Bio - Charles Harris Congdon (1856 - 1928)

Mini-Bios for CAMPBELLs, LUGGs, & BLACKWELLs of Nelson, PA

Charles Harris Congdon (1856 - 1928)

Charles "Charlie" Harris Congdon was born Dec. 16, 1856, in Nelson, Tioga Co., PA; d. Mar. 23, 1928, in Stroudsburg, Monroe Co., PA. He married Apr. 29, 1887, to Anna Rebecca McWilliams, b. 1858 in OH.

He was the youngest of 3 children of Sarah Campbell, b. 1824, in Nelson, d. 1892 in Nelson; and Benjamin Docray Congdon, b. 1820, on Shelter Island, Suffolk Co., NY, d. 1897. Charlie was a music teacher, music superintendent, and publisher of music textbooks.

He followed his older brother, Ed, and his cousin, Herbert Hughey, to Brainerd, Crow Wing Co., MN and taught music in the schools there. His interest in methods of teaching singing led to his becoming director of vocal music, first in St. Paul, MN, and then in Chicago.

Charlie was one of the most interesting of our Campbell Cousins, and in his day the most famous. He was the first member of the family to appear in Who's Who. He was also in Who's Who in American Music.

Here's the entry from Vol 14 of Who's Who, p. 494:

CONGDON, Charles Harris, song leader, author; b. Nelson, Pa., Dec. 18, 1856; s. Benjamin D. and Sarah (Campbell) C.; grad. State Normal College, Mansfield, Pa., 1876; m. Anna R. McWilliams, Apr. 20, 1887. Teacher country schs, 1876-1878; introduced music in pub. schs., Brainerd, Minn., 1884; dir. music, pub schs., St. Paul, 1885-98; grouped 2,200 sch. children to represent the Stars and Stripes at Nat. Encampment, G.A.R., St. Paul, 1896; moved to Chicago, 1898; originated, with Robert Foresnan and Eleanor Smith, system of teaching music to children in pub. schs., discarding the "scale method" and substituting pure song material; official song leader of Progressive Party, and led singing at Progressive Conv. at Chicago, also at Roosevelt rallies, Madison Sq. Garden, New York; organized pageant at Jersey City, N.J., 1916 for Gen. War Fund. Unitarian. Author: Congdon Music Reader (series), 1908-1923, (with Charles B. Gilbert) Congdon Pamphlet Readers, 1910; also music charts, and materials for teaching word reading. Inventor ednl. equipment; teacher. Address: 200 5th Av., New York, N.Y."

He made the national news when  in St. Paul, and later Chicago, he had a chorus of children form an American flag for national conventions of the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic).

He left teaching and established a publishing company in NYC that published music for schools and textbooks for music educators. He patented a pitch pipe, which his publishing company sold, along with other supplies a music teacher might want, such as music stands, batons, etc. Many of the songs he wrote had patriotic themes.

He traveled the country widely promoting his business. Whenever his train traveled near a Campbell Cousin, he would stop for a day (or two or three) and visit. He was very friendly and well liked and respected by his relatives.

One of the more interesting parts his career was his involvement in Theodore Roosevelt's 1912 "Bull Moose" presidential campaign. Charlie led music at TR's rallies and the Progressive Party's national convention.

By his time, our Campbell clan had diversified religiously. Although many still were Presbyterians, by then some were Baptist, Methodist, etc. There were even a few Catholics. Charlie switched from Presbyterian to Congregationalist, and later was the first of our clan to become a Unitarian.

He must have been a dynamic and interesting person - perhaps charismatic. In addition to the above, early 1900s he was proprietor of a vacation hotel, the Titania House, on 15 acres next his summer home by Marshalls Falls, PA. It previously was called "Hygiene Park", because of the beneficial effects mountain air was believed to have in the 1800s. The name changed before Charlie took over. Smithfield Twp., Monroe Co., is turning the property into a park.

Charles H. and Anna McWilliams Congdon had 3 children, all born in St. Paul, MN:

  1. Anna Bernice Congdon, b. 1888, m. Thomas B. Colwell;
  2. Helen Congdon, b. 1892, d. 1899 in MN; &
  3. Louise Congdon, b. 1893, d. 1992.
Campbell Cousins Correspondence Letters Written:
v1r2 p41-6 Oct 15, 1923
v2 p87 Apr. 15, 1924

Mentioned in CCC Letters:
v1r1 p3 Intro - Charles
v1r1 p15 Jennie CRANE Bosard - Charlie
v1r1 p18 Jennie SELPH Cady - Charlie
v1r1 p22 Minnie TUBBS Clark - Charlie
v1r1 p27 Mary Lois CAMPBELL Shipman - Charlie
v1r1 p32 Ada SEELY Crandall - Charlie
v1r1 p33 Emma CONGDON Buck - Charlie
v1r1 p46 Will Selph - Charlie
v1r2 p1-2 Ed Congdon - Charlie & Bernice
v1r2 p13 Frances GOODRICH Hoyt - Charlie
v1r2 p24 Anna BOSARD Owlett - Charlie
v1r2 p33 Minnie TUBBS Clark - Charlie
v1r2 p49 Geo. L. Buck - Uncle C.H. Congdon - photo
v1r2 p52 Myra BUCK Seiders - Uncle Charlie
v1r2 p53-54 Emma CONGDON Buck - Charlie
v1r2 p60 Jennie SELPH Cady - Charlie
v1r2 p62 Inez HOYT Boller - Charlie
v1r2 p67-68 Mabel SHIPMAN Shaw - Charlie & family
v1r2 p71 Grace CAMPBELL Mowrey Buck Carey - Charlie
v1r2 p76 Will Selph - Charlie
v2 p3 Stella LOOP Hooker Wilbur - Charlie
v2 p15 Jennie SELPH Cady - Charlie Congdon
v2 p26 Louise Congdon - papa
v2 p46-47 Emma CONGDON Buck - Charlie Congdon
v2 p57 Carrie HUGHEY Peterson Taylor St. Clair - C. H. Congdon
v2 p60 Fordyce D. Owlett - Charlie Congdon
v2 p61 Myra BUCK Seiders - Uncle Charlie
v2 p65 Hannah BIXBY Hughey - Charley
v2 p66 Harr M. Hughey - Charles Congdon
v2 p98 Georgia CONGDON Parks Merritt Weir - Uncle Charlie's family
v3 p1 Anna McWilliams Congdon - C. H. Congdon
v3 p6 Eva HOOKER Hills - Charlie Congdon
v3 p10 Carrie HUGHEY Peterson Taylor St.Clair - Charlie
v3 p15 Stella LOOP Hooker Wilbur - Charlie
v3 p18 Inez HOYT Boller - Charlie Congdon
v3 p29-30 Emma CONGDON Buck - Charlie
v3 p33 Mary CAMPBELL Shipman - Charlie Congdon
v3 p43 Kate CAMPBELL Horton - Charlie & Anna
v3 p50 Mary E. HUGHEY Prescott - Cousin Charlie
v3 p54 Mabel SHIPMAN Shaw - Charles Congdon
v3 p56 Hannah BIXBY Hughey - Charlie Congdon
v3 p57 Will Selph - Charlie Congdon's place
v3 p60-61 Ed Congdon - Brother Charlie, Anna, Louise & Bernice
v3 p93 Edna ELLISON Wright - Charlie
v3 p97 Louise Congdon - Mother & Father
v4 pi Photo - Charles Congdon
v4 p5 Jim Parks - C. H. Congdon
v4 p11 Mark Seely - Charlie
v4 p48 Anna BOSARD Owlett - Charlie & Bernice
v4 p48b Photo - Charles Congdon
v4 p51 Mary BOSARD Snavely - Charles Congdon
v4 p58 Mary E. HUGHEY Prescott - Cousin Charlie
v4 p73 Ed T. Congdon - Brother Charlie
v4 p77 Jessica HOYT Thompson - Charlie
v4 p85 Hannah BIXBY Hughey - Charlie
v4 p95 Myra BUCK Seiders - Uncle Charlie

Mentioned in other documents:

[wbt - 10/18/2000; last rev. 9/2/2018]

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