Last Known Survivor

From time to time the question of who may have been the last member of the 7th Mississippi infantry to have passed on has come up in our research. While there is the possibilty that we may have missed a soldier's date of death who could have possibly laid claim to this distinction we have settled on what we are calling the last known survivor. Emphasis on known. We have even found a newspaper article with a picture of this veteran taken just a few months before his death by a Memphis newspaper. Thanks to George Purvis for finding the article online and to the owner for his permission to use the photo here. The photo is from the year 1939.

(used with permission from
The Civil War Collection of Ronald A. Mosocco,
Williamsburg, VA)

Owner and webmaster of
James River Publications Civil War Homepage

Last survivor John F. Gunter
John Franklin Gunter
Last known survivor

Meet John Franklin Gunter, Company A, Franklin Rifles. This veteran was referred to in the newspaper as Colonel. He is not listed as one of the field officers. The rank was almost certainly bestowed on him post war in association with his being a member of the United Confederate Veterans. He is buried in the Confederate Soldiers Rest at Historic Elmwood Cemetary, in Memphis, Tennessee. Watch this page for updates on him.

The information on his date of death was tracked down by our great friend Jim Martin who is the webmaster for the message board portal. It is as follows...

Age: 100 Y,1D
Sex: M
Race: W
Date of Death: 3/30/1940
Source: Death Certificate Card Index
File: 1316
Collection: Memphis/Shelby Death Index

Honorable Mention

The men listed below were at one time each considered as possibly being the last survivor. They lived well past the turn of the century and deserve to be mentioned.

N.A. Travis
Company C - Amite Rifles
Born 4-24-1841
Died 4-24-1936
Buried at Travis cemetary Gillsburg, Amite County, Mississippi

Strait, Leonard Sylvester Pvt.
Company A
Born: 1/6/1845 Franklin County, Ms.
Died: 10/27/1936 Lincoln County, Ms.
Note: Brother to Christopher C. Strait - Co A
Buried: Rose Hill Cemetery, Brookhaven, Lincoln County, Ms.

William H.(Hal) Freeman
Company A - Franklin Rifles
Born: 10/1/1842
Died: 3/29/1935
Buried: Sims Cemetery, Jefferson County, Mississippi.