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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BEAUCHAMP, William, clergyman, born in Kent County, Del., 26 April 1772; died in Paoli, Indiana, 7 October 1824. He was the son of a Methodist circuit-rider, his boyhood was passed in the western part of Virginia, and he united with his father's Church at an early age. He taught school at the age of eighteen, began preaching at nineteen, and at twenty-one was traveling under the direction of the presiding elder. Impressed with the importance of reading and study for a minister of the gospel, he devoted all possible time to intellectual improvement, often studying by torchlight, and became an accomplished classical and Hebrew scholar. In 1794 he joined the itinerants, his circuit lying between the south branches of the Potomac. In 1796 he was ordained deacon, the next year elder, and stationed in New York, and from this time he had the varied experiences of a Methodist preacher, being stationed in Boston, Ohio, Nantucket, Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, and elsewhere. In 1801 he married Mrs. Frances Russell of Nantucket, a widow, who thereafter became an important help to him in his ministerial work. Everywhere he preached with great success, and, being a man of wonderful versatility, he turned his hand to every useful work that could bring him into contact with and give him influence with the people. In 1815 he took editorial charge of the " Western Christian Monitor," then the only Methodist Episcopal publication issued in the country; and in this, as in everything that he undertook, he achieved a decided success. In 1817 he began to build up the town of Mount Carmel, Illinois, and during its early days acted as pastor, teacher, civil engineer, lawyer, and master mechanic. In 1823 he was appointed presiding elder of the Indiana district, then embracing nearly the whole state. He exerted a marked influence wherever he went, and always proved himself a natural leader of men. In 1811 lie published "Essays on the Truth of the Christian Religion," and a series of "Letters on the Itinerancy," with an introduction by Bishop Soule, appeared after his death.
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