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 Jairus Maxson Stillman

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Jairus Maxson Stillman

Birth
Alfred, Allegany County, New York, USA
Death 20 Feb 1917 (aged 83)
Milton, Rock County, Wisconsin, USA
Burial Hopkinton, Washington County, Rhode Island, USA
Memorial ID 54393291 · View Source
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"The Journal-Telephone", Milton Junction, Wisconsin, Thursday, Mar. 1, 1917, p 1. Jairus Maxson Stillman was born February 20, 1834, in Alfred, Allegany county, N. Y., the third in order of birth of the six children of Maxson and Lydia Chapman Stillman. Lydia Chapman was born in East Hampton, Mass., and her marriage to Maxson Stillman occurred September 26, 1822 at Berlin, N. Y., near which village she taught school. In 1826 they moved from Petersburg to Alfred, N. Y., where Maxson Stillman lived until his death in 1896 at the age of ninety-seven, his wife having preceded him to the grave by five and one-half years. Jairus Maxson Stillman received a good education in his youth, supplementing his district school education with many terms in Alfred Academy, and attendance at Alfred University. He had also become at the age of twelve, the pupil of his father, a superior workman in the trade of Millwright and carpenter, becoming so proficient that he occasionally assumed the entire charge of the construction or repair work of mills of various kinds, and the erection of mills and public buildings. But the young man thus having mastered his trade, had his heart set on another kind of work. The father, a tenor singer of talent, had not only for many years led the choir of the large church of Alfred of which he was a member, but had taught singing schools in many places surrounding his home. His son inherited great aptitude for music, and at the age of ten years could read plain music at sight. He attended the singing classes at Alfred Academy conducted by such instructors as Miss Susan E. Crandall, afterward Mrs. Ethan P. Larkin, Orra Stillman and Darwin E. Maxson. At twenty he was elected leader of the church choir at Alfred, in which position he was very successful. In 1855 he began teaching singing schools in Alfred and vicinity, continuing meanwhile his study of music. From 1854 to 1857 he studied singing and piano in Alfred University. In the summer of 1857 he was a student at Normal Music Institute, at North Reading, Mass., under the supervision of Lowell Mason, G. F. Root and others, and at the same time studied voice culture under Auguste Kreissman, of Boston. During the summers of 1859 and 1860 he attended Normal Institute at Genesee, N. Y., taking pianoforte lessons of T. J. Cook, and voice lessons of Carlo Bassini both of New York. During 1861-62 he studied piano and German at Milton. In the summer of 1870 he attended Normal Music Institute at South Bend, Ind., completing 'Bassini's Method of Singing' under Bassini. From 1870 to 1874 he was a pupil of Dudley Buck at Chicago and Boston, in harmony and counterpoint. During 1858-1861 he taught singing schools in Shelby and Logan counties, O.; led the Lutheran church choir at Bellefontaine and the S. D. B. church choir at Jackson Center. In 1862, 1864 and 1866 he was professor of music in Hopkinton Academy, Ashaway, R. I., and also in the winter months taught singing school six evenings a week and at the same time had as many as thirty private pupils. In 1863, 1865 and 1867 he had charge of the musical department of Alfred University. From 1868 to 1885 he had charge of larger singing bodies than before, conducting conventions and institutes. In many towns his conventions were held several times. Those at Clear Lake, Ia., and Ripon, Wis., were state enterprises. The normal music schools with terms of six weeks, in which he was assistant teacher, were held at Goshen and Michigan City, Ind., Wheaton, Ill., Whitewater and Milton, Wis., and Clarinda, Ia. He taught harmony and voice culture as well as chorus singing in these schools. His musical work to this time had extended to thirteen states, namely: Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota. In the last half of the '70s he was a resident of Chicago, where he sang in the choir of Centenary church. He was an associate author of 'Good Will for Sabbath Schools,' 'The Cluster' and 'Anthem Treasures.' He has also composed a large number of pieces for anthem and Gospel hymn books and a number of songs published in sheet music form. In Chicago he acted as a judge with T. Martin Towne and others, in selecting from 700 original pieces of music, and in critically editing those which should be published in the work called 'International Lesson Hymnal No. 1.' In 1884 he wrote an article 'Church Music and How to Sustain It,' which was published in the 'Seventh-day Baptist Quarterly.' In 1879 he received the degree of Doctor of Music from Alfred University. From 1885 to 1909 he was professor of music in Milton College. When not quite eighteen years of age Mr. Stillman united with the church at Alfred, N. Y., and has ever since retained his membership in that church. He has had charge of the music in fourteen annual sessions of the general conference and in a large number of annual sessions of four associations. Dr. Stillman was also for many years the chorister of the Milton S. D. B. church. The most of his musical compositions were written to fit religious words. Music was his expression of spiritual aspiration. He himself wrote the words of one of his most popular hymns, 'I Want to be More Like Jesus.' He was sincere and unassuming and drew the affection of those with whom he was associated. Dr. Jairus M. Stillman was a notable figure in the musical world for more than half a century. His reputation and his influence extended far beyond the limits of Milton where he was so long an honored teacher. Through the many songs he wrote and through the great musical conventions which he held in different states his unique personality was felt. For many years head of the music department of Milton College, he left his impress upon this section of the country. Prof. A. E. Whitford, a former pupil of Dr. Stillman in voice culture, in a tribute given at the funeral said in part, 'No one can ever measure the work of Dr. Jairus M. Stillman in producing the present high standard of excellence in the music of Milton College. We know it is very great. His tremendous energy and untiring efforts during a long period of years as principal of the School of Music were an inspiration to all under his influence. Because of his work a Milton audience now demands the best grade of music and is never satisfied with anything cheap. All of those who now have something to do with the music of Milton College have been under his instruction and he is ever their inspiration. He was pre-eminently great as a leader of the large choruses and it is in this line of musical endeavor that Milton owes much to him.' December 8, 1867, Mr. Stillman married Miss Clara Langworthy, an accomplished singer and pianist, of Potter Hill, R. I. She died March 1, 1869, leaving a child seven weeks old, now Mrs. Clara Stillman Burdick of Milton. There are five grandchildren. He passed away at the home of his daughter in Milton on his eighty-third birthday, February 20, 1917. Funeral services were held in the S. D. B. church in the afternoon of February 24, conducted by his pastor and former pupil, Rev. L. C. Randolph, text, Rev. 5:9, 'And they sung a new song.' Pastor Jordan offered prayer. The anthem sung at the opening of the service was 'Jesus Lover of My Soul', composed by him. sun by Dr. Stillman at the last annual concert which he gave as director of music in Milton College. He had sung that song, he said, fifty years before, and he would now sing it for the last time in public. Sung by a choir of his old pupils it was a fitting close to the services held in his memory. The body was taken to Ashaway, R. I., to be laid beside that of his wife.
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Gravesite Details Son of Maxson Stillman Jr. and Lydia C Chapman. Born in Hopkinton died in Alfred, NY

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  • Created by: J Geoghan
  • Added: 2 Jul 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 54393291
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Jairus Maxson Stillman (20 Feb 1834–20 Feb 1917), Find A Grave Memorial no. 54393291, citing Oak Grove Cemetery, Hopkinton, Washington County, Rhode Island, USA ; Maintained by J Geoghan (contributor 47007204) .