Annie Sherwood Hawks


Artist Birtday : 28/05/1836 (Age 81)
Born In : Hoosick, New York
Occupation(s) : Poet and Gospel Hymnist
Genres : Gospel

Annie Sherwood Hawks (May 28, 1836 – January 3, 1918) was an American poet and gospel hymnist who wrote a number of hymns with her pastor, Robert Lowry. She contributed to several popular Sunday school hymnbooks, and wrote the lyrics to a number of well-known hymns including: “I Need Thee Every Hour”; “Thine, Most Gracious Lord”; “Why Weepest Thou? Who Seekest Thou?”; “Full and Free Salvation” and “My Soul Is Anchored”.

Annie Sherwood was born on May 28, 1836, in Hoosick, New York. Her ancestry on her father’s side was English, and on her mother’s side, remotely, Holland Dutch. She was educated in the public schools and in the Troy Seminary.

She was never graduated from any school, but she always had a passion for books and read widely. By age 14, she was submitting poems to a local newspaper.

In 1872, the hymn by which Hawks is most widely known, “I Need Thee Every Hour”, was written. It is said to have been translated into more foreign languages than any other modern hymn at the time of her death.

Hawks stated:— “For myself, the hymn was prophetic rather than expressive of my own experiences, for it was wafted out to the world on the wings of love and joy, instead of under the stress of personal sorrow.”

Lowry, who wrote the music, went on to say: “I Need Thee Every Hour” was written by Mrs. Annie S. Hawks, in 1872, in Brooklyn, New York. I believe it was the expression of her own experience. It came to me in the form of five simple stanzas, to which I added the chorus to make it more serviceable. It inspired me at its first reading. It first appeared in a small collection of original songs prepared for the National Baptist Sunday-school Association, held in Cincinnati, Ohio in November, 1872, and was sung on that occasion.”

Hawks was the mother of three children. She identified with the Baptist denomination. After the death of her husband in 1888, she moved to Bennington, Vermont to live with her daughter and son-in-law. She died there on January 3, 1918, and is interred at the Hoosick Rural Cemetery.