Charles Hutchison Gabriel, was born in a shanty on a prairie in Iowa on August 18, 1856. He died in California on September 15, 1932. He spent the first seventeen years of his life on an Iowa farm. When he was very young, the settlers would gather at the Gabriel shanty to sing hymns, with his father leading the singing. Because of this, he showed interest in hymn writing as a lad. When his family got an organ, he taught himself to play.
At sixteen he became a music teacher, without the benefit of every receiving a formal music lesson himself. His fame as a composer and teacher became well known. From 1890-1892, he was music director at Grace Methodist Episcopal Church in California. After that, he settled in Chicago.
From 1895-1912, he published a lot of collections. In 1912, he met with “Homer Rodeheaver” publishing firm, and became their music editor. He maintained a relation until his death.
His musical talent put out eight “Sunday School” songbooks, seven books of men’s chorus, six for ladies’ voices, thirty-five gospel songbooks, ten children’s songbooks, nineteen collections of anthems, and twenty-three cantatas. He wrote the music for and estimated 8,000 gospel songs, often putting the words to his own music.
Most of his texts are signed with his pen name “Charlotte G. Homer,” the initials of which are the same as his own name the G and H are reversed.
Some of the songs he wrote are:
K.W. Osbeck, Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 1990) page 54.
The photo of Gabriel can be found at: http://www.cyberhymnal.org. Retouched by Pastor Clinton Macomber, Sept. 2010.
William J. Reynolds, Baptist Hymnal (Boardman Press, 1976) page 312 & 113
Forrest M. McCann, Hymns & History (A.C.U Press, 1997) page 404