William Ellery Channing,the son of William Channing and Lucy Ellery, was born April 7, 1780 in Newport, Rhode Island.

He was a grandson of William Ellery, (1727-1827) a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, Deputy Governor of Rhode Island, Chief Justice and influential citizen.

Channing is widely seen and known as the founder of modern Unitarianism in America, the church and the congregation who was at the forefront of the Unitarian Universalist tradition here in the United States since its beginnings. He was known for his articulate and impassioned sermons and public speeches, and as a prominent thinker in the liberal theology of the day.

Channing Memorial Church was built as a memorial and a statue was built in Touro Park of Channing in 1880 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Channing died in Old Bennington, Vermont, where a cenotaph is placed in his memory. He is buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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