Ward Van Arnam
Spanish-American War Veteran

Researched by Lisa Slaski

The Leader Herald
Gloversville and Johnstown, Sat. 28 May 1960

Spanish-American War Veteran is Ready for 29th Annual Parade

Ranks of Servicement Steadily Dwindling; VanArnam, 79, Still Active Despite Age

by Roland Naish

"Old Soldiers Never Die, They Just Fade Away,"

In Gloversville, they're fading away fast. As far as Memorial Day parades are concerned, that is.

Only a handful of Old Vets will be taking part in Monday's annual line of march.

Parade No. 29

One Old Vet will be there for the 29th time, however. Ward Van Arnam, 79, of 81 Saratoga Boulevard, will be taking part in Memorial Day Parade No. 29. A veteran of the Spanish-American War, he has been in every may 30 parade since the local VFW Post was organized in 1931.

Van Arnam, who still gets a thrill whenever he hears the stirring music of a patriotic air, still looks forward to participating in the Memorial Day and Veterans Day parades.

"Veterans," he declared, "Should take part in the parades if at all possible.

Not Many Active

However, the Spanish-American War Veteran admits there aren't many old timers left today that are participating in the parades. I'd rather be active than fall down on it." Van Arnam said.

While it is believed in some quarters that Van Arnam is the last surviving veteran of the Spanish American War in this city, he said that he understood there were two others living in the city.

Veterans, he said, seem to fall by the wayside as the years progress and teh number taking part in the parades get smaller and smaller as the years pass.

Ranks Dwindling

World War I veterans have been dwindling steadily over the years due to death and advancing age as well as moving to other cities because of the work.

Today the only World War I veterans participating in the parades march with their individual organizations.

Veterans of World War II also reported to be slowly but surely dropping out of parades as the years progress.

Van Arnam was unable to recall ever having missed a Memorial Day parade since the Fulton County Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars was organized on April 17, 1931.

Was Color Bearer

He declared that he had carried the colors for the Spanish-American War Veterans unit and the VFW unit at various times during the years, however, he said that for the past five years he had been riding instead of marching.

Van Arnam has participated in 28 Memorial Day parades and is usually seen wearing his campaign hat, though on occasions he has worn his VFW cap.

Next in line in seniority to Van Arnam is believed to be Robert Colt, who served as a major in World War I. He has been a regular participant in a nuber of the Memorial Day parades.

Was 79 on May 12

The Spanish American War Veteran, who was 79 on May 12, enlisted in the Army 61 years ago yesterday at Northville at the age of 18.

Speaking of the past and his experiences Van Arnam noted he was sent to a receiving station on Tenth Street in New York City and from there to Fort Slocum on Governor's Island where he received two weeks of basic training before being shipped to Cuba.

He had enlisted in Company E of the 15th Infantry Regiment but when he arrived in Cuba was transferred to Company K.

Van Arnam, who served in Cuba about eight months, took part in the defense of Santa Cruz against an attack by insurgents and participated in other battles on the island. He also served in the Phillipine Islands from Sept. 4, 1900 to May 13, 1902.

The veteran, when asked about the Boxer Rebellion in China, said his outfit was given credit for being there but he pointed out there was no such record on his discharge papers.

After completing his three year hitch, Van Arnam was discharged from the Army on June 17, 1902, at Angel Island, Calif.

Van Arnam says he always looks foward to parades and indicated he could continue to participate in them as long as his healt permitted him to do so.

The Leader Herald
Gloversville and Johnstown, Friday 21 Jan 1966

Van Arnam Dies; Vet of Spanish War

Ward Van Arnam, 84, of 81 Saratoga Boulevard, veteran of the Spanish-American War, died early this morning at the Albany Veterans Hospital where he was a patient four years.

Mr. Van Arnam was born in the Town of Hope May 12, 1883, and resided in Gloversville 62 years. He was a retired leather worker and was last employed by Wood & Hyde Leather Company.

He reportedly is the last of the area surviving members of the Spanish-American War. He also served in the Philippine Insurrection and the Boxer Rebellion in China.

Mr. Van Arnam enlisted in the Army 66 years ago in Northville. He served approximately eight months in Cuba where he took part in the defense of Santa Cruz in addition to other battles on the island. he served in the Philippines from Sept. 4, 1900 to May 13, 1902. he was discharged from the service June 17, 1902.

For many years he took part in the Memorial Day parades held in Gloversville.

He was a past commander of the David Butler Spanish-American Veterans post and a member of the Gloversville VFW Post.

Survivors include one son, Herbert Van Arnam of Syracuse; one sister, Mrs. harrison Abel of Northville; two brothers, Crosby Van Arnam of Rochester and William Van Arnam of Gloversville; also two nephews and one niece.

 

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