Jonathan E. Spilman

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Jonathan Edwards Spilman (15 April 1812 – 23 May 1896) was a Kentucky lawyer, minister, and composer.

Jonathan Spilman was born in Greenville, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky to Benjamin Spilman, and graduated from Illinois College in 1835. He was married to Mary V.J. Menefee, who died precociously in 1843. Two years later, on 10 April 1845, he married Eliza Sarah Taylor (1822–1866), a niece of U.S. President Zachary Taylor.[1] To them were born ten children, of whom six survived: Charles, Louise, William, Byrd Spilman Dewey, Clara, and Lewis.[2]

While at Transylvania Law School, 1837, he wrote the music for Robert Burns' Flow gently, sweet Afton, best remembered of his seven melodies. An adaptation of this music was used in one of the tunes to Away in a Manger.

Working as a lawyer for 18 years, he became Presbyterian minister at the age of 46. A Historical Marker was erected in the city of Greenville in his memory.[3]

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