Beecher Book Banned


Living in Indiana, I have a special interest in Henry Ward Beecher for he was founder of the Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis before he moved to Boston (he lived in Indiana from about 1837-1847). In addition, he often rode horseback to areas outside of Indianapolis to preach. An avid gardener, he and his wife Eunice introduced many flowers to Indiana. Eunice wrote a book about their time in Indiana called From Dawn to Daylight, or, The Simple Story of a Western Home. In the book, Eunice refers to everyone in third person with fictional names, but it is clear that she is talking about her own experience in Indianapolis (referred to as Norton in the book). One of her descriptions of Indiana reads:

I was so well-prepared by my husband’s descriptions that I was not greatly surprised, when we picked our way from the wharf to the house through mud and over pigs; but my first impression was, that we should find these two articles, the staple commodity of this far-famed region.

In her book, Eunice describes the people as ungrateful for Henry’s service to the church, not supplying enough money or any domestic help. When one of her babies died, she claims the church would not even provide a casket at no charge for the funeral. At this time, new railroad tracks were being laid in Indianapolis. After her child’s death, they sold all their belongings to afford two of the first train tickets out of Indianapolis. Her book, once released, so angered the Indianapolis residents due to her description of residents as lazy and ungrateful that the city banned it.