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William Batchelder Bradbury was born on October 6, 1816, in York, Maine. His father was the leader of a church choir. He moved to Boston with his parents and brother Edward G. Bradbury. There he met Lowell Mason, and by 1834 was known as an organist. In 1840, he began teaching in Brooklyn, New York.
Seven years later he went to Germany, where he studied harmony, composition, and vocal and instrumental music with the best masters. Bradbury is best known as a composer and publisher of a series of musical collections for choirs and schools. He was the author and compiler of fifty-nine books starting in 1841. He composed many tunes, including those for “He Leadeth Me”; “Just As I Am“; “Sweet Hour of Prayer” (attributed to William W. Walford, 1772–1850); “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us” and “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less“, all of which can still be found in hymnbooks and songbooks today.
In 1854, he started the Bradbury Piano Company, with his brother in New York City. In 1862, Bradbury found the poem “Jesus Loves Me“. He wrote the music and added the chorus: “Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus Loves me …”
- Vicky Boyd (1996). “William Batchelder Bradbury”. HymnSys. Retrieved 2019-08-19 – via The Hymns and Carols of Christmas.
- Clint Bonner (August 2, 1969). “A Hymn is Born”. Evening Independent. Retrieved 2011-11-18.
- “History of Hymns: “Sweet Hour of Prayer””. umcdiscipleship.org. Discipleship Ministries.
ALSO ON THIS DAY
1554 – John Hooper wrote a letter explaining the horrible conditions of Fleet Prison where Bloody Queen Mary placed him because of his Protestant beliefs.
1870 – Isabella Thoburn of Ohio arrived in India where she became a great missionary-educator.
1917 – Elija Titus Latunde was baptized at twelve years of age. He became the third president of the Christ Apostolic Churches in Nigeria, which experienced phenomenal growth under his leadership. He also spearheaded secular development projects and served as a peacemaker with Muslims.