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Edwin O. Excell

EXCELL, Edwin Othello. b. Uniontown, Stark County, Ohio, 13 December 1851; d. Chicago, Illinois, 10 June 1921. Publisher, singer, and gospel song composer best known for his Sunday-school songs, including the standard arrangement of the shape-note melody, AMAZING GRACE, and his tune, BLESSINGS (see following). Excell was born to Rev. Joshua James (1825-1911), a singer and minister in the German Reformed Church, and Emily (née Hess, d. 1888). Before his musical career became successful, he apprenticed for 12 years as a plasterer and bricklayer.  In 1871, Excell began teaching in country singing schools. In the same year he married Eliza Jane Bell (ca. 1852-1929) of East Brady, Pennsylvania;...

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