Behind the Song: Precious Memories

Precious Memories is one of the songs that when I began to play or sing it many others seem to naturally join in. Memories of days gone by seem to roll through our minds and hearts with the melody.

Precious Memories is credited as having been written by J.B.F. {John Braselton Fillmore} Wright in 1925. J.B.F. Wright was born February 21, 1877. He grew up in Texas and studied music at the eighteen day singing school he attended. On February 13, 1898

Precious mem'ries, how they linger How they ever flood my soul In the stillness of the midnight Precious, sacred scenes unfold.

Precious mem’ries, how they linger
How they ever flood my soul
In the stillness of the midnight
Precious, sacred scenes unfold.

he married Fannie Jackson and the couple had seven children.

John Wright wrote over 200 songs and poems. He said he began writing when he was fifteen years old. He is quoted with saying the following about writing, “I write by inspiration, only when the mood comes on the words and melody flow from my soul like the water from a babbling brook; without this inspiration I could not write.”

Precious Memories was written out of tragedy, when the couple lost their five year old son, Everett Jackson Wright, in 1922. The author said, “’Precious Memories’ was born in the midnight hours as I bathed by pillow with tears, likewise all my songs came through life’s severest tests.”.

According to a report, while John Wright had made an agreement with the publisher for a royalty, he never received one. He remained a poor janitor, struggling to make ends meet all his life. He only earned a total of $36 for his best known song.

This song remains popular today, has been published in at least a dozen hymnals and has been recorded by numerous musicians over the years.

John Wright died on October 13, 1959 in Brownwood,Texas.


  • Janet Bosley

    I recall my dad and mom singing old Gospel songs and Precious Memories was one of them, but I never heard it sung in any of the Churches I’ve went. It’s a beautiful Hymn and I never knew who wrote it and when and why it was written.

  • Jeff Claterbaugh

    I live @ 3 miles east of Hamlin tx and if I look west a little over a mile away is the cemetery where Everett is buried along with my wife’s parents . We live somewhat near the old home place .About 4 yrs ago after I became sober and born again for real , I began playing guitar and and writing Christ based songs that I give God credit for. Then 2 yrs ago I was blown away when I read this same moving story . I have performed Precious Memories several times. I am working on a 100 yr tribute I will perform in public December 2 . I am going to narrate the story and then do the song . I feel honored to keep the story going. Pray for me to do well . Thank you Jeff Claterbaugh

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