Born: Au­gust 30, 1820, Shef­field, Mass­a­chu­setts.

Died: Au­gust 6, 1895, Bai­ley Island, Maine.

Buried: Har­mo­ny Vale Ce­me­te­ry, North Read­ing, Mas­sa­chu­setts.




George was the son of Fred­er­ick F. Root and Sar­ah Flint, hus­band of Ma­ry Ol­ive Wood­man, and fa­ther of Fred­er­ick Wood­man Root.

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.

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.