Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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HASTINGS, Thomas, musician, born in Washington, Hitchfield County, Connecticut, 15 October, 1764; died in New York city, 15 May, 1872. In 1796 he removed with his parents to a farm in Clinton, New York He attended the district school, and began to study music with a sixpenny gamut book of four small pages. When about eighteen he became leader of the village choir. His brother presented him at this time with an elaborate treatise on music, which he mastered without aid, and in 1806 he was invited to take charge of a singing school. He soon achieved reputation in training church choirs, and his services were much in demand. He went in 1817 to Troy, subsequently to Albany, and afterward took editorial charge of a religious newspaper in Utica entitled the "Western Recorder," which gave large space to church music. He held this post for nine years, during which time he lectured repeatedly in Albany, New York, Philadelphia, and Princeton, New Jersey In 1832 he went to New York, where he remained till his death. He endeavored to improve the character of the church music in the churches of New York. For many years he was choir director in Dr. Mason's church in Bleecker street, and devoted his time to preparing collections of sacred music, the composition of tunes and hymns, and the editing of musical periodicals. He was a constant contributor to the religious press, and in 1835-'7 issued the "Musical Magazine." The University of the city of New York gave him the degree of doctor of music in 1858. His publications number nearly fifty separate volumes, and include "The Musical Reader" (Utica., 1818); "Dissertation on Musical Taste" (Albany, 1822; 2d ed., rewritten, New York, 1853); "Spiritual Songs" (New York, 1831); "The Mother's Nursery Songs" (1834); "Anthems, Motets, and Set Pieces" (1830); "The Manhattan Collection" (1837); "Elements of Vocal Music" (1839); "Sacred Songs "(1842); "Indian Melodies Harmonized" (1845); "Devotional Hymns and Poems" (1850); "The Presbyterian Psalmodist " (Philadelphia, 1852); "The History of Forty Choirs " (New York, 1853); "Selah" (1856): "Hastings's Church Music" (1860); and "Introits" (1865).--His son, Thomas Samuel, clergyman, born in Utica, New York, 28 August, 1827, was graduated at Hamilton in 1848, and at the Union theological seminary, New York city, in 1851. He was pastor of Presbyterian churches in Mendham, New Jersey, in 1852-'6, and in New York city in 1856-'82. He then became professor of sacred rhetoric in Union theological seminary, which post he now holds (1887). He received the degree of D.D. from the University of the city of New York in 1865. He edited "Church Melodies" with his father in 1857.
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