Jamaica Gleaner

OUR FOUNDER Charles E. Ramson


CHARLES ERNEST Ramson was born on August 7, 1886, the eldest son of Lilla Jane and Herbert Ramson. He grew up in his family home at 97 Church Street. At 20, he experience­d the great earthquake of 1907, which shook downtown Kingston savagely to pieces, leaving 1,000 dead in its wake.

In 1909, ‘Charlie’ married Rose Geraldine Clough, and in short order, produced three children: Lauritz, Herbert and Marjorie. Charlie began his career at a well-reputed agency, Fred L. Meyers, before joining the team at B&J B Machado. There he honed his sales skills and began to learn the landscape of brand management.

In 1920, Charlie decided to seek his fortune in New York City, where Rose’s three sisters lived. Unfortunat­ely, this was an ill-fated decision – one that would set the young family on an entirely new trajectory.

Five-year-old Herbert was killed suddenly in an auto accident in New York City in 1921. The Ramsons were devastated. Reeling from this loss, they returned to Jamaica the following year.

Charlie decided to go into business for himself. He founded Chas. E. Ramson in 1922. He rented a small office upstairs 31 ½ Olivier Place, from where he sold Kellogg’s cereals, salt fish, erasmic soap, Sunshine biscuits and other sundry items to downtown wholesaler­s. There was no warehouse, only the small office with two employees. When the goods arrived by sea, they were delivered by mule-drawn dray carts directly to customers.

At home, Rose made some extra money renting out rooms in the family’s home. The couple welcomed the birth of their fourth child, Frederick. Meanwhile, their eldest son, Lauritz, affectiona­tely called Laurie, was a bright young man with aspiration­s of becoming a dentist. As the family began to heal from young Herbert’s death, fate dealt them another wild card.

On March 7, 1928, after a short illness, Charlie Ramson died. He was only 42 years old. With three young children to support, Rose was forced to step into Charlie’s shoes and beat her own path towards family survival.

 ?? ?? Charles E. Ramson in 1922.
Charles E. Ramson in 1922.
 ?? ?? Herbert Ernest Ramson, father of Charles E. Ramson.
Herbert Ernest Ramson, father of Charles E. Ramson.

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