Westendorf Sheet Music

By | May 18, 2021

Westendorf Sheet Music and Biography

Black and White Portrait of Thomas Westendorf as a young man
Thomas Westendorf

Thomas Westendorf was an American singer and songwriter born on 23 February 1848 in Virginia, USA. Westendorf sheet music on our site features his most famous song I’ll Take You Home Kathleen.


Westendorf was born in quite a poor and insalubrious area where crime was common and falling into its clutches wasn’t difficult. In 1863 at the age of fifteen Thomas and his friend were sent to Reform School having been apprehended for stealing. Two years later obviously determined not to return to a life of crime he chose to study law, piano, and violin in Chicago.

In addition to his music, Westendorf particularly enjoyed teaching and combined both careers. Over the years he held positions in various reform schools and refuges. He met his wife Jane Morrow during one of these positions in Plainfield. They married in 1873 and had two children, but sadly only one survived; Jennie. She inherited her father’s qualities and was composing her own music at the age of sixteen.

Musical Career

In 1870 Westendorf became friends with fellow musician George Persley (George W.Brown) who was paramount in encouraging him to write. They collectively produced twenty-eight songs together, Westendorf the lyricist, and Persely wrote the music (or made minor alterations to it?).

Between 1875-1876 they wrote a few songs including ‘I’ll Take You Home Kathleen’. John Church and Co. bought the rights, owning them for fifty-six years before returning them to the public domain. Westendorf was paid fifty dollars a month. In 1947 there were forty different arrangements of it by twenty-seven publishers!

Westendorf was in high demand peaking in 1880 when he wrote forty-five works, of which twenty were piano pieces for school children. However, his productivity decreased to only writing six pieces between 1889 and 1904. He wrote over five hundred pieces and songs over his career.

After the death of his wife in 1915 it is said that he moved to be with his sister and worked in a bookstore until his death on 19th April 1923.

Westendorf Sheet Music Downloads and Further Reading

On music-scores.com we have over ten arrangements of Westendorf sheet music music in PDF format for you to download.

For further reading on this composer look at Wikipedia and also there is a specific Wikipedia page on ‘I’ll Take You Home Kathleen’.

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