Birthdays on October 21
Samuel Francis Smith was born in Boston, Massachussets. A graduate of Andover Theological Seminary in 1834, he pastored the Baptist church at Waterville, Maine (1834-42) and the Baptist church of Newton, Massachussets (1842-1854). After that, he was editorial secretary of the American Baptist Missionary Union. Smith had a lifelong interest in hymnology and is credited with about 100 hymns, including "America," which he wrote at age 23 while in seminary. He felt the United States need a Christian patriotic song. In 1843, he helped compile The Psalmist, the most widely used Baptist hymnal of the day.