December 29, 1876 – Philip P. Bliss (P.P.) perished along with his wife in a train crash near Ashtabula, Ohio. A bridge collapsed and the Pacific Express on which they were riding plunged 60 feet into a ravine and burst into flames. Bliss survived the fall and escaped through a window but returned to rescue his wife but neither of them made it out. He was only 38 years old. He had been born in Rome, PA on July 9, 1838, in the home of praying and singing parents. He spent his youth on a farm and was limited in a formal education. At 12 years old he was saved and joined the Tioga, Pennsylvania Baptist church by baptism. He was most familiar with the camp meetings and revival meetings of his times and taught school while he studied music. In 1859 he married a young woman who was a musician-poet in her own right. He and his wife moved to Chicago where he became involved in the music publishing business. He also composed music for Sunday schools. His powerful singing voice came to the attention of D.L. Moody who related that the ‘power of solo singing of Gospel songs at evangelistic meetings dated from that time.’ Bliss then united with Evangelist D.W. Whittle and served as soloist, song leader, and children’s worker. Bliss wrote the following songs: “Man of Sorrows! What a Savior,” “Almost Persuaded,” “Hold The Fort,” “The Light of the World is Jesus,” “Wonderful Words of Life,” “Jesus Loves Even Me,” and “Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall, Christ hath redeemed us, once for all!”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 545-47.