born in 1830 in South Carolina, United States
died in 1890
William Steffe (1830–1890) collected and edited a camp-meeting song with the traditional "Glory Hallelujah" refrain, in about 1856. It opened with "Say, brothers, will you meet us / on Canaan's happy shore?" The tune became widely known.
Early in the American Civil War, this tune was used to create the Union army marching song "John Brown's Body", which begins with the lyrics "John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave, but his soul goes marching on."
In November 1861, Julia Ward Howe, having heard this version, used the tune as the basis of her new verse, later known as "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".
- C. A. Brown (revised by Willard A. Heaps), The Story of Our National Ballads, 1960, pages 174178
- William A. Ward (ed.), The American Bicentennial Songbook, Vol. 1 (1770-1870s), 1975, page 236
- BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC (JULIA WARD HOWE/WILLIAM STEFFE) (1861)
- Civil war music
- The Battle Hymn Of The Republic (aka John Brown's Body)
- Music of the Civil war
- Free scores by William Steffe in the Choral Public Domain Library (ChoralWiki)