Santa Cruz County History - People

Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson

SARGENT, WILLIAM R (1845-1934)

Wisconsin History of the Fifth Infantry, [unknown source]

William R Sargent
William R. Sargent
IOOF Cemetery in Santa Cruz

1863-1865, Wm. Sargent’s Personal Remembrances

Following the Battle of Gettysburg the regiment was sent, with other troops to New York, Albany and Troy to aid in executing the draft of 1863.

November 7th, they, with the Sixth Maine, charged at Rappahannock Station, across an open field half a mile wide, under a destructive fire of grape, canister and musketry, and stormed and carried the main fort and redoubts at the point of the bayonet, capturing seven pieces of artillery, and preventing the escape of the rebels. Eight regiments with their colors were captured, and the Fifth lost ten killed and fourteen wounded. November 26th and 27th , they took part in the battle of Locust Grove, and Mine Run, where the Federals lost 1,000 and the Confederates 2,560. December 2nd they went into winter quarters at Brandy Station.

They participated in the battle of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor and Petersburg. On July 22nd they moved to Washington to assist in the defense of that city. Their original term of service expired on the following day, but they volunteered to remain to defend the capital. On the 16th, they left for Madison, Wisconsin, where they were warmly welcomed by the state authorities and mustered out August 3rd.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (May 28, 1929)

Nineteen Survivors of the Early Wars Will Be Guests of Honor this Memorial Day

W.R. Sargent

Enlisting at the age of 19 and serving with the 5th Wisconsin Regiment during the year of 1864-65, Comrade W.R. Sargent of 244 Soquel avenue, saw some real action in and around Madison, Washington, Shenandoah Valley, City Point, Petersburg and Birksfield Junction and was fortunate in not being wounded.

Relatives having come to California in the early 50’s caused him to start this way at an early date. The west has been his home for many years and Santa Cruz has claimed him as a citizen for the last __.

Comrade Sargent tells of finding a gun and a tin box that contained $100 of Confederate state money among other valuables while he and a comrade were going through some woods. Upon arriving at camp he gave all the money except $30, because he thought it was no good. He still has the $30. He has many other interesting souvenirs.

Santa Cruz Evening News (May 30, 1930)

GAR Well Represented

[...] W.R. Sargent, 244 Soquel Avenue, was born at Wiota, Wisconsin, in June 1844. He enlisted in the 5th volunteer infantry from that state and was in the army of the Potomac in the Shenandoah valley under General Grant. In the battle of Petersburg his regiment made a charge in which it took 200 prisoners. President Lincoln and General Grant were present when they brought in their prisoners. Later Mr. Sargent was in a skirmish from Petersburg to Appomattox.

Mr. Sargent was mustered out at Halt Hill, Alexandria west of Washington, D.C. at the close of the war and was sent to Madison, Wis., where he was discharged. In 1876 Mrs. Sargent visited in Humboldt county, California and 14 years later induced her husband to move west, first to Colorado where they spent three years, and then to Petaluma. Twenty eight years ago they came to Santa Cruz. They are the parents of Mrs. W.O. Kerrick.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (April 26 1931)

W.R. Sargents Celebrate 65th Wedding Anniversary

Mr. and Mrs. W.R. Sargent, surrounded by their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and other relatives, celebrated last evening the 65th anniversary of their wedding at a dinner party at the Hotel Palomar.

The tables were beautiful with flowers and were arranged in the Chinese room. Bowls contained roses of many varieties, rich in coloring. The name cards were in keeping, with the names in gold and two tiny golden bells in the corner.

The bride of 65 years was in a grey silk gown and her corsage bouquet was of orchids and orange blossoms arranged with the choicest of ferns.

Following the dinner the group went to the St. George Mission Inn for the flower show.

All of the living children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were present. Guest included daughters, Mrs. W.O. Kerrick, and Mr. Kerrick; Mrs. L.A. Reynolds of Alameda, and Mr. Reynolds; Mrs. Eunice Gough of Los Angeles; grandsons, M.S. Kerrick, Mrs. Kerrick and son Mahlon; Merrill Kerrick and sons Louis and Billy; Kenneth Emigh and Mrs. Emigh, and Sargent Reynolds; granddaughters, Mrs. Joe Land and Mr. Lang; Miss Dorothy Emigh and Margaret Reynolds. Other guests included Howard E. Emigh, Mr. and Mrs. S.P. Wheeler, Miss Mabel Wheeler, Mr. and Mrs. William Lutz and Frances Grace of Alameda.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Sargent were born and raised in La Fayette county, Wisconsin, and were married in Argyle in 1866, living there until 1872, at which time they moved to Cass Count, Iowa. They came to California about 35 years ago, living for two years in Fortuna. From there they moved to Colorado and then to Petaluma where Mr. Sargent was in the laundry business for several years.

Coming to Santa Cruz about 30 years ago Mr. Sargent went into the laundry business with W.G. Kerrick, the laundry being on the present site of the Sargent home on Soquel Ave. Mrs. Sargent was associated for a number of years in the present Kerrick laundry on Front Street before he retired.

Mr. Sargent enlisted in the fifth Wisconsin volunteer infantry during the Civil War and served until the close of the war. He was in the army of the Potomac in the Shenandoah Valley under General Grant and participated in the battle of Petersburg and the skirmish from Petersburg to Appomattox. He was mustered out at Hall Hill, Alexandria at the close of the war and was discharged at Madison, Wis. He is the sole survivor of the Atlantic post of the G.A.R. in Iowa and a member of the Wallace Reynolds post G.A.R. in this city.

Mrs. Sargent, who was Ariana McDiarmid before her marriage, is descended from English and Scotch ancestry. She had two brothers in the Civil War and an uncle in the Revolutionary War. Her father and uncle came to California in 1850 and were killed by Indians in Humboldt county.

Santa Cruz Evening News (May 8, 1934)

William Sargent Veteran of Civil War, Passes Away

William R. Sargent, Civil War veteran, who witnessed the surrender of Lee, died yesterday at a local hospital.

Mr. Sargent was born in Lafayette county, Wisconsin, April 18, 1845 and his home in Santa Cruz was for a period of 34 years. He was 89 years of age.

He passed away at the Santa Cruz hospital and his death followed an operation 10 days ago on the eyes for the removal of cataracts.

Mr. Sargent with his son in law W.O. Kerrick, started what is now Kerrick's laundry. He retired about 25 years ago.

The family residence is on Soquel Avenue, opposite Ocean View Avenue, and there he resided with his wife. His home life was very happy and birthdays of himself and wife were always happy events, with the reunion of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. About a week ago the wife celebrated her birthday anniversary.

Mr. Sargent was prominent in the life of Wallace Reynolds post, G.A.R. and with his passing only six remain. He was one of the four members to attend the last meeting of the post held two weeks ago at the home of Commander C.O. Powell 66 du Four avenue. He was the last surviving member of Atlantic, Iowa post G.A.R., of which he was a charter member it was formed in 1879.

Mr. Sargent enlisted in the Fifth Volunteer Infantry from that state in 1863 and saw service during the remainder of the Civil War.

In the Army of the Potomac in the Shenandoah valley under General U.S. Grant, he took active part in the Richmond-Petersburg campaign during which his regiment took 200 prisoners and received the plaudits of President Abraham Lincoln, who was in camp when the prisoners were brought in and followed through the skirmishes that led from Petersburg to General Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox.

Mustered out at Hall Hill, Alexandria, west of Washington, D.C. he was sent to Madison, Wisconsin and honorably discharged.

Following his discharge he went to Argyle, Wis., where on April 26, 1866 he married Ariana McDiarmid. The celebration of his golden wedding anniversary was an unusually happy affair, as were succeeding wedding anniversaries.

From Iowa he came west with his family and before coming to Santa Cruz resided in Fortuna, Humboldt County, Fort Collins Colorado and Petaluma.

The father and uncle of Mrs. Sargent were California pioneers. They came to the state in 1850 and were killed by Indians in Humboldt county. Mrs. Sargent visited here in 1876 and 20 years later she induced her husband to move to Fortuna.

Surviving him are his widow, Mrs. Ariana Sargent, and three daughters Mrs. Birdella Kerrick of this city, Mrs. Eunice Gough of Los Angeles, and Mrs. Bambina A. Reynolds of Alameda.

The body is at the C.C. Chase mortuary and private funeral services are to be held today.

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