Author Archives: Jason Crews

Hiram Cronk: The Last Veteran of the War of 1812

Hiram Cronk

Hiram Cronk, the last surviving veteran of the War of 1812, died 108 years ago today. He passed away at the age of 105 on 13 May 1905 in Ava, New York. Hiram Cronk was born 29 April 1800 in Frankfort, Herkimer, New York as the fifth child of James Cronk and Hannah Martin. He had ten siblings, namely: Jeptha, Betsy, John, Casper, Eber, James, Jarvis, Martin, Sarah and Ezra.

Hiram Cronk’s War of 1812 Service

He enlisted at the age of 14 as a private on 4 August 1814 with his father, Major James Cronk, and two brothers, John and Casper Cronk. He served under Captain Edmund Fuller with the 157th Regiment, Infantry, New York Militia. He fought in the defense of Sacket’s Harbor on Lake Ontario until he was honorably discharged on 16 November 1814.

After the war Hiram Cronk learned the trade of shoemaker and he would use this skill to make a living the rest of his working life. He married Mary “Polly” Thornton in 1825, and together they had seven children.

His daughter Sarah A. Rowley worked for years to obtain a pension on his behalf. It wasn’t until soliciting the help of Congressman James S. Sherman that he obtained a pension in 1900. In 1902 U.S. Congress raised his pension from $12 to $25 per month. In 1904 the state of New York passed a state law granting him a pension of $72 a month.

The Funeral of Hiram Cronk

Upon his death, three ministers officiated at the funeral at his home in Ava, and then his body was transported to the Grand Army of the Republic Hall in Boonville, New York where it lay in state. His body was then transported by rail to Grand Central Station in New York City.

The city of New York made his funeral a monumental affair, by laying his body in state in New York City Hall. His body was escorted from Grand Central Station to New York City Hall by New York City Police mounted officers, a U.S. Army detachment, the Society of 1812, the Old Guard, members of the U.S. Grant Post, G.A.R., the Washington Continental Guard from Washington, D.C., the Army and Navy Union and carriages occupied by family members and local politicians. While his body lay in state in New York City Hall, an estimated 50,000 citizens paid their final respects. He was then buried with full military honors in Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.

War of 1812 Quilt Contributor Marge Martin

Marge Martin Genea-Quilter

Marge Martin joined the Genea-Quilters group on Facebook since she is a quilter interested in her own genealogy. Marge was bitten by the genealogy bug in 1995 when she inherited her father’s genealogy research files. She is also interested in the history of quilts and their makers. Marge decided to contribute to the 1812 Quilt not only because she had the talent to do so, but also to honor two of her ancestors that fought in the War of 1812.

Aaron Read, Marge’s 4th great-grandfather, served as a captain with the 72nd Regiment (Hicks) New York Militia. He fought in the Battle of Sacket’s Harbor. Aaron Read was born 15 May 1780 in Cheshire, Berkshire County, Massachusetts to Daniel Read (1754-1838) and Susannah Richardson (1755-1839). Before serving in the War of 1812, Aaron Read was a school teacher in Deerfield, Oneida County, New York. Aaron Read was married to Cynthia Bowen in North Gage, Oneida County, New York, where they raised their family. Aaron Read passed away 20 Nov 1840 at the age of 60 in Deerfield, Oneida County, New York. He was buried in the North Gage Cemetery in Deerfield, Oneida County, New York. Hanging in the North Gage Presbyterian Church, located next to the cemetery, is a banner honoring Aaron Read as a veteran of the War of 1812.

Elijah Smith, Marge’s 3rd great-grandfather, served in the War of 1812 with Captain Bishop’s Company in the War of 1812. Elijah Smith was born 20 April 1760 in Niantic, East Lyme, New London Connecticut. Elijah Smith was married to Lydia Rogers (1761-1840). Elijah Smith passed away on 20 April 1835 at the age of 75 in Riverbank, East Lyme, New London, Connecticut.  He was buried in the Old Stone Church Burial Grounds located in East Lyme, New London, Connecticut.

Join Preserve the Pensions for Preservation Week April 21-27, 2013

preservation week 2013

The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services created Preservation Week in 2010 due to an estimated 630 Million items in institutions that require immediate attention and care. Approximately 80 percent of these institutions have no paid staff that is assigned to collections care. Preservation Week aims to raise public awareness of institutions that provide preservation services and information and to highlight what we can do as a community and individually, to preserve our personal, family and other shared collections. Preservation Week is used to inspire and illustrate how to preserve personal, family and other shared collections.

Preservation Week 2013

What does preservation mean??
Preservation is a term used to describe all activity that is used to prolong the life of records by minimizing the deterioration of records and preventing the loss of content.

Why is preservation important?
According to @ Your Library there are an estimated 4.8 billion records that are held by more than 30,000 institutions in the United States alone. Of these 4.8 billion records in public trust over half are not protected with an emergency action plan for natural or manmade disasters, another 1.3 billion of these records are at risk of being lost forever due to deterioration. They estimate that there are trillions of more items held by the general public that are at risk as well!

How can I get involved?
You can attend a Preservation Week Event at one of your local institutions. You can plan ahead to ensure that your families collection will be treasured by future generations by preserving your Family Treasures. You can ensure that your Digital Materials, such as digital photographs, audio, video, E-Mail, personal digital records and websites are archived.

Preservation Target: War of 1812 Pension Files

You can help support preservation efforts at FGS by making a donation to the War of 1812 Preserve the Pensions. The National Archives states that the War of 1812 pension files are some of their most requested materials. With a high level of use, these valuable records, that are available in no other format, are in grave danger! We must act now in order to preserve these files before they are lost forever. We urge you to DONATE today, even if it is small, to help us Preserve the Pensions and celebrate Preservation Week.

Share your personal Preservation Week activities with us on Facebook, Google+ or on Twitter using #Warof1812 #PTP or @1812Pensions.

The digitized images of War of 1812 Pensions that have already been captured are available for FREE online and will always be FREE. You may view these images at