This is the day that … Grant Colfax Tullar was born in Connecticut, in 1869. At that time Grant was President, and Colfax was Vice-President, hence the little fellow’s name!
His mother died when he was only two years of age, and he was reared by “unsympathetic relatives”, worked in a woollen mill, then a shoe store. At the age of 19 he was converted at a Methodist camp meeting, and went on to become a Methodist minister.
In 1898 he was in the home of a pastor and his wife in New Jersey. Tullar tells the story in his book, Written Because, that at the tea table there was only “a wee dab of jelly” left. The hosts, knowing his love for jelly, insisted that he have it. As he started to scoop it onto his plate he asked, “So this is all for me, is it?”
And immediately the theme of a gospel song suggested itself to him. He went to the piano and wrote words and music:
All for me the Saviour suffered,
All for me He bled and died …
That night the pastor, Rev. C.L. Mead, sang it as a solo at the evangelistic meeting.
Next morning a letter arrived from Mrs Carrie Breck, including the words of a poem she had just written. And those words fitted the melody Grant Tullar had composed the previous evening. So he discarded his “All for me” words, and today many a gospel singer has sung Mrs Breck’s words to Grant Tullar’s melody –
Face to face with Christ my Saviour,
Face to face – what will it be …
Grant Tullar pastored a Methodist Church for some time before entering full-time evangelistic work. In 1893 he founded the Tullar-Meredith Publishing Company of New York. Through that enterprise he edited many hymnals and gospel songbooks and wrote both words and music to a number of hymns. He died on 20 May, 1950.
This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com.
Tags: grant colfax tullar, hymn writing, hymnal, hymns, methodist, music publishing, songbooks
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