1876–1952

Introduction

Born: Jan­u­a­ry 15, 1876, on a farm in Bled­soe Coun­ty, Ten­nes­see.

Died: June 26, 1952, Day­ton, Ten­nes­see.

Buried: But­tram Ce­me­te­ry, Day­ton, Ten­nes­see.

portrait

Biography

Winsett grad­u­at­ed from the Bow­man Nor­mal School of Mu­sic in 1899, and found­ed the R. E. Win­sett Song Book Pub­lish­ing Com­pa­ny around 1903.

His first book, Win­sett’s Fa­vo­rite Songs, be­came pop­u­lar in the south­east Unit­ed States among the Free Will Bap­tist, Gen­er­al Bap­tists, Ho­li­ness, and the new­ly emerg­ing Pen­te­cost­al Church.

In 1907, he pub­lished Pen­te­cos­tal Pow­er, which ap­pealed to the fast grow­ing Church of God in the moun­tains of North Ca­ro­li­na. The same year, he fin­ished his post­grad­u­ate studies at the con­ser­va­tory.

On Jan­u­a­ry 15, 1908, Win­sett mar­ried Bird­ie Bell. They had three sons and two daugh­ters. In their ear­ly years of mar­ri­age, they made their home in Fort Smith, Ar­kan­sas, where the mu­sic bus­i­ness was well es­tab­lished and suc­cess­ful. While in Fort Smith, he became ac­quaint­ed with the Church of God (7th Day) and be­came a rec­og­nized min­is­ter of that de­nom­in­ation in 1923.

Early in 1927 Wins­ett had a dream of two new­ly dug graves, one nor­mal size, the oth­er small. His son Gra­dy died at age 18.

After the death of his wife, Win­sett re­turned to Ten­nes­see and start­ed a mu­sic pub­lish­ing bu­si­ness in Chat­ta­noo­ga. His most pop­u­lar song book, Pen­te­cos­tal Pow­er, was en­larged and was called Pen­te­cos­tal Pow­er Com­plete.

In 1930, he mar­ried Mary Ruth Ed­mon­ton; they had one son and two daugh­ters. His wife said that when he wrote, his in­spir­a­tion filled the house be­cause he lived the Gos­pel so strong­ly.

The blue eyed, gray haired Win­sett was a home­bo­dy. He didn’t mix with oth­ers much ex­cept at camp meet­ings and sing­ing con­ven­tions, where he would lead the live­ly sing­ing.

His on­ly rec­re­a­tion was hik­ing in the woods, where he would touch the leaves of the trees and the wild flow­ers that grew in abun­dance in the Ten­nes­see moun­tains. He would stay in the woods for hours, com­mun­ing with his Cre­at­or, then re­turn to his of­fice for work. Mrs. Win­sett said nev­er was there a more sin­cere per­son about his re­li­gious con­vic­tions.

Win­sett was list­ed in Who’s Who in the South and South­west in 1947, Who’s Who in Mu­sic in 1951, and in a His­to­ry of the True Church, by Dug­ger and Dodd.

Works

Winsett wrote and com­posed about 1,000 Gos­pel songs, ma­ny of which are found in Pro­tes­tant song­books to this day. His Je­sus Is Com­ing Soon was vot­ed in­to the Gos­pel Mu­sic Hall of Fame.

Win­sett Pub­lishe­rs is­sued over 60 dif­fer­ent song books, in Eng­lish and oth­er lang­uag­es. His last com­pil­a­tion, Best of All (1951) sold al­most a mil­lion cop­ies.

Overall, more than ten mil­lion of Win­sett’s books have been sold. He was in­duc­ted into the South­ern Gos­pel Mu­sic As­so­ci­a­tion Hall of Fame in 2002.

His oth­er works in­clude:

Sources

Lyrics

Music