, son of S. Endicott and Marianne C. (Lee) Peabody, was born 30 May 1857 in Salem, Massachusetts. His great-grandfather was the distinguished Salem shipowner, Joseph Peabody, who made a fortune importing pepper from Sumatra and was one of the wealthiest men in the United States at the time of his death in 1844. His father was a Boston merchant and a partner in the London banking firm of J. S. Morgan and Company (later known as J.P. Morgan & Company). When Endicott Peabody was 13, the family moved to England. He prepared for university at Cheltenham College, a secondary school in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, finishing in 1876 at the age of 19. He was graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1880 with an LL.B. (Bachelor of Laws) degree. Although he had studied law, he found that the law had no real appeal to him.
In his own words, "On my return from England, following the line of least resistance, I accepted the opportunity to enter upon the life of business in a brokerage firm [Lee, Higginson & Company] which had been established by a grandfather many years before.... Gradually, I discovered that it did not promise to bring into my life the interest and satisfaction I had hoped would be there and the thought of entering the ministry, which passed through my mind in earlier years, became more vivid."
"The ministry was suggested, I think, especially by the Life of Charles Kingsley
which I had read early in my college career. His biographer set forth his subject's enthusiasm in connection with social problems, which were new at that time, and introduced me to a man of vigorous, viril, enthusiastic character; a gentle, sympathetic, and unafraid example of muscular Christianity, a 'very genteel Knight.'"
"The call became increasingly persistent and the hope brightened, yet there were uncertainties and possible hindrances, so I turned to Phillips Brooks as many a young man had done before in his attempt to find out what God intended for his life." The Rev. Dr. Phillips Brooks was at that time rector of Trinity Church in Boston. Endicott Peabody's cousin, Clara Endicott Sears, later recollected...