Born: Au­gust 28, 1840, Ed­in­burg, Penn­syl­van­ia.

Died: Au­gust 13, 1908, Brook­lyn, New York.

Buried: Green­Wood Cem­e­te­ry, Brook­lyn, New York.

Pseudonym: Rian A. Dykes (an an­a­gram of “Ira D. Sank­ey”)

As a young man, Sankey 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 far 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 friend and mu­sic mak­ing part­ner, blind hymn­ist Fanny Crosby. His works in­clude:



  1. Able to Deliver
  2. Army of Endeavor
  3. Behold the Wondrous Love
  4. Believe and Obey
  5. Blessed Redeemer
  6. Bountiful Harvest
  7. Bring in the Children
  8. Christ­ian’s “Good Night”, The
  9. Cleansing Fountain, The
  10. Clephane
  11. Come, Oh Come, with Thy Broken Heart
  12. Crewdson
  13. Descend, O Flame
  14. Faith Is the Victory
  15. Glory Ever Be to Jesus
  16. God Will Take Care of You
  17. Great Jehovah, Mighty Lord
  18. Handwriting on the Wall, The
  19. Harbor Bell, The
  20. Hear Us, O Savior!
  21. Help Me
  22. How Can I Keep from Singing?
  23. I Am Praying for You
  24. I Know He Is Mine
  25. It Is Finished!
  26. It Passeth Knowledge
  27. Jesse
  28. Jesus, I Will Trust Thee
  29. King Is Coming, The
  30. Let Us Walk in the Light
  31. Light After Darkness
  32. Little While, A
  33. Lord Is King!, The
  34. Model Church, The
  35. Mountain
  36. Never Say Goodbye
  37. Newcastle
  38. Ninety and Nine, The
  39. Not Now, My Child
  40. O Blessèd Be the Lord
  41. O Brother, Life’s Journey Beginning
  42. O Beautiful Sea
  43. O Child of God
  44. O Precious Word
  45. O Songs of the Beautiful
  46. Onward, Soldiers
  47. Onward Will We Go
  48. O’er Land and Sea
  49. Onward, Upward
  50. Over the Beautiful River
  51. Precious Blessings
  52. Precious Words
  53. Resurrection Morn
  54. Sankey
  55. Send the Gospel Light
  56. Shadow of the Rock, The
  57. Shelter in the Time of Storm, A
  58. Shipton
  59. Song of Heaven and Homeland, A
  60. Steiner
  61. Story That Never Grows Old, The
  62. Substitution
  63. Take Me as I Am
  64. Tell It Out
  65. Thanks for the Bi­ble
  66. There Are Lonely Hearts to Cherish
  67. There’ll Be No Dark Valley
  68. They That Be Wise
  69. This Is Our Endeavor
  70. Thy Hand Upholdeth Me
  71. To Arms! To Arms! Ye Sol­diers!
  72. Trust
  73. Trusting Jesus
  74. Under His Wings
  75. Waiting for Thy Coming
  76. We Will Follow Thee
  77. What a Gathering
  78. When My Weary Hands Are Folded
  79. When the King Shall Come!
  80. When the Mists Have Rolled Away
  81. Where the Savior Leads
  82. Whoever Will
  83. Wonderful Word