Standing Up

Rev. Dudley Atkins Tyng

I came across this carte de visite photograph a few weeks ago. The seller described it as an image of Rev. Dudley Atkins Tyng, who had been born in 1825 and died in 1858. So, I checked the cemetery’s database and discovered, as I had hoped, that the Reverend Tyng was in fact a permanent resident of Green-Wood.

Tyng has an interesting story. In 1854, he took over as pastor of the Church of the Epiphany in Philadelphia when his father retired. But Dudley, unlike his more moderate father, was a committed abolitionist. Just two years later, his preaching against slavery resulted in his being forced to resign. With a few loyal followers, he then organized the Church of the Covenant in that same city. In 1858, he held a rally for fathers and sons, and 5,000 attended. He concluded the event with this: “I would rather this right arm be amputated at the trunk than that I should come short of my duty to you in delivering God’s message.”

It was only two weeks later that Tyng, visiting a congregant’s farm, and watching the thrasher work, got his sleeve caught in that machine. His arm was pulled into the thrasher and torn from its socket. Just a few days later, his arm was amputated at the shoulder. Before he died days a few days later, he told his father to “stand up for Jesus.” His final words soon became a popular hymn that is still sung today: “Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus.”

This photograph has the signature of Mathew Brady, its photographer (Brady, NY), at lower right. It was published by Edward Anthony, the largest distributor of photographs in America during this era, who is also a Green-Wood permanent resident. The photograph is now in the Green-Wood Historic Fund’s collections.

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