Title: Fire Station Assistant Foreman
Birthdate: October 31, 1875
Death Date: March 8, 1907
Plot Location: Section 19,Lot 52
Charles grew up with two younger brothers in the Queen Village section of Philadelphia where his father was a cooper, making barrels for a sugar refiner on the banks of the Delaware River. (It was most likely W.J. McCahan & Co., whose founder is also buried at Mount Moriah. Read his Notable story here.)
They attended the nearby Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church, which has the distinction of being the oldest gathering in continuous existence in the United States. It meets today, as it always has, in the oldest surviving brick building in Philadelphia and the oldest church building in Pennsylvania.
Charles experienced several life events in a short period of time, starting with a new job as a fireman in 1898, his marriage in 1899, and the birth of his son in 1903. Twice in this time frame he nearly lost his life. Once was when he was on the fourth floor of a burning building after his crew had escaped because they expected it to collapse. When he felt the structure swaying he rushed to a window and slid down a hose to the street just as the walls collapsed. The crew feared he was crushed but he walked away without injury.
He wasn’t as lucky in 1907 when he and two others were on a sixth floor fire escape. The supporting wall buckled and threw them fifty feet to the ground. A newspaper reported the next day on the amputation of his leg, but he succumbed to his injuries two days later. His mother then had to bury another son in 1912 and her husband in 1914. She joined them in 1931 in the family plot in Section 19.
The plaque above was one of three created in 2007 for Charles and his companions who lost their lives 100 years earlier. They are located in the 800 block of Filbert Street where the fire occurred.
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