CHARLES A. WILSON was born in New Jersey, the son of Richard and Mary Wilson. Richard and Mary Wilson married around 1899. The family first appears in Camden city directories in 1907, at 2016 Cooper Street in East Camden. Richard Wilson worked for the Pennsylvania Rail Road as a car inspector in the nearby Pavonia rail yards. The 1910 Census shows that Mary had given birth to three children, two of whom were living, Mary 8, and Richard, 5. Both were born in Pennsylvania.
The Wilson family stayed at 2016 Cooper Street as late as 1911. The 1912 City Directory shows the family at 426 Garden Avenue. This would remain the family home as late as October of 1969 and most likely a few years later, the home finally being sold in May of 1977. The 1920 Census, taken on January 21 of that year, shows Charles Wilson, aged 8, which makes his probable year of birth as 1911. His father was still working for the railroad, while elder sister Mary had found work as a telephone switchboard operator.
Both of the Wilson boys went to sea during the 1920s, although Charles lied about his age at least once, in 1928, pursuing that trade, as evidence by his applications for his Seaman's Protection Certificate, a document that served as a seamen's passport, and was issued at all ocean and Great Lakes ports by the collector of customs or his deputy, usually in his capacity as shipping commissioner. Charles Wilson applied for his at Houston, Texas and the most likely reason for this is that he had sailed out of Philadelphia on an oil tanker. Many such ships traveled the routes from the Gulf of Mexico bringing crude oil to the refineries on Philadelphia and on Petty's Island. During the 1930s Charles Wilson's mother passed away and his brother had left the sea, although he kept his hand in, working as a radio operator for one of the oil refineries in Camden or Philadelphia. The 1940 Census shows that Charles A. Wilson was still working as a merchant seaman. His father appears to have passed away not long after the 1940 Census.
Charles A. Wilson appears to have died while serving with the United States Merchant Marine during World War II. He is memorialized on the War Memorial in front of the Highland Fire Company, in Marlton Pike in Pennsauken NJ.
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