Daniel Brink Towner was born March 5, 1850, in Rome, Pennsylvania.
He served as a music director in various Methodist churches. At the age of 20 he was music director at the Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church in Binghamton, New York. Later he served at the York Street Methodist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.
In 1885, D.L. Moody came to Cincinnati to lead an evangelistic campaign. Daniel Towner trained and directed the choir for the meetings, and D.L. Moody was impressed, and compelled Towner to join his evangelistic campaign. Towner remained associated with the meetings for the rest of his life.
In 1890, D.L. Moody started the Moody Bible Institute to train evangelists and song leaders. Three years after it opened, Towner was hired by D.L. Moody, to head up the music department (1893). In this position, he trained quite a few notable music leaders. Towner kept this position at Moody Bible Institute until the time of his death.
He wrote over 2000 published songs, and 14 hymn books. He limited himself to gospel music and male chorus arrangements. He also wrote and had published a variety of music theory and practice.
Some of the Music he wrote is found in the following hymns:
He was awarded a Doctorate of Music in 1900 by the University of Tennessee. He was also given a memorial tablet placed in a prominent position in the Moody Memorial Church of Chicago.
He died doing what he loved to do, leading music for an evangelistic meeting in Longwood, Missouri, on October 3, 1919.
Frances A. Mosher, “A Hymn of Grace.” edited by The Grace Evangelical Society, Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society (The Grace Evangelical Society, 1992; 2002), Autumn 1992; Vol. 5, No. 2; page 96.
Frances A. Mosher, “A Gospel Hymn of Grace.” edited by The Grace Evangelical Society, Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society (The Grace Evangelical Society, 1994; 2002), Spring 1994; Vol. 7, No. 1; page 90.
Kenneth W. Osbeck, Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 1990), page 111.
Kenneth W. Osbeck, 101 More Hymn Stories (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 1985), page 39-41, 292.