1816–1868
illustration

Oc­to­ber 6, 1816, York, Maine.

Jan­u­a­ry 7, 1868, Mont­clair, New Jer­sey.

Bloom­field Cem­e­tery, Bloom­field, New Jer­sey.

portrait
portrait

Though fond of music from an ear­ly age, Brad­bu­ry was un­a­ble to de­vote much time to its stu­dy un­til age 17, when, with help from friends, he at­tend­ed the Acad­e­my of Mu­sic in Bos­ton, run by Lo­well Ma­son and George Webb.

About this time, says The­o­dore Sew­ard, an in­ci­dent oc­curred which was a great source of mor­ti­fi­ca­tion for the young en­thu­si­ast. His par­ents, both of them old fa­shioned sing­ers, were, of course, great­ly in­ter­est­ed in their son’s pro­gress. He went home from school one night, full of ar­dor and ex­cite­ment, and un­der­took to dem­on­strate the new meth­od of sing­ing and beat­ing time. His ges­tures were so ex­trav­a­gant, swing­ing his arm near­ly its whole length, that his par­ents were far more am­used than ed­i­fied.

How­ev­er, they re­strained their mirth, not wish­ing to check his en­thu­si­asm, but at last the scene be­came too much for them, and they burst in­to a peal of un­re­sis­ti­ble [sic] laugh­ter. This was too much for the eag­er per­for­mer. His rap­ture was turned into fie­ry in­dig­na­tion, and slam­ming his book shut in a rage, he de­clared that they knew noth­ing at all about mu­sic, and marched out of the room.

Another dis­ap­point­ment oc­curred in his first class for a sing­ing school. Af­ter is­su­ing ma­ny cir­cu­lars and ads, he an­ti­ci­pat­ed a great crowd, but at the spe­ci­fied time, not a single soul was there to greet him. Af­ter a while a young man ap­peared, and still lat­er five more came to wit­ness the em­bar­rass­ment of the young teach­er, who sat on the plat­form in a clam­my per­spir­a­tion, in­ward­ly long­ing for some blessed knot-hole through which he might dis­ap­pear.

This mag­nif­i­cent fiz­zle is spok­en of as great val­ue to him in bring­ing him down from the clouds, and was prob­ab­ly more ser­vice than a grand suc­cess would have been. Through the in­flu­ence of his for­mer teacher, Low­ell Ma­son, he se­cured a po­si­tion as a sing­ing school teach­er in Ma­chi­as, Maine, and af­ter­ward in St. John, New Bruns­wick. At length a po­si­tion was given him as mu­sic teach­er at the First Bap­tist Church in Brook­lyn, New York, and lat­er at the Bap­tist Tab­er­na­cle in New York Ci­ty.

In 1841, Brad­bu­ry turned his at­ten­tion to child­ren, and first held his free sing­ing class­es, which be­came ve­ry pop­u­lar. At his an­nu­al Ju­ve­nile Mu­sic Fes­tiv­als, one could see a thou­sand child­ren on a ris­ing plat­form, the girls wear­ing white, with white wreaths and blue sashes, and the boys in jack­ets, with col­lars turned over in By­ron style.

These ef­forts among the young gave Brad­bu­ry great cel­eb­rity, a host of warm friends, and even­tu­al­ly led to his life work of pro­vid­ing Sun­day School songs. Over three mil­lion cop­ies of his Gold­en Trio, Gold­en Chain, Gold­en Show­er, and Gold­en Cen­ser were pub­lished.

When Brad­bu­ry was about 15 years old, he joined the Charles Street Bap­tist Church in Bos­ton, Mas­sa­chu­setts. In New York he joined the Bap­tist Tab­er­na­cle, and for ma­ny years lat­er in life, he at­tended the Pres­by­ter­ian Church of Bloom­field, New Jer­sey.

His wi­dow related, He was not strict­ly sec­tar­i­an in his views, oft­en say­ing he be­longed to the child­ren’s church, mean­ing that wher­ev­er he could meet with child­ren and do them good he felt at home.

In 1847, Brad­bu­ry went to Eur­ope to stu­dy mu­sic un­der the best Ger­man mas­ters. While cross­ing the Alps, he re­lat­ed this in­ci­dent: Hav­ing met a Ger­man, who was so en­rap­tured, as he be­held the Al­pine peaks bathed with the gold­en glor­ies of the ris­ing sun, that he sang for joy. Not wish­ing to be out­done by a for­eign­er, es­pe­ci­al­ly in my own pro­fess­ion, I com­menced sing­ing. This cap­ti­vat­ed the for­eign­er so that he would not rest till he was taught the same piec­es. This was the on­ly music-lesson I gave on top of the Alps.

Bradbury was a ve­ry gen­er­ous man. A the­ol­o­gy stu­dent once wrote him for a loan of five dol­lars, that he might buy him­self a pair of boots. Brad­bu­ry sent him a check for $25, and a note say­ing he could not spare $5 at the mo­ment, but that he might man­age to do wit­hout the $25 un­til he could send $5 lat­er.

In the rear of one Brad­bu­ry’s New York ware­hous­es was a small of­fice where he oft­en went to re­new his strength and mount up with wings as ea­gles. When­ev­er he had to leave his house with­out suf­fi­cient pray­er time, it was said, he would go to this pri­vate sanc­tu­a­ry and spend time in his de­vo­tions.

Nor did he al­low bus­i­ness to in­trude on this ha­bit. His much loved Bi­ble oc­cu­pied a prom­in­ent place on the table, and was well worn and filled with marked pas­sag­es that had il­lum­in­at­ed in his own ex­per­i­ence. In his pri­vate jour­nal he wrote, The 37th Psalm has been to me a nev­er-fail­ing source of com­fort and con­so­la­tion. My lit­tle Bi­ble fre­quent­ly opens to it of its own ac­cord. The 27th is also a fa­vo­rite when the ene­my comes in like a flood.

Bradbury suffered from tu­ber­cu­lo­sis the last two years of his life. A few weeks be­fore his death, he said to The­o­dore Sew­ard, I long to be free from this ev­il bo­dy, which does so much to drag me down. I feel that I want to do right, that I want to love my Sav­iour, and act to please Him, but this bu­sy brain and has­ty na­ture lead me oft­en­times to things that are con­tra­ry to the real feel­ings of my heart.

A week be­fore his death the child­ren of Mont­clair vis­it­ed him, each bring­ing an oak leaf, which were wov­en in­to a wreath which was laid on his cof­fin and bur­ied with him. The Sa­tur­day be­fore his death he re­mark­ed to a friend, My soul seems to have gained the vic­to­ry. I am so hap­py now. I rest whol­ly up­on Christ. May God give me the grace to die. I am go­ing to see moth­er.

He was bur­ied be­side his moth­er, and Asleep in Je­sus was sung as it was at his moth­er’s bur­i­al.

Bradbury’s works in­clude:

Philip Bliss wrote these words af­ter Brad­bu­ry’s death:

WE LOVE HIM

We love him, though his friendly hand
Has never clasped our own;
His gentle voice and loving smile
We never yet have known.
We love the sweet, the blessed songs
That he to us has giv’n;
We know he loved us here on earth;
We love him though in heaven.

We love the sparkling Golden Chain,
The Shower of beauties rare;
The Censer full of joyous praise,
Fresh Laurels, green and fair.
We love to sing his songs of heaven,
Of Jesus and His love;
They make us happier here below,
And raise our thoughts above.

We love the things that he has loved;
We love his earthly name
And when we know his angel form,
We’ll love him just the same.
We’ll love each other better then,
We’ll love Our Father more;
We’ll roll a sweeter song of praise
Along the Golden Shore.

Memoirs of Philip P. Bliss, 1877

  1. Jesus Paid It All
  2. Let the Gospel Trum­pet Sound
  1. Aletta
  2. Andre
  3. Away
  4. Baca
  5. Balm
  6. Bartimeus
  7. Beautiful Man­sions
  8. Bible, The
  9. Boa Vis­ta
  10. Bradbury
  11. Bright and Glo­ri­ous King­dom, A
  12. Brown
  13. Caddo
  14. Çanakkale
  15. Carey
  16. Cayman
  17. Children’s Sav­ior, The
  18. Claremont (a­rrang­er)
  19. Clarksville
  20. Come Again
  21. Córdoba
  22. Cry from Ma­ce­do­nia, A
  23. Don’t For­get the Sab­bath
  24. Dulce No­men
  25. Even Me
  26. Evergreen Shore, The
  27. Fulton
  28. Glorious Morn­ing, The
  29. Glory to God in the High­est
  30. Grand Can­yon
  31. Hagåtña
  32. Harvey’s Chant
  33. He Lead­eth Me
  34. Heavenly Land, The
  35. House up­on a Rock, The
  36. Howell
  37. I Think, When I Read That Sweet Sto­ry
  38. In a Man­ger Laid So Low­ly
  39. Jazer
  40. Jesus Died for Me
  41. Jesus, Hear Me
  42. Jesus Loves Me
  43. Keokuk
  44. Kirkwood
  45. Köln
  46. La Mira
  47. Lamb That Was Slain, The
  48. Land of Beu­lah, The
  49. Land of Plea­sure
  50. Laurels, Fresh Laure­ls
  51. Lord of the Gos­pel Har­vest
  52. Leaf
  53. Lottie
  54. Lulu
  55. Marching Along
  56. Marching On!
  57. Mason’s Chant
  58. Meroe
  59. Missionary
  60. Monora
  61. Montclair
  62. Morris’ Chant
  63. Never Be Af­raid
  64. Oh Bliss of the Pur­i­fied
  65. Olive’s Brow
  66. Redal
  67. Rest
  68. Rio Grande
  69. Rolland
  70. Round Rock
  71. Sabaoth
  72. Salome
  73. Scatter Smiles as You Go
  74. Shall We Sing in Hea­ven?
  75. Singing and Prais­ing For­ev­er
  76. Solid Rock
  77. Song of the Lil­ies
  78. Songs of the Beau­ti­ful
  79. Stand Like the Brave
  80. Strike the Harp of Zi­on
  81. Sunday School Vol­un­teer Song
  82. Sutherland
  83. Svalbard
  84. Sweet Hour
  85. Sweetly Sing, Sweet­ly Sing
  86. Watchman, Tell Me
  87. Water of Life, The
  88. Wave
  89. We Are Go­ing
  90. What Shall I Do to Be Saved?
  91. Whither, Pil­grims, Are You Go­ing?
  92. Wirth
  93. Woodworth
  94. Yarbrough
  95. Yokohama
  96. Your Sav­iour Wept
  97. Zephyr