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LYMAN BEECHER (1775—1863)

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Originally appearing in Volume V03, Page 640 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LYMAN BEECHER (1775—1863), American clergyman, was born at New Haven, Connecticut, on the 12th of October 1775. He was a descendant of one of the founders of the New Haven colony, worked as a boy in an uncle's blacksmith shop and on his farm, and in 1797 graduated from Yale, having studied theology under Timothy Dwight. He preached in the Presbyterian church at East Hampton, Long Island (1798—181o, being ordained in 1799); in the Congregational church at Litchfield, Connecticut (1810—1826),. in the Hanover Street church of Boston (1826—1832), and in the Second Presbyterian church of Cincinnati, Ohio (1833—1843); was president of the newly established Lane Theological Seminary at Walnut Hills, Cincinnati, and was professor of didactic and polemic theology there (1832—1850), being professor emeritus until his death. At Litchfield and in Boston he was a prominent opponent of the growing " heresy " of Unitarianism, though as early as 1836 he was accused of being a " moderate Calvinist " and was tried for heresy, but was acquitted. Upon his resignation from Lane Theological Seminary he lived in Boston for a short time, devoting himself to literature; but he broke down, and the last ten years of his life were spent at the home of his son, Henry Ward Beecher, in Brooklyn, New York, where he died on the loth of January 1863. Magnetic in personality, incisive and powerful in manner of expression, he was in his prime one of the most eloquent of American pulpit orators. In 18o6 he preached a widely circulated sermon on duelling, and about 1814 a series of six sermons on intemperance, which were reprinted frequently and greatly aided temperance reform. Thrice married, he had a large family, his seven sons becoming Congregational clergymen, and his daughters, Harriet Beecher Stowe (q.v.) and Catherine Esther Beecher, attaining literary distinction. Lyman Beecher's published works include: A Plea for the West (1835), Views in Theology (1836), and various sermons; his Collected Works were published at Boston in 1852 in 3 vols. Consult his Autobiography and Correspondence (2 vols., New York, 1863-1864), edited by his son Charles; D. H. Alien, Life and Services of Lyman Beecher (Cincinnati, 1863) ; and James C. White, Personal Reminiscences of Lyman Beecher (New York, 1882). His daughter, CATHERINE ESTHER (1800-1878), was born at East Hampton, Long Island, on the 6th of September 1800. She was educated at Litchfield Seminary, and from 1822 to 1832 conducted a school for girls at Hartford, Connecticut, with her sister Harriet's assistance, and from 1832 to 1834 conducted a similar school in Cincinnati. She wrote and lectured on women's education and in behalf of better primary schools, and radically opposed woman suffrage and college education for women, holding woman's sphere to be domestic. The National Board of Popular Education, a charitable society which she founded, sent hundreds of women as teachers into the South and West. She died on the 12th of May 1878 in Elmira, New York. She published An Essay on Slavery and Abolition with Reference to the Duty of American Females (1837), A Treatise on Domestic Economy (1842), The True Remedy for the Wrongs of Women (1851), Letters to the People on Health and Happiness (1855), The Religious Training of Children (1864), and Woman's Profession as Mother and Educator (1871). His son, EDWARD BEECHER (1803-1895), was born at East Hampton, Long Island, on the 27th of August 1803, graduated at Yale in 1822, studied theology at Andover, and in 1826 became pastor of the Park Street church in Boston. From 183o to 1844 he was president of Illinois College, Jacksonville, Illinois, and subsequently filled pastorates at the Salem Street church, Boston (1844—1855), and the Congregational church at Galesburg, Illinois (1855--1871). He was senior editor of the Congregationalist (1849—1855), and an associate editor of the Christian Union from 187o. In 1872 he settled in Brooklyn, New York, where in 1885—1889 he was pastor of the Parkville church and where he died on the 28th of July 1895. He wrote Addresses on the Kingdom of God (1827), History of the Alton Riots (1837), .statement of Aut:-5'avery Principles (1837), Baptism, its Importand Modes (185o), The Conflict of Ages (1853), The Papal Conspiracy Exposed (1855), The Concord of Ages (186o), and History of Opinions on the Scriptural Doctrine of Future Retvibution(1878).
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