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 • Salem
 • Essex County
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William Bentley
Birth: Jun. 22, 1754
Boston
Suffolk County
Massachusetts, USA
Death: Dec. 29, 1819
Salem
Essex County
Massachusetts, USA

Unitarian clergyman, diarist. He was ordained September 24, 1783, and became pastor of East Church in Salem where he spent the rest of his life. An ardent diarist, he concisely recorded daily events in the seaport ranging from the burgeoning China Trade, maritime construction, national and global politics and how each affected the community, freemasonry, slavery, and numerous other issues of the day. His observations are cited in numerous historical works. He was a friend of Presidents John Adams and James Madison, and once declined Thomas Jefferson's offer to head the University of Virginia while still in the planning stage. A scholar, he spoke several languages, and acquired a personal library of 4,000 books. A strong advocate for public education, he tutored Nathaniel Bowditch, who literally wrote the book on navigation. On spiritual matters he advocated praticing what he preached, advocating relief for the poor and good works. He bequeathed his library to various educational institutions, and portions of it are now held by Harvard and Tufts universities, Allegheny College, American Antiquarian Society and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. (bio by: Bob on Gallows Hill) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Joshua Bentley (1727 - 1819)
  Elizabeth Paine Bentley (1738 - 1804)
 
Burial:
Harmony Grove Cemetery
Salem
Essex County
Massachusetts, USA
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bob on Gallows Hill
Record added: Apr 28, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 10865654
William Bentley
Added by: Bob on Gallows Hill
 
William Bentley
Added by: Bob on Gallows Hill
 
William Bentley
Cemetery Photo
Added by: BobBoston
 
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- poddop
 Added: Dec. 29, 2014

- Ernest Sharpe Jr
 Added: Oct. 7, 2012
I light a candle for William Bentley ...
- Candles
 Added: Jan. 21, 2012
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