Above: The Flag of New Hampshire
Image in the Public Domain
DANIEL CRANE ROBERTS (NOVEMBER 5, 1841-OCTOBER 31, 1907)
Episcopal Priest and Hymn Writer
I remain a country parson, known only within my small world.
–Daniel C. Crane
That “country parson” wrote a famous patriotic hymn, “God of Our Fathers” (1876) for the Centennial July 4th celebration in Brandon, Vermont, where he was a pastor that year. The hymn’s first appearance in a hymnbook was in the Episcopal Hymnal of 1892.
Roberts, born in Bridgehampton, Long Island, New York, on November 5, 1841, led the kind of mostly quiet life which does not attract much attention. He graduated from Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, in 1857. During the U.S. Civil War our saint served (as a Private) in the 84th Ohio Volunteers, U.S. Army. Then Roberts, ordained to the diaconate in 1865 and the priesthood the following year, ministered in the following places, in order:
- Christ Church, Montpelier, Vermont;
- St. John’s Church, Lowell, Massachusetts;
- St. Thomas Church, Brandon, Vermont; and
- St. Paul’s Church, Concord, New Hampshire (1878-1901).
Above: Grand Army of the Republic Poster, August 29, 1888
Image Source = Library of Congress
Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-pga-01396
Certainly many people knew him or at least knew of him. He served as the chaplain of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of U.S. Army Civil War veterans, in New Hampshire. Roberts also served as the President of the New Hampshire Historical Society for some time. And the man was certainly made positive differences in the lives of many parishioners. But he was, like most of us in the human race, known mainly to a relatively small circle of people. Unlike most of the rest of us, however, our saint wrote a famous hymn.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
JULY 25, 2014 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF JAMES BAR-ZEBEDEE, APOSTLE AND MARTYR
Dear God of beauty,
you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to
Daniel C. Roberts and others, who have composed hymn texts.
May we, as you guide us,
find worthy hymn texts to be icons,
through which we see you.
In the Name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK
THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR
THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP
THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH