Endicott Peabody was born in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Endicott Peabody and Marianne Cabot Lee, on May 30, 1857. 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 Peabody was 13, the family moved to England. There he attended Cheltenham College, a secondary school in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, finishing in 1876 at the age of 19. He graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1880 with an LL.B. degree. On June 18, 1885, he married his first cousin, Fannie Peabody, daughter of Francis and Helen (Bloodgood) Peabody of Salem, Massachusetts, Salem. They had one son, Malcolm E. Peabody
In 1882, after his first semester at the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Peabody was invited to take charge of a little Episcopal congregation in Tombstone, Arizona. After a long train ride from Boston, he arrived in Benson, Arizona, and took the Sandy Bob stagecoach to Tombstone, arriving on January 29, 1882, three months after the “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral“. The previous church was burned down, and the reverend whom Peabody was replacing left after only two months. Peabody held his first services in the Miner’s Exchange Building on February 5, 1882. Though he felt unqualified, with less than a year of seminary to his credit, he was successful in attracting a considerable congregation. Part of his success was his outreach; he sometimes visited up to 15 homes a day.
Over a few months, Peabody succeeded in getting St. Paul’s Episcopal Church built for approximately $5,000. The first services were held there on June 18, 1882. Peabody was able to raise the funds during a short amount of time because he was not afraid to go door-to-door for donations, including asking at the town’s saloons. This outgoing manner helped him make many friends, including Wyatt Earp, whose family donated the altar rail for the new church. He also started a baseball team while in Tombstone. However, this residency there was short-lived. Peabody left Tombstone after only six months, and many were saddened that he had to go. He returned to the East Coast and completed his studies at the Episcopal Theological School, graduating in the spring of 1884.
His primary mission was to replicate, for American schoolboys, the type of education he experienced in England. He considered Rugby School a particular model for its dual emphases on sports and classics. Groton School for Boys opened in 1884, and Peabody served as its headmaster until 1940. He also founded St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Ayer, Massachusetts, in October 1889. Then in 1926, Peabody founded Brooks School, which was named for 19th-century clergyman Phillips Brooks, a well-known preacher, and resident of North Andover, Massachusetts. Peabody was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1891.
His family has been called Boston Brahmins. His son Malcolm E. Peabody was bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York. Massachusetts Governor Endicott Peabody was his grandson. His great-grandchildren include author Frances FitzGerald, model Penelope Tree, and actress Kyra Sedgwick.
Following the 125th anniversary of the building of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, he was added to the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona, with November 17 becoming his feast day. He is thus regarded as the ‘patron saint’ of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona and venerated as one of its most important missionaries.
- “Peabody, Endicott (PBDY876E)”. A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- Bishop Kirk S. Smith (July 12, 2007). “E-pistle for June 29, 2007”. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
- “St. Paul’s Episcopal Church”. National Register of Historic Places. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
- Bishop Kirk S. Smith (November 9, 2007).
- “Propers for the Peabody Feast Day”. The Episcopal Diocese of Arizona. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
- “St.Paul’s Episcopal Church – Tombstone AZ”.
- American Antiquarian Society Members Directory.
*Information retrieved from Wikipedia.com 28 January 2022.
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