Archive for the ‘poet American’ Category


William Reed Newell died 4/1/1956, at Deland, FL. He was born 5/22/1868, at Savannah, OH, a town northwest of Ashland. He attended Moody Bible Institute where his young, undisciplined life began to take shape.  He returned to OH, attended & graduated from Wooster College (southeast of Ashland) in 1891.  Neither parent’s name came to light & as no wife or children are mentioned he may (?) have not married.

Following studies at both Princeton & Oberlin he took a pastorate in Chicago (Bethesda Congregational Church).  In 1895 MBI invited Newell to be their assistant superintendent under R.A. Torrey.  While here he held Bible classes & from these came his works Romans Verse-by-Verse, Hebrews Verse-by-Verse, & The Book of Revelation.  It was also at Moody that he wrote his well-known song “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.


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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Ray Palmer died 3/29/1887, Newark, NJ.  He was born 11/12/1808, Little Compton, RI, son of Judge Thomas Palmer but grew up in Boston.  He attended Phillips Academy (Oliver Wendell Holmes was a classmate) & graduated from Yale.  After that he taught at woman’s schools & studied theology privately.

In 1834 he entered the ministry pastoring the Congregational Church, Bath, ME (1835-1850) & the First Congregational Church, Albany, NY (1850-1865).  Finally he served as Corresponding Secretary of the American Congregational Union until retirement (1878).

He published 11 books among them are Closet Hours, Hymns & Sacred Pieces, Hymns of My Holy Hours & Other Pieces, Complete Poetical Works, & he penned 38 hymns. Dr. Duffield (wrote English Hymns) expressed his regard this way, “He has written more & better hymns than any other American.” Palmer met Lowell Mason on a Boston street who asked him to write something for a new hymnal. Palmer located what is below in his old notes. Mason composed the tune & days later told Palmer, “You may live many years & do many good things but I think you will be best known to posterity as the author of “My Faith Looks Up to Thee.” Mason was right – this hymn has been translated into over 20 languages.

“My faith looks up to Thee, Thou Lamb of Calvary, Savior divine!

Now hear me while I pray, take all my guilt away, O let me from this day be wholly Thine!”

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Joseph Henry Gilmore on 3/26/1862, penned the words to the hymn, “He Leadeth Me.”  Joseph H was born at Boston, 4/29/1834, one of the eleven children of Joseph A & Ann Page Whipple Gilmore.  (Joseph A was later 29th Governor of New Hampshire – Joseph H served as an assistant to him & edited a paper.)  Joseph H graduated from both Brown U. & Newton Theological Institution.

Gilmore pastor the Second Baptist Church (Rochester, New York) & pastored at Fisherville, New Hampshire.  In 1868 he was appointed Professor at Rochester U. & directed their English Department (1868-1908).  He wrote half a dozen books but is remembered today for the above mentioned hymn. He was married (did not see wife’s name).  His death date is July 23, 1918 (Rochester, New York).

He leadeth me, O blessèd thought! O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!

Whate’er I do, where’er I be Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.


He leadeth me, He leadeth me, By His own hand He leadeth me;

His faithful follower I would be, For by His hand He leadeth me.

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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.


“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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Henry J (Jeffreys) Zelley died 3/16/1942.  He was born 3/15/1859 at Mt Holly, NJ, youngest child of Noah & Mary (Sever) Zelley “a good woman & full of the Holy Ghost & faith,” attended the public school of Mt Holly, Pennington Seminary, & from Taylor U. received his MA & PhD degrees. He married Ida Shreve & they were blessed with two children: Clara & Edward. Zelley became a Methodist preacher serving as pastor (19 churches across 50 yrs.), the conference in various positions & as a trustee for Pennington Seminary. He was active in & backed camp meetings. 

He is remembered today for some of his more than 1200 poems & hymns which include: “Heavenly Sunlight” “Like a Mighty Sea” “He Brought Me Out” “Let the King Come In” “I’m Anchored on the Rock of Ages” “Because He Told Me So” “Make Me a Blessing Today” “The Sweet Beulah Land” “He Rolled the Sea Away” “When Israel out of Bondage Came.” Once Zelley pastored Henry L Gilmour who wrote music for several of Zelley’s hymns.

My soul today is thirsting for living streams divine, To sweep from highest Heaven to this poor heart of mine;

I stand upon the promise, in Jesus’ name I plead; O send the gracious current to satisfy my need.


Like a mighty sea, like a mighty sea, Comes the love of Jesus sweeping over me;

The waves of glory roll, the shouts I can’t control; Comes the love of Jesus sweeping o’er my soul.

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Virgil P (Prentiss) Brock died 3/12/1978, at Jackson, MI. He was born to Orlando & Elmira Brock, 1/6/1887, at Mercer County, OH. He was schooled at Fairmount Friends Academy, Earlham College (B A) & Cleveland Bible Institute & Training School.  He was ordained a minister of the Christian Church at 19. He pastored several Quaker churches but most of his life’s ministry was given to evangelistic endeavors.

In 1914 he met & married Blanche daughter of Dr & Mrs James D Kerr. She attended the Indianapolis Conservatory of Music & the American Conservatory of Music, Chicago. She was composer/pianist for her husband – without question her contribution greatly enhanced his ministry. They had one son (Dr James Wilson Brock). Blanch died 1/3/1958 & Virgil married Martha Anderson (1959) & continued singing.

Virgil wrote over 500 songs some of the best known being “Beyond the Sunset” “He’s a Wonderful Savior to Me” “He’s Everything to Me” “Resting in His Love” “Let God Have His Way” & “I’ll Still Live On.” He resided at Winona Lake, IN, many years closely associated with Homer Rodeheaver – most of his hymns were published by Rodeheaver. He was awarded an Honorary Degree of Sacred Music from Trinity College, Dunedin, FL. He is buried by Blanche – “Beyond the Sunset’ is engraved on their monument.

“Beyond the sunset,  O blissful morning,

When with our Saviour   Heav’n is begun.

Earth’s toiling ended,   O glorious dawning;

Beyond the sunset   When day is done.”

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Daniel W Whittle died 3/4/1901, Northfield, MA.  He was born 11/22/1840, Chicopee Falls, MA. He headed west & before the Uncivil War was a casher at Wells Fargo.  While in Chicago he met & married Abby Hanson, 8/22/1862.  They had a daughter, May, who eventually married William Moody, son of D L.   

Whittle was wounded at Vicksburg. While in the hospital, though not a Believer, he started read the NT. An orderly told him another soldier was dying & asked him to pray with him saying, “…I thought you were a Christian; I have seen you reading your Bible.”  Whittle recorded “I dropped on my knees & held the boy’s hand in mine. In a few broken words I confessed my sins & asked Christ to forgive me. I believed right there that He did forgive me. I then prayed earnestly for the boy. He became quiet & pressed my hand as I prayed and pleaded God’s promises. When I arose from my knees, he was dead. A look of peace had come over his troubled face & I cannot but believe that God who used him to bring me to the Savior, used me to lead him to trust Christ’s precious blood & find pardon. I hope to meet him in heaven.”

After the war, Whittle as treasurer for Elgin Watch Company (Chicago) wrote “…went into the vault & in the dead silence of the quietest of places I gave my life to my Heavenly Father to use as He would.”  Christ Is All” (1875) is the 1st of Whittle’s more than 100 hymns. He also wrote Memoirs of Philip P. Bliss

“Moment by Moment:”            

Dying with Jesus, by death reckoned mine;   Living with Jesus, a new life divine;

Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine,   Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine.


Moment by moment I’m kept in His love;   Moment by moment I’ve life from above;

Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine;   Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine.

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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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