Evening star. (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, May 26, 1912, Image 50 Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1912-05-26/ed-1/seq-50/ What is OCR?

OCR Interpretation

Evening star. (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, May 26, 1912, Image 50

Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1912-05-26/ed-1/seq-50/

What is OCR?

ONLY One Army Com
mander and Four Corps
Commanders Left?More
Than Three-fourths of Boys
of ’61-65 Have Now An
swered Last Roll Call?Near
ly 2,700,000 Graves to be
Decorated This Year By
Only 850,000 Comrades of
Both Sides?Official Estimate
as to When Last Survivor of
Great War Will Pass?If
Revolutionary Record Is
Paralleled Our Last Civil
War Soldier Will See the
Centennial of Appomattox, in
1965, And the Last Civil War
Widow Will Survive Till
1990?This Year’s Roll Call
of the Great Civil War Gen
erals?How They Are Now
Faring in the Century Run
Against Father Time.
HIS Memorial day’s
roll call will show
that more than
three-fourths of
the civil war’s
Blue and Gray
braves have gone
They tell me at
the pension office
that our Union
veterans are now
dying off at the
rate of IOO a day. As deduced from the
best figures procurable the death rate of
our Confederate veterans must be about
seventy a day. This means a grand total
of more than seven per hour?more than
one every ten minutes.
In the vast cities of graves to be dec
orated this year, those of our civil war
soldiers and sailors alone number 2,
If dug side by side they would
constitute a great metropolis of the dead
more populous than Chicago. Berlin or
Vienna. Of these graves, some 2,020,000
have been dug since the surrender of
* *
To help lay wreaths upon these millions
of comrades’ tombs there will be sur
viving on Memorial day, this year, but
about 850,0u> civil war veterani?some
tfO.OOO less than could pay this tribute a
year ago. And of these about 500,000 are
I’nion and about 350,000 are Confederate
veterans. The average age of these sur
vivors is now past the seventy-year
mark, and the grim reaper is exacting in
terest fr m the veteran armies at an an
nual rate which has gone above H per
cent. During the past spring the death
rate of our I’nion pensioners alone has
risen close to 3.2?X> in a single month
(March), for spring is always the hardest
month on people of advanced years?even
harder than winter. Midsummer, too,
exact* a heavy tribute from this class,
more than 3,I<#> pensioned survivors of
the I’nion army having answered their
last roll call in August of the past year,
whereas the monthly average of their
deaths for the months of last autumn
was scarcely above 2,500, from which
there was a steady increase through last
winter and this spring.
Diminished by such a death rate, how
|?Iaj Getc *
2>tiw. Xtvxng.
long will our civil war veterans last? In
what year will the last survivor of that
bitter struggle be finally mustered out?
By an ingenious system of computation
Maj. Gen. Frederick C. Ainsworth, who
lately retired as adjutant general of the
army, some time ago figured out this very
point for the assistance of congressmen
concerned with pension legislation. Al
though the actual number of men who
saw civil war service had never been of
ficially determined, Gen. Ainsworth con
cluded. after considerable research, that
2.213,365 individuals were engaged on the
Union side, 2,12*,MS of these being in the
army and 84,417 in the navy. As 391,116
of these died and 121,5?S6 deserted during
the war. there were 1,727,353 Union vet
erans alive at the time of the grand re
view at the end of the struggle. As our
pension statistics have never accounted
for any known proportion of civil war
survivors, since many veterans, because
of prosperity or from sentimental mo
tives. have never applied for pensions,
there was no accurate guide to the death
rate of this class of men. So Gen. Ains
worth sought to apply insurance tables
for the expectation of life to the entire
class of survivors.
* *
Two questions now had to be consider
ed by the general: Would the shock of
battle, the hardships and privations of
field, camp and prison bring the “expec
tation of life” for these veterans below
the average? Or were these survivors a
selected class, which by the law of the
survival of the fittest might expect a
life above the average for duration?
The general split the difference and de
termined that the probable average dura
tion of life was about the same for vet
erans and non-veterans alike. So he ap
plied hfe tables and determined that
there *111 be 429,727 Union veterans left
in 1915. 251.727 in 1920, 116,073 in 1925,
37,033 in 1930, 6,296 in 1935 and only 340
in 1W0.
The last civil war veteran will die in
1945. according to this interesting com
putation. Of course, Gen. Ainsworth’s
figures cover only the Union army. In
asmuch as our Union veterans have been
better cared for than those of the Con
federate side, and as there were about
a half million more Union than Confed
erate troops in the war, it might be as
sumed that the last civil war veteran will
wear the blue.
How old will this last survivor be, if
these figures prove true? He wljl live
to see the eighty-fourth anniversary of
Sumter and the eightieth anniversary of
Lee’s surrender. This would mean that
if sixteen when the war broke out and
twenty when it closed he would die at
the age of one hundred?an assumption
not at all extravagant. According to the
official records, pension claims have late
ly been allowed to civil war veterans as
old as 103, 107 and even 108. Indeed, the
great longevity of pensioners, as a gen
eral class, is proverbial. Assurance that
there will always be provision for the
needs of life banishes that anxiety of
mind which is the forerunner of disease
and physical collapse.
So it may be said that Gen. Ainsworth’s
figures are conservative, to say the least.
Many survivors of the civil war were
boys of only sixteen, and even younger,
in the last year of that struggle. In l’*45
such of these as survive will be ninety
sfx. Such as reach their hundredth birth
days will live until 1949 and there is good
reason for the prediction that there will
be some with us in 1950.
* *
The last surviving pensioner of the war
of 1812, Hiram Cronk of Ava, N. Y., died
as late as May 13, 1905, at the age of 105
years and 16 days, according to the pen
sion rolls. If his record is equaled by
any of the younger veterans who enlisted
in the war of secession at sixteen, during
the last year of that struggle, we will have
a civil war veteran with us in the flesh
forty-two years hence, or as late as the
year 1954. But Hiram Cronk, that last
LT. Gx*T* SucKNEfO
honored soldier of the second war with
Great Britain, did not hold the longevity
record among our pensioners. There was
one other who beat him hands down.
The last survivor of the revolution,
Daniel F. Bakeman, according to the pen
sion records, died at Freedom, Cattarau
gus county, N. Y., as late as April 5.
1*W>, at the aee of 109 years, 6 months
and 8 days. He was a youth of sixteen
when independence was declared, was
twenty-two when Cornwallis surrendered
and he lived to see the war of 1*12, the
Mexican and civil wars fought to a fin
ish, the administration of Andrew John
son brought to a close and that of Grant
As stated, many hoys far under sixteen
served in the civil war and many of these
entered during the last months of that
struggle. I have before me an unofficial
table showing that those of sixteen and
under who enlisted numbered 844,801;
those of fourteen and under, 1,523; twelve
and under. 223; and ten and under, 25.
Some of these twenty-five youngest
lads, mostly drummer boys, entered the
service during the last year of the war.
If any of them, of this category, equals
the record of the last revolutionary sol
dier, we will still have a civil war veteran
left fifty-two, fifty-three or perhaps fifty
four years he.nce, or, say about the year
1965-1966, at the time the coming genera
tion is celebrating the 100th anniversary
of the return of peace, after l_.ee’s sur
render! Gen. Ainsworth’s figures are of
the safe kind that life insurance compa
nies gamble on and he was dealing only
with the average man, while we have
been speculating upon the exceptional
man. And out of the 3,500,000 individ
uals who saw service in the civil war
some are very exceptionable men.
So, taking all things into consideration, It
is not unreasonable to assume that Amer
ica will have a civil war veteran to
honor when mere boys of today are griz
zled old fellows that see Taft and Roose
velt, Clark and Wilson and the others
as far back through the haze of time as
our sages of today now see the actors
of the great civil war drama.
* *
What a funeral that will be, when the
last survivor o* the civil war answers his
last roll call?\ hether he he buried in the
un!form of the hli*-. or of the gray! Very
few of us now of mature years will live
to see the spectacle. The century run
for this last signal honor will be spirited.
Hundreds of old codgers will be in the
running and as they fall by the wayside,
one by one, the whole nation will look
on, agape, to see who gets the laurel
But after this last survivor has passed,
we will still have several generations of
kMAJ-\Gi.N. Sickles.
Max Ge>T?
civil war widows to link our descendants
with the days of ‘<;i-‘6.”i. If the last civil
war widow survives as long after Ap
pomattox as the last revolut onary widow.
Esther Damon, survived after Yorktown.
she will be with our great-grandchildren
in the year l’.WO. And this Is a conserva
tive prediction, for Dame Esther was hut
ninety-two when she died at Plymouth
Union, Yt.. tn l’.HJfi.
This Memorial day’s roll call of the
great civil war generals will show that
only a dozen above the rank of brigadier
are still with us. At the War Depart
ment and pension office I have just check
ed up with the records.
Only one lieutenant general of that
great conflict has won thus far in the ra< e
against Father Time, and he was on the
Confederate side. This is Simon Bolivar
Buckner, who ran for Vice President on
the Palmer ticket in 1&>?V In his quaint
old log house at Glen Lily, near Mun
fordville, Ky.?one of the most noted
country homes in that state?this ven
erable old soldier and one-time governor,
who had the grace to act as <>ne of Gen.
Grant’s pallbearers, entered his ninetieth
year the 1st of April. His friend and
brother Confederate officer. Gen. Marcus
J. Wright, tells me that the other day lie
received a letter, written in a firm hand,
“from the sage of Glen Lily, who was ap
parently enjoying his usual vigor of
Besides him, there survive only three
civil war officers who commanded army
corps by assignment of their President.
They are Maj. Gens. Grenville M. Dodge.
Daniel E. Sickles and James Harrison
Wilson, all of the Union side.
* *
Of these. Gen. Dodge has the honor of
being the last surviving army commander
of the war, for he was given command
of the Department and Army of the Mis
souri in 1864, when he was only thirty
three. After the war he had directive
charge of the building of the I’nion Pa
cific railway, managed many other great
engineering enterprises and served in
Congress. At his home In Council Bluffs,
Iowa, he celebrated his eighty-first birth
day April 12.
Gen. Sickles’ eighty-seventh birthday
will come around in October. He enjoys
the distinction of being the senior sur
viving official of the federal government,
having been in the diplomatic service un
der Pierce and having served in Congress
throughout Buchanan’s administration.
In the house which he has occupied al
most since the war he lives in New York
city, which is also the homo of the only
othc-r American who sat in Coneress be
fore the war?the Confederate brigadier
general. Roger A. Pryor. who will be
eighty-four during the coming summer.
The seventy-fifth milestone of Maj. Gen.
Wilson will be passed September 2. He
was a major general also in the Spanish
war, and was in command of the allied
American and British troops which cap
tured Peking: during the Boxor troubles.
There survive alto four I’nion generals
who n the civil war were corps com
manders by virtue of their presence in
the field of operations- These are Peter
J. Osterhaus and Julius II Stahel, w ho
were major generals during the war;
David McMurtrie Gregg and Nelson A
Miles, who were brigadier generals at the
time of l^ee’s surrender.
Osterhaus entered his ninetieth \ear
last January. Since be finished his eleven
years’ service as our consul ai Lyons,
under Johnson and Grant, he has re
mained in his native Germany, at Mann
heim. Seven years ago Congress ex
pressed the nation’s gratitude to this old
soldier by placing him on the retired li?t
of the regular army, with the rank <>f
brigadier general. (Jen. Stahel, a native
of Hungary, who before our war had
fought for his native independence tinder
Kossuth, lives in New York, and will in
ter upon his eighty-eighth year of old
bachelorhood in November. He served in
the consular service after the war. tlen.
Miles will be seventy-three in August . 1?
is a retired lieutenant general of regulars
and is a striking figure in the social lif?
of Washington. (Jen. Gregg, who also
served in the consular service after the
war, entered his eightieth year in A; ril
and lives in Reading. P<h.
? ^
The fi\e surviv ng Confederate n.a.lor
generals are R I-\ Hoke ot Raleigh, N
C., late president of the Seaboard A r
Line, who is seventy-five; George Wash
ington Custls l^ee, president emer tus of
Washington and Ixe Cnlverslty. who (?
seventy-nine; I?unsford L. I.omax. on*
of the commissioners of the Gettysburg
Park, who is seventy-six; William T.
Mart n of Natchez. Miss., now in ins
ninetieth year, and Count Camille Jul?s
Polignac. who is eighty.
Count Polignac, like Gen Osteriiaus. re
turned to Europe after the war. He cam?
to America from his native France at ih*
outbreak of that struggle and after the
surrender fought with bis French kins
men against the Prussians; then led an
expedition to Algiers. He married an
Austrian countess and. besides his chateau
outside of Paris, owns a mansion in that
metropolis, another in Ixmdon and an
estate in Podwein, Austria, his present
Of these surviving heroes of our war of
wars Maj. Gen. Osterhaus is thft
eldest. The greatest age thus far
attained by a general of the civil
war was that of Gen. Sheridan’s father
in-law. Bi g Gen. Daniel H Rueker, who
In 19H> died in his ninety-eighth >ear.
He was born before the outbreak of the
war of 1M2. and lived under the adm’n
istrations of all of our presidents save
the first three.
Inasmuch as our c *11 war officers w?r?
of a class older than the men in the
ranks, it is improbable that a sword will
rest upon the coffin of the last survivor
of that bitter struggle.
iCopyright, 1012. ly John tlfreth Watkiaa.)
Special Com-aponlenoe of Tfce Star.
LONDON, May 16. 1012.
E CENT political
tendencies in Eng
land have drawn
attention to the
fact?which is often
lost sight of?that
blue blood was not
always blue; that
some of the proud
est families In this
country have their
origin in lowly an
cestry; that, as
“the British aristoc
racy was cradled behind city counters.”
l?ukie*., marquises, viscounts, earls and
Who, although hi* name 1m Carrisg
ton?tbauW? to an aareator who liked
It better than Smith?la deaceaded
from plain John Smith, a Kottlag
haiu draper.
baronets, although they do not always
like to be reminded of the fact, are link
ed with humble farmers, small trades
men and ambitious, but flat-pursed ap
N’o better case in point could be found
han tiint of the Duke! of Northuin- er
The head jf the proud f-tniiiy of
Percy, the second largest land owner in
Great Britain, and one of Its richest men,
who counts himself of equal birth with
the kings of the world, is one of the fev.
remaining specimens of the old Britis’
aristocracy which is so rapidly disap
pearing before the Irresistible march o’
modern democracy. The old feudal sys
tem Is to his grace as real and as living
today as in the days of his ancestors, one
of whom chummed with William the
Conqueror. In these days, when events
move so rapidly in England and the
nation has little time to waste with men
of the duke’s stamp, he is chiefly known
to fame as a doughty fighter for what
he believes to be his rights.
* *
Yet this proud and haughty man num
bers among his direct ancestors such
humble personages as William le Smythe
sonne, farmer; William Smitheson. farm
er: Ralph Smithson, tenant farmer, and
Anthony Smithson, yeoman. A son or
the latter, Hugh SmithPon, came to lx?n
don and found a job in a haberdashery,
made a fortune and was created a baro
net. Four generations later another Hugh
Smithson wooed and won Lady Elizabeth
Seymour and with her the Percy name
and estates. I>ater he was created the
first Duke of Northumberland. Had the
original Hugh Smithson stuck to the
farmer life of his ancestors and rot
come to Ix>ndon to retail hats and cra
vats. starched shirts and stiff collars, his
defendant in these days probably would
be plowing his modest two-acre farm in
stead of lording it over half a doay-n ot
the finest casrtles in the country and close
upon a million acres of the finest Eng
llsh land.
The present Duke of I-eeds is passion
ately fond of the sea. Most of his time
is spent cruising about the world on til.
palatial yacht. One wonders if his fond
ness for the water has any relationship
to the circumstances surrounding hit
lowly ancestor who founded the fortunes
of the ducal house of Leeds. Edward Os
borne came to London from a Kentish
village to serve his apprenticeship in the
Philpot lane establishment of William
Hewitt, merchant.
* *
Shortly after Osborne joined the estab
lishment the business was transferred to
larger quarters ou London bridge?not
the present structure, it need hardly be
said, but the one famous in song and
game as being in imminent danger of
falling one day whi!e Anne, the fair
Head of the (treat family of Percy and the second largest land owner In Eng
lnnd, deaeended from a fanner boy who came to London and found a Job In
n haberdashery.
daughter of Hewitt, was hanging her
bird cage out of the window she lost her
balance and toppled into the swiftly run
ning Thames. Osborne was near at hand
and. kicking off his shoes, he jumped
to the rescue of his master’s daughter.
Anne was saved and the two were wed,
Osborne feucceeded his father-in-law, be
came immensely wealthy and was elected
lord mayor of Ixmdon. His son was
knighted, his grandson became a baronet
and his great-grandson a baron, viscount,
earl, marquis and the first Duke of Leeds.
Thus but two generations separated the
Kentish apprentice and the wearer of
the strawberry leaves.
No less than three peers?Earl Cromer,
the architect of modern Egypt; Baron
Revelstoke, one of England’s greatest
bankers, and a governor of the Bank of
England, and Earl Northbrook?are de
scended from one John Baring, a son of a
Bremen parson, who started in business
as a cloth manufacturer on the outskirts
of Exeter. One of his sons was raised to
a baronetcy by William Pitt and a sec
ond entered the peerage as Baron Ash
burton, raked in a pot of American dol
lars by marrying the daughter of Senator
Bingham of Philadelphia, became so
powerful in the banking world that the
Due de Richelieu once called him “one
of the six great powers of Europe,” the
other five being England, France. Rus
sia, Austria and Prussia. One of the
grandsons of the Baring who received a
baronetcy was created Baron North
brook. and his successor raised it to an
earldom, another grandson became Baron
Revelstoke and a third Lord Cromer.
* *
When the daughters of the fabulously
rich erstwhile American Bradley Mar
tin married the Earl of Craven she no
doubt imagined that she was allying her
plebeian American house with some of the
bluest blood In England. Nothing could
be more removed from the truth. Up to a
few years ago a visitor to the Yorkshire
village of Appletrewick might have seen
a single-story hovel which housed the
founder of the fortunes pf the proud
Only three generations separate the
: oung Craven who came to London from
the humble cottage and the present noble
earl, captain of the Yeomen of the
Guard, in personal attendance upon an
English king, the possessor of untold
American dollars, a?d the owner of one
of the finest mansions in Mayfair. Wil
liam Craven, the son of a husbandman,
came to London in a carrier’s cart with
little, or no money in h’s pockets. Before
he died he became lord mayor of the
world’s greatest city. His eldest son won
fame as a soldier, became the Intimate
friend of his king, and was created, in
turn. Baron, Viscount and Earl of Craven.
No more distinguished family exists In
England today than that of Ripon. The
present holder of the title, to be sure, is
chiefly known to the public as one of the
finest game shots in the world, but his
father, who died at a great age three
years ago, established a record as a cabi
net office holder that future British poli
ticians will find It hard to equal.
For fifty years he held a job in every
liberal government with a single excep
tion. The exception can be understood
when it is known that during Mr. Glad
stone’s second term as premier the Mar
quis of Ripon was governing India. There
was hardly a position in the British cabi
net that he did not fill at one time or
another. He was secretary of state for
Dent-ended from bumble tradesmen of
York named Robinson, who were
ahrewd enough to marry into many
of the leading: families of the north
of England
war twice, for the colonies twice and
president of the council a couple of times.
He was secretary of state for India, lord
of the admiralty and lord privy seal. He
became such a fixture in public life that
the liberal leaders hated to break with
him and from force of habit included him
in their governments. Only death, at the
age of eighty-three, broke his firm hold
on office.
Yet this great peer was descended from
humble Yorkshire tradesmen by the fa
miliar name of Robinson, who became es
tablished in York. They were a shrewd
family, however, and almost without ex
ception added to their fortunes or watered
their red blood with blue by alliances with
many of the oldest families in the north
of England. Ultimately the strain be
came a power in the land, and between
the present holder of the marqulsate of
Ripon and the lowly Robineons of York
are interposed five cabinet ministers, one
of whom was premier of Great Britain.
One would imagine that nothing could’
be more plebeian than the name of Smith.
It is inevitably associated with “trade,”
of which the British aristocracy ex
presses &uch a horror. Yet the descend
ant of John Smith who sold tapes and
buttons and dress materials to the wom
en of Nottingham is the Marquis of Lin
colnshire. John Smith never dreamed
of the brilliant future of his descendants
and died a humble draper, but future
Smiths had other ideas and became bank
ers and politicians. Geor-e III, the king
who lost America by his obstinacy, broke
one of hisi rules of official life never to
raise a man of trade to the peerage and
made the Robert Smith of his time ffito
Baron Carrington. The successor of this
first baron thought Carrington much more
aristocratic sounding than Smith, and
dropped the latter entirely. So it is that
one finds it hard to recognize in the pres
ent representative of the family. Charles
Robert Wynn Harrington. Marquis of
Lincolnshire. Knight of the Garter, privy
councilor. Knight Grand Cross of St.
Michael and St. George. Joint Hereditary
Lord Great Chamberlain of England, the
lineal descendant of plain John Smith
of Nottingham.
The present Earl of Dudley is one of
the richest of England’s peers. He owns’
30.000 acres of the most valuable land
in the country, much of it rich in min
erals. His brother, the Hrm. John Ward,
married Jean Reid. daughter of White
law Reid, the American ambassador to
England. The alliance between this
American girl and the Hon. John was
spoken of at the time as a splendid
match because of the Englishman’s con
nection with the noble house of Dudley.
Yet the founder of the Dudleys was Wil
liam Ward, the son of a poor Stafford
shire family, who was apprenticed to a
London goldsmith and ultimately made
a large fortune as a jeweler.
* *
So fearful are many of the greatest
families in England that their pedigree
will be tainted by contact with plebeian
ancestors that they have manufactured
family trees that really have little re
semblance to the truth. And when the
families have not done so, overzealous
genealogists have supplied the omission.
For instance, whenever the rich Fitzwil
liams come into the news the English
papers fall all over themselves to tell of
the antio.ue scarf, one of the family heir
looms, which is said to have been pre
sented to a direct ancestor of the present
earl by William the Conqueror. Yet the
Sir William Fitzwilliam who is said to
have received the scarf has no place in
history and is declared by real experts
to be a pure f*k?.
In this respect the ducal house of West
minster is one of the greatest offenders.
The GroBvenors are traced ba< k to a Nor
man family that flourished as long apt a*
the year and it !s declared that the
patriarch of the house was an utii le of
Rollo, the famous Dane. As a matter
of fact the Grosvenors cannot with rea
OBf of the rirhrat of Knfrllak prrrft,
whose brother, the Hon. John Ward,
married .lean Held. daughter of
Uhitelaw Held. The Ward* are de
Blended from a poor soldamlth’a ap
prentice who eventually made a larga
fortune aa a jeweler.
son trace their line back further than to
a certain Richard de Grosvenor. who
lived in England a full century after tho
conquest, and. in the words of an Eng
lish writer, “”had no more traceable con
nection with Rollo than with the man in
the moon.”
<Copyright, 1912, bj Cnrtla Brown.)
The Average Count.
Representative henry of Texas.
apropos of a Galveston heiress1 mar
riage to a count, said with a smile:
“It is stated that this is a love match,
but I have my doubts; for my experience
is that the average count won’t touch
the bonds of matrimony unless they art
gilt edged.”

xml | txt

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather