My latest manuscript is set in 1774, pre-Revolutionary Delaware. In one scene, my heroine hums a hymn she remembers from her childhood. I plugged in the first old-sounding hymn I could think of: The Old Rugged Cross.
Yes, it’s old, but as one of my beta readers pointed out, it was written in 1912. Way, way after my heroine’s time. (I love beta readers!)
My next choice was the oldie, but goodie: Amazing Grace. Nope. It’s even older,but that was written in 1779, five years after my heroine hums it. Yes, I could change the story so that it takes place five years earlier, but there’s a big difference in what was going on in America between 1774 and 1779. That’s a lot of editing. Also, she remembers the hymn from her childhood, so I’d still need to find one that’s at least 10 years older, ideally at least 15 anyway.
My church is no help. Half the songs we sing can be heard on any Christian radio station. Maybe some of you go to more traditional churches and can recommend something that might have been popular around say…1760.
Thanks for any suggestions you may have!