Charles A. Wolverton

Charles A. Wolverton - 1926

Charles Anderson Wolverton was born in Camden, NJ in 1880 to Charles S. Wolverton and Martha Anderson Wolverton. In 1880, Charles S. Wolverton worked as a steamboat pilot, and the family lived at 313 Birch Street in North Camden. By the mid-1880s, the family had moved to 66 Vine Street, and Charles’ brother Walter P. Wolverton was born in 1882. Charles S. Wolverton later worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad as a collector on the Vine Street Ferry, and the family moved to 612 North 5th Street. They moved again to 601 State Street around 1905, and Charles S. Wolverton eventually became Superintendent of the Ferry before it closed in the 1920s.

Charles A. Wolverton attended public school in Camden, NJ and graduated from the law department of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1900. He was admitted to the bar in 1901 and began practicing law in Camden. Meanwhile, his brother Walter studied accounting and had a long career with the City of Camden.

In 1906, Charles A. Wolverton became the assistant prosecutor of Camden County, a post he held until 1913. During this time, he appointed Lawrence Doran as an investigator, who would later become Chief of Detectives and serve in that capacity for many years. In 1907, Charles A. Wolverton married Sarah, a doctor of medicine. The couple had a son, Donnell K. Wolverton, in 1912.

Charles A. Wolverton entered state government as a special assistant attorney general of New Jersey in 1913 and 1914. He was elected to the state legislature, serving as an Assemblyman from 1915 until 1918, and became the speaker of the Assembly in 1918. During World War I, he also held the post of Associate Federal Food Administrator for Camden.

At the time of the 1920 Census, Charles and Sarah Wolverton were renting a home at 330 State Street in North Camden. After leaving the state assembly, Charles A. Wolverton worked as the Prosecutor of Pleas of Camden County until 1923. He was also an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention from New Jersey in 1920.

In 1926, Charles A. Wolverton was elected to Congress as a Republican, defeating Edward J. Kelleher with 57,522 votes to Kelleher’s 24,990. In the years to follow, the Democrats had difficulty finding candidates to run against the popular Congressman Wolverton. He was sworn in on March 27, 1927, and served continuously until January 3, 1959, a total of 16 terms. During his time in Congress, he was chairman of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce in the Eightieth and Eighty-third Congresses.

Donnell K. Wolverton graduated from Princeton with honors in 1933. At the time of the 1930 Census, Charles Wolverton and family resided at 505 State Street in North Camden. His neighbor, prominent Camden attorney Samuel J.T. French Sr., and his family lived at 513 State Street. The 1932 Congressional race featured French and Wolverton as opposing candidates, which must have been interesting, as they lived only six doors apart. The sons of both men followed their fathers into law, although not into politics. Sadly, Sarah Wolverton passed away in 1938.

By 1947, Charles Wolverton had relocated to Merchantville, where he resided at 2 Oak Terrace. He then moved to an apartment at Greenleigh Court in Merchantville by 1956. Wolverton did not run for re-nomination in 1958 and returned to practicing law in Camden, where he passed away on May 16, 1969. Survived by his son Donnell K., Charles A. Wolverton was buried at Harleigh Cemetery in Camden, next to his wife Sarah.

In addition to his political career, Charles A. Wolverton was a member of several social and fraternal organizations, including the Freemasons, Knights Templar, Shriners, Elks, and Rotary Club.


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