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date: 15 December 2019

Hanby, Benjamin R(ussel)locked

  • Dale Cockrell


(b Rushville, OH, July 22, 1833; d Chicago, IL, March 16, 1867).

American composer. He was educated at Otterbein College, Westerville, Ohio, and in 1858 became a minister. He later left the ministry and taught in singing-schools; he also worked for the John Church publishing company in Cincinnati and, from 1865, for Root & Cady of Chicago. He wrote children’s songs for school and Sunday school and edited books of such pieces for Root & Cady, one of which, Our Song Birds (1866), contained his popular Christmas songs “Who is he in yonder stall?” and “Santa Claus, or Up on the House Top.” Of his nearly 80 songs only two others have secured him lasting fame, and both are minstrel songs that manifest his sympathy for the abolitionist cause: the immensely popular “Darling Nelly Gray” (1856), with its simple, accessible, hymn-like melody, actually helped to turn the emotions of the North against slavery, and “Ole Shady” (...

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