Tuesday, April 30, 2019

BillionGraves and Find-A-Grave

Billion Graves and Find-A-Grave are two important burial and genealogical resources online. As far as most people are concerned, they are basically the same. Billion Graves states, “Our to preserve precious records found in cemeteries throughout the world.” “Find a Grave’s mission is to help people from all over the world work together to find, record and present final disposition information as a virtual cemetery experience.” The goals of both resources have a great degree of overlap, but a quite different approach in several ways.

The blog post What is the Difference Between BillionGraves and Find A Grave? Part I: For Researchers is helpful in delineating some of the differences. Billion Graves puts it this way: “Find A Grave’s stated objective is to create memorials. It was not started as a genealogical site, so it makes sense that how they acquire data does not put emphasis on following the Genealogical Proof Standard.” This article is very helpful, though on one hand the writer goes after it like one of two vendors vying for the same commercial sale. Perhaps they are!

From the user standpoint, however, the genealogist will benefit from BOTH sites. First, there is a big difference in quantity. According to the blog post, Find-A-Grave has 180 million+ memorials while Billion Graves has 30 million+ memorials. What they lack in quantity, Billion Graves intends to make up in quality. The piece cites that all their records have gravestone images and GPS coordinates. That is a clear advantage, as far as it goes, making Billion Graves the generally more reliable resource. A downside is that not even every known burial has a gravestone, and that sometimes a gravestone does not mark an actual burial.

The blog relates a tragic story in which an individual traveled 2000 miles to see a headstone, based on a memorial on the Find-A-Grave site. The headstone did not exist in the cemetery, and “later…the record had been removed altogether from Find A Grave without mention.” That is certainly regrettable, and tells the tale that every entry on Find-A-Grave is not reliable. It should also caution one against making such a trip without checking with cemetery personal or some other source, if possible. It should not frighten people away from using Find-A-Grave altogether.

Read the above linked blog article and get all the good you can. Spend time to figure out how both Billion Graves and Find-A-Grave work. Use the strengths of each to your advantage in your research. Be cautious of the disadvantages. Verify with multiple sources.

Happy Graving!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Entertainment for the people

An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted can hardly fail to notice it during the past few years. It has developed at an abnormal rate, even for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them.
Charles H. Spurgeon

Evolution furnishes no answer

The theory of evolution furnishes no answer whatever to the inquiry to what purpose everything serves. On this question it remains silent.
There is no purpose which the individual man serves. He exists, but why and to what end cannot be told. He is, remains here for a time, and departs. Then it is done, la farce est jouée, death is the end of a pitiful life. Since there is neither soul nor spirit, immortality is folly and faith in it is nothing but egoism, the grave, or better yet, the cremation oven, is man’s latest dwelling place.
There is no purpose for humanity. History is no theater of liberty, but is dominated just like the physical world, and with equal necessity, by mechanical forces and laws. The study of history which reckons with the will, with individuals and persons, and deems the course of history dependent upon these is entirely wrong. And homage is due to the method of physics, which views the only and all dominating factor of history in society, in the masses, in economical relations, and in social conditions, and from this interprets men with their thoughts and wishes, their religion and morality, their art and science. Irrational, planless, purposeless humanity goes forward to meet its ruin.
There is no purpose for the earth, the present world as a whole. Science teaches that a certain end awaits the whole planetary system of which the earth forms a part. Even as it once proceeded out of the mass of vapors so it shall once return into the same. There are a few who assert that present conditions will continue eternally. But physics disputes this point and deems it untenable. Endless duration together with and endless progress is inconceivable for the earth as well as for man. An end must come.
From Creation or Development? by Herman Bavinck

Sunday, April 28, 2019

O sacred Head, now wounded

This hymn is often attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153). However, it was possibly written by Arnulf of Leuven (ca. 1200–1250). Paulus Gerhardt (1607–1676) made a German translation in the 17th century, “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden.” The English translation below is by James Waddel Alexander (1804–1859), in 1829 or 1830. The original poem consisted of sections which addressed Christ’s crucified body: feet, knees, hands, side, chest, heart, and head.

This text was published with the tune Herzlich tut mich verlangen by Hans Leo Hassler (1564–1612) in 1656. It is commonly called the Passion Chorale in English songbooks. The hymn meter is 7s6s Doubled, and it may be used with other tunes in that meter.

1. O sacred Head, now wounded,
with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded
with thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory,
what bliss till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory,
I joy to call Thee mine.

2. What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered,
was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression,
but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor,
vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

3. Men mock and taunt and jeer Thee,
Thou noble countenance,
Though mighty worlds shall fear Thee
and flee before Thy glance.
How art thou pale with anguish,
with sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy visage languish
that once was bright as morn!

4. Now from Thy cheeks has vanished
their color once so fair;
From Thy red lips is banished
the splendor that was there.
Grim death, with cruel rigor,
hath robbed Thee of Thy life;
Thus Thou hast lost Thy vigor,
Thy strength in this sad strife.

5. My burden in Thy Passion,
Lord, Thou hast borne for me,
For it was my transgression
which brought this woe on Thee.
I cast me down before Thee,
wrath were my rightful lot;
Have mercy, I implore Thee;
Redeemer, spurn me not!

6. What language shall I borrow
to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever,
and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
outlive my love to Thee.

7. My Shepherd, now receive me;
my Guardian, own me Thine.
Great blessings Thou didst give me,
O source of gifts divine.
Thy lips have often fed me
with words of truth and love;
Thy Spirit oft hath led me
to heavenly joys above.

8. Here I will stand beside Thee,
from Thee I will not part;
O Savior, do not chide me!
When breaks Thy loving heart,
When soul and body languish
in death’s cold, cruel grasp,
Then, in Thy deepest anguish,
Thee in mine arms I’ll clasp.

9. The joy can never be spoken,
above all joys beside,
When in Thy body broken
I thus with safety hide.
O Lord of Life, desiring
Thy glory now to see,
Beside Thy cross expiring,
I’d breathe my soul to Thee.

10. My Savior, be Thou near me
when death is at my door;
Then let Thy presence cheer me,
forsake me nevermore!
When soul and body languish,
oh, leave me not alone,
But take away mine anguish
by virtue of Thine own!

11. Be Thou my consolation,
my shield when I must die;
Remind me of Thy passion
when my last hour draws nigh.
Mine eyes shall then behold Thee,
upon Thy cross shall dwell,
My heart by faith enfolds Thee.
Who dieth thus dies well.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Can Christians Marry Non-Christians, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Songs by Archibald N. Whitten


Harp of Ages by A. N. Whitten, 1925-1946

13        How Sweet to Die                                                    Words & Music by Whitten
“In Memory of Eld. S. A. Pain, and his last words, “O how sweet to die.”

36        Struggle On                                                             Alto by A. N. Whitten

51        Peaceful Slumber, 1924                                         Words & Music by Whitten

52        Beyond                                                                      Arr. by A. N. Whitten

55        Remembers                                                               Arr. by A. N. Whitten

57        Better Farther On, 1924                                        Words & Music by Whitten

61        It Must Have Been At Easter Time Long Ago    Music by A. N. Whitten
“Sent in by A. N. Whitten to the Dublin Progress
“Copyright, 1946, by A. N. Whitten
“(The Model Church)”

63        I Would See Jesus                                                    Alto by A. N. Whitten

65½     Parting, When Langour and Disease Invade      Music by A. N. Whitten

73        Dear Mother                                                            Words & Music by Whitten

74        No Vacant Seats in Heaven                                   Harmony by Whitten
Soprano by Mrs. J. B. Edwards
“P. S. Composed by Mrs. J. B. Edwards. After hearing a sermon preached
by Elder E. C. Mahurin.”

75        All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name                      Music by A. N. Whitten

92        Rees                                                                            Alto by A. N. Whitten

93        Through the Shadow, 1925                                    Music by A. N. Whitten

97        I’d Like to See Beyond the Vail                            Music by A. N. Whitten


106      The Loved Ones                                                        Alto by A. N. Whitten

121      Leaning on Jesus’ Breast                                       Arr. by A. N. Whitten

126      I’m Going O’er Home, O Wonderful Trip             Arr. by A. N. Whitten
“Composed by Mrs. J. B. Edwards and dedicated to A. N. Whitten and Elder S. F. Moore”

127      From the Heavenly Choir                                     Words & Music by Whitten

129      Christ Our King, 1924                                             Words & Music by Whitten

135      I’ll Shout and Sing                                                 Music by A. N. Whitten

147      New Jerusalem                                                         Arr. by A. N. Whitten, 1925

157      We’ll Cross the River of Jordan                          Arr. by A. N. Whitten

170A   Your Office is a Sacred Trust      Words by Len Dalton, Music by A. N. Whitten

172      Oh, Jesus, My Saviour                                             Music by A. N. Whitten

175      There’ll Be No More Goodbyes                            Words & Music by Whitten

187      When the Evening Shadows Gather                    Music by A. N. Whitten
“Dedicated to C. R. Brannen, Houston, Texas”

188      Morning Meditation          Harmony, A. N. Whitten; Soprano by Gilbert Dalton

191      Where Jesus is Will Be Heaven for Me                Arr. by A. N. Whitten

61        Leave Me Not Alone           (removed 1946)           Arr. by A. N. Whitten

Harp of Ages credits Whitten as the composer of 16 tunes.
Harp of Ages credits Whitten as the composer of alto for 4 tunes.
Harp of Ages credits Whitten as the arranger or harmonizer of 10 tunes.
Harp of Ages credits Whitten as the author or arranger of 7 texts.
Parting, When Langour and Disease Invade and How Sweet to Die are the same tune.

The Good Old Songs by C. H. Cayce, 1913-14

17        The Loved Ones                                                        Alto

56        I Would See Jesus                                                    Alto

243      Still Better                                                             Alto

259      Can I Leave You                                                       Alto

273      Struggle On                                                             Alto

274      New Harmony                                                          Alto

401      Thou Art Passing Away                                         Alto

416      Fight On                                                                    Arranged Alto

429      Rees                                                                            Alto

450      New Hosanna                                                            Arranged Alto

The Good Old Songs credits Whitten as the composer of alto for 8 tunes.
The Good Old Songs credits Whitten as the arranger of alto on 2 tunes.

4 of these songs are also in Harp of Ages:
The Loved Ones, I Would See Jesus, Struggle On, and Rees
Still Better is in Harp of Ages, but there with Minnie Floyd’s alto.

All songs attributed to A. N. Whitten are not original compositions. They fall within the common practice of older shape note publications. Nineteenth century tune book compilers did not have consistently applied standards for tune or text attributions. The concept of authorship in the older shape note traditions such as Sacred Harp (in which Whitten was steeped) is adequately ambiguous, so that it supplies a spectrum of meaning. It may be used, then, of original compositions, transcriptions (and harmonization) of orally transmitted songs, as well as arrangements of existing songs.

William Walker described this process in his preface to The Southern Harmony, writing, “I have composed the parts to a great many good airs, (which I could not find in any publication, nor in manuscript,) and assigned my name as author.”[1] In his Union Harmony, William Caldwell explained, “Many of the tunes over which the name of the Subscriber is set are not entirely original, but he has harmonised, and therefore claims them.”[2] Comparing Whitten’s use of attributions throughout his book seems to indicate that “arranged” meant arrangements of harmony parts or tunes that he found in printed sources. The other attributions, then, probably refer to both original compositions and existing songs that he wrote down which were not based on a printed source.

Listing A. N. Whitten as the arranger of I’m Going O’er Home, O Wonderful Trip (126) is my interpretation of the information supplied on the page. Underneath the title is “Composed by Mrs. J. B. Edwards and dedicated to A. N. Whitten and Elder S. F. Moore. A. N. Whitten, owner. All rights reserved.” To the left the author of the poetry is “Mrs. J. B. Edwards.” To the right the composer of the tune is “A. N. Whitten.” This is open to several interpretations. By “composer,” Whitten may have only meant that Mrs. Edwards “composed” the words of the song. This is certainly an allowable use of the word, though in music “composer” most often refers to the person who wrote the tune. This may well be an original composition by Whitten, but I have chosen the more cautious interpretation of naming him as the arranger. Other songs need to be inspected carefully for small details that may alter the understanding of Whitten’s attributions.

Combining the information in Harp of Ages and The Good Old Songs and then removing the duplicates, the extent of A. N. Whitten’s known contributions to the field of song is as follows:[3]

Fifteen tunes are credited to Whitten (16 if I’m Going O’er Home is added).
Eight alto parts are credited to Whitten.
Two arrangements of alto parts are credited to Whitten.
Ten arrangements/harmonizations are credited to Whitten (9 if I’m Going O’er Home is removed).
Seven texts (whether authored or arranged) are credited to Whitten.

[1] The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, p. iii, cited by Steel in Makers, pp. 82, 161
[2] Union Harmony (pp. 3-4), cited by Steel in Makers, p. 82
[3] Assuming no errors were made, and understanding unknown information may later become available.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Who are the Missionary Baptists?

In a discussion thread on the Baptist Board, a member asked another member, “Why do you use the name of Missionary Baptist or why is it used?” Here is a response with an historical summary of the reason.

During the 19th century in the United States (roughly 1820-1840), there was a controversy – and finally a split – among Baptists over the nature of “missions.” The development of a national missionary society and other types of church auxiliaries gradually festered a sore spot. The “General Missionary Convention of the Baptist Denomination in the United States of America for Foreign Missions” (more commonly called the Triennial Convention) was formed in 1814. Within a few years Baptists were writing treatises questioning the propriety of and authority for such an organization. In more recent times, this has often been incorrectly framed as a controversy over preaching the gospel. Most, if not all, of the Baptists believed in preaching the gospel to those who had not heard. The objection to the formation of missionary societies was ecclesiological rather than soteriological. One of the early treatises, Daniel Parker’s A Public Address to the Baptist Society...on the Principle and Practice of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, clearly shows the ecclesiological argumentation.

Once the churches divided into camps favoring or opposing missionary societies, mission boards, and some other church auxiliaries, those who favored the formalized missionary efforts were classed as “Missionary Baptists.” They referred to the other side as “anti-missionary.” Those “anti-missionaries” used Regular, Old School, Primitive, etc. for self-identification. Due to this background, the name “Missionary Baptist” is usually applied to those with historical origins that trace back to the Regular Baptists in the United States and the Particular Baptists in England (i.e., the Baptists among who this split occurred). The name is seldom applied to churches with a background rooted in the General Baptist movement (historically). For example, most Freewill Baptists and General Baptists in the United States favor some type of organized missionary effort but would not normally use “Missionary Baptist” in any kind of official or descriptive way.

The name “Missionary Baptist” still falls in the realm of those churches descending from the “missionary” side of the 19th century U.S. Baptist split. Any of them may be “missionary Baptists” while it is a minority that officially uses “Missionary Baptist” in church and organizational names. Late in the 19th century and early in the 20th, the “Missionary Baptists” split over the way to do missions. Some favored missionary societies or mission boards, while others favored Gospel missions or direct missions. Therefore, today there are independent churches and associations who are “Missionary Baptists” who would have greater ecclesiological agreement on the matter of missions with Daniel Parker, for example, rather than J. M. Peck.

Seeing “Missionary Baptist” in a church name will not tell the same story in different regions of the country. In East Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Mississippi – and probably Tennessee and Missouri – “Missionary Baptist” likely means one of two things: (1) a predominantly white church that is not affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, or (2) a predominantly African-American church that is affiliated with one of the National Baptist Conventions. In my visits to northern Alabama and northern Georgia, I have found that if a church had “Missionary Baptist” in the name it was usually Southern Baptist.

In my outdated list of Baptist Groups in the United States, I believe you will find churches in the following groups who use in some official way the name “Missionary Baptist.” I probably miss some.
For the most part it seems that fundamentalists have moved away from using “Missionary Baptist.” Nevertheless, J. Frank Norris’s World Baptist Fellowship was once called the World Premillennial Missionary Baptist Fellowship.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The “Easter Worshippers”

I saw mentions of this online, and it certainly does make an intriguing comparison – how certain prominent politicians responded to the Muslims targeted and killed in Christchurch, New Zealand, and to the Christians targeted and killed in the cities of Batticaloa, Colombo, and Negombo, in Sri Lanka.

The following quotes I gathered are tweet-outs by the 44th President of the United States, a former First Lady of the United States and former Democratic candidate for President, and a current candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in 2020. The operative comparison of tweets is that in the first case they freely identified the targets of terrorism as Muslims, while in the second case they called the targets of terrorism “Easter worshippers” rather than Christians.

Barack Obama, re New Zealand: “Michelle and I send our condolences to the people of New Zealand. We grieve with you and the Muslim community. All of us must stand against hatred in all its forms.”
Barack Obama, re Sri Lanka: “The attacks on tourists and Easter worshippers in Sri Lanka are an attack on humanity. On a day devoted to love, redemption, and renewal, we pray for the victims and stand with the people of Sri Lanka.”

Hillary Clinton, re New Zealand: “My heart breaks for New Zealand & the global Muslim community. We must continue to fight the perpetuation and normalization of Islamophobia and racism in all its forms.”
Hillary Clinton, re Sri Lanka: “On this holy weekend for many faiths, we must stand united against hatred and violence. I’m praying for everyone affected by today’s horrific attacks on Easter worshippers and travelers in Sri Lanka.”

Julián Castro, re New Zealand: “My heart is with the people of New Zealand and the entire Muslim community this morning. We must always stand against acts of terror and hate.”
Julián Castro, re Sri Lanka: “On a day of redemption and hope, the evil of these attacks on Easter worshippers and tourists in Sri Lanka is deeply saddening. My prayers today are with the dead and injured, and their families. May we find grace.”

“Easter worshippers” smells of agreed-upon talking points to me – in that so many (not just these three) used it. I have never before noticed it being a common usage. Why would it be “agreed-upon” talking points? To avoid calling the slain and injured Christians? Of course, I expect that “people who are worshipping on Easter Sunday” are at least nominally Christians. There is room for Christian leaders to debate that fact. However, political leaders should just assume, in their use of language, that they were adherents to their faith – just as they assumed those worshipping the two mosques were Muslims.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Buy Dublin

Historical marker in downtown Dublin, Texas:
Sam Houston Prim (1863-1946) arrived in Dublin in 1891 with $680 worth of bottling equipment, purchasing property at the southeast corner of Patrick and Elm Streets to house his bottling works. Prim bottled Dr Pepper, along with other products, under an informal agreement until 1925, when he formally chose as a Dr Pepper distribution territory a 44-mile radius centered on Dublin—an area that remains as the company’s territory today. At the time of Prim’s death, Dr Pepper executives noted that he had bottled the soft drink longer than any other individual. The company has remained in operation since that time, making it the oldest Dr Pepper bottler in the world.
This marker (Number 15878) was erected by Texas Historical Commission in 2009. The marker is located on Elm Street by/in front of Dublin Bottling Works. Events after 2009 make the last sentence outdated.

Last Tuesday we made a visit to Dublin, Texas. It was primarily for research on A. N. Whitten, but we also did a little “sight-seeing” while there (including Veldhuizen Cheese Shoppe, Erath County Courthouse, a couple of cemeteries, Clairette Schoolhouse, and some beautiful old homes). One of the sad stories of Dublin, in my opinion, is the devastation reeked on “Dublin Dr Pepper” by the big bad ogre Dr Pepper Snapple Group.[i] Cast them away, I say, and (if you drink sodas) drink sodas from Dublin Bottling Works instead of Dr Pepper. You will support a small town and one of its enterprises.

More reading:

[i] Dr Pepper was (and I believe still is) the third-largest U.S. soda manufacturing company. When Dr Pepper stopped using cane sugar and replaced it with high fructose corn syrup, the Dublin plant kept using the original recipe. Its popularity – which the parent company tried to duplicate with the “knockoff” Heritage Dr Pepper (which used beet sugar rather than cane sugar). Apparently not satisfied with this solution, they later sued Dublin Dr Pepper and put an end to its existence, as well as their connection to “the oldest Dr Pepper bottler in the world.”