Born: Ap­ril 6, 1834, New Ha­ven, Con­nec­ti­cut.

Died: No­vem­ber 20, 1903, Phi­la­del­phia, Penn­syl­van­ia. Hav­ing sold the rights to his most suc­cess­ful mu­sic, he died pen­ni­less in a board­ing house. His last writ­ten words: It’s hard to die alone.

Buried: Ken­si­co Ce­me­te­ry, Val­hal­la, New York.




Hart was the hus­band of Har­ri­et Ro­set­ta Co­la­han (mar­ried 1858).

When he was eight years old, his fa­mi­ly moved to Sa­ra­to­ga Springs, New York, where he stu­died mu­sic with Dr. L. E. Whit­ing.

Later, Danks worked as a car­pen­ter in his fa­ther’s con­struct­ion bu­si­ness for while, but short­ly be­gan a full time mu­sic ca­reer, com­pos­ing, sing­ing, and lead­ing cho­ral groups.

In 1854, he moved to Chi­ca­go, Il­li­nois, where he be­came a choir lead­er and con­duc­tor of cho­ral societies.

His first pub­lished com­po­si­tion was the hymn tune Lake Street, which ap­peared in The Ju­bi­lee, by Will­iam Brad­bu­ry, 1858. It is said he some­times pro­duced over 80 works an­nu­al­ly.

In 1864, he moved to New York Ci­ty, and the next year, he wrote his best known song, Sil­ver Threads Among the Gold (words by Eben Rex­ford), which sold over three mil­lion co­pies.

He al­so filled the po­si­tions of bass sing­er and mu­sic­al di­rec­tor in the fol­low­ing New York church­es: St. Ma­ry’s Ca­tho­lic; Zi­on Church; Church of the In­car­na­tion; St. Ste­phen’s; Ho­ly Tri­ni­ty, Brook­lyn; Fist Bap­tist; La­fay­ette Ave­nue Pres­by­ter­ian; Se­cond Uni­ta­ri­an; and St. Mat­thew’s, Jer­sey Ci­ty. Danks al­so ap­peared as a con­cert sing­er.