Annie Sherwood Hawks, authoress of “I Need Thee Every Hour” and numerous other popular hymns, was born May 28th, 1835, in Hoosick, New York. Though Mrs. Hawks never completed formal education, she was an avid reader, consuming a variety of materials. In her fourteenth year, her first poem was published in a Troy, New York newspaper, attracting significant attention to her genius in verse. In 1859 she was married to Charles Hial Hawks, “a man of culture and intelligence.” Together they lived in Brooklyn and became members of Hanson Place Baptist Church shortly before the arrival of Dr. Robert Lowry as pastor. In 1868, Annie was encouraged by pastor Lowry to begin writing hymns, and thus began her prolific impact on sacred song. Lowry would write music to accompany many of her poems, and many of their mutual labours stand to this day as valuable, beautiful hymns. Mrs. Hawks remained in Brooklyn till the death of her husband in 1888. From his homegoing till her death in 1918, she lived with her daughter and son-in-law in Bennington, Vermont.
Hour by hour the dawn approaches,
Ush’ring in the golden day;
One by one the stars surprise;
One by one our joys arise.
And we’ll meet on the sunlit shore.
One by one our duties press us,
If we lift them one by one;
Hour by hour, in sweet supplies.
Hour by hour we’re moving homeward –
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