1856 - 1922 Person Name: J. Oatman Author of "The Friendship of Jesus" in The Fellowship Hymn Book Johnson Oatman, Jr., son of Johnson and Rachel Ann Oatman, was born near Medford, N. J., April 21, 1856. His father was an excellent singer, and it always delighted the son to sit by his side and hear him sing the songs of the church.
Outside of the usual time spent in the public schools, Mr. Oatman received his education at Herbert's Academy, Princetown, N. J., and the New Jersey Collegiate Institute, Bordentown, N. J. At the age of nineteen he joined the M.E. Church, and a few years later he was granted a license to preach the Gospel, and still later he was regularly ordained by Bishop Merrill. However, Mr. Oatman only serves as a local preacher.
For many years he was engaged with his father in the mercantile business at Lumberton, N. J., under the firm name of Johnson Oatman & Son. Since the death of his father, he has for the past fifteen years been in the life insurance business, having charge of the business of one of the great companies in Mt. Holly, N. J., where he resides.
He has written over three thousand hymns, and no gospel song book is considered as being complete unless it contains some of his hymns.
In 1878 he married Wilhelmina Reid, of Lumberton, N.J. and had three children, Rachel, Miriam, and Percy.
Excerpted from Biography of Gospel Song and Hymn Writers by Jacob Henry Hall; Fleming H. Revell, Co. 1914
Johnson Oatman, Jr.