Genealogy Trails

The Last Veterans

Biographies and Obituaries

Determining who is the last surviving veteran is an issue of contention for every single war.
Genealogy Trails is just presenting the available information - transcribing it from established sources (newspapers, history books, government records, etc)  Many thousands of people throughout history have devoted many thousands of hours of their time researching lives and poring through records trying to determine who exactly was the "last one".  It's a shame that we can't just be thankful to the men (and women!) for their service to our great country and try and honor them all equally, but this just seems to be the way of things to try and put somebody on top and heap the honors on those select few.
This webpage reflects that research - we have just TRANSCRIBED what we've found -- we have NOT written the history!
So - please - DO NOT write us trying to pick a fight about why YOUR relative isn't being recognized. Especially if they weren't truthful about their name/age/residence/service or somehow otherwise shielded their true identities.  If they're not listed here, they did a good job of hiding their true identities and we cannot possibly now be expected to try and unravel the deceptions from hundreds of years ago and take your word that this is now the real truth.

What that all means is that, thank you, but please don't send us clips and snips from other websites and other research that you found while cruising the internet that claims your ancestor was denied his place in history by not being on this list.

The folks listed below are generally accepted to be "the last" of their wars based on the consensus of the historians of the times reviewing the records available at the time and which was usually based on VERIFIABLE military service under their own names.


 Revolutionary War
This list was created in 1864 from official Pension Record Rolls, provided by the U.S. Pension Office.  
It was printed in a book called "The Last Men of the Revolution..." by E.B. Hillard; published in 1864.

We add other data as we find it.

Last 12 Revolutionary War Soldiers on the Pension Rolls, as of February 18, 1864
[Source: "The Last Men of the Revolution: A photograph of each from life, together with views of their homes printed in colors" by E. B. Hillard,  Hartford: N. A. & R. A. Moore, 1864]

PENSION OFFICE, February 18, 1864

SIR: In reply to your letter of February 10th, requesting me to furnish you with the names of all Revolutionary pensioners, I have the honor to submit the following report, which is believed to furnish, so far as is in my power, the information desired:

JAMES BARHAM, on the St. Louis, Missouri roll, $32.33 per annum; born in Southampton county, Virginia, May 18, 1764; age, 99 years and 9 months.

JOHN GOODNOW, on the Boston, Massachusetts, roll, at $46.67 per annum; born in Sudbury, Middlesex county, Massachusetts, January 30, 1762; age, 102 years and 1 1/2 months.  [died Oct. 22, 1863]

AMAZIAH GOODWIN, on Portland, Maine, roll, at $38.33 - born in Somersworth, Strafford county, New Hampshire, February 16, 1759; age, 105 years. [died June 22, 1863]

WILLIAM HUTCHINGS, on Portland Maine, roll, at $21.66; born in York, York county, Maine (then Massachusetts), in the year 1764.  BIO and OBIT

ADAM LINK, on Cleveland, Ohio, roll, at $30 per annum; born in Washington county, Pennsylvania; age, 102 years. BIO

BENJAMIN MILLER, on the Albany, New York, roll, at $24.54 per annum; born in Springfield, Massachusetts, April 4,1764; age, 99 years, 10 1/2 months.  Died Sept. 24, 1863

ALEXANDER MARONEY, on the Albany, New York, roll at eight dollars per month; born in the year 1770, enlisted at Lake George, New York; age, 94 years; enlisted by his father, as he was young.

JOHN PETTINGILL, on the Albany, New York, roll, at $50 per annum; born in Windham, Connecticut, November 30, 1766; age, 87 years, 2 1/2 months. OBIT  Died April 23, 1864

DANIEL WALDO, on the Albany, New York, roll, at $96 per annum; born in Windham, Connecticut, September 10, 1762, age, 101 years, 5 1/2 months. BIO  Died July 30, 1864

SAMUEL DOWNING, ("papers do not show his age",) on the Albany, New York roll, at $80 per annum, served in the second New Hampshire regiment. BIO

LEMUEL COOK, on the Albany, New York, roll, at $100 per annum; no age or birthplace given in papers. BIO

JONAS GATES, on the St. Johnsbury, Vermont, roll, at $8 per month; papers mislaid. [Since found to be 101 years old. Note added by E. B. Hillard] Died January 14, 1864

JOSHEPH H. BARRETT, Commissioner.
Hon. John Law, House of Representatives.
February 18, 1864

GENTS: Mr. Goodnow of Mass. appears by our books to have died Oct. 22, 1863, and Mr. Miller, Sept. 24, 1863, both Revolutionary pensioners.
Respectfully, JOS. H. BARRETT, Commissioner.

Mess. N. A. & R. A. Moore, Hartford. Conn.
ALFRED, Maine, April 5, 1864.
MESS. N. A. & R. A. MOORE,
DEAR SIRS: Mr. Goodwin died on the 22d day of June last. He had started from this place with his daughter, on the 12th of June, purposing to be at the Bunker Hill celebration on the 17th. They stopped at Dover, N. H., on the night of the day they left here, with a relative; and Mr. Goodwin was taken sick in the night, and languished until the 22d, when he passed away to his reward. Yours respectfully, BENJ. J. HENICK.

Of these twelve men, seven are accounted for in the preceding pages. Of the remaining five, it is known that they are all dead. Indeed, four were already dead when the report was rendered, as will appear from the following evidence:

Giving the deaths in the order of time, the dates are as follows:

Amaziah Goodwin, June 22, 1863; Benjamin Miller, September 24, 1863; John Goodnow, October 22, 1863; Jonas Gates, January 14, 1864; John Pettingill, April 23, 1864; Daniel Waldo, July 30, 1864; Adam Link, August 15, 1864.

This leaves (of the twelve reported) five living. And with this agrees the report of the Secretary of the Interior lately rendered (December, 1864) to Congress, from which the following is an extract: "Of these patriots to whom pensions for services in the Revolutionary, war had been awarded, five still live at very advanced ages." Of these five, the following are the dates of birth in order:

Lemuel Cook, September 10, 1759; Alexander Milliner, March 14, 1760; Samuel Downing, November 31, 1761; William Hutchings, - 1764; James Barham, May 18, 1764.

These give their ages at the date of this note as follows: Lemuel Cook, 105 years and 3 months; Alexander Milliner, 104 years and 9 months; Samuel Downing, 103 years; William Hutchings, 100 years; James Barham, 100 years and 7 months.

One of these five men will be the last survivor of the American Revolution. Which will It be?
[Source: The Last Men of the Revolution: A photograph of each from life, together with views of their homes printed in colors. E. B. Hillard,  Hartford: N. A. & R. A. Moore, 1864]

    Lemuel Cook
    (1759-1866) - It is generally agreed that he was the last "official" surviving veteran - verifiable military service under his own name who was awarded a pension for his service.  Obit and Biographical Info

    Individual who had a pretty good claim as the "last" veteran....  but couldn't absolutely prove it:
    Daniel F. Bakeman (
    c. 1760 - April 5, 1869) - Claimed to be a veteran and was awarded a pension by Congress, though he could not prove his service.   Biography

    John Gray (1764-1868) - Last verifiable veteran, although his service period was deemed too short to qualify for a pension.   Obit and Biographical Info

Revolutionary War

Lemuel Cook

Lemuel Cook

The Last One Gone
The dispatches yesterday as our readers have seen brought the announcement of the death of the last surviving revolutionary pensioner, Lemuel Cook at Clarendon, N.Y. He died at about the same age with Mr. Hutchings at Penobscot, 102 – and their deaths were not far separated. [Bangor Daily Whig and Courier (Bangor, Maine) May 24, 1866 - submitted by Nancy Piper]

From the DAR Book:
b. 10 Sept 1759, Plymouth, Conn., d. 20 May 1866, Clarendon, New York
m. 1785, Hannah Curtis, b. 1768, d. 1832
SERVICE: Pvt in 2nd Light Dragoons Conn. Regt.

Miles, b. 1785, m. Matilda Coleman; (2) Olive
Lemuel, b. 1788 - d. 1858, m. 19 Dec 1811 Susan Mason - b. 17 Feb 1793 - d. 10 Oct 1871
Curtis - m. Betsy Brown
Electa - m. Orson Towsley
Esther - m. Coleman
[Source: descendant Margaret Cook Hadley as submitted to the DAR Book]

Other "not-quite-the-last" Revolutionary War veterans:

Daniel Waldo

Born in Windham, Conn., September 10, 1762, and died July 30, 1864, aged 102 years. He entered the service in June, 1779, and December 20, 1780, at Horse Neck, in the south-east corner of Connecticut. Colonel Levi Wells, with twenty others, were taken prisoner by refugees, carried to New York City, and confined at the notorious Sugar House. After the war, he studied for the ministry; a Presbyterian clergyman; officiated in Lebanon and Suffield, Conn., particularly at the latter place, for many years. In 1837, removed to Wayne County, then to Owondago county, were he deceased. At the session of Congress for 1855-6, when the honorable N. P. Banks, after a protracted struggle, was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Waldo was appointed chaplain to it, the duties of which he faithfully performed, besides repeatedly officiating in the churches in the city on the Sabbath, his age at the time being over 93 years.

The venerable Rev. Daniel Waldo died at Syracuse on the 30th ult., at the great age of nearly 102 years.  He was one of the twelve survivors of the Revolutionary soldiers, and the oldest graduate of Yale College.  He was the faithful pastor of a Congregation church for 70 years, and in 1856, when 93 years old, was elected Chaplain of the House of Representatives, to which honorable duty he was again called the following year. [Western Reserve Chronicle.(Warren, Ohio), August 24, 1864]

Rev. Daniel Waldo, of Revolutionary fame, died at Syracuse on Saturday, at the great age of 102 years.  He had been suffering for several days from an affection of the throat and his death was not unexpected.  By his decease the number of Revolutionary pensioners is reduced to 11.  His funeral took place at Syracuse, Rev. Dr. Sprague, of Albany, officiating. [The Highland Weekly News., August 11, 1864, (Hillsborough [Hillsboro], Highland County, Ohio); tr. by K.T.]


William Hutchins
-- Born in York, Maine in 1764, and died May 3, 1866, aged 102 years. He enlisted at New Castle, Maine, 1780-1, in the Massachusetts regiment commanded by Colonel Samuel McCobb. The 4th of July previous to his decease, he attended the celebration of that day at Bangor, in which he was an active participant.

THE LAST MAN - The Washington correspondent of the Independent Democrat says the deaths of William Hutchings of Penobscot, Maine, the past week, leaves only one Revolutionary pensioner. Through the courtesy of Judge Pearson of Nashua, chief clerk of the Pension office, I have been able to examine the records, and find the last survivor of the Revolution to be Lemuel Cook, of Clarendon, Orleans co., NY. He was born near Wolfborough, Carroll Co., N.H., which was then a part of Strafford County, and credited to the quota of New Hampshire during the Revolution. [The Farmer's Cabinet (New Hampshire), May 24, 1866, transcribed by K. T.]

Samuel Downing
Died February 18, 1867, age unknown. In 1828, resided in Edinburgh, Saratoga county, New York, and, it is understood, died there. His military service was in one of the New Hampshire regiments . READ BIOGRAPHY



War of 1812

Hiram Cronk - (1800 - 1905)


Blackhawk War
(1832, Illinois)

Henry L. Riggs

Mexican War

Owen Thomas Edgar (1831 - 1929) - Obit

Jacob Riley
- Obit

Indian Wars
(1860 through 1898)

Last Surviving Veterans:

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


The American Civil War

Last Union veteran, Albert Woolson, (1847?-1956) - Obit

Last Confederate veteran, John B. Salling - Obit

Other Noted Union Veterans:

James Hard - Obit

William Allen Magee

Brevet-Brigadier General Aaron S. Daggett

Confederate Veterans
Pleasant Crump
Felix M. Witkoski
Thomas Edwin Ross
William Loudermilk
William Jordan Bush
Arnold Murray
William Townsend
William Albert Kiney
Thomas Riddle
William Lundy
Walter Williams (debunked)

Spanish American War

Nathan Cook
- Obit

Jones Morgan - Obit

Samuel Leroy Mendel - Obit

Jasper Garrison - Obit

War of 1812

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.
His father was James Cronk who with two brothers, came to America from Holland early in the history of the country. When Hiram Cronk was still a child the family moved from Herkimer to Oneida county, (New York) and after residing for a time in Wright settlement, the family moved to the town of Western, where Hiram has ever since lived. His claim to be the last pensioner of the War of 1812 is authenticated by the report of the former United States Commissioner of Pensions. Cronk spent most of his life working as a shoemaker. He married Mary Thornton in 1825, with whom he had seven children, including a daughter, Mrs. Sarah A. Rowley, who worked hard to get her father a pension. He had used tobacco since his boyhood, and even in 1903 at the age of 103, chewed from five to ten cents' worth of the weed daily. A gallon of wine lasts him about two weeks. A very strange fact about this old man's life is that he has turned his nights into days and days into nights. He sleeps all day and is awake all night, passing the greater part of the night walking the floor.At the time of his death he had fourteen grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
When he died, his body was displayed in the main lobby of New York City Hall. An estimated 25,000 people paid their respects.

Funeral Procession of Hiram Cronk:
Hiram Cronk Funer procession

View larger picture

[American Memories, Library of Congress]

Mexican War

Owen Thomas Edgar

(June 17, 1831 - September 3, 1929)

Owen Edgar

Mexican War's Last Survivor, 98, is Dead
Washington, Sept 3 (AP) - Owen Thomas Edgar, only surviving veteran of the Mexican War, died Tuesday at the age of 98.
The distinction of being the last survivor of the Americans who had part in the war of 1846 came the day before his ninety-eighth birthday, June 17, with the death of William Fitzhugh Thornton Buckner, 101, at Paris, Mo.
Mr. Edgar was born at Philadelphia in 1831. In the war with Mexico he served on board the frigates Potomac and Allegheny. Prior to the war he had worked as a printer. He had been a resident of Washington for more than fifty years. [source: Dallas Morning News, Sept 1929]


Mexican War Veteran Was Oldest Customs Inspector When He Retired
Jacob Rich Riley, one of the last survivors of the Mexican War, during which he served as a Sergeant of the old Second New York Regiment, died on Thursday at his home, 340 West Twelfth Street, in his ninety-third year. He was born here in the Fourth Ward, and when he retired was the oldest Customs Inspector in the New York branch of the service. His father was a soldier in the war of 1812, and his more remote ancestors fought the Indians. His son, Winfield Scott Riley, is a member of the Twenty-second Regiment, N.G.N.Y.
Mr. Riley went with his regiment from this port to Vera Cruz in the bark Jubilee, and from there the United States troops under General Winfield Scott, marched on Mexico City. He fought through the battles at Contreras, Turrubusco, and Cerro Gordo, being wounded in the last. His regiment was commanded by Colonel Walter B. Burnett, and was in active service for three years before it came home to New York. Mr. Riley was a member of the Exempt Firemen and of several other organizations.
The New York Times
Published: September 30, 1916
Submitted by John A. Riggs

Indian Wars
1860 through 1898

Frederick Fraske

Last Surviving US Veteran of Indian Wars:
Fredrak (Frederick) Fraske
b. 1872 (alternate birth date: Mar. 8, 1874 from
d. 1973
buried in Saint Adalbert Cemetery, Niles, Cook County, Illinois

Frederick W. Fraske, who at 101 was the last U.S. Army veteran of the Indian wars, died yesterday in his home at 3746 N. Spauling Av. (Chicago, IL).
Mr. Fraske served three years and three months as a private in F Company, 17th Infantry, beginning in 1894 and his only encounter with western Indians ended without violence.
He was assigned as a first aid man and litter bearer with the company at Cheyenne, Wyo. He sometimes recalled Cheyenne as a wild place, chiefly an unloading station for cattle, "where they'd shoot the lights out."
He had a simple explanation for the lack of shooting in his only brush with Indians. "We were all prepared for it. That's the whole thing in a nutshell, being prepared for it. The Indians weren't bad eggs, not more than anyone else, but they've been abused. We had no serious trouble with them."
Mr. Fraske was born in Posen, Germany, and came to American in 1877 with his parents and four brothers. He enlisted in the Army on Feb. 22, 1894, at State and Madison Streets. His $9 a month pay helped his widowed mother support her family. After his military service he returned to Chicago and worked as a painter until he was 65. He then worked another 23 years as a plant guard before he retired. Since last October he had received part-time nursing service at home form the Veterans Administration. He lived with a daughter, Lillian, his only survivor. [Chicago Tribune, June 19, 1973]

Read more about Mr. Fraske's remembrances, written in a 1966 newspaper article

William Sutphin

Indian Duty Veteran to be Buried Today

Washington, Dec 27 - The sound of a bugle tomorrow will mark the burial of William Sutphin, Indian patrol veteran. Only three of the blue-coated soldiers who chased and fought the Indians in the decades after the Civil war still are living. Sutphin died yesterday at the age of 93.

The survivors are Reginald A. Bradley, 99 [read his war-time remembrances], Oakland, Cal., Frederick W. Fraske, 94, or 3746 N. Spaulding av., Chicago; and Charles G. Jones, 93 of Cedar Rapids, Ia.

Pay is $13 a Month
The Veterans administration said Sutphin will get full military honors tomorrow when he is buried at South Boston, Va.
The soldiers who fired the salute would be hard-pressed to imagine life in company C, 24th Infantry, Sutphin's old outfit. According to the VA, Sutphin was paid $13 a month to chase renegade Indians around the Arizona desert. When he enlisted in 1894, he marched form Pittsburgh, Pa., to Huachuca, Arizona territory, his gear and ammunition carried in a wagon.
"Sees the World"
Sutphin got "to see the world" and that was the reason he had s igned up. When it was all over, he went back to South Boston in 1898 and never lived anywhere else. He leaves a wife, 7 children, 39 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, and a yellowed booklet the army issued to him, titled "The Infantryman."
[Chicago Tribune, December 28, 1966, transcribed by K. Torp]

Henry L. Riggs, Last Veteran of the Blackhawk War

On March 11,1911, Henry L. Riggs, of Morgan county,( Illinois) died at the home of his sister in Kirksville, Missouri, where he had gone to pass the winter. He was born in Kentucky on January 12, 1812, and had reached the age of 99 years, 1 month and 27 days. He came to Illinois in 1830, and when Gov. Reynolds, in 1832, called for volunteers to repel the invasion of Black Hawk and his band, he enlisted as a private in the Morgan county company commanded by Capt. Wm. Gillham, and served through that renowned conflict. It is very probable that he was the last survivor of that memorable historic Indian campaign.

Mr. Riggs was married to Miss Mary Berry on the 17th of November, 1837, with whom he lived until her death in 1890, and was a resident of Lynnville, Morgan county, for the last thirty-five years. Though but twenty years of age in 1832, he cast his first vote for Gen. Jackson for the Presidency, and was a zealous Democrat until his death. He was a robust, active man, spending much of his time in the open air, doing all the work about his premises, and last fall sawed and split eight cords of wood. He is survived by six children. His body was brought from Kirksville, and interred in Diamond Grove cemetery at Jacksonville.

Source: "Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society", v. 14, pub. 1922
Transcribed by K. T.

Civil War

John Salling

Pvt. Salling Will Lie in General's Garb

Kingsport, Tenn., March 16 [1959] -- The last but one of about 4 million men who served in the armies of the North and the South in the Civil war died Tuesday of pneumonia in a clinic here, 60 days short of his 113th birthday. He was John Salling, who spent three years as a private in Company D of the 25th Virginia regiment, Army of the Confederacy.
His death left Walter Williams, 116, blind and bedridden in the home of a daughter in Houston, Tex., the sole survivor of the Civil war. The last veteran of the Union army, Albert Woolson of Duluth Minn., died in 1956 at 109.
Never in War Uniform
Salling saw no combat and spent the term of his enlistment in his native Scott county, Va., digging for saltpeter needed for Confederate gunpowder. He never had a uniform because uniforms were scarce. His home was a 35 acre mountain farm on the Clinch river, near Slant, Va. He was born on the farm and lived there all his life, even while in service. By turns he was a farmer, logger, horse trader, and moonshiner. Several years ago he told fellow veterans at a Confederate reunion in Mobile, Ala., that he had to get back to tend his corn crop, which he expected to run three gallons to the acre. He smoked a daily cigar until he broke his hip at 106. He chewed plug tobacco and admitted he liked a occasional nip of mountain liquor. A lanky, rawboned man, his hair remained black and he had many of his own teeth.
Wife 20 Years Dead
His wife, the former Mary Flanary, a Scott county neighbor, died 20 years ago.
The United States army will pay full military tribute to Salling. A chaplain from 2d army headquarters will conduct the funeral Thursday in the national guard armory at Gate City, Va., and graveside services at the family cemetery in Slant (VA). The body, clad in a Confederate general's uniform, will lie in state from Tuesday until Thursday in the armory.
[1959-03-17 - Chicago Tribune, transcribed by K. Torp]

Other news items:
Slant, Va., - A clear-eyed old man resplendant in a uniorn receive today the homage due a survivor of this nation's greatest conflict. Gen. John B. Salling, one of three living Civil War Veterans was set to receive dignitaries and friends as he celebrated his 111th birthday.
The general title is purely honorary.
A motorcade from Gate City, about 12 miles south of here was to bring the main body of visitors. There were to be speeches, band music and a huge birthday cake decorated with four Confederate flags.
Salling, who claims his shock of black hair has never been washed was presented greetings from Congress yesterday. The communication came from Rep. Jennings (D-Va), Salling's congressman.
Salling's uniform which he wears on festive occasions now was given to him several years ago. On his birthday last year Gov. Stanley presented him a Confederate shirt and the Texas Rangers sent a 10-gallon hat. (El Dorado Times, Wednesday, Front Page, May 15, 1957 - Submitted by Peggy Thompson)


Only One Left of Civil War's Northern Army
Albert Woolson, 106, to 'Carry On'

Duluth, Minn, March 13 [1953] - Albert Woolson, last survivor of the 2,675,000 men who wore the Union blue in the Civil War, vowed today he would carry on "the highest traditions of Abe Lincoln's forces until the very end."
Woolson became 106 on Feb. 11. Today he said he "feels like a million."
The spry former drummer boy picked up a morning newspaper early today to learn that his only other Union army comrade, 111 year old James A. Hard - had died last night in Rochester, N.Y.

City's Flag at Half-Staff
Woolson was deeply moved and upset at Hard's death. In a clear, but shaking hand, he immediately penned a letter of condolence "To the immediate family and descendants of James Hard, Civil war comrade..."
In Rochester, the city's flag flew at half-staff for Hard. Arrangements were underway for large-scale military rites Monday for the old soldier, whose loyalty to the Republican party carried him to the polls last November in an ambulance.
Woolson brings up the rear guard of the armies of the North which engaged the gray clad Confederates in the Civil war.
He is also the last of the Grand Army of the Republic, which once counted 408,489 members. The G.A.R. held its final encampment in 1949, but will exist, under present plans, until Woolson dies.

Shovels After Snowstorm.
His face deeply lined and his hearing gone, Woolson lives with a son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. John Kobus. His days are filled with letter writing, talking to an occasional tourist who drops in, perhaps a stroll down the block, a cigar, and, after a snowstorm, a little shoveling. Woolson was born in Watertown, N.Y. At 14 he came to Minnesota, where he joined his father - a former circus bandmaster. He enlisted in the 1st Minnesota artillery Oct. 4, 1864, toward the close of the Civil war and was on occupation duty in the south. The oldest Confederate veteran remaining is Walter Williams, 110, of Franklin Tex. Three other Confederates also survive.
[The Chicago Tribune, March 14, 1953, transcribed by K. Torp]

James Hard, 111, Oldest Vet of Civil War Dies

Rochester, N.Y., March 12, [1953] - James A. Hard, the oldest veteran of the Civil war, died tonight. The high spirited, cigar smoking veteran underwent amputation of his right leg above the knee 10 days ago. The amputation was made because of a progressive circulatory deficiency in Hard's right foot. His death cut the list of surviving Civil war veterans to five - one a Union man and the others Confederate.
Hard joined the Union army at 19, four days after the firing on Fort Sumter started the Civil war. He fought as an infantryman at the battles of Bull Run, Antietam, and Chancellorsville. While a soldier, he met Lincoln at a White House reception and later saw him twice reviewing troops in Virginia.  [The Chicago Tribune, March 12, 1953, transcribed by K. Torp]

Spanish-American War

Nathan E. Cook

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.
[Source: findagrave]

Jones Morgan
(October 23, 1882?-August 29, 1993)

Due to lack of documents (which, according to Morgan himself, were destroyed during a house fire in 1912), and the fact that he was underage during his time of service, some authorities do not recognize him as officially 110 or as the last Spanish- American War veteran, instead giving the honor to Nathan E. Cook, who was 106 when he died September 10, 1992. (source:

From the Library of Congress website is this transcription of a bill put before the House of Representatives:

in the House of Representatives

Mr. BLILEY. Mr. Speaker, Jones Morgan is a man who deserves what he is due. Mr. Morgan, 109, is our Nation's oldest living war veteran. Unfortunately though, because of incomplete military records, Jones Morgan is being denied veterans benefits.

Jones Morgan was a Buffalo Soldier who served with the 9th Cavalry in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. He ran away from home and joined the Army when he was 15. Mr. Morgan tended Teddy Roosevelt's horses and was present at the Rough Riders' charge up San Juan Hill. Although not used in combat, Mr. Morgan was used for, as he says `domestic stuff -- anything needed fixing in the place, they sent me.' Two years later though, at the age of 17, Jones Morgan's parents finally caught up with him and ended his military career.

Around the turn of the century Jones Morgan's military records were destroyed in a fire. Because complete records were not kept of underage Buffalo Soldiers, no records remain verifying that he was present. It is speculated that Mr. Morgan was a civilian who served with the 9th Cavalry. Frequently civilians were employed to perform nonmilitary duties in those times.

Since Congress has extended wartime veteran status to other civilians who served the military, and since I believe Mr. Morgan was present with the 9th Cavalry, I stand here today committed to sponsoring a bill in the next Congress which will grant Mr. Morgan the benefits that he deserves.

IN HONOR OF JONES MORGAN (Extension of Remarks - October 09, 1992)
in the House of Representatives


Mr. PAYNE of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I noted with sadness in the paper the other day the recent passing away of the last remaining confirmed veteran of the Spanish-American War. It brought to mind a very special individual who I would like to bring to the attention of Congress, Mr. Jones Morgan of Richmond, VA.

Mr. Morgan has been honored as our Nation's oldest living buffalo soldier, the last living member of the Army's only black regiments during the Spanish-American War. Next month, he turns 110 years old.

The Indians called members of the 9th and 10th cavalry regiments `Buffalo Soldiers' because of their fierce fighting spirit. They are some of the most overlooked soldiers in American military history.

Mr. Morgan in particular has come all the way from tending horses for Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders to fending off muggers on his neighborhood streets. All of his military records were lost in a fire some years ago, and the military has been unable to confirm his military service through their records. The combination of sketchy records among the black units, and his young age at the time, have contributed to his lack of status. As a result, he is not eligible for any veteran's benefits.

Jones Morgan is one of the unsung heroes of our Nation, and I believe we owe him a debt of gratitude for his service to our country in a time of war. Next year, Representative Thomas Bliley will introduce legislation to grant Jones Morgan an honorary discharge from the Army, providing him the status of a veteran with all of the associated rights and benefits.

But in the meantime, I wanted to take this opportunity to bring Jones Morgan to the attention of Congress and the American public, and to give him the thanks of a grateful nation. [source: Library of Congress]

Jones Morgan lived to see the bold plaudits of the fierce Buffalo Soldiers of the Wild West era finally restored in American history books. When he died recently in Richmond, Va., his hometown for the past half century, the quiet, modest, diminutive man who frequented daytime shelters for meals was regarded as "a hero."
At 110 years old, he was the last member of the Army's only Black regiment during the Spanish-American War and the settling of the West. For the last three years, Jones Morgan had become a popular military figure in Richmond, Va., even serving as the grand marshal in the Veterans of Foreign Wars parade. In fact, last year he traveled to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., for the dedication of a monument to the Buffalo Soldier. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the re-emergence of the achievements of the all-Black fighting unit cheered up the wrinkled GI veteran. In recent years, Morgan met everyone from former President Bush and Gen. Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to thousands of Virginia students who revered him.
"I always said that my last days would be my best days," Morgan told high school students during a 108-year birthday bash they hosted for him. "And it came true."
During an army career which started after he ran off as an underaged kid to join the cavalry in Columbia, S.C., Morgan once tended horses for Rough-Rider Teddy Roosevelt and cooked meals for his fellow soldiers. "We fought Indians, led wagon trains and kept order in Wild Western towns," Morgan often recalled. "We were credited with bringing in "Billy the Kid," he added. [Richmond Times-Dispatch, Sept 20, 1993]


Jasper Garrison
- of Marion, Ill., died on June 5, 1987, at age 107

The nation's oldest war veteran, a man described by his daughter as a straight-laced person who never smoked or drank, died Thusday at the age of 107, the Veterans Administration said today. Mr. Garrison, who served in the Spanish-American War beginning in 1898, died of heart failure at the V.A. hospital here, said Frances Gilliam, a hospital spokeswoman.

''Somebody asked him how he lived so long,'' said Mr. Garrison's daughter, Lena Hays. ''He said, 'God forgot about me.''

Only three other veterans of the Spanish-American War are still alive, a V.A. spokesman, Chuck Lucas, said in confirming that Mr. Garrison was the nation's oldest living veteran.

''He was a very straight-laced person,'' said Mrs. Hays, of nearby Christoper, who asked that her age not be disclosed. ''He never drank, he never smoked.''

Born May 1, 1880, in Wayne County, Mr. Garrison enlisted in the Fourth Illinois Volunteer Army in June 1898. He arrived in Havana that August and spent nine months on the island in the Spanish-American War.

Replacing Mr. Garrison as the country's oldest living veteran is 102-year-old S. Leroy Mendel, a native of Fort Worth, Tex., now residing in Galva, Ill., Mr. Lucas said.
[Published: NY Times, June 6, 1987]



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