John Speller's Web Pages Long years ago o'er Bethlehem's hills

John Speller's Web Pages - North American Christmas Carols
Long years ago o'er Bethlehem's hills
Born in 1839 in Vermont, where he naturally fell under the influence of the first Bishop of Vermont, John Henry Hopkins, Sr., Leigh Richmond Brewer was educated at Hobart College and The General Theological Seminary. He was later Rector of Grace Church, Carthage, New York, and Trinity Church, Watertown, New York. In 1880 he succeeded Bishop Tuttle, who had been translated to the Diocese of Missouri, as Missionary Bishop of Montana. In 1904 he became the first Diocesan Bishop of Montana, a position he held until his death in 1916. He wrote this carol in December 1892, and the original tune was commissioned from C. Whitney Coombs, although I have been unable to discover it. The tune to which it is usually sung, "Festgesang" was written by Alfred George Wathall.

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The Right Rev. Leigh Richmond Brewer, D.D. (1839-1916), First Bishop of Montana
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