Brown, Phoebe Hinsdale, was the daughter of George Hinsdale, and was born May 1, 1783, at Canaan, N. Y. Being left an orphan and moneyless when only two years of age, her early life was one of want, hardship, and drudgery. When nine years of age she went to live with a relative who kept a county jail. |These were years of intense and cruel suffering,| says her son. |The tale of her early life which she has left her children is a narrative of such deprivations, toil, and cruel treatment as it breaks my heart to read.| Not until she was eighteen years of age did she escape from this bondage and find a home among kind and sympathetic people. Her education was limited to three months in the public school at Claverack, N. Y., where she learned to write. She made at this time a profession of faith in Christ and joined the Congregational Church. She did not improve her worldly fortune when, in 1805, she married Thomas H. Brown, a journeyman house painter, after which she lived successively at East Windsor and Ellington, Conn., Monson, Mass., and at Marshall, Ill., where she died October 10, 1861. |Despite all her disadvantages,| says Prof. F. M. Bird in Julian's Dictionary, |Mrs. Brown's talents and work are superior to those of any other early female hymnist of America.| Fifteen of her hymns have found a place in the different Church hymnals of America, though only one is given a place in this collection -- her famous |Twilight Hymn,| the origin of which is deeply interesting. The |little ones| to whom she referred in this hymn all became eminent for piety and usefulness.
I love to steal awhile away 498