I reproduced this songbook from the original which was compiled by Commissioner Richard B. Fitton. The original was loaned to me for reproduction by his daughter, Marie Fitton Evans.
Richard Fitton was born in 1901 in Blackburn, England, and was thus, 14 years younger than Sidney Cox. His family immigrated to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where they were members of the Salvation Army. He went to training in New York where he was commissioned as a Salvation Army officer.
Fitton first met Sidney when he was appointed as the Divisional Youth Secretary in Jacksonville, Florida in the early 1930s. Sidney was serving as the Territorial Youth Secretary in Atlanta at that time, so Fitton in essence worked for Sidney. They became close comrades. This was during the height of Sidney’s composing career, and Sidney would share new compositions and manuscripts regularly with Fitton for his input and review.
In 1936, Sidney was made the Principal of the Training College in Atlanta, and Fitton was appointed to Atlanta to take Sidney’s place as the Territorial Youth Secretary. From 1937 – 1939, Fitton was appointed as the Assistant Training Principal, and served on Sidney’s staff at the college. The Cox and Fitton families became closest of personal friends during this era in Atlanta. Marie was a young teenager at the time and grew to love the Cox family. Marie said that Sidney “was my Dad’s best friend.”
Fitton and Sidney remained close even following Sidney’s resignation from the Salvation Army in 1944. Ultimately, Fitton was appointed for a two-year term to International Headquarters in London, after which he was appointed to San Francisco as the Principal of the training college of the Western Territory.
When Violet Cox died in 1967, Sidney traveled to San Francisco at Fitton’s invitation, where he spent several weeks living with the Fitton’s. Fitton had Sidney lecture and preach to the cadets at the training college on several occasions.
In 1974, Fitton undertook to compile this songbook of Sidney Cox songs. It is a private compilation and has never been published. Although most of Sidney’s compositions had been published in The War Cry, The Musical Salvationist (London) and incorporated into The Salvation Army Songbook, there was not a consolidated compilation of his music at that time. Fitton’s compilation contains 120 songs and choruses, 39 of which appear to have been previously published in The Musical Salvationist.
Marie Fitton later married Willard Evans. They were commissioned in 1949 as members of the Peacemaker Session – session mates of my mother, Jean Wilkins Cox. Willard ultimately became Commissioner of The Southern Territory. During the late 30s and early 40s, Marie was a young teen-age girl in Atlanta and got to know both the Wilkins and Cox families very well. They were the closest of friends and she interacted with Mom, Hal, Doug, John and Philip often at a host of Salvation Army functions. In addition, they remained lifelong friends, even after Mom and Dad left the service of The Salvation Army in 1951.
John Douglas Cox. Grandson of Sidney Edward Cox.