1840–1901

Introduction

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Born: No­vem­ber 22, 1840, Chi­co­pee Falls, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

Died: March 4, 1901, North­field, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

Buried: Cen­ter Ce­me­te­ry, North­field, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

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Biography

Whittle was the hus­band of Ab­i­gail Han­son.

He was named af­ter Am­er­i­can po­li­ti­cian Dan­i­el Web­ster. He reached the rank of ma­jor in the Am­er­i­can ci­vil war, and for the rest of his life was known as Ma­jor Whit­tle.

During the war, Whit­tle lost his right arm, and end­ed up in a pri­son­er of war camp. Re­cov­er­ing from his wounds in the hos­pi­tal, he looked for some­thing to read, and found a New Tes­ta­ment. Though its words re­so­nat­ed with him, he was not rea­dy to ac­cept Christ.

Shortly af­ter, a hos­pi­tal or­der­ly woke him and said a dy­ing pri­son­er want­ed some­one to pray with him. Whit­tle de­murred, but the or­der­ly said, But I thought you were a Chris­tian; I have seen you read­ing your Bi­ble. Whit­tle then agreed to go. He re­cord­ed what took place at the dy­ing youth’s bed side:

I dropped on my knees and held the boy’s hand in mine. In a few brok­en words I con­fessed my sins and asked Christ to for­give me. I be­lieved right there that He did for­give me.

I then prayed ear­nest­ly for the boy. He be­came qui­et and pressed my hand as I prayed and plead­ed God’s pro­mis­es. When I arose from my knees, he was dead.

A look of peace had come over his trou­bled face, and I can­not but be­lieve that God who used him to bring me to the Sav­ior, used me to lead him to trust Christ’s pre­cious blood and find par­don. I hope to meet him in hea­ven.

After the war, Whit­tle be­came trea­sur­er of the El­gin Watch Com­pa­ny in Chi­ca­go, Il­li­nois. Less than 10 years lat­er, he en­tered the ev­an­gel­ism field.

Dur­ing this per­i­od, he worked with mu­si­cians Phil­ip Bliss and James Mc­Gra­na­han. His daugh­ter May Moo­dy wrote mu­sic for some of his lyr­ics.

Of his de­ci­sion to de­vote his life to the Gos­pel, Whit­tle said that, while at work, he:

…went in­to the vault and in the dead si­lence of the qui­et­est of plac­es I gave my life to my Hea­ven­ly Fa­ther to use as He would.

Publications

Sources

Lyrics