YALE, Elihu (1648-1721). An English colonial official, the early patron of Yale College. He was born in or near Boston, Mass., the son of David Yale, of Denbighshire, Wales, who emigrated to New England in 1638, lived for a while in New Haven, and then settled in Boston. David Yale's family returned to England in 1652, and lived in London, where Elihu was educated. In 1672 he entered the service of the British East India Company, and proceeded to India, where he rose at length in 1687 to be Governor of Fort Saint George (Madras). In 1692 he returned to London with a large fortune acquired in private trade. In 1699 he became a governor of the East India Company.
He became widely known for his philanthropy and the liberality of his gifts for religious and educational objects. One of the institutions in which he became interested was the collegiate school founded in 1700 at Saybrook, Conn., to which, between 1714 and 1721, he gave books and money to the amount of about £900. After the removal of the school from Saybrook to New Haven in 1718, the new college building was named after him. and in 1745 his name was applied to the whole institution. He lived during the latter part of his life at Wrexham, North Wales, and his body is there buried.
New International Encyclopedia, 1905