Colonel William B. McCreery

Commander, 21st Michigan Vol. Inf.


Col McCreery flanked by two Sergeants

From the History of Genesee County, MI Chapter XV:
William B. McCreery, director of the Citizens National Bank, and afterwards vice-president and cashier, was born in Mt. Morris, New York, in 1836, coming to Genesee County wit his parents in 1839. His father, Reuben McCreery, built the old McCreery homestead, afterwards owned by C. D. Ulmer, at the corner of Fifth and Grand Traverse streets. William B. McCreery was admitted to the bar of Genesee county in 1859 and practiced law until the breaking out of the Civil War. He served with distinction, entering the service as a member of Company F, Second Michigan Infantry, and coming home as colonel of the Twenty-first Michigan Infantry Regiment, to which rank he was promoted in regular order for valor on the field of battle. He was seriously wounded at Williamsburg, Virginia, and again at Chickamauga. He was taken prisoner at the latter place and after a trying period of imprisonment, escaped from Libby Prison in 1864 through a tunnel which had been dug by himself and a number of his fellow prisoners. On his return from the front, Colonel McCreery associated himself in the general merchandise business with F. W. Judd. He subsequently engaged in the lumber business and conducted a saw-mill on the bank of the river just south of the Saginaw street bridge. He was afterwards collector of internal revenue for this district, under president Grant, and in 1875 was elected state treasurer, which position he occupied for four years. He also served as a member of the state board of agriculture for seven years, and for several years he represented the United States as consul general to Valparaiso, Chile, to which post he was appointed under the Harrison administration. He was largely interested in the construction of the extension of the Grand Trunk Railway from Flint to Lansing, and was one of the original stockholders and at one time president to the Flint City Water Works Company. He was a member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church and a man of genial disposition, a good citizen and a brave soldier. His death occurred in Flint in 1896.

His wife, a gracious and queenly woman, was Miss Ada Fenton, a daughter of Col. William M. Fenton. Their son, Hon. Fenton R. McCreery, has been for twenty years in the diplomatic service of the United States, being for eight years secretary of the legation at Santiago, Chile, and later for some years first secretary of the embassy in Mexico City. subsequently he served as United States minister to Santo Domingo and Honduras.

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