The “Green” in Robert Green Ingersoll


Rev. John Ingersoll chose his son Robert’s middle name in tribute to a fellow abolitionist minister, the Rev. Beriah Green (1795 - 1874).


Beriah Green

In 1830, Green assumed what was only the fourth faculty position at Western Reserve College in Hudson, Ohio, south of Cleveland. (One of his colleagues, Elizur Wright, would later gain fame as an abolitionist, actuary, and an outspoken atheist.) In November and December 1832, Green delivered the first three openly abolitionist sermons ever preached in the North. Reprinted nationwide, these sermons electrified reformers including Rev. Ingersoll, a fellow abolitionist.

In mid-1833, Green traveled east to Whitesboro, New York (now a Utica suburb) to assume the presidency of the Oneida Institute, which he molded into a radical abolitionist college where white and black students would live, work, and learn together. Iin August, 1833, one month after Green moved back East, Robert Green Ingersoll was born in this house.