Samuel Fowler Dickinson (1775-1838)
Samuel Fowler Dickinson, father of Edward and grandfather of Emily, was born in Amherst and despite being the youngest in his class at Dartmouth College, delivered the Salutatory Oration in Latin at his graduation. Widely known as one of the most preeminent lawyers in all New England, he was the beginning of three generations of the Dickinson family that helped lead the town of Amherst.
Described as the soul of the movement that led to the founding of Amherst Academy, he was relentless in providing for the foundation on which the College was built. His belief was so strong that he pledged his personal property to ensure some of the first loans the College took to fund its earliest operations.
As Tyler pointed out in his A History of Amherst College, "The enlargement of the plan from a mere separate Collegiate Institution was expressly owing to Mr. Dickinson's suggestion and influence...If Colonel Graves was the locomotive, Esq. Dickinson was the engineer of the train. If Colonel Graves was the hand, Esq. Dickinson was the head in the founding and rearing of Amherst College. It is doubtful if the College would ever have been built without them both."