William Fardy – Eagle Soldier

11 March 2018

On April 28, 1898, the U.S. Congress declared war with Spain following the sinking of an American ship.  Nearly two months earlier, the USS Maine, an armored cruiser naval ship, exploded in the harbor of Havana Cuba killing nearly three quarters of her crew.  The ship was sent there to protect US interests during the Cuban revolt against Spain.

At twenty-two years of age, William Fardy was Eagle Wisconsin’s sole enlistee in the Spanish-American War.  He joined Company C, 1st Wisconsin Infantry, along with a group of young men from Whitewater Wisconsin, on May 14, 1898, being assembled at Camp Harvey in Milwaukee under Colonel Samuel Schadel.   The regiment moved to Camp Cuba Libre in Jacksonville, Florida where they trained for an assault on Havana, Cuba. 

The heat, humidity, mosquitos and conditions of summer training in Florida were miserable, but the 1st Wisconsin Regiment, with over 1,225 men prepared for battle. While in training, an armistice ended the fighting on August 12, 1898 and the 1st Wisconsin Infantry never saw battle. Still, the 1st Wisconsin suffered 40 enlisted men who died of disease, including William Fardy, who died of typhoid fever on July 14,1898.  His body was returned to Eagle Wisconsin for burial and this is the articles that appeared in the Eagle Quill newspaper on July 22, 1898.


Nov 2, 1876 / July 14, 1898



The announcement of the death of William Fardy at Jacksonville, Florida, last Thursday whose obituary appeared in our last issue cast a cloud of sorrow over the entire village and out of respect for the deceased all our flags were placed at half mast.  The remains arrived here unaccompanied, on Monday on the 4:12 pm train in a metallic casket hermetically sealed.  Positive intelligence of the coming of the remains reached here at 3 o’clock and being general know brought a large gathering at the railroad station of friends who were anxious to see the casket containing the body of the soldier boy who was the first from Eagle to sign the roll of volunteers and go forth to follow his country’s flag in a war for humanity with a foreign foe.  On arrival of the train the casket was covered with the national colors and promptly taken to the baggage room where the undertaker took charge.  After the necessary examination of the accompanying death certificate and finding all satisfactory the casket was thence removed to the chapel of St. Theresa’s church by the active pall bearers under the escort of the honorary pall bearers where the remains lay in state overnight guarded by a large number of friends and also a delegation of the G.A.R. post.  At 8 a.m. the following morning the remains were removed to the church room where the funeral services were held.

The large church room was appropriately decorated with a blending of national colors, flags and black from altar to rear balcony.  From the dome to the lower corners were strips of the red, white and blue intertwined with black.  The front palling approaching the main altar was beautifully draped.  On the left hand side was the large flag that floats on the flag

Staff on the church ground in front of the parsonage over which was a strip of mourning held together with silver cords.  On the railing on the right of the main entrance was a marble cross and silver star profusely decorated with flowers representing the national emblem.  The main altar was also dressed in mourning and together with the main church room gave the edifice a very artistic appearance for the sad occasion.  The casket rested at the head of the main aisle directly in front of the altar.  The floral decorations of the casket consisted of wreaths and bouquets of flowers trimmed with national colors. A touching tribute of the surviving comrades in the shape of a pillow of flowers and ferns bearing the inscription “Our Comrade.” On the foot of the casket was a silvery cross emblematical of the Catholic Faith together with a plate representing a sheaf of wheat.

The tolling of the church bell at 9 o’clock announced the beginnings of the funeral ceremonies. And at this time the church was filled to its utmost capacity. The active and honorary pall bearers were seated directly in front and to the left of the casket. Solemn high mass was celebrated with Rev. J.J. Weinhoff, of East Troy, as celebrant, Rev. Ryan as deacon of mass and Rev. A.J. Nickel, resident pastor, as master of ceremonies.  At the conclusion of the services at the church Rev. J.J Reilly, of Whitewater, who is closely identified with the interests and welfare of company C of which the deceased was a member and who was personally acquainted with nearly all of the company, delivered the funeral oration which was full of ardent patriotism and consolation. At the conclusion of his oration the remains were conveyed to St. Theresa’s cemetery for interment. The funeral cortege formed on the main entrance of the church and were headed by the color bearer and honorary pall bearers of the local G.A.R post with arms proceeded through the public square to his last resting place. The procession was a large and sympathetic one and evidenced the extent of the sympathy to the bereaved relatives and the friendship and esteem in which he was held in his home. The universal expression to sorrow by the people of Eaglefor the loss of their first soldier boy in the present war was plainly visible and was a means of consolation to his family and friends. The ceremonies at the grave were conducted by Rev. A.J. Nickel, Rev. Reilly and Rev. Schmidt and were very solemn and impressive. After the casket was lowered into the grave the honorary pall bearers formed in lines on each side of the grave and fired a parting military salute after which the sad procession departed. The funeral arrangements were perfect in detail and those in charge deserve credit for their management.

Eagle Quill July 22, 1898

That wasn’t the end however!  There was some controversy that riled up the residents of Eagle as reported in the Waukesha Freeman newspaper in August 1898.


Source: Waukesha Freeman, August 25, 1898 | Page 4

Painful Story Proves Untrue.

The painful story circulated in the western part of the county, that the coffin supposed to contain the body of young William Fardy, the Eagle volunteer who died at Jacksonville, did not contain the body at all but was weighted with stones, has been proven untrue. Last Thursday the casket was taken from the grave in the Eagle cemetery and was opened. The friends who had known Fardy in life again gazed upon his face. The body was well preserved and was clothed in a uniform with the American flag draped across the chest. The casket also contained a letter to the undertaker, some clothes, scissors and a razor the southern undertaker having evidently expected the casket would be opened upon its arrival here.

Will. Fardy enlisted in the First Wisconsin in May and died of typhoid fever July 14 at Jacksonville. His body was sent home to his parents in Eagle. It is understood that one of his comrades in Jacksonville wrote the ghastly story home that the coffin did not contain the body.



William Fardy Family

William Fardy’s father, Lawrence, was born in Ireland in 1850 and emigrated to America with his parents Patrick and Anastatia in 1851, settling in New York. With many Fardy relatives already living in Wisconsin, Lawrence arrived here about 1871 and married Sarah Ann Allpress in Walworth Wisconsin, on March 21, 1874.  William Fardy was born on November 2, 1876 in Eagle Wisconsin, the second of eight children.  His siblings included James Patrick, b. 1874, Anastasia, b. 1879, Lawrence Bert, b.1881, Matthew P, b. 1885, Rosalie, b. 1888, Johnny A, b. 1891 and Cecelia Marie, b. 1894.  The family ran a farm near Paradise Springs in Eagle. 

William Fardy’s mother, Sarah Allpress, was born March 19, 1855 in London England, one of eight children born to William and Sarah (Percival) Allpress.  They arrived in America shortly thereafter, settling in Wisconsin in 1856.   Daughter Rose was born in Eagle Wisconsing in 1859.  They ran a sixty-acre farm adjacent to the Fardy family at Paradise Springs.

William Fardy, his parents Lawrence and Sarah, one year old sister Cecilia and grandparents Patrick and Anastatia are all buried at the old St Theresa cemetery on Antique Lane in Eagle Wisconsin.  The Allpress family members are buried ag Oak Ridge cemetery in Eagle.

William Fardy’s story hasn’t been told for 120 years!  There was no wife or children to remember him.  His story, like so many who give their lives in the service of our nation, is soon forgotten after only a couple of generations.  We are duty-bound to find and re-tell the life stories of our fallen heros so future generations will know the sacrifices made!  

Mike Rice – Author


   Fardy Gravestones at St. Theresa Cemetery in Eagle Wisconsin

Anastatia Fardy b 1818 d 2-28-1883
Anastatia Fardy b 1818 d 2-28-1883
Aperture: 1.8Camera: iPhone 7Iso: 20Orientation: 1
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The Women of Eagle

19 February 2018

On March 13th, members of the Eagle Historical Society will perform live interpretations of Eagle women from the past who have helped shape our community today.  The event is called “Celebrating HER-Story: The Women of Eagle” and promises to be a well-done performance.



























Spanish-American War

9 February 2018

As we approach Spring 2018, let us be reminded of the date April 25th. On that date, the United States of America commemorates the 120th anniversary of the start of the “little-known” Spanish-American War. 

On April 25, 1898, Congress declared war against Spain, who only the day before, declared war on the United States.  Nearly two months earlier, the USS Maine, an armored cruiser naval ship, mysteriously exploded in the harbor of Havana Cuba killing nearly three quarters of her crew.  The ship was sent there to protect US interests during the Cuban revolt against Spain.  Though the cause was never determined conclusively, an investigation by the naval board determined that the explosion was caused by a mine set by the hostile forces of Spain.

Since the middle ages, Spain’s exploration and exploitation of newly discovered lands brought it great wealth.  Most of north, central and south America was claimed and colonized by Spain, Europe’s leading power throughout the 16th and 17th centuries.  It’s sphere of influence extended across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans from Africa to Japan. 

By the 18th century, Spain’s great rivals, England and France joined in colonial expansion, challenging Spain and each other in a global power struggle.  The heavy cost of defending distant colonies from internal and external threats eventually became greater than the benefits the colonies brought.  The American and French revolutionary ideas of freedom encouraged others in the American hemisphere, and revolution was in the air as natives demanded independence from their distant masters.  With the French invasion of Spain during the Napoleonic Wars (1808-1814), Spain’s colonial influence was weakened and newly independent countries sprang into existence from Argentina in 1816 to Mexico in 1821.

Cuba and Puerto Rico, however, remained loyal to Spain, and were important key naval ports.  The United States of America was also interested in them because of their proximity to the US and the trade they generated.  Sugar was the main Cuban commodity and by 1894 nearly 90 percent of Cuba’s exports went to the United States while the US provided Cuba with 38% of its imports.  Faced with renewed revolutionary activity in Cuba in 1898, Spain sent over 220,000 troops to stop the rebellion.   https://www.loc.gov/rr/hispanic/1898/hernandez.html

The United States sent 15,000 troops to Cuba to help the Cuban revolutionaries.  With American Naval forces and military support with leaders like Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders in the Battle of San Juan Hill, Spanish opposition was easily dispatched. 

In the Pacific, the Philippine Islands were strategically important to trade/conflict with Japan, but were a claimed by Spain and protected by the Spanish navy.  When war was declared, US Commodore George Dewey led a squadron of US naval forces into the Manilla bay and defeated the Spanish forces there.

The Spanish-American war was short-lived, lasting only four months and ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in December 1898 when Spain renounced all claims to Cuba, ceded Guam and Puerto Rico to the United States, and transferred sovereignty over the Philippines to the United States for $20,000,000. http://www.history.com/topics/spanish-american-war

Wisconsin soldiers played a role in the Spanish-American War.  Three days after the United States declared war on Spain, the 2nd & 3rd Wisconsin Infantry units, mainly from Winnebago and Sheboygan Counties, were organized and commissioned for service in the Spanish American War.  They set out for Camp Harvey in Milwaukee, and eventually left Milwaukee on May 11, 1898, to train before being sent to Puerto Rico to fight the Spanish.  American sentiment ran hot against Spain as American blood stained the Cuban harbor and Wisconsin offered her best young men to fight the enemy.

 A diary from Mary Colyer of Eagle recalls the date of April 28,1898 “when the NN State militia marched through Eagle on their way to war”.  While information on the “NN State militia” was not found, it is believed that they were either members of the 2nd & 3rd Wisconsin Infantry units, or a loosely knit group of state militia volunteer units similar to the National Guard headed on their way to Milwaukee to see the 2nd & 3rd Wisconsin Infantry units off to war.

P. S.   The mast of the USS Maine, along with the graves of 163 men killed, is on display at Arlington Cemetery.

 Mike Rice, Author





Wines for Humanity Village Park Fundraiser

5 February 2018

What a great way to help raise money for the Village Park kid’s play equipment!

Invite your friends and relatives to a relaxing wine tasting event in your home.  Enjoy exotic wines from abroad or fine domestic wines.  Either way, Ann Cerapata will help you arrange a great event and 12-1/2% of sales will be donated to the Village park fund. 























Happy New Year!

27 December 2017

We wish everyone a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year with postcards from 1910-1913!


Picture 1 of 4

Eagle Historical Society




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