Prime Time: For young Dudley Ingraham, life was a glorious adventure

Published on Sunday, 3 December 2017 20:05
Written by Bob Montgomery

Staff writer

The following story on Dudley Seymour Ingraham, part one of two entries, was written by Eleanor Wilson in 2004 as part of The Builders of Bristol - Millennium Committee biographies written by family members and local historians on individuals who made Bristol the town that it was.

Dudley Seymour Ingraham (1924-1945) - Part one

“On Oct. 1, 1924, Dudley Seymour Ingraham Jr., was born to Dudley Seymour Ingraham Sr., (first vice-president and treasurer of E. Ingraham Co.) and Marion (Morton) Ingraham. Dudley’s family would also include three brothers and one sister. His education was received at Patterson School, Kingswood School in West Hartford and Bristol High School, graduating in the class of 1943.

“Young Dudley possessed an unusual imagination, energy and ability that led to a variety of interests. Exceedingly methodical, he kept complete records of those interests. He made his life a glorious adventure as a happy, busy individual, enthusiastic with dreams he made come true and shared with a host of friends.

“He loved music, playing both the piano and organ with feeling. Memorizing all of his music, he would sit and play by the hour without notes. He would keep his own accomplishments in his head, never finding it necessary to write any of them down. When he was 14 years old he composed “Meditation” for piano and organ. He recorded it on a Sound Scriber record when he was 15. (Note: After his death his father had it scored by Stephen Langton and Ethel Bacon of the Julius Hart Musical Foundation. They exercised the greatest of ease not to alter it in any way. It had been expertly edited by Carl Deis, editor-in-chief of G. Schirmer, Inc. This is the only one of his compositions of which there is now a record and it was played at the First Congregational Church on Sunday, Jan. 27, 1946.)

“Among his accomplishments was tuning the Cameo Theater organ to be operational, which he played before an audience on a regular monthly basis. After building four treadle organs, each of a different make, he decided he would like a large organ in his home. After researching unused organs, he purchased the original Sessions organ and had it installed into the cellar where he had to design and construct a special framework to include the great length of pipes which were placed horizontally. He had almost finished building a new key action and system stops when he was called to military service.

“Previously, however, he had won first prize at a statewide hobby show with his miniature four manual console measuring five inches high by seven inches long by five and a half inches deep, a console he both designed and constructed. Everything in this console worked - all 850 different keys, pedals, stops and lights.

“Unbeknown to his mother and father, Dudley had constructed a secret vault behind one of their fireplaces at home. He had filled it with diaries, souvenirs and hundreds of letters. One of the letters, dated in 1943, was from a church in Martinsville, Maine, which thanked Dudley for his recommendations for outlining the organ they were to purchase. For an 18-year-old lad, Dudley had become somewhat of an authority on organs.

“After the death of his mother, Dudley ran the household, from preparing menus to doing laundry and mowing the lawn. As a result from this experience he decided not to go into manufacturing, but to attend Cornell University, his father’s alma mater, for its hotel management course.”

(Part two of two will appear next Monday.)

Write to Bob Montgomery, c/o The Bristol Press, 188 Main St., Bristol, CT 06010. Call 860-973-1808 or email:

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Sunday, 3 December 2017 20:05. Updated: Sunday, 3 December 2017 20:08.