Author: I Am Resolved
Palmer Hartsough was born in Redford, Michigan, on May 7, 1844, to Wells and Thankfull Barnes Palmer Hartsough. Named in honor of his mother’s maiden name, Palmer was raised in a Christian home – his father was very active in the fledgling Michigan Baptist Convention (established in 1836). Palmer attended both the Michigan State Normal School (in 1956 renamed Eastern Michigan University) and Kalamazoo College for his formal education.
“A normal school or normal college is an institution created to train teachers by educating them in the norms of pedagogy and curriculum. In the 19th century in the United States, instruction in normal schools was at the high school level, turning out primary school teachers.” (Wikipedia)
While attending college, he showed a keen interest in not only a career in education but specifically in music education. Following graduation, Palmer travelled between Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, and Tennessee as an itinerant music teacher. In 1877, tired of the itinerant lifestyle, he settled in Rock Island, IL, where he opened a music studio to continue his career as an educator teaching vocal and instrumental music. Over the next sixteen years, he returned to his religious roots by also serving as a music director at a local Baptist church.
While building his music studio business, Palmer caught the eye of James Henry Fillmore and the Fillmore Music Company of Cincinnati, Ohio. The attraction and appreciation of each other became so great that in 1893 Palmer moved to Cincinnati to become an employee of the Music Company for the purpose of composing lyrics for the tunes generated by the Fillmore brothers. It has been reported that Hartsough produced over a thousand literary works as an employee, but none were as enduring as his hymn “I Am Resolved.”
The tempo and tenor of “I Am Resolved” is a very appropriate one for its original purpose. Over time, James Fillmore had become more and more involved in the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor. The organization had been founded “in Portland, Maine, in 1881 by Francis Edward Clark, as an interdenominational Christian youth society encouraging them to ‘work together to know God in Jesus Christ’.” (Wikipedia) At its peak in 1908, the Christian Endeavor Societies boasted over seventy thousand groups (almost entirely student-led), over four million members, and a global impact. To help pass the time on a trip out west to an Endeavor Convention, Fillmore had put together a tune and song for the group to sing. Once they were back in Cincinnati, though, he asked Palmer to compose a text that would make the tune less associated with youth ministry and more appealing to a wider audience. The end result was the hymn we know and love, “I Am Resolved”.
I am resolved no longer to linger,
Charmed by the world’s delight,
Things that are higher, things that are nobler,
These have allured my sight.
I will hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.
I am resolved, and who will go with me?
Come, friends, without delay,
Taught by the Bible, led by the Spirit,
We’ll walk the heav’nly way.
“Hartsough moved to Cincinnati to work with the Fillmore brothers, providing texts for their music. The tune (Endeavor) for this particular hymn was composed by James Henry Fillmore (1849-1936). The song was produced in 1896 as a delegation song for Ohio representatives at the World Endeavor Convention in San Francisco, CA, to honor its founder, Frances E. Clark. Its first hymnbook appearance was in The Praise Hymnal, published by Fillmore.” (www.hymnstudiesblog.wordpress.com)
During his ten years in Cincinnati, Palmer served as the music director at Ninth Street Baptist Church and frequently ministered at the Bethel Mission. In 1906 at the age of 62, he was ordained as a Baptist pastor and served in that capacity until he retired in 1927. Five years after retirement, the prolific composer went home to be with his Lord and Savior at the age of 88.
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