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About Edward Beecher

An abolitionist advocate, Edward Beecher believed that all of America was responsible for slavery since the entire society profited from it.

Edward Beecher entered Yale at 15, and worked his way through college by teaching, graduating as class valedictorian. More religiously liberal than his father, he blended Lyman Beecher’s old Calvinism with the newer tenets of Unitarianism, and explored Spiritualism. Edward was also more liberal on social reform. He embraced abolitionism, or the immediate end to slavery, as opposed to Lyman Beecher’s support of colonization. Edward was friends with abolitionist Rev. Elijah Lovejoy and left him just hours before Lovejoy was killed by a mob in 1837. In response, Edward published a Narrative of the Riots at Alton, an indictment of slavery and mob violence. Edward believed that all of America was responsible for slavery, since the entire society profited from it. His writing helped fuel the fire that would lead to younger siblings Harriet’s and Henry’s fame. The earliest known letter written by young Harriet Beecher was to her brother Edward in 1822 as he studied at Yale. Edward’s wife, Isabella Porter Jones, wrote Harriet Beecher Stowe “If I could use a pen like you, Hatty, I would write something that would show the entire world what an accursed thing slavery is.” Edward and Isabella had 12 children, including one with special needs whom the Beechers incorporated into family life – an exception to 19th century practice.

Residence: (1871) Retired to Brooklyn, Kings, New York

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Edward Beecher's Timeline

August 27, 1803
East Hampton, Suffolk County, New York, United States
Age 18
Yale College
- 1830
Age 22
Park Street Church, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Age 26
Illinois College, Jackson, Illinois, United States
Age 26
Illinois College, Jacksonville, Illinois, United States
May 5, 1831
Portland, Cumberland, Maine, United States
May 23, 1833
Jacksonville, Morgan, Illinois, United States
February 3, 1835
Jacksonville, Morgan, Illinois, United States
November 23, 1836