Bolton Historical Society
Bolton, Connecticut


GRANT TULLAR, MUSIC PUBLISHER
by Hans DePold, town historian

(Published in the Bolton Community News, August 2006)

Grant Colfax Tullar was born August 5, 1869, in Bolton, Connecticut. He was named after the American President Ulysses S. Grant and Vice President Schuyler Colfax. After the American Civil War, his father was disabled and unable to work, having been wounded in the Battle of Antietam. Tullar's mother died when he was just two years old so Grant had no settled home life until he became an adult. Yet from a life of sorrow and hardship he went on to bring joy to millions of Americans with his songs and poetry.

As a child, he received virtually no education or religious training. He worked in a woolen mill and as a shoe clerk. The last Methodist camp meeting in Bolton was in 1847. Tullar became a Methodist at age 19 at a camp meeting near Waterbury in 1888.

He then attended the Hackettstown Academy in New Jersey. He became an ordained Methodist minister and pastored for a short time in Dover, Delaware. For 10 years he was the song leader for evangelist Major George A. Hilton. Even so, in 1893 he also helped found the well-known Tullar-Meredith Publishing Company in New York, which produced church and Sunday school music. Tullar composed many popular hymns and hymnals.

His works include: Sunday School Hymns No. 1 (Chicago, Illinois: Tullar Meredith Co., 1903) and The Bible School Hymnal (New York: Tullar Meredith Co., 1907). One of Grant Tullar's most quoted poems is "The Weaver":

    My Life is but a weaving
    Between my Lord and me;
    I cannot choose the colors
    He worketh steadily.

    Oft times He weaveth sorrow
    And I, in foolish pride,
    Forget He sees the upper,
    And I the under side.

    Not til the loom is silent
    And the shuttles cease to fly,
    Shall God unroll the canvas
    And explain the reason why.

    The dark threads are as needful
    In the Weaver's skillful hand,
    As the threads of gold and silver
    In the pattern He has planned.

    He knows, He loves, He cares,
    Nothing this truth can dim.
    He gives His very best to those
    Who chose to walk with Him.
Grant Tullar




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