Elvina Hall

Elvina Hall

Born: June 4, 1822 (or 1818 or 1820; sourc­es va­ry), Al­ex­an­dria, VA.
Died: Ju­ly 18, 1889, Ocean Grove, NJ.
Buried: Green Mount Ce­me­te­ry, Bal­ti­more, MD.

Hymns by Elvina Hall

From Alexandria to Baltimore: The Early Life of Elvina Hall

Elvina Mable Reynolds was born in 1820 in the historic city of Alexandria, Virginia. As the daughter of Captain David Reynolds, Elvina grew up in a family where leadership and service were valued. Though the details of her father’s role as a captain remain unknown, the strength of character and faith that Elvina would later display suggest that she was raised in a household where such virtues were nurtured and encouraged. Little did she know that her own faith would one day inspire countless believers through the power of hymn.

A Moment of Divine Inspiration

In the spring of 1865, as the Civil War drew to a close, Elvina found herself in the choir of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore. It was there, during a particularly lengthy sermon, that inspiration struck. As her mind wandered to the cross and the sacrifice of Jesus, Elvina began to pen the words that would become the beloved hymn “Jesus Paid It All.”

With no paper at hand, Elvina scribbled the lyrics on the flyleaf of her New Lute of Zion hymnal. Little did she know that this impromptu act of devotion would touch the lives of countless believers for generations to come.

A Collaboration Born of Faith

After the service, Elvina shared her newly written lyrics with her pastor, who immediately recognized their potential. In a moment of divine serendipity, the pastor connected Elvina with the church organist, John Grape, who had recently composed a new tune.

Together, Elvina and John worked to unite her heartfelt words with his stirring melody. The result was a hymn that perfectly captured the essence of the gospel message: that Jesus paid the ultimate price for our salvation, and that to Him, we owe everything.

A Legacy of Devotion

At the urging of her pastor, Elvina and John sent their hymn to Professor Theodore Perkins, publisher of the Sabbath Carols periodical. Perkins recognized the power of their creation and gave it its first publication. From that moment on, “Jesus Paid It All” became a cherished favorite of American Christians, a testament to the enduring power of faith and the timeless message of the cross.

Elvina Hall’s life was one of devotion, both to her family and to her Lord. She remained a faithful member of her church for forty years, through times of joy and sorrow. In 1885, she found love again, marrying Methodist minister Thomas Myers at the home of her daughter, Ella.

On July 18, 1889, Elvina Hall passed from this life to her eternal reward. Though her voice has been stilled by the passage of time, her legacy lives on through the words she penned in a moment of divine inspiration. It is truly remarkable to consider that a few lines scribbled on the flyleaf of a hymnal, the product of a wandering mind during a lengthy sermon, could have such a profound and lasting impact. “Jesus Paid It All” has touched the hearts of countless believers, crossing denominational lines and spanning generations.

As we sing this timeless hymn, we join our voices with Elvina’s, proclaiming the truth that has the power to set every captive free. Her story reminds us that even the most fleeting moments of devotion, when offered to God, can be used to change lives and bring glory to His name.

I hear the Savior say,
Thy strength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.

In the hands of a faithful God, even the most humble offering can become a source of blessing and encouragement for generations to come!

Don Chapman

Don Chapman

Composer/arranger Don Chapman has created HYMNDEX as a labor of love to help new generations learn about the lives, legacies and lyrics of historic hymn writers.