Posted by: rcottrill | September 29, 2010

Today in 1903 – Redd Harper Born

RGraphic Cowboy on Horseedd Harper, known as Mr. Texas, spent his early years in the saddle, immersed in the cowboy lifestyle. He was religious to a point, in those early years, but inwardly mocked those who declared themselves to be followers of Christ.

After some training in journalism, and a stint as a newspaper reporter, Redd’s life took another turn. He was a natural on the guitar, and learned to play the trumpet as well. Harper developed an interest in music as a possible career. He joined a dance band and played the western-swing music popular at the time. He went to Hollywood to find work, but the Great Depression, and the Second World War interrupted his plans. He spent three years in the Coast Guard.

Picking up his career after the war, Redd Harper became acquainted with many Hollywood personalities, including Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, and Stuart Hamblen, becoming a frequent drinking buddy of the latter. He met and interviewed many other show business celebrities on his successful radio program, Redd Harper’s Hollywood Roundup.

Then, suddenly, the news flashed around the Hollywood community that Stuart Hamblen had “got religion” at a Billy Graham rally. Harper was derisive. “I laughed and said to myself that the big phony was just putting that on.” But shortly after he was invited to a Christian meeting where Hamblen gave his testimony. Redd was stunned, realizing this was a changed man from the one he used to drink with. Through continued contact with Christians, Redd Harper was eventually led to trust the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour.

Then came the idea of using music to express his faith. “God made a songwriter out of me!” he said.  In the 1950’s Harper traveled extensively with the Billy Graham team, and starred in three gospel films. Then he launched out on his own evangelistic ministry in many countries of the world. Redd Harper died on February 16, 1992. To the end he remained a trophy of God’s amazing grace. His best known songs are likely Lord, Keep Your Precious Hand on Me, and Each Step Of The Way.

I’m following Jesus, one step at a time.
I live for the moment in His love divine;
Why think of tomorrow? Just live for today!
I’m following Jesus each step of the way.

(2) Today in 1839 – The Hour Glass sung
John Quincy Adams was the 6th president of the United States. He professed to be a Christian, and for many years he was vice-president of the American Bible Society. He wrote, “Great is my veneration of the Bible, and so strong is my belief that, when duly read and meditated on it is, of all books in the world, that which contributes most to making men good, wise, and happy.” Adams’ religious beliefs are sometimes difficult to pin down. He opposed both liberal Unitarianism and harshly dogmatic Calvinism. He is generally considered a Unitarian, yet he stoutly defended the doctrine of the Trinity.

John Quincy Adams wrote metrical versions of the Psalms, as well as several hymns. He wrote The Hour Glass, a meditation on the mysteries of passing time, for the 200th anniversary, on this date, of the First Congregational Church in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Alas! how swift the moments fly!
How flash the years along!
Scarce here, yet gone already by,
The burden of a song.
See childhood, youth, and manhood pass,
And age, with furrowed brow;
Time was–time shall be–drain the glass–
But where in time is now?

Time is the measure but of change;
No present hour is found;
The past, the future, fill the range
Of time’s unceasing round.
Where, then is now? In realms above,
With God’s atoning Lamb,
In regions of eternal love,
Where sits enthroned I AM.


  1. Please could you tell me if Redd Harper was evangelising with Billy Graham team in Central Park Dagenham Essex around 1952-1956

    • Thanks for the question, Brenda. But I’m afraid my information on the life of Redd Harper is not that detailed. Have you tried a search, either for on-line biographies, or perhaps for a book about his life? You might also try contacting the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Wish I could be of more specific help. Drop by again! 🙂

  2. Please could you respond to my E-mail as I cannot find any other information as to Redd Harper evangelising in Central Park Dagenham Essex during 1950 –

  3. could you e-mail me redds testimony song. with the chords if you have them.

    • Sorry, but I don’t have that information. I’m not even sure where you’d look for it. If it’s a published song, it must be in a collection somewhere. My area of study is mainly the history of our hymns and gospel songs. Wish I could be of more assistance. God bless.

  4. I have some of Redd Harper’s spiritual songs on tapes, records, etc. If you (the guitar player) would like to have a copy of them, let me know.

    • I hope I can reach you. I was six years old when Redd Harper came to Portland, Maine and offered cowboy revival services to which I responded. I still remember two of the songs he sang and have long since misplaced the little vinyl copy my parents bought that day.


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