Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Goodrich, Elizur

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GOODRICH, Elizur, clergyman and scholar, b. in Wethersfield, now Rocky Hill, Conn., 20 Oct., 1734; d. in Norfolk, Conn., 22 Nov., 1797. He was graduated at Yale in 1752, and was tutor there in 1755-'6. He was then ordained as a Congregational minister, and settled in Durham, Conn., retaining his pastorate till 1797. In 1766, to supplement his income, he began to prepare students for college. His thorough scholarship made him a successful teacher, and during the following twenty years he instructed more than 300 young men. He was frequently sent by the general association of Connecticut as a delegate to conventions and synods in New York and Philadelphia from 1766 till 1777. He was an able astronomer, and spent much time in mathematical studies, calculating the eclipses of each successive year. He drew up the fullest and most accurate account ever published of the aurora borealis of 1780. He accumulated a library which was regarded as the largest and most complete ever brought into the colonies on private account. Dr. Goodrich was at one time a candidate for governor of Connecticut, and in 1777 his name was proposed for the presidency of Yale, but the opposing candidate, Dr. Stiles, was elected by a small majority. He was a fellow of the college from 1770 till 1797, and served on its prudential committee during the whole of Dr. Stiles's presidency, and a part of that of Dr. Dwight. He received the degree of D. D. from Princeton college in 1783. His published works consist of sermons and addresses (1761-'90). — Elizur's son, Chauncey, statesman, b. in Durham, Conn., 20 Oct., 1759; d. in Hartford, Conn., 18 Aug., 1815, was graduated at Yale in 1770, was tutor there in 1779-81, and also studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1781, began to practise in Hartford, and soon attained eminence. He was a member of the state house of representatives in 1793, and was then elected a representative in congress, serving from 1795 till 1801. He was a member of the state executive council in 1802-'7, and in the latter year was elected to the U. S. senate in place of Uriah Tracy, deceased, serving till 1813, when he resigned, to accept the office of lieutenant-governor of Connecticut. He was also mayor of Hartford and a delegate to the Hartford convention of 1814. —

Appletons' Appletons' Goodrich Elizur - Mary Ann.jpg
Appletons' Appletons' Goodrich Elizur - Mary Ann signature.jpg

Chauncey's wife, Mary Ann, daughter of Oliver Wolcott, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was one of the most distinguished beauties of her time. Her portrait, on this page, is taken from an original picture in the possession of Charles M. Wolcott. — Another son, Elizur, jurist, b. in Durham, Conn., 24 March, 1761; d. in New Haven, Conn., 1 Nov., 1849, was graduated at Yale in 1779, was a tutor there in 1781-'3, studied law, was admitted to the bar, and began practice in New Haven in 1783. He was a presidential elector in 1797, and was chosen a representative to congress, as a Federalist, serving from 1799 to 1801. He was appointed collector of customs in New Haven in the latter year, but was removed by Jefferson immediately on his accession to the presidency. The discussion of this act drew from Jefferson the letter in which he avowed his approval of removal for political opinions. Mr. Goodrich was judge of probate for seventeen years, judge of the county court for twelve years, professor of law in Yale in 1801-'10, and mayor of New Haven from 1803 till 1822. Yale college conferred the degree of LL. D. on him in 1830. — The second Elizur's son, Chauncey Allen, lexicographer, b. in New Haven, Conn., 23 Oct., 1790; d. there, 25 Feb., 1860, was graduated at Yale in 1810, served as tutor there in 1812-'14, and afterward studied theology. He settled in Middletown, Conn., in 1810 as pastor of the Congregational church there, but feeble health obliged him to leave in 1817. In 1820 he was chosen president of Williams college, but declined the office. He was professor of rhetoric and oratory in Yale from 1817 till 1839, when he was transferred to the chair of pastoral theology in that institution, and held it till his death. Dr. Goodrich exerted a wide influence, and co-operated with many learned societies. As a teacher he inspired his pupils to the highest effort. He was a liberal benefactor of the Yale divinity-school. The degree of D. D. was conferred on him by Brown university in 1835. Dr. Goodrich made numerous contributions to periodical literature, and in 1829 established the “Christian Quarterly Spectator,” with which he was connected nearly ten years, being its sole editor after 1830. While a tutor in Yale, Dr. Goodrich published a Greek grammar (1814), and in 1830, at the request of President Dwight, he prepared a text-book, “Greek and Latin Lessons” (1832), which was extensively used in New England. Soon after the publication of the “American Dictionary,” by his father-in-law, Noah Webster (1828), Dr. Goodrich was intrusted by its author with power to superintend an abridgment of the work, which he did, conforming the orthography more nearly to the common standard. This edition, in the preparation of which he was assisted by Benjamin Silliman, Denison Olmsted, and others, was issued in 1847, and the “Universal” edition of the same work appeared in 1856. In 1859 the supplement was issued, to which comprehensive additions were made. At the time of his death Dr. Goodrich was engaged on a radical revision of the dictionary, but he died before the work received its final form, and it was published under the supervision of Noah Porter (1864). He was also engaged in preparing a new edition of the Bible, with English text, as one of the American Bible society's “committee on bersions.” Dr. Goodrich was also the author of “Select British Eloquence” (1852). A commemorative discourse by President Theodore D. Woolsey has been published in pamphlet-form (New Haven, 1860). — Chauncey Allen's son, Chauncey, clergyman, b. in Middletown, Conn., 20 July, 1817; d. in New Haven, Conn., 27 March, 1868, was graduated at Yale in 1837, after which he studied in the theological department. In 1843 he was made pastor of the Congregational church in Malden, Mass., and in 1849 of the church in Watertown, Conn., which charge he resigned in 1856 because of feeble health. Thereafter he resided in New Haven, occupied with literary labors, chief among which was the continuation of his father's work in the revision of Webster's dictionary. He was secretary of the New Haven colony historical society, for which body he prepared and read valuable papers. — Another son, William Henry, clergyman, b. in New Haven, Conn., 19 Jan., 1825; d. in Lausanne, Switzerland, 17 July, 1874, was graduated at Yale in 1843, studied in the divinity-school from 1844 till 1847, and held pastorates in Bristol, Conn., Binghamton, N. Y., and Cleveland, Ohio. He died while on a foreign tour taken for his health. He received the degree of D. D. from Western Reserve college in 1864. Dr. Goodrich was a brilliant pulpit orator, published sermons and addresses, and was a frequent contributor to the religious press.