Lyman Beecher, an influential Presbyterian clergyman and author, poses here with his famous children, writer Harriet Beecher Stowe and Pastor Henry Ward Beecher. Henry Ward Beecher’s meteoric rise as an influential clergyman was interrupted in 1872 when the Woodhull & Claflin Weekly broke the story of his adulterous liaison with Elizabeth Tilton, his parishioner and the wife of a friend. The public learned that during the affair Beecher had forced Mrs. Tilton to abort their child. Beecher declared himself totally innocent. The 1875 adultery proceedings were touted as “the trial of the century.” It resulted in a hung jury and Beecher was exonerated.