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The last man standing made Duluth home

DCN Correspondent

"The American people have lost the last personal link with the Union Army ... His passing brings sorrow to the hearts of all of us who cherished the memory of the brave men on both sides of the War Between the States." — President Dwight Eisenhower

He fought in the Civil War. He lived to the age of 106, and he was officially listed as the last remaining survivor of more than 2,200,000 men of the Union Armed Forces.

He was Albert Henry Woolson.

On Feb. 11, 1847, the world welcomed Woolson. He was born in Antwerp, N.Y., to Willard Woolson. At the age of 17 he joined the fight as a drummer boy for the Union Army. He was never officially in a battle, but drummed at many grave sites. He survived the Civil War and married Sarah Jane Sloper in 1868. Unfortunately she passed away in 1901. Woolson then remarried three years later to Anna Haugen. This marriage lasted until 1948 when she passed away as well.

Leading up to his death, Woolson spent nine weeks in the hospital over a reoccurring collapse of a lung. Eventually Woolson fell into a coma that he never recovered from. He died in St. Luke’s Hospital on Aug. 2, 1956. He is buried at Park Hill Cemetery.

My search for Woolson began at Park Hill Cemetery where I managed to stumble across five different sights. They were Anna Hagen, Okerlund, John Nelson, Joahnn Nelson and Albert Woolson. To decide which one of these I would do research on, I decided to type all the names into different search engines to see what would pop up.

Nothing really came up at all for anyone until I typed in Woolson’s name. This was a jackpot. He was everywhere and was an important person.

I checked with a couple of Web sites and they gave the same information of his birth date and date of death. I then went into Gen Web to find some information. Through the death index I was able to confirm that this was his death date. Other than that I didn’t find Gen Web that helpful in finding information on Woolson.

I then Googled “Albert Woolson and obits? and I came across his obituary that was printed in The New York Times. This gave me the bulk of the information that I used.


This biographical sketch was written for the Research for Reporters class at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Each student in the class went to a cemetery in Duluth, got a name from a grave marker, and then used a variety of primary and secondary sources to find out as much as possible about the person.