William Ellery Channing, the minister, was a theological student at Cambridge, graduating from Harvard College with the highest honors of his class. He became pastor of the Federal Street Congregational Church of Boston, Massachusetts, and was soon recognized as a leader in the liberal Congregational movement that finally developed into Unitarianism. Dr. Channing visited Europe in 1822 and made the acquaintance of many literary people, among them Wordsworth and Coleridge, with whom he formed a lasting friendship.
William Ellery Channing,the poet, was a nephew of the minister. He lived in Concord, Massachusetts, for several years, and was a friend and neighbor of Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott; Sanborn, etc. He wrote several small volumes of poems, and a biography of “ Thoreau, the Poet-Naturalist.” He was termed “ the poet’s poet.