Today, Pam and I were on the road again. Over the last few weeks, we have visited three different Pennsylvania cities. Several weeks ago we were in Pittsburgh. While there we visited Essie’s Original Hot Dog Shop. If you are in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, it is worth the visit. We were also in Erie several weeks ago, and today we went to Dubois. The address for the doctor’s office seemed familar – and now I know why. Located next to the doctor’s office was the Western Pennsylvania Wesleyan District office. That was interesting.
We decided to go home a different way and just past Penfield, PA we came across the above historical marker. Philip P. Bliss was a gospel song writer who was born in Penfield. Later his family moved to Rome, PA. Bliss wrote the words and music to many gospel songs, including Hallelujah, What a Savior. While he didn’t write the lyrics, he did pen the tune to It Is Well With My Soul, which we sang this last Sunday. As I mentioned he usually wrote by the lyrics and the music to his songs.
On December 29, 1876, Bliss and his wife were traveling by train when there was a terrible accident – near Ashtabula, OH. The train crashed into a ravine. Many passengers were not killed by the fall, but by the fire that erupted after the crash. Bliss was killed trying to go back into the fiery crash to rescue his wife.
Following his death, an unpublished poem was found in his trunk. It contained the words found in the hymn I Will Sing of My Redeemer. It was set to a tune specially written for it by James McGranahan, which is one of the settings that it is often sung to. It also goes very well with the hymn tune Hyfrodol. You would know that as the tune to Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus.
It was a great find as we drove the scenic byways of Pennsylvania during our tour of Pennsylvania doctors.