Dartmouth College received a royal charter from King George III in 1769 and opened its doors the following year. Its first president, Eleazar Wheelock, has established an Indian charity school at Lebanon (now Columbia), Connecticut, in 1754. Having raised the enormous (by the standards of the day) sum of 12,000 pounds as an endowment, Wheelock sought to reestablish the school nearer to the tribes. He chose a site at Hanover on the Connecticut River and received grants of 44,000 acres of land.
The college was chartered as Dartmouth College, in honor of the second earl of Dartmouth, president of the Indian school`s board of trustees in England. It accepted both Indian and white students and gradually the Indian school lost its significance, until it was legally terminated in 1915.
The first graduating class of four students took their degrees in 1771. Dr. Wheelock remained as president until his death 9n 1779, at which time the post passed to his son John. In 1815, the trustees removed John Wheelock from his position due to a religious controversy. The New Hampshire legislature attempted unsuccessfully to take control and lost in the famous case of Dartmouth v. New Hampshire.