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Song

Say Brothers, Will You Meet Us?

Music written by
Lyrics written by
Composition date
1856
Language
English
Comments
The melody for this song came into being as a southern American camp-meeting song. It appeared in Henry Ward Beecher's Plymouth Collection in 1852.
William Steffe claimed he wrote the lyrics in 1855 or 1856.
This song is also known as "Canaan's Happy Shore".

The first verse and lyrics are as follows:

Say brothers, will you meet us?
Say brothers, will you meet us?
Say brothers, will you meet us?
On Canaan's happy shore?

Glory, glory hallelujah!
Glory, glory hallelujah!
Glory, glory hallelujah!
For ever, evermore!

The song became very popular and many lyrical adaptations were made.
One adaptation, particularly popular with marching troops during the Civil War, included the following lyrics about a "John Brown".

John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave,
John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave,
John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave,
His soul is marching on!

There are different theories about the origin of the John Brown character. Many sources claim he was a martyr to Abolitionists and African-Americans because he led an insurrection to free slaves on October 16, 1859, for which he was trialed and hanged. Other sources talk about an Scottish army sergeant named John Brown, who was a member of the 12th Massachusetts Regiment.
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