Thursday, April 8, 2010

Rev. Dr. Frank Claude Huston--Famous Hoosier Composer, Mooresville Pastor

Rev. Dr. Frank Claude Huston

Pastor, Mooresville Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)


Born: September 12, 1871, Orange (Fayette County), Indiana

Died: November 14, 1959, Jacksonville, Florida; Buried in Glencove Cemetery, Knightstown, Indiana

Rev. Dr. Frank C. Huston was the son of Thomas M. & Mary E. (Harris) Huston. His sister, Eva, was born in 1870. Frank attended Fayette County schools and graduated from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. In 1899 he became an evangelistic singer for Charles Reign Scoville, a famous evangelist. From Florida to Nova Scotia Frank sang in 180 evangelistic campaigns over 19 years. In 1894 he married Bertha Martin. In 1915, he was ordained a minister in the Disciples of Christ in Indianapolis.

Frank was internationally known as a composer of hymns, gospel, ballads, popular songs, patriotic tunes, and dance songs (foxtrots, one-steps, and waltzes). His first “successful” hymn, We Shall Gather ‘Round the Throne, was published in 1898. In the early years of the 20th century, Frank founded his own music publishing company in Indianapolis and New York. He published hundreds of songs, many of which were his own compositions. His most famous hymn, It Pays to Serve Jesus (1909), is still performed today. He also wrote nostalgic songs about Indiana, including My Indiana Home (1917) and We’re From Indiana (1928). He collected his gospel works in Selected Sac­red Songs (Jack­son­ville, Fla.: Frank C. Hus­ton, 1937).

On Jan. 14, 1934, Frank Huston became pastor of Mooresville Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), a post he held through 1937. His salary was $11.75/week. “The ‘normal’ salary was $10/week, but because Bro. Huston lived in Knightstown and drove to Mooresville for choir practice on Thursday nights and again on Sundays for services, he was allowed an extra $1.75 per week.” [FN-1] In 1935 he wrote Mooresville, a nostalgic song praising its hometown values. [The lyrics of the song are appended]. Although no published version appears to exist, his sister copied his original handwritten musical score and donated it to the Library, a facsimile of which has faded with time. The Mooresville Times twice published Frank’s lyrics (June 11, 1936 & June 24, 1937), each time slightly altering the words from the original.


Music & Lyrics By

Rev. Dr. Frank C. Huston

Pastor, Mooresville Christian Church (1934-1937)

Nationally-renowned composer

(First Verse)

You may sing of your cities of great renown;

There are some that are wondrously fair,

But I’ll sing a song of my own little town,

With which there are none to compare.

My town may not boast of her millionaires,

Its buildings may not be so tall,

But if you are thoughtful you’re sure to agree,

Its folks make a town, after all.


Mooresville, Mooresville,

You are the theme of my song,

Mooresville, Mooresville,

You’re the place where I belong.

Oh, there are others much larger I know,

But, none so dear as old Mooresville, and so

I’ll sing your praises wherever I go,

You’re my home town.

(Second Verse)

It’s a beautiful city, is my home town,

With its welcoming streets everywhere,

The charm of her homes, is a proverb well known,

For culture and beauty are there.

Where each takes a pride in his own home town,

There’s little but good may befall,

But still I insist when you’re judging a town,

Its folks make a town, after all.

(Repeat Refrain)

Copyright © 1935 by Frank C. Huston. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted by permission.

[FN-1] First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Mooresville, Indiana. Mooresville, Ind. : First Christian Church, 1988; p. 13. MPL Call No. I 277.977 FIR.

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