The Rev. John Chester, D.D., was born at Weathersfield, Conn., in August, 1785, the son of Col. John Chester, of the Revolutionary Army. He entered Yale College in 1801 and graduated in 1804. He pursued his theological studies under the direction of Dr. Joseph Lyman, of Hatfield, Mass., and was licensed to preach by the Hartford Association College in 1807. His first efforts to publish the gospel were made in Marblehead, Mass. He also preached a short time in Springfield, Mass., Middletown, Conn., and Cooperstown, N.Y. From 1810 to 1815 he served as pastor at Hudson, N.Y. and was pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church in Albany, N.Y. from 1815 to 1828. An eloquent scholar himself, and deeply convinced of the connection and dependence between science and religion, he was devoted to the cause of education. In 1821 he was honored with the degree of Doctor of Divinity by the corporation of Union College. Chester was a founder and later president of the Albany Female Academy, and also a patron and trustee of the Albany Academy. On June 25, 1828, Chester was appointed president of the Rensselaer School, a position he held for only about six months due to declining health. He died in Philadelphia on January 12, 1829.
Excerpt from Nason, Henry B., ed. Biographical Record of the Officers and Graduates of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1824-1886. Troy, NY: William H. Young, 1887, pp. 28-29.