Response--Bio: Edgbert, William Darius (b. 1837)
Contact: Stephen Ray
William Darius Edgbert born Feb. 27, 1837 Pennsylvania Died Feb. 25, 1919 Boise, Idaho
Sarah Edgbert was left at home with her young son William Darius while her husband John Darius went preaching as a lay pastor. During his absence Mary was baking bread when a party of Indians appeared and took up a position near a fence or outbuilding. She was quite frightened but decided to bring out some of her freshly baked bread. The Indians were amazed, as they had never seen a white baby. After eating the bread the Indians departed into the wilderness. A while later they returned with a freshly killed deer for Sarah. This started a long friendship with the natives. They called her "Sioska", which according to the family story means "The woman with kind hands".
Another part of the family story is that William Darius Edgbert was a Corporal in Company H of the Wisconsin 23rd Infantry. He was badly wounded at the battle of Vicksburg and was left on the field for dead. Later that evening they discovered he was alive and he was accused of desertion. For many years after the even he was quite dismayed at the false accusation. From some of my research I found he was part of the main attack on the Roundabout at Vicksburg. William Darius went on to found the town of Sioska, WI. The name of the town was later changed to Canton in honor of a local businessman.
We have heard that William donated a house in Neillsville, which became the first hospital. He later donated land that became the town of Sioska.
William remarried Mary Harriman in 1882. She died in June 19, 1912 and is buried in Neillville, WI.
When William Darius was 82 years old he set out on a journey with his son Leo Vernon Edgbert and family to move to California. Leo Vernon was a veteran of the Spanish American War where he contracted some type of tropical lung disease. After many years of suffering ill health, which was intensified by winter conditions in Wisconsin, they sold the family farm near Sioska and set out for California. Enroute his condition worsened and they were forced to stop in Boise, Idaho. They spent two years at Boise waiting for Leo’s health to improve. On Feb. 25, 1919, William wandered away from the house and died of hypothermia. We were told he had dementia.
Leo Vernon and his wife and children Ruth, Grace, Faith, Mary, William and Allen moved to California and settled near Pasadena, Ca. On arriving in California Leo was admitted to the Veterans Hospital at Sawtelle and died in 1926. He never regained his health.
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