His Come Back
James McGranahan was a 19th-century American musician and songwriter, well-known for his various songs of praise. He was born on July 4 1840, in West Fallowfield or Adamsville, Pennsylvania, and passed away on July 9 1907 at his home in Kinsman, Ohio.
He composed over 25 songs of praise. For example, in one work he is listed as the songwriter of 3 notable songs: "He Will Hide Me" by Mary Elizabeth Servoss, "Revive Your Work, O Lord" by Albert Midlane, and "Come" by "James Gibson Johnson"; and he wrote the music for at least 39 of the 79 songs of praise in a work co-authored with Ira D. Sankey.
The music of his song of praise "My Redeemer," written for lyrics by P. P. Bliss, is used as the accompaniment for the Latter-day Saints song of praise "O My Father."
In Hawaii, McGranahan is well-known for writing the music to the song of praise "I Left It All With Jesus," which, when joined to the words "Hawaii Aloha" by the Reverend Lorenzo Lyons (an early missionary to Hawaii) began to be one of Hawaii's best known and best loved songs. In Hawaii the melody is called Hawaii Aloha and the texts were penned by Lorenzo Lyons, a minister. Lyons was known as "Makua Laiana" or simply "Laiana." The song is often sung at the close of public governmental, sacred, academic and sporting events.
There has been a lot of talks in the religious world about the second coming of Christ, and there is definitely a lot of errors regarding this Bible doctrine that individuals need to beware of. But aside from that, the most essential fact that individuals need to keep in mind is that someday, people do not know when, "Christ Returneth."
No one knows for defining the identity of the “H. L. Turner”. The characteristic of the lyrics to Harvey Leonard Turner (originated in a few library catalog records in the Worldcat.org) is inaccurate, because that individual was not born until the year 1893! The author might have been Colonel Henry Lathrop Turner (year 1845 to year 1915), a well-known citizen of Chicago who was illustrated in his New York Times obituary as “soldier, banker, [and] verse writer.” The alumni magazine of his Alma mater, Oberlin College, also noted: “He was a man of fine literary tastes and was the author of books and poems.”
Henry L. Turner was a man of many skills, destined for greatness. Born in Oberlin, Ohio in the year 1845, he started college in his early teens, and hurried to complete his degree before he came of age for service in the Civil War. He was ordered as a lieutenant before reaching 20 years old, and worked Adjutant of the 5th Regiment, United States Colored Troops. After the war he went to Chicago and turned to journalism, composing for the Advance and for the Advocate (which he later owned and managed). He then made an effort in his hand at real estate and banking, and began to be one of the most well-known money men in the booming industrial city. Notwithstanding this comfortable existence, at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War he volunteered to command the 1st Regiment, Illinois National Guard, and saw combat again in Santiago, Cuba.
But was this the H.L. Turner who wrote “Christ Returneth?” Colonel Turner was well-known as a speaker, master of ceremonies, and sometime poet. For example, when he hosted a reception for the armed forces at the 1893 Columbian Exposition, he led the crowd in singing a poem he had written just for the occasion, “The National Guard,” set to a well-known tune. (NYT, “Soldiers”)
The best evidence, however, comes from the following brief essay by Colonel Turner, titled “The Lost Chord.” This sounds like a person who could have written “Christ Returneth”
It is whether the human content is a human possibility. And yet, the charming story of the lost chord, as told in the music of Sullivan and the poetry of Adelaide Proctor – how an organist, once pressing idly the keys, struck by chance a chord of astonishing beauty and peace and grandeur, how he lost it, and year by year wanted for it in vain – straying over the keys of human existence, did not strike out a sacred beautiful chord of blended love, content and cheerful. And waiting with unfaltering belief and dream for the time when the Great Master shall strike that chord again, and listen, listen to the heavenly tune which shall breathe content to the discontented and the sorrowful, which shall fill every heart and hearth-side with a sacred, a beneficent contentment, which shall come to the American people like the breathing of God’s amen.
But did he have any contact with James McGranahan, the songwriter of the music and co-editor of the songbook in which “Christ Returneth” first occurred? They would not necessarily have to meet; McGranahan might have found the lyrics produced in a magazine. But the men definitely could have met. McGranahan came to Chicago in the year 1876, taking the place of Philip Paul Bliss (who had passed away in a railroad accident) as song leader for evangelist D. W. Whittle. (McGranahan obituary, 7) He also replaced Bliss as co-editor of Ira Sankey’s prominent Gospel Songs of Praise series. It was just two years later that Gospel Songs of Praise No. 3 was published, containing “Christ Returneth” with music by McGranahan.
Unless some further evidence comes to light, there is a probability that Colonel Henry L. Turner was the author of these lyrics; it is a fairly good case, but is still no more than speculation. The only other song of praise by an H. L. Turner is “Peace like a River Is Flooding My Soul,” produced in His Voice in Song (Chattanooga, Tennessee: R. E. Winsett, in the year 1918). That is a world away, stylistically and generationally, from McGranahan, Sankey’s Gospel Songs of Praise, and “Christ Returneth,” so that lyrics may well be from a different person.