Posted by: rcottrill | February 15, 2010

Today in 1838 – Chester Allen Born

Little is known of Chester G. Allen. He was a nineteenth century teacher and composer who compiled collections of music for schools and churches. For a time he edited the New York Musical Gazette, and he taught music in the public schools of Ohio. Mr. Allen contributed to several collections of gospel songs, collaborating with William Bradbury and others. His tune Allen (later called Joyful Song) is used with Fanny Crosby’s hymn, Praise Him, Praise Him.

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer!
Sing, O Earth, His wonderful love proclaim!
Hail Him! hail Him! highest archangels in glory;
Strength and honour give to His holy name!
Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard His children,
In His arms He carries them all day long:

Praise Him! Praise Him!
Tell of His excellent greatness.
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Ever in joyful song!

(2) Today in 1930 Franklin Sheppard Died
After graduating from university with highest honours, Franklin Lawrence Sheppard moved to Boston to take charge of the Isaac A. Sheppard Company, the foundry of his father’s stove and heater manufacturing firm. He attended Zion Protestant Episcopal Church there, and was their organist. Later he became a Presbyterian and joined the Second Presbyterian Church of Baltimore, where he was director of music, and was active in the Sunday School.

Sheppard became president of the Presbyterian Board of Publication. In 1911, he served on the committee that produced the Presbyterian Hymnal, and in 1915, he edited the denomination’s song book, Alleluia. We know him in hymn history today chiefly for the hymn tune Terra Beata, to which we sing the hymn This Is My Father’s World. (For more on the writing of this song, see Today in 1858.)

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.

(3) Today in 1932 – Elmo Mercer Born
William Elmo Mercer was born in Louisiana. He attended Louisiana College, and George Peabody College for Teachers. Beginning in 1951, Mercer was associated with the John T. Benson Publishing Company, of Nashville, Tennessee, as a music editor (retiring in 1981). He was a long-time member of Park Avenue Baptist Church, in Nashville, where he served as the pianist for 38 years. Elmo Mercer composed over 1,600 hymns and gospel songs, and arranged many more. His best-known composition is Each Step I Take. The song was written when he was 19, during a dark period in his life. It was one of his first successful compositions, though he’d been writing for about 5 years before that.

Each step I take my Saviour goes before me,
And with His loving hand He leads the way.
And with each breath I whisper, “I adore Thee;”
Oh, what joy to walk with Him each day!

Each step I take I know that He will guide me;
To higher ground, He ever leads me on.
Until some day the last step will be taken,
Each step I take just leads me closer home.


  1. […] There is the jubilant Praise Him, Praise Him (for a bit about the tune and its composer see Today in 1838): […]

    I love this hymn and who is the quartet that sings the hymn. I would love to get this hymn?
    Thank you,
    Mary Ann McColm

    • Thanks for getting in touch Mary Ann. You can find many different renderings of Each Step I Take on YouTube (for example, this one by a Burmese Choir). The song was written by Elmo Mercer. If it’s a copy of the music you’re looking for, that’s a little tougher, since the song is still under copyright. But I know there are various gospel song books that contain it. Hope that’s a bit of help.

  3. […] In Lockport, when heading out for his daily jogs, he used to say, “I’m going out to see my Father’s world.” It was that phrase that the pastor turned into a poem. From its 16 stanzas, 3 have been used for the familiar hymn, This Is My Father’s World. (For a bit about the composer of the tune, see the second item under Today in 1838.) […]

  4. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber Hymnal (Elmo […]


%d bloggers like this: