An American Family: The Beecher Tradition
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EDWARD BEECHER

Photo of head and upper torso.

Edward Beecher. Picture courtesy of The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford, Connecticut.
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Edward Beecher was born in 1803 and was slated to follow in the tradition of his father. He graduated from Yale and studied briefly at the Andover Seminary. He became the pastor of Park Street Church in Boston in 1826, and in 1830 he became the first president of Illinois College at Jacksonville. The college grew under his leadership and he remained president for fourteen years. The reform spirit took hold of Edward and he organized the first anti-slavery society in Illinois. He resigned his presidency in 1844 after financial misfortune; religious controversies and opposition to his anti-slavery beliefs made the offer of the position of pastor of the Salem Street Church in Boston seem very desirable. He returned to the West in 1855, where he became the pastor of the First Congregational Church of Galesburg, Illinois, where he remained until 1871. That year he moved to Brooklyn where he remained until his death.

The Park Street Church was organized in 1809 and dedicated in 1810. From its beginnings it was missionary minded and it became known as the "Brimstone Corner" because of the highly charged doctrines which were preached inside its walls.

Photo of church with street in front and trees.

Park Street Church, Boston, Massachusetts. Picture courtesy of The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford, Connecticut.
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