Posted by: rcottrill | December 28, 2010

Today in 1896 – Napoleon Vandall Born

Napoleon Bonaparte Vandall has given us two moving gospel songs, My Home Sweet Home, and After. Jack, as he was called, served in the Marines in the First World War. Then, after trusting Christ as his Saviour at a camp meeting in 1920, he went on to become an evangelist, a radio pastor, and a gospel song writer. He and his wife Margaret (who was instrumental in leading him to Christ) made their home in Akron, Ohio. There, one day in 1934, something happened that shattered their peaceful life.

The Vandall’s sons were outside playing. But suddenly young Ted raced up the front steps in tears, sobbing that eight-year-old Paul and been struck by a car. Jack Vandall raced to the scene. The accident was extremely serious, as the boy had been dragged some distance under the car, losing a lot of skin on the left side of his body. Examination at the hospital revealed extensive head injuries, a fractured skull and a concussion, as well as a dislocated shoulder a broken collar bone, and a broken leg. The medical team did not hold out much hope for little Paul’s survival.

Overcome with grief, the father knelt at home and began to pray. He says he felt as though the Lord came and knelt beside him in that desperate hour, saying, “Never mind, my child. Your home will be visited with trouble and sorrow, but in the afterwards to come, these things cannot be. Your real home is in heaven where all tears will be wiped away.” With that assurance Jack Vandall committed the lad to the Lord, trusting God with his life.

With tears still streaming down his face he sat down at the piano and was inspired to write the beautiful gospel song, After. It begins:

After the toil and the heat of the day,
After my troubles are past,
After my sorrows are taken away–
I shall see Jesus at last!”

He will be waiting for me–
Jesus, so kind and true;
On His beautiful throne,
He will welcome me home,
After the day is through.

After the heartaches and sighing shall cease,
After the cold winter’s blast,
After the conflict comes glorious peace–
I shall see Jesus at last!”

There is a post script to the story. Paul did survive, finally entering his heavenly home at the age of 75. (To read about Jack Vandall’s other lovely song about heaven, My Home, Sweet Home, see the second item under Today in 1970.)

(2) Today in 1925 – Samuel Francis Died
Samuel Trevor Francis was a London merchant and artist’s son, eventually becoming a merchant himself. Francis published a number of hymns in newspapers and religious periodicals. He belonged to the Plymouth Brethren, and served the Lord as a passionate open air preacher. The one hymn he is remembered for today is the moving O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!


  1. […] To read the touching story behind Mr. Vandall’s song called After, see Today in 1896. […]

  2. Do you know where I can get the words and music for N. B. Vandall’s “After”? I would love to have the song. It is important to my 88 year old mother. Thank you.

    • Mr. Vandall’s beautiful song is found in a number of hymn books, including the Crowning Glory Hymnal, Living Hymns, and Great Hymns of the Faith. You can read the touching story behind it on my blog here (and see a couple of stanzas)–as well as getting a link to his other fine song, My Home, Sweet Home there.

  3. Do you know where I can purchase a copy of the hymn, “After” by Vandall? If you could respond to me by e-mail that would be great.

    There is this wonderful book Amazing Grace by Kenneth W Osbeck and I have been working on trying to collect all 365 hymns but some are really impossible to get copies of (sheet music yes- but actual recordings no). Thanks for your web site and my the Lord bless you as I am sure he has and is and will.

    • N. B. Vandall’s lovely gospel song After is found in two hymn books that I often recommend: Great Hymns of the Faith, and Living Hymns. Because the copyright was renewed in 1962, Vandall’s song is harder to find. (For instance, it’s not among the over 8,000 hymns on the Cyber Hymnal.)

  4. The song “AFTER” is on page 256 in the ALL-AMERICAN CHURCH HYMNAL, John T. Benson Publishing Co, 136 Fourth Avenue, North, Nashville, Tennessee. This is an older hymnal from the Libertyville Christian Church, Farmington, MO. My family had this song at my Dad’s funeral & my husband says he wants it at his funeral. It’s beautiful!

    • Thanks for sharing. We sang another beautiful N. B. Vandall song this morning in the worship service. I preached on “Seven Questions About Heaven,” and we sang, My Home, Sweet Home. God bless.

  5. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]

  6. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber Hymnal (N. B. […]

  7. […] N. B. Vandall wrote the words and music for My Home, Sweet Home in […]

  8. Thank you for posting this story about my Great-Grandfather, NB (Jack) Vandall. It is really neat to find people talking about his hymns on the internet.

    • Great to hear from you. I’ve been blessed over the years by your great-grandfather’s songs. God bless.

  9. Although these posts seem to be old, someone in my congregation asked me to look at this song called “After” by N.B. Vandall. He wanted to know what it sounded like, so I played it on the piano for him and he wants to sing it in our church which we will do sometime in the near future. I also took it upon myself to make to 2 versions of it and put them up on Youtube. I took the lyrics straight from the hymn itself, so the words will differ slightly in the 3rd verse than what is shown above. The 2 versions are here: and here:

    • H-m-m… Interesting. I don’t care for the waltz rhythm of the second version. To me, it makes the song rather trite and misses the agony behind the words. This is a song about the painful trials of the Christian life, and the assurance that, one day–“after”–God will take us into His presence and into eternal blessing with Him. Personally, I’ve always smoothed out the repeated dotted quarter and eighth notes a bit in Vandall’s tune for a similar reason. To make the song flow more smoothly and suggest a more meditative mood.

      • Thank you for your comment. That is why I did two version. The first version is the original version in 6/4 timing from one of his books in 4 part harmony with piano midi to wav conversion. The 2nd version will be easier for the singer who wants to sing it, but I will be playing the piano for him when he sings it. It is just for his practice at home.


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