Judson W. Van DeVenter

5 December 1855–17 July 1939

J.W. Van DeVenter, author, composer, and evangelist; born near Dundee, Mich., Dec. 5th, 1855; educated in a district school and at Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, Mich.; was a public school teacher fifteen years, five years Supervisor of Drawing at Sharon, Pa., and five years at Braddock, Pa.; has been doing evangelistic work continually for the past eight years, working principally in the Middle West, the East, and Great Britain; his labors in this work have been blessed in the conversion of thousands of souls; is well known as the author of “Chalk Talks for Young People”; is the author of about seventy-five gospel songs, the most popular of which are “Looking This Way” and “Saved Through Jesus’ Blood”; has resided in Philadelphia, Pa., for the past six years, but is now living at Dundee, Mich.

J.W. Van DeVenter, in The Best Gospel Songs and Their Composers (1904).

by A.J. Showalter
The Best Gospel Songs and Their Composers (1904)

On a farm, near the village of Dundee, Michigan, the subject of this sketch, J. W. Van DeVenter, was born December 5th, 1855. He was educated in the country and village schools, and Hillsdale College. He has written about one hundred hymns and songs. The first to become popular was “I Surrender All”, which was soon followed by “Looking This Way,” which was a great favorite of the late Ira D. Sankey. He lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and is still writing.

by Charles H. Gabriel
The Singers and Their Songs (1916)

Judson W. Van DeVenter (b. near Dundee, Mich., Dec. 5, 1855; d Tampa, Fla., July 17, 1939), the son of John W. and Eliza (Wheeler) Van DeVenter, was educated in the public schools of Dundee and at Hillsdale College (Mich.). He received his musical training in numerous singing schools. He studied art and in 1885 toured Europe, visiting the famous art galleries and studying painting. For several years he taught art and penmanship in public schools, and became supervisor of art in the high school at Sharon, Pennsylvania. During this time he was an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and sing in the choir. After experiencing a definite call to the ministry, he was licensed as a local preacher. He began evangelistic work, preaching throughout the Unites States, England, and Scotland. He was assisted for many years by W.S. Weeden, an evangelistic singer. During the last years of his life, he resided at Tampa, Florida.

by William J. Reynolds
Hymns of Our Faith (1964)

J.W. Van DeVenter, in The Singers and Their Songs: Sketches of Living Gospel Hymn Writers (1916), p. 29.

Featured Hymns:

I Surrender All

Publications of Hymns:

The Peacemaker: A Collection of Sacred Songs and Hymns (1894): WorldCat

Gospel Songs of Grace and Glory (1896): WorldCat

Songs of Triumph

No. 1: WorldCat
No. 2: WorldCat
Combined: WorldCat

Related Resources:

A.J. Showalter, “J.W. Van DeVenter,” The Best Gospel Songs and Their Composers (Dalton, GA: A.J. Showalter, 1904): Archive.org

Charles Gabriel, “J.W. Van De Venter,” The Singers and Their Songs: Sketches of Living Gospel Hymn Writers (Chicago: Rodeheaver, 1916), pp. 29-30: Archive.org

William J. Reynolds, “Judson W. Van DeVenter,” Hymns of Our Faith: A Handbook for the Baptist Hymnal (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1964), p. 427.

Billy Graham, “I surrender all,” Crusade Hymn Stories (Chicago: Hope, 1967), pp. 117-118.

J.R. Watson, “Judson W. Van De Venter,” Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology:

Judson W. Van DeVenter, Hymnary.org:

University of California Santa Barbara Cylinder Audio Archive: