Charles
H.
Robinson


 

CHARLES H. ROBINSON was appointed to the Camden Fire Department in the spring of 1884 to serve as an extra man with Engine Company 2. He replaced Isaiah Collins. When the Fire Department was reorganized on July 1, 1885 and eighteen of the extra men were laid off, Charles H. Robinson was retained. He was still serving with the Fire Department as late as 1932. At that time he was Captain of Engine Company 9 in East Camden.

Charles Harrison Robinson was born in New Jersey to William and Elizabeth Robinson. When the Census was taken in July on 1860 the family was living in Camden's South Ward. They had moved over the city line to Newton Township by the time the Census was taken in 1870. The family then consisted of Charles Robinson, his parents, and younger brother William Robinson, then 7 years of age. Three more brothers would be born during the 1870s, George, Howard, and Morris. 

The 1880 Census shows the Robinson family at 715 Walnut Street. Charles Robinson was living at home with his parents and brothers, and working as a laborer, and was still living there when the 1881-1882 Camden City Directory was compiled. Charles Robinson married Elizabeth Matthews in the early 1880s. The 1882-1883 City Directory gives his address as 731 Mount Vernon Street. He moved back to 715 Walnut prior to the publication of the 1883-1884 Directory, then moved to 756 Cherry Street, where he lived in 1884 and 1885. His wife Elizabeth had given birth to daughter Carrie in 1883. Son Harry G. Robinson came in 1886. The Robinson family was living at 744 Walnut Street in 1887 and 1888, according to City Directories for those years. Another son, Charles H. Robinson Jr. was born in 1888.

Charles H. Robinson had worked as a laborer, as an oil cloth printer, and as rope maker in the 1880s through July of 1885. As stated above, he had been appointed to the Fire Department as an extra man in 1884, which was essentially a part-time position. He became a fulltime firefighter, when, at a special meeting of the City's Fire Committee held on July 7, 1885 the fire department was reorganized. Each engine company added a permanent foreman and two hosemen; the ladder company added two laddermen for a total of eight new full-time firemen.

The new foremen were John Stockton, Engine Company 1 and Henry Grosscup, Engine Company 2. The reorganization became effective on August 1st and the foremen were given charge of their respective units at an annual salary of $720. 

Less than a month later, on August 4, 1885, a tornado struck Camden. The twister knocked over the firehouse bell tower at Engine Company 2's headquarters. There were also three fires and six deaths as a result of the twister.

An 1886 account revealed the following about Engine Company 2. The unit was quartered on the northeast corner of Fifth and Arch Street, a location that would house Camden Fire Department units into the early 1960s, The two story brick building at 19 North 5th Street was shared with the Camden Hook and Ladder Company, now known as Ladder Company 1. This building also was the headquarters of the Camden Fire Department.

Engine Company 2 personnel in 1886 are as follows:

Henry C. Grosscup Foreman
William Morris Engineer
C.B. Harvey Driver
Frank Turner Stoker
Charles Robinson Hoseman
Isaac Shreeve Hoseman
Logan Bates Call Man
James Carey Call Man
William Lyons Call Man
Howard H. Currie Call Man

Engine Company 2's apparatus at that time consisted of an Amoskeag second class steamer (makers plate #319), a hose wagon and a supply wagon.

By 1888 Charles H. Robinson had been transferred to the Hook and Ladder Company.

The 1890-1891 Camden City Directory shows Charles H Robinson and family had moved to 750 Mount Vernon Street. Another son, William Robinson, was born in December of 1890. The Robinsons stayed at this address through at least 1906. 

In January of 1895, Chemical Engine Company 1 was organized and entered service at Fire Headquarters, North 5th and Arch Street. The apparatus was built by Charles T. Holloway of Baltimore, Maryland and hd a double, sixty gallon chemical tank and was drawn  by two horses. John W. Toy was named foreman and George Cox, driver; the hosemen were Wright Cox and Charles Robinson. In 1899 Hook and Ladder Company 2 and Chemical Engine Company 2 were organized and entered service at 617-619 Kaighn Avenue. Charles H. Robinson was promoted to Foreman and was the first to command the new Ladder Company, with George B. Wade being given the foreman's post with the Chemical Engine Company, which became Engine Company 8 in 1916. By 1906 he had been reassigned to lead Chemical Engine Company 2. Samuel M. Price then took the helm of Ladder Company 2. The foreman job title was replaced by the still-in-use Captain designation shortly afterwards.

The 1900 Census shows Charles and Elizabeth Robinson living at 750 Mount Vernon Street with their four children. Charles H. Robinson's younger brother William had married and was living next door at 752 Mount Vernon Street with his wife and two sons.

By 1910 the Robinson family had moved to 1257 Park Boulevard in the then-new Parkside section of Camden. Only sons Harry and William were still living at home. Charles Jr. had married and was living in East Camden at 136 North 30th Street with his wife Edna. He worked as a telegraph operator. By 1914 Charles Robinson Jr. and his wife moved to 2727 High Street. Sadly, by the middle of 1918 he was a widower. Tragedy had previously struck the Robinsons in July of 1916, when youngest son William was killed in an automobile accident.  

Charles H. Robinson was promoted to Captain of Engine Company 9 in East Camden at some point between 1914 and the middle of 1918. He was still serving in this position as late as 1924, and was still serving as a Captain with the Camden Fire Department when the 1927 Camden City Directory was compiled. By 1929 he had retired on pension.

Charles H. Robinson and Elizabeth Robinson were still living at 1257 Park Boulevard when the Census was taken in April of 1930. Fire Department records from 1931 also show him at that address. Charles H. Robinson died on February 8, 1932. Elizabeth Robinson joined her husband on June 6, 1932.  


Hook & Ladder Company 3, Hose & Chemical Company 1
& Engine Company 9 - 1924

Hook & Ladder Company 3: Captain Joseph B. Ayres, FF Dave Humphries, Al Dukes, John Mulligan, Bill Mountney, Bill Hopkins. Hose & Chemical Company 1: Captain Charles H. Robinson, FF William E "Pud" Jaeckel, George Townsend, Ken Naylor, Howard Gick. Engine Company 9: Captain John H. Vickers, FF Irv Lederman, Newton Ash, Joe Gentlesk, Al Palmer



Philadelphia Inquirer
August 27, 1888
 

Philadelphia Inquirer - July 30, 1890
South 6th Street - Mechanic Street - John J. Hayes
Engine Company 3 - Engine Company 1
Samuel Lodge - Mortimer Wilson - William Bogia - Charles Robinson
Ladder Company 1 - Cooper Hospital - Daniel Scofield

Philadelphia Inquirer
November 24, 1899

Cooper B. Hatch - George W. Whyte
First Baptist Church - Edgar Bolton
John W. Vanhart - W. Scott Franklin
Benjamin Kellum - Charles Robinson
George B. Wade - Albert Jones
George Cox - Edward Weston
Samuel Peoples - Harry B. Middleton
Harry Burroughs - Robert W. Colkett
William G. Hillman - James E. Navin
Charles Todd - Daniel Smith
Peter B. Carter - Alfred Hayden
Henry Elliott - Josiah Sage
Samuel Price - William Rose

Right Click on Images to 
Download PDF of Article

Charles Sturgis - Daniel Grimes - Harry Wagner - Augustus Kester
William Simpson - William Penn Hook & Ladder Company No. 1

Philadelphia Inquirer
November 28, 1899

Cooper B. Hatch - George W. Whyte
Edgar Boulton - John W. Vanhart
W. Scott Franklin - Robert Gick
Joseph Till
Edward Kelly - Christian Stark
Samuel Collins - William Madison
John F. Renner - Josiah Pedigree
Charles Robinson - George B. Wade
Albert Jones - George Cox
Edward Weston - Samuel Peoples

Right Click on Images
to Download PDF of Article


Philadelphia Inquirer - June 24, 1900
Peter B. Carter - Charles H. Robinson - William Rose - Samuel M. Price
Engine Company 2 - South Front Street - South 2nd Street - Kaighn Avenue
Cooper Hospital

Philadelphia Inquirer - March 22, 1906
Charles H. Ellis - First Baptist Church - Broadway Methodist Episcopal Church
George Shields - William Jobes - William Hillman - Kaighn Avenue
Rev. John S. Heisler - Samuel S. Elfreth - Samuel Price - William Deno
Charles Robinson
- Peter Carter - Joseph Ernst - George Quinn

Philadelphia Inquirer * December 12, 1906

Samuel S. Buzine - Charles Robinson
Mrs. Sophia Franks -
Francis Street

Camden Post-Telegram -  October 11, 1912
SUFFERED A STROKE DRIVING TEAM
Strapped to Seat, Lewis Buzine was Helpless in Run of Many Squares
MANY CLOSE CALLS FOR NO. 3 ENGINE

Stricken with paralysis while strapped to his seat of his engine Lewis Buzine, driver of No. 3 Engine Company, held the reins for many squares before his plight was discovered. Not until the horses were stopped by the apparatus striking the side of the engine house were fellow members of the company aware of his illness .

Answering a false alarm coming in from the new Colored High School at Eighth and Chestnut Streets, Stoker Samuel Lodge noticed that the engine was not being driven by Buzine with his usual care. On reaching Eighth and Chestnut Streets, and finding there was no fire Lodge ordered Buzine to drive near a horse trough for water to extinguish the embers under the engine. He was surprised when Buzine paid no heed to him.

 As the apparatus rolled in Chestnut Street Captain Charles Robinson, of No. 2 Chemical Engine Company on Kaighn Avenue got on behind with Lodge,

 As they neared Seventh street the rumble of an approaching electric train was heard. The horses were galloping and Lodge called to Buzine to drive more carefully. The gates dropped suddenly, the horses came to a quick halt and the train passed. Captain Robinson then pulled the bell and on the first clang the horses started with a jump, and unrestrained by the usually trained hand of the driver they sped along to Broadway when they turned suddenly, nearly crashing into the curb in front or Davis' saloon.

The animals then started down Broadway at full speed, narrowly escaping hitting many wagons.

 Shaken up and suffering from bruises on the hips and sides caused by being thrown against the engine as it wobbled from side to side, Stoker Lodge jumped when the horses veered into the engine house, and hurried to Buzine, supported by straps about his waist. The driver was leaning forward with his right arm hanging by his side.

 Not responding to questions Buzine, who is a brother of ex-Assistant Fire Chief Samuel Buzine was unstrapped and tenderly carried to his home at 1606 Broadway and Dr. Kirk was summoned. He feared that a ruptured blood vessel caused the paralysis of the right side. His condition today is serious.


Trenton Evening Times - July 15, 1916

William Robinson - William Spinder - William J. Kraft


Philadelphia Inquirer - July 16, 1916
There was an error in reporting this story. 
William Robinson was killed in the accident, not Charles Jr.

William Robinson - Charles H. Robinson - Park Boulevard - Princess Avenue
Harry Spandon - Frank James - Frank Gorman - Raymond Schuck
Lawrence Doran
- S.G. Bushey

Philadelphia Inquirer - September 20, 1916

William Humphries - Marlton Avenue


Philadelphia Inquirer
September 1, 1921

Raymond W. Schuck
Frank James
Rev J.R.J. Rhoades
Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church
J. Russell Carrow
David S. Paul - Harry Robinson
Charles Robinson Jr. - James Dailey Jr.
Harry Schmidt - Douglass Wishart


Camden Courier-Post
June 6, 1932

Elizabeth Robinson
Harry G. Robinson
Charles H. Robinson
Patrick Matthews
Camden Lodge No. 293 Elks
Benevolent Protective Order of Elks


RETURN TO CAMDEN'S INTERESTING PEOPLE PAGE

RETURN TO DVRBS.COM HOME PAGE