The "Beautiful Isle of Somewhere" is a melody with texts by Miss Jessie Brown Pounds and song by Mr. John Sylvester Fearis written in the year 1897. The melody gained enormous popularity when it was used in William McKinley's funeral. It was a foremost of interments for decades subsequently, and there are dozens of recorded categories.
The "Beautiful Isle of Somewhere" was initially a poem entitled "Beautiful Isle" by Jessie Brown Pounds. The words were written in the winter of 1896, throughout a period of miserable weather. Convinced or possibly required to stay home, the words were written within an hour's time. It was set to music by John S. Fearis, who had bought the poem for five (5) dollars, and the tune was published in the year 1897. In the year 1901, the melody was sung by the Euterpian Ladies Quartet towards the start of the President McKinley's memorial service. A 1908 recording for Edison by Harry Anthony and James Harrison was very famous, as was a 1916 version of John McCormack. In the year 1969 Jake Hess won the 1969 Grammy Award for Best Inspirational Performance using this song as the title of his album.
The "Beautiful Isle" comes after a nineteenth-century tradition of representing paradise. The tune was written to dissimilarity the hardships on Earth with the tranquility of Heaven. The hearer is asked to believe that in the long term, "all is good" because God is alive. The song of praise has appeal at funerals or interments because the lyrics announce that "somewhere" we will "remain alive anew".
The tune became tremendously famous for decades after McKinley’s service. The song and lyrics have been glorified as “beautiful,” but worship for the song has not been worldwide. Shortly after the McKinley service it was criticized by The Independent as a remarkable blot to the memory of the late president. Woodrow Wilson, while governor of New Jersey, pronounced the song could be dangerous if taught to children, as it was "foolish" and "indefinite." The Seventh-day Adventist publication Signs of the Times pronounced "Amen" to the future U.S. President, listing it among the tunes "not expressively frail and shallow". Simultaneously, John D. Rockefeller was declaring its use in church. In the year 1927, William Henry O'Connell, the Archbishop of Boston, prohibited the use of the tune in interments, calling the song of praise "silly" and "graceless." Cardinal O'Connell was concerned, it was among a group of melodies created by authors whose "maudlin sentiment" overlook their belief. He intimidated organists and choir directors who executed the piece with the loss of their positions. Some Boston protestant ministers joined in denouncing the song at that time. Defenders of the song of praise pronounced that descriptions of paradise were definitely allegorical, and distressed the prohibition would spread to other favorite songs of praises. A 1928 Lutheran publication used O'Connell's exact texts when it illustrated the song as a "sob-producer" that was a "blatant disapproval to belief and the ritual." Later, Donald H. V. Hallock prohibited the use of this and other "famous" tunes from use of Episcopalian services as they did not uphold to rubric. Christian theologians have taken matters with the song because it illustrates Heaven in nebulous terms. Disapprovals aside, others have noted that this nostalgic song is a "happiness to sing."
Jessie Hunter Brown Pounds was born and raised on August 31, 1861. Jessie Hunter passed away on March 3, 1921 in Hiram, Ohio. Jessie was an American lyricist of gospel songs.
Jessie Hunter Brown Pounds was born into a farm family in the town of Hiram, Portage County. A staff writer for Christian Standard, she frequently participated with composer James Henry Fillmore, Sr. (year 1849 – year 1936). In the year 1897 she got married to John E. Pounds, clergyman of the Central Christian Church in Indianapolis, IN.
As a college-learned, frontier woman, she is deemed by any to be part of the "first generation" of "New Women."
Jessie Brown's parents were Holland Brown and Jane Abel Brown. Holland Brown was immersed after hearing Walter Scott sermon; and the couple were abolitionists. Her parents introduced pioneers and legends including James A. Garfield.
"Her pen made upwards of 800 songs of praises, 80 short stories, 7 novels, lyrics, and scripts for cantatas, and innumerable brief essays and non-fiction articles."
Pounds was in bad health as a child, and got her early education in the house. At age fifteen, she started submitting articles to Cleveland newspapers and numerous spiritual publications. In her early years, an editor mentioned that a few of her poetry would make a good song of praise words. So started her song writing profession. Over her existence, she wrote fifty librettos for cantatas and operettas, nine books, and more than four hundred Gospel songs. She cooperated with James Fillmore for 3 decades. In the year 1896, Jessie got married to John Edwin Pounds (year 1864– year 1925), pastor of the Central Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
An unforgettable phrase would come to her, she would list it down in her notebook. Perhaps a couple months later she would write out the entire song of praise. She is the author of nine (9) books, about fifty (5) librettos for cantatas and operettas and of nearly four hundred songs of praises. Her song of praise "Beautiful Isle of Somewhere" was sung at President McKinley's interment.
John Sylvester Fearis was the male child of William George Fearis and Rebecca Jane Kopp. John was born and raised on February 5, 1867 in Hiram, Ohio. He passed away on September 2, 1932 at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. John Sylvester Fearis was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
John's father was an outstanding singing school professor, and a painter by trade. At a young age, John studied to read music in his father's classes. He was passionately enthusiastic about music, and, having lessons on the reed organ, he was soon able to play in a Sunday educational institution and church.
Later, he took charge of the church choir, and tutored singing classes in nearby villages. He wrote his 1st song of praise tune at age 16. He finally joined the editorial staff of the Choir Leader, produced by Lorenz Publishing Company in Dayton, Ohio.