Robert Lowry, 1826-1899

Julian's account:

Robert Lowry, D.D. son of Crozier Lowry, was born at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mar. 12th. 1826, and educated at Lewisburg University. Having received ordination as a Baptist minister, his first charge was at West Chester, Pennsylvania. From there he passed to New York City and then to Brooklyn, N.Y. In 1876 he was appointed Professor of Rhetoric in his university. On resigning his professorship he undertook the charge of the 2nd. Baptist Church, New Jersey. Dr. Lowry has been associated with some of the most popular Sunday school hymn books published in the States. "Happy Voices, 1865", "Chapel Melodies, 1868", "Bright Jewels, 1869", "Pure Gold, 1871", "Royal Diadem, 1873," "Tidal Wave, 1874", "Fountain of Song, 1877", "Welcome Tidings, 1877", etc.

Lowry's hymn in 'Spiritual Songs', 1978, is No. 41, a well-known hymn concerning the resurrection: "Low in the grave He lay—Jesus my Saviour!"

Two other well-known hymns by Lowry are "What can wash away my stain? nothing but the blood of Jesus", and "Where is my wandering boy tonight?"

Another well-known hymn written by Lowry is "Shall we gather at the river?" and the following story is connected with its composition: "On a very hot summer day in 1864, a pastor was seated in his parlour in Brooklyn, N.Y. It was a time when an epidemic was sweeping through the city, and draping many persons and dwellings in mourning. All around friends and acquaintances were passing away to the spirit land in large numbers. The question began to arise in the heart with unusual emphasis "Shall we meet again? We are parting at the river of death, shall we meet at the river of life?" "Seating himself at the organ" says he "Simply to give vent to the pent up emotions of the heart, the words and music of the hymn began to flow out, as if by inspiration:

Shall we gather at the river,

Where bright angel feet have trod".

In 1865 the hymn and music were given in "Happy Voices".

Hymns by Robert Lowry