Thomas Jackson Denson

Thomas Jackson Denson

Thomas Jackson Denson was a notable Alabama musician and singing school teacher within the Sacred Harp tradition. He was the youngest of the four sons of the Levi Phillip Denson, a Methodist minister, and Julia Ann Jones Denson. Thomas J. Denson was born in 1863 in Arbacoochee, Cleburne County. He was married Amanda Burdette until her death; they had one son: Paine Denson. He later married Lola Mahalia Akers, with whom he had three daughters: Violet Denson Hinton, Vera Denson Nunn, and Tommye Mahalia Denson Mauldin.

Along with his brother Seaborn McDaniel Denson, Thomas Denson formed the Sacred Harp Publishing Co. In 1933 they purchased the rights to the 1911 J. S. James "Sacred Harp" and began a revision of it. This revision, known as the "Original Sacred Harp (Denson Revision)", was published in 1936.

Thomas J. Denson was a popular singing school professor, and taught singing schools from Georgia to Texas. Some claim that he taught more Sacred Harp singers than any other man. He was affectionately known to many as "Uncle Tom".

A granite monument to the memory of Thomas J. and Seaborn M. Denson was erected on the courthouse square in Double Springs, Alabama. This was done in 1944, the centennial year of the Sacred Harp. Part of the inscription reads "By the loving hands of their families, pupils of their singing schools, and legions of singers and friends."

Thomas J. Denson died September 14, 1935. His brother Seaborn died in 1936, and Tom's son, Paine Denson, saw the "Denson" edition of the Sacred Harp through to completion.


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