includingTake Me HomeOnce ns was bound a servant to sinWhen mine heart to be so hardO Jesus, Lord, thy dice loveAlas! and also did mine Saviour bleed

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I. Origins: take Me Home

The gospel-campmeeting refrain “At the cross, in ~ the cross, wherein I first saw the light” traces its history to the song “Take Me Home,” created by W.L. Bloomfield, “and sung through Edwin P. Christy in ~ Christy’s American Opera House, NY” (NY: Firth, Pond & Co., 1853 | Fig. 1). The words to the song start “Take me home to the place where I first saw the light, come the sweet sunny south take me home.” The music that this version is not the exact same as the gospel refrain, but the words room foundational come the refrain’s origins.


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Fig. 1. W.L. Bloomfield, “Take Me Home” (NY: Firth, Pond & Co., 1853). Digitized native a copy at the university of Michigan.

William Leach Bloomfield (born 1812 in Tiverton, England; passed away 21 Apr. 1864 in Brooklyn, NY) was known for number of years (as beforehand as 1838, retiring in 1860), together a composer that polkas because that band and as the director of the armed forces band in ~ the ft Columbus armed forces base top top Governors Island in new York Harbor. An main website for the island explained the early background of musical training there:

The new School of exercise for U.S.A. Ar Musicians opened up on Governors Island in the 1830s. The college trained musician in fife and also drum, including bugle after ~ the civil War. Between fifty and also ninety students, initially quartered in the casements that the southern Battery, attended the school at one time. Lock were recognized as the Music Boys, one apt nickname for a group that skewed young; in 1860, two-thirds of the 60 Music guys were in between the ages of 13 and also 16. Field musicians would execute multiple times each day, performing bugle calls like reveille in the morning and retreat in the evening, and at daily dress parades. The military band would also play at ceremonial occasions, prefer welcoming visiting dignitaries, at military funerals, and at the Island’s esteemed garden parties.

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Hermann L. Schreiner (born 21 Jan. 1832 in Hildburghausen, Saxe-Meiningen, Germany; passed away 5 September 1891 in Gera, near Leipzig, Germany) emigrated to the United states in 1849 and also lived for a time in Wilmington, north Carolina. Hermann published one of his an initial songs, “Louise grand Waltz,” through P.K. Weizel in new York in 1853. Roughly the very same time, his parents arrived from Germany, and they all cleared up in Macon, Georgia, whereby Hermann and also his father Johann (John) C. Schreiner (1806–1870) started their very own music store and also publishing company, J.C. Schreiner & Son. Castle purchased another storefront in Savannah in 1862, and Hermann moved there if his parents stayed in Macon. Few of Hermann’s songs in the 1860s were spread through other publishers, including Blackmar & Bro. In Augusta, Georgia. Hermann wrote brand-new music because that Bloomfield’s tune “Take Me Home” and published it with his own agency in 1864 (Fig. 2), there is no crediting Bloomfield. Hermann’s song is plainly recognizable as the foundation for the later camp-meeting stop “At the cross.”


Fig. 2. Hermann L. Schreiner, “Take Me Home” (Macon: J.C. Schreiner, 1864).

Also living in Georgia in ~ the time, 1863–1865, to be John Hill Hewitt (1801–1890), one itinerant poet, playwright, and also composer, sometimes known as the “Bard of the Confederacy.” Hewitt and Schreiner composed a track together called “When upon the ar of glory: response to ‘When this cruel battle is over,’” indigenous by Hewitt and music by Schreiner, published through the J.C. Schreiner firm in 1864. Schneider released several of Hewitt’s song in 1863 and 1864, but beginning in 1864, Hewitt sent songs to various other publishers under his pseudonym Eugene Raymond. Many notably, he sent out his own version the “Take Me Home” come Blackmar & Bro. In Augusta. This appeared in a “Southern Edition” in 1864, “Re-arranged because that the Piano Forte” (Fig. 3). The melody in this version was nearly identical come Schreiner’s edition, however neither Bloomfield nor Schreiner to be credited.


Fig. 3. Eugene Raymond , “Take Me Home” (Augusta, GA: Blackmar & Bro., 1864). Digitized by the Library that Congress.

Another edition, the “Correct Edition,” appeared in 1865, this one “Composed by Eugene Raymond,” published by A.E. Blackmar in brand-new Orleans, with changes to the melody and the accompaniment (Fig. 4).


Fig. 4. Eugene Raymond , “Take Me Home” (New Orleans: A.E. Blackmar, 1865). Digitized by duke University.

On 10 April 1865, someday after the surrender of basic Lee, Hewitt to buy the Augusta office that Blackmar & Bro. And also published some songs under his very own imprint, however in the middle of a ruined post-war southern economy, he shed a many money in a quick amount that time and also moved back to Baltimore to uncover work there.<2> The Schreiners ongoing to operate their business, consolidating in Savannah ~ the death of man Schreiner in 1870. A notification of Hermann’s fatality in 1891 claimed “grit and also determination were two of his chef qualities.”<3>

Does the melody the this song belong come Hermann L. Schreiner or man Hill Hewitt? The scenarios of the case are difficult to determine, yet given Hewitt’s short-lived expert relationship with Schreiner, the avoidance of utilizing his very own name when he published songs with Blackmar, and also the initial case of his 1864 variation of “Take Me Home” gift “re-arranged for the piano forte,” the credit for the song most likely lies v Schreiner.


II. At the Cross

A. The Salvation Army, England

The opened words the “Take me home to the location where I first saw the light” to be turned right into a Christian parody, “At the cross, in ~ the cross, wherein I first saw the light,” emerging in England at an early stage in the 1880s, especially amongst workers the the Salvation Army, quite maybe devised by one of their leaders.

The earliest recognized reference come the Christianized refrain appeared in The Luton Reporter, 28 April 1883, relenten a conference of the Salvation army in Luton, Bedfordshire, England, ~ above 25 April 1883, led by basic William Booth (1829–1912):

In place of a continuous speech, they to be to hear the champion prize-fighter native Yorkshire—if any person did not believe he (“Big Ben”) had been a prize-fighter, allow him step forward and invite him to a ring (laughter). “Big Ben,” who wore a white guernsey through the native “Salvation Army” embroidered thereupon, who accent betrayed the north countryman, and also who made a satisfied impression ~ above the audience through the unaffected simplicity the his manner, climate stepped forward. The sang a solo beginning,

At the cross, at the cross, once I first saw the light,And the load of my heart rolled away,It to be there by belief I got my sight,And now I rejoice night and also day.

These words were to a “nice tune,” together the singer pleasantly observed, and the strain to be heartily taken up by the audience.<4>

The native of the stop bear a same to an previously gospel song, “I left the all with Jesus lengthy ago” by Ellen H. Willis, very first published in 1871, particularly the an initial stanza, i m sorry says, “When by belief I observed him ~ above the tree,” and also “From my heart the burden rolled away.” The unknown human being responsible for Christianizing the refrain can have been motivated in part by Willis’s song; the was had in Salvation army songbooks prior to 1883.

Just a pair of month later, the refrain appeared in addition to a brand-new text, “Once ns was bound a slave to sin,” through Captain Hadden the the Salvation Army, in The battle Cry, 23 June 1883 (Fig. 5), in seven stanzas. In this example, it appears as despite the refrain was already familiar come readers—meaning Hadden does not appear to be responsible because that Christianizing “Take Me Home”—and the refrain ended “now i rejoice night and also day.” Hadden’s message was met with little interest and has no been reproduced in other collections.


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Fig. 5. The battle Cry, 23 June 1883. Photo courtesy the Salvation military International heritage Centre, London.


Another early on account of the stop was explained in an write-up in the Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), Thursday 27 September 1883, p. 3:

On Wednesday morning at very early hour the Salvationists who had been imprisoned in ~ Cardiff on their persistent refuse to pay fines of 2s. 6d. And also costs because that obstructing the thoroughfare at Trealaw were set at liberty. ... In the afternoon the exit Salvationists took train for Trealaw, wherein it was expected a “hallelujah flare up” awaited them. ... As soon as they were seated in the train all the members that the Army, dressed in their specific costumes, commenced singing:

At the cross where I an initial saw the light,And the burden of my heart rolled away,’Twas there by confidence I got my sight,And now I am happy all the day.

Herbert H. Booth (1862–1926), fifth child of general William Booth, was given charge the the Army’s music department at Clapton from 1883 to 1888, thereafter coming to be head of military work in Britain. That wrote many hymns, including a set of stanzas to companion the gospel refrain. “When mine heart was so hard” was published in the anniversary report the Salvation army work in Scotland, respectable 1882–August 1883, message only, then in Salvation Music, Vol. 2 (London: Salvation Army, December 1883 | Fig. 6) with the tune. Booth’s new stanzas were intended to monitor the very same melody together the refrain, and also he integrated the idea of see the light into his text. An alert also how the refrain finished “now ns am happy night and day.”


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B. Salvation Army, unified States

The refrain to be transmitted come the United claims by members of the Salvation Army. The earliest known instance was documented in The Weekly Bee (Sacramento, CA), 19 September 1884, describing an occasion on 15 September 1884. The article attests to the song’s root in “Take Me Home”:

The corps of the army which is here is composed of significant Wells, a woman about 25 year of age, that is the wife of the command of the Salvation army on the Pacific coast. Both Mr. And also Mrs. Wells space Majors in the organization, and the previous is now wrestling v the evil one in sinful san Francisco. ... In ~ the conclusion that the Major’s remarks, song books were distributed, and the audience joined in to sing a hymn come the song of “Take me earlier to my house in my very own sunny south.” The chorus ran together follows:

At the cross, at the cross,Where I very first saw the light,And the load of mine heart blew away,It was there by confidence I obtained my light,And currently I am happy night and day.

The stop was embraced into American songbooks the adhering to year, in 1885. The an initial published plan was by Edward E. Nickerson (1834–1899), who had joined the Salvation military in July 1884 in Lynn, Massachusetts. He compiled 3 collections the Highway Songs (Nos. 1–3, 1885–1887); the refrain “At the cross” was included in the an initial collection, set with two stanzas indigenous “There is a spring filled with blood” by William Cowper (Fig. 7). His variation was labeled “Sung through Alice Terrell,” and the last line of the refrain supplied the expression “happy night and day.”


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Nickerson’s plan was offered as the basis for a version by R. Kelso Carter (1849–1948), a Methodist preacher who was energetic in camp meetings and revivals. Carter created a brand-new text for the tune, beginning “O Jesus, Lord, thy dice love,” released in Precious Hymns for Times the Refreshing and also Revival (Philadelphia: J.J. Hood, 1885 | Fig. 8).


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Another early example demonstrating Nickerson’s affect is discovered in Glad Hallelujahs (1887), compiled by John Sweney & William Kirkpatrick, where the stop “At the Cross” was offered with the chant “O how happy space they” by Charles Wesley, music i ordered it by E.E. Nickerson (Fig. 9). In this example, the refrain end “happy all the day.”


C. Ralph Hudson Tune

In the unified States, the cross refrain is most commonly linked with the setting by Ralph Hudson (1843–1901). In the 1880s, Hudson to be a composer-publisher living in Alliance, Ohio, and he was energetic as one evangelist, licensed to preach in the Methodist Episcopal Church. He released the refrain in his songbook Songs the Peace, Love, and also Joy (1885 | Fig. 10), utilizing a message by Isaac Watts, “Alas! and also did my Saviour bleed.” In the other examples above, the common strategy was to use the same melody because that the stanzas together for the refrain. Hudson’s variation was distinctive in the way he produced a new melody for the stanzas, thus providing the tune a appropriate verse-chorus music structure. His version of the refrain ended “happy every the day.”


How walk Hudson become acquainted with the gospel refrain? prefer the other examples above, the answer still perhaps lies within the Salvation Army. In the 1880s, the Salvation army was do its presence recognized in north Ohio. On 12 June 1884, one Ohio newspaper reported:

Twenty-four men and women the the Salvation military arrested in Cleveland, Ohio, because that disturbing the peace by parading, singing, shouting, and also praying aloud, were fined little sums. Twenty of the accused refuse to pay the fine and also were released on bail.<5>

Closer to whereby Hudson resided in Alliance, the Salvation military opened a meeting hall in Akron later that summer:

THE SALVATION military COMING: 2 members of the Salvation Army, pull on in blue suits, through red shirts fronts and also caps ~ above which were the indigenous “All for Jesus,” reached this city Wednesday. The object of your visit to be to hire a hall and also make arrangements for the coming of the Army, which will show up here around August 1st, if a hall have the right to be secured and also satisfactory arrangements made. These representatives also called on several ministers, that say that while they will certainly not encourage the work, however they will not protest it.<6>

Later the fall, operations to be in full swing in Akron:

The Salvation army is tho holding forth at The Union, besides having actually nightly meetings upon the streets. They have made over 70 converts because “opening fire” in Akron. They have been freshly reinforced by Capt. Mollie Wright and also Lieut. Jennie Fellows, indigenous Alleghany, Pa. Capt. Sam Hague went to Ravenna last Tuesday to assist opening increase at the town. Lieut. Will Embs expects to provide his farewell in Akron next Sunday. This young man is well favored in the city and also has made countless warm friends, who will regret his departure. The army expects to open up up in Newark, O., Sunday.<7>

Furthermore, Hudson is known to have actually used various other Salvation army songs in his books. He provided two song by army member Capt. Robert Johnson in Songs because that the Ransomed (1887; recurring in Quartette, 1889), namely, “Marching top top in the irradiate of God” (1883) and also “Soldiers of ours God, arise” (1884), the latter without credit.

While the gospel stop “At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light” was initially championed by the Salvation Army, it has actually now been adopted by lovers of gospel hymns throughout many denominations, languages, and nations, especially via the version by Hudson.

by kris FENNERwith GORDON TAYLORand martin WHYBROWfor Hymnology Archive20 July 2021rev. 2 august 2021


Footnotes:

N. Lee Orr, “John Hill Hewitt: Bard that the Confederacy,” The American Music Research facility Journal, vol. 4 (1994), p. 65. Orr put Hewitt in Augusta throughout the latter component of the polite War, 1862–1865.

“The Salvation Army: general Booth in ~ Luton,” The Luton Reporter (28 April 1883), p. 8.

The Hicksville News (Hicksville, OH: 12 June 1884), p. 3.

The Summit ar Beacon (Akron, OH: 2 July 1884), p. 1.

The Summit county Beacon (Akron, OH: 19 Nov. 1884), p. 4.

Related Resources:

William Reynolds, “Alas! and did mine Saviour bleed,” Hymns of our Faith: A Handbook for the Baptist Hymnal (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1964), pp. 5–7.

Ernest K. Emurian, “Take me house at the cross,” The Hymn, vol. 31, no. 3 (July 1980), p. 195: HathiTrust

Gordon Taylor, Companion come the Song publication of the Salvation Army (Atlanta: Salvation Army, 1990), pp. 113, 169, 216, 254–255, 339.

Carlton R. Young, “Alas! and did mine Savior bleed,” Companion come the united Methodist Hymnal (Nashville: Abingdon, 1993), pp. 187–189.

“Alas! and did my Savior bleed,” Hymnary.org: https://hymnary.org/text/alas_and_did_my_savior_bleed


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