Monday, February 25, 2013

Down in the Valley (Are You Dwelling in the Sunlight?)

Praise for the Lord #127

Words: Mary Barrett, 1922
Music: Leonard Daugherty, 1922

This is the only gospel song I can find attributed to Mary Barrett. We will likely never be sure who wrote these lyrics, but at least two possibilities are worth mentioning. "Mary Barrett" was the pseudonym of Mary O. Nutting (1831-1910), who wrote fiction and non-fiction books for children, as well as magazine articles and Sunday School literature. She was the first librarian of Mount Holyoke College (Nutting Papers, Mt. Holyoke Archives). I have found no reference to poetry or songwriting by Nutting, but she was a nationally known "Mary Barrett" with connections to religious journalism.

Mary P. Barrett of Barrett's Switch near Hartford, Kentucky is another possibility. She was born in 1899 (1920 U.S. Census), and was baptized into Christ at the New Baymus Christian Church on 11 August 1913 (Hartford Herald 13 August 1913 page 5). Leonard Daugherty led singing at a meeting in Hartford during April of 1906 (Hartford Republican 6 April 1906 page 5), and had been in Hartford for at least one earlier meeting (Hartford Herald 27 June 1888 page 3). Mary's education was at Bethlehem Academy, a Catholic girls' school with an outstanding reputation, which certainly would have encouraged any literary gifts she possessed. This school was located just outside Elizabethtown, Kentucky, Daugherty's home town and longtime residence (8 September 1905 page 4). Barrett married Henry Moorman Crider of Louisville in early 1921 (Hartford Herald 2 February 1921 page 4). This is pure speculation, since I have no evidence of her writings, but she was probably at least within Daugherty's circle of acquaintance.

Stanza 1:
Are you dwelling in the sunlight?
Is your path with roses strewn?
Do you walk with buoyant gladness
In the steps that you have hewn?
Have you reached the top of Pisgah?
Climbing always firm and true?
Don't forget that in the valley
There is someone needing you.

The three stanzas of this song ask the same question in different words: Are you in one of the easy stretches of life? If so, the poet suggests, you should take advantage of your blessed position to help those who are not. If we live very long at all, we learn that there are easier and harder times in our lives. My wife and I still speak of 2006 as the annus horribilis, when she was in surgery on two different occasions, both unexpectedly, and with a difficult recovery period after each. Compared to that year, most of our "hard times" have paled in comparison! We have been very blessed over the years with good health and steady employment, assuring that the physical wants of life are covered. But we know that can change in a moment, and the person "in the sunlight" can be "in the valley" in an instant.

Another key point here is seen in the refrain--the person in the valley is "a brother," who is "striving hard and true."  Sometimes people in bad circumstances have brought them on themselves through bad choices, but we all know good Christian people who, like Job, seem to be magnets for disaster and heartache. The person in the valley is not to be looked down upon, however much the metaphor might suggest it.

The person "dwelling in the sunlight," then, is simply one who is experiencing the sunny, unclouded times when life is going smoothly. We should not read too much into the metaphor and suppose that it necessarily means "walking in the light" as that idea is used in 1 John, because the brother in the valley is walking in that light as well. But there are times when life is easier, at least for most of us; here is described a time when your path is "with roses strewn," and you "walk with buoyant gladness." By contrast, the brother in the valley finds his path strewn with obstacles, with each step a struggle. You, the Christian on the sunlit road, are traveling in "steps that you have hewn," perhaps in the sense that you have already cleared many of the obstacles from your way (or more likely, God has cleared them for you) during your own previous struggles. The brother in the valley is still in that hard process of making his way.

The imagery of "the top of Pisgah" is an interesting choice, since it almost certainly refers to Moses in Deuteronomy 34:1, when he viewed the Promised Land from that summit but was not allowed to cross over the Jordan River. In this case, however, the poet probably just means that you, the Christian on the easier path, have reached a place where heaven seems within sight. The brother in the valley, with his head bowed in weariness, can see only the next step he must take.

Here then is the simple point of this hymn: If you are blessed to be in such good circumstances, use your position of strength to help brothers and sisters who are struggling. We place a lot of emphasis on our individual relationships with God, and rightly so. But God did not mean for us to walk with Him alone; He "added us to the church" (Acts 2:47). Just as we were born into a physical family without any personal choice in the matter, we are born into a spiritual family of brothers and sisters who are just as imperfect as we are ourselves. Some are weaker, and some are stronger; but we are  all here together to serve God's purpose in our generation (Acts 13:36).

Lend a hand to help a brother
Who is striving hard and true,
Don't forget that in the valley
There is someone needing you.

The text of the refrain is the same as the second half of stanza 2, which suggests that Barrett's original poem was just the three stanzas. Daugherty may have chosen this section for the refrain because it opens with an imperative to take action, in contrast to the reflective nature of the rest of the text. The responsibility of Christians toward each other is an active engagement, as seen in the many "one another" statements in the New Testament:
  • "Outdo one another in showing honor" (Romans 12:10).
  • "Live in harmony with one another" (Romans 12:16).
  • "Welcome one another" (Romans 15:7).
  • "Instruct one another" (Romans 15:14).
  • "Care for one another" (1 Corinthians 12:25).
  • "Comfort one another" (2 Corinthians 13:11).
  • "Serve one another" (Galatians 5:13).
  • "Be kind to one another" (Ephesians 4:32).
  • "Encourage one another and build one another up" (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
  • "Exhort one another every day" (Hebrews 3:13).
  • "Stir up one another to love and good works" (Hebrews 10:24).
  • "Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another" (James 5:16).
  • "Show hospitality to one another" (1 Peter 4:9).
  • "Love one another" (first spoken by Jesus in John 13:34; repeated in more than a dozen other passages).
There is a great value to spending periods of time alone with God, but obviously it is not His will that we spend our Christian lives as hermits. Working together with other Christians causes us to put our faith into practice, testing and strengthening the virtues we all desire to possess. And lest we forget, while we are on the "rose-strewn path," we either have needed in the past, or will someday need, a helping hand extended to us!

Stanza 2:
Is your day one round of pleasure,
From the morn till set of sun?
Know you not of pain or sorrow?
Are your victories all won?
Lend a hand to help a brother,
Who is struggling hard and true,
Don't forget that in the valley
There is someone needing you.


It is hard for me to know how to take the poetic imagery used in this hymn to describe the more fortunate Christian. The "rose-strewn path" and "buoyant gladness" of the first stanza seemed like the usual pseudo-Victorian excesses of many an amateur poet. But in the second stanza this flowery verbiage reaches such a pitch that I begin to wonder if it is meant ironically. I cannot read the four questions with which this stanza opens without hearing a sarcastic echo of Rosa Dartle from David Copperfield: "Is it really?" The Christian whose life can be described in such terms of ease needs to be wary; as Jesus said in Luke 6:26, "Woe to you, when all people speak well of you!"

If I am a servant of Christ, I will get my hands dirty, literally and figuratively. I need only look to my Master to learn this; here was the One who took on the role of a servant and washed feet (John 13:14), who touched the leper (Mark 1:41), and who sat down to eat with the rejects of society (Mark 2:15). His true followers will not find a path that is "one round of pleasure!" Paul even described the Lord's apostles, that holy fellowship, in the following words:
To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things (1 Corinthians 4:11-13).
Peter said that his responsibility to his brothers and sisters lasted, "as long as I am in this body" (1 Peter 1:13). Our "victories" are not "all won" as long as there is one brother or sister left in the valley. On the contrary, we need to remember the words of Paul: "If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together" (1 Corinthians 12:26).

In that same passage, speaking of members of the physical body, he noted that "the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable" (1 Corinthians 12:22). Could it be that a brother or sister in the valley of despair is critically needed for God's work? I am reminded of the relationship between two great English hymn writers, William Cowper and John Newton. Cowper was a man plagued with severe depression, who had spent time in an asylum. Newton, as is well known, was a former sea captain, whose turn to the ministry had hardly dampened his energetic personality. When Newton came to the village of Olney and moved in around the corner from Cowper, the former reprobate and the bookish recluse became best friends, engaging in long walks and lively conversation. Together they compiled the famous Olney Hymns, in which Newton's "Amazing grace" and Cowper's "God moves in a mysterious way" were first published. What would the world have lost, if not for Newton's determination to support and encourage his friend?

Stanza 3:
Sweet it is to dwell in sunlight,
Where the shadows never rise,
Where the balmy wafting breezes
Kiss the blue, o'er-hanging skies;
But there's always in the shadow
Some poor mortal, brave and true,
Don't forget that in the valley
There is someone needing you.


The third stanza returns to a less accusatory tone, admitting that it is only human to prefer the sunlit times of life. There is good and honest enjoyment in God's blessings, as is seen throughout the Proverbs. Even amid the somber pronouncements of Ecclesiastes we read: "I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil--this is God's gift to man" (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13).

But if we are blessed with such quiet and prosperous periods of life, let us make good use of them; as the saying goes, "Make hay while the sun shines." In times of prosperity, let us help those who are in need. In times of youth and vigor, let us help the weak and aged. In times of spiritual strength, let us reach out and help the weaker brother or sister. We are all just a crisis away from being on the other side of the equation.

The letter to the Romans, which has much to say in its closing chapters about the relationship between the spiritually strong and weak, caps off the discussion with the following:  "We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves" (Romans 15:1). It was Jesus himself, of course, who gave us the greatest example: "For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6). "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up." (1 Thessalonians 5:11, 14).

About the music; or this time, actually, About the musician:

From Churches of Christ: a biographical,
historical, and pictorial history
, page 653.
Leonard Daugherty (1859-1951) was a prominent songleader and songwriter in the U.S. Restoration Movement, during that unfortunate period that revealed the growing divide that manifested itself in the early 20th century in two distinct fellowships, known generally then as the Christian Churches and the Churches of Christ. A native of Kentucky, Daugherty was right along the fault line between the more liberal and urban congregations of the Midwest and the more conservative and rural congregations of the South. His career shows the complexity of such relationships during this period--to my knowledge he is the only music editor to claim the distinction of editing hymnals for both the Christian Standard and the Gospel Advocate, whose respective editors, Isaac Errett and David Lipscomb, were two of the most influential leaders on each side of the division.

Daugherty was the third of nine children, born to a farming family in the vicinity of Elizabethtown, Kentucky (just south of Louisville). He was living at home until 1880 (see Daugherty family records in References). It is not clear where he received his music education, but there was an excellent private music teacher in Elizabethtown, Mrs. Eliza Vertress, who was educated at the Bethlehem Academy and was also a member of the local Christian Church (Haycraft 161, 167).  He was referred to as "Professor Daugherty" by the editor of the Southern School Journal (December 1901 page 12), which seems to indicate a diploma, perhaps from a "music normal," an institution for training leaders of singing schools (at that time most colleges in the U.S. did not offer professional studies in music). "Professor" could also have been a courtesy title, such as "Maestro," since Daugherty was teaching for the College of the Bible in Lexington at the time; but the use of this honorific by an education journal tends to indicate more legitimacy.

By the age of 25, at least, Daugherty had found his calling as a "singing evangelist" and hit the road with none other than James A. Harding, co-founder of Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, and the man for whom Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas is named. During the 1880s Harding's more settled academic life was still in the future, and he was preaching on a nearly daily basis in evangelistic meetings across the nation (Harp "Harding"). Daugherty joined him for a meeting held in Scottsboro, Alabama in January 1884, at which they were required to purchase coal, stoke the fires, trim the lamps, and open the building for those they hoped would attend. By the end of the meeting their expenses had totaled $35.60, and local Christians had supported them to the amount of only $1.50. Had it not been for an unexpected check from Kentucky that arrived on the day of their departure, they would not have been able to leave town for their next meeting (Sears, 42, 51).

Despite the occasionally less-than-ideal circumstances, Daugherty was received with considerable acclamation as a songleader. The practice of evangelists bringing along a songleader was not just insurance against possible deficiency in the local talent; Moody and Sankey had proven in the 1870s that a skilled gospel singer could be a major attraction for gathering crowds. Daugherty was known to sing solos in these meetings as well (and not the unintentional solos I have sometimes sung when leading an unfamiliar hymn). The correspondent of the Semi-Weekly Interior Journal of Stanford, Kentucky, described the experience as follows:
The splendid solo singing by Mr. Leonard Daugherty, of Elizabethtown, who has been fitly styled "the sweet singer of Israel," is by no means a minor feature. The congregation listen to him with rapt attention and silence reigns supreme while his rich, melodious voice fills the church (16 December 1887 page 8).
The Hartford (Kentucky) Herald praised him to the same degree: "Prof. Daugherty enjoys the distinction of being one of the finest solo singers in Christian choirs, and will doubtless enrapture our people with his well-trained voice" (27 June 1888 page 3). Apparently the people of Hartford were not the only ones enraptured with him; on 7 March 1888 the 29-year-old bachelor secured a license to marry Essie Bonner of Floyd County, Indiana, just across the Ohio River from Louisville. She was an able singer herself, and later joined him in singing at meetings (Hickman Courier (Hickman, Ky.) 24 May 1895 page 3).

During the years approaching the end of the century Daugherty was becoming recognized not only regionally, but nationally. In the 1890s he was widely sought after in his own state, and in the South. He led singing for the 1894 convention of the South Kentucky Christian Missionary Society (Hartford Herald 9 May 1894 page 2). He sang for gospel meetings held in Tennessee by the prominent minister and educator Hall L. Calhoun (Christian Evangelist 2 September 1897 page 556), and in Illinois with Victor W. Dorris of the prominent congregation in Georgetown, Kentucky (Christian Evangelist 13 December 1900 page 1589). And in the fall of 1901, he was invited to lead singing for one of the devotional periods at the General Missionary Convention held in Minneapolis (Christian Evangelist 19 September 1901 page 1205).

Even more significantly, that same year he was appointed the first regular instructor of vocal music at the College of the Bible in Lexington, Kentucky (Kentucky University 1900-01, 1901-02 Catalogs page 46page 48). Today known as Lexington Theological Seminary, the College of the Bible was the oldest and most influential college associated with the Restoration Movement, and at that time was under the presidency of the influential J. W. McGarvey. Putting the icing on the cake, the Southern School Journal, the official paper of the Kentucky State Board of Education, announced that "Professor Leonard Daugherty, the eminent teacher of music in Kentucky University will contribute a song to each number of the School Journal in 1902, if space permits" (December 1901 page 12). (In a complex arrangement that was eventually dissolved, the College of the Bible functioned at that time under the umbrella of the fledgling Kentucky University.) Daugherty contributed at least one song, an arrangement of "The Star-Spangled Banner" (July 1902 page 9).

Daugherty's songleading work continued at a steady pace during the new century as well. One evangelist with whom he often traveled was James Small, who said of Daugherty, "He is beyond all odds the best leader I have met in the South" (Christian Evangelist 12 January 1905 page 59). With Small and others, Daugherty began to hold meetings outside the Restoration Movement strongholds in the Midwest and South. He went with Small to Danbury, Connecticut (Christian Evangelist 4 May 1905 page 582), and to Yakima, Washington with R. R. Hamlin (Yakima Herald (North Yakima, Washington Territory) 13 February 1907 page 13). Daugherty's work at these meetings must have been dazzling; at times he even used stereopticon shows as backdrops to the song service, predating the use of PowerPoint in songleading by nearly a century! (Hartford Republican 6 April 1906 page 4).

But however kind these decades of the 1890s and 1900s were to Daugherty's career, they were troublesome times for the churches of the Restoration Movement. Several flashpoints of division emerged, in particular the use of musical instruments in worship and participation in missionary societies. Behind these was a fundamental issue of hermeneutics and Bible authority. And I suggest that hiding behind this was an equally important question of how the churches would deal with the rising tide of theological liberalism in general, and with the growing desire to be more socially acceptable as the once-frontier regions became more urbane. Daugherty's relationship to these issues can be seen at least in part by his relationships with publishers.

I have made a WorldCat list of Daugherty's publications, and from what I have found, his first editorial credit was in Christian Hymns, published by David Lipscomb's Gospel Advocate in Nashville in 1889. GA editor Elisha G. Sewell shared top billing in this work with Rigdon McIntosh, the well-known hymnal editor for the Methodist Church (South) and a resident of Nashville; but immediately under their names appears the phrase, "assisted by Leonard Daugherty," advertising the involvement of this popular songleader. James A. Harding, one of Daugherty's earliest evangelistic partners, recalled both Daugherty and Lipscomb being present at his own first meeting with Sewell in Nashville (Sears 246). (This seems to have been just prior to Harding's and Daugherty's 1884 meeting in Alabama, previously mentioned, but Sears is not explicit about the year.)

In 1895 Daugherty self-published a small songbook called Voice of Praise, and his standing in Gospel Advocate circles was further confirmed by the publication that year of a combined "flip-over" book with Christian Hymns on one side and Voice of Praise on the other (WorldCat #37550112). But the trouble brewing over instrumental music, in particular, may have spelled the end of that collaboration. As early as 1887 his former partner James A. Harding had lost his pulpit at the Court Street congregation in Winchester, Kentucky, because he refused to go along with the inclusion of instruments (Sears 80). And by 1895, at least, we find record that Daugherty led singing with the accompaniment of an organ at the 10th Street Christian Church in Paducah, Kentucky (Harp "Calhoun").

Like many church members during this time, Daugherty may not have come to a firm opinion on these matters, or determined how to deal with the problems they created. J. W. McGarvey, for example, opposed the use of instrumental music in worship, but accepted the missionary society; many other preachers declared they were personally opposed to one or the other, or both, but would continue in fellowship with those who accepted the innovations. Even as late as 1901, David Lipscomb himself did not seem to consider this an irreconcilable problem; he and James A. Harding met with Hall L. Calhoun (who preached for the 10th Street congregation in Paducah, where the organ was used) about the possibility of the latter's teaching at the Nashville Bible School (Harp "Calhoun"). Though their differences ultimately caused Lipscomb to abandon the idea, it shows that he was open to discussion. It also suggests that he might have been willing to use Daugherty as a hymnal editor, even if they disagreed on the instrument issue, since they were obviously closer on most points than were Lipscomb and McIntosh, the Methodist editor.

Even in Voice of Praise, however, we see Daugherty's growing connection with the more progressive movement of the urban Midwest. He included a large number of songs by James H. Rosencrans, a hymnwriter and author of Sunday School material for Standard Publishing of Cincinnati ( This was the publishing arm of the Christian Standard, the leading journal among the "progressive" congregations, which had lately been edited by Isaac Errett, David Lipscomb's opposite number in the issues of the day. And from 1900 on, Daugherty seems not to have done any further work with the Gospel Advocate or its partner, McQuiddy Publishing, but instead edited hymnals for Standard Publishing and other publishers in Cincinnati. Several were co-edited with Rosencrans:
  • Crown of Beauty (Standard Publishing, 1902)
  • Union Gospel Songs (Standard Publishing, 1907)
  • Praise Triumphant (Triumphant Publishing, 1915)
  • Chimes of Glory (Powell & White, 1921) 
According to biographical notes at the Enos E. Dowling Hymnal Collection site, Daugherty served as the music editor for Christian Standard for a number years, presumably from the first decade of the century forward.

Daugherty's involvement with the missionary societies and other para-church organizations grew during the 1900s as well, further distancing him from the editors of the Gospel Advocate. Daugherty was featured prominently at the General Convention of the Christian Church held in New Orleans in 1908, where he directed the music for the final evening assembly (Christian Evangelist 29 October 1908 pages 1379, 1382).

Music directors at the 1908 General Convention.
L to R: Daugherty, Hackleman, and Van Camp.
Christian Evangelist 29 October 1908 page 1392

I have found very little concerning Daugherty's life past the early 1920s, perhaps because the digital resources to which I have access are much more extensive in the public domain era (published prior to 1923). I look forward to hearing from anyone who has further resources on this interesting transitional figure in the Restoration Movement of the early 20th century.


Nutting, Mary O. MS collection 0572. Finding aid. Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, 1998.

Household of Joseph W. Barrett. 1920 U.S. Census, Ohio County, Kentucky.

Local news. Hartford Herald (Hartford, Kentucky) 13 August 1913 page 5.

News item. Hartford Republican (Hartford, Kentucky) 8 September 1905 page 4.

News item. Hartford Herald (Hartford, Kentucky) 2 February 1921 page 4.

Churches of Christ: a biographical, historical, and pictorial history, edited John T. Brown. Louisville, Ky.: Morton, 1904.

Harp, Scott. "Hall Laurie Calhoun." The Restoration Movement,hl.htm

Harp, Scott. "James A. Harding." The Restoration Movement.,jamesa.htm

Catalog, 1900/01 & 1902/03, Kentucky University.
p. 48 Daugherty taught a vocal music course in the College of the Bible

Sears, Lloyd Cline. The eyes of Jehovah: the life and faith of James Alexander Harding. Nashville, Tenn.: Gospel Advocate, 1970.

Haycraft, Samuel. A History of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and its surroundings (written 1869). Elizabethtown, Ky. : Woman's Club of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, 1921.

"Hymnal Writers, Compilers and Publishers: Their Illinois Connection." Hymnals of the Stone-Campbell Movement: Enos E. Dowling Hymnal Collection

Daugherty newspaper articles ( and

News item. Semi-Weekly Interior Journal (Stanford, Ky.) 16 December 1887 page 8.

News item. Hartford Herald (Hartford, Ky.) 27 June 1888 page 3.

"Missionary Society." Hartford Herald (Hartford, Ky.) 9 May 1894 page 2.

News item. Hickman Courier (Hickman, Ky.) 24 May 1895 page 3.

Evangelistic reports. Christian Evangelist 2 September 1897 page 556.

Evangelistic reports. Christian Evangelist 13 December 1900 page 1589.

Program of the General Missionary Conventions, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Christian Evangelist 19 September 1901 page 1205.

Current events. Southern School Journal December 1901 page 12.

Evangelistic reports. Christian Evangelist 30 April 1903 page 356.

Evangelistic reports. Christian Evangelist 5 November 1903 page 594.

Evangelistic reports. Christian Evangelist 12 January 1905 page 59.

Evangelistic reports. Christian Evangelist 16 February 1905 page 228.

Evangelistic reports. Christian Evangelist 4 May 1905 page 582.

Evangelistic reports. Christian Evangelist 1 June 1905 page 711.

News items. Hartford Republican 6 April 1906 page 4.

Local notes. Yakima Herald (North Yakima, Washington Territory) 13 February 1907 page 13.

News from many fields. Christian Evangelist 9 July 1908 page 884.

"Meeting at Biardstown, Texas." Christian Evangelist 3 September 1908 page 1136

"Convention notes and comments." Christian Evangelist 29 October 1908 pages 1379, 1382.

News notes. Montezuma Enterprise (Montezuma, Indiana) 4 August 1921 page 1.

Religion column. Bourbon News (Paris, Ky.) 21 July 1922 page 4.

Daugherty family records

George W. Daugherty household, 1860 U.S. Census. District 1, Hardin County, Kentucky, page 82.

George W. Daugherty household, 1870 U.S. Census. Elizabethtown Precinct, Hardin County, Kentucky, page 26.

George W. Daugherty household, 1880 U.S. Census. Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Kentucky.

Leonard Daugherty & Essie Bonner, marriage license, 7 March 1888, Floyd County, Indiana.

Louisville City Directory 1890 page 1187: "L. Daugherty, music teacher."

Louisville City Directory 1891 page 325: "Leonard Daugherty, clk Greenup Music Co."

Leonard Daugherty household, 1910 U.S. Census. Allison, Jefferson County, Kentucky.

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