August 30, 1820, Sheffield, Massachusetts.

August 6, 1895, Bailey Island, Maine.

Harmony Vale Cemetery, North Reading, Massachusetts.


Root’s musical talents were evident at an early age. 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 his 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. On This Pleasant Sabbath Day
  11. She Only Touched the Hem of His Garment
  12. Thou Art My Rock
  13. Which Road Are You Choosing?
  14. Why Delay?
  15. Why Do You Wait?
  16. Why I Sing
  1. Cabulco
  2. Coventry
  3. Ellon
  4. From the Deep Star-Laden Sky
  5. Hermosa
  6. In Heavenly Pastures
  7. Jacinta
  8. Jasper
  9. Jewels
  10. Knocking, Knocking, Who Is There?
  11. Lombardia
  12. Lowry
  13. Marne
  14. My Father Knows
  15. Narrow and Strait
  16. Never from Thee Will We Stray
  17. O Where Are the Reapers?
  18. Rennes
  19. Rialto
  20. Ring the Bells
  21. Rosedale
  22. Salamanca
  23. Savior’s Face, The
  24. Sheridan
  25. Shining City
  26. Sinclair
  27. Suffer Little Children
  28. Suffer the Children
  29. Tramp, Tramp, Tramp
  30. Turn Not Away
  31. Vacant Chair, The
  32. Varina
  33. Valladolid
  34. We Are Watching
  35. We Come in Childhood’s Joyfulness
  36. Who Will Send or Go?
  37. Yes, We’ll Meet in the Morning