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I came across the story of Fanny J Crosby and wanted to share with you.


Miss Fanny J. Crosby: Hymn Writer and Poetess


One of the great powers that influence the world is the writer of favourite songs and hymns. The countless songs of Fanny Crosby, the subject of this sketch, have brought comfort to Christian hearts and stirred up inspiration that will abide as long as life shall last.

Frances Jane Crosby, the daughter of John and Mercy Crosby, was born in Southeast, Putnam County, New York, March 24, 1820. She became blind at the age of six weeks from maltreatment of her eyes during a period of sickness. When she was eight years old she moved with her parents to Ridgefield, Connecticut. At the age of fifteen she entered the New York Institution for the Blind, where she received a good education.

She became a teacher in the Iinstitution in 1847, and continued her work until March 1, 1858. She taught English grammar, rhetoric, Roman and American history. This was the great developing period in her life. During the vacations of 1852 and 1853, spent at North Reading, Massachusetts, she wrote the words to many songs for Dr. Geo. F. Root, then the teacher of music at the Institution. Among them were, “Hazel Dell,” “The Honeysuckle Glen,” “Rosalie, the Prairie Flower,” “Music in the Air,” “Proud World, Good-bye, I’m Going Home,” “All Together,” “Never Forget the Dear Ones,” and others. Subsequently she wrote the words for the cantatas of “The Flower Queen” and “The Pilgrim Fathers,” all of which were very popular in their day.

While teaching at the Institution she met Presidents Van Buren and Tyler, Hon. Henry Clay, Governor Wm. H. Seward, General Winfield Scott, and other distinguished characters of American history. Concerning Mr. Clay, she gives the following: “When Mr. Clay came to the Institution during his last visit to New York, I was selected to welcome him with a poem. Six months before he had lost a son at the battle of Monterey, and I had sent him some verses. In my address I carefully avoided any allusion to them, in order not to wound him. When I had finished he drew my arm in his, and, addressing the audience, said through his tears: ‘This is not the first poem for which I am indebted to this lady. Six months ago she sent me some lines on the death of my dear son.’ Both of us were overcome for a few moments. Soon, by a splendid effort, Mr. Clay recovered himself, but I could not control my tears.”

In connection with her meeting these notable men, we might add that Miss Fanny Crosby had the honor of being the first woman whose voice was heard publicly in the [United States] Senate Chamber at Washington. She read a poem there on one occasion.

In addition to the thousands of hymns that she has written (about eight thousand poems in all), many of which have not been set to music, she has published four volumes of verses.

Since 1864 she has supported herself by writing hymns. She has resided in New York City nearly all her life, where, she says, she is “a member of the Old John Street M. E. Church in good standing.” She spends regular hours on certain days at the office of The Biglow & Main Co., the firm for which she does most of her writing, and for whom she has composed over four thousand hymns.

She can compose at any time and does not need to wait for any special inspiration, and her best hymns have come on the spur of the moment… She learned to play on the guitar and piano while at the Institution, and has a clear soprano voice. She also received a technical training in music, and for this reason she can, and does, compose airs for some of her hymns.

She says that had it not been for her affliction she might not have so good an education, nor so great an influence, and certainly not so fine a memory. She knows a great many portions of the Bible by heart, and had committed to memory the first four books of the Old Testament, and also the four Gospels before she was ten years of age.

Among her most widely-known hymns may be named the following: “There’s a cry from ‘Macedonia,” “I feel like singing all the time,” “Never be afraid to speak for Jesus,” “Lord, at Thy mercy seat,” “Jesus the water of life will give,” “‘Give,’ said the little stream,” “We are marching on with shield and banner bright,” “Pass me not, O gentle Saviour,” “Jesus, keep me near the cross,” “Rescue the Perishing,” “Sing with a tuneful spirit,” “Praise Him, praise Him,” “To the work, to the work,” “The Bright Forever,” “Blessed Assurance,” “Close to Thee,” “Blessed Homeland,” “Saved by Grace,” “Thy Word is a lamp to my feet, O Lord,” “Hast thou trimmed thy lamp, my brother?” “Never say goodbye.”

PRAYER POINTS: Lord let me gift/s make a way for me; Lord let me be successful as I use my gift to be a blessing and Lord if my gift has been delayed in manifesting, I command it to manifest by fire in Jesus mighty name.

by Jacob H. Hall   http://www.wholesomewords.org

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