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She was born in Putnam County, New York, on March 24, 1820. At the age of only 6 weeks she lost her eyesight because of the application of a mustard poultice to her eyes by a country doctor. Her father died soon afterward, but these difficulties did not affect her happy disposition. At the age of about 8 she wrote:

Oh, what a happy soul am I,

Although I cannot see,

I am resolved that in this

world contended I will be.

How many blessings I enjoy

That other people don't!

To weep the sight because

I am blind,

I cannot, and I won't!

One of her advantages was that she was able to write undisturbed by outsite distructions. It was obvious that she possessed a gift of rhyming and an acute memory.

In the later year she married a blind musician, Alexander van Alstyne, but their only child died in infancy; Fanny's husband died in 1883.

Between 1853 and 1858 she wrote twenty (20) songs, set to music by G. F. Root, which became very popular. She continued in this line of composition until about 1864, when W. B. Bradbury suggested that she devote her talent in writing Christian songs and hymns. She followed the practice of praying before each composition.

She contracted with one publishing house to write three (3) hymns a week for a year.

She wrote at least nine thousand (9,000) hymns, thousand (1,000) of these were found as late as 1972 by the Hope Publishing Company.

She died peacefully at Bridgeport, Connecticut, on February 12, 1915, not quiet six weeks before her ninety-fith (95th) birthday.


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