An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Johnson, Samuel

(Oct. 14, 1696-Jan. 6, 1772). One of the Yale converts. He was born in Guildford, Connecticut. He graduated from Yale College in 1714 and worked as a teacher. He was ordained a Congregational minister in 1720 and undertook a pastorate in West Haven, Connecticut. However, in Sept. 1722 Johnson and a group of other Congregational clergy shocked the Connecticut religious establishment by announcing their intention to seek Anglican ordination. Johnson was ordained in England. He returned home as a missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. He served as rector of the parish in Stratford, Connecticut, for the next thirty-one years. He accepted the presidency of King's College (now Columbia University) in New York City on July 17, 1754. He resigned on Mar. 1, 1763. In 1764 he returned to the rectorship at Stratford, where he remained until his death. A theological rationalist, Johnson was renowned both as an opponent of strict Calvinism and as an advocate of idealist philosophy. His Elementa Philosophica (1752) was also the first philosophy textbook published in America. His conversion from Congregationalism to Anglicanism was a critical factor in strengthening the Anglican presence in New England during the colonial period.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.