Information about M.L. McPhail

by maplaza 9 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • maplaza

    I have seen the messages posted about the W.H. Conley subject... and I have think that maybe somebody in this forum can help me with the following. I need any kind of information about an old bible student called M.L. McPhail. I have searched the WatchTower Reprints volumes and what I need is any other information. Here you have what I know about this M.L. McPhail: He was one of the first pilgrims of IBSA He was associated with IBSA at least from 1892 to 1908 or 1909 when he left the Russell's IBSA movement due to doctrinal differences about the New Covenant. He was living in the Ohio or Illinois region. He was married. One of his son died in 1897. He is the author of at least two songbooks used by Bible Students ("Zion's Glad Songs of the Morning", 1896 in one of the february issues of Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence; and, "Zion's Glad Songs for all Christian Gatherings", 1900). He also is the author of another two songbooks related to Bible Students ("Zion's Glad Songs no.2 for all Christian Gatherings", 1907; and, "Zion's Glad Songs for all Christian Gatherings", 1908) What I need is any kind of biographical information about M.L. McPhail and his musical background. At least I would appreciate to know his full name, the years and places of birth and death, a photo will be a great finding, etc. The Library of Congress Online Catalog and the Boston University Library Catalog says that his full name was Malcom (or Malcolm) Leod McPhail born in 1877. But I think this information could not be true because I have found another (or maybe the same?) M.L. McPhail that edited several music works in 1878, 1882, 1885, 1894, 1895 and so on until near 1920. Are there two or more musicians called M.L. McPhail that composed religious hymns? And finally a "M.L. McPhail" also edited the "Winnowed Anthems" hymnbook series and the last one I have found, he edited an "Hope Anthems" More questions: Who was the John McPhail that is mentioned in the Zions Glad Songs for the Morning of 1896? May be he was a brother of M.L. McPhail? Who was the S.J. McPhail mentioned once in the WatchTower Reprints as author of an hymn? May be he also was a brother of M.L. McPhail? Any information will be of great help for my universitary studies. Yours maplaza

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    I don't recall the name at all. But something you might want to try are the Bible Students connected with Russell. They have stuck pretty close to Russell's teaching while the JWs followed Rutherford who changed just about everything.

    Try these site (check the link for HISTORY)

    I found the following from

    Watchers of the Morning [1937 - 1957]

    In the 1930s, influenced by the writings of both E.C. Henninges and M.L. McPhail, [two prominent pilgrims who left the Society in 1909, because of some doctrinal disagreements with C.T. Russell] some prominent members of the P.B.I. began to deny the Presence of Christ and other important doctrines held by the Bible Students Association. This led to still another schism and within the board of directors, in 1937, Isaac Hoskins and others withdrew their support and began publishing The Watchers of the Morning. This journal was published until it ceased in June 1957.


    The Christian Millennial Fellowship
    [1928 - Present]

    This was originally the Italian Bible Students Association, and Millennial Bible Students Church, in Hartford, CT's little Italy. This group is currently associated with one of the earliest offshoots of the Watchtower Society. They withdrew their support in 1928, and in 1940, they produced the New Creation - a Herald of Christ's Kingdom Journal. However a few years later, Gaetano Boccaccio, began to be influenced by the writings of E.C. Henninges and M.L. Mcphail, two pilgrims who left the Society in 1909, due to some doctrinal disagreements. The CMF eventually discarded most of Russell's writings as error and converted to "New Covenant Bible Students". Gaetano Boccaccio was it's leader since it's inception, having been with the Society since 1917, he died in 1996. For over fifty years he led this group from Hartford, Connecticut. Today the group is international, has been relocated to New Jersey and is headed by Elmer Weeks.

    then I found this at

    The Christian Millennial Fellowship

    The Italian Bible Students Association in Hartford, Connecticut, withdrew their support from the Society in 1928 and changed their name to Millennial Bible Students Church, then to its current name Christian Millennial Fellowship, Inc. ( CMF ). In 1940 they began publishing The New Creation—a Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. However a few years later Gaetano Boccaccio began to be influenced by the writings of Henninges and McPhail. The CMF eventually discarded most of Pastor Russell’s writings as error. Gaetano Boccaccio was its leader since its inception. He had been with the Society since 1917 and died in 1996. For over fifty years he led this group from Hartford. The group eventually reorganized and has relocated to New Jersey where it is headed by Elmer Weeks.

    You might want to Google

    McPhail + Christian Millennial Fellowship

    Happy hunting.

    But you never know if there is someone here who can point you in the right direction

  • Forscher

    Check your PM.

  • Atlantis
  • sf

    It appears that Malcolm McPhail had several sons, one in which he also named Malcolm:

    There are photos on this link.

    Try re-arranging your keywords during your search and your spacebar. I found the above site through google images by entering only Malcolm McPhail.

    Happy trails!


  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    There are a few mentions of M. L. McPhail you seek on this site:

    No photos or full names or geneology however...

    VOL. XVIII ALLEGHENY, PA., AUGUST 1, 1897 No. 15
    The extreme heat and other considerations have necessitated slight changes of program for several of the traveling brethren; but in all cases where positive appointments had been made we were enabled to give timely notice: we hope that no serious inconvenience was experienced. Brother Ransom took unwell; Brother Cone is aged and needs a little rest; Brother McPhail’s son took sick and has since died; and others had various hindrances. Remember these all with us at the throne of grace.
    -- from Zion's Watch Tower Reprints

  • AndersonsInfo

    The entire February 1, 1896 ZION’S WATCH TOWER featured M. L. McPhail’s songs, Copyright, some in 1894 and others in 1895. It was called THE MUSICAL TOWER. In the Reprints, the songs are located on pages 1925-34. The title of the collection of eleven songs is, ZION’S GLAD SONGS OF THE MORNING.
    The names of the songs are:
    The Shining Light; Before the Great White Throne; Oh, I Am So Happy; I’m Nearing the Goal; Jubilee Echoes; When the Crowning Day Shall Come; Fullness of Joy; I’m Running for the Prize Divine; Now are We the Sons of God; In That Day; O Christ, Our Immortality.
    In the February 15, 1896 ZION’S WATCH TOWER, found on page 1935 in the Watch Tower Reprints, the following article appears:
    We have heard from many of their pleasure in connection with our last issue of the TOWER—“Zion’s Glad Songs of the Morning.” We would like it if these beautiful songs should become popular among Christian people generally. The singing of the truth is a good way to get it in to the heads and hearts of God’s people. It is one way of preaching the Gospel, which figuratively is called a “song:” “Thou hast put a new song into my mouth, even the loving kindness of our God.”
    We thank God for the musical and poetic talents granted some of his saints. (We esteem the collection represented in the MUSICAL TOWER, and in our hymn book, “Poems and Hymns of Millennial Dawn,” to be not only choice doctrinally, but also choice poetically.) We thank God for the privilege of serving the truth to his flock in poetry, as well as in prose. Let each one who receives be active in serving again, by song and printed page and word, to others who have not yet tasted the heavenly food provided now, as “meat in due season,” by our present Lord. If the whole body were an eye or foot or hand, where would be the symmetry? Nay, those members which even seem to be feeble and less important are all necessary, and may all do something in the service.—1 Cor. 13:17-24. Extra copies of the musical TOWER will be supplied at the rate of five cents each, or twenty-five to one address for $1.
    ZION’S WATCH TOWER, November 15, 1900, pages 279-280 or page 2697 in the Reprints
    Our dear Brother McPhail, who has quite a talent for music, has collected a number of new and beautiful hymns,--the music to the majority being his own composition. These, fifty-four in number, are well printed, and appropriately bound in paper covers,--price 10 cents each, or $1 per dozen, postage free.
    This little book, entitled “Zion’s Glad Songs,” has another feature which we are sure will be appreciated by many, viz., the addition of the music for twenty-eight old tunes, long, short, common, and peculiar meters. These are inserted in the interest of our regular hymn book, “Poems and Hymns of Dawn,” the tunes of the remainder being copyrighted.
    It is not at all the thought that the new book will supplant the old one; for many of the grand old hymns cannot be equaled by any new ones, either in words or tunes. The thought is to make it supplementary. As such we recommend it to you all. Our first edition of 6,000 is now ready and orders will be filled as received.
    February 1932
    Interest in the Lord’s Second Coming reawakened early in the 19th century, brought into verse and song the longings of the Church for the return of her Lord, which have found their way into many denominational hymnals.
    The traveling evangelists of the latter part of the 19th century were sometimes musically gifted, but often the musical part of the service was in charge of a singer who both contributed solos of an evangelistic character and led the congregational singing. Ira D. Sankey and P.P. Bliss composed many popular tunes, which, with suitable words, had a great influence, giving a decidedly religious atmosphere to many homes, where old and young were continually humming and singing them.
    Among the contributors of songs of praise for the use of God’s people was Mr. M. L. McPhail, who passed away November 24, 1931, aged about 80 years. He was a Scotsman, but at the time I made his acquaintance was living in Canton, Ohio, U.S.A. Both of us were members of the Methodist Church, the principal church in the town, Mr. McPhail being choir leader and the present writer a youthful member of the choir. Mr. McPhail possessed a fine baritone voice of unusually great compass and was in demand at social functions of all kinds, at some of which I had the pleasure of assisting as accompanist. He was also instructor in singing at the Canton public schools, and sometimes took a group of singers on tours of neighboring towns.
    In the winter of 1889-90 Mr. McPhail had an engagement in another city, to instruct a glee club in part singing, and one day visited the local music dealer (Mr. Porter). While there he remarked that his brother, the Rev. John McPhail, who was engaged in evangelistic work, wished him to accompany him as singer and song leader, but he was doubtful whether he was sufficiently informed in Scripture to take such a position. He was a believer in Jesus, and a church member, but there were many Bible subjects upon which he felt very deficient. The wife of the music dealer, who was present and heard his expressed desire for more knowledge, said, “I can help you,” and proceeded to lay before him some scriptures indicating that God had a well defined plan that He was carrying out over a series of ages, each age having its own particular work, and all working harmoniously to His own glory; that there was a “high calling” for the present age, and that soon His kingdom would be set up in power and authority in the earth; that the popular teaching of eternal torment was an error, and that God’s purpose was to bless and enlighten through His Son not a few only, but all for whom Christ died.
    Mr. McPhail received all this with avidity, and was given a small book called, “The Plan of the Ages” to read along these lines. On his return to Canton he continued searching the Scriptures whether these things were so.
    Mr. McPhail had agreed to go on the evangelistic mission with his brother John, but as they proceeded felt more and more out of place in meetings were the teaching of eternal torment for the unsaved was one of the principal topics. He endeavored to impart the truth on the subject of future punishment to his brother, but with little success, and so terminated his evangelistic labors. Within the next few years, however, his brother John came to see the truth on the soul, the state of the dead, etc.; and, being no longer able to teach the former doctrine of eternal misery, resigned from the Methodist connection. Both removed to Chicago, Ill., where Mr. M. L. continued as a teacher of singing; his wife and some of his family being in sympathy with the truths he now proclaimed.
    Brother McPhail made a great impression at the 1981 Convention, both with his singing and his earnest way of talking. He was a rapid speaker, with a profusion of ideas, and was entertaining as well as instructive. He had a remarkable memory for chapter and verse, and urged upon all the importance of being able to locate and quote accurately texts offered in proof of any statement. He pointed out that many cannot give chapter and verse because they do not apply their minds to the matter, and recommended everyone to write out texts on slips of paper to carry in the pocket and go over them until well stored in mind. Soon afterward he was sent out regularly as a “pilgrim” to visit the brethren in their home towns and build them up in the faith. In this capacity he traveled extensively in the U.S. and Canada, and later on visited Great Britain. Many will remember one of his favorite sayings—“I used to be a Scotchman, but now I am a new creature.”
    Brother McPhail’s gift as a composer of spiritual songs was exhibited before 1908 in two or three small books, which were utilized by many Bible class meetings. In 1908 he published “Zion’s Glad Songs,” a collection of 248 hymns and spiritual songs, the majority of his own composition. This song-book was followed by another smaller collection, under the title “Songs of Comfort.” His gift for tuneful melody has been often remarked by musicians and others who enjoy these “Glad Songs.”
    To Brother McPhail and ourselves and many other brethren who had enjoyed fellowship under the Watch Tower auspices there came in 1907 and 1908 the necessity of separating from the Watch Tower movement owing to the adoption of strange ideas by its Editor, who had assumed the title of “Pastor” Russell, and claimed to be the only “channel” of truth.
    Brother McPhail took a firm stand against these errors, as we were glad to note at the time, and devoted many years to pointing them out to Watch Tower adherents, preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified as the one Foundation for faith.

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    I found his ADDRESS from 1908! Or it may have been the address of his music publishing business.

    It was

    M L McPhail, 806 W 67th Street , Chicago ,Ill.

    Still no luck in finding out what his full name was, though the information above from AndersonInfo should help greatly.

    I also found that some collections of sheet music he edited are available from various booksellers in the $15-$25 range. these are:

    Winnowed Anthems for Quartet and Chorus Choirs (No.1)
    Winnowed Anthems for Quartet and Chorus Choirs (No.2)
    Winnowed Anthems For Quartet and Chorus Choirs, Nos. I and 2 combined
    Winnowed Anthems Nos. 1&2 Winnowed Anthems: Nos.5 And 6 Combined: For Quartet And Chorus Choirs One Australian bookseller has Zion's Glad Songs for All Christian Gatherings for US$ 906.39 !

  • sf
  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    I think I got his name from some of the US Federal Census reports:

    1920 census
    29 Prarie Avenue, Maine (township) Cook (county) Illinois (state)
    Mathew L. McPhail (head) age: 65 occupation: none
    Katherine McPhail (wife) 61 none
    M. Lindsey McPhail (son) 24 musician piano

    1910 census
    171 67 Street chicago, cook, illinois
    Mathew L. McPhail (head) age: 55
    Kate (wife) 52
    Jessie (daughter) 21
    Laura (daughter) 19
    Mathew (son) 14

    I'm going to guess that M. L. McPhail's full name was Mathew Lindsey McPhail, and that his son was named after him. Note the unusual spelling of "Mathew."

    I haven't been able to find any record of a son's death in approximately 1897, nor have I found any info about Kate's maiden name. But this is a start, I hope.

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