ALEXANDER McWHORTER BEEBEE, D.D., Professor of Logic in Colgate University at Hamilton, N.Y., was born in Skaneateles, Onondaga County, in 1820. His father, Alexander McWhorter Beebee, LL.D., was a son of Samuel Beebee, a broker of New York City. He was a graduate of Columbia College, studied law in the office of judge Hoffman, and was admitted to the bar in 1807. He was a life-long friend of Washington Irving, with whom he was for a time a fellow-student. For thirty years he was editor of the New York
Baptist Register, published at Utica, N.Y., now the Examiner, published in New York City. He was a grandson of Rev. Alexander McWhorter, D.D., who for forty-seven years was pastor of the First
Presbyterian Church of Newark, N.J., and of whom there is a biographical sketch in the American
Alexander M. Beebee, the father of the subject of this sketch, married Mary Margaret Roorbach, daughter of Barent Roorbach, M.D., a surgeon in the British army, and a grand-daughter of Rev. John Ogilvie, D.D., who from 1764 to 1774 was assistant minister of Trinity Church, New York City. This marriage took place in New York City, May 30, 1807, the ceremony being performed by Bishop Benjamin Moore. They reared four children, two sons and two daughters, namely: Pierre Ogilvie, who was for a time a lawyer in New York, died in Utica in 1888, aged seventy-seven; Mary Ella, who married Hon. James M. Hoyt, LL.D., of Cleveland, Ohio, and died there when she was over seventy years of age; Alexander M., of whom we write; Augusta Margaret, who married William Middleberger, a prominent business man in Cleveland, Ohio. She died in that city at the age of sixty years. The parents of the Rev. Dr. Beebee removed to Skaneateles, N.Y., in 1807. The journey from New York to Albany was in a sloop up the Hudson River, before Robert Fulton's great steamboat experiment, and occupied an entire week. The mother died in Utica, December
11, 1830, at the age of forty-five; and the father married the second time Mrs. Mary Hoyt, widow of David P. Hoyt, of Utica. He died in 1856, aged seventy-three.
Alexander M. Beebee passed his early childhood and youth in Utica, though for
quite a period of his youth he had an important business training under Mr. D. G. Dorrance, now of Oneida Castle, the outline of whose life is given in this volume. He received his education at Madison, now Colgate University, was graduated from the college in 1847, and from the Theological Seminary in 1849, in which latter year he was ordained to the Baptist ministry. In 1850 he became a professor in the university, and occupied the Chair of Logic and English Literature for eighteen years, at the same time giving instruction in Political Economy. In 1868 he was made Professor of Ecclesiastical History in the seminary, and in 1869 received the degree of D.D. from Shurtleff College. In 1872 he was transferred to the Chair of Homiletics, retaining Logic in the college. The duties of these last professorships he discharged for nineteen years. In 1891 he retired from the Chair of Homiletics, and was made Professor Emeritus in that department.
Dr. Beebee was married in 1850 to Catherine J. Hall, of Sullivan, Madison County, daughter of Daniel Hall, a pioneer settler and agriculturist of that town. In 1842 Miss Hall was graduated from the Oneida Conference Seminary, Cazenovia, and in 1843 from the Albany Female Academy. Their happy union has been graced by three children, namely: Alexander McWhorter, employed in the Live-stock Exchange in Kansas, Mo., is married, and has one son; James Hoyt, a graduate of Colgate University, and a dentist in Rochester, N.Y., who is married, and has a son and a daughter; and Catherine Margaret, wife of Albert G. Harkness, Professor of Latin in Brown University, Providence, R, L, who has one son.
Of Dr. Beebee's characteristics as a teacher one of his former pupils says: "During his entire professorship he has been an intellectual and moral force of the rarest educative quality. To analytical powers remarkably keen and strong he
joins literary and aesthetic perceptions unusually delicate and discriminating. So that in critical ability he has few equals. In the lecture-room he has handled his classes with peculiar skill. His pupils have learned to distinguish between what they knew and what they only supposed they knew. Mental sluggishness has been transformed into mental activity. Shirks could not thrive in an atmosphere so stimulating to intellectual endeavors. Requiring of the student intelligent apprehension of an author's meaning, and then the clear and facile reproduction of that meaning, he has developed in hundreds of young men powers of thought and of expression which would have remained half dormant under a method less masterful than his. The literary work of the students was for many years under his oversight, and his criticisms upon their productions were always most highly valued. The rich treasures of his wide reading were laid under tribute, and his refined taste had all the certainty of literary instinct. His influence upon the student's intellectual processes tended to cultivate robustness as well as grace. No mere flesh-tints of rhetorical embellishment could compensate for feebleness in the logical sinews of thought.
"His services to young men have not been limited to the subjects of his instruction, but he has ministered in many ways to the culture of his students. To a teacher so alert and sympathetic the topics of his teaching or the incidents of the class-room have often supplied suggestions leading him out into lines of wise and inspiring counsel which have been most helpful toward the formation of character and the right conduct of life. His classes have always recognized in him not only an intellectual man of large resources, but a high-toned, cultivated Christian gentleman. To few teachers is it given so to impress their personality upon young men as has Dr. Beebee impressed his upon the students of Colgate University."
Dr. Beebee's relations to his fellow-citizens have always been cordial and influential, and his character above reproach. In 1852 he bought and moved into his present home. The house is a substantial structure, with massive oak frame, and, although erected one hundred years ago, is still sound and strong, and is one of the ancient landmarks of the place.
In this connection is presented a portrait of the Rev. Dr. Beebee.
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