When he was a child the family moved to Albia in Iowa. There hejoined the Salvation Army and for several years preached throughout the United States and Canada before he was ordained in the Methodist Episcopal Church.
He is thought to have written some 100 hymns. He wrote words and tune for his best known hymn “The Old Rugged Cross” in 1913.
Bennard retired to Reed City, Michigan, where he died in 1959. The town maintains a museum dedicated to his life and ministry.
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