Select Page

Phoebe Palmer Knapp (1839 -1908)

Phoebe Palmer Knapp

Phoebe Worrall Palmer (1807-1874), mother of Phoebe Palmer Knapp, was one of the most widely known women of the nineteenth century. Phoebe Palmer was born in New York City on December 18, 1807 to Henry and Doreth Wade Worrall. On September 28, 1827, Phoebe Worrall married Walter C. Palmer, a Methodist Episcopal Church lay leader, lay preacher, and homeopathic physician in New York City.

The resources received from Walter’s practice allowed Phoebe to extend her speaking and writing career. As a result, Phoebe’s influence was felt well beyond the borders of the religious life of nineteenth-century America. From 1840 until her death in 1874, she conducted a well-attended prayer meeting and fellowship in her New-York-city home known as the “Tuesday Meeting for the Promotion of Holiness.” She traveled extensively as a guest speaker to revivals, special services, and camp meetings in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. In addition to her speaking responsibilities, Phoebe undertook extensive writing assignments. Among her literary legacy are well-known works, including The Way of Holiness Entire Devotion to God (1845), Faith and Its Effects (1848), and Promise of the Father (1858). In addition, she edited the Guide to Holiness, one of the nation’s most widely circulated religious monthlies, from 1864 to 1874. Having retired early from his practice, Walter traveled with Phoebe as a preaching team from 1859 to her death in 1874.

image
Fanny J. Crosby

The Palmers had six children, three of which died in infancy. Of the three surviving children, two were girls, Sarah and Phoebe, and a son, Walter Clark, Jr. It was name-sake Phoebe who was to follow in the spiritual footsteps of her mother, though she would never realize the same level of notoriety afforded to her mother. Daughter Phoebe was born March 9, 1839 in New York City. At the tender age of 16, Phoebe married a dedicated Sunday school worker by the name of Joseph Fairfield Knapp, one of the founders and the second president of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

As members of the St. John’s Methodist Church in New York City, they were afforded the friendship of one of St. John’s most beloved members, Fanny J. Crosby, the famed blind hymn writer. Perhaps it was Miss Crosby’s example that encouraged Phoebe Palmer Knapp to write the tunes for more than 500 hymns. But her greatest success was to come through a collaborative effort with Miss Crosby. One day Phoebe completed the composition of a tune, and with a sense of its uniqueness impressed upon her heart, she made her way to Miss Crosby’s home in Brooklyn. After playing the tune, she turned from the piano to see Fanny kneeling in prayer. Thinking she had not heard it, Phoebe played it once again. Later Fanny would reflect upon that experience in the following words: “My friend, Mrs. Knapp, composed a melody, and played it over to me two or three times on the piano. She then asked me what it said, and I immediately replied, ‘Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine!'” Within a few minutes of having heard the tune, Fanny had effortlessly composed three verses and a chorus for Phoebe’s new tune, and in 1873, their joint effort, “Blessed Assurance,” was published for the Christian world to celebrate.

image
Phoebe Worrall Palmer

The text and tune of this much-loved hymn has bathed the sorrowing brow of many saints, and its use in the church from its publication more than a century ago to the very present speaks volumes of its enduring and endearing qualities. Of the nearly nine thousand hymns which Fanny Crosby wrote over her lifetime, “Blessed Assurance” remained one of her most cherished. This hymn was so well loved by Miss Crosby that she chose the first verse for the inscription on her headstone at her death in 1915.

Help us get the word out ... Please 'Like' our
Facebook page at the left!  Also, please like this
article on our social bar.
( Selecting more than once anytime will 'un-like' page )
Click to sign-up for email notifications
of new articles ...
Click to support the message of
Christian Heritage Fellowship ...

Related Reading

Ben-Hur: A Christian Triumph

Ben-Hur: A Christian Triumph

230.092 Christian Biography | 232 Christology | 234 Salvation & Grace | Christian Living | Default Category | Featured Articles | Food for Thought | Schedule

In the National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. there resides a full-body statue of General Lew Wallace, Civil War hero and author of the literary classic, Ben Hur. The story behind the composition of this time-honored classic is one worthy of being rehearsed on a regular basis, and no season of the year is more fitting for its telling than the Easter season. One of the traditions our family shared when our chilRead more...

George Bennard and The Old Rugged Cross

George Bennard and The Old Rugged Cross

230.092 Christian Biography | 287 Methodist churches | April Articles | Default Category | Featured Articles | March Articles

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.-1 Cor. 1:18 Toward the end of the twentieth century, song leaders, when soliciting requests for favorite songs from the congregation, would often receive at least one request for “The Old Rugged Cross.” Written by George Bennard in 1913, this gospel hymn has proven to be a sentimental favorite of Christians and unsaveRead more...

The Christian Origin of Mother's Day

The Christian Origin of Mother's Day

230.092 Christian Biography | Featured Articles | May Articles

One of the proofs of America's Christian origin and development is the history of her holidays. Though secularists and the irreligious have in recent decades both denied and denounced America's Christian origin, overwhelming evidence demonstrates this Christian influence. At a time when human relationships in America and around the world are confused and conflicting, observance of God's original design will always prove to be a blessing to thRead more...

The Christian Origin of the Red Cross

The Christian Origin of the Red Cross

230.092 Christian Biography | Christian Calendar | Christian Living | Default Category | Featured Articles | June Articles | May Articles

Like so many institutions, organizations, and benevolent agencies, the Red Cross had its origin in the Christian Faith. As noted below in the brief thumbnail sketch, the Christian faith of banker and businessman, Henry Dunant, was the impetus behind the compassion that has been and continues to be extended to millions around the world. The warm Christian hearts of his parents touched their own community but flowed more intensely through their sRead more...

St. Nicholas, The True Story

St. Nicholas, The True Story

230.092 Christian Biography | Christian Living | December Articles | Default Category | Featured Articles

* St. Nicholas The True Story * by Dr. Stephen Flick The true story of the life of Nicholas, Christian pastor of Myra, is one that Christians should celebrate with honor. On December 6, 343, Nicholas passed into eternity. Though his memory and ministry have been kept alive for centuries, the recounting of his life's work has often been inaccurate or used to overshadow the true Christian focus of this season of the year—the birth of Jesus ChRead more...

* Phoebe Palmer Knapp *

* Phoebe Palmer Knapp *

* Phoebe Palmer Knapp *

* Phoebe Palmer Knapp *

* Phoebe Palmer Knapp *

Phoebe Palmer KnappPhoebe Palmer KnappPhoebe Palmer KnappChristian Heritage Fellowship FacebookChristian Heritage Fellowship FacebookChristian Heritage Fellowship Facebook
Written by Dr. Stephen FlickNumber of posts: 228
Concerned with the cultural decay of America, Dr. Flick has sought to provide answers to fellow Christians (and unbelievers) concerning the questions and objections to Christianity often posed by secularists and the irreligious. Dr. Flick is Christian Heritage Fellowship’s executive director and resides in East Tennessee with his wife, Beth. He spent 12 years as a Seminary professor and has been a licensed minister for more than thirty years, during which time he has served as pastor, revival and camp meeting evangelist, interim pastor, and other ministerial roles. He has authored numerous articles concerning America’s Christian heritage. Dr. Flick earned his Ph.D. from Drew University in theology and church history.