Lyman Beecher

1775-1863. American minister and educator. Born in New Haven, he graduated from Yale in 1797, was ordained two years later, and was pastor first of the East Hampton Presbyterian Church, New York (1799-1810), then of Congregational churches at Litchfield, Connecticut (1810-26), and Hanover Street, Boston (1826-32). He then became president and professor of theology at Lane Theological Seminary, which post he combined until 1842 with the pastorate of Cincinnati's Second Presbyterian Church. He retired from Lane in 1852. Liberal in theology, he rejected Unitarianism, rigid Calvinism, and Roman Catholicism, and was an active foe of intemperance, slavery, and dueling. While his moderate Calvinism had made the going hard in New England, it was not strong enough for Ohio, where his allegedly heretical views led to arraignment but acquittal before presbytery and synod. A founder of the American Bible Society, he was an eloquent preacher with revivalistic emphases that brought conversions. He was said to have been “the father of more brains than any other man in America” (among his thirteen children were Henry Ward Beecher* and Harriet Beecher Stowe*).