Charles Bertram McDonald

No. 13177

Photograph of Charles B MacDonald. Contained in an album at the Dorchester Historical Society of about 150 photos kept by Nathaniel R. Perkins, MD, who examined thousands of men who were going into the war, 1914-1918. Given by Mrs N. R. Perkins in accordance with instructions from her late husband, Dr. Nathaniel P. Perkins of 1122 Adams St, Dorchester. Index catalog has entries for the individuals.

Charles B MacDonald Born Dorchester July 18, 1897. enlisted navy May 29, 1917. Boston Navy Yard. U.S. Virginia same day Sailed Aug 27, 1917 to Hampton Roads Came to Boston Feb 1918 for repairs Left Boston Mar 12, 1918 [much more]

Charles Bertram (or Bertrand) McDonald was born July 18, 1897, to Frank Hubert and Clara Edna (Willard) McDonald of 1066 Washington Street, Dorchester. His father was a builder, born in Boston and his mother was a waitress born in Maine. Charles had an older brother, George Willard McDonald.

By 1900, they were a family of 5 as there was now a younger sister Marjorie Thayer McDonald. They lived at 2157 Dorchester Avenue. The father was listed as a carpenter. By 1910, they also had a boarder and a domestic lodger.

On May 29, 1917, at age 19 years and 9 months old, Charles enlisted in the Navy as an apprentice seaman at the Boston Navy Yard. He served on the U.S.S. Virginia, sailing to Hampton Roads on August 27, 1917 and returning to Boston for repairs in February 1918. Shortly after, he sailed overseas and was stationed at Brest, France. He returned to Newport News in December 1918. On July 4, 1919, he again sailed to Boston for external repairs and was transferred to the U.S.S. Idaho which sailed from New York on July 7, 1919 for Rio Janeiro. For several months, he sailed through the Panama Canal for ports on the West Coast, including San Francisco. On October 1, 1919, he was transferred to the East Coast for discharge. He was honorably discharged at Hingham, Mass. as a Fireman 1st Class on October 25, 1919.

In 1920, the family of 5 was reunited at 2157R Dorchester Avenue. Charles wais a fireman for the railroad and his brother George was a millhand at the chocolate mill.

Charles married on September 8, 1921 to Beatrice Hickey, age 22, a waitress, living at 160 Brookline Street. She was born on Prince Edward Island. Their marriage was officiated by A.A. Rideout, at the Blaney Memorial Baptist Church, 69 Richmond Street, Dorchester.

Several years later, on March 15, 1925, Charles’ brother, a candymaker, died of heart disease, but the following year, Charles and Beatrice had a son, Roy. In 1930, they were renting at 44 Sexton Street and they had a radio set. Charles was then listed as an engineer in the electric light industry.

In 1949, Charles’ mother died of heart disease at age 89 and Charles died of heart disease at age 56 on June 22, 1953. Charles was survived by his wife, Beatrice, his sister Marjorie and his son Roy. His occupation was listed as Fireman 1st Class.  He was buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery, Dorchester, as was his brother and mother.

He is remembered on a bronze plaque in a list of service members from World War 1 that came from the Blaney Memorial Baptist Church and is now at DHS.


Birth Records,

Cemetery Records, Cedar Grove, Dorchester

Census Records, Federal, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930,

Death Records, Vital Statistics, Mt. Vernon St., Dorchester

Death Records, State Archives

Dr. Perkins’ notes

Marriage Records, State Archives

Service Record; The Adjutant General Office, Archives-Museum Branch, Concord, MA




Posted on

April 6, 2022

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