Harold Wilson (rower)

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Harold Charles Wilson (15 January 1903 – 2 May 1981) was an American rower and Olympian. He was born in Washington Boro, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the oldest child of William B. Wilson and Henrietta A. Charles. By 1910, his family had moved to Philadelphia, PA where he grew up.[1]

Wilson was a member of the U.S. Olympic Team, representing the United States at the Games of the VIII Olympiad held in Paris, France from 4 May through 27 July 1924. He competed in the paired oar shell with coxswain rowing event (crew).

The boat included Wilson (stroke), Leon Butler (bow seat), and Edward Jennings (cox). Rowing out of the Pennsylvania Barge Club of Philadelphia, the crew qualified for the U.S. Olympic team on 13 June 1924[2] at national trials held in Philadelphia.[3] At the Olympic Games, the boat came in third, earning a bronze medal[4] on 17 July 1924 at the Argenteuil Basin on the Seine.

After the 1924 Olympic Games, Wilson made his home in Philadelphia. He married Virginia E. Harris née Gessing (25 October 1902 – 21 March 1986) in Manhattan, New York City, NY on 27 June 1931.[5] They moved to the Philadelphia suburb of Laverock in 1949. With his father, he owned and operated the Fairhill Laundry at 241 W. Allegheny Avenue in North Philadelphia.

Wilson retired and closed the business in 1969. In his retirement, he lived in Beach Haven, New Jersey, dying there in 1981 at age 78. He is interred in a family plot in the Lawnview Memorial Park, Rockledge, Montgomery County, PA.[6]

Olympic medal record
Men's Rowing
Bronze medal – third place 1924 Paris coxed pairs


  1. ^ "United States Census, 1910," Harold C Wilson in household of William B Wilson, Philadelphia Ward 43, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States; Enumeration District (ED) 1075, sheet 1B, family 14. NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MGHW-DFB: accessed 14 May 2015).
  2. ^ The Indianapolis Star, (Indianapolis, IN) 14 June 1924, p. 13. "Yale Oarsmen Win in Olympic Trials," GenealogyBank (accessed 31 May 2015: http://www.genealogybank.com)
  3. ^ The Evening Ledger, (Philadelphia, PA), 20 December 1924, n. p., "Sport Thrills of 1924: This Race Was All Wet;" clipping held in private collection. Note: The article contains an error, referring to Harold Wilson as "Tim" Wilson. He was known by the nickname "Dem" to his friends.
  4. ^ International Olympic Committee (IOC), Olympic.org: Official Website of the Olympic Movement; Medalist Search Results: Harold Wilson, USA (http://www.olympic.org/content/results-and-medalists: accessed 14 May 2015).
  5. ^ New York City, Office of the City Clerk (27 Jun 1931). Marriage license: Harold Wilson & Virginia Harris; Family Search, New York City Marriage Records, 1866–1938 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24D4-HX4: accessed 28 May 2015)
  6. ^ Find A Grave; Lawnview Memorial Park, Rockledge, Montgomery County, PA; Virginia E Wilson (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr&GRid=82989520&CRid=45275&: accessed 15 May 2015).

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