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Archive for the ‘born today’ Category

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Edgar P (Page) Stites was born 3/22/1836 at Cape May, NJ.  Though his immediate parents are not mentioned it is known that Stites was a direct descendent of John Howland, who arrived in “America” on a small ship called the Mayflower.  Stites served in the un-civil war, then became a pilot of a riverboat on the  Delaware.  He had a cousin who also wrote songs, Eliza Edmunds Stites Hewitt.

At some point this Methodist hymn writer turned frontier preacher/missionary.  His mission field was the Dakota Territory created 3/2/1861 & existing until 11/2/1889 when it was split to become North & South Dakota (they became states the same day).  He held membership in the First Methodist Church, Cape May, NJ, for some 60 yrs & attended the Methodist Assembly at Ocean Grove.  His death date was 1/9/1921.

Edgar Stites wrote “Beulah Land,” “At the Gold­en Land­ing,” “Just Ahead,” & “Trusting Jesus,” under the pseudonym “Edgar Page.”

 “Simply trusting every day, Trusting through a stormy way; Even when my faith is small, Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Refrain

“Trusting as the moments fly, Trusting as the days go by; Trusting Him whate’er befall, Trusting Jesus, that is all.”

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William Jennings Bryan was born 3/19/1860, Salem, IL, to Silas Lillard & Mariah Elizabeth (Jennings) Bryan. Silas was a Scotch-Irish, Jacksonian Democrat serving the state senate & later as state circuit judge.  WJB was home schooled to age ten using the Bible & McGuffey Readers, then attended Whipple Academy, & Illinois College (valedictorian) & Union Law College, later part of Northwestern Univ. (Chicago).  Though he attended both a Methodist & a Baptist church in his youth he became a Presbyterian.    

While he prepared for his bar exam he taught high school. In this era he married Mary Elizabeth Baird (10/1/1884), who also became a lawyer (they had two children).  They soon moved to Lincoln, NE where Bryan began his life in politics being elected to the Fifty-second & Fifty-third Congresses (3/4/1891 & 3/3/1895).  He is said to have “electrified” the Democratic Convention (1896) with his speech “Cross of Gold” & was selected as their presidential nominee.  He also ran (unsuccessfully) in 1900 & 1908.

He was Secretary of State under Wilson serving 3/4/1913 – 6/9/1915.  Bryan true to his convictions resigned, disagreeing with Wilson going to war with Germany. Bryan’s defense of the Bible (Scope’s Monkey Trial) was not a show – he believed the Great Book.  Bryan College (Dayton, TN, site of the trial) was erected in his memory. NOTE: Don’t believe all you read about Bryan – his opposition to evolution was/is not popular & makes him a target for pseudo scientists (1Ti 6.20) as they worship “science.” 

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Alfred Edersheim was born in Vienna, Austria, 3/7/1825, to Marcus & Stephanie (Beifuss) Edersheim. The home had culture, wealth and though both were of Jewish beliefs, English was spoken in the home & Alfred became fluint in it. He studied in the local gymnasium, studied the Talmud & Torah at a Hebrew school & attended the University of Austria.

About 1845 he moved to Pesth, Hungary & met John Duncan (& other Presbyterians) under whose influence he became a Christian.  In 1846 he married Mary Broomfield with whom he shared seven children. After a stay & studies in Scotland he entered the Presbyterian ministry & ministeried a year to the Jews & Germans at Jassy, Rumania.  It was at the Old Aberdeen Church (1848-1860) he wrote his History of the Jewish Nation from the Fall of Jerusalem to the reign of Constantine the Great.

Edersheim held other positions, changed to the Church of England, & spent two years (or so) as the university preacher at Oxford but today he is most appreciated as the author of The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah.  Declining health took him to Menton, France, where he died 3/16/1889.

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David Tsutada was born 3/6/1906, 2nd son of Kenri Tsutada, a Japanese, Methodist dentist in Singapore. After finishing high school in Japan David studied law at Cambridge U. but believing he was to preach ended his studies in England, to attend a Bible College in Japan.  Before graduation the Bible college president selected a wife for him.  He & his Christian wife, Nobuko, were blessed with 5 children.

When Japan entered WWII there was a rise of nationalism.  David believed it would be wrong for him to erect a Japanese flag in front of his church & bow (relative to the Emperor & his palace), stating “only God in heaven is divine. We worship Him alone.”  David (with some 130 others) on 6/26/1942, was arrested for not observing this government regulation & imprisoned for a 2 yrs. 

After the war & his release (on probation) he build a church in Tokyo, named “Immanuel” because “You, O God, are with us, just as you were in the cell with me.”  His ministry reached out to the poor, on 21/10/1945 his church became an indigenous Holiness Denomination (Immanuel General Mission), reaching university students & farmers.  He became known as “John Wesley of Japan.”  He died 7/25/1971.

[ Personal note: I was in Wesley Biblical Seminary with a grandson, also named David Tsutada.] 

 

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Daniel Brink Towner was born 3/5/1850, at Rome, PA & here he began his musical training under his father, Professor J D Towner, a well-known teacher & singer.  As a teenager Daniel traveled through parts of PA, NY, OH singing bass solos.  He studied under John Howard, George Root, & James Webb.

In December 1870 he married Mary McGonigle, herself a beautiful singer. They settled in Binghamton, NY (he directed music at Centenary Methodist Church. In the ‘80s he was in Cincinnati (NY Street ME), then across the river in Covington (Union M E) before joining with D L Moody.  In ’93 he took the directorship of (what is now) Moody Bible Institute’s music department.

He composed music for 2000 hymns including “Trust & Obey” “Anywhere With Jesus” “Saved By the Blood” “At Calvary” “My Anchor Holds” & “Grace Greater Than All Our Sins.” He compiled songbooks  & wrote music textbooks. He died Oc­to­ber 3, 1919, leading singing in a revival at Long­wood, Mis­sou­ri.

“At Calvary”

Years I spent in vanity and pride, Caring not my Lord was crucified,

Knowing not it was for me He died on Calvary.

Refrain

Mercy there was great, and grace was free; Pardon there was multiplied to me;

There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.

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Lettie Burd was born 3/3/1870, to Isaac & Margaret Burd, Afton,IA. Isaac was a banker, the home reflected culture & wealth, & their last child, Lettie became a talented, delightful teenager. When she was 14 a Western Union Telegraph operator Charles Cowman, age 16, entered her life. Her parents didn’t approve of the friendship & when Charles was transferred by WUT they were relieved. But he returned with 5 solid WUT yrs. experience & as manager of their Glenwood Springs, CO office. They were married 6/18/1889.

They came back to Chicago & he advanced with Western Union. Lettie after some time was converted to Christ in a ME church.  Charles was impressed with her immediate life change but didn’t have interest himself. Later he was redeemed & the distance he’d felt between their conversions became a happy, holy reunion. They once went to Moody Church & as A B Simpson made appeals Charles turned to Lettie, “This means you & me.” They briefly attended God’s Bible School (Cincinnati) & sailed for Japan in 1901.

Along with Juji Nakada & E A Kilbourne they organized Oriental Missionary Society (1907).  Charles died in 1924, Kilbourne in 1928, & Lettie carried on the work until 1949. Her Streams in the Desert (first published in ’25) has been translated into 15 languages, passing 3,000,000 in sales. The attractive banker’s daughter (she said “In a sense Charles was my savior, he saved me from a life of wealth, leisure & plenty”) gave the world a view of her greater, bigger Savior via her famous devotional text. She died 4/17/1960.

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Charles Monroe Sheldon was born 2/26/1857 at Wellsville, NY to Stewart (Congregational pastor) & Sarah (Ward) Sheldon. After graduating from Brown U. & Andover Theological Seminary & a stint pastoring in VT, Sheldon took a Congregational pastorate in KS.  There he married Mary Merriam, 5/20/1891.

 It was also in KS he developed a Lord’s Day evening sermon series which included the question, “What would Jesus do?”  A religious magazine (Chicago) began to publish his story/sermons in weekly installments.  His famous book, In His Steps, followed (1896), which sold some 23 million copies.  In all Sheldon authored 50+ books.  He died 5/24/1946, at Topeka.

 Without endorsing social Gospel (which I do not) it’s to his credit he took a week (while pastoring) to labor here & there, to see working conditions first hand. He & his Central Congregational sponsored the first kindergarten for blacks west of the Mississippi. He (had signed a abstinence card at 7) was active in the Prohibition & Peace movements.  Sadly, he was associated with Alfred Langdon’s gubernatorial campaign.

 

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Ray Willis Chamberlain was born 2/25/1902 at Charleston, Missouri, to Charles & Barbara (Griffith) Chamberlain.  He married Marianne Elizabeth Horine and they were blessed with several children.  In the 40’s – 50’s he and his family were Pilgrim Holiness missionaries to Jamaica. In the fall of 1987 Ray & Marianne started the Holiness Lecture Series at Wesley Biblical Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi: first speakers were Roy Appleby, Andy Miller, Keith Drury, & Richard S Taylor (the last of these was Best).

 

In 1982 Orlow Webb started an organization called TRY (Training Righteous Youth) Conference.  Bro Ray W Chamberlain came to one of the TRY Conference meetings (hosted 4 years at Friendsville, TN) and sang his chorus, “We’ve Got a Great Big Wonderful God.”  He died 1/2/98.

If the reader ever sees his small paper-back book, God Leads His Dear Children Along, it is definitely worth owning and reading a chapter a night in family altar. 

 

[ Personal note: The Lord has given us 2 sons & 2 daughters.  Both girls and their husbands & families) have spent years on 2 different continents as Gospel spreaders for Christ.  One or both would probably say that my view of missions influenced their lives.  And I trace my interest in missions to a man named Ray Chamberlain coming by the old Pilgrim Holiness Church in Bremen, when I was about 10. 🙂 ] 

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Esther L. Kerr was born 2/21/1909, in Arizona Territory.  Arizona was a Territory from 1863 until it became the 48th state, 2/14/1912, one week before Esther turned 3.  Her brother was an evangelist, Phil Kerr.  She married Howard Rusthoi, a minister – together they were called the “revival broadcasters.”  She (they?) attended/participated in a church called Angeles Temple in Los Angeles, California.  She died in Los Angeles, April 8, 1962.  She wrote “It will be worth it all.”

“It will be worth it all when we see Jesus, Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ;

One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase, So bravely run the race till we see Christ.”

Personal note – this is the song our daughter Laura, my wife & I were singing to Mom (Ruth E. Bryan) as she slipped from this world to the next, 2/26/12.

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William Elmo Mercer was born 2/15/1932 at Pollock, Louisiana.  He eHewrote his first song, “A Glimpse Of Jesus” at 14 which was later published by John T. Benson Publishing Company of Nashville, TN.  At 19 he wrote “Each Step I Take” which was recorded by 100s among whom was George Beverly Shea. Many years later in crusades in South Korea he discovered it was favorite there.  He played the piano at Park Avenue Baptist Church (Nashville) over 38 years, he and wife, Marcia, traveled in music evangelism visiting all 50 states across some 30 years.  Elmo wrote over 1,600 songs.  

Each step I take my Savior goes before me And with His loving hand He leads the way

And with each breath I whisper I adore Thee Oh what joy to walk with Him each day

Each step I take I know that He will guide me To higher ground He ever leads me on

Until some day the last step will be taken Each step I take just leads me closer home

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