Categories: Belief, Litchfield

Henry Ward Beecher Born – Today in History: June 24

Henry Ward Beecher, ca. 1866
Henry Ward Beecher, ca. 1866
– Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

On June 24, 1813, Henry Ward Beecher was born in Litchfield. The Beechers were already well-known because Lyman Beecher, Henry’s father, was a nationally renowned clergyman, and Henry, too, became a famous minister. Like his father and his sisters Harriet and Catharine, Henry was a committed abolitionist and where Harriet Beecher Stowe used the written word to change hearts and minds, Henry used the pulpit. The Congregationalist minister drew thousands to hear him preach at his Brooklyn, New York, church, and throngs of people attended his sermons when he spoke in Connecticut and elsewhere. Beecher was active in publishing circles also, and it was through his writing for the newspaper The Independent that he came to be accused of adultery with the editor’s wife. After a sensational trial that riveted the nation, the jury was unable to reach a verdict. He was exonerated by his church and his national popularity as an orator and clergyman remained undimmed.

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