Author: Samuel Francis Smith

Samuel Francis Smith, engraving by American Logotype Company, J.S. Conant, 1880

A Baptist minister, journalist, and author, Samuel Francis Smith (1808–95) is best known for writing the lyrics to “My Country, ’Tis of Thee.” Though the song is set to the music of Britain’s national anthem, Smith came to it by way of a German song. Also known as “America,” the song was first performed in public on July 4, 1831, at a children’s Independence Day celebration at Park Street Church in Boston. He wrote over 150 other hymns, and in 1843 collaborated with Baron Stow to compile a Baptist hymnal, The Psalmist. Smith died in 1895 while on his way to preach.

My Country, ’Tis of Thee

Samuel Francis Smith

To what are we indebted for our “Sweet Freedom”? Reflect on Samuel Francis Smith’s song, formerly our de facto national anthem, and what it is that we owe to our ancestors, our schools, and to God.