Born: January 24, 1856, near Moosup, Connecticut.
Died: June 27, 1927, Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Buried: Cedar Hill Cemetery, Hartford, Connecticut.
Charles was the son of Erastus L. Prior and Sarah L. Burleson, and husband of Mary Eleanor Campbell.
His interest in music dated from early childhood. By age three, he was singing Rosalie, the Prairie Flower and other popular songs. When he was about four years old, the family moved to Jewett City, Connecticut.
At age 14, he became organist for the Congregational Church in Jewett City, where he served eight years. He resigned to accept the position of chorister and organist for the Baptist Church, where he also formed a choir of young people, and organized a Sunday School orchestra.
Prior conducted the song services of several Christian Endeavor Conventions in Connecticut, and was elected musical director of the annual assemblies at Crescent Beach, held by the Connecticut Baptist Bible School Union.
Prior was an honorary member of the Worcester County Musical Association for many years, and it was while singing in the chorus at its festivals that his love of oratorio music was kindled. He was also keenly interested in Gospel songs and church music in general.
His first compositions were anthems for his choir. He went on to write a number of popular songs, over 50 of which were published in sheet form, including sacred, sentimental, campaign, and temperance songs.
In addition to musical talent, Prior had considerable business acumen. His first commercial position was in the office of the Norwich Worcester Railroad in Norwich. In 1875 he became bookkeeper and paymaster for the Ashland Cotton Company of Jewett City.
He was elected secretary and treasurer of the Jewett City Savings Bank in 1883, and a few years later became a member and director of the corporation.
In 1895, he accepted the position of assistant treasurer of the Security Company of Hartford. In 1896, he was elected secretary and treasurer of the company, and in November 1904, became vice-president and treasurer.
For six years he was president of the Hartford Baptist Union. He was also a director of the Hartford YMCA, and a member of the Connecticut Historical Society.
Prior was also deeply interested in the Italian Baptist Mission in Hartford for a number of years, serving as pianist and treasurer.