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.