August 30, 1820, Sheffield, Massachusetts.

August 6, 1895, Bailey Island, Maine.

Harmony Vale Cemetery, North Reading, Massachusetts.


George was the son of Frederick F. Root and Sarah Flint. His musical talents were evident at an early age, and by the time he was 13, he was proud that he could play a tune on as many instruments as his age.

In 1838, Root moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where he studied under George Webb. In 1845, he moved to New York City, playing the organ at the Church of the Strangers, and teaching music at the Abbott Institute for Young Ladies. In 1850, he toured Europe for a year. Afterward, he started working with Lowell Mason, at Boston’s Academy of Music. In 1851, Root began composing. In 1859, he began work at his brother’s company, Root and Cady, in Chicago, Illinois. In 1872, the University of Chicago awarded him an honorary Doctor of Music degree. He had two sons, Frederick and Charles T.

Some of Root’s best known secular songs are The Battle Cry of Freedom; Just Before the Battle, Mother; The Old Folks Are Gone; A Hundred Years Ago; Old Potomac Shore; Rosalie, the Prairie Flower; The Vacant Chair; Hazel Dell and There’s Music in the Air. His other works include:

  1. Along the River of Time
  2. Altogether Lovely
  3. Behold the Bridegroom Cometh
  4. Clear as Crystal
  5. Come to the Savior
  6. He Redeemed Me
  7. Inasmuch
  8. Narrow and Strait
  9. O the Way Is Long and Weary
  10. O, We Are Volunteers
  11. On This Pleasant Sabbath Day
  12. She Only Touched the Hem of His Garment
  13. Thou Art My Rock
  14. Which Road Are You Choosing?
  15. Why Delay?
  16. Why Do You Wait?
  17. Why I Sing
  1. Cabulco
  2. Coventry
  3. Ellon
  4. From the Deep Star-Laden Sky
  5. Happy Hearts Children Bring
  6. Hermosa
  7. In Heavenly Pastures
  8. Jacinta
  9. Jasper
  10. Jewels
  11. Knocking, Knocking, Who Is There?
  12. Lombardia
  13. Lowry
  14. Marne
  15. My Father Knows
  16. Narrow and Strait
  17. Never from Thee Will We Stray
  18. O Where Are the Reapers?
  19. Olsztyn
  20. Rennes
  21. Rialto
  22. Ring the Bells
  23. Rosedale
  24. Salamanca
  25. Savior’s Face, The
  26. Sheridan
  27. Shining City
  28. Sinclair
  29. Suffer Little Children
  30. Suffer the Children
  31. Tramp, Tramp, Tramp
  32. Turn Not Away
  33. Vacant Chair, The
  34. Varina
  35. Valladolid
  36. We Are Watching
  37. We Come in Childhood’s Joyfulness
  38. Whitechapel
  39. Who Will Send or Go?
  40. Yes, We’ll Meet in the Morning