Today in 1846 – William Featherstone Born

Wordwise Hymns

William Ralph (sometimes spelled Rolf) Featherstone lived with his family in Montreal. They attended the Wesleyan Methodist church there (now called St. James United Church). And there is some question about the years of his birth and death. Some list them as 1842-1870, others 1846-1873. It will be seen that in either case he died while still a young man in his late twenties.

Featherstone wrote the hymn My Jesus, I Love Thee when he was 16 years old, likely at the time of his conversion. He sent a copy to his aunt in California, and it was she who suggested he have it published. Reportedly, his descendants still treasure the original manuscript of the hymn.

A Methodist hymnal published early in the twentieth century has in interesting difference in the wording of the first stanza from what we’re familiar with today. It reads:

My Jesus, I love Thee…

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