Member of GAR post 219
William F. Sawtell
The Wellington Enterprise 28 Apr 1909 pg. 7
William F. Sawtelle was born in Cleveland, Ohio, March 28th, 1843. His father was born in New York State, and his mother, who was a daughter of General Gordon, was born in Ireland. His mother died in 1850 and his father in 1852. Shortly after his father’s death, William went to live in the family of Mr. Bostwick at Medina, where he resided until his enlistment in the army. He enlisted as a Private in Company “K,” Ohio Volunteer Infantry, of which James A. Garfield was then Colonel, on November 20th, 1861. He participated in all of the battles and engagements of his regiment prior to the investment of Vicksburg, and was twice slightly wounded.
He received a very serious injury to his spine while lying in the trenches before Vicksburg, by the falling of a limb from a tree, cut off by a cannon ball fired from Vicksburg. Two comrades, one on each side of him, were killed by the falling limb. He was rendered unconscious by the blow and did not regain consciousness until after he was transferred to the hospital boat. He was taken to Paducah, Ky., where he remained in the hospital four months. He was discharged for disability April 9th, 1863. He returned to his home in Medina, being compelled for a long time to use crutches. His congressman, Hon Harrison G. Blake, persuaded him to sign an application for a pension. He drew one pension payment and then, as he was improving in health, refused to accept more. (In later years, after being compelled to discontinue business by reason of disabilities, his pension was renewed.) Late in the fall of the same year he endeavored to re-enlist but was not accepted where his previous injuries were known. He determined to re-enlist and went to Cincinnati and offered his services, but was again refused. Upon his declaration that he walk to the front if not accepted, he was finally accepted and enrolled as a private in company E, 9th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, in October, 1863. For meritorious services he was promoted to Sergeant, and later was selected as Color Sergeant for the regiment. In this capacity he served during Sherman’s March to the Sea. He was mustered out of service July 20th, 1865, having served three years and two months.
He came to Wellington in 1866 and established an office as photographer. He was married to Estelle LeHentz Rasor Sept. 7th, 1868. To them was born one son, Edwin L. Sawtelle, who lived to the age of 22, dying of tuberculosis on August 22d, 1892. Prior to his illness he was attached to one of the leading newspapers of Cleveland, and had promise of a bright future before him.
Mr. Sawtelle had wonderfully artistic taste and skill and was in love with his profession. He became famous for the excellence of his work. Disease, by reason of the injury to his spine while in the service, was progressing, causing him serious trouble at times, until he was finally compelled by failing health to discontinue business in 1888. His nervous condition becoming very serious, he accepted the advice of friends, and voluntarily went to the hospital for the insane at Newburg for treatment, where he remained about two years, returning to his home much improved, and where he has since remained.
While in the hospital he took up china painting as a diversion and has followed this line of work at intervals, and when in fair health, since. With his fine artistic taste he soon acquired wonderful proficiency in this line. He never offered his work for sale, but many homes are adorned by his beautiful workmanship in china, given by him in token of friendship.
Before his health failed he had charge for several years of a large class of boys in the Congregational Sunday-school. His boys were greatly attached to him, and he to them, and it was a source of grief to him to be compelled to leave the class. He retained the keenest interest in the welfare of the boys in his class until the day of his death. He was also President for several years of the Young People’s society of Christian Endeavor, being very active and influential. It was a further cause of grief to him to be compelled to abandon this work also on account of failing health. By reason of his uncertain health he never renewed his church and Sunday-school activities after his return from the hospital.
He was deeply interested in the beautifying and improving of our cemeteries, and the present cemetery organization really owes its existence to his untiring efforts.
No man could possibly appreciate more thoroughly than he acts or tokens of friendship, and he was wonderfully loyal to his friends. He was generous to a fault, and by reason of his kindness and tenderness of heart, numerous people can testify to his quiet, unobtrusive acts of friendship and helpfulness, concerning which the public knows nothing.
On December 17th last Mr. Sawtelle, while visiting friends in Cleveland, suffered a stroke of appoplexy [sic]. He was brought home from Cleveland and cared for in his home until March 5th, when, being somewhat improved, he returned to his friends in Cleveland, and was finally placed in the Hydriatic Institute at Cleveland for treatment. He seemed to be improving there until the morning of Saturday, April 17th, when he suffered a stroke of appoplexy [sic] at 3 o’clock. He was unconscious from the first and died at 5 o’clock the same morning.
The funeral was held at his home [309 Courtland Street] Monday, Apr. 19, 1909, and was largely attended by sorrowing relatives and friends.