Kimball, Josiah


Some authorities give his name as Jacob instead Josiah. An old New England composer of psalm tunes, like William Billings and others of his time, who, as Elson says, helped to break "the ice which was congealing New England's music." He was born at Topsfield, Mass., and at first became a lawyer. He abandoned his business for a musical career, which ended in failure. In 1793 he published a volume called Rural Harmony, consisting of psalm tunes and fugue pieces, most of the contents being composed by himself. He tried teaching in several neighboring towns but with so little success that he died in the poorhouse of his native town.