Stephen Humbert

Stephen Humbert. Hymnodist, church musician, ship builder, baker, b New Jersey 1766 or 1767, d Saint John, NB, 16 Jan 1849. A Loyalist, Humbert arrived in New Brunswick in 1783. He was granted a plot of land in Saint John in 1785 and lived on it until his death.

Humbert, Stephen

Stephen Humbert. Hymnodist, church musician, ship builder, baker, b New Jersey 1766 or 1767, d Saint John, NB, 16 Jan 1849. A Loyalist, Humbert arrived in New Brunswick in 1783. He was granted a plot of land in Saint John in 1785 and lived on it until his death. A baker by trade, he later established himself as a ship builder, a general merchant, and a book and music seller. He also, by turns, was a captain of the local militia, a city alderman, a member of the House of Assembly (1809-20, 1830-4), and head of a commission to seize by force US vessels engaged in offshore smuggling. But it was, perhaps, as a musical churchman that he made a lasting mark. In 1791 he organized Saint John's first Methodist congregation, and in 1796 he opened a sacred vocal music school. He compiled the first English-language collection of vocal music, Union Harmony: British America's Sacred Vocal Musick. He also wrote The Rise and Progress of Methodism in the Province of New Brunswick from Its Commencement until about the Year 1805 (Saint John 1836). In 1840 he founded a sacred music society.

See also Singing schools.


Further Reading

  • McMillan, Barclay. 'Tune-book imprints in Canada to 1867: a descriptive bibliography,' Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada, vol 16, 1977

    Blum, Stephen. 'The fuging tune in British North America,' Sing Out the Glad News, CanMus Documents No. 1 (Toronto 1987).

    Temperley, Nicholas. 'Stephen Humbert's Union Harmony, 1816,' ibid

    DCB, vol 7