Hon. A. W. Starks. William Canfield wrote extensively of this Excelsior pioneer in his history of 1872, and we make extractions therefrom.
"Argalus Waldo Starks was born March 10, 1804, at Williamsburg, Mass. His father was Moses Starks, an ax-maker. He was of English descent, but far bar, General Stark of Revolutionary War notoriety, was his ancestor (and probably his grandfather). And history speaks well of Starks, Continental General, whose glory centers around a number of battles, particularly the Battle of Bennington, at the opening of which Gen. Starks made his famous remark: 'We will conquer today, or tonight Mollie Starks will be a widow'."
Hon. A. W. Starks resided in New York state until 1850, and was there, like Col. Ableman, a man of influence and wide associations. He was three times married: first, in 1828 to Mary Ann Filkins, and was left a widower ten years later; second, in 1839, to Margaret R. Worthman, sister of the late James Worthman of Baraboo. This wife came with him to Excelsior in 1850, and died in 1864. Late that fall Gen. Starks married his third wife, Catherine Schwartz. His death occurred June 28,1870.
During his lifetime the General was an outstanding citizen of the county, and his friendship for Col. Ableman was immense, founded on a common understanding. They were both military men by natural instinct, fond of practical joking, and ardent democrats. An incident concerning them and their democratic rally in 1852 has become proverbial. As Canfield relates it:
"In 1852 A. W. Starks called a democratic caucus, no one attending but Col. Ableman, Robert Young and himself. There was then no paper in Sauk county, but the next number of the Milwaukee News contained an account of a large, enthusiastic and respectable meeting. Col. Ableman, with the paper in his hand, meets the General with a large smile on his face and says: "Gen., how could you?" Gen. Starks, "Col., here is the simple truth, as I will prove to you." Says Ableman, "Do so!" The General is ready, "You are large aren't you? Yes. Bob is enthusiastic? Yes. I am respectable." Col. Ableman laughed:: "Ha! Ha! Gen., that will do for this time!" This meeting was held under a tree."
Return to Sauk County Biographies