Oliver Holden

Oliver Holden

Shirley, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 4 Sep 1844 (aged 78)
Charlestown, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Charlestown, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Plot Tomb No. 1
Memorial ID 66039940 · View Source
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Composer. Growing up in Gorton, Massachusetts, he learned the trade of cabinetmaking. He served as a marine on the frigate "Dean" during the Revolutionary War, participating in the capture of five British warships. In 1783 he became interested in music composition. He settled in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1785 where he was a carpenter, merchant, and land developer, and soon became a prominent and wealthy citizen, serving several terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. When George Washington visited Boston in 1789, he wrote the lyrics and score of an ode, and trained the choir that greeted Washington at the Old State House. From 1792 to 1807 he wrote some 230 compositions and published books on sacred music, the most prominent being "The American Harmony" (1793), "Union Harmony, or a Universal Collection of Sacred Music" (1793 and 1801), "Sacred Dirges" (1800), "Charlestown Collection" (1803), co-wrote "The Massachusetts Complier" with Hans Gram and Samuel Holyoke (1795), and edited "The Worcester Collection of Sacred Harmony" (1797). He is especially remembered for his tune "Coronation" written about 1793 to Edward Perronet's hymn "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" which is said to be the earliest American Hymn tune still in use. Just before he died, his last words are reported to have been, "I have some beautiful airs running through my head, if I only had the strength to note them down."

Bio by: William Bjornstad

Family Members



Tomb No. 1

Here sleeps the sweet singer Oliver Holden.
Composer of the tune "Coronation".
Born in Shirley, Sept. 18, 1765.
Died in Charlestown, Sept. 4, 1844.
To his dear memory this tablet is placed by his grandaughter.

All hail the power of Jesus' name,
Let angels prostrate fall,
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown him Lord of all.



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: William Bjornstad
  • Added: 23 Feb 2011
  • Find a Grave Memorial 66039940
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Oliver Holden (18 Sep 1765–4 Sep 1844), Find a Grave Memorial no. 66039940, citing Phipps Street Burying Ground, Charlestown, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .