Who first published Sweet Songster and Thomas Hymnals

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Brother Bob, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. Brother Bob

    Brother Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    12,723
    Likes Received:
    0
    Does anyone know who first published the Thomas Hymnals and Sweetsongster and some history on the 2 books or where can I find history on the books?
     
  2. rsr

    rsr
    Expand Collapse
    <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Messages:
    10,073
    Likes Received:
    101
    Best information I could find:

    E.D. Thomas: Hymns and Spiritual Songs (1877)

    Edward W. Billups: The Sweet Songster (1854)

    rlvaughn may be able to provide some help.
     
  3. Brother Bob

    Brother Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    12,723
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks, do you know what religious denomination they were.
     
  4. rsr

    rsr
    Expand Collapse
    <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Messages:
    10,073
    Likes Received:
    101
    Where are Robert and Jeff when you need them?

    I have seen a reference that Billups was United Baptist, but I don't know for sure.
     
  5. Brother Bob

    Brother Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    12,723
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, I have learned quite a bit about, at least the Thomas Hymnals. Most of it was written by Issac Watts from the 17th or 18th century and he was a congregationalist if I spelled it correctly, which was in time affillated with Methodists, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ along with the Baptist also. Almost all the writers were from that era. Also, if I understand correctly, before they came along the General Baptist would not even allow congregational singing because they were afraid there might be someone in the congregation who was not a Christian. Also, before that, their songs were the Psalms of David. So, I guess they had their troubles about singing and practices the same as all of us. I haven't found anything on the Sweetsongster as of yet.
     
  6. Jeff Weaver

    Jeff Weaver
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2001
    Messages:
    2,056
    Likes Received:
    0
    I was taking a nap. ;)

    I think the publication data above is correct. As for the inspiration, alterations of hymns etc., I am unable to say. I do suspect that some of the hymns in both books, particularly in the Thomas have been incorrectly attributed to Watts and others. Thomas and D. H. Goble both seem to have had the opinion that if a hymn was in Watt's hymnal, he wrote it, which isn't true.

    When I reworked the Goble hymnal for a large print edition, I tried to correct as much of that misinformation as I could ferret out. See http://www.lulu.com/content/95100 if you are interested in that. It sells for what it costs to print, so I'm not making any money on it.

    I was approached once about reworking the Thomas in large print, but never pursued it. Is there any interest in such a thing?

    Jeff
     
  7. Brother Bob

    Brother Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    12,723
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Jeff:
    All of our churches only use the smaller hand books for they are easy to carry wherever you have to be. We still are like in the beginning of the hymns by Watts, we still do the old time "lining". Both books seem hard for people to find for when I go to one of our association meetings I am approached often asking for the address of the Thomas Hymnal and Sweetsongster but most of the time I don't have it with me. A few years ago there were always someone on the grounds selling the books but no more. Too bad they don't at least send their address information out to the Baptist churches. People from all walks of life ask "why do we line songs" and the truth is that lining was the beginning and musical notes and instruments were added later and there was a great controversy over the introduction of the "new" singing unless I have studied the wrong history.
     
  8. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,139
    Likes Received:
    25
    The dates that Stephen gives are correct. I've not been able to find much about either of the men who published these books. From a Billups genealogist, I have the following:

    "Edw W. was the son of Edward and Susan Webster Billups. He was born in 1800 -probably in the part of Va. that became West Virginia. The first time I found any info was when he married Elizabeth Beach in Kanawha Co 16 Jan 1822,
    They were still there in 1830 and 1840 census. They had 4 sons in 1830. He showed up on the 1850 Putnam Co census- probably never moved as
    Putnam was formed in the 1840's and his part of Kanawha Co became Putnam. On the 1850 census he had 4 children -all born in the 1830's.
    His wife had died as he was a widower, Baptist Minister.

    His father was still living in Putnam 1850 census. He died and his Will was read in 1853. Evidently Edward W. sold his large land inheritance to have the money to publish "The Sweet Songster" in 1854.

    Some of Edw W.'s sons lived in Lawrence County OHIO- so I find Edw W living near them in the 1860 census. He was 60 years old--a book
    peddler. This is the last time I found him. His children probably buried him near their mother---BUT WHERE."

    I haven't been able to determine what "kind" of Baptist Billups was, but from the limited information available I think Regular Baptist.

    E. D. Thomas was a Regular Baptist, the pastor of the Regular Baptist Church in Danville, Indiana at the time the hymn book was published (or at least the ninth edition). According to the book his first name was Erasmus and he was an elder.

    Regular Baptist at this time is before the Primitives and Old Regulars split, if I understand correctly. Even today in that part of the country, I believe the Primitives are prone to use the term Regular.
     
  9. Bethelassoc

    Bethelassoc
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2003
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bro. Bob,

    I've been in contact with the Iron Hill Association and over the past couple of years several of them have stated that they still get new books every year. I am told that a moderator of a small United Baptist association in KY sells them. Iron Hill also has their own book of songs not found in other books, so I'm told.

    David
     
  10. Bethelassoc

    Bethelassoc
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2003
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bro Vaughn,

    I wasn't aware of a split between Primitives and Old Regulars, or maybe I'm misunderstanding.

    David
     
  11. rsr

    rsr
    Expand Collapse
    <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Messages:
    10,073
    Likes Received:
    101
    An interesting (and unflattering) review of Billups' hymnal was published in the January 1887 edition of The American Missionary, published by the American Missionary Association, an abolition group that was involved in the founding of Atlanta, Fisk and Howard Universities.

    THE AMERICAN MISSIONARY
     
  12. Jeff Weaver

    Jeff Weaver
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2001
    Messages:
    2,056
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bro. David, Robert, et.al.

    The term Regular is still used among primitives in some parts of Appalachia. For example the Mate's Creek Association, centered in eastern Kentucky calls itself, "Regular Primitive Baptist." Some "Regular" baptist churches have the appelation "Regular Primitive" in their church constitutions, but have dropped the Primitive when self-identifying.

    Two divisions occurred in Appalachia between "Regulars" and "Primitives." The first in the aftermath of the American Civil War, was over politics. typically those called regulars at that time sided with the North and those called Primitives with the Confederacy. Large scale excommunications ensued depending on which side was in the majority. Another division took place, IIRC about 1894, over the extent of election. the Primitives generally were called hardshells, with the Regulars being called softshells. Rufus Parrigan did a book covering this division several years ago. It is a very tough book to find.

    As for an unflattering review of Billups' Sweet Songster. I would not give it a very high review either, but that is because of the heavy alteration of the hymns it contains. The racism expressed there in was more or less a common problem among many hymnals of the day. Doesn't make it right, but does make it understood.
     
  13. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,139
    Likes Received:
    25
    Stephen, thanks for linking the review of the Sweet Songster. I had not seen that before. With Jeff, I agree and prefer hymn books stick to the originals without alteration, as much as is possible. I "like" the high-toned arrogance of the reviewer about as much as he liked the Sweet Songster!

    In addition to what Jeff said, I know of some Primitive Baptists in OH, IN, IL region that seem to prefer the term "Regular" over "Primitive". David, here is a link that gives some info on what I was thinking of as the late 1800s/early 1900s split of Old Regulars and Primitives. Jeff and Bob can probably comment with more first hand knowledge than the rest of us. Perhaps this is different. Since one group wanted a Sunday School this might not truly represent the Old Regular position.

    Trial and Decision of Mt. Carmel Church

    ALTERNATIVE LINK TO PITTMAN

    According to Pittman, "In this division a new denomination was formed, known in this section as Regular Baptists, having entirely discarded the name Primitive, or Old School."

    [ March 10, 2006, 10:26 AM: Message edited by: rsr ]
     
  14. Brother Bob

    Brother Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    12,723
    Likes Received:
    0
    August 5, 1893
    Brushy Fork Church W.W. Fields, Moderator
    P.D. Bevins, Clerk


    We, the Regular Baptist Church of Jesus Christ, convened with the Brushy Fork Church and composed as a working body for the transaction of business of duly authorized delegates from the Big Branch, Sardis and Brushy Fork Churches, deeming it necessary on account of a material difference of opinion existing between our¬selves and other Brethren of the Mates Creek Churches to organize an Association separate and apart from our differing and yet highly esteemed Brethren in which we may live in harmony and perfect unison with each other.

    NOW, BE IT KNOWN, in the presence of these witnesses and before Almighty God, the Supreme Judge of the World and all our actions:

    First: That we do not object to the outline of Doctrine as we understand it to have been written in the different Constitutions of the Churches composing the Mates Creek Association.

    Second: That while we believe no one independent of God's Almighty Power can be instrumental in the salvation of his soul, we do believe that man is responsible for his deeds, which thing we understand our Mates Creek Brethren to deny.

    Third: That we object to the Doctrine held by our Mates Creek Brethren that man as a created being is compelled by God Eternal in all things to do just as he does, whether it be good or evil.
    Fourth: We believe that man in the Creation was given limited power and that good and evil were set before him with the possibility of his choosing either. Therefore, we believe that when Adam par¬took of evil he did so not by compulsion but by choice, which thing we also understand our Mates Creek Brethren to deny.

    Therefore, these things being essential in regard to the prosper¬ity of the Church, and as members holding these different views cannot possibly live in true Brotherly love within the same Associa¬tion, we thought it better both for our Absolute Predestination Brethren and ourselves that we organize a separate Association. Not that we object to the original Doctrine of the Mates Creek Associa¬tion but that we believe that our Predestination Brethren have departed from these same Doctrines.

    But to them and all others be it understood, with God as our Judge, that it is with malice toward none that we withdraw from the Mates Creek Association and adopt the following Constitution for our Church government, together with the foregoing Articles of Faith for each of the Churches composing our Body:

    THIS BEING A PART OF THE SPLIT CONCERNING THE SARDIS ASSOCIATION. ALSO, THERE ARE SOME PRIMITIVE BAPTIST AROUND THIS PART OF KENTUCKY THAT STILL CARRY THE NAME "REGULAR" BUT THE REGULARS, AS FAR AS I KNOW DO NOT HAVE THE NAME PRIMITIVE AT ALL ANYMORE. LET ME ADD THIS AS A PERSONAL NOTE: WE STILL CONSIDER THE PRIMITIVE AS OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN THE LORD AND LOVE EVERYONE OF THEM.
     
  15. Bethelassoc

    Bethelassoc
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2003
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    0
    I guess it's safe to say that the term "Regular" is used broadly, but tends to be meant in the old time way.

    I was reading Perrigan's History of Regular Baptist and he states that the churches that started Sardis broke from Mates Creek. When they did have their first meeting to start the association, they did have delegates from New Salem involved. To me, that depicts they started back at square one in the Old Regular line. Any thoughts?

    I know that my understanding of Old Regular History isn't strong but I'm glad for the Perrigan book!

    RSR:
    Thanks for that link about the Sweet Songster. I also think the critic sounds arrogant. I guess you can't please everybody [​IMG]

    David
     
  16. Brother Bob

    Brother Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    12,723
    Likes Received:
    0
    I just gave you the history of the Sardis and the minutes signed by the first moderator of the Sardis Association. I live within 12 mile of where the split took place. In fact, I preached in a wake this past week in the new church building but same location where the split took place. I don't know if I know what you are saying?
    If you would like to see the entire minutes of that first meeting and no mention of New Salem I will post it on here.
    Also, what I have posted here is in the library of the Pikeville College, Pikeville, Kentucky and the Belfry library, Belfry, Kentucky and in both places it is recorded on a CD. As a matter of fact I was on the committee to put together the history and minutes of the Sardis from its beginning and put them in both of these libraries. I have read the history you speak of but Perrigan did not have available to him all the information that I have and I believe he was from another Association but I am from the Sardis itself and am a descendant of brethren from long ago. I have even spoke with an Elder who knew W.W. Fields and was related to him which was the first moderator of the Old Sardis Association. May God Bless
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Bethelassoc

    Bethelassoc
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2003
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bro Bob,

    I apologize for coming off disagreeable with how I sounded earlier. I meant no offense to what you gave or to what knowledge you have. I appreciate that information to add to what little I have in my possession.

    I have very little knowledge of Old Regulars other than my mother's family started and attended a church in New Salem, so Bro Vaughn's comment (and not to forget Bro Jeff) about the Primitive and Old Regular split was new to me.

    I wondered about Perrigan's comment after reading what you wrote and I thank you for the insight to understand what information he was limited to. That helps alot.

    David
     
  18. Brother Bob

    Brother Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    12,723
    Likes Received:
    0
    No apology necessary Bethelassoc. [​IMG]
     
  19. Bethelassoc

    Bethelassoc
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2003
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    0
    My dad has a Sweet Songster given to him back in the 60s. My old home church normally uses the New Bapist Song Book and another book called Some of Our Favorite Songs. We typically call it the Old Regular songbook.

    David
     
  20. Brother Bob

    Brother Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    12,723
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have my Dad's Sweet Songster he died in 1958 and they and we use the New Baptist Song Book and Some of Our Favorite Songs, Also since 1990 they have been using my Song Book in a lot of the Primitive, Old Regular and United Baptist churches called The Baptist Song Book.
     

Share This Page

Loading...