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Currier, William M.
Age: 28, credited to Brighton, VT
Unit(s): 3rd VT INF
Service: enl 4/24/61, m/i 7/16/61, SGT, Co. D, 3rd VT INF, pr 1SGT, comn 2LT, Co. B, 9/22/62 (10/13/62), pr 1LT, Co. G, 7/25/63 (9/7/63), m/o 7/27/64
See Legend for expansion of abbreviationsVITALS
Birth: 12/18/1832, Brighton, VT
Burial: Old Protestant Cemetery, Island Pond, VT
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone photographer: Bev Lasure
Findagrave Memorial #: 181104230
Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Yes, 2/3/1899, VT; widow Sarah S., 10/8/1900, VT, not approved
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)
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Old Protestant Cemetery, Island Pond, VT
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WM. M. CURRIER,
son of Amos and Lucinda Williams Currier, was born in Brighton Dec. 18, 1842. April 16, 1861, he enlisted in Co. D, 3d Vt. Vols., and was promoted to sergeant. September 26, 1862, he was promoted to second lieutenant of Co. B, and September 2, 1863, he was promoted to first lieutenant of Co. G, and was afterwards acting captain. He was mustered out of service July 27, 1864. after his return from the war he constantly held local offices in town and was deputy collector of customs for 15 years. He was married to Sarah Smith of Wilmot, N. H., July 6, 1861. A daughter, Alice, (Willoughby) was born October 30, 1864, and a son, William Lester, was born December 4, 1872. Capt Currier was the first male child born in this town after it bore the name of Brighton. He was the first enlisted soldier in the civil war from this town, and the first republican representative from this town in the Vermont legislature. He was a member of Island Pond lodge, F. & A. M., a past master of the lodge, and was also prominent in Grand Army circles, a past commander of Erastus Buck Post. He united with the Congregational Church in 1886, and at the time of his death, which occurred March 31, 1900, he was a deacon of the church, a position held by him for several years. He was a member of one of the oldest and most characteristic families in this town. He married a woman like him in hospitality and in doing for others, and neither of them stopped short of impossibilities in their attempts to relieve the suffering and unfortunate.
The subject of this sketch was in harmony with his surroundings, although his life was eventful in spite of his disposition. What awaited him seemingly through long years looks now like the dream of a night. The hopes of boyhood and youth, the reality of life, the formation and harmony of domestic joys, happily enjoyed as though they were to be everlasting, the enthusiastic experience of war, the return, and mingling in busy, peaceful pursuits, are all gone now; or rather are all merged into the tender memories of a virtuous, peaceful life, and a rich military history; all of which may be truthfully summed up by saying, "he was brave, and generous, and kind, and good."
Born in an incipient town or community, amid the undeveloped influences and elements of New England, and exposed in infancy and boyhood to the fervid memories of the revolution, which were being repeated by the fathers, and, intensified by imagination and exaggeration, he was deeply impressed with the duties of citizenship. As firmly as the hills of his nativity were fixed in the rugged soil of his country, and the roots of the forest were woven into it, so firmly was he fixed in sentiment in the great American community and every sentiment of his soul was woven into it. Necessity developed his youth in the stern activities of life and he early took on a driving activity and responsibilities commensurate with his capacity. Connected with large family, noted for the probity of its members who possessed rugged New England manners, customs and sentiments, he was early enlisted in, and absorbed by, active business. At the same time, underneath all his absorbing employments, he early developed and constantly exhibited a deep reverence for Deity and a devotion to those grand sentiments which cement and make society strong and good. He was virtuously conservative in all his sentiments. By impulse, instinct and reason he was always on the side of law, order and morality.
The eventful year of 1861 found him by training, habits, tastes and inclination fitted for the peaceful, industrious and contented life of a New England yeoman. It also found in him sentiments of devotion to country, patriotism, faith in God and the unity of the loftiest and most generous sentiments and efforts of men for the common good, as well as many other ingrained attributes so essential to the development of a brave soldier. And so he was stirred to life by the first sounds of war as if he had been hibernating and was being warmed to life by new and springlike influences. Coming in contact at this time with Erastus Buck, who was afterwards distinguished as the brave captain, the two became one in sentiment and purpose. As twin sons suddenly born into new and warlike conditions they soon became the local personification of the warlike enthusiasm of a time filled with fear, anxiety and passionate devotion. But Capt. Currier had no time to waste in home enthusiasm and he was speedily off to the front, where he was soon heard from in that famous charge at Lee’s Mills: in which the brave boys waded breast deep in the rushing waters which had been let loose upon them. Reaching up to carry their guns above the waters to keep them dry and fit for action. Coming to the opposite shore they drove a vastly superior force in numbers from their defenses by the most daring acts of bravery and by leaping upon their breastworks and calling for the reserve. But when the enemy saw the ruse and that there was no reserve and also that they were assailed by only a handful of men they returned, and when our boys were retiring back across the river the enemy, secure in their entrenchments, poured a shower of led upon them which made the water fairly boil. This was not the worst of the captain’s experience, nor yet were the many other perils and fortunes which he encountered actively. The sacrifice of his life began when unable to reach the shore opposite the enemy he and a comrade were obliged to seek shelter in the water by and partly under the roots of a tree where, submerged, and holding on to whatever they could catch hold of, with just enough of the face above the water to enable them to breathe, they remained watching the slowly going down of the sun until under the shadows of evening they could crawl out and get within the lines.
Like others from this locality he was in the thick of the fighting, being in more than twelve engagements, until broken in health and crazed with fever he found himself in a hospital from which with great difficulty he got back to Vermont and plodded his weary way into his home never to be a well man again. Many years he struggled along concealing his sufferings, cheerfully performing the duties of civil life, public and private (for he was much entrusted with public positions), never complaining, being constantly reduced to the end. With a brave and self-sacrificing life companion, forming a comraderie more sacred than army ties, he and she held their little fort besieged by sickness and other untoward events til his final surrender, and fully maintained its substance and respectability.
Notwithstanding the intense desire of mortals to foresee the events in their lives it is one of the best and wisest things in creation that they are concealed and that the veil that hides the future from us cannot be lifted until they occur. Thus the ardor of the soldier is not dampened by looking beyond anticipations of the glory of his country and his own achievements upon that still, monotonous, toilsome decline down which he often wearily travels with increasing sickness and suffering to the end. But let us not forget life’s compensations, for therein lies human happiness. The captain was full of rejoicings at his country’s great victory and its subsequent prosperity. It more than balanced his sufferings.
A natural reticence and quiet pride made him reluctant to apply for a pension, but when completely disabled he did son at the earnest solicitation of his friends who did all in their power to hurry the matter along, but only after a year’s delay and on the very day and just a few hours before the captain died the papers came showing that the pension had been granted. It was sad indeed to see a brave man all warm and ardent in the joys of peaceful life going, induced by duty, through the thick of a soldier’s experience, long restrained by pride and patriotism from applying for a pension and then to see a whole community waiting with breathless anxiety for they knew was soon to happen and be able to lift a hand in aid and a country as indifferent to and perhaps unconscious of his situation as if he had not perilled his life for it. But to time, the brave captain and to the sublime heroism of life all those things are immaterial now. They only add a sadder interest and a deeper respect and love for the brave and generous, thought peaceful soldier, the sincere Christian, the honest and trusted citizen, the true and unfaltering friend and brother, and the affectionate and indulgent husband and father, whose influence will never end and whose memory will last as long as the stirring events of his life shall be rehearsed in story or in song. G. N. D.
Source: Essex County Herald, April 6, 1900.
Courtesy of Tom Boudreau.
THE LAST SAD RITES
Sorrowing relatives and friends of the late Capt. Wm. Currier gathered in the Congregational church last Tuesday afternoon to pay a last tribute of respect to his memory, the church being crowded to the doors. The remains were escorted from his late home to the church by members of the G. A. R., S. of V., and the Masonic fraternity, and at the church these orders were joined by a delegation of the W. R. C. The services were conducted by Rev. Thos. Hall, Rev. J. N. Walker, a former pastor, reading the lesson. The music was beautiful and appropriate. Rev. Mr. Hall spoke comforting words to the bereaved from the text “to die is to gain,” - Phil. 1, 21. It was a very earnest and timely discourse. Following the services at the church a portion of the masonic funeral exercises were carried out, after which the remains were taken to the cemetery for interment, where the last sad rites were performed in accordance with the masonic ritual, a beautiful and impressive ceremony. Fur brothers of the deceased acted as pall bearers, and the aged mother, now in her ninetieth year, was able to attend all the exercises. The stores and other places of business were closed during the afternoon. The floral tributes sent by friends were very handsome, and included:Square and Compass; Island Pond Lodge, F. And A. M.
Easter Lilies; women's Relief Corps.
Cross; Dea. Barlett.
Set Piece, "Our Brother"; Mrs. Orpha Dale.
Pillow, "Father"; the children.
Cut Flowers, Mrs. Rawson, Mrs. Lefebvre, Mrs. Cheney, Mrs. Geo. Moye, Mrs. D. C. Foss, Mrs. H. N. Webster, Mrs. C. D. Thurston, Mrs. Barrett, Mrs. Garceau, Col. and Mrs. Z. M. Mansur, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Woodbury, Mrs. and Miss Needham, Mrs. N. B. Longee, Mrs. Herbert Davis, Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Willard, Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Vallee, Miss Steele.
Elsewhere in this issue will be found a more fitting sketch of the deceased, contributed by one of his lifelong friends. The hearts of all who knew him and appreciated his worth are saddened. To the widow, son and daughter, the aged mother, the brothers, and sisters, in their sorrow and affliction, we tender the respectful sympathy of the community.
Source: Essex County Herald, April 6, 1900.
Courtesy of Tom Boudreau.