C. Frank Horn was born on April 19, 1851, in Tamaqua,
Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. His full name was
Charles Frank Horn, but he usually went by C. Frank
Horn to distinguish his name from his father's. His
father, named Charles Horn, was a teamster born in
Pennsylvania in 1800. C. Frank Horn's mother, Matilda
Horn, was born about 1820, also in Pennsylvania.
The first mention of C. Frank Horn is in the 1860
census. His father is given as Charles Horns (sic), age
sixty, a teamster, with his family living in the North
Ward Borough of Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, as of June 14,
1860. His mother is listed as Matilda Horn, age
thirty-nine, with children Mary, nineteen, Susan,
sixteen, and Charles, nine. All were born in
Pennsylvania. Interestingly, another household member,
possibly a boarder, is listed: Will Davis, age
thirty-two, a professor of music. Perhaps having Davis
in the house influenced young Charles to become a
teacher and composer of music.
Horn composed some comic songs for George Thatcher of
George Thatcher's Minstrels in Philadelphia. Horn wrote
many other songs, like "Miss Fogarty's Christmas Cake,"
"Miss Mulligan's Homemade Pie," "Grogan's Grocery,"
"The Band on Murphy's Block," and "McCarthy's Fancy
Ball" in an Irish dialect. Some others are "Duffy, the
Rising Man," "Mr. Finnegan," "The Trials of Leap Year,"
"The McGettigans' Social Soiree," and "When McGinnes
Drives Up to the Door."
"Miss Fogarty's Christmas Cake" has become part of the
folklore of Christmas. It has also entered the realm of
folklore in a number of other ways. Edith Fowke listed
it in Canadian Journal for Traditional Music in 1979 as
"an old favorite." It appears in the Columbia Granger's
Index to Poetry, with the author listed as "anonymous."
It is often reprinted. The Family Herald and Weekly
Star, a Montreal publication, printed it numerous times
between 1913 and 1959. The title shows some variation,
with Rick Benjamin's Paragon Ragtime Orchestra
recording it as a music hall song called "Miss
Hooligan's Christmas Cake." Digital Tradition, the
database of folk songs at Mudcat Café (www.mudcat.
org), includes the song and a thread in which
contributors discuss the song. One contributor notes
that in 1939, the song was performed by Leon Ponce in
the album California Gold: Northern California Folk
Music from the Thirties, a field recording collected in
1938-40 by Sidney Robertson Cowell as a WPA
Although originally written for Piano & Voice, I
created this arrangement for Viola & Concert (Pedal)