Erwin was born on 28th March 1879 in Germantown, Philadelphia in the United States of America. His parents were George L. Garrett and his wife Sophia Cooper Garrett, nee Gray.
In 1906, Erwin graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He enlisted as a Private in the American Army and served during the Philippine Insurrection of 1899 – 1902 in the 23rd Infantry.
Erwin died in October 1954.
CHARLIE CHAPLIN IN BLIGHTY by Erwin Clarkson Garrett from "Trench Ballads, and Other Verses"
The mess-hall windows blanketed
To bar the western light—
The tables cleaned and cleared away,
And bench by bench in close array
Five hundred convalescents sway
To catch the caption bright.
And there are men with helpless legs,
And torn chest and back;
And men with arms in sling and splint,
And one poor eye that bears no glint,
And muscles limp or turned to flint—
And souls upon the rack.
They came from Chateau Thierry—
From Soissons, Oulchy-le-Chateau,
From Rheims and Fismes, where blow by blow,
’Cross Marne and Oureq and Vesle aflow
They hammered them afar.
And now upon the screen is thrown
An old familiar form:
’Tis Charlie of the strong appeal,
At skating-rink or riot meal,
And every mirth-producing reel
Awakes the farthest dorm.
The aching head, the splintered arm,
The weary, dragging feet;
The wound that took a month to drain—
The everlasting, gnawing pain—
Are all forgot and gone again
When Charlie strikes the street.
Your esoteric shrug and sneer
And call him crude and quaint;
But we who’ve seen him “over here”—
Who’ve heard the laugh that brings the tear—
Who’ve heard the bellowing roar and cheer—
_We_ call him Charles the Saint.