REVOLUTIONARY WAR

Daniel F. Bakeman
George Fruits
Lemuel Cook
John Gray

WAR OF 1812

Hiram Cronk

MEXICAN WAR

Owen T. Edgar

INDIAN WARS

Fredrack W. Fraske
Reginald A. Bradley
Charles G. Jones
William Sutphin

CIVIL WAR

Albert Woolson - Union
James A. Hard - Union
William A. Magee - Union
Pleasant Crump - Confed
William Lundy  - Confed
William J Bush  - Confed

SPANISH AMERICAN WAR

Nathan Cook
Jones Morgan

The Last Veterans

"When Nathan E. Cook, the last Spanish-American War veteran, died 14 years ago at age 106, he joined a long list. He joined Daniel F. Bakeman, the last Revolutionary War veteran, who died in 1869. He also joined Albert Woolson and John Salling, the last Union and Confederate soldiers, respectively. Woolson died in 1956 at 109. Salling died two years later at 112. The list also contains Hiram Cronk of the War of 1812, Owen Thomas Edgar of the Mexican War, and Fredrak Fraske, the last Indian Wars veteran. Someday, that list will contain the name of the last World War I veteran. Fewer than 25 World War I veterans are alive today." (Kane County Chronicle, November 2006).

 

We present here the stories of those Last Veterans. There is much disagreement on which individuals were really the "last living", or even whether some of the individuals actually served in the wars for which they were being honored. The U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs has their own list and it appears that they're sticking to it.

At the time they were living, these individuals were honored, so we will present the "raw data" of the respective eras and leave the final determination of these veterans' status for history to decide.

 

REVOLUTIONARY WAR

American Revolution
Last veteran, Daniel F. Bakeman, died 4/5/1869, age 109, 6 mos and 8 days
Last widow, Catherine S. Damon, died 11/11/1906, age 92
Last dependent, Phoebe M. Palmeter, died 4/25/1911, age 90
[Source: Department of U.S. Veteran's Affairs]

Daniel Frederick Bakeman (1759-1869)
Daniel F. Bakeman (October 10, 1759 - April 5, 1869) may have been the last surviving veteran of the Revolutionary War. On February 14, 1867, the United States Congress passed a special act, which granted a Revolutionary War pension to Bakeman. A special act of Congress was required, because Bakeman could not prove that he served in New York. The oldest veteran who was on the pension rolls since the beginning was Lemuel Cook of Clarendon, New York.
[source: Wikipedia.org]
Burial: Sandusky Cemetery, Freedom, Cattaraugus County, New York
[source: FindAGrave.com] Read Biography


Lemuel Cook (1759-1866)
Lemuel Cook (September 10, 1759 – May 20, 1866) was the last verifiable surviving veteran of the American Revolutionary War. Enlisting in the Continental Army at the age of sixteen, he fought in the Virginia campaign against Charles Cornwallis, receiving an honorable discharge signed by George Washington on June 12, 1784. After the war, Cook married Hannah Curtis. They had seven sons and three daughters. Cook died at the age of 106 and was buried with full military and Masonic honors. He was the last survivor of 2nd Continental Light Dragoons.
Read Obit and Biographical info

 

John Gray (1764-1868)

John Gray
(January 6, 1764–March 29, 1868) was one of the candidates for last surviving U.S. veteran of the American Revolutionary War. He was advertised as such by journalist James Dazell and as of 1876 was believed by the Pension Office of the U.S. Department of the Interior to be the last surviving veteran.

His claim to the "last surviving veteran" of the War depends primarily on the failure of his competitors Daniel F. Bakeman and George Fruits, who died a year, and several years, after him. Bakeman and Gray had been granted pensions, by special act of the U.S. Congress (on February 14, 1867, retroactive to June 1, 1866). The special act was required because the two had not previous applied for pensions or service land grants and Bakeman was unable to prove his service; Gray, while able to prove his service, had only served six months; Fruits had never had any pension.

Gray was born on Mount Vernon plantation, home of George Washington, "hero of the Revolution." His father fought in the war and was killed in the Battle of White Plains. Gray joined at age 16 in 1780, and was eventually present at the Battle of Yorktown. After the war he moved to Northwest Territory, and lived out most of his life in Noble County, Ohio. He had three wives during his life and fathered at least four children. He died at age 104 years, 2 months, 23 days and is buried in McElroy Family Cemetery, Brookfield Township, Noble County, Ohio.
(source: wikipedia.org) [Read obit]

 

George Fruits (1762? or 1779-1876)
Claimed to be the last known surviving soldier of the American Revolutionary War. According to data from the Daughters of the American Revolution, George Fruits died in 1876 at the age of 114. However, Fruits was never on a pension roll. Fruits' birth date was more likely 1779 than 1762, as indicated in recent studies. Subsequent research indicates that he was more likely taking on the identity of his father. The George Fruits of this article was born in Baltimore, Maryland; his parents were George and Margaret Fruits, young immigrants from Germany. His father was known as "Flag Bearer George" during the Revolutionary War, and purportedly fought in numerous important battles. Some of the exploits attributed to George Fruits may have been performed by his father. In 1865 the U.S. government paid out the last claim for the American Revolutionary War. Fruits, however, did not apply for a war pension. He died at the attributed age of 114 years, 7 months, and 4 days. He is buried in Bunker Hill Cemetery, two miles east of Alamo, Indiana. Commencing with the 1979 edition, the Guinness Book of World Records said "new research released by A. Ross Eckler, Jr. in 1978 has shown him to be 17 years younger than the age shown on his gravestone."

Claimed service record
If claimed earlier year of birth and the subsequent service record are correct
George Fruits joined the militia belonging to Captain George Miars (of Washington County, Pennsylvania) as a private on November 2, 1781, aged 19. Fruits' war record indicates he received pay in 1781 and 1783 while in the Revolution. He states that he was not involved in any battles because the war was almost over when he joined and that his service involved "just mopping up operations" in 1781-83. In 1787, George Fruits joined a company under Captain Kennedy to fight the Indians in Kentucky and along the Ohio River. While in Kentucky, he became acquainted with Daniel Boone. During this service, Fruits was cut off from his company. To avoid capture, he purportedly swam across the Ohio River to the other side with his boots on, not losing his knapsack or rifle. George Fruits enlisted in the War of 1812 and was in the Battle of the Thames where the Indian chief Tecumseh was killed. In this battle, George Fruits was wounded by an Indian musket and carried to his grave the one ounce lead ball lodged in his hip.






Daniel Bakeman

Lemuel Cook


John Gray

 

WAR of 1812

(1812-1815)
Last veteran, Hiram Cronk, died 5/13/1905, age 105
Last widow, Carolina King, died 6/28/1936, age unknown
Last dependent, Esther A.H. Morgan, died 3/12/1946, age 89
[Source: Department of U.S. Veteran's Affairs]

Hiram Cronk

(April 29, 1800 - May 13, 1905) was the last surviving veteran of the War of 1812 at the time of his death.

Born in Frankfort, New York, Cronk enlisted with his father and two brothers on August 4, 1814. He served with the New York Volunteers in the defense of Sackett's Harbor, and was discharged November 16, 1814. For his service, he received a pension of $12 per month. In 1903, Congress increased it to $25 per month. He also received a special pension of $72 per month from the State of New York.

When he died, his body was displayed in the main lobby of New York City Hall. An estimated 25,000 people paid their respects. [Read Biographical Data]

 

Mexican War

(1846-1848)

Last veteran, Owen Thomas Edgar, died 9/3/1929, age 98
Last widow, Lena James Theobald, died 6/20/1963, age 89
Last dependent, Jesse G. Bivens, died 11/1/1962, age 94
[Source: Department of U.S. Veteran's Affairs]

 

Owen Thomas Edgar (1831 - 1929)

Owen Thomas Edgar, was, according to data from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the last surviving US veteran of Mexican-American War. He enlisted in the navy as a 2nd-class apprentice on February 10, 1846, and was discharged August 8, 1849. Edgar saw service on the frigates Potomac, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, and Experience. After the war, he worked at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for 21 years, then worked at a bank for another 31 years. He spent his last ten years living at the John Dickson Home in Washington, D.C. Edgar died on September 3, 1929 at the age of 98 after suffering a fall from a chair that fractured his leg, and is buried in Washington's Congressional Cemetery. Obit









Owen T. Edgar

 

The American Civil War
(1861-1865)

Last Union veteran, Albert Woolson, died 8/2/1956, age 109 - Read obit

Next to Last Union Veteran: James Albert Hard - Read obit

Last Confederate veteran, John Salling, died 3/16/1958, age 112
[according to Dept of Veteran Affairs] - Obit

 


Albert Woolson

The last surviving Union veteran is considered to be Albert Woolson (1847?-1956). Census research by William Marvel in 1991 indicated that Woolson was 108. However, in 2006 the 1850 census was located which indicated that in fact he was 106 years old. Read obit

The next-to-the last Union veteran was
James Albert Hard of New York. He died March 12, 1953, at the claimed age of 111. However, census research indicates that he was probably a year or two younger as well, and may have inflated his age to gain service. He is recorded as having joined the Union army May 14, 1861, aged '19.' However, the 1850, 1910, and 1920 censuses indicate that he was born in 1843, 1842, and 1842, respectively. Read obit

The last Union veteran excluding Woolson and Hard was
William Allen Magee, who died Jan. 23, 1953 in Long Beach, CA, at the age of 106. He is listed as enlisting as a bugler on Oct. 20, 1863 at the age of 18 in Company M, 12th Cavalry Regiment Ohio, so therefore he was a veteran regardless of age. (But Magee never knew he was the last man; nobody told him. “He’ll simply brood,” said his daughter, Isabel Magee, of 14313½ Victory Blvd. in Van Nuys. “And he isn't strong enough to attend Mr. Story’s funeral.”)

The last surviving Civil War general was
Brevet-Brigadier General Aaron S. Daggett of Maine who died in 1938 at the age of 100. (However, others who served in the war and were later promoted to general survived into the 1940's).

Last Surviving Confederate Veterans
[Note: Most cases are questionable]

Candidates
Pleasant Crump (Dec. 23, 1847-Dec. 31, 1951) of Alabama
Felix M. Witkoski (Jan. 5, 1850?-Feb. 3, 1952) of California
Thomas Edwin Ross (July 19, 1850?-March 27, 1952) of California
William Loudermilk (Oct. 23, 1848?-Sept. 18, 1952) of Arkansas
William Jordan Bush (July 10, 1845?-Nov. 11, 1952) of Georgia
Arnold Murray (June 10, 1846?-Nov. 26, 1952) of South Carolina
William Townsend (April 12, 1846?-Feb. 22, 1953) of Louisiana
William Albert Kiney (Feb. 10, 1843?-June 23, 1953) of Indiana
Thomas Riddle (April 16, 1846?-April 2, 1954) of Tennessee
William Lundy (Jan. 18, 1848?-Sep. 1, 1957) of Alabama/Florida
John B. Salling (May 15, 1846?-March 16, 1959) of Virginia
Walter Williams (Nov. 14, 1842?-Dec. 19, 1959) of Miss./Texas (debunked)

William J Bush is listed as born July 1846 in the 1900 census, and aged 65 in the April 1910 census (suggesting a birth date of 1844). This suggests that he was at least 106.


Walter Williams was generally acknowledged as the 'last Confederate veteran' in the 1950's newspapers. However, in mid-1959 an exposé by the New York Times revealed that he was in fact born in 1854 in Itawamba County, MS and not 1842 as claimed. Still, due to the fact that John Salling and all the other 'last claimants' were dead, and in part to local pride, Walter Williams was mythically celebrated as the 'last Confederate veteran' in December 1959 and January 1960. Even the U.S. president joined in. However, all agree today that Walter Williams was a fraud.


John Salling's status is also disputed. In 1991, William Marvel examined the claims of Salling and several other "last Civil War veterans" for a piece in the Civil War history magazine Blue & Gray. Marvel found census data that indicated Salling was born in 1858, not 1846. In the same piece, Marvel confirmed Woolson's claim to be the last surviving Union veteran, and asserted that Woolson was the last genuine Civil War veteran on either side. However, Marvel did not present his research on several other Confederate claims from the 1950's, some of which appear to be genuine. Although in 1900 Salling supplied a birth date of March, 1858, he appears to have been born around 1856, still too late to have served in the Confederate army. The 1860 census lists him as four, and the 1870 census as fourteen. Read obit.

William Lundy is listed as one year old on the 1860 census, and from 1870 until 1930 he gave census marshals ages that reflected birth dates as early as 1853 and as late as 1860. He did not push his birth date back to the 1840s until he applied for a Confederate pension from the state of Florida. 

 

Indian Wars
1860 through 1898

Last Surviving Veterans:
Fredrack (Frederick) W. Fraske - Read obit and his War-Time Remembrances

William Sutphin - Read obit

Reginald A. Bradley - [read his War-Time Remembrances]

Charles G. Jones

Last Indian Scout: John Daw (Hasteen-tsoh) - Biographical Data


Frederick Fraske

 

Spanish-American War

1898

Nathan Edward Cook

(October 10, 1885 - September 10, 1992) was a sailor in the United States Navy during the Spanish-American War. He was recognized as the longest surviving U.S. veteran of that war (although there is a claim that Jones Morgan was a Spanish-American war veteran and survived longer). He died at age 106 and is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona in Phoenix. Picture/Biographical Data

Jones Morgan

(October 23, 1882?-August 29, 1993) Last surviving member of the original Buffalo Soldiers unit, at age 15 he fought with the only black regiment that took part in the Spanish American War. The ostensible last surviving US veteran of the war, Morgan served as a cook and a horse wrangler in the US 10th (or possibly 9th) Cavalry, from 1896 to 1900. He died in Richmond, Virginia at the age of 110. Read Obit







Nathan Cook

 

BACK TO THE GENEALOGY TRAILS MILITARY INDEX

Background information came from Wikipedia.org, Academic Kids, U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs, The Library of Congress and other sources as noted.


©2006 Kim Torp