Notable Alumni

Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, (Gay Head Aquinnah)

Harvard College Class of 1665

 

Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck was a member of Harvard’s graduating class of 1665. Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck is from a Wampanoag tribe that lived in Martha’s Vineyard. Caleb gained acceptance to Harvard’s Indian College after passing the schools entrance exam at the age of fifteen.  Caleb would go on to become the first Native American to graduate from Harvard’s campus in accordance with Harvard’s charter of 1650. This charter stated that Harvard would be dedicated to the education of both English and American Indian scholars. Cheeshahteaumuck was one of few Native students who actually attended Harvard and live a long way from home on Harvard’s campus. Caleb is said to be the inspiration for the novel Caleb’s Crossing, by Geraldine Brooks. A few years after receiving his diploma Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck died in his home, reportedly with a case of smallpox.