Born: Oc­to­ber 11, 1836, Ath­ens, Ohio.

Died: De­cem­ber 20, 1906, New York Ci­ty.

Buried: Rose­hill Ce­me­te­ry, Chi­ca­go, Il­li­nois.



Charles was the son of Ro­bert Mc­Cabe, a tai­lor, and Sar­ah Ro­bin­son, and brother of Ro­bert Ro­bin­son Mc­Cabe (1834–1901), a Chi­ca­go pub­lish­er who is­sued a numb­er of Gos­pel song books.

His grand­fa­ther, al­so named Ro­bert Mc­Cabe, was 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, he was 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 forced him to re­sign his chap­lain­cy on 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 a New York Hos­pi­tal.