When was the Last Civil War Veteran's Convention Held?

I am curious-I would assume that the absolute youngest Civil war vet could have been born around 1850-which would make him 90 years old , by 1940. Anybody kno when the last convention was held? Where was it?
When I was a kid, there was a very old building in Roxbury, MA, that once housed the Civil War veteran’s association- I imagine its been a good many years since it was used.

The last big reunion was July 3-5, 1938, in honor of the 75th anniversary of Gettysburg, in Gettysburg, PA. About 2000 veterans showed up, and the average age was 94. There were a total of 10,000 Civil War veterans alive at that time.

Here’s an NPR All Things Considered story about the reunion at Gettysburg:

FWIW, there were eight living Confederate Veterans at the Arkansas Confederate Home in 1961.

The link says that the home housed Confederate veterans and their widows, and that there were eight “residents” in 1961. Far more likely that these were younger surviving spouses than centenarians.

For what it’s worth, when I was about 12 in 1938-39, living in a small upstate NYS town, there were three Civil War vets who showed for Decoration Day (now Veteran’s Day). They sure were old, but after riding a truck in the parade, they sat around talking to people in the park. A friend and I just stood there listening in awe to these guys. The one thing that blew my mind was that one mentioned that his grandfather had fought in the Revolutionary War. The implications of that still blow my mind. It is a young country.

Indeed, it appears they only made it into the 1950s.

From Wikipedia:

The United Confederate Veterans, organized in 1889, had its final meeting in 1951.

That’s really neat. You were 2 degrees of separation from a revolutionary war veteran! I find that fascinating.

My great-great-granduncle George’s dad (my g-g-g-grandfather) was a civil war vet. Uncle George left me his gunpowder horn that he carried in the war. It’s a treasured heirloom and one of the oldest family relics I have. I’ve no such relics from either of my 4 x g grandfathers, who both fought in the War of 1812, or from my 5 x g grandfather, who fought in the Revolutionary War, and was at Bunker Hill.

According to a book I have at home (I’ll provide the cite when I’m home) there was a Confederate ‘reunion’ at a nursing home in Shreveport, LA 1953 that two men and their families attended as well as the media. It’s worth noting though that the last confirmed Confederate veteran died in 1951, so while it’s possible one or both of the attendees in Shreveport were actual veterans it’s also possible that one or both was not. (Apparently there was a lot of lying or at least truth stretching to get onto pension registers, plus there’s the matter of the Home Guard [which a 12 year old boy could join] though there were also a lot of papers lost or never made in the first place for those who joined in the final months of the war.)
Probably the closest thing to a last “major” Confederate Reunion was the world premiere of GONE WITH THE WIND in Atlanta in 1939. The promoters paid for pretty much any veteran willing to come to the premiere and the movie studio provided them with Confederate uniforms, and while many couldn’t care less about it their families used them as tickets to the biggest event of the year. Flannery O’Connor addresses this in her story Late Encounter With the Enemy (though she doesn’t identify the movie or need to).

Indeed, QtM, and now that I’ve told you, you are only three degrees sof separation away. :smiley:

And would you believe John Tyler, the 10th President and was born in 1790, still has two living grandsons?

Weird, right?

Tyler was in his 60s when his younger sons were born (70 when the youngest daughter was); I gather one of them must have had kids late as well, or else the grandsons would be 120 years old.

I have a weird fascination for how much time can pass in generations. I have some cousins (2nd once removed I believe) who are in their 40s and 50s who are grandchildren of a Confederate veteran, which is unusual. Some were the children of my grandfather’s cousin/uncle Reuben*, who continued fathering children well into his late 70s and whose father was a Confederate veteran who fathered Reuben when he was about 40. Others are children of Reuben’s youngest brother who wasn’t quite as old when his last children were born but who was born when his father (the Confederate) was in his early 60s.

Zoe here on board is also a baby boomer who is the granddaughter of a Confederate veteran as well. Most people my age (I’m 43) are, like me, at least the great-great grandchildren of the Civil War ancestors. (Half of my great-grandparents were born before or during the Civil War but were too little to fight or remember it.) However, though I was born 3 years after JFK was killed it’s odd to me that two former slaveowners attended my parents’ marriage (two sisters in their late 90s [one of them my father’s aunt-grandmother*] and both of whom inherited slaves as little girls when their father died in 1861. Their own father was a War of 1812 veteran who was in his late 60s/early 70s when they were born, which places the attendees of that wedding just one degree from the late 18th century.

I’m sure there are a few children of Confederate veterans left- those born to vets who fathered them in their 60s and over and are now very old. Periodically another Civil War widow is flushed out- almost invariably it’s from a marriage of convenience between a young girl and a very old man- he got a caregiver and she got a widow’s pension- and even so the youngest ones if any are left would be in their nineties or centenarians now. The Civil War should however pass from living memory (defined here as what the oldest people alive remember people from their youth remembering firsthand) this generation, and it iwill be interesting to see if it then becomes as rarely discussed in everyday life as The Revolution.

I do hope though that the Sesquicentennial will be a big deal.

Aren’t their still a few widows of Civil War veterans around today? Some guy in his 90s marries a gal in her 20s and she’s still around 70-80 years later.

The civil war ended in 1865. If someone fought, underage, and was 15 when the war ended, he’d be born in 1850. If he were 90 when he married, that’d be in 1940. If she were 20, she’d be born in 1920, and thereby 89 now. That’s just barely plausible.

It happened though; widows received pensions and it was a form of pre Social Security social security. The families of the veterans (most of whom were impoverished or only slightly better) didn’t generally mind since it meant somebody else looked after the ancient one and it didn’t cost them any money since only the widow was eligible for a pension.

Confederate pensions were issued by the state obviously* and in the south this was particularly abused. Nobody greatly cared if a 75 year old man married a 50 year old woman and it’s conceivable that a couple with a 25 year old age difference could fall in love or whatever, but when it started becoming 50 and 60 and 70+ year age differences the legislatures began saying “Oh c’mon!”. Starting in the 1920s some states began passing legislation limiting eligibility to women over a certain age (60 at least) or marriages performed before a certain date, and that’s when you had a lot fewer 89 year old newlyweds.
*Pensions were a MAJOR hot potato issue in the 1890s and early 20th century- southern Congressmen routinely blocked any attempt to increase them since it would mean southern states having to pay for pensions their veterans weren’t eligible for, so some northern and other states subsidized the Federal pensions.

This says the last war widow died in 2004.He was 81, she was 21,married in 1927.

My grandmother, born in 1881, lived to be nearly 108, and was lucid until age 99. I am in my 40s and I knew her well. Her father was a Confederate veteran, who took a Minié ball to his elbow at the battle of Gaines Mill, and her grandfather was a veteran of the War of 1812.

I really wish I had thought to ask my grandmother more questions when she was still around.

Actually, Decoration Day became Memorial Day. Until 1954, Veterans Day was called Armistice Day.

He did. His son Lyon was born in 1853, and Lyon’s son Harrison was born in 1928, making Lyon when he was born. The Tyler men apparently aged well.

Harrison Tyler is a retired chemist and engineer…he worked for a chemical company that was bought out by Mobil, and then, disenchanted with that, he and a partner went on to found ChemTreat, which was a water treatment company. He’s since retired, and has spent his retirement maintaining and keeping up Fort Pocahontas, which was a civil war fort, and the location of the Battle of Wilson’s Wharf.

During the early days of World War II, one of the ‘Rosie the Riveter’ women who went to work in factories to free up men for the Army was a 70-year-old widow who helped build B-17s. Her late husband had been Gen. Joseph Longstreet, CSA, whom she had married young when he was an old man.