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Cheever, George Barrell (17 April 1807–01 October 1890), clergyman and reformer, was born in Hallowell, Maine, the son of Nathaniel Cheever II, a printer and bookseller, and Charlotte Barrell. He was one of five children in a prosperous family. His father died when he was twelve, and he became extremely close to his mother, whose ardent Congregational faith significantly shaped his career. He entered Bowdoin College in 1821 and was a classmate of ...

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Everett, Robert (02 January 1791–25 February 1875), Congregational minister, publisher, and reformer, was born in Gronant, North Wales, the son of Lewis Everett and Jane Parry. The manager of a lead mine, Lewis Everett was also a Congregational lay preacher who raised his eleven children in a deeply religious atmosphere. Having decided at eighteen to enter the ministry, Robert studied theology at the Independent College at Wrexham and in 1815 was ordained pastor of the Swan Lane Welsh Congregational Church at Denbigh....

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Fairbanks, Erastus (28 October 1792–20 November 1864), governor of Vermont, businessman, and antislavery and temperance leader, was born in Brimfield, Massachusetts, the son of Joseph Fairbanks, a farmer, carpenter, and mill owner, and Phebe Paddock. He received a limited public school education in Brimfield. Erastus taught school himself for a time before moving north with his family to St. Johnsbury, Vermont. In 1815 he married Lois C. Crossman, with whom he had eight children. Three years earlier, at the invitation of his uncle, Judge Ephriam Paddock, Fairbanks began reading the law in Paddock’s office. Fairbanks was soon compelled to quit his legal studies, reportedly owing to poor eyesight. He instead became a merchant, operating country stores in the towns of Wheelock, Barnet, and East St. Johnsbury for eleven years while establishing “a reputation for absolute integrity and for interest in anything that concerned the public welfare” (Ullery, p. 89)....

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Frances Gage Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-92766).

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Gage, Frances Dana Barker (12 October 1808–10 November 1884), reformer, lecturer, and author, was born on a farm in Union Township, Washington County, Ohio, the daughter of Joseph Barker and Elizabeth Dana, farmers. The rugged conditions of farm life bred in her a hardiness and resourcefulness that served her well as an adult....

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Goodell, William (25 October 1792–14 February 1878), religious reformer, was born in Coventry, New York, the son of Frederick Goodell and Rhoda Guernsey. Goodell’s parents were Connecticut natives who became pioneer settlers in upper New York State. During his childhood Goodell suffered a “crippling disease” that kept him bedridden for several years; this confinement resulted in his cultivating a lifelong interest in religious reading and writing. After the death of his parents, Goodell went to live in Pomfret, Connecticut, with his paternal grandmother, a convert of evangelist ...

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Langston, Charles Henry (1817–14 December 1892), abolitionist, temperance advocate, and educator, was born in Louisa County, Virginia, the son of Captain Ralph Quarles, a white plantation owner, and Lucy Langston, Quarles’s slave whom he manumitted and with whom he maintained an open relationship. Langston and his brothers were educated by Quarles in their youth. After the death of their parents in 1834 the Langston children were taken by William Gooch, a friend of Quarles and Lucy Langston, to Chillicothe, Ohio, where they were reunited with their half brother and two half sisters, the children of Lucy Langston who were born before her involvement with Quarles. Langston and his brothers took with them to Ohio considerable money bequeathed to them by Quarles. In 1835 Langston and his brother Gideon became the first African Americans enrolled in the preparatory department of Oberlin Collegiate Institute, then a hotbed of abolitionism. After leaving the preparatory department in 1836, Langston worked as a teacher at black schools in Chillicothe and Columbus, Ohio. He reenrolled in the Oberlin preparatory department in 1841 and studied there until the spring of 1843....

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Little, Sophia Louisa Robbins (1799–1893), writer and reformer, was born in Newport, Rhode Island, the daughter of U.S. senator Asher Robbins, an attorney, and Mary Ellery. Educated locally, she married William Little, Jr., of Boston in 1824; they had three children. Her first publication was a poem, “Thanksgiving,” included in a Boston gift book, ...