|Philadelphia Inquirer - January 3, 1895|
Gick - Edward Heimach - George W. Marple
Louis Sasse - Charles Worthington - Charles Ridgely
February 18, 1906
Inquirer - March 19, 1906
Shields - William
Hillman - William
Street - Mickle
Street - Beckett
6th Regiment, New Jersey National
"Joseph Gail" was actually Joseph Daley
G. Hitchener - William
Morgenweck - Sperry & Hutchinson - Camden Bowling Alleys
Gardner Corson was appointed to the Fire Department in November of 1907.
March 17, 1906
Charles Worthington recovered from his injuries, and became the Chief of the Camden Fire Department. Tragically, he to died while fighting a fire, on May 8, 1914.
March 13, 1912
Article's mention of "Engine Company 1" is incorrect
Johnson - James
Inquirer - May 7, 1914
Click on Image for PDF File of Complete Article
|Charles Worthington - Joseph Nowrey - Charles H. Ellis - Jennings' Band|
CAMDEN POST-TELEGRAM - May 9, 1914
FIRE CHIEF KILLED FALLING OFF ROOF OF BURNING BUILDING
Charles Worthington Plunges to Death from George Street Building and Was Found Face Downward With His Neck Broken by John Stockton and Others Dragging Hose in Blind Alley.
Chief Charles Worthington was killed last night in falling from the roof
of the Camden Electro-Plating Company, at No. 12 George Street, while
directing his men in fighting flames at the plant.
Chief’s neck was broken and his skull fractured. He died in a police
ambulance on the way to Cooper Hospital.
one saw him fall, but it is surmised that he took the fatal plunge to
avoid stepping on one of the many skylights in the roof. He fell into an
areaway between two buildings and it is believed he lay in the alley at
least five minutes before his senseless form was discovered.
since the death of the lamented Chief of Police Foster
has the city been so stunned by the passing of any of its officials.
Although he had been head of the department but six months, succeeding Samuel
S. Elfreth as Chief on November 1 last, Charlie Worthington had
already demonstrated that he was the right man in the right place.
fire fighting force was making rapid strides forward under his
leadership, and ion last night’s fatality the city loses one of its
most efficient servants. On every hand there are heard expressions of
keen regret and in the several firehouses deep gloom prevails. The men
liked their Chief. He had risen through the ranks through sheer merit.
He knew the needs of the men under him and they realize that in his
untimely passing they have lost their best friend.
his little red flyer Chief Worthington was among the first to reach the
blaze. There were three alarms, one by phone and two from boxes. The
first box alarm came at 10:52 and the second seven minutes later.
electro-plating plant was on the second floe of the George Street
building. The first floor was occupied by the New Jersey Automobile
Supply Company. The building connected with the auto company’s main
store which fronts on Delaware Avenue, thus making it an L-shaped
the firemen arrived the upper floor of the building, or that section
occupied by the electro-plating company, was a mass of flames, and Chief
Worthington at once directed that the fire be attacked from the roof,
ordering the lines of hose played on the blaze through the skylights.
was only the work of an instant to run up a ladder and the Chief,
wearing his gum coat and rubber boots, was among the first to gain the
roof. In a few minutes several lines of hose were in operation and the
Chief was moving here and there giving general directions and trying to
get a line on the progress of the flames. This was difficult matter
because of the dense smoke which almost suffocated the men and made it
necessary for them to move cautiously over the roof to avoid the very
fate in store for Worthington.
the men who were pouring tons of water on the flames through the
skylights the Chief started over for the south side of the roof. That
was the last seen of him alive.
Several minutes later Assistant Chief Stockton and a detail of men from headquarters were pulling a line of hose through the blind alley between the auto company’s main building and the stables on the south when they stumbled over what appeared to be a man’s body. Reaching down in the darkness Stockton got hold of a rubber coat. He knew at once that one of the men had fallen. The suffering face was downward and not until he turned the body over did Stockton know it was his Chief. The dim rays penetrating a blackened lantern globe showed the Chief was badly hurt. His eyes were closed his head hung limp to one side and there was no response to the frantic appeals of the rescuers calling to their superior to tell them where he was hurt.
Ripping open the Chief's rubber coat Stockton placed his ear to the silent man's breast. Detecting faint heart beats he shouted to his comrades to summon an ambulance. While two or three ran to obey others aided Stockton in tenderly carrying the body to George Street. An ambulance which had come to the scene with the firemen was ready. Chief of Police Gravenor pulled a stretcher form under the seat and aided in placing his fellow Chief in the wagon, at the same time directing the crew, Stanton and Lewis, to make all possible haste to the hospital. The run was in vain. Hospital doctors took a look at the inanimate form and shook their heads.
"The Chief's dead" one of them said, and tears dimmed the eyes of every man within the hearing of his voice. With the doctors Coroner Schroeder made an examination of the body and found that the neck and skull were broken. Undertaker John Crawford took charge of the remains and the unpleasant task of breaking the sad news to relatives in East Camden. Mrs. Worthington is prostrated with grief, at her home, 1016 Penn Street. two small children also survive.
Harry R. Read, chairman of the Fire Committee of City Council, reached Cooper Hospital shortly after the ambulance arrived. He was visibly affected when told that the Chief was dead and for a few moments stood with bowed head.
"This is terrible" said Mr. Read. "Camden has suffered a real loss and loses an ideal fire chief. I was very close to the Chief in his work and every move he made was for the best interest of Camden. He was conscientious in everything he undertook and was doing something every day to add to the efficiency of the force. Every man in the department realized that he was their friend. I can hardly believe that Charlie Worthington has gone."
Mr. Read issued an order placing Assistant Chief Stockton in temporary charge of the department and called a meeting of the Fire Committee for 2:00 o'clock this afternoon to take action on the Chief's death. he also directed that all the engine houses and apparatus be dressed in black, that the flags be placed at half-mast, and that every fireman wear a badge of mourning for thirty days. At the meeting this afternoon arrangements will be made for the funeral, which will likely be held from the First Presbyterian Church, the use of that edifice having been tendered, the date for the funeral has not been fixed.
Mayor Ellis was shocked when he learned of the tragedy early today and at once cancelled an engagement to view the firemen's parade in Gloucester this afternoon. he and the dead Chief were to be judges at the parade. "I am deeply grieved at the Chief's fate" said the Mayor. "He has frequently consulted with me about the work of the department and I greatly admired him for the earnestness he displayed in unfolding his plans. He was the ideal fire chief, and his death has shocked the entire city". The Mayor will attend the Fire Committee's meeting this afternoon.
"Another patriot has fallen" said Charles M. Curry, Secretary of the Board of Trade. "Charles Worthington is dead, a martyr to the call of duty, and all Camden mourns the loss of a man who had the in him the making of the best Fire Chief this city ever had. The question naturally arises as the whether the quenching of a fire is worth a life. In this instance the Chief was evidently blinded by smoke and made a misstep which caused his death. The work of the Chief and his men in keeping the fire within a small area, which was surrounded by all kinds of flammable material, including garages and hay markets, stands as a silent monument to their worth. It is no doubt the first duty of the firemen o save life and then to fight fire. Perhaps if our lamented Chief could have thought of his own welfare in his earnest endeavor to help others he would still be living. But he is dead and now sleeps the sleep of God's noble patriots that have fallen for a good cause. His memory will ever be revered by all, especially the businesses of this city, who well knew the worth of the fallen Chief."
At a special meeting of the Firemen's Mutual Benefit Association today the following resolutions were adopted:
"Whereas It has please Almighty God to remove from our midst our beloved brother, Chief Charles Worthington, and"
"Whereas in his loss we the members of the Firemen's Mutual Benevolent Association feel that we have parted with a friend to each one of us who in the long time he was connected with our Association always had it's interests as well as his fellow members' at heart; was untiring in his earnestness and zeal in his official obligations; therefore in recognition of the above and in a token of our love, be it"
"Resolved, That our sincere and heartfelt sympathy be tendered to the bereaved family of the deceased brother; and be it"
"Resolved, That the Association go into mourning for a period of thirty days from the death of our brother, and be it"
"Resolved, That thee resolution be placed upon the minutes and suitably engrossed and sent to the family of our deceased brother."
Chief Worthington's first service in the paid fire department began about thirteen years ago, when he was appointed a ladderman, later becoming a hoseman. His first promotion came to a lieutenancy in Engine Company No. 5 and when Engine Company No. 6 was organized in 1908, he was made its captain, which office he held until promoted to succeed Chief Elfreth. He also served for a long time as president of the Camden Fire Department Pension Fund and of the Camden branch of the New Jersey State Firemen's Association for six years. He was 43 years old.
The plant of the Electro-Plating Company was gutted and its loss is estimated at $3,000. A like loss was sustained by the auto company, primarily on damages to stock by water. Crossed wires are blamed for fire.
The police arrangement were perfect. Chief Gravenor was personally in charge of a big detail of men, and the firemen were unhampered in there work, although they had no heart for work after they learned of the Chief's death. The men were at work a little over an hour.
CAMDEN POST-TELEGRAM - May 10, 1914
CHIEF’S BODY WILL LIE IN STATE
Fire Chief Worthington’s body will be borne to its last resting place in the new three-in-one apparatus recently added to the equipment. The apparatus is being fitted up to carry the casket bearing the remains of the beloved chief, who was killed in falling from a roof in Friday night’s fire.
At a special meeting of the Fire Committee Saturday, the action of Harry R. Reed, the chairman of the committee, in ordering all the houses draped with mourning was approved. It was raised at the meeting that the widow was opposed to any public display. She was told that there should be some public recognition of her husband, who sacrificed his life while performing a public duty. Mrs. Worthington finally consented, and the committee arranged to have the body of Chief Worthington lie in state in the corridor of the Court House tomorrow evening from 7 to 9 o’clock.
It was also decided to detail two men from each of the thirteen fire companies in the city to act as a guard of honor on Tuesday night, and the same guard of honor will be detailed to act as such at the funeral on Wednesday at the late residence of Chief Worthington, 1015 Penn Street. The services there will be conducted by Rev. R.E. Brestell, rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. The interment will be made at Arlington Cemetery. The Fire Committee will act as the honorary pall bearers.
The committee adopted a resolution requesting Mayor Ellis to detail a sufficient number of police at the Court House on Tuesday night. The committee also instructed the clerk to request the Mayor, members of City Council and the heads of various departments to attend the funeral on Wednesday.
James Hewitt, president of Council and an ex-officio member of the committee suggested that the citizens display flags at half-mast on the day of the funeral. In making the suggestion, Mr. Hewitt also said he would take the authority to have all the city offices close a half-day on the day of the funeral and the bell tolled at City Hall. The committee will prepare a suitable minute on the death of the chief.
Besides his widow, Chief Worthington is survived by two sons, Arthur, 16 years old, and Frank, 7 years old.
The Court House was selected as the place to view the body becasue of the alterations being made at City Hall.
The change from the City Hall; to the Court House for the public service was made at the suggestion of Mayor Ellis, Chairman Read at once concurring.
At a meeting of the Second Ward Republican Executive Committee, on Saturday, May 9, the following resolutions were adopted on the death of Chief Worthington:
"Whereas, It has pleased the Almighty Ruler of the Universe to again visit us by the hand of death, and to call away to a higher life our beloved and esteemed fellow member and worker, Charles Worthington, one who always had the interest and principles of Republicanism at heart; therefore be it
"Resolved , That while the intelligence of his sudden death has created in our hearts a deep sorrow, yet we bow with humble submission to the will of our Almighty God, who doeth all things for our good; and be it further
"Resolved, That a copy of the resolution be sent to his widow and family."
Members of the Second Ward Republican Club are requested to meet at the headquarters, 1011 Market Street, tomorrow night at 7 o'clock preparatory to viewing the body of Chief Worthington.
of Chief Charles Worthington
CAMDEN POST-TELEGRAM - May 10, 1914
VIEW CHIEF’S REMAINS
Not since the memorable funeral of Chief of Police Foster ten years ago, has there been such a genuine public tribute paid an official of Camden as was in evidence last night at the bier of the lamented Fire Chief Worthington, and today at his funeral. It is hard to estimate the number of persons in a crowd, but from 7 until 9 o’clock last night there was a steady stream of men, women and children, two abreast, who passed from the main entrance, through the center corridor and beneath the illuminated rotunda, where the body lay, and thence out by the west corridor. There was never a stop, and it is estimated that at least 10,000 persons were there, perhaps more.
There could not have been a more ideal location for the repose of the casket containing the honored dead, and the great array of beautiful flowers than beneath the rotunda. It seemed to be a sacred shrine in itself where the citizenry dropped a tear for the lamented departed. The effulgence of the soft lights from above specially installed by Electrical Chief Kelly but lent to the scene and as the dark garbed escort of firemen, the active pall bearers, stood, on guard, the scene was unusually impressive.
Chief Worthington, aside from the pallor that comes to the dead, looked as he did in life, for the thread had been snapped so quickly that it was while he was in his full vigor that the vital spark had taken its flight. There were some marks on his face that indicated the intense though momentary suffering through which he passed on his fateful plunge from the roof of the burning building to his quick death, and the passing crowd remarked this. But withal there was that calmness and repose feature which seemed to indicate that the gallant leader of Camden's fire fighters but lay sleeping rather than that his soul had taken its eternal flight.
Public grief may be a mere ephemeral emotion, born of the moment and only to be succeeded by the acclaim of the newly arisen public idol, but last night's encomiums seemed to come from hearts that overflowed with genuine and permanent sorrow over the untimely passing of so excellent a public servant. Many tear-suffused eyes indicated this, many expressions of grief, of sorrow, of condolence of those left showed this. The sentiment in evidence everywhere can only be likened to the sweetness of the wonderful flowers whose odor spread thorough all the corridors and in all the rooms of the great marble building.
High in the clock tower of the City Hall the bell began tolling at 6:30 o'clock. At half-minute intervals its doleful strains went forth on the cold blustery east wind which had succeeded at day of spring sunshine. The bell and the screeching wind seemed to combine as a knell indicating the passing grief of the city. It was the preliminaries to the marching of the funeral cortege from the stricken Chief's home on Penn Street to the resting place at the Court House.
There were forty policemen in dress uniform with Chief Gravenor at their head. There were twenty-six fire heads from Philadelphia, with Chief William Murphy in the van, a tribute in itself of more than passing moment. There was the caisson on which was the black draped casket containing the body of he who all honored. There was the little red car in which Chief Worthington was wont to speed through the city at every alarm and there was his helmet and coat. There was Acting Chief Stockton and forty of the men who fought flames under the direction of he who lay so still. There as the family in cabs with curtains drawn, the members of City Council and the active pall bearers- Daniel Leach, Peter B. Carter, James White, William Patterson, Elmer Burkett, Samuel Harring.
When the cortege reached the Court House the Camden boys took up their position on the inside beneath rotunda while the Philadelphia visitors made an imposing array on the granite steps outside. And then came the public in its steady and unending stream.
Later the Philadelphia delegation was escorted to the Board of Freeholders room where tribute was paid to the dead and where a mingling of the two cities took place. Besides Chief Murphy the visitors included Battalion Chiefs William T. Barrett and George P. McConaghy, Captains L. F. Bunting, William Lindsey; H. Dinlocker, J. Higginson, J. E. Talbot, D. Campbell, T. O'Brien, F. Hughes, E. Basenfelder; H. Hutt, William McCusker, G. Rheim, R. Wilsey, J. Webb, H. Goers, H. Haines, Insurance Patrol Captain Joseph H. Shermer, William Hickman, William Rodgers, John Wyatt, David Phillip, John Clyde, H. Wilkinson.
President of City Council James E. Hewitt spoke of the work Chief Worthington had already accomplished, of his plans, of his value and worth to Camden. Chief Murphy responded in a fitting way and this incident in itself was one to be remembered.
An affecting sight was witnessed by the handful of spectators, among them being other firemen, city and county officials and policemen who remained after the big doors on Sixth Street had been closed. The last to view the Chief's remains were a delegation of about twenty firemen. Solemnly the men passed by the bier and gazed upon the features of their departed brother.
As the last of the line approached Deputy Chief John A. Stockton was seen. He stopped and with his cap laid across his breast be looked down into the casket. For almost a minute Chief Stockton stood as though glued to the spot. Then he glanced about him and the sympathetic look upon his face thrilled all.
He heaved a sigh and perhaps the teardrops refused to come, but Chief Stockton, as the lines upon his face showed, was struggling with the inner man. His emotions were tugging at his heart, but a fire laddie cannot give way to his feelings although his brother superior officer and dear friend had answered his last alarm.
The floral pieces surrounding the bier bespoke the love, admiration and respect the donors held for the dead chief. One design particularly beautiful was a mammoth loving cup made of blossoms, f1owers and roses. This was the token sent by members of City Council and other city officials.
Another was the design sent by the Electrical Bureau through Chief Kelly. The original fire box, No. 134, which was pulled on the night of the fire by Chief Worthington was enshrouded by roses, carnations and lilies.
A Maltese cross standing several feet high and bearing the initials of the organization was the tribute sent by the Firemen's Mutual Benevolent Association. Chief Worthington was president of this association.
The Camden police sent a large shield of flowers and Council members offered a vacant chair of roses. The New Jersey Auto Supply Company, No. 2 Engine Company and No. 1 Truck sent beautiful broken circles and a wreath was the offering from the employees of the Victor Talking Machine Company.
A broken circle from member of the Sixth Ward Republican Club and a wreath from his friends in the sixth precinct of the Second Ward were other beautiful pieces. West Collingswood and Collingswood firemen sent two beautiful floral circles and from the Loyal Order Legion a wreath was received.
Other offerings were from the Camden Liquor Dealers league, a beautiful circle from No. 6 Engine Company, in which house Chief Worthington was captain previous to his elevation to the office of chief; sprays from the Bethany M.E. Church, Ladies Auxiliary of the Loyal Order of Moose; a wreath from the pupils of the eighth grade Sewell school, and a spray from North Baptist Church. There also were designs from members of the family and friends, all of which bespoke the great love held for the departed fire chief.
The impressive services of the P.E. Church marked the last sad rites this afternoon at St. Paul’s Church. The guard of honor and city officials left Fire Headquarters at 1:20 and proceeded to the Worthington home and escorted the remains to the church, where services were conducted by the rector, Rev. R.E. Brestell, and Rev. H.O. Jones, rector of St. Stephen’s P.E. Church. Interment was made at Arlington.
The honorary pallbearers were Mayor Ellis, Hon. David Baird, Frank F. Patterson, John W. Bell, General John A. Mather, Melbourne F. Middleton Jr., Harry R. Reed, Arthur L. Jones, Robert Gordon, David Jester, George Schneider, William Mills, J.O. Grear, William Hall, George L. Bender, and James E. Hewitt.
June 27, 1914
Charles Worthington was buried in an unmarked grave at Arlington Cemetery in Pennsauken NJ.
Friends and members of the Camden Fire Department raised money and furnished a headstone in September of 2019.
CAMDEN NJ FIRE FIGHTER'S MEMORIAL
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