Born: March 13, 1840, Boston, Massachusetts.
Died: December 15, 1923, Rochester, New York.
Buried: Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, New York.
William was the son of Ezra Stiles Gannett and Anna Linzee Tilden, and husband of Mary Thorn Lewis.
He was educated at Harvard University (BA 1860, MA 1863).
After the American civil war, he spent three years working with freed slaves in Port Royal, South Carolina. Afterward, he toured Europe (1865–56), then returned to Harvard, graduated from its Divinity School, and became a Unitarian minister in 1868.
He served in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1868–70); East Lexington, Massachusetts (1871–72); St. Paul, Minnesota (1877–83); Hinsdale, Illinois (1887–88); and Rochester, New York (1889–1908).
He was also a leader in the women’s suffrage movement, founded the Boys Evening Home association, and was active in many other causes.
He helped edit Unity Hymns and Chorals, 1880. His other works include:
Still the angels sing on high,
Still the bearded men draw nigh,
Bringing worship with the morn,
When a little child is born;
Baby-glory in the place,
Star-look on the mother’s face,
Psalm within the mother’s heart,
Christmas all in counterpart!
Quaintest wight that ever stirred,
With Thy ears that never heard,
Eyes that eye a brand-new world,
Tiny limbs but half uncurled,
Wee-bit Adam! wee-bit Christ!
Earth, by Thee new paradised,
Blooms to miracles again,
Good-will to men!
Blessings on the little child
In the cave far-off and wild!
For that nursery divine
Tells me well, O baby mine,
That Thou art Emmanuel,
God with us, come here to dwell,
Come to say,
Since time began,
Son of God is Son of Man.
William Channing Gannett, 1875