Behind the Hymn: Tell It Again

Mary Bridges Canedy Slade lived in Fall River, Massachusetts. This was the town made

Mary Bridges Canedy Slade

famous by the 1892 Lizzie Borden murder case, who was tried for the brutal murder of her father and step-mother.

Mary Slade was a pastor’s wife and lived her entire life in Fall River. By the time of the Lizzie Borden tragedy she had died, but her husband was still alive. Yet, this was a small town and it seems probable that the Slade’s new the Borden’s.

She wrote a number of hymns including Footprints of Jesus.

Her hymn, Tell It Again, is based on a true story.

Years earlier, a missionary visited a dying boy in a tent in a gypsy encampment in England.

The missionary bent over the boy and recited John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

When the missionary finished, the dying boy faintly whispered “nobody ever told me”.

This is the story that inspired Mary Slade to write her hymn Tell It Again in 1876. At least that is what Mary said, although we do not know from whom she heard the story.

She may have thought of Paul’s words in Roman’s 10:14 “How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?”

Rigdon McCoy McIntosh

The music was composed by Rigdon McCoy McIntosh {1839-1899}.  McIntosh was born on April 3, 1836 and in Maury County, Tennessee. He worked as a composer, musician and music editor of the Methodist Episcopal Church South Publishing House. He died on July 2, 1899.

Tell It Again has been published in several hymnals.








A gypsy, a missionary and a pastor's wife all brought the song Tell It Again to us #hymnstory #songstory Share on X



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