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Laurie E. Jasinski

SISSON, CHARLES T. (ca. 1834–?). Charles T. Sisson, composer and music store owner, was born in New York about 1834. His family had come from New England as his father was born in Rhode Island and his mother was born in Maine. By the early 1860s Sisson had married his wife Stella, also from New York, and they were living in Illinois. In spring 1862 the publication The Illinois Teacher listed “Prof. C. T. Sisson” as “Instructor on the Piano-Forte” at the Warren Collegiate Institute in Warren, Jo Daviess County, Illinois. The school had been in operation for three full years and was entering its fourth year. While in Illinois, the Sissons had two children—daughter Stella and son George.

By the early 1870s the family had moved to Austin, Texas, where Sisson opened a music store at 913 Congress Avenue. His listing in Austin city directories advertised pianos, organs, and other musical instruments. In the 1880 census Sisson was listed as age forty-six and a dealer in musical merchandise. In 1881 his daughter worked as a saleslady in the store. In 1882 he sold his music store in Austin, to store manager H. H. Hazzard and others, and operated a store in Waco.

Charles Sisson was also a composer who published some notable works for piano during the 1870s and 1880s. His compositions included “Sisson’s Polka” (1871), “Chicago Schottische” (1871), “Austin Schottische” (1872), “Dallas Polka” (1876), “Waco Waltz” (1881), and “Tourists’ March” (1885).

The Sissons returned to Illinois, probably in the mid-to-late 1880s, but apparently their daughter Stella remained in Texas; she was listed in an 1885–86 Austin city directory as a music teacher. In 1890 Charles Sisson and his wife lived in Chicago on 52nd Street. Most likely Sisson worked as an agent for a music company. In 1896 they lived in Lake Bluff, Illinois, and the July 26, 1896, issue of the Chicago Daily Tribune printed a notice of Stella Sisson’s death. No further information is available on Charles Sisson.


Folio: A Journal of Music, Drama, Art and Literature, Vol. XXI, No. 1 (January 1882). The Illinois Teacher VIII (Spring 1862). Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, 1870–1885 (http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mussm:@OR(@field(AUTHOR+@3(Sisson,+C++T+++))+@field(OTHER+@3(Sisson,+C++T+++)))), accessed October 10, 2011.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Laurie E. Jasinski, "SISSON, CHARLES T. ," accessed July 12, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsi56.

Uploaded on May 19, 2015. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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