Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BEACH, Abraham, clergyman, born in Cheshire, Connecticut, 9 September 1740; died near New Brunswick, New Jersey, 14 September 1828. He was graduated at Yale in 1757 with the honors of the valedictory, became a convert to the Episcopal faith, and studied theology under Dr. Samuel Johnson and his relative, John Beach. In 1767 he went to England, and there received ordination to the priesthood. He was appointed missionary to New Brunswick, and entered upon his work in September 1767. During the revolutionary war his position between the two armies was exceedingly embarrassing. In consequence his Church was closed, and he did not officiate until December 1781, when, in accordance with the suggestions of the archbishop of Canterbury, it became permissible to conduct public worship with the omission of the prayers for the king and parliament. In 1784 he became the assistant minister of Trinity Church in New York, and continued an active worker in the diocese of New York until 1813. He was on many occasions a delegate to the general conventions, and in 1801, 1804, and 1810 was president of the house of lay and clerical delegates. Of Rutgers College, established in 1770 at New Brunswick, he was an early trustee. In 1786 he was elected a regent of the University of the state of New York, and in 1787 a trustee of Columbia College, from which institution he received the honorary degree of D.D. in 1789. He was likewise actively associated with many of the benevolent institutions of New York. Subsequent to his resignation from Trinity parish he retired to his farm on Raritan river, near New Brunswick, where he resided until his death. His only publications were sermons.
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