Alexander McClelland (1794-1864)

Alexander McClelland was born in Schenectady, New York in 1794; not much else is known about his early life. He studied at Union College, graduating at the age of 15. McClelland then began to study theology under Rev. John Anderson of the Associate Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He left shortly thereafter, however, to complete his studies at the Theological Seminary of the Associate Reformed Synod of New York. It was at this institution that he first came in contact with Rev. Dr. John Mitchell Mason, later president of Dickinson College. Completing his theological course at the seminary, McClelland was ordained as a minister and became pastor of the Rutgers Street Presbyterian Church in New York City in 1815. Here he would remain for seven years until he was offered a professorship at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania under his former teacher Mason.

Appointed in 1821 by the Dickinson College Board of Trustees, McClelland became professor of logic, meta-physics, and belles lettres. Upon Mason's resignation in late spring of 1824, McClelland was offered the position of president at an increased salary; he refused, agreeing to serve pro tempore until a replacement could be found. When the college was investigated by the state senate early in 1828, he was appointed to represent the faculty. When William Neill, Mason's replacement, resigned in 1829, the position of president was again offered to and refused by McClelland, and this time it was he who left, accepting a professorship of languages at Rutgers College in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He remained at Rutgers for the rest of his career, retiring in 1857; during this time, he also taught oriental literature and languages at the Reformed Dutch Theological Seminary in New Brunswick.

On August 6, 1816, McClelland married the eldest daughter of Charles Dickinson of New York City; the couple had two sons and four daughters. Alexander McClelland died on December 19, 1864; he had suffered from paralysis for a short while prior to his death suggesting a stroke. He was sixty-nine years old.

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Dickinson College Archives
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Acting, 1824
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