USS Charleston

USS Charleston C-22

Early view of the USS Charleston in her White and Spar paint.

Displacement: 9,700 t., Length: 426'6", Beam: 66', Draft: 22'6", Speed: 22 k., Complement: 673, Armament: 14 6"; 18 3", Class: ST. LOUIS

The third Charleston (C-22), a protected cruiser, was launched 23 January 1904 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Va.; sponsored by Miss H. Rhett; and commissioned 17 October 1905, Commander Cameron M. Winslow in command. During her sea trials she turned in an average speed of 22.03 kts.

Charleston cruised to South American ports in the summer of 1906 with Secretary of State Elihu Root on board for good-will visits, and after disembarking the official party at Panama in September, returned to the west coast for overhaul. She cleared San Francisco 6 December 1906 to begin service with the Pacific Fleet where she served as Flagship for Rear Admiral William T. Swinburne. As Flagship she was in the First Division together with the Protected Cruisers USS Chicago, USS Milwaukee, USS St. Louis and the Gunboat USS Yorktown. She sailed along the west coast from Magdalena Bay, Mexico, to Esquimault, British Columbia, on exercises and fleet maneuvers until 10 June 1908, when she entered the Puget Sound Navy Yard to prepare for the long passage to the Asiatic station.

The City of Portland, Oregon each year during June celebrates a festival known as the Rose Festival. This was a summer celebration centered on river activities and beginning in 1907 ships of the US Navy Fleet were invited to take part and now has become the Rose Festival Fleet Week. In June of 1907 the USS Charleston was the first naval ship to steam up the river to show off the power of the US Navy. In the past the fleet week has hosted as many as 30 naval ships.

It was reported in the 18 July 1907 edition of The Washington Post that on 17 July the Charleston arrived at Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and will spend a few days at Esquimault and then proceede to the Pudget Sound Navy Yard. The Charleston was now under the command of Comander Frank E. Beatty.

Leaving Puget Sound 28 October 1908, Charleston served in the Far East until 11 September 1910, first as flagship of 3d Squadron, Pacific Fleet, and later, as flagship of the Asiatic Fleet. During May and June 1909 she was at anchor in Yakohama, Japan, which is known from several post cards sent from her crew. She was based on Cavite, P.I., in the winter, the Fleet moved north each summer to Chefoo, China, to continue exercises and presenting a powerful reminder of American interest in the Far East. During her Far East tour of 1908-09 Charleston visited 19 ports of call. They were: Sandakan, Malaysia; Jolo, Philippines; Zamboanga and Cotabato on the Island of Mindanao in the Philippines; Malabang, Philippines; Manila, Philippines; Hong Kong, China; Amoy, China; Ningbo, China; Shanghai, China; Tsingtao, China; Chefoo, China; Jinsen, Japan; Nagasaki, Japan; Gensan, Korea; Vladivostok, Russia; Hakodate, Japan; Yokohama, Japan; Osaka, Japan. The Charleston was in Nanking, China on July 11, 1909 as stated on a post card sent home from one of her crew, and they were to leave on the 12th heading for Hankow China. It is known that on the 4th of July, 1910 the Charleston was at anchor in Chefoo, China as the crew celebrated by performing a “Grand Minstrel & Vaudeville Performance.” The crew was entertained by the show as well as many games and contests and six and twelve-oar boat races with the ships cutters. These cutter races were especially a great point of pride as each ship wanted to have a champion boat crew. Many times when other ships were at anchor and time permitted cutter races were held giving the men an opportunity to show who had the fastest cutter in the navy. Returning to Bremerton, Washington at the end of her Far East tour Charleston was decommissioned 8 October 1910 at Puget Sound Navy Yard. She was placed in commission in reserve 14 September 1912, Charleston joined the Pacific Reserve Fleet, remaining at Puget Sound Navy Yard as a receiving ship through early 1916, aside from a voyage to San Francisco in October 1913 as flagship for the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Reserve Fleet. From 1912 through early 1916, she was receiving ship at the Puget Sound Navy Yard.

In March 1916, Captain Edward Hale Campbell took command of the cruiser Charleston, Campbell later became a Vice Admiral in the Navy. Captain Campbell was awarded the US Navy Cross as Commanding Officer of the Charleston. His citation reads: "The Navy Cross is awarded to Captain Edward H. Campbell, U.S. Navy, for distinguished service in the line of his profession as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Charleston, engaged in the important, exacting and hazardous duty of transporting and escorting troops and supplies to European ports through waters infested with enemy submarines and mines." With a new assignment as tender for the submarines based in the Canal Zone, Charleston arrived at Cristobal, C.Z., 7 May 1916, for a year of operations with submarines, reconnaissance of anchorages, and gunnery exercises.

The above photo was taken by DeRoy Welsh of the USS Charleston passing through the Gatun Locks, Panama in 1916. The photo on the right is of the Charleston in the Middle Chamber at the Gatun Locks in an undated photo.

On March 4, 1917 the Charleston was at anchor in Colon, Panama, Limon Bay off the Caribbean Sea. At Noon on March 5, 1917 the USS Stewart (DD13) came along side the Charleston to repair her broken main mast that was damaged while the Stewart was coaling. With the US being pulled into World War I, Captain Campbell took the precaution of drawing up plans to protect the new Panama Canal. On the day of Americas entry into World War I, 6 April 1917, Charleston was placed in full commission and remained in the Colon area and on 25 April she was moored to the dock in Colon. Following American entry into the conflict Charleston patrolled the Caribbean, before steaming north to aid in escorting the first US troop transports to France. In Early May she reported for duty with the Patrol Force in the Caribbean Sea. Based on St. Thomas, V.I., she patrolled for commerce raiders through the month of May, then sailed north carrying Marines from Haiti to Philadelphia. Here she readied to join the escort of the convoy carrying the first troops of the American Expeditionary Force to France, which cleared New York 14 June 1917 and made St. Nazaire, France, after a safe passage through submarine waters on 28 June, and returned to New York 19 July. This convoy she escorted may have consisted of the following troopships: Pastores, San Jacinto, Saratoga, Tenandares, Antilles, El Ccidente, Finland, Havana, Lenape, and Henry R. Mallory. After training naval volunteers and reserves for 2 weeks at Newport, Charleston cleared 16 August for Havana, Cuba, where she supervised the sailing in tow of several former German ships to New Orleans. She next escorted a convoy from Cristobal to Bermuda, where she rendezvoused with a group of British transports, guarding their passage to Hampton Roads. For his service commanding the Charleston, Captain Campbell received the Navy Cross. During November of 1917, Captain Campbell left the Charleston and took command of Naval Training Station, Newport.

The above photo was taken by a woman named Charlotte Glick in April of 1917 while her husband was working at the Panama Canal. This view Mrs. Glick has captured shows the USS Charleston at anchor on the background and a small boat named “Tinker Bell” piloted by her husband speeding along passing the Charleston.

Captain W.L. Littlefield was the Charleston's next commanding officer and Comander Edward D. Washburn was his executive officer. On 16 October 1918 the Charleston was in port in New York as there was a grand ball held by the officers and crew at the Astor Hotel on the west side of Broadway between 44th and 45th Streets. "First Grand Ball and Banquet Given By The Crew of The U.S.S. Charleston, October 16th, 1918, Hotel Astor." For the complete roster of the crew follow this link.

A view of the Charleston at sea during convoy duty in WWI.

In September and October 1918, she made two convoy escort voyages to Nova Scotia, then joined the Cruiser and Transport Force, with which she made five voyages to France carrying occupation troops overseas and returning with combat veterans. On April 1, 1919 she was at sea sailing for Brest, France to carry troops home and due to arrive Brest on April 6, 1919.

Charleston sailed from Philadelphia for the west coast 23 July 1919, reaching Bremerton, Washington, 24 August and she was placed in reduced commission until late in 1920. She was reclassified CA-19 on 17 July 1920 and later in 1920 she arrived in San Diego to serve as administrative flagship for Commander, Destroyer Squadrons, Pacific Fleet. She served on this duty until 4 June 1923, when she sailed for Puget Sound Navy Yard and decommissioning on 4 December 1923. She was sold 6 March 1930.

The Charleston as she looked when she returned to Bremerton, Washington on August 24, 1919.

The Final Resting Place of the Charleston

In 1930 the Powell River Company Limited took possession of some decommissioned ships to be used as floating breakwaters for the log pond at their pulp and paper mill at Powell River, British Columbia Canada. Using decommissioned ships hulls as breakwaters was not a new idea and had been used many times. However, in most cases ship breakwaters were created by sinking the vessels in shallow water to create the breakwater. At Powell River the water is too deep to allow this and so the floating breakwater designed was used. The ships at the Powell River mills Breakwater Fleet form what many believe is the largest floating breakwater in the world. These ships are know to the people of Powell River, British Columbia as "The Hulks".

The first two ships that were brought to the log pond at the Powell River mill were the decommissioned US Cruisers USS Charleston and the USS South Dakota. On October 25, 1930 the hulk of the Charleston stripped to her waterline was towed to the log pond and was the first ship to take her place standing guard at the log pond. The Charleston remained in the breakwater fleet at Powell River until 1961 when she was removed because she was in danger of sinking. She was removed and used again a short distance away at Kelsey Bay on Vancouver Island where she was grounded at the booming ground at Kelsey Bay. She can be seen there today as her hulk is partially out of the water along with several grounded ships. It was at the end of August 1931 that the hull, stripped to her waterline, of the South Dakota/Huron arrived to take her place at the log pond at Powell River along side of the Charleston. These ships were ballasted and anchored in place and routinely pumped out to keep them afloat. For the next 30 years the South Dakota/Huron remained rusting peacefully protecting the log pond along with the other hulks that formed the Breakwater Fleet. On February 18, 1961 with a storm raging and the South Dakota/Huron riding low in the water, the once proud ship lost her battle with her enemy of 30 years and slipped quietly beneath the waves. She settled to the bottom of the log pond in about 80 feet of water and rests there to this day.

John A. Campbell (see photo below) a local Powell River native has written a book which documents each of the ships that have been used in the Breakwater Fleet at Powell River. The book is titled "HULKS The Breakwater Ships of Powell River." This book contains a great many details of each ships history. This book is sold by The Powell River Historical Museum and Archives and all proceeds will be used to help with funding this Organization.

Powell River Historical Museum and Archives
P.O. Box 42 Powell River, B.C. V8A 4Z5 Canada

Phone 604-485-2222 Fax 604-485-2327
Email [email protected]

Curator Debbie Dan
Coordinator Teedie Gentile

The Hulk of the Charleston as she looks today in Kelsey Bay

This group of 3 photos of the Charleston were taken in June of 2003 by John A. Campbell author of the above book "HULKS The Breakwater Ships of Powell River." John took these photos during a visit to Kelsey Bay. John writes:

"They are scanned from prints I got using a disposable camera, having forgotten to bring my digital. You can see that the hull is partly filled in with dirt. You can also still see the remains of her protection decks, the angled parts sticking up from the hull. These are also visible in the photo of Charleston and Huron in the scrapyard from my book. One of these days I'm going to get back into the companies archives and make some copies of the Charleston's drawings that I found in there. The desk photos are very neat! I imagine that bits and pieces of her were distributed all over the place. I read online somewhere that some of her guns were used in coastal defense batteries on the west coast somewhere (Oregon?) Also, I know from an old article that her spotlights were in use in Winnipeg Manitoba before WWII."

Another view of the Hulk of the Charleston at the booming ground at Kelsey Bay, on Vancouver Island, Canada. This rusting hulk of steel turned 100 years old on the 23rd of January 2004. She has stood the test of time but it will be time that will be the final end of the once proud ship named Charleston. At least the old ship can rest peacefully in some spectacular scenery. The Salmon River Valley, which meets the sea at Kelsey Bay, is a very beautiful place.

It strikes me that the silent hulk of steel as she lies there next to the bay is barely even noticed by anyone. She even has a fence on her guarding to keep people off her. It is ironic that this “piece of steel” once stood proud on the seas and protected the people who the fence now keeps off her. The hulk now draws little attention but she was once home to many men who depended on her to protect them and they gave her life to her steel hull. Many were only boys who were away from home for the first time. Each one of them caring for this now silent hulk and keeping her polished and trim. I guess her reason for existing was to calm the waters from war and now she still calms the waters of peace. I wonder how many men who called this hulk a home are now alive, I would think only a hand full.

The Desk from Wardroom No. 3

Jill Steidley contacted me about an old desk that belonged to her Uncle. On the back of this desk is stamped: Wardroom St. Room No. 3 Wt. 268 Lbs. USS Charleston. Jill's mother received the desk from the Uncle in the 1960's who was from Renton, Washington. Jill was not sure how long her uncle did own the desk or where he got it. The desk seems to be the right age for the Charleston and most likely it was purchased from a sale of items scraped out during 1930. That year she was sold and stripped to the water line to be used as a breakwater ship at Powell River, British Columbia Canada. The Charleston was scraped at out at the Lake Union Dry Dock and Machine Works, in Seattle Washington not far from Renton, Washington. Jill's uncle may have purchased the desk from the scraper.

This picture of the Charleston was taken by the Moisen family. The notation below the picture reads:

"We took this picture of the battleship from the Harvard while pulling out of the harbor at San Diego April 11."

The SS Harvard was a steamer ship that the Moisen family was sailing on. The photo came from their photo album and the notations under the pictures and postcards were dated 1916-1921. I believe that this was during the Charleston's time serving as administrative flagship for Commander, Destroyer Squadrons, Pacific Fleet 1920-1923.

The SS Harvard was 3,818 GRT, 407 ft. x 61ft., Triple Screw Oil fired steamship capable of 23 knots. She was built in 1906 by the Delaware River International Shipbuilding and Engine Works in Chester, PA. During and after WWI the Harvard was used along with her sister ship, SS Yale as troopships. Harvard and Yale were owned by the Lassco Lines (Los Angles Steam Ship Co.) and they sailed the San Francisco, Los Angles and San Diego route from 1921-1930. On 31 May 1931 Harvard wrecked off point Arguello near Santa Barbara, CA with no loss of life and was there after scrapped.

The Crews Muster

As I find information and stories of former crewmen of the USS Charleston I will post them in this section. If you have a family menber who served on the USS Charleston please e-mail me at: Joe Hartwell

Charles Everett Ritter, Fireman 3rd Class

On 16 October 1918 the Charleston was in port in New York as there was a grand ball held by the officers and crew at the Astor Hotel on the west side of Broadway between 44th and 45th Streets. This is known as Tom Clark shared with me that his uncle, Charles Everett Ritter, was at this Ball and had a program entitled "First Grand Ball and Banquet Given By The Crew of The U.S.S. Charleston, October 16th, 1918, Hotel Astor." The program lists Committees that made the Ball possible. It has a Dance Program with music time schedule, Supper Menu, and it lists the entire ship's crew, Officers, Rates, and Seaman.

Charles Everett Ritter was born on 6 October 1896 in Cincinnati and lived at the time of enlistment at 842 W. Liberty St in Cincinnati. He enlisted into the US Navy Reserve Force on 22 July 1918 at the Recruiting Station in Cincinnati, Ohio. Charles Everett Ritter's service number was 183-62-24. He went to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center near Chicago, IL and on 19 August 1918 was assigned to Naval Operations Base at Norfolk, VA until 24 August 1918 when he was assigned to the USS Charleston. He was on the Charleston until 11 November 1918. His rank was Fireman 3rd Class. He was released from active duty on 4 September 1919 and Honorable discharged on 30 Sept 1921 at the final rank of Fireman 1st Class.

Photo on the left is of Charles E. Ritter, Fireman 3c, USS Charleston 1918

Photo was shared by the family of Charles Ritter.

Warrent Officer Bruce W. Ross

Bruce Wallace Ross was born 19 March 1887 in San Francisco to John Even Ross (b. Pictou Co. Nova Scotia) and Margaret Donaldson (b. Nevada City California). Bruce W. Ross married Gertrude Rosalene (b. 9/9/1890 Superior, Wisconsin) in December of 1915 at San Francisco, California. They had two children, Gertrude Mallotte Ross (b. 9/12/1916 Portland, Oregon) and Brucelee Wallace Ross (b. 1/6/1918 Portland, Oregon).

In 1911 Bruce W. Ross began his Naval career serving 4 years in the Asiatic Station. Then on 5 January 1915 he began his second enlistment at Portland, Oregon at the rank of Chief Petty Officer. He was then assigned to the receiving ship at Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington which was the USS Charleston and served on her until transferred to the USS Prometheus in June 1915. He served on the Prometheus, a repair ship until July of 1917 when he again transferred to the Navy Tug USS Chemung in the Atalantic Fleet. At that time his rank was promoted to Warrent Officer.

On 12 December 1917 W.O. Ross died as the results of an oil fire explosion while working in the fire room of the USS Chemung while at Norfolk Virginia. During the explosion he had his clothes burned off of him and was evacuated to the Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, Virginia at 1 PM and died that same day at 9 PM. At the time of his death W.O. Ross was being examined for promotion to an officer at the rank of Ensign.

Royce Evans Simons

The story of Royce Evans Simons was shared with me by his daughter Margaret Simons Alford. Royce was born in October of 1894 and lived to be 102 years old and passed away in December of 1996. Royce was in the Navy and served on the USS Charleston from August of 1918 to January of 1919. During his time on the Charleston he made four trips along the coast and one trip across the Atlantic. Margaret shared that he kept in touch a buddy named Walter Stamper, who lived to be well into his 90's and may have been a crewman of the Charleston as well. Each Christmas they would write letters to each other.

Margaret relates about her father: "My dad was 23 and was going to be drafted, but got a chance to go into the Navy instead. I have a photo of him in his "blues" - I had it copied and gave a copy to my three children the Christmas my son was 23 - this in the presence of my father. He told me that they were in New York port to coal the ship before the Atlantic crossing. When they had coaled the ship and scrubbed it down, he and two buddies had an overnight shore leave. On the ferry they met a gentleman who told them he was the owner of an aeronautical company. He invited them and took them out to eat at an excellent restaurant. This is recorded in one of his letters home. All his letters home were written on YMCA stationary. My dads naval career was brief - he was coming into Cincinnati on a train going home (KY) when he heard bells, shouting, and learned the Armistice had been signed. He was released the next April - he was anxious to get back and take up his college work."

Vice Admiral Edward Hale Campbell

Vice Admiral Edward Hale Campbell shown here when he was a Commander.
A native of South Bend, Indiana, Campbell graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1893, and served two years, then required by law, before receiving his commission aboard USS Baltimore. During the Spanish-American War, Campbell saw service aboard several ships operating off the west coast of Central America, but did not encounter any hostile vessels.

Following the war he was assigned to the battleships Iowa and Indiana, before being to detached to aid in fitting out the cruiser USS Milwaukee at Union Iron Works in 1907. Later that year, Campbell returned to Washington, D.C. where he was named Judge Advocate General of the Navy, with the temporary rank of Captain. He departed this post in 1909, moving on to duty connected with fitting out the battleship North Dakota at Quincy, Massachusetts. Campbell remained with the ship after her completion, acting as her navigator, first lieutenant, and executive officer successively.

In March 1916, Campbell took command of the cruiser Charleston, then on duty in the Canal Zone. With the US being pulled into World War I, he took the precaution of drawing up plans to protect the new Panama Canal. Following American entry into the conflict Charleston patrolled the Caribbean, before steaming north to aid in escorting the first US troop transports to France. Upon returning from overseas, she resumed her patrols in the Caribbean. For his service commanding Charleston, Campbell received the Navy Cross.

Transferred in November 1917, Campbell took command of Naval Training Station, Newport, and by coincidence his former practice ship, Constellation. Under his command, the training station continued to provide the navy with a constant flow of new sailors for the fleet. He would remain at Newport until 1920, when he was named Chief of Staff to the Commander Battleship Force, Pacific Fleet. In the years after World War I, Campbell progressed through several assignments, including a second stint as Navy Judge Advocate General. In 1927, he was promoted to Rear Admiral, and two years later took command of the Special Service Squadron. From 1934 to 1935, Campbell, serving with the temporary rank of Vice Admiral, served as Commander, Scouting Force, US Fleet, before moving on to become commandant of the 12th Naval District. In 1936, having reached the statutory retirement age of 64, Campbell was relieved and transferred to the retired list. In 1942, he was briefly recalled to fulfill a variety of duties in the 13th Naval District (Pacific Northwest) before retiring permanently later that year. Campbell was born in 1872 and died in 1946. His wife's nmae was Lillian Strong Campbell and she died in 1966. Together Edward and Lillian had one daughter, Georgiana Abigale born 1904 and died 1917. All three are buried in the same plot in Arlington National Cemetary.

Seaman Allan Charles "Tommy" Harrington

The photo above is of Harrington on the right and an unidentified sailor on the left. His hat band says USS Maryland and this would date this photo from 31 March 1914-25 April 1916.

Allan Charles Harrington was born as Charles Allan Harrington on January 15, 1895 in Middleton, Washington County, Oregon. He was the son of Benjamin Rouse Harrington and Laura Anna Davis. He lived with his parents until the age of 18 years, nine months and 16 days when he enlisted into the U.S. Navy.

Allan C. Harrington entered the US Navy on 31 October 1913 as an Apprentice Seaman at the Navy Recruiting Station, San Francisco, California. In documents received from the National Military Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO it states that App. Seaman Harrington, service number 135-85-07, was stationed on the Receiving Ship at San Francisco on 31 December 1913. And on 19 January 1914 was advanced in rating to Ordinary Seaman and still attached to the Receiving Ship at San Francisco. On 31 March 1914 Ordinary Seaman Harrington was assigned to his first ship. This was the USS Maryland. On 4 January 1915 O. S. Harrington was again advanced to the rating of Seaman and still stationed on the USS Maryland. For an unknown reason on 30 June 1915 Seaman Harrington was transferred to the U. S. Naval Hospital, Mare Island, California. He was transferred out of the US Naval Hospital on 9 July 1915. It is assumed that he went back to the USS Maryland and was next listed as of 31 December 1915, on the USS Maryland. On 25 April 1916 Seaman Harrington was transferred from the USS Maryland to the USS Charleston.

Dear Mother:

I never got a answer to the last letter I wrote but I left the Maryland and San Diego [California] about the time I should a got a answer. Got transferd to the Charleston one night and sailed for Panaman the next day, took us about ten day's to come here. The San Deigo came through the canal last Sunday. Don't know how long were are a going to stay here but I guess it will be for quite awhile this is a good country nice and warm, get quite a few tropical showers here but they are nice and warm so it don't hurt us any, will send some pictures they took as we were coming through the canal as soon as I can get them will take about a month or so. Well I will close this time, Allan

Address: Care of Postmaster, U.S.S. Charleston, New York, N.Y.

Seaman Harrington wrote his mother, Mrs. B. R. Harrington, R.F.D. 3, Sherwood, Oregon, and this was sent from the USS Charleston while in the Panama Canal Zone. The envelope was cancelled: Canal Zone, Panama with 1c stamp and dated May 12, 1916, Colon, Panama. The Charleston had just arrived in the Canal Zone 5 days earlier. He would be on the USS Charleston throughout the remainder of 1916 and into 1917 until 22 October 1917 when he was transferred off the USS Charleston. He again for an unknown reason went to the US Naval Hospital in Chelsea, Massachusetts from 22 October until released on 30 October 1917. Seaman Harrington was discharged from the Navy at the Naval Hospital in Chelsea, Massachusetts on 30 October 1917.

While in the U.S. Naval Hospital, Chelsea, Massachusetts Seaman Harrington met his future wife Marguerite Blaney who was a nurse in the Naval Hospital. Marguerite was from Ireland and on November 5th 1917 Seaman Harrington and Marguerite Blaney were married by Ivory F. Frisbee, who was a Justice of the Peace at Frisbee's home at 672 Fremont St. in Boston, Massachusetts. Allan and Marguerite moved to Middleton, Oregon to live with Allan's parents. Marguerite gave birth to a baby boy on June 9, 1918 and they named him Charles Fremont Harrington. Marguerite nursed her baby for nine months then deserted the family and was never seen again by any member of the family. Presumably she went back to Boston or Ireland. Allan worked as a Hook Tender for the Northwest Steel Company in Portland, Oregon during this time. Also during this time he held a " Certificate of Service to Able Seaman" certificate issued to him by the United States Department of Commerce, Steamboat Inspection Service.

According to the 1920 federal census Allan Harrington worked as a laborer for the railroad in Washington County, Oregon. Sometime during the 1920's Allan moved to New York where he was listed on the 1930 federal census as living in Manhattan, in York City. There he lived in a boarding house and worked as a gas steamfitter. Later he worked for the Rural Utility Co., Inc. Water Plants and Disposal Systems, in Mt. Kisco, NY as a truck driver. During this time Allan was called "Tommy". Dorothy Strickland, Allan Harrington's granddaughter named her first born son - "Thomas Allan" after him. Dorothy Strickland shared these photos shared information with me about Allan Harrington.

On June 22nd, 1936 he was on his way home when the truck he was driving with two passengers was in an accident near Poundridge, Westchester County, New York. Allan Harrington died of a fractured skull on June 23, 1936 in the hospital at Mt. Kisco, New York. He was buried on June 25, 1936 in the Oakwood cemetery, in Mt. Kisco, New York.

Allan Charles "Tommy" Harrington

Fireman, Francis Joseph Baldwin

Lt. Cmdr. Joel L. Baldwin, Civil Engineer Corps, United States Navy shared with me that his grandfather Francis Joseph Baldwin, served on the USS Charleston during WWI. "His rate was Fireman. He fed the boilers coal down in the engine spaces. Below is a photo of him with his family. His service dress blue cover has been passed down to me just recently."

Fireman, Francis Joseph Baldwin

S2c Fred I. Wolpert

Fred Isaac Wolpert was born March 31st, 1898, in Elizabeth, Indiana, the son of George and Mary Wolpert. He was working as a clerk in Elizabeth, when he entered the USNRF on April 30th, 1918 in Louisville, Kentucky. He married my great grandmother, Miss Ruby Hollis, just before shipping out. After a short time at the Naval Training Station in Great Lakes, Ill., he went to the Naval Operating Base in Norfolk, VA. On Sept. 30th, 1918, he was placed on the USS Charleston as a Seaman Second Class with a rating of Landsmen Electrician (R). He remained on the Charleston until Nov. 29th, 1918, when he was placed on inactive duty until he was honorably discharged on Sept 30th, 1921. His service number was 1649535.

Fred spoke often about his time in the Navy, and he even saved his uniform in a trunk in the attic until his death in 1959. His grandchildren remember dressing up in it as kids. After his time in World War One, Fred served as a clerk in the Indiana State government. He then became a pipe fitter and part time farmer and traveled with his wife and 3 children in those pursuits. A sniper in the Philippines in World War Two killed Fred’s oldest son George. His youngest son, Chester, served in the US Marine Corps at the end of the war. His only daughter, Evelyn, married Edward S. Condra in 1938 and became my grandmother. Fred Isaac Wolpert was killed in 1959 when his car stalled on a train crossing and was struck by the oncoming train. His funeral was held in New Albany, Indiana, at the Seabrook funeral home, and he was buried in the New Albany National Cemetery near his son, George. His wife, Ruby, was buried next to him in 1969.

Story and photos submitted by George J. Walton, the Great-Grandson of Fred I. Wolpert.

S2C Fred Wolpert and his wife Ruby, 1918
Fred Wolpert,
taken in 1942
This document was signed by Captain W.L. Littlefield, Commanding Officer of the USS Charleston attesting to the fact that Seaman Wolpert was indeed on the ship.

Fireman, Harold Vere Neeley

Harold Vere Neeley was a crewman of the Charleston and a relative of Mr. Neeley contacted me in regards to some artifacts they have of Harold Neeley’s from his days on the Charleston. Christine Moore Smith, M.A. writes of Harold V. Neeley:

“I have attached a picture of my husband's uncle, who was Harold Vere Neeley, and who is listed in the USS Charleston's ship's crew as “H.V. Nealey.” [On the program of the Grand Ball held on October 16, 1918 Mr. Neeley’s last name as it appears on the crew roster is spelled "Nealey” which is incorrect]

Fireman Harold V. Neeley during WWI

Harold Vere Neeley was born October 9, 1899 in Muncie, Indiana, the son of Homer Vollney Neeley and Bertha Evelyn Sawyer. He attended the Muncie Public Schools and the Muncie Normal Institute before joining the Navy. As far as we know all his service was aboard the USS Charleston.

No where on your site do you mention a picture taken at the Grand Ball in 1918 at the Astor Hotel Ballroom of the entire crew. Such a picture is hanging in our home right now, one of the first things put up after a recent move. It is dated October 16, 1918 and identified on the picture as the Grand Ball etc. The back of the picture has never been opened so I don't know if there are any names on it or if it has anything written on it at all.

Harold Vere Neeley was a fireman, and we have his enlistment papers, his discharge papers, three or four letters he wrote from New York to his father, and several copies of the Charleston's newspaper, which was printed while they were at sea. This little treasure trove was unknown to us until my in-laws were forced to leave their home in 1999 and we found all this as we were cleaning out.

Harold survived the war but died in August of 1921 of complications of diabetes. He was at the time, serving in the Merchant Marine on the Great Lakes, which I believe he had done since he had been discharged from the Navy. He is buried in Beech Grove Cemetery, Muncie, Indiana.

Homer and Bertha's only other child was my mother-in-law, Beatrice Evelyn Neeley Smith, who was 10 years younger than Harold. She adored him, and when she had her first child she named him Harold Vaughn Smith. He later became my husband and also served in the Navy. There is a strong maritime tradition on one side of Homer Neeley's family. His grandmother was Phebe Barnard Hayden, who was born on Nantucket Island in 1825, and connects to just about every ancestral line on the island, and it's community of whalers, sailors, and ships captains.”

Four Charleston guys. Harold Neeley is the man seated in the center. On the back of the photo is written "The chevrons on my arm are for active service on a sea going vessel doing convoy duty." The man to his right is Charles Ritter.

Coxswain Joseph Olski

Coxswain Joseph Olski

Joseph Olski’s story begins in Poland in the year 1840, which was the year, his father Anthony Olsiewski was born. Joseph’s mother Anna Kaczmarcyk was also born in Poland sometime in 1867. Both Anthony and his wife came to America and on August 14, 1899 Anna gave birth to Joseph in Clark Mills, NY, which is just west of Utica, NY. Being that Anthony and Anna were Polish Catholics they took little Joseph to be baptized in the Catholic Church at the Holy Trinity Church in Utica, NY on September 1, 1899.

About 1902 Anthony, Anna and Joseph moved back to Poland to live. There the Olsiewski family lived until about 1911 when they again moved back to Oswego, NY. The reason the family moved from Poland was to keep their sons from being drafted into the Russian Army. Poland was under Russian occupation at the time. The Olsiewski family hated the Russians and did not want to see their family torn apart by their cruel ways. When the Olsiewski family came back to America they shortened their Polish name to Olski and so Joseph would be known as Joseph Olski for the rest of his life. Anthony Olsiewski would later die during the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918 and Anna would pass away in 1921, both being buried in a cemetery in Oswego, NY.

Joseph grew into a young man and when the United Stated entered into the First World War Joseph enlisted into the U. S. Navy on April 6, 1917 one day after the declaration of war. While in the navy, Joseph was a Coxswain serving on the USS Charleston. He was a veteran of several Atlantic crossings as the Charleston was then on duty as a convoy escort ship. During stops in various ports in the United Kingdom Joseph met and fell in love with Mary Mildred Power. Mary was born on October 7, 1900 in Cardiff, Wales.

Coxswain Joseph Olski was Honorably Discharged from Active Service with the navy on October 6, 1919 in Brooklyn, NY. Joseph Olski would serve a total of six-years service in the navy both on Active Service and with the Reserves. Joseph sent for Mary who arrived in New York City on Saturday, Jan. 27, 1923 aboard the Red Star Line passenger ship Kroonland. Joseph and Mary Power were married in Oswego, NY on April 2, 1923.

Joseph had taken up the trade of a Boilermaker and was working for the Railroad. Joseph and Mary started their family on December 6, 1923 when she gave birth to the first daughter, Mary Diana, a second daughter Jacqueline Rose on April 29, 1925 and a son Patrick Wheeler on December 26, 1926.

The Olski family in 1930 lived in a home located at 75 West 9th Street in Oswego. The home was valued at $1,700 and was owned my Joseph and Mary. According to notations on the 1930 Federal Census the family did have a radio set in the home, which was one of the few luxuries of the day.

Joseph Olski was admitted to the Bath Branch Home for Disabled Volunteers in Bath, NY on July 22-28, 1931 for treatment of Tonsillitis. He was discharged and returned home to Oswego. In 1933, Joseph Olski was transferred to the New York Central Railroad shop at East Syracuse, New York and promoted to boilermaker foreman, a position he retained until the late forties when diesel locomotives were introduced. He attended General Electric Diesel School in Schenectady, N.Y. and returned as a diesel foreman. He continued in that position until he was appointed Assistant Terminal Foreman shortly before his retirement in 1964. He received a Golden Pass for his 50-years service on the New York Central Railroad.

Joseph and Mary would live the rest of their lives in East Syracuse, NY and Joseph would pass away in Syracuse, NY on January 3, 1968, his wife, Mary, passed away on December 3, 1987.

Today this framed photo of the Charleston hangs in the home of Pat Olski, Joseph Olski’s son.
Joseph Olski is standing on the deck and is visible in the photo.

Coxswain Joseph Olski, shown identified with the red arrow, stands on the deck of the Charleston
as the photographer took the photo that now hangs in Pat Olski’s home.

This page was last updated on Sunday, September 19, 2010
This page is owned by Joe Hartwell

If you have research comments or additional information on this page e-mail them to: Joe Hartwell

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