George Frederick Root

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George Frederick RootGeorge Frederick Root


Born: Au­gust 30, 1820, Shef­field, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

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

Buried: North Read­ing, Mas­sa­chu­setts.


Wurzel (German for "Root")
G. Friedrich Wurzel

George F. Root (1820-1895)

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. One of his best known songs is "The Bat­tle Cry of Free­dom." In 1859, Root 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. Root’s works in­clude:

The Young La­dies Choir, 1846
The Pil­grim Fa­thers, 1854
Belshazzar’s Feast, 1860
The Hay­mak­ers, 1857
The Sto­ry of a Mu­sic­al Life, 1891, an au­to­bi­o­gra­phy