Willis S. (1849 - 1927)
Surnames: BRITTON VALLEAU
----Sources: HUMBIRD ENTERPRISE (Humbird, Clark County, Wis.) 12/03/1927
Britton, Willis S. (20 JUN 1849 - 29 NOV 1927)
Willis S. Britton was born June 20, 1849, in Richland Co., Wis., and came of the old pioneer stock with which that section of the state was settled in an early day. He grew to manhood in that vicinity, and when about fourteen years of age he enlisted in the Union Army of the Civil War, in Co. I, 50th Wis. Vol. Inf. He was stationed with the regiment at St. Louis During the closing days of the war, and afterwards his regiment was sent to Ft. Laramie, Wyo., in the Indian campaigns. After a year and a half in the service he received his discharge.
Later the family settled in Eau Claire, and while at work in a brick yard he contracted an affliction which resulted in total blindness. Thus he had lived since 1873. And yet he made the best of this terrible darkness, and always maintained a sunny disposition.
Mr. Britton married and lived happily with his wife in Eau Claire until her death, then he went to Wisconsin Veterans Home. At the Home he made the acquaintance of Mrs. Fannie Valleau, with whom he was united in marriage on March 12, 1912. Soon after they came to Humbird (Clark Co., Wis.) to reside. This village has been their home most of the time since, excepting five years spent in Spokane, Wash. They returned last summer, and had gone to Lone Rock to remain during the winter. He was taken with pernicious anemia, and last Saturday he was sent to the Wis. General Hospital at Madison, where he passed away Tuesday morning, Nov. 20, aged 78 years, 5 months, 9 days. He is survived by his wife, other relatives, and many friends.
Deceased was a member of the G.A.R., and also of the S.A.R. In his later years he composed a number of selections of verse, part of one being here given, by special request:
The Boys in Blue are growing gray,
Their ranks are thinner growing.
Each passing year Time’s tireless scythe
It human swath is mowing.
The faltering step, the palsied limb,
Life’s dark and cold December,
Call on you like a voice from God,
Each Soldier to remember.
Many in life’s prime and pride,
With wife and children weeping,
Have laid their weary burdens down
And cold and low are sleeping.
Oh, boys in Blue, now growing gray,
March cheerily to the River;
For on Heaven’s eternal camping ground,
There’s rest for you forever.
Funeral services were held at the Free Methodist Church Thursday afternoon, with sermon by Rev. A.E. Knaak. Six ex-servicemen, Messrs. Hah, Laffe, Fradenburg, Stuve, Jackson and Wilbur, carried the remains of the old soldier to their final resting place in Mentor Cemetery.
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