John Frederick Anderson
1893 - 1974
John F. Anderson, a singing evangelist in the first half of the 20th Century, was also a songwriter. Before he became a Seventh-day Adventist in 1923, he, with his wife, Ruth, who was an SDA, conducted Singing Schools in the South. These popular events, which started in Colonial times, had by the early years of the 20th century become weeklong social occasions, at which proper hymn singing was taught to large gatherings.
John was born in Paragould, Arkansas, one of sixteen children born to Alonzo Washington and Isabelle V. Tyner Anderson. A farming family, they resided first in Arkansas and then in Texas during John's childhood.
He was converted to the Adventist church and baptized at an Oklahoma camp meeting. After selling church literature for three years, he began assisting evangelists as a singer, on occasion singing songs he had written. Thirteen of his songs were published in 1934 in a booklet titled Songs of Faith and Hope.
He became an evangelist and pastor and in his ministry served in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Following his retirement in 1941, he continued to assist in Adventist churches in the Southwest and eventually settled in California, where he died at age 81. Although none of his songs or hymn tunes was included in the 1941 SDA Church Hymnal, one of his tunes was used for hymn #381, Holy Sabbath Day of Rest, in the 1985 SDA Church Hymnal.
Sources: Wayne H. Hooper and Edward E. White, Companion to the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, 1988, Review and Herald Publishing Association, 391; online sources (Singing Schools); Obituary, Pacific Union Recorder, 24 February 1975, 7; 1900 U.S. Census Records and a family tree, both accessed through Ancestry .com.