October 11, 1836, Athens, Ohio.

December 20, 1906, New York City.

Rosehill Cemetery, Chi­ca­go, Il­li­nois.


Charles was the son of Robert Mc­Cabe, a tailor, and Sar­ah Ro­bin­son. His grandfather was also Ro­bert Mc­Cabe, an early Meth­od­ist Class-Leader and advisor to John Stew­art, a pioneer of American Meth­od­ist missions. Ancestor Ow­en Mc­Cabe was of Covenanter stock from County Ty­rone, Ire­land. He emigrated to Amer­i­ca in the 1740s, and by 1750 was in Sher­man’s Val­ley of Cum­ber­land Coun­ty, Penn­syl­van­ia, an area that eventually (1820) became Ty­rone Town­ship of Per­ry Coun­ty, Penn­syl­van­ia.

Charles went to the altar at eight years of age under the pleading of Saint Min­turn. He was appointed to lead a class at the age of fifteen.

In 1854, McCabe, enrolled at Ohio Wes­ley­an University, where his uncle, Lo­ren­zo Dow Mc­Cabe, was a professor. Though Charles withdrew from school in 1858, he graduated with a BA degree in 1860 and was given an honorary MA in 1864. He then became a high school principal.

As the Amer­i­can civil war broke out, Mc­Cabe helped raise a regiment of infantry for the Union Army. By October 8, 1862, McCabe was serving as chap­lain of the 122nd Ohio In­fan­try. He was captured by the Con­fed­er­ate Army and sent to the infamous Lib­by Pri­son in Rich­mond, Vir­ginia, where he served as a chap­lain to his fellow prisoners. During his time as a prisoner of war, McCabe taught The Bat­tle Hymn of the Re­pub­lic to other prisoners to maintain high spirits, and was later invited to the Lin­coln White House because of his actions. Ill health later forced him to resign his chap­lain­cy, January 8, 1864.

After the war, Mc­Cabe lectured all over Amer­i­ca on The Bright Side of Life in Lib­by Prison. Before entering the Epis­co­pa­cy, he served on the Chris­tian Commission as a pastor and as the Church Extension Secretary. He was a missionary promoter, evangelist and Gos­pel singer.

McCabe also served as Chan­cel­lor of American University from December 1902 until his death. He was especially prominent in the university’s initial fund raising. Indeed, he thought of himself as doomed to raise money, in such high demand he was as a raiser of funds for churches. Also known as Meth­od­ism’s Sing­ing Chap­lain, from coast to coast he sang We’re building two a day, a song written in response to the charge the church was dying out, made by Ro­bert G. In­ger­soll, a widely known agnostic of the day.

McCabe fell ill in New York Ci­ty after a fund raising trip to the Meth­od­ist Epis­co­pal Church of Tor­ring­ton, Con­nec­ti­cut, and died in New York Hospital.

  1. Sin No More