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With full respect given to Wallace Willis, before 1860, who wrote this wonderful negro spiritual.

He received his name from his owner, Britt Willis, probably in Mississippi, the ancestral home of the Choctaws. He died, probably in what is now Atoka County, Oklahoma, as his unmarked grave is located there.

Prior to the Civil War, Willis and his wife, Aunt Minerva, were sent by their owner to work at the Spencer Academy where the superintendent, Reverend Alexander Reid, heard them singing. In 1871 Reid was at a performance of the Jubilee Singers and thought the songs he had heard the Willises singing were better than those of the Jubilee Singers. He furnished them to the group which performed them in the United States and Europe. Many are now famous.

Steal Away

Steal away, steal away, steal away to Jesus!
Steal away, steal away home,
I ain’t got long to stay here.

My Lord, He calls me,
He calls me by the thunder;
The trumpet sounds within my soul,
I ain’t got long to stay here.

Refrain

Green trees are bending,
Poor sinners stand a-trembling;
The trumpet sounds within my soul,
I ain’t got long to stay here.

Refrain

My Lord, He calls me,
He calls me by the lightning;
The trumpet sounds within my soul,
I ain’t got long to stay here.

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