Lyman Beecher was brought into this world by God on "Columbus Day" October 12, 1775, in the midst of the beginnings of the Revolutionary War, just as the USA was preparing to Declare Independence from England.
Lyman Beecher went to Meet His Maker on January 10, 1863, in the midst of the American Civil War.
Lyman Beecher was a Presbyterian minister, a leader in the Second Great Awakening, and a leader in the American
Temperance Society as co-founder.
Lyman Beecher was also the father of 13 children, many of whom became noted figures, including Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry Ward Beecher, Charles Beecher, Edward Beecher, Isabella Beecher Hooker, Catharine Beecher, and Thomas K. Beecher.
He is credited by some as the "Key Leader" of the
Second Great Awakening of the United States. Others Say Charles Finney. Others say Alexander Campbell and his father.
Lyman Beecher Early life;
Beecher was born in New Haven, Connecticut, to David Beecher, a blacksmith, and Esther Hawley Lyman.
His mother died shortly after his birth, and he was committed to the care of his uncle Lot Benton, by whom he was adopted as a son, and with whom his early life was spent between blacksmithing and farming.
Lyman Beecher, however, soon found out that he preferred study to blacksmithing.
Lyman Beecher was fitted for college by the Rev. Thomas W. Bray, and at the age of eighteen entered Yale, graduating in 1797.
He spent 1798 in Yale Divinity School under the tutelage of his mentor Timothy Dwight. In September 1798, he was licensed to preach by the New Haven West Association, and entered upon his clerical duties by supplying the pulpit in the Presbyterian church at East Hampton, Long Island.
Lyman Beecher was ordained in 1799.
When Lyman Beecher married his first wife, Roxana Foot, his salary was $300 a year. After five years it increased to $400, with a dilapidated parsonage.
To eke out his scanty income, his wife opened a private Christian school, in which Lyman Beecher was an instructor.
Ministry of Lyman Beecher: Takes Puritan Church;
He gained popular recognition in 1806, after giving a sermon concerning the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Finding his salary wholly inadequate to support his increasing family, he resigned the charge at East Hampton, and in 1810 moved to Litchfield, Connecticut.
Here Lyman Beecher was minister to the town's Congregational Church, where he remained 16 years. There he started to preach Calvinism, a major doctrine of Puritans and Old-Time- Presbyterians.
Lyman Beecher purchased the home built by Elijah Wadsworth and reared a large family.
"Intemperance" had become common in New England, even occasionally accompanying formal meetings of the clergy, and Beecher resolved to take a stand against it.
Lyman Beecher Temperance Leader;
About 1814 he delivered and published six sermons on temperance.
Lyman Beecher, Unitarian Issue:
During Beecher's residence in Litchfield the Unitarian controversy arose, and he took a prominent part.
Litchfield was at this time the town of a famous law school and several other institutions of learning.
Lyman Beecher, now a Doctor of Divinity, and his wife undertook to supervise the training of several young women, who were received into their family. But here too he found his salary ($800 a year) inadequate.
The rapid and extensive defection of the Congregational churches in Boston and vicinity, under the lead of William Ellery Channing and others in sympathy with him, had excited much anxiety throughout New England;
In 1826 Lyman Beecher (age 51) was called to Boston's Hanover Church, where he began
preaching against the Unitarianism which was then sweeping the area. Lyman Beecher was here for 6 years then made an even bigger change.
Lane Theological Seminary, Cincinnati:
The religious public had become impressed with the growing importance of the great west. A theological seminary had been founded at Walnut Hills, near Cincinnati, Ohio, and named Lane Theological Seminary, after one of its principal benefactors.
A large amount of money was pledged to Lane Theological Seminary on one condition: that Lyman Beecher accept the presidency. Lyman Beecher did accept the invitation to move from Boston to Cincinnati in 1832 (age 57).
Lyman Beecher's mission there was to train ministers to win the West for Conservative, Reformed, Puritan-Pilgrim, Bible Believing Christianity.
While in Cincinnati, Lyman Beecher served Christ as:
Anti-Roman Church: Inspired Terrorism?
Beecher was also notorious for his anti-Roman Church, and soon after his arrival in Cincinnati authored the nativist tract "A Plea for the West."
Beecher's term at Lane came at a time when a number of burning issues, particularly slavery, threatened to divide the Presbyterian Church, the state of Ohio, and the nation.
Lyman Beecher Slavery Issue:
The French Revolution of 1830, the agitation in England for reform and against colonial slavery, and the punishment by American courts of citizens who had dared to attack the slave trade carried on under the American flag, had begun to direct the attention of American philanthropists to the evils of American slavery, and an abolition convention met in Philadelphia in 1833.
Its president, Arthur Tappan, through whose liberal donations Beecher had been secured to Lane Seminary, forwarded to the students a copy of the address issued by the convention, and the whole subject was soon under discussion.
In 1834, students at Lane debated the slavery issue for 18 consecutive nights and many of them chose to adopt the cause of abolitionism.
Many of the students were from the south, and an effort was made to stop the discussions and the meetings. Slaveholders from Kentucky came in and incited mob violence, and for several weeks Beecher lived in a turmoil, not knowing how soon the rabble might destroy the seminary and the houses of the professors.
The board of trustees interfered during the absence of Beecher, and allayed the excitement of the mob by forbidding all further discussion of slavery in the Seminary, . . .
. . . whereupon the students withdrew en masse.
Lane Rebels Choose Finney:
Lyman Beecher supposed the "radical" position of total abolition and refused to offer classes to former slaves. Then a group of about 50 students (who became known as the "Lane Rebels") who left the Seminary went to Charles Finney's Oberlin College.
The events sparked a growing national discussion of abolition that contributed to the beginning of the Civil War.
Lyman Beecher: New Methods!
Although earlier in his career he had opposed them, Beecher stoked controversy by advocating "new measures" of evangelism (basically, those used by Charles Finney), that ran counter to traditional Calvinist understanding.
These new measures at the time brought turmoil to churches all across America - later known as the Second Great Awakening.
Lyman Beecher, Charged with Heresy:
Sadly, Fellow pastor, Joshua Lacy Wilson, pastor of First Presbyterian (now, also a part of the Covenant First Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati) charged Beecher with heresy in 1835.
Sadly, the trial took place in his own church, and Beecher defended himself, while burdened with the cares of his seminary, his church.
Even more sad, . . . his wife at home on her death bed.
The trial resulted in acquittalLyman Beecher . . . the other Pastor appealed, and on an appeal to the general synod, Lyman Beecher was again acquitted.
However, the controversy engendered by the action went on until the Presbyterian church split.
Lyman Beecher took an active part in the theological controversies that led to
the excision of a portion of the general assembly of the Presbyterian church in
1837-38, (age 63).
Lyman Beecher went with the new school branch.
After the Church Trial, Denominational split and especially the growing slavery controversy, Beecher and his co-worker Stowe worked diligently to revive the prosperity of Lane Theological Seminary, but at last abandoned it.
The great project of his lief defeated, Lyman Beecher and his associate Stowe returned to the East for greener pastures, where Beecher went to live with his son Henry in Brooklyn, New York, in 1852 (age 77).
Lyman Beecher Retirement:
He wished to devote himself mainly to the revisal and publication of his works, but his intellectual powers began to decline, though his physical strength was unabated.
About his 80th year he suffered a stroke of paralysis, and thenceforth his mental powers only gleamed out occasionally.
After spending the last years of his life with his children, he died in Brooklyn in 1863 (age 88), and was buried in the town of his birth, at Grove Street Cemetery, in New Haven, Connecticut.
Beecher was proverbially absent-minded, and after having been wrought up by the excitement of preaching was accustomed to relax his mind by:
Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Cincinnati;
The Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Cincinnati, Ohio, was the home of her father Lyman Beecher on the former campus of the Lane Theological Seminary. Harriet lived here until her marriage.
It is open to the public and operates as an historical and cultural site, focusing on Harriet Beecher Stowe, the Lane Theological Seminary, and the Underground Railroad.
The site also documents African-American history. The Harriet Beecher Stowe House is located at 2950 Gilbert Avenue, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Lyman Beecher Works;
One of his first and most popular was "The Remedy for Dueling," a pamphlet with
the text of his 1807 sermon, after the mortal duel of Aaron BUrr and Alexander Hamilton.
Lyman Beecher was the author of a great number of printed sermons and addresses.
Lyman Beecher's published works are:
Lyman Beecher Personal life;
In 1799 Lyman Beecher married Roxana Foote, the daughter of Eli
and Roxana (Ward) Foote. They had nine children: Catharine E., William, Edward,
Mary, Tommy, George, Harriet Elizabeth, Henry Ward, and Charles.
Wife Roxana, who had started the Christian School, died on September 13, 1816.
The following year, Lyman Beecher married Harriet Porter, and fathered four more children: Frederick C., Isabella Holmes, Thomas Kinnicut, and James Chaplin.
After Harriet died on July 7, 1835, Lyman Beecher married Lydia Beals, who was brought into this world by God on 17 Sept 1789, and went to Meet Her Maker 1869. She was the daughter of Samuel Beals, previously married to Joseph Jackson (10-1779 to 12-1833) but had no more children.
Lyman Beecher References
1 ^ The Washingtonian Movement
2 ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Beecher, Lyman". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. 1900.
3 ^ Beecher, Charles, ed. Autobiography, Correspondence, etc., of Lyman Beecher D.D., Vol. 1. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1866. p. 183.
4 ^ Beecher, Charles, ed. Autobiography, Correspondence, etc., of Lyman Beecher D.D., Vol. 2. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1865. p. 529.
5 ^ OHS - Places - Stowe House
Lyman Beecher External links
The Beecher Tradition: Lyman Beecher
EB 1911 - Beecher, Lyman
Stowe House official site