Civil War Veterans Buried In Washington State - William Wilson

William A. Wilson

Representing: Union
G.A.R. Post: Oliver Morton Post #10 Snohomish, WA

Unit History

  • Missouri State Militia "Grundy County" E

See full unit history

William Wilson
Full Unit History

Organized: October, 1861 Trenton, MO
Mustered Out: March, 1862 Chillicothe, MO

Regimental History


   There is no such thing as a “civil war.”  This was especially true in north/south border-states like Missouri where allegiances were murky, county fought county and neighbor fought neighbor.  Such was the situation in Grundy County in the northwestern corner of the state.  An early attempt to organize a grass roots pro-Union military arm in the county came in 10/61 when a battalion of six month militia was mustered into state service.

   Thus was born the Grundy County Missouri State Militia or M.S.M. (Confederate sympathizing military organizations in the state were known as Missouri State Guard or  M.S.G. units.)  The Grundy group totaled 269 men separated into five companies.  The group drilled in camp until November 1861 when, as one source put it, they “found service breaking up sundry secession encampments, and acting as scouts and skirmishers for the various (Federal) regiments camped in the neighborhood.

   They were then sent to Chillicothe (county seat of Livingston County to the south, and a major Union headquarters for that region throughout the war) where they remained until they were mustered out.”  Another source characterized the Grundy unit in this manner:  (They) “were known in the northern region as notorious chicken and corn thieves of farms of both southern and northern sympathy.”

   In all, while the Grundy Militia may well have been an ununiformed and undisciplined gang of amateurs and perhaps an embarrassment to the northern cause, in their own way they contributed to that cause by limiting southern influences in the Grundy County area.   

Soldier History

Residence: Inf. Not Avail.   Age: 27.9 Yrs.
Enlisted: 10/21/61 Lindley, MO   Rank: Pvt.
Discharged: 3/18/62 Chillicothe, MO
Highest Rank: Pvt.

Family History


  William A. Wilson was born 12/23/33 in Massachusetts.  No information is available on his birth family, formative, teenaged or young adult years.  At some point Mr. Wilson married Nancy Adeline Potter (b. 1831 IN).  Although the 1900 census noted the couple with thirteen living children no names were provided.

  Farmer Wilson’s military involvement during the War of The Rebellion is, in many ways, as uncertain as Missouri loyalties in general.  While on pension applications he claimed membership in Captain Winter‘s Co “E” of the 4th Missouri Cavalry, no documentation places him in either the 4th Missouri state cavalry, or the 4th Missouri federal cavalry.

  On the other hand, his claim to having served in Captain Winter’s Co. “E” of the Grundy County State Militia is documented.  Unfortunately for Mr. Wilson and other citizen soldier, like him, most state militia units, like the one from Grundy County, were not covered under the Federal pension umbrella, so in later life his request for a government stipend to help deal with medical problems which he traced back to his days of Civil War soldiering, was denied.

  Places of residence for the Wilson’s beyond Missouri were Illinois, Kansas, and Washington Territory.  Available information places the 5’11” veteran in Snohomish around 1887.  In 1890 he listed his occupation as factory worker, while his 1908 obituary noted, “For a long time he was identified with the police force of this city, and for about 15 years had charge of the Snohomish (River) wagon bridge and was a deputy sheriff.” 

  The obituary continued, “He was a strong and vigorous old man until about two years ago when his son Grant Wilson was fatally injured in a shooting in Aberdeen, (WA) and within the same period his wife (his helpmate of 50 years) died.  After her death, Mr. Wilson talked continually of the short time he would be living.”  Near 75 year old William A. Wilson died 7/24/08.  Cause of death was listed as “heart disease.”  Perhaps it was “broken heart” disease.  William is buried beside Nancy.  


Buried at Snohomish G.A.R.
Row: 4
Site: 1

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