Daniel D. Free was born on April 12, 1835, in Monroe County, New York, the son of George (b. 1789) and Mary (b. 1804).
Daniel’s parents were both Pennsylvania natives and were probably married there. In any case, by 1828 they were probably living in New York (where their first son John was born) and resided there for some years. Between 1845 and 1850 George moved his family west and had settled in Alpine, Kent County where he and his sons (including Daniel) worked as laborers.
Daniel was married to New York native Elizabeth J. Arsenoe (1842-1922) on February 22, 1860, in Alpine, Kent County, and they had at least eight children: Calista E. (1862-1872), Ellen (b. 1863), John H. (b. 1866), Charles H. (b. 1868), Adelbert (b. 1870), Effie Jane (b. 1871), Pearl (b. 1878) and Clark (b. 1888).
Daniel stood 5’5” with black eyes, sandy hair and a light complexion, and was a 28-year-old farmer living in Muskegon, Muskegon County when he enlisted in Company K on January 30, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Muskegon, and was mustered February 1.
He joined the Regiment on February 17 at Camp Bullock, Virginia, and was slightly wounded on May 6, 1864, at the Wilderness, Virginia. Daniel was subsequently absent sick in the hospital and at one point he was serving as a guard in a Beverly, New Jersey hospital. He was still listed as "absent wounded" when he was transferred to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and he returned to his Regiment on January 8, 1865.
Daniel failed to recover from his wounds and was transferred to the Veterans’ Reserve Corps on April 2, 1865. He was discharged from the Two hundred forty-third company, First battalion, VRC cavalry on April 15, 1865, at Washington, DC. (The VRC was made up of men who while ambulatory were generally incapable of performing regular military tasks due to having suffered debilitating wounds and/or diseases and were assigned to garrison the many supply depots, draft rendezvous, camps, forts, prisons, etc. scattered throughout the northern cities, thus freeing able-bodied men for regular military duty.)
After the war Daniel eventually returned to western Michigan. By 1870 he was working as a farm laborer and living with his wife and children in Byron, Kent county; he was still living in Byron by 1872 and 1873 and working as a laborer in 1880. He may have been a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association living in Grand Rapids in 1874, and by 1888 he was living in Corinth, Kent County.
In 1876 he applied for and received a pension (no. 244508).
Daniel died of typhoid fever on May 26, 1890, in Byron and was buried in Gilbert cemetery, Kent County.
Elizabeth eventually remarried William Alguire. In 1914 she was living in Ross Station, Kent County, when she applied for and received a pension (no. 2344962). Daniel's children also applied for and received pensions.