Jones Morgan

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Jones Morgan
BornOctober 23, 1882
Newberry County, South Carolina
DiedAugust 29, 1993 (aged 110)
Richmond, Virginia
Allegiance United States
Service/branchU.S. Army
Years of service1896–1900[1]
Unit9th Cavalry Regiment
Battles/warsSpanish–American War

Jones Morgan (October 23, 1882 – August 29, 1993) was an American supercentenarian who claimed he was the last surviving veteran of the Spanish–American War.

Service[edit]

Morgan, being an African-American, joined the 9th Cavalry Regiment as a Buffalo Soldier in 1896. Being underage upon his enlistment would later contribute to the argument surrounding the legitimacy of Morgan's claims. Morgan served in a primary maintenance role, tending the horses of the Rough Riders and cooking meals for his fellow soldiers.[2]

Later years[edit]

Morgan fell into poverty in his old age, being provided free meals from church charity efforts.[3] By 1986 he was renting a room, surviving on his Social Security pension check.[4]

In the much later years of his life, especially after the death of Nathan E. Cook, who had long been hailed as not only the last surviving veteran of the Spanish–American War but of any American engagement, debate raged over the trustworthiness of Jones Morgan's claim to have served. Morgan did not receive any military benefits due to a lack of official papers providing evidence of his time in the army. Morgan attributed this to a fire in 1912 which destroyed the papers. Several experts, including military archivist Mike Knapp and Commander Carlton Philpot, USN, say no concrete evidence can be brought forth of Morgan's time in the army, but that they did not doubt him. Army record-keeping in the 1890s, to begin with, was inadequate, especially for black soldiers, who were treated like second-class citizens.[5]

On October 5, 1992, the representative from Virginia's 3rd congressional district, Thomas J. Bliley, Jr., proposed on the floor of the United States House of Representatives a bill which would "grant Mr. Morgan the benefits he deserves," via an honorable discharge. In the three years before his death, Morgan became a popular local figure in Virginia. Morgan met former president George H. W. Bush and then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell, and led the Veterans of Foreign Wars parade.

Death[edit]

Jones died on August 23, 1993, at the age of 110. He was interred at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia[6] with a commemorative plaque atop his tombstone denoting Morgan as a Buffalo Soldier.[7]

Documentation[edit]

The Ancestry.com website shows there is a 1942 World War II Draft Registration card listing Jones J. Morgan, a resident of Richmond, Virginia, born on October 23, 1888 in Newberry County, South Carolina. If true, Jones would have been 6 years younger than claimed and could not have served in the Spanish-American War. [8][original research?]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Last Veterans". Span-Am War. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  2. ^ "The Last Surviving Veterans". Genealogy Trails. 2009. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  3. ^ Holmberg, Mark (December 23, 1985). "Home, hearth not part of everyone's holidays". Richmond Times-Dispatch. pp. C1, C5.
  4. ^ Lindsey, Alberta (October 25, 1986). "Looks Forward to 120th Birthday". Richmond Times-Dispatch. p. 20.
  5. ^ Heidi Brown (May 30, 1991). "108 year old Black man served in Spanish–American War". Kentucky New Era.
  6. ^ "Jones Morgan". Find a Grave. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  7. ^ "Jones Morgan". Find a Grave. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  8. ^ "Join Ancestry".