1808–1895
portrait
portrait

Oc­to­ber 21, 1808, Bos­ton, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

No­vem­ber 16, 1895, Bos­ton, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

New­ton Ce­me­te­ry, New­ton, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

portrait
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
  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