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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GANNETT, Ezra Stiles, clergyman, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 4 May, 1801; died near Boston, Massachusetts, 25 June, 1871. He was a grandson of President Ezra Stiles of Yale. He was graduated at Harvard with first honors in 1820, studied divinity, and in 1824 became the colleague of Dr. William E. Channing in Boston, finally succeeding him as pastor. He was a foremost figure in the Unitarian controversy which agitated the New England Churches in 1825-'35, but in the latter year was driven by illness to Europe, and during the summer following his return was seized with a paralytic stroke, which left him a cripple for life. He became co-editor of the "Christian Examiner," and his lectures on Unitarian doctrines were the delight of Boston theologians. He delivered the annual election sermon in 1842, in 1843 the "Dudleian lecture," and in that year was given the degree of D. D. by Harvard. He took part in a second controversy which arose in the Unitarian denomination, and, circumscribed as he was by his infirmity, he did a large amount of ministerial and literary work. He was president of the American Unitarian association in 1847-'51, of the Benevolent fraternity of Churches in 1857-'62, and an overseer of Harvard in 1835-'58. On the bronze bas-reliefs of the soldiers' monument on Boston common his face appears in the sanitary commission group; and the Freedman's aid society had his best labors in its behalf. He was killed by a railway accident.
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