Judson Wheeler Van DeVenter was born December 5, 1855 to the parents of John Van DeVenter and Eliza Ann Wheeler. He was one of their four children, three boys and a girl. Jusdson was next to the oldest. They lived on a farm near Dundee, Michigan. He attended public schools there in Dundee, Michigan. DeVenter's family were christians and attended the Episcopal-Methodist Church where he gave his heart to the Lord at the age of 17. After school he went to Hillsdale College where he studied Art and became interested in music. Upon his graduation from college he was able to study drawing and painting by a well-known German teacher. He began teaching Art in 1878 at Rankin School to help himself financially and taught in public schools for the next 15 years. He also served as Supervisor of Drawing in Sharon, Pennsylvania.
Judson meet and married Malissa Miller a 21 year old farmers daughter. He moved in with her family in Summerfield, Michigan and was employed as a painter. The next year they had a daughter they named Cleo Iva sadly in 1902 Cleo died at only twenty years old. They had a son, Paul Dorel born in 1888 while they were still living in Michigan. Dore later married and had a son and was listed as a photographer in Florida. In 1924 Judson and Malissa had been married over 30 years when she passed away.
Judson was a layman in the church he attended growing up and became very active in the evangelistic meetings. Many of his friends urged him to become an evangelist and quit his teaching job. It took him another five years to surrender his dream of being an artist to turn his life fully over to the will of God and become an evangelist full time. It was during this time that God gave him the words to his most well known hymn, "I Surrender All." His travels as an evangelist took him all throughout the United States, England, and Scotland assisted by the singer, Winfield S. Weeden.
Judson meet Carolyn J. Jackson who was a pianist and music teacher, they married on August 4, 1925 in Wayne, Michigan. They had a radio program called, "The Gospel in Song and Story." He visited the Florida Bible Institute where he was stated to be a professor of hymnology for four years.
Judson Van DeVenter died on July 17, 1939 while living in Tampa, Florida where he attended and taught at Gospel Tabernacle. A few days later he was buried at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Dundee, Michigan his birth place. During his lifetime it is said that Van DeVenter wrote about 100 hymnals.
This video of Carman is the version I used in children's church during our altar service. I have many children receive the Holy Ghost during this song as we are to surrender to him our all. Those children would just raise their hands in surrender and start speaking the heavenly language. Oh, what sweet moments.