1808–1895
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October 21, 1808, Boston, Massachusetts.

November 16, 1895, Boston, Massachusetts.

Newton Cemetery, Newton, Massachusetts.

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portrait

Smith was the son of Sam­u­el Smith and Sar­ah Bry­ant, and husband of Ma­ry White Smith.

He attended Har­vard University and An­do­ver Theological Seminary.

He entered the Ba­ptist ministry in 1832, and the same year became editor of Bap­tist Mis­sion­ary Mag­a­zine. He also contributed to the En­cyc­lo­pe­dia Amer­i­ca­na.

From 1834–42, he pas­tored at Wa­ter­ville, Maine, and was Pro­fess­or of Mo­dern Languag­es at Wa­ter­ville Col­lege.

In 1842, he moved to New­ton, Mas­sa­chusetts, stay­ing un­til he became editor of the publications of the Bap­tist Missionary Union in 1854.

The secular world best remembers Smith as the author of My Coun­try ’Tis of Thee. He and Ol­iv­er Wen­dell Holmes were class­mates at Har­vard, and for the 1829 class re­un­ion, Holmes wrote:

There’s a nice youngster of excellent pith,
Fate tried to conceal him by naming him Smith;
But he shouted a song for the brave and the free,
Just read on his medal, My country, of thee.

On Smith’s 80th birthday, Holmes sent him the following:

Full many a poet’s labored lines
A century’s creeping waves shall hide—
The verse a people’s love enshrines
Stands like a rock that breasts the tide.

Time wrecks the proudest piles we raise,
The towers, the domes, the temples fall.
The fortress crumbles and decays—
One breath of song outlasts them all.

Smith’s other works include:

  1. And Now the Solemn Deed Is Done
  2. As Flows the Rapid River
  3. Auspicious Morning, Hail
  4. Beyond Where Cedron’s Waters Flow
  5. Blest Is the Hour When Cares Depart
  6. Constrained by Love We Follow
  7. Down to the Sacred Wave
  8. Founded on Thee
  9. Go, Heralds of Salvation, Forth
  10. Hail! Ye Days of Solemn Meeting
  11. How Blest the Hour When First We Gave
  12. How Calmly Wakes the Hallowed Morn
  13. Jesus, Thou Hast Freely Saved Us
  14. Lord of Our Life, God Whom We Fear
  15. Meekly in Jordan’s Holy Stream
  16. Morning Light Is Breaking, The
  17. My Country ’Tis of Thee
  18. O Not My Own These Verdant Hills
  19. Onward Speed Thy Conquering Flight
  20. Planted in Christ, the Living Vine
  21. Prince of Salvation in Triumph Is Riding, The
  22. Remember Thy Creator
  23. Sister, Thou Wast Mild and Lovely
  24. Softly Fades the Twilight Ray
  25. Spirit of Holiness, Descend
  26. Spirit of Peace and Holiness
  27. ’Tis Done, the Solemn Act Is Done
  28. Today the Savior Calls
  29. Welcome, Days of Solemn Meeting
  30. When Shall We Meet Again?
  31. When the Harvest Is Past and the Summer Is Gone
  32. While in This Sacred Rite of Thine
  33. When Thy Mortal Life Is Fled
  34. With Willing Hearts We Tread
  35. Yes, My Native Land, I Love Thee