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Ira David Sankey

from Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography

Ira SankeyIra David Sankey, evangelist, born in Edinburgh, Lawrence co., Pa., 28 August, 1840. His father, David, was for many years a state senator, president of a bank, and an editor.

As a boy, Ira display a great liking for music. The family removed to New Castle, Pa., where at the age of fifteen, he united with the Methodist church, of which his parents where members. He became leader of the choir, superintendent of the Sunday-school, and president of the Young men's Christian association in town.

In 1870, he was delegated to the Indianapolis international covention of the last-named body, where he first met Dwight L. Moody. Since that time he has be associated with him in his evangelistic work as a singer, and has attained a wide reputation. His melodies, whether composed by Mr. Sankey, or selected, are simple, pleasing, and effective, readily caught, and easily remembered.

In 23 April, 1886, he presented to the town of New Castle, Pa., as a free gift, a Young men's Christian association building, equipped with gymnasium, reading-rooms, halls, school-rooms, and an art gallery, and since then he has also given a valuable building-site to the church with which he was first connected.

Mr. Sankey, however, does not confine himself exclusively to singing: he has always taken an active part in the inquiry-room, and of late has addressed meetings very acceptably.

He has a fine baritone voice, and accompanies himself on the harmonium, singing solos, and also leading the audiences. Mr. Sankey's compilation of "Sacred Songs and Solos," has been translated into many languages, and has had a larger circulation than any other book of hymns. [Information as of 1900; Sankey died 14 August 1908.]

From Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography edited by James Grant Wilson and John Fiske. Rev. ed. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1900. Vol. 5.

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