Frank E. Cooley Last Commander of Department of New York 1945; GAR Calvary Officers Felt Hat with GAR Emblem and Acorn Cord; Served 16 Days When He Died at Age of 98; Answered the Last Bugle Call For Lew Benedict Post No. 5
Civil War Veteran Frank E. Cooley was born on January 22, 1847. When he was 17 years old he enlisted with the 8th Massachusetts Infantry under Colonel Benjamin F. Peach when Massachusetts asked for volunteers. Sometime after the war he settled in Albany, New York and where he was a member of Lew Benedict Post No. 5. In Post No. 5 he served in many capacity including Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General in the State organization the State Department of New York GAR.By 1941 he was one of only seven members of the Grand Army of the Republic members left attending the State Department of New York GAR convention. In 1944 there were only four State Department of New York GAR left. In 1945 none when he became Commander of the whole State of New York GAR Department.
He had just taken the Department Commander post at the death of John W. Hayes who had died on September 29, 1945 at the age of 101. He held the position for 16 days only when he himself died on October 15, 1945, at the age of 98. In 1945 Cooley was the last member living of Post 5 and closed it when he answered the last bugle call and was called home to his comrades.
By 1949 when the last National Gar Encampment was held there were only six surviving comrades left in the whole country that could attend and they decided to make it the last. By 1956 there was one lone remaining member of the Grand Army of the Republic from the civil war named Albert Woolson that died that year at the age of 107 years old and the first hand history participant never to be no more.
We will never know Frank E. Cooleyor much of his life, only through the effort of some people in America that will take the time to remember these fallen hero’s and not exploit them for the dollar that can be made by selling items related to them. There is nothing wrong with buying the past and profiting, as long as you give some of it back without being reward monetarily.
In 2005 they had an auction on line for some of Frank Cooley’s personal civil war item sall this gar medals and this hat and a Kepi style had. I bid blindly on this and won it, never thinking I would get it. This was at the height of the Internet frenzy when items were selling for reiduclous prices. The fun days of walking into a antique shop and buying a civil war badge or medal for 10 or 20 dollars from a few years before were over. Many of the old collectors did this for the love and custodians of history to be passed on, it was never about money.
With that said, I present Frank Cooley GAR officers cavalry type felt hat. He wore this to many encampment as evidenced by the wear and tear you see on the inside of the hat. It was made by the Man of Fashion company, which I have not been able to find any information on. It has the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) emblem of wreath suround GAR and has a single cord doubled, held together with a acorn and the acorn ends. They have aged beautifully and have that tarnish gold look that you look for in old pieces.
Below you see Frank Cooley in his offical GAR New York Department photo. He is wearing this hat and has his GAR member medal on. I will list a picture of a Member medal a little later. Picture was p taken in 1938. At the bottom of the photo it says Frank E. Cooley, Quartermaster General GAR,1847 – 1938.
Here we see him again wearing this hat at a convention and two of his State of New York Department GAR badges and his National GAR member medal (first one on left) I cannot make out the other two badges or souvenir medals.
Here is the inside of hat with the name Man of Fashion on the silk top and the leather sweat band.
Here is a good look at the acorn ends and the GAR emblem
This is some information I found years ago. In the beginning of the intenet you could find so much information, now your lucky if you find anything. It is all about greed now, it has taken presendece in the search engines and if you find something they want you to pay for the information now. If I knew it would turn into the greednet, I would have research a lot more than I have.