Posts Tagged ‘Sanford Fillmore Bennett’


Sanford Fillmore Bennett died 6/12/1898 in Richmond, IL. He was born 6/21/1836 in Eden, NY (Erie Co., south of Buffalo). His parents, Robert & Sallie Kent Bennett, must have moved to IL for he attended the Waukegan Academy (started in 1846) in Waukegan. It was there that his poetry began to appear in the Gazette (1850’s). He attend the University of MI, returned to IL as superintendent of schools (Richmond), then became associate editor of the Elkhorn Independent (WI) before joining in the uncivil war.

After the war he returned to Elkhorn where he ran a drug store & studied medicine.  He claimed his MD degree after graduating from Rush Medical College (1874).  This was followed by twenty years of practicing medicine.  At some point (date, locale, offspring unknown to eab) he married Gertrude Crosby who was born about 2 months before he was, outlived him nearly 7 years, & is buried side him.

Ira Sankey give the following: “Mr. Webster, like many musicians, was of an exceedingly nervous and sensitive nature, and subject to periods of depression, in which he looked upon the dark side of all things in life. I had learned his peculiarities so well that on meeting him I could tell at a glance if he was melancholy, and had found that I could rouse him up by giving him a new song to work on.  He came into my place of business [Elkhorn, Wisconsin,] walked down to the stove, and turned his back on me without speaking. I was at my desk. Turning to him, I said, “Webster, what is the matter now?” “It’s no matter,” he re­plied, “it will be all right by and by.” The idea of the hymn came me like a flash of sunlight, and I replied, “The Sweet By and By! Why would not that make a good hymn?” “Maybe it would,” he said indifferently. Turning to my desk I penned the words of the hymn as fast as I could write. I handed the words to Webster. As he read his eyes kindled, and stepping to the desk he began writing the notes. Taking his violin, he played the melody and then jotted down the notes of the chorus. It was not over thirty minutes from the time I took my pen to write the words before two friends with Webster and myself were singing the hymn.”

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“Sweet By and By” 

There’s a land that is fairer than day,
And by faith we can see it afar;
For the Father waits over the way
To prepare us a dwelling place there.


In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore;
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore.

We shall sing on that beautiful shore
The melodious songs of the blessed;
And our spirits shall sorrow no more,
Not a sigh for the blessing of rest.

To our bountiful Father above,
We will offer our tribute of praise
For the glorious gift of His love
And the blessings that hallow our days.

Sanford Fillmore Bennett, MD, died this date 6/12/1898 at Richmond, IL. 

 He was born 6/21/1836, at Eden, New York.  He attended an academy in Waukegan (his poetry first appeared in the Waukegan, Illinois, Gazette) and University of Michigan.  He was first a superintendent of schools (Richmond, Illinois), then an editor, then a soldier (the Uncivil War – 40th Wisconsin Volunteers), ran a drugstore, and finding his niche graduated from Rush Medical College (1874) and was a medical doctor for over twenty years.  He penned “Sweet By and By.”  See more about it at  The Cyber Hymnal.

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