The Rock that is Higher than I Banjo, Ukelele, & Fiddle
From the end of the earth will I call unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, Psalms 61:2
Erastus Johnson, who wrote the hymn lyrics, was born in a logging camp in Maine in 1826, one of 13 children. At age 17 he became a school teacher. However, in 1852, at age 26, he became part of the California gold rush, sailing from Maine to California on a ship appropriately named "Gold Hunter." After eight years in the San Francisco area, he moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he worked in the oil business for the next 24 years. He died in Waltham, Massachusetts in 1909. This is his only known hymn.
The tune was composed by William Gustavus Fischer, son of a German immigrant, who lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Fischer was professor of music at Girard college from 1858-1868. Afterwards he managed a piano business until his death in 1898. "I Love to Tell the Story" and "Whiter than Snow" are two of his compositions that remain popular today.