Faith

STORY BEHIND “TELL MOTHER I’LL BE THERE,” By Charles M. Fillmore – 1898

 When I was but a little child how well I recollect
How I would grieve my mother with my folly and neglect;
And now that she has gone to heav’n I miss her tender care:
O Savior, tell my mother I’ll be there!

 Refrain:
Tell mother I’ll be there, in answer to her prayer; T
his message, blessèd Savior, to her bear!
Tell mother I’ll be there, Heav’n’s joys with her to share;
Yes, tell my darling mother I’ll be there.

 Though I was often wayward, she was always kind and good;
So patient, gentle, loving when I acted rough and rude;
My childhood griefs and trials she would gladly with me share:
O Savior, tell my mother, I’ll be there!

 When I became a prodigal, and left the old rooftree,
She almost broke her loving heart in mourning after me;
And day and night she prayed to God to keep me in His care:
O Savior, tell my mother, I’ll be there!

 One day a message came to me, bade me quickly come
If I would see my mother ere the Savior took her home;
I promised her before she died for heaven to prepare:
O Savior, tell my mother I’ll be there!

“I cannot subscribe to the idea that luck had very much to do with making me  President  of the United States,“William McKinley once said. “I have never been in  doubt since I was old enough to think intelligently that I would sometime be made   president.”

His mother had other intentions for her son who was born in Ohio in 1843, child  number seven out of nine children born to William and Nancy McKinley. She was  superintendent of the Sunday School and often boasted to friends that her son would one day be a Methodist bishop. Her comment following McKinley’s being elected the  25th president was, “Well, that’s all right, too.”

President McKinley and his mother had a close relationship and during the winter of ’97  she became seriously ill. McKinley installed a special telegraph wire connecting the  White House to his mother’s home in Canton, Ohio. He also kept a special train ready  for the trip. One night the elderly woman called for her son and so the nurses wired, “Mr. President we think you had better come.” He sent back the answer, “TELL  MOTHER I’LL BE THERE.” He arrived just in time for his mother to die in his arms.

When the story hit the newspapers Charles Fillmore, a hymn writer from the Midwest,  was deeply touched with the story. He felt those words expressed the perfect sentiment for wayward children who needed to meet their mothers in heaven one day. He penned  the words and music to “Tell Mother I’ll Be There.” Evangelist Charles Alexander once  claimed that this song had “converted more men than any other song”as it was often  sung for the invitational hymn during the 20th century.

Four years after Mrs. McKinley’s death the president was attending a reception in  Buffalo, NY. He was shot as he reached out to shake another hand. As he lay dying he  managed to tell his guards not to hurt the assassin and to be very careful as to how they  broke the tragic news to his wife. He died a week later, just six months after his second  inauguration.

Information adapted from a book I enjoy reading titled,”Then Sings My Soul” Book  One by Robert J. Morgan)

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