Now, the other star of this drama. The story of the music has rarely been told, no doubt because the record is infuriatingly sparse. So here is the fullest account available, everything I could learn about the origin of the stately score.
Five years before Katharine Lee Bates conceived her poem atop Pikes Peak, an ancient verse appeared in print with a brand new melody. The plaintive hymn, "O Mother, Dear Jerusalem," was derived from sacred Biblical texts and first adapted into English around 1600 by a Scottish clergyman named David Dickson. Its stirring new music was composed by Samuel Augustus Ward, a Victorian gentleman who served as the organist at Grace Episcopal Church in Newark, New Jersey.
A descendant of Newark's Revolutionary-era founders, Ward was born December 28, 1848, and attended local public schools in a city fast becoming a major manufacturing center. He was a "natural-born musician," in the words of a contemporary, and took up the accordion at the age of six while recovering from a broken leg. When his father, a shoemaker, had a similar accident some years later, Sam left school to help support the family. By the time he was a teenager, he was giving piano lessons to local students. He also played the organ, so skillfully that he was hired at sixteen as a church organist in Manhattan. Although he had no formal music training, he studied