Timothy Dwight was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, on May 14, 1752, and entered Yale College at age 13; he graduated in 1769. Dwight was a tutor from 1771-1774 and became an ordained minister in 1777. During the Revolutionary War, he was a chaplain in the Continental Army. Between 1781 and 1782, Dwight served in the Massachusetts legislature, and in May 1783 he moved to Fairfield, Connecticut, where he founded the Greenfield Academy. He became president of Yale College in 1795, a post he held until his death on January 11, 1817. He and his wife, Mary Woolsey, married in New Haven, Connecticut, on March 3, 1777, and had several children.
Benjamin Woolsey Dwight, the second son of Timothy Dwight and Mary Woolsey, was born on February 10, 1780, and entered Yale shortly after his father became its president. After graduating in 1799, he moved to Philadelphia, where he studied medicine under Benjamin Rush and Philip S. Physick. He practiced medicine in Catskill, New York, between 1803 and 1805, and later moved to New Haven, Connecticut, where he became a hardware merchant. Dwight returned to Catskill in 1817 and moved to Clinton, New York, in 1831, becoming treasurer of Hamilton College. He married Sophia Woodbridge of Heath, Massachusetts, on May 7, 1815, and had six children. Benjamin W. Dwight died on May 18, 1850.