An avid amateur scientist, he was elected to the American Philosophical Society (1768). President of Yale from 1778 until his death.
Studied under Franklin correspondent Thomas Darling at Yale, where he later became a tutor.
Wrote and presented a Latin oration in praise of Franklin (1755).
Admitted to bar (1753). Became a Congregationalist minister and moved to Newport (1755). Stayed in Newport until the outbreak of the American Revolution.
Received, through Franklin’s influence, the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Edinburgh.
Born in North Haven, Connecticut. Married in 1757 to Elizabeth Hubbard; two sons, six daughters. Married in 1782 to Mary (Cranston) Chockley, widow.