Daniel Lynn Carroll

H-SC President, 1835-1838

Daniel Lynn Carroll In the first feeble hint of a search for a President, the Board advertised in the Richmond Constitutional Whig that it would elect a President on 30 June 1835. On that date Trustee Stanton nominated and vigorously supported his old friend and former ministerial colleague in Connecticut, Daniel Lynn Carroll, whom nobody else had ever met; Carroll was elected. Carroll was the first clerical President to have a full seminary as well as college education. Born poor to Irish immigrant parents (his father was Roman Catholic) in Pennsylvania, he had been a farm-hand, iron-factory foreman, music teacher, and school teacher before entering the preparatory department of Jefferson College (now Washington and Jefferson), where he went on to graduate, at age 23, after only three years; he went to Princeton Seminary, where Archibald Alexander rated him as one of his finest pupils. For the third time Carroll had just resigned a pulpit (this one in Brooklyn) because of illness when, unbeknownst to him, he was elected; on Alexander's advice, he accepted. On 25 September 1835 Carroll enjoyed the first full made-to-order inauguration, at which he impressed all with a lengthy address that reflected mature academic statesmanship. Carroll was a thoroughgoing intellectual, but he also had acquired worldly tastes (including, like S.S. Smith, one for elegant clothes) and social graces: he danced, read novels, drank wine, had "a keen Irish wit," and was "apt to be the life any company"; indeed, one of his gifted Hampden-Sydney pupils, Robert Lewis Dabney, then 16, wrote rather sniffily to his mother that Carroll had "rather too large a portion of outside." But, although able and effective, he was the victim of increasingly heated theological controversy in the national Presbyterian Church and in 1838 was forced to resign.