Perkins, E. A. probably is Edward A. Perkins, son of John Perkins and Mary Bassett, born March 1834 in Ohio. In 1840 & 1850 the family was in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and in Pepin County, Wisconsin in 1860. Perkins worked in treasury department, living in Washington, DC in 1880. He appears in the Multnomah County, Oregon censuses, living in Portland in 1900, 1910, and 1920. However, he was in Hudson, New Jersey, living with Stephen and Grace Anderson (his daughter) during the 1905 New Jersey state census. His occupation that year is “composer.” The tune Solon appears at least as early as 1857 in The Jubilee: an Extensive Collection of Church Music (William B. Bradbury, New York, NY: Mason Brothers, 1857, p. 158) credited to E. A. Perkins. Perkins also has a tune named Menona in that book. In 1857 he produced The Western Bell: a Collection of Glees, Quartetts and Choruses, with Frederick H. Pease (Boston, MA: Oliver Ditson & Co., 1857). Edward A. Perkins wrote the words and music of The Soldier’s Dream Of Home, sheet music published in 1858 (Boston: Oliver Ditson & Co, 1858). Some of Perkins’s songs appear in the New York Musical Review and Gazette; one attribution locates him in Lyons, New York in 1856. School Chimes: a New School Music Book (James R. Murray, Cleveland, OH: S. Brainard’s Sons, 1874) includes three songs by Edward A. Perkins “Composed for this work.” He may be the same Edward Perkins who died January 22, 1922, in Portland, Oregon.
Solon is found on page 91b of 1911 The Sacred Harp, Fourth Edition with Supplement, and was on 91b in the new section of The Sacred Harp, Fifth Edition in 1909. The song uses two stanzas of Isaac Watts’s hymn “God’s presence is light in darkness.”
My God, the spring of all my joys,
The life of my delights,
The glory of my brightest days,
And Comfort of my nights!
In darkest shades, if thou appear,
My dawning is begun,
Thou art my soul’s bright morning star,
And thou my rising sun.