Leondard D. Huffstutler


Born: Liberty, AL

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame


"I the Lord have called thee…and will hold thine hand and will keep thee…" (Isa. 42:6)

INTRO.: A song which reminds us that the Lord has called us, will hold our hands, and will keep us if we walk with Him is "Hand in Hand with Jesus" (#260 in Hymns for Worship Revised, and #149 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Johnson Oatman, Jr. (1856-1922). A prolific hymn text author of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, Oatman produced such favorites as "Count Your Blessings," "Higher Ground," "I’ll Be a Friend to Jesus," "Lift Him Up," "No, Not One," "Sweeter Than All," "The Last Mile of the Way," and "What Shall It Profit a Man?" The tune for "Hand in Hand with Jesus" was composed by Leonard D. Huffstutler, who was born on June 17, 1887, at Liberty, Alabama, and raised on a farm in Texas. As a boy he learned to sing gospel songs from his mother.

After attending Texas A & M College, Huffstutler studied music with such men as R. H. Cornelius, Homer Rodeheaver, A. B. Sebren, and J. B. Herbert. For the next sixty years, he followed his lifelong career of singing in gospel quartets and teaching in singing schools for the Hartford and Stamps Baxter Music Companies. Most books say that "Hand in Hand with Jesus" was copyrighted by Stamps-Baxter in their 1940 book Golden Key, and renewed by them in 1968 (some newer books are even saying copyright 1981 by Stamps Baxter, and one recent book says copyright 1923, renewal 1981 by Stamps Baxter), but since Oatman had died in 1922 it is to be assumed that the text must date from before that time. One source gives the original date of the song as 1923, but even that was after Oatman’s death, although Oatman could have sent the words to Huffstutler before he died but Huffstutler did not finish and publish the song until a year later.

Huffstutler composed other songs like "Deep Down in My Soul," "Let Us Now Praise Him," which are considered standards of Southern white gospel music, along with "A Little Closer" for the Stamps Quartet Music Company and "Beyond the Tide" for the Rex Nelson Music Company, prior to his death in 1977. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, "Hand in Hand with Jesus" appeared in the 1978 Hymns of Praise edited by Reuel Lemmons. Today it may be found in the 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1983 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship and Sacred Selections.

Source: http://homeschoolblogger.com/hymnstudies/736934/



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