G.A.R. Post: Oliver Morton Post #10 Snohomish, WA
16th KANSAS VOLUNTEER CAVALRY
Organized: Summer, 1863
Mustered In: Sept. to Oct. 8, 1863 Ft. Leavenworth, KS
Mustered Out: 12/6/65 Ft. Leavenworth, KS
Members of 16th, a three year "western theatre" regiment were drawn from throughout the State on the heels of the infamous 8/63 William Quantrill raid on Hays, Kansas during which Rebel guerrillas slaughtered approximately 150 men and boys. Many of those who volunteered to join the 16th had seen prior service which gave the regiment a head start in terms of discipline and soldierly conduct.
The regiment performed well at the battle of the Big Blue in the vicinity of Westport, MO and during the pursuit of Confederate forces under Gen. Price. For the most part, however, the 16th was scattered throughout Kansas pursuing hostile Indians, performing post and escort duty, and guarding defenceless homes from Rebel bushwhackers. Duty assignments drawn by the 16th were often onerous and fatiguing, but well-remembered by the loyal citizens of Kansas.
Regimental losses: Officers killed/mortally wounded = 1; Officers died of disease, accidents, etc. = 1;
Enlisted men killed or mortally wounded = 10; Enlisted men died of disease, accidents, etc. = 98.
Residence: Minneola, KS Age: 21.11 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 12/3 /63 Mineola, KS Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: 6/22/64 Ft. Leavenworth, KS
Mustered Out/Discharged: 12/6/65 Ft. Leavenworth, KS
Highest Rank: Cpl.
William Thomas Ellison was born 12/7/41 in Miller County, MO to parents Thomas (b. 1819 KY, farmer) and Mary (b. 1820 KY) Ellison. He was the second of eight children: Lydia (b. 1839 KY), William T. (b. 1841 MO), Joseph H. (b. 1844 MO), Delaney C. (b. 1849 MO), Martha (b. 1851 MO), John C. (b. 1854 MO) and Lewis F. (b. 1856 MO).No information is available pertaining to his childhood, formative or teenaged years.
In December, 1863, only a few days shy of his 22nd birthday the 5'6", blue eyed farmer joined the U.S. Cavalry. Available military service records are inconclusive regarding William’s enlistment/enrolment and muster dates. It appears enlistment/enrolment occurred in late 1863 while his muster date is later noted as dating to 6/22/64. On the other hand, on 1/22/64 he was promoted to the rank of corporal, so he was obviously mustered into Federal service long before mid ’64.
Entering the military in 1864 Private Ellison was due an enlistment bonus or “bounty” in the amount of $100. Twenty five dollars of this was paid up front or shortly after enlistment/enrolment. The remainder was not given until discharge, by which time trooper Ellison had accrued some debts.
Fairly early on in his military tenure William began to owe for his service. As of 4/30/64 he owed the U.S. Government seventy two to eighty dollars for the apparent loss of a “horse and equipment.” Shortly thereafter he was found to be owing a settler, likely Daniel L. Smith the amount of four to five dollars for what seem to have been the theft of beef.
Other military service entries for 1864 include a July furlough, an August absence on detached service and an October sick/wounded absence after being wounded on 10/23/64 near Westport, MO. The nature of the wounding is not known, but apparently it was not significant as by November he was garrisoned at Ft. Leavenworth, KS awaiting transportation back to his regiment.
1865 entries in the military records reflect only another period of detached service for “escort” duty and final muster. The latter is interesting in that it was then that Corporal Ellison had to “settle up” with the U.S. government for the previously mentioned pay stoppages, plus a draw on his clothing account. By that time the equipment lossage was down to $45 while what was owed the settler was $2.01. Clothing owed was in the amount of $58.90.
The U. S. Army behind him, William once again settling down in Kansas. He would remain there residing in either Osage or Franklin counties until 1888 when he and his family removed to Washington Territory.
On 12/11/66 in Guthrie, Iowa, William married Mary s. Fleak (b. ca. 1845 MI). The couple produced ten children: Eugene E. (b. 10/18/67 KS), Charles W. (b. 8/7/69 KS), Florence J. (b.1/10/72 Ks), Lewis Franklin (3/1874), Joseph (2/11/1876), Mary (9/10/1877 - 1880), Lollie M (2/8/1879 - 1880), Minnie O.R. (7/17/1880), William E (5/11/1882 - 1885), and Leroy Thomas (8/17/1884).
In 1888, the Ellison clan moved from Kansas to Kittitas Co., in eastern Washington, Territory. Why the move west is not known. Addresses following the westward move included Cle Elum and Teanaway. Census data from 1900 and 1910 show families of grown children living close by and a grandson residing in William and Mary's home.
Somewhere between 1910 and 1919 William's wife, Mary, died. The census of 1920 placed William in the Pierce County, Washington community of McMillan living with son Lewis and family. By 1930 he was in King County living with the family of Henry C. Blockson and wife Ruth (nee Ellison).
William T. Ellison, Civil War soldier, died 6/17/33 in the Seattle Heights, Snohomish County home of his daughter Ruth and family. He was 97 years of age. As an interesting sidelight, his Everett Herald obituary noted that following the Civil War, he had served as a U.S. Army scout in the Black Hills of the Dakotas. During this period “Corporal Billie” was said to have associated with William “Buffalo Bill” Cody driving buffalo into camp when regular food rations were exhausted. While William and Cody both served in the 16th Kansas during the war, they were in different companies. Also, there is no documentation to indicate William ever served as a post-war scout.
William Ellison was survived by three sons, Eugene of Yakima, Charles of Ellensburg, Lewis of South Tacoma, one daughter, Ruth, 23 grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren. Although at death he was apparently receiving a U.S. Government pension based on his Civil War soldiering days, when the funeral home petitioned the government for reimbursement on $115 funeral/burial expenses they noted William was a pauper. It is not known if the expense request was accepted or denied. Burial was in the G.A. R. Cemetery in Snohomish, Snohomish County, Washington.
Buried at Snohomish G.A.R.
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