professor of Logic and Moral Philosophy in the University of South Carolina, was afterwards third President of the University of Georgia. Joseph Caldwell (1773-1835) was Founder and President of the University of North Carolina. Jesse Mercer (1769-1841), Founder of Mercer University, was the grandson of a Scottish emigrant to Virginia. Robert Finley (1772-1817), Trustee of the College of New Jersey (1807-17) and fourth President of the University of Georgia, was of Scottish parentage. John Mitchell Mason (1770-1829), fourth President of Dickinson College and for several years Foreign Secretary of the American Bible Society, was the son of Dr. John Mason, born in Linlithgow. Both were ministers of the Associate Church in New York. Archibald Alexander (1772-1851), fourth President of Hampden-Sidney College, Virginia (1796-1806), and Professor in Princeton Theological Seminary (1812-51), was of Scottish parentage. James Waddell Alexander (1804-59), Professor of Rhetoric and Belles-Lettres at Princeton (1833-44) and of Ecclesiastical History and Church Government in Princeton Theological Seminary (1844-51) was his son. Joseph Addison Alexander (1809-60), Orientalist and Biblical critic, was another son of Archibald Alexander. Moses Waddell (1770-1840), born in Iredell county, North Carolina, of Scottish parentage, fifth President of the University of Georgia, was one of the foremost teachers of his day. Samuel Brown Wylie (1773-1852), Vice-Provost of the University of Pennsylvania (1834-45), was born in Antrim of Scottish parents and educated in Glasgow. Joseph McKean (1776-1818), Boyleston Professor of Rhetoric in Harvard University (1809-18) was of Scottish parentage. Charles Macalister (1798-1873), born in Philadelphia of Scottish parentage, intimate friend of five Presidents, Government Director of the United States Bank, was founder of Macalister College, Minneapolis. John Dempster (1794-1863), President of the Illinois Wesleyan University, was of Scottish parentage. Daniel Curry (1809-87) was President of De Pauw University (1855-59). Andrew Harvie, born in Scotland before 1810, became Principal of the Tecumseh branch of the State University of Michigan (1839-40), Master of Chancery (1848), State Senator (1850-51). Described as a "man of ability and thorough culture." Nathaniel Macon Crawford (1811-71), fourth President of Mercer University and afterwards President of Georgetown College, Kentucky, was a son of William H. Crawford the statesman. John Forsyth (1811-86), clergyman, author, and Professor of Latin in Rutgers College, was of Scottish parentage, and received his education in Edinburgh and Glasgow. James McCosh (1811-94), born at Carskeoch, Ayrshire, was President of Princeton University from 1868 to 1888, and was the author of many works on philosophy. John Fries Frazer (1812-72), Vice-Provost of the University of Pennsylvania (1858-68), was of Scottish ancestry. Louis Agassiz described him as "the first of American physicists of his time." James Sidney Rollins (1812-88), of Ulster Scot origin, for his efforts on behalf of education in his state was declared by the Curators of the University of Missouri to have won the honorable title of "Pater Universitatis Missouriensis." Daniel Kirkwood (1814-95), mathematician and educator, grandson of Robert Kirkwood who came from Scotland c. 1731, was Professor of Mathematics at Indiana University (1856-86). David Chassel, "of Scotch descent and Scotch characteristics," was tutor to Professor James Hadley, America's greatest Greek scholar. Joshua Hall McIlvaine (1815-97), a distinguished comparative philologist, was President of Evelyn College, Princeton. Alexander Melville Bell (1819-1905), the "Nestor of elocutionary science," inventor of the method of phonetic notation of "visible speech," was born in Edinburgh. Alexander Martin (1822-93), sixth President of De Pauw University, was born in Nairn, Scotland. John Fraser (c. 1823-1878), second Chancellor of the University of Arkansas, was born in Cromarty, Scotland. Malcolm MacVicar, born in Argyllshire in 1829, was famous as an educator, writer of text-books, and inventor of many devices to illustrate principles in arithmetic, astronomy and geography. John Maclean (1798-1886), tenth President of Princeton University, was of Scottish parentage. Matthew Henry Buckham (b. 1832), eleventh President of the University of Vermont, was born in England of Scottish parentage. James Kennedy Patterson (b. 1833), first President of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Kentucky (1880-1901), was born in Glasgow. David French Boyd (1834-99), second President of Louisiana State University, and his brother, Thomas Duckett Boyd, also a University President, were descended from John Boyd of Ayrshire, who emigrated to Maryland in 1633. William Henry Scott (b. 1840), third President of Ohio State University and Professor of Philosophy there, was of Scottish ancestry. Neil Gilmour, born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1840, was Superintendent of Public Instruction of New York State; and James MacAlister (1840-1913), born in Glasgow, was the first Superintendent of Schools in Philadelphia, where he introduced many reforms, notably in the Kindergarten and in co-ordination of teaching. In 1891 he became President of the Drexel Institute and was also author of several works on education. Thomas Davidson (1840-1900), philosopher, educator, and author, was born at Deer, Aberdeenshire. John McLaren McBride (b. 1846), of Scottish parentage, was President of the University of South Carolina. Gustavus Richard Glenn (b. 1848) descended from Nicholas Glenn, an emigrant from Scotland, filled several important educational positions and was afterwards President of North Georgia Agricultural College. George Edwin Maclean (b. 1850), a distinguished English and Anglo-Saxon scholar, was fifth Chancellor of the University of Nebraska. William Milligan Sloan (b. 1850), author, educator, and Professor of History in Columbia University, is descended from William Sloane, a native of Ayr, who settled here in the beginning of the nineteenth century. James Cameron Mackenzie (b. 1852), born in Aberdeen, is founder of the Mackenzie School for Boys at Dobbs Ferry (1901) and a frequent contributor to educational publications. James Hervey Hyslop (b. 1854), philosopher, psychologist, and educator, was grandson of George Hyslop of Roxburghshire. He devoted many years to psychical research. James Geddes (b. 1858), philologist and Professor of Romance Languages in Boston University, is of Scottish parentage. Andrew Armstrong Kincannon (1859-1917), Chancellor of the University of Mississippi, was descendant of James Kincannon who came from Scotland c. 1720. Edwin Boone Craighead (b. 1861), Professor of Greek at Wofford College, South Carolina, and afterwards third President of Tulane University, is of Scottish descent. John Huston Finley (b. 1863), President of the College of the City of New York and New York State Commissioner of Education, is a descendant of a brother of Samuel Finley, President of Princeton College. Andrew Cunningham McLaughlin, born in 1861, Professor of American History in the University of Michigan, is the son of a Peebles lawyer. Duncan Black Macdonald, Professor of Semitic Languages at Hartford Theological Seminary, was born in Glasgow in 1863. Richard Cockburn Maclaurin (1870-1920), seventh President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was born in Lindean, Selkirkshire. George Hutcheson Denny (b. 1870), Professor of Latin in Washington and Lee University, and later President of the same institution, and James Gray McAllister (b. 1872), sixteenth President of Hampden-Sidney College, are both of Scottish descent. William Allan Neilson, born in Doune, Perthshire, was Professor of English in Harvard University (1906-17), and is now President of Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts. William Douglas Mackenzie, President of Hartford Theological Seminary Foundation, is a son of John Mackenzie of Knockando, Morayshire, and was born in Fauresmith, South Africa, in 1859.

As librarians may legitimately be included under the head of educators, the following individuals may be mentioned: John Forbes (1771-1824), born in Scotland, was Librarian of the New York Society Library. His son, Philip Jones Forbes (1807-77), was Librarian of the same institution from 1828 to 1855, and his son, John born in 1846, afterwards became Librarian there. Morris Robeson Hamilton (b. 1820), State Librarian of New Jersey, was descendant of John Hamilton, acting Governor of New Jersey (d. 1746). John Cochrane Wilson (1828-1905), Librarian of the Law Library of the Equitable Life Assurance Company. Miss Catherine Wolf Bruce established a Free Circulating Library in Forty-second Street in memory of her father, George Bruce the type-founder, in 1888. It is now a branch of the New York Public Library.

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