Root, George Frederick

Root, George Frederick,

1820–95, American composer, b. Sheffield, Mass. He taught at schools in Boston and New York City. He wrote gospel songs and composed sentimental ballads to Fanny Crosby's lyrics, but most famous were his Civil War songs "The Battle Cry of Freedom," "Tramp, Tramp, Tramp," and "Just before the Battle, Mother."
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Root, George Frederick

(1820–95) composer; born in Sheffield, Mass. He received musical training in Boston before teaching singing at several colleges in New York in the 1840s. In 1853 he cofounded the New York Normal Institute to train music teachers; in 1859 he moved to Chicago, where, in addition to teaching music, he was a music publisher until 1871. He composed a number of cantatas popular in their day, and under the name G. Frederick Wurzel he began to write popular songs. In 1863 he composed "The Battle Cry of Freedom," the first of several celebrated Civil War songs, including "Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the Boys are Marching" and "The Vacant Chair."
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.