WILLIAM H. SARGENT, a veteran of the late Civil War, in which he won an honorable record as a faithful soldier who never failed in his duty, but fought bravely and faced the foe unflinchingly on many a hardly-contested battle-field, is now quietly and successfully carrying on agricultural pursuits in this, his native county. He devotes himself principally to buying and shipping stock and to raising fruit. He has a vineyard of about twelve acres of choice varieties of grapes, a fine orchard of apples, plums, cherries, etc., and has all kinds of small fruits.
William H. Sargent is a son of James B. and Mary J. (Carter) Sargent, a pioneer family of Morgan County, now living in Bethel. John Sargent, the paternal grandfather of our subject, was a native of Hamilton County, Ohio, where he married and reared a family of seven girls and three boys, and there their mother died. The father of our subject was the ninth child in the family, and after he had reached man's estate he started out in the world afoot and alone in 1833, and made a pedestrian tour to the wilds of this part of the country, having no money to come by boat. When he arrived at the little settlement in Eastport, he had only a "bit" left of his small stock of cash, and he was glad to replenish his capital by making a pair of slippers for a gentleman to wear at his wedding. After working in that place a few days at his trade of a shoemaker, he resumed his journey and arrived in this part of Morgan County, where he obtained work on a farm. By industry and frugality he soon managed to make money and to lay up enough to warrant him in venturing on the sea of matrimony, and he was united in marriage to Miss Mary J., daughter of John Carter. Their union has been blessed to them by the birth of nine children: John W.; William H.; Martha C., the widow of Enoch Reinhart, now living in Missouri; James C.; Henry B., Elizabeth, now the wife of James Reed, of Whitehall, Ill.; Richard; Charles; Lincoln, deceased.
Our subject was reared in this county, and was educated in the schools of Jacksonville, he having been a pupil in the first school taught in the 2nd ward in that city, Ezend Henderson being the teacher. In the fall of 1861 he resolved to throw aside all personal aims and ambitions, and go forth from his home to the assistance of his countrymen on Southern battlefields and aid them in their endeavor to save the honor of the old flag, and with that patriotic purpose he enlisted in Company B. 10th Illinois Cavalry. He did good service with his regiment in several engagements with the enemy, but was finally disabled by the bushwhackers, near Sand Springs, Mo., two shots taking effect in his left thigh. After a short time he rejoined his regiment at Jefferson City, and in a fight with the enemy at that point he received five more wounds, which again prostrated him for a time, and although he once more went into active service, he was compelled to abandon military life, and return to his home a wreck of his former self, he having been a man of strong, robust physique. When his health was partly restored he became connected with the omnibus line in Jacksonville, and continued in that business for some years after the war. He then turned his attention to agriculture, and has his forty-acre farm on section 33, township 16, range 10, under fine cultivation, every acre capable of producing a rich return in payment for the care that he bestows on its proper tillage. Fifteen acres of the farm is devoted to fruits, and Mr. Sargent has made this branch of horticulture very profitable.
The marriage of Mr. Sargent to Miss Elizabeth F. Benjamin was duly solemnized in the fall of 1860, and has been to them one of happiness. Mrs. Sargent's parents, Charles and Mary (Ratliff) Benjamin, were early settlers here. Her father served five years in the regular army on the frontier, and was in the Mexican War. After his discharge he came here, and was subsequently married. Eleven children have been born into the pleasant home of our subject and his amiable wife, as follows: William S.; James, deceased; Mary married James Hull and is deceased; two children died in infancy; Nettie, now Mrs. Starkey Baldwin; Edward; Benjamin, deceased; Minnie; Rhoda; Logan Blaine.
Mr. Sargent's whole course through life, from the time of his enlistment in the early days of the late war to the present time, shows him to be an intensely patriotic citizen, and one who is thoroughly to be relied on in all cases. He is a man of sound sense and clear understanding, always honorable and straightforward in his dealings. He votes as he fought, for the principles of the Republican party. He has a sincerely religious nature, and with his wife is a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.