Spanish American War Website Banner

When They Were Unknown...

Folks who served in the war but became famous for reasons other than their Spanish American War service...

By Patrick McSherry

Please Visit our Home Page to learn more about the Spanish American War


The Spanish American War caused a broad spectrum of the American public to join the military. Many of these people, of course, went on to gain success in other fields. Below is a listing of people who were known, or became known, for activities other than their service in or actions during the Spanish American War.

The List:

Clem, John (1851-1937)

Clem was famous for his claims as the Civil War "Drummer Boy of Shiloh." Clem had made a career in the military, graduating from the School of Artillery in 1875. By the time of the Spanish American War, he was held the rank of Major and was serving as a quartermaster. Clem retired as a major general in 1916. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Conner, George Washington (November 22, 1880 February 4, 1947)

George Washington Conner is known under his stage name of "Buck Connors." He was an actor and director who appeared in about eighty films starting in 1912. His most famous films were "The Radio Detective," "The Duke of Chimney Butte," and "Straight Shootin'." He was also a founding member of the Screen Actors Guild and the Chuck Wagon Trailer's Association (a cowboy actors union). He was in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, and he was a friend of Buffalo Bill. He was buried in the Quartzsize Hi Jolly Cemetery, in Quartzsite, Arizona.

Emerson, Isaac E. (1859 - 1931)

Emerson was a druggist and the Owner of the Emerson Drug Company of Baltimore, Maryland. During the war, he served a a lieutenant aboard the U.S.S. DALE. Emerson's claim to fame was that he was the inventor or "Bromo-Seltzer." This was a sedative substance that would fizz when mized with water, and was sold as a medicine to treat headaches, hangovers, heartburn, upset stomach, or acid indigestion. The substance became very popular, and earned a place in popular culture.he is buried in Green Mount Cemetery, in Baltimore, MD.

Feeney, Francis ("Frank Ford")

Feeney, who went on to become famous in films as "Frank Ford" both as an actor and director, served as a field musician in Company L of the 1st Maine Volunteer Infantry. Feeney was the older brother of director John Ford (John Martin Feeney). Among his films is the "Quiet Man" where he starred with John Wayne.

Knox, William Franklin ("Frank") (1874 - 1944)

Knox served as a private in the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry ("Rough Riders") Troop D, under Theodore Roosevelt. After serving in World War One, and being a vice-presidential candidate for Alf Landon in 1936, he was appointed Secretary of the Navy by President Franklin Roosevelt. He held the position during World War Two. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

LaGuardia, Fiorello (1882 -1947)

Laguardia was a the son of a regular army bandmaster, and was a 16 year old newspaper correspondent at Tampa while the Vth Corps was bing concentrated at that locatiom. he wanted to accompany the Vth Corps to Cuba but was unable to do so because of the illness of his father. he later became famous as a congressman and as the mayor of New York City from 1934 to 1945.

Lewis, Mitchell (1880 - 1956)

Lewis was an actor. He had attended Annapolis and Syracuse University, and began his acting career in 1902. In 1914 he made his silent film debut in "The Million Dollar Mystery." His most famous role, however was that of "Captain of the Winkie Guard" in the 1939 classic film "The Wizard of Oz." This green character made the famous exclamation of "You've killed her! She's dead! Long live Dorothy!" He is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Glendale, California.

Mitchell, William "Billy" (1879 - 1936)

"Billy" Mitchell served as a private in the 1st Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and became a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Volunteer Signal Corps. Mitchell stayed in the army, and became famous and (reviled) for his efforts that proved the value of airpower in the mid-1920's. Later he worked to warn the country about the upcoming crisis in the Pacific with Japan, which came to pass a decade and a half later as World War Two (he had even predicted the attack on Pearl Harbor). His efforts did not, however, meet favor in the military. Mitchell, a brigadier general, was courtmartialed, and he resigned from the service. He was later awarded the Medal of Honor.

Mix, Tom (1880 - 1940)

Film star Tom Mix claimed to have seen action in Cuba and have been wounded. In fact, he served with Battery M of the 4th U.S. Artillery. He served in the U.S., in Delaware and Virginia. Reportedly, his military career ended with his desertion in 1901. During his film career, he made 93 feature films, begining in 1914 and ending with his death in a car accident on October 12, 1940. He is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.

Mott, Charles Stewart (1875-1973)

Mott became the vice-president of General Motors, as well as banker and philanthropist. He founded the Mott Foundation in 1926 "to support efforts that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society." Mott served as a  Gunners Mate, 1st Class from April 28 to September 2, 1898 aboard the U.S.S. YANKEE. Mott is buried at Glenwood Cemetery, Flint, Michigan.

Runyon, Damon (1884 - 1946 )

Runyon served in Company L of th 13th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, seeing action in the Philippines. Runyon became a newspaper columnist and feature writer. The collection of literature he wrote about broadway charactors became the title and story for the famous American musical entitled "Guys and Dolls". Runyon died of cancer in 1946, and had his ashes strewn over Broadway.

Sandburg, Carl (1878-1967)

The writer and poet served with Company C of the 6th Illinois Volunteer Infantry during the war, seeing service in Puerto Rico. he went on to become a reknowned writer, winning Pulitzer prizes in history and poetry. Among his famous works are his biographies of Abraham Lincoln. Sandburg is buried at his birthplace in Galesburg, Illinois.

Taylor, Charles Isham (January 20, 1875 - February 23, 1922)

Taylor was a member of the 10th U.S. Calvary, Troop H.  In Birmingham, Alabama, Taylor became the manager of  the first African American  professional baseball team, the "Negro League Birmingham Giants," in 1904. Relocating the team to Indiana and renaming it, he eventually, in 1914, he became part-owner of the successful team, then called the"Indianapolis ABCs."  Taylor became a co-founder and vice-president of the Negro National League. He is buried in  Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Walgreen, Charles Rudolph (October 9, 1873 December 11, 1939)

Following the war, Walgreen founded the Walgreen drugstore chain after seeking medical treatment following the partial loss of a finger in a shoe factory accident. he was one the first to add retail items to his drugstore, as well as a lunch counter. By 1927 he had 110 stores. He had contracted malaria while serving with the 1st Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Co. L during the Spanish American War.

Support this Site by Visiting the Website Store! (help us defray costs!)


Clem, John:

Secretary of War, Official Army Register for 1898. (Washington DC: Adjutant General's Office, December 1, 1897) 13.

Conners, George Washington

"Buck Conner,"
Findagrave listing for George Washington Connor, Memorial 36748446

Emerson, Isaac

Correspondence from Doug Rawlinson 
Bromo- Seltzer

Francis Feeney (Frank Ford):

A Roster of the 1st Maine Volunteer Infantry
LaCombe, Margaret, Correspondence, February 23, 2007
Platinum Celebs

Knox, Frank

Nofi, Albert A., The Spanish American War, 1898 (Conshohocken, PA: Combined Books, Inc. 1996) 307.

Laguardia, Fiorello:

Nofi, Albert A., The Spanish-American War, 1898 . (Conshohocken, PA: Combined Books, 1996) 107.

Lewis, Mitchell:

Internet Movie Database:
New York Times:

Mitchell, William:

Nofi, Albert A., The Spanish-American War, 1898 . (Conshohocken, PA: Combined Books, 1996) 308.

Mix, Tom:

Cohen, Stan. Images of Spanish American War, April-August,1998.  (Missoula:Pictorial Histories Publishing Co., Inc., 1997). 93

Mott, Charles Stewart:

Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, "About Mott"
Dotter, Sharon R., from The USS YANKEE on the Cuban Blockade, 1898.
Lebarre, John The New York Volunteer Naval Militia

Runyon, Damon:

Ward, Kyle Roy, In the Shadow of Glory. (St. Cloud: North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc.2000) 71-72.

Sandburg, Carl:

Barnes, Mark R., The American Army Moves on Puerto-Rico, Part 2
The Carl Sandburg Historic Site

Taylor, Charles Isham

France, Rick

Walgreen, Charles


We are providing the following service for our readers. If you are interested in books, videos, CD's etc. related to the Spanish American War, simply type in "Spanish American War" (or whatever you are interested in) as the keyword and click on "go" to get a list of titles available through

Visit Main Page for copyright data

Return to Personal Profiles
Return to Main Page