Author: Ina D. Ogdon
Composer: Charles H. Gabriel
Ina D. Ogdon was born on April 3, 1872, in Rossville, Illinois, to William and Laetitia Wilson Duley. Ina was a child destined to become great. She was very intelligent in her youth and was brought up in the Christian church. Unlike most children in that day, she finished her primary, elementary and high school education.
She had an interest and a dream that someday she would serve the Lord on a foreign mission field or in the local church. She was blessed with a positive attitude and made the best of whatever life offered.
Ina attended Greer College in Hoopeston, Ill., and taught in Illinois schools from 1892-1900. She wrote her first published hymn at age 20 in 1892. The title of her first hymn was “Open Wide The Windows.” With this hymn, she started her long friendship with composer Charles H. Gabriel.
In 1896, Ina married another teacher, James Weston Ogdon. They moved to Toledo, Ohio, in 1900. Their only child was a son, William Duley Ogdon. He was born in 1901.
Ina had hopes of speaking and preaching on the Chautauqua Circuit, a Methodist Camp in Western New York, but her hopes were crushed when just days before her first scheduled speaking engagement in 1912, her father was in a serious automobile accident. She had to make a decision on whether to go on to Chautauqua and speak or stay home and care for her injured Dad. She chose the latter, and stayed with him.
She was disappointed in not being able to attend the camp meeting, and all the people at the Methodist Camp were disappointed she couldn’t come, but what happened due to this accident blessed millions around the world for years to come.
Ina overcame despair and disappointment while sitting with her father and in her positive altitude looked around her father’s room and wrote lyrics to one of the most popular hymns of all times, “Brighten The Corner Where You Are.”
Ina wrote the hymn in 1912 and her friend Charles H. Gabriel composed the music for it the same year.
There was a great revival service going on in the Rev. Billy Sunday Tabernacle in Columbus, Ohio, in 1913. Mr. Homer Rodeheaver was the music director for the Billy Sunday Crusade, and he stepped up on the podium and told the crowd of 5,000 that he had a new song he wanted to introduce to them. He then took his trombone in hand and with the first notes played, the thousands jumped to their feet and began singing, “Brighten The Corner Where You Are” in an up-tempo beat.
The hymn was so popular that the Billy Sunday Crusade services used it for their opening hymn for the next 22 years.
Mrs. Ogdon thought she would reach thousands that summer night in 1916 by speaking at Chautauqua Methodist Camp, but instead she has reached millions with the hymn she wrote while staying at home. More that 25 million copies of the hymn has been printed. It is sung in many Protestant Churches today. It seems that God’s will was for her to become a great hymn writer.
The music was composed by Charles H. Gabriel. He was born on Aug. 18, 1856, in Wilton, Iowa. His first 17 years were spent on a farm. There he developed into a quiet man, large in stature and built with an inner strength that he needed for the years that lay ahead. He left home in his 17th year and began setting up singing classes throughout the southern, northern and western states. He became well known throughout the country. He finally settled in California where he was recognized as the leading composer on the West Coast.
He wrote 24 song books for use in Sunday School and revivals. Some of his best known songs that we still sing today are “Send The Light,” “Calling The Prodigal,” “The Way of The Cross Leads Home” and “Let The Sunshine In.” He also wrote many books for singers. He wrote three books for female voices, three books for male voices, one class book and others.
Charles H. Gabriel died Sept. 14, 1932, in Hollywood, Calif.
“Carry your Cross with a Smile”
Tho’ your heart may be heavy with sorrow and care,
You may others to gladness beguile,
If a face like the light of the morning you wear,
And carry your cross with a smile!
Carry your cross with a smile,
Carry your cross with a smile;
You may others from sadness to gladness beguile,
If you carry your cross with a smile.
Let the well by the wayside that flows unto all
Strength impart for each step of the mile;
Let your faith the great promises often recall,
And carry your cross with a smile!
For the work that you faithfully, willingly do,
You shall reap a reward after while;
Only grace in your service can glorify you,
So carry your cross with a smile!
* Warren Shiver lives in Biscoe and is the author of three books, “104 of My Favorite Hymn Stories,” Vol. 1-3. They are available for purchase via his website, myfavoritehymnstories.com. Contact: (910) 428-4078 ; P.O. Box 775, Biscoe, NC 27209; or firstname.lastname@example.org. For those who mention they read about his books in the newspaper, he will ship all three books for $35 with free shipping.