Charles Fenton was a resident of Mansfield on August 7, 1862 when he enlisted as a 1st Sergeant in Co. D of the 21st Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant July 31, 1863, 1st Lieutenant in Co. C, November 16, 1864 and to Captain in Co. F, January 11, 1865. He was mustered out June 16, 1865.
The descriptive muster roll of the 21st Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry lists his age as 21 and his occupation as farmer. He is described as being 6’ tall with a light complexion and brown hair and dark eyes. His marital status is single.
He was born August 27, 1840 in Crown Point, New York to Horace and Mary (Huestis) Fenton. His father was born in Mansfield and returned there after the death of his wife. Charles Fenton began working in the Mansfield Hollow Silk Mills in 1852 when he was only 12 years old. He gained an extensive knowledge of silk spinning and weaving techniques.
After he returned from the Civil War, he was appointed manager of the O. S. Chaffee silk mill. After working as a traveling salesman for Nonotuck Silk Company of Haydenville, Massachusetts in 1870, he moved to Maine where he was superintendent of the Haskell silk mills in Westbrook, Maine from 1874 through 1887. In 1887, he became superintendent of the Natchaug Silk Company on North Street in Willimantic, Connecticut. The Natchaug Silk Company was taken over by the L.D. Brown Silk Company in Middletown in 1895 and he moved there.
Charles Fenton formed the Windham Silk Company in Willimantic and moved back there in 1901. This company employed between 150 and 200 workers and was known for high quality silk cloths. He retired from the business in 1913. He married Cornelia J. Hall on February 12, 1867; she died in 1887. His second wife was Sarah A. Hall, a cousin of his first wife. In 1890, he married Sarah Davis Weeks of Gilford, New Hampshire and she survived him. Charles Fenton’s children with Cornelia include Mary C. Fenton (May 10, 1869 – February 1, 1907) and Robert Fenton, (born about 1872).
On April 16, 1904, he applied for an invalid pension, No. 1,0312,374 that was granted under certificate No. 1,086,591. His widow, Sarah applied for a pension in August 1921.
Charles Fenton was a founding member of the Francis S. Long Post, No. 30 G.A.R (Grand Army of the Republic) in Willimantic. He was treasurer of the 21st Connecticut Regimental Association. He died on August 7, 1921 and is buried in the New Mansfield Center Cemetery in Mansfield.