August 28, 1840, Edinburg, Pennsylvania.
August 13, 1908, Brooklyn, New York.
Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.
- Harry S. Lower (Copyright Catalog, Volume 15, number 1, 1920, page 399)
- Rian A. Dykes (an anagram of
Ira D. Sankey)
Ira was the son of David Ira Sankey and Mary Leeper, and husband of Frances Victoria Edwards.
As a young man, he served in the American civil war. He often helped the unit chaplain and led his fellow soldiers in hymn singing.
After the war, he joined the Internal Revenue Service, and also worked with the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). He became well known as a Gospel singer, and eventually came to the attention of evangelist Dwight Lyman Moody. The two men met at a YMCA convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, in June, 1870. Some months later, Sankey attended his first evangelistic meeting with Moody, and resigned from government service shortly thereafter.
In October 1871, Sankey and Moody were in the middle of a revival meeting when the Great Chicago Fire began. The two men barely escaped the conflagration with their lives. Sankey ended up watching the city burn from a rowboat out on Lake Michigan.
Sankey composed about 1,200 songs in his lifetime. He was blind from glaucoma the last five years of his life, and no doubt found a kindred spirit in his blind friend and music making partner Fanny Crosby. His works include:
- Welcome Tidings, with Robert Lowry & Howard Doane (New York: Biglow & Main, 1877)
- Gospel Hymns and Sacred Songs, with Philip Bliss (New York: Biglow & Main, 1875)
- Gospel Hymns No. 2, with Philip Bliss (Cincinnati, Ohio: John Church, 1876)
- Gospel Hymns No. 3, with James McGranahan & George Stebbins (Cincinnati, Ohio: John Church, 1878)
- Gospel Hymns No. 4, with James McGranahan & George Stebbins (Chicago, Illinois & Cincinnati, Ohio: Biglow & Main/John Church, 1881)
- The Gospel Choir, with James McGranahan (New York & Chicago, Illinois: Biglow & Main, 1885)
- Winnowed Songs for Sunday Schools (New York: Biglow & Main, 1890)
- Christian Endeavor Hymns (New York & Boston, Massachusetts: United Society of Christian Endeavor and Biglow & Main, 1894)
- The Gospel Choir No. 2, with George Stebbins & James McGranahan (Toronto, Ontario: Copp, Clark Company, 1895)
- Sacred Songs No. 1, with James McGranahan & George Stebbins (New York: Biglow & Main, 1896)
- Christian Endeavor Edition of Sacred Songs No. 1, with James McGranahan & George Stebbins (Boston, Massachusetts: United Society of Christian Endeavor, 1897)
- Royal Hymnal, with Robert Lowry (New York: Biglow & Main, 1898)
- Sacred Songs No. 2, with James McGranahan & George Stebbins (New York: Biglow & Main, 1899)
- Gems of Song, with Hubert Main (Chicago, Illinois: Biglow & Main, 1901)