St. Andrew's Episcopal Church
Ayer, Massachusetts

Faith, Community, and Love

Parish History

The Rev. Dr. Endicott Peabody

Rev. Dr. Endicott Peabody ENDICOTT PEABODY, son of S. Endicott and Marianne C. (Lee) Peabody, was born 30 May 1857 in Salem, Massachusetts. His great-grandfather was the distinguished Salem shipowner, Joseph Peabody, who made a fortune importing pepper from Sumatra and was one of the wealthiest men in the United States at the time of his death in 1844. His father was a Boston merchant and a partner in the London banking firm of J. S. Morgan and Company (later known as J.P. Morgan & Company). When Endicott Peabody was 13, the family moved to England. He prepared for university at Cheltenham College, a secondary school in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, finishing in 1876 at the age of 19. He was graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1880 with an LL.B. (Bachelor of Laws) degree. Although he had studed law, he found that the law had no real appeal to him.

In his own words, "On my return from England, following the line of least resistance, I accepted the opportunity to enter upon the life of business in a brokerage firm [Lee, Higginson & Company] which had been established by a grandfather many years before.... Gradually, I discovered that it did not promise to bring into my life the interest and satisfaction I had hoped would be there and the thought of entering the ministry, which passed through my mind in earlier years, became more vivid."

"The ministry was suggested, I think, especially by the Life of Charles Kingsley which I had read early in my college career. His biographer set forth his subject's enthusiasm in connection with social problems, which were new at that time, and introduced me to a man of vigorous, viril, enthusiastic character; a gentle, sympathetic, and unafraid example of muscular Christianity, a 'very gentil Knight.'"

"The call became increasingly persistent and the hope brightened, yet there were uncertainties and possible hindrances, so I turned to Phillips Brooks as many a young man had done before in his attempt to find out what God intended for his life." The Rev. Dr. Phillips Brooks was at that time rector of Trinity Church in Boston. Endicott Peabody's cousin, Clara Endicott Sears, later recollected,

"One day when all the good things of this material world seemed easily within he reach, he announced to his family that he had decided to...become a clergyman! It was at first an overwhelming blow. He could easily have started at the top of things. His mother was an ardent Unitarian and she was all upset by the Episcopal Church (although he had already been confirmed in England). She could not understand it and she made it very hard for him. But if she was firm in her protests, he was equally firm. They could not turn him from the career he had chosen and he stood his ground unwaveringly and entered this new life with enthusiasm."

To be continued.

Sources:

1. Ashburn, Frank D. Peabody of Groton: A Portrait (New York, Coward McCann, Inc., 1944).

2. Bennett, Mrs. Frank Silas History of St. Andrew's Church: Ayer, Groton, Forge Village 1892-1942 (Ayer, Massachusetts: St. Andrew's Church, 1944), 18-19.

3. "Endicott Peabody of Groton School," New York Times, New York, 18 November 1944, 13.

4. Kingsley, Fannie, ed. Charles Kingsley: His Letters and Memories of His Life, 2 volumes (London, Henry S. King & Co., 1877). The edition that Endicott Peabody most likely read as a college student.

5. Stearn, Alfred E. et al, The Education of the Modern Boy, (Boston: Small, Maynard & Company, 1925), 107-138. The Rev. Endicott Peabody was one of six authors, all headmasters of New England private schools.

6. Stowe's Clerical Directory of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America 1941 (New York, The Church Hymnal Corporation, 1941), 221.

Original author: Richard C. Dabrowski. This text is released under GFDL.

Photograph of a mezzotint in the collection of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Ayer, Massachusetts.