Author & Composer
b Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA 1826, d Plainfield, New Jersey, USA 1899. After study at Bucknell Univ, he was ordained as a Baptist and served pastorates in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. From 1869 to 1875, when he was awarded his DD, he was Prof of Literature at Bucknell. He succeeded Wm Bradbury in editing Sunday School song collections, and worked with Wm H Doane in preparing many publications for the Biglow and Main Co. Between 1865 (Happy Voices) and 1886 (Glad Refrain) he published at least 6 gospel song books. Apart from one very successful composition, included in most evangelical hymnals in the UK, his work has proved more popular in N America, especially in Sankey’s collections, than in Britain. In the USA he attained considerable fame in the gospel music tradition, although he valued preaching above hymn-writing. But the (UK)Salvation Army Song Book of 1986 features 7 of his songs (the same number as the American Southern Baptist book in 1991, tunes included), notably Shall we gather at the river, written according to Sankey during a city-wide summer epidemic in Brooklyn, 1864. No.467.