Posted by: rcottrill | January 22, 2010

Today in 1855 – Carrie Breck Born

Carrie Elizabeth Ellis was born in Vermont, after which the family moved to New Jersey. She married Frank Breck, and the couple moved on to Oregon some time between 1910 and 1920. Carrie Breck and her husband had five daughters. A devoted wife and mother, she was also a committed Christian, and faithfully attended the local Presbyterian church.

In addition, Mrs. Breck wrote more than 2,000 poems. Never in robust health, she would often pause to rest as she did her housework. At such times, she would take up a notebook and write lines of verse that came to her. Quite a few of her poems have been turned into gospel songs. But the interesting thing is that Carrie Breck had no sense of pitch and could not carry a tune! Even so, the Lord gave her a sense of rhythm and rhyme, and we are blessed by her gift.

Face to Face is likely her best known song. (For the unusual story of how the hymn tune came to be written, see Today in 1869.) Another she wrote is When Love Shines In, about the difference in outlook that comes when Christ is a part of our lives.

Jesus comes with power to gladden, when love shines in,
Every life that woe can sadden, when love shines in.
Love will teach us how to pray, love will drive the gloom away,
Turn our darkness into day, when love shines in.

When love shines in, when love shines in,
How the heart is tuned to singing, when love shines in,
When love shines in, when love shines in,
Joy and peace to others bringing, when love shines in.

(2) Today in 1903 – Norman Clayton Born
Norman John Clayton was a church organist for some 50 years. In 1942 he also joined the Word of Life organization, headed by Jack Wyrtzen. In Wyrtzen’s evangelistic rallies, Mr. Clayton served as an organist and vibraharpist, as well as heading up the counseling of those in spiritual need. He began a publishing business that produced some 30 books of gospel songs. In 1959, Clayton’s firm joined the Rodeheaver Publishing Company, where he then worked as an editor and arranger of music. Norman Clayton died in 1992.

Among the better known of his songs are: If We Could See Beyond Today (for which Clayton supplied the tune), My Hope Is in the Lord, Now I Belong to Jesus, and We Shall See His Lovely Face.

We shall see His lovely face some bright golden morning,
When the clouds have rifted and the shades have flown;
Sorrow will be turned to joy, heartaches gone forever;
No more night, only light, when we see His face.

We shall meet to part no more, some bright golden morning,
At the gates of glory, where our loved ones stand.
Songs of vict’ry fill the skies in that hour of greeting;
Endless days, endless praise, when we see His face.

Here is a trumpet rendition of Mr. Clayton’s tune for this song. I include it as a bit of a cautionary tale for choir members and anyone on the platform. When others are ministering in music, sit still, be attentive, and look pleasant! Talking to your neighbour, giggling, scratching yourself…or whatever! will only distract. This earnest young man does a nice job, but at times it is difficult to focus on the song because of the goings on behind him.


  1. […] with the next morning’s mail, an envelope arrived for the musician. In it was a letter from Carrie Breck, along with some poems she had written. She wanted to know if he could provide music to go with any […]

  2. Dear Mr. Cottrill, I am dong research on the hymn “My Hope Is in the Lord” by Norman Clayton. There is scant biographical info available on this writer and even less on the hymn. Would you be willing and able to advise me on where to go for more information on this man and his music?

    In Christ,

    Rev. Timothy Davis
    Chapel by the Sea
    Anchorage, Alaska

    • Thanks for contacting me, Pastor. I wish I could be more helpful. It seems that often the later gospel song writers have much less written about them. Perhaps not enough time has passed for their work to be appreciated fully, and for someone to take it on themselves to write a biography. I checked a number of resources, but could find little to help you. Mr. Clayton wrote both words and music for “My Hope Is in the Lord” at Malverne, New York, in 1945. It was first published in Word of Life Melodies. No. 2. I couldn’t find any particular incident related to it.

      You can get a little biographical information in my article here (second item), and a list of some of Norman Clayton’s songs here. That will give you a little help, and maybe lead to more. God bless.

  3. […] Wordwise Hymns (Norman Clayton) The Cyber Hymnal (Norman […]

  4. […] Wordwise Hymns (Norman Clayton) The Cyber Hymnal (Norman […]

  5. […] d. Mar. 27, 1934) Music: William James Kirkpatrick (b. Feb. 27, 1838; d. Sept. 20, 1921) Links: Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]

  6. am looking for words to a song by Norman Clayton entitled Do You Know the Christ of Christmas. I found it back in the 70’s in an old book of his songs produced by him. It starts off – “With Christmas now returning and tree lights brightly burning . . . . . . . “


%d bloggers like this: