Margaret Jenkins Harris

Margaret Jenkins Harris

Born: Ju­ly 31, 1865, Rush­ville, Il­li­nois.
Died: Jan­ua­ry 13, 1919, Mi­a­mi, Flo­ri­da.

Hymns by Margaret Jenkins Harris

The Unsung Hymn Writer: Margaret Jenkins Harris’ Enduring Legacy

Margaret Jenkins Harris: her name may not be etched in gold or celebrated in grand biographies. Yet her legacy is no less precious, quietly woven into the fabric of faith through the songs she left behind.

Born in 1865 in Rushville, Illinois, Margaret’s life was a tapestry of music, ministry, and unwavering devotion to God. Married to songwriter and evangelist John Harris, she was a constant presence at his side as they traversed the Midwest, holding revival meetings and camp gatherings. With her organ playing and soaring vocals, Margaret was the musical heartbeat of their ministry.

But Margaret was more than just a performer. She was a gifted songwriter, pouring her heart and faith into hymns that would touch lives for generations to come. Her most famous composition, “I Will Praise Him,” was evidently born from a deeply personal place – the moment she realized her own sin and need for God’s forgiveness.

The hymn’s lyrics paint a vivid picture of Margaret’s spiritual journey. She speaks of seeing the “cleansing fountain” opened wide for her sin, of obeying the Spirit’s call to be made clean. She describes the narrow path, the surrender of her ambitions and plans, and the altar of her heart set aflame.

Through her words, we feel the depth of Margaret’s gratitude and the joy of her salvation. “I shall never cease to praise Him,” she wrote, “glory, glory to His name!” It’s a sentiment that has resonated with countless believers over the years, many of whom may not even know the name of the woman behind the song.

Though Margaret’s earthly life ended in 1919 in Miami, Florida, her spiritual legacy endures. In the pages of hymnals like “Spirit Songs” and “Glorious Gospel in Song,” which she edited, her songs continue to inspire and uplift. And every time a congregation raises its voice to sing “I Will Praise Him,” they join in the timeless chorus of praise that Margaret Jenkins Harris began.

In a world that often celebrates the famous and the flashy, Margaret’s story is a reminder of the quiet power of a life dedicated to God. Her songs, born from personal testimony and deep faith, have become part of the repertoire of worship for generations of believers.

As we reflect on her life and legacy, may we be inspired to follow in Margaret’s footsteps – to pour out our hearts in praise, to surrender our plans to God’s greater purpose, and to leave a legacy of faith that will long outlast our earthly days. For in the end, it is not the acclaim of the world that matters, but the simple, profound act of a heart wholly devoted to its Savior.

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.