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.