Holden, Oliver

Oliver Holden

Three Old Hymns

Oliver Holden (September 18, 1765 – September 4, 1844) was an American composer and compiler of hymns.

He was born in Shirley, Massachusetts. During the American Revolutionary War, he was a marine for a year (1782-1783) on the USS Deane, which returned to Boston with at least one British prize while he was in the crew. For his service, he received an annual pension. A carpenter by trade, in 1786 he moved to Charlestown, Massachusetts, to help rebuild it after the war. A carpenter and real estate dealer in his professional life, he also organized many music schools, and served as legislator and pastor.

He was a Baptist. In 1791 he joined the First Baptist Church in Boston and became leader of the choir. In 1801, he and some others started the First Baptist Church in Charlestown. He was in a group that left that church in 1809, due to what they perceived as lax discipline, and started a Second Baptist Church in Charlestown.

He entered King Solomon's Lodge as a freemason in 1795, and was an active member for ten years. He was in the Massachusetts House of Representatives on behalf of his town in 1818, 1825, 1826, and 1828 to 1833. His mansion, which he built around 1800, later became the Oliver Holden School, a kindergarten of Boston.

He is buried at the Phipps Street Burying Ground in Charlestown, Massachusetts.

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