Composer. He was a prolific writer of popular church music and hymns during the early 1800s. He is most remembered for his publishing the work, "The Dulcimer: or The New York Collection Of Sacred Music." The work was considered one of the best-known collection of Christian hymns of that era. Born to Isaac Woodbury and Nancy Baker Woodbury in Beverly, Massachusetts, he was interested in music at a young age. He learned to play the violin by the age of thirteen. He later found work as a blacksmith before studying music with the composer and hymnist Lowell Mason in Boston, Massachusetts. He later went to Europe and studied music in Paris, France, and London, England, before returning to the United States in the late 1830s. He settled in Boston, Massachusetts, and taught music for six years to students, while during this time he also played the organ and conducted choral groups. He also traveled throughout New England with the Bay State Glee Club and organized and directed the Vermont and New Hampshire Musical Association. On January 7, 1846, he married Mary Abigail Putnam in Beverly, Massachusetts, and the couple would have seven children together (Mary Putnam Woodbury was born in 1846, Isaac Baker Woodbury Jr. was born in 1848, Ella Procter Woodbury was born in 1849, Abby Elizabeth Woodbury was born in 1851, Rufus Putnam Woodbury was born in 1851, Frank Huntington Woodbury was born in 1853, and Charles Kemble Woodbury was born in 1857). In 1849, he moved to New York and worked there as a choirmaster and an editor. He later contracted tuberculosis and traveled to the Mediterranean and the State of Florida for health reasons. He passed away on October 26, 1858, in Columbia, South Carolina, and was buried in the Norwalk Union Cemetery in Norwalk, Connecticut. His many edited and published works include, "World Of Music," "The Choral," "Liber Musicus," "The Harp Of The South," "Elements Of Musical Composition" (later "Self-Instructor In Musical Composition"), "American Monthly Musical Revue," "Cythara," "The Casket," and "New Lute Of Zion." He published many hymns, teaching pieces, piano pieces, glees, chorus, cantatas, and oratorios, including, 'Esmonton,' 'Siloam,' 'Awake, Awake, And Take The Pledge,' 'Christian, The Morn Breaks Sweetly O'er Thee,' 'Mother Dear, O Pray For Me,' 'O Slumberer, Rouse Thee,' 'O We Are Happy Now, Dear Mother,' 'When Storms Of Sorrow Darken,' 'Ho Reapers In The Whitened Harvest,' and 'Ho Reapers Of Life's Harvest.' The hymn, 'Ho Reapers Of Life's Harvest,' was one of President James Abram Garfield's favourite's and it was played at his funeral after his assassination on September 19, 1881. His composition, "Stars Of The Summer Night," was featured in the classic Hollywood film, "Gone With The Wind" (1939), eighty-one years after his death.
Bio by: Kris 'Peterborough K' Peterson