January 29, 2014

The last veteran of the War of 1812 – Hiram Cronk

Hiram Cronk was the last surviving American veteran of the War of 1812 when he passed away on May 13, 1905. Cronk was born in April 1800 in New York State where he helped his family tend the farm and also attended school.

In 1814, the 14 year old Cronk joined his father and two brothers by enlisting with the New York Volunteers serving at Sackett’s Harbor for about 100 days. Despite his youth, and the fact that his fellow soldiers teased him about it, Cronk served with distinction and performed his duty well during a skirmish with the British. For his service, Cronk was awarded a pension of $12 per month.
Hiram Cronk

After the war, Cronk became a shoemaker, and at the age of 25 he married Mary Thornton and the couple had six children. They remained married for 60 years until Mary’s death in 1885. Cronk was a devoted Methodist and a staunch Democrat, voting for Democrat candidates all his life. Cronk attributed his longevity to Duffy’s Pure Malt Whiskey by taking three spoonfuls a day with meals and he frequently used chewing tobacco. 

Interest in Cronk’s life grew in the early 1900’s when it became apparent that Cronk was the last surviving veteran of the War of 1812. In 1902, Congress increased his pension from $12 to $25 per month and New York State awarded him a special pension of $72 per month. Upon his death in 1905 at the age of 105, Hiram Cronk was awarded a public funeral where an estimated 25,000 people paid their respects. Cronk is buried in Brooklyn, New York. Below is a video of his funeral procession. 

No comments:

Post a Comment