William D Edwards MOH

b. 05/1848 Brooklyn, New York. d. 24/01/1903 Washington DC.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 09/08/1877 Big Hole, Montana.

Indian Wars Medal of Honor Recipient. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, in May of 1848. He was the son of William H. and Seria Williams. His father farmed near Pembroke, New York, and William grew up on the family farm. His father passed away while he was quite young, but the family continued stay on the farm and he attended school nearby.

His first enlistment in the US Army was at Brooklyn, New York on February 9, 1870. He signed up for a 5 year enlistment and listed his occupation as a plumber and his age at 21. He was assigned with Co. F, 7th US Infantry, and would stay with that Regiment for his entire military career. His Company was part of the 7th Infantry which arrived at Ft. Buford, Dakota Territory later that year. A number of his fellow soldiers from the 7th, were members of Yellowstone Masonic Lodge No. 88, A.F. & A.M. at Ft. Buford. This was the first Chartered Masonic Lodge in what is now the State of North Dakota. On April 18, 1872, he was initiated into Fraternity. He became a Master Mason on May 22, 1872. Later that summer he was ordered to Ft. Shaw, Montana, along with his company of the 7th Infantry. He continued his service at Ft. Shaw, and on February 9, 1875, he completed his five year enlistment period. William was discharged with the rank of 1st. Sergeant. He immediately re-enlisted with his Company and Rank. On August 9, 1877, he was a participant in the Battle of the Big Hole, near present day Wisdom, Montana. This historic conflict with the Nez Perce tribe and their famed Chiefs Joseph and Looking Glass was one of the major battles of the Indian Wars. As a result of his actions and bravery during this conflict, he was awarded the Medal of Honor on December 2, 1878. He is the first member of a Masonic Lodge in North Dakota to receive the Medal.

He was discharged at Ft. Snelling, Minnesota, on February 8, 1880, as a Commissary Sergeant, and re-enlisted for one more five year period. This enlistment was short lived for medical reasons and on December 8, 1880, he was discharged at Rawlings Depot, Wyoming. He still held the rank of Commissary Sergeant. He was never married. He became a resident of the US Soldiers Home in Washington, D.C., and remained there until his death on January 24, 1903. He was buried with full military honors two days later at the Soldiers and Airmen National Cemetery, Washington, D.C.



Bravery in action.