Words: , 1898; Fill­more wrote this song up­on read­ing of the death of the mo­ther of Amer­i­can pre­si­dent Wil­liam Mc­Kin­ley.

Mc­Kin­ley had a spe­cial re­la­tion­ship with his mo­ther, who was ve­ry proud of him; in his youth, she boast­ed he would be­come a Me­thod­ist bi­shop (lit­tle did she know he would go some­what far­ther). When “Mo­ther Mc­Kin­ley” fell ill in the win­ter of 1897, she lived some dis­tance from the cap­i­tal, so the pre­si­dent had a spe­cial tel­e­graph line in­stalled be­tween Wash­ing­ton and her home town. When word fi­nal­ly came of her im­pend­ing death, he quick­ly wired back, “Tell mo­ther I’ll be there!”

“Tell Mo­ther I’ll Be There” has con­vert­ed more men than any other song writ­ten in a de­cade. A song which cri­tics have tried to cut to piec­es, both words and mu­sic, but I have ne­ver found a song which would take its place. One night in Li­ve­rpool while the choir was sing­ing “Tell Mo­ther I’ll Be There,” one hun­dred and six­ty men arose and pub­lic­ly ac­cept­ed Christ be­fore all the peo­ple.

Evan­gel­ist Charles M. Al­ex­an­der

Music: Charles M. Fill­more, ar­ranged by .

When I was but a little child how well I recollect
How I would grieve my mother with my folly and neglect;
And now that she has gone to Heav’n I miss her tender care:
O Savior, tell my mother, I’ll be there!


Tell mother I’ll be there, in answer to her prayer;
This message, blessèd Savior, to her bear!
Tell mother I’ll be there, Heav’n’s joys with her to share;
Yes, tell my darling mother I’ll be there.

Though I was often wayward, she was always kind and good;
So patient, gentle, loving when I acted rough and rude;
My childhood griefs and trials she would gladly with me share:
O Savior, tell my mother, I’ll be there!


When I became a prodigal, and left the old rooftree,
She almost broke her loving heart in mourning after me;
And day and night she prayed to God to keep me in His care:
O Savior, tell my mother, I’ll be there!


One day a message came to me, it bade me quickly come
If I would see my mother ere the Savior took her home;
I promised her, before she died, for Heaven to prepare:
O Savior, tell my mother, I’ll be there!