Ripley, Sylvanus

honorific(s): Professor; Mr.
Birth: September 29, 1749 in Halifax, MA
Death: February 5, 1787 in Hanover, NH

Moor's Indian Charity School; Yale College; Dartmouth College; Trustees of Dartmouth College


Yale (1768-1770) Dartmouth (Class of 1771)







Marital status

Married Abigail Wheelock, one of Eleazar Wheelock's daughters. Two of their sons attended Dartmouth.


Sylvanus Ripley was a charity scholar at Moor’s Indian Charity School who became one of Dartmouth College’s first professors and Eleazar Wheelock’s son-in-law. After a brief stint at Moor’s proper, Ripley entered Yale in 1768. He undertook several short missions to the Canadian tribes in the early 1770s to seek out a new source of Native American students for Wheelock. His longest mission, from May to September of 1772, garnered 10 students from Kahnawake, the Catholic Canadian settlement. Ripley was an important figure in Dartmouth’s early history: in addition to serving as preceptor of Moor’s from 1775 until 1779, he was a tutor at Dartmouth from 1772 until 1782, a trustee of Dartmouth from 1775 until 1787, and the College’s professor of divinity from 1782 until 1787 (sources differ as to whether Ripley was ever formally ordained). He was also very involved in the political conflicts that characterized the town’s early history. Ripley died in 1787, at age 37, after being thrown from a sleigh.


Chapman, George Thomas. Sketches of the Alumni of Dartmouth College. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1867. Accessed via GoogleBooks. Chase, Frederick. A history of Dartmouth College and the Town of Hanover, New Hampshire. 1891. Love, Deloss. Samson Occom and the Christian Indians of New England. Pilgrim Press 1899. Sprague, William Buell. Annals of the American Pulpit, Volume I. New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1859. Accessed via GoogleBooks.