Revelstoke Museum & Archives has just opened the exhibit, “Answering the Call – Revelstoke during World War I.” The exhibit will run for the anniversary years of the year, continuing until November of 2018. As part of the exhibit, we will be featuring one of Revelstoke’s 100 fallen soldiers for two weeks each during this time. As we reflect on the legacy of the First World War, let us remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Charles Oscar Abrahamson was born in Revelstoke, B.C., May 21, 1893, the eldest child of Charles and Ida (Stone) Abrahamson. Charles Abrahamson Sr. was born in Sweden in 1856 and came to Canada in the 1880s, following the CPR construction west. He arrived in Revelstoke with his brothers in 1885 and established the Central Hotel on Front Street. His wife, Ida was born in Sweden in 1866 and came to Revelstoke to join her father and family who had also come to Revelstoke in 1885 and had established the Stockholm House, later known as the Oriental Hotel. Charles and Ida Abrahamson were married in Revelstoke in 1892. They had three other children: John (Johann) Albert, born in 1894, Gust Douglas, born in 1899 and Ethel born in 1904. Charles Abrahamson Sr. died in Revelstoke on December 21, 1911 at the age of 55.
Local school records show that Charles attended Revelstoke High School in 1907. At the time of his enlistment, Charles Oscar Abrahamson was working as a clerk at the Central Hotel. A note from the Revelstoke Review of October 10, 1914 noted that he opened the bar at Central Hotel to find $60 had been removed from the cash register.
Charles Oscar Abrahamson enlisted in Vernon on June 21, 1915 at the age of 22. He was 5’10” tall, single with fair hair and blue eyes. He listed his religion as Jewish, but it appears that he was more likely Presbyterian. Charles was enlisted in ‘D’ Company of the 54th Kootenay Battalion.
Charles died on March 22, 1917, probably during the initial preparations for the Canadian assault on Vimy Ridge. He was 23 years old. At the time of his death he held the rank of Lance Corporal in the 54th Battalion, Canadian Infantry Central Ontario Regiment. He is buried in the Ecoivres Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.
In the April 5, 1917 edition of the Revelstoke Review the paper extended its sympathy to Mrs. Abrahamson in the loss she had suffered by the death of her soldier son, Corp. O.C. Abrahamson “killed in action” March 22, 1917. The Liberal Association passed a resolution of condolence for Mrs. Abrahamson in the loss she had sustained by the death of her son who was killed in action fighting with the British colors. Charles was a respected member of the Executive Council of the Revelstoke Liberal Association. Charles Abrahamson’s name is inscribed on the Revelstoke Presbyterian Honor Roll, the Fire Brigade No. 1 Honor Roll and the YMCA Honor Roll. His name is also inscribed on the Courthouse and Cenotaph plaques.
On June 9, 1926 John Albert Abrahamson, brother of Charles Oscar Abrahamson, married Jean Lucille Archibald, daughter of Isaac Baird Archibald, who had also perished in the Great War. Charles’ father had three brothers who also lived in Revelstoke, and relatives of brother Otto William Abrahamson still reside in the city.