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James Chaplain Beecher (1828-1886)

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by donna, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    James Chaplin Beecher was the youngest son of Lyman Beecher and his second wife, Harriet Porter Beecher. He was born in 1828. His Mother died when he was young and he was raised by Lyman Beecher's third wife, Lydia Beecher

    He graduated from Dartmouth and then pursued a life at sea. He served on a coaster which traded along the eastern U.S. coast before sailing on a clipper ship to Canton, China. James served five years as a ship's officer in the East India Trade.

    James returned from sea and entered Andover Theological Seminary, following in the footsteps of his father and brothers to become Congregationalist Minister. At Andover he married his first wife, Anne Morse. They left Andover to become missionaries in Canton and Hong Kong. In 1859, Anne returned from China and entered a sanitarium for drug and alcohol addiction.

    James remained in China until outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. He enlisted in the army and served first as chaplain of the First Long Island Regiment. He then was lieutenant colonel in the 141st New York Volunteers. He briefly returned to civilian life because of concerns over his wife, Anne's health. She died in 1863. He rejoined the army and was appointed to recruit an African-American regiment, the First North Carolina Volunteers .He was mustered out as Brevet Brigadier General.

    In 1864 he married Francis Johnson. After that he and Francis opened a school in Jacksonville, Florida for newly emancipated people. James and Frances were married for 21 years and adopted three daughters.

    In 1867 he became Pastor of the Congregational Church in Oswego, N.Y. and later moved to Poughkeepsie.

    In 1881 Henry Ward Beecher asked James to take over Plymouth Church. James didn't really want to as he preferred a rural life. He soon suffered a nervous breakdown and went to Dr. Gleason's water cure sanitarium in Elmira, N.Y. This was same place his first wife had been when she was suffering from her addictions. On August 25, 1886 James Beecher committed suicide at the sanitarium. He shot himself with a rifle, which killed him instantly.



    After the Civil War, he became Pastor at Thomas Beecher's Church in Elmira N.Y. for nine months.
     

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  3. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    Unfortunately, my last sentence in above post not where suppose to be. The computer dropped me from the site and when I went back on that was left at the bottom of post. I really can't explain it. I had already posted before catching it.

    Most of the 35th U.S. Colored Troops (First North Carolina Colored Volunteers) were ex-slaves from coastal areas of Virginia and the Carolinas, while their officers came from various Northern units. Colonel James Beecher commanded the regiment. He seemed an unlikely candidate to command a regiment in combat, but had previously served ably as lieutenant colonel in the 141st New York Infantry and he proved an efficient administrator and trainer.

    It is interesting that his wife, Frances Beecher, taught many of the men of the regiment to read and write while they were stationed at Beaumont and Jacksonville.

    There is good article on the 35th at http://battleofolustee.org/35th_usct.html
     
  4. mulejack

    mulejack Sergeant

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    As I browse through these threads everyday I find more of these interesting facts about the Civil War. The 14th New York, referred to as the red Legged devils by the Rebs, is one I've researched thoroughly, having lived near their Regimental headquarters in Brooklyn, New York as a youngster. I understand some of my ancestors served in this outfit. It's been a great learning experience just reading these threads.

    Mulejack
     
  5. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator Honored Fallen Comrade

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    [​IMG]
    James Chaplain Beecher

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