Born in Boston and christened by William Ellery Channing, William
Channing Gannett spent four years helping semi-starved freed slaves
in South Carolina before he was ordained and began to serve in
the West. He began in then muddy Milwaukee in 1868, and later
served at Unity Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, before moving on
to Rochester, New York, where Susan B. Anthony was a member of
the congregation. In order to raise the funds required to allow
admission of women to the University of Rochester, she pledged
her life insurance, while Gannett and his wife, Mary, a birthright
Quaker, pledged their house.
He wrote hymns celebrating life such as Bring, O morn, thy
music. He facilitated action for his Unitarian Church and
Rochesters Temple Berith Kodesh jointly to establish the
Boys Evening Home, where newsboys of all faiths could socialize
and learn arts and crafts.
William Channing Gannett was known as a Western radical. Nevertheless
the American Unitarian Association affirmed and distributed his
statement of "The Things Most Commonly Believed Today Among
Frank Lloyd Wright wrote The House Beautiful, a volume
based on an essay by this Unitarian minister.