J.K. Alwood

Unclouded Day


A Rainbow at Midnight and A Song With Morning
as written by J.K. Alwood in the
Christian Conservator, February 26, 1896

It was a balmy night in August 1879, when returning from a debate in Spring Hill, Ohio, to my home in Morenci, Michigan, about 1:00 a.m. I saw a beautiful rainbow north by northwest against a dense black nimbus cloud. The sky was all perfectly clear except this dark cloud which covered about forty degrees of the horizon and extended about halfway to the zenith. The phenomenon was entirely new to me and my nerves refreshed by the balmy air and the lovely sight. Old Morpheus was playing his sweetest lullaby. Another mile of travel, a few moments of time, a fellow of my size was ensconced in sweet home and wrapped in sweet sleep. A first class know-nothing till rosy-sweet morning was wide over the fields.

To awake and look abroad and remember the night was to be filled with sweet melody. A while at the organ brought forth a piece of music now known as "The Unclouded Day." A Day and a half was bestowed on the four stanzas.

Letter J.K. wrote to the Morenci (MI) Observer, June 5, 1879

Editor, observer: As I entered our village from the south, at 12:50 last night, (returning from the discussion at Spring Hill), I saw a rainbow which was caused by the rays of the moon streaming against a shower of rain falling from a dark, dense cloud a short distance beyond the northwestern limits of our sleeping Morenci. The moon was low in the cloudless southeastern sky. It was a new sight to me; and you can scarcely image the feeling of solemn joy which came over me as I gazed upon the lovely segment of the bow of promise smiling on our quiet town.

The Unclouded Day

as written by Rev. O. G. Alwood (son of J.K.) in the Christian Conservator, March 12, 1924

It was following a debate with an Adventist minister in the little village of Spring Hill (now Tedro), Ohio, about the year 1881 or 1882 that the song was written...The discussion at Spring Hill had been highly satisfactory to Father, in that he had forced his opponent to admit that "the human family could not all keep the same set of hours" as a Sabbath...To make all men keep the same set of hours in order to keep a Sabbath "holy" is absurd, and the Adventist admitted as much. Of course this admission was taken by my father as really conceding the point in dispute. He felt that he had won the debate.

Spring Hill is but eight miles from Morenci, Michigan, where we resided at the time, so father drove home when the debate was finished. They had been engaged in debate the better part of twenty-four hours and had continued until about midnight to finish. On the way home he saw an unusual sight - a rainbow by moonlight. He was a sound sleeper and awoke the next morning refreshed and feeling comfortable both physically and spiritually. The inspiration came to write and so the lines soon took form. The extent of his ability as a musician was to drum a tune "by ear" with one finger on the very modest Estey organ the home afforded. This he proceeded to do to provide an air for his song. Soon we heard him singing some new strange strains and words as new. A new song had been made.

Some time after he met an old acquaintance, Mr. J.F. Kinsey, a vocal music teacher, who inquired if Father had anything new in music to suggest. So Father sang his song and Kinsey asked the privilege of arranging the music for publication...Nothing was ever received for the song and yet some attempt has been made to discredit Father's claim to authorship. but I well remember seeing him writing the words and then "drum" out the tune on the organ. We at home were the first who ever heard it sung.

Continue on to tributes to J.K. at his death