Jonathan E. Spilman Photo

Jonathan E. Spilman

Born: Apr 15, 1812

Death: May 23, 1896

Birthplace: Greenville

Nationality: United States

Jonathan E. Spilman

Date of Birth : Apr 15, 1812
Date of Death : May 23, 1896
Birth Place : Greenville

Jonathan Edwards Spilman was a Kentucky lawyer, minister, and composer. Jonathan Spilman was born in Greenville, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky to Benjamin Spilman, and graduated from Illinois College in 1835. While at Transylvania Law School, 1837, he wrote the music for Robert Burns' "Flow gently, sweet Afton", best remembered of his seven melodies. An adaptation of this music was used in one of the tunes to "Away in a Manger". He was married to Mary V.J. Menefee, who died precociously in 1843. Two years later, on 10 April 1845, he married Eliza Sarah Taylor, a niece of U.S. President Zachary Taylor. To them were born ten children, of whom six survived: Charles, Louise, William, Byrd, Clara, and Lewis. His wife Eliza died on 10 August 1866, as the result of a fire aboard the steamboat "Bostona No. 3" in Maysville, Kentucky. Working as a lawyer for 18 years, he became Presbyterian minister at the age of 46. A Historical Marker was erected in the city of Greenville in his memory.

Also known as


  • Jonathan Spilman
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